Sunday, January 30, 2011

Insightful Analysis

I submitted a small snippet of Ambriel to Juliette Wade's Wednesday Worldbuilding Workshop for analysis. Every week she accepts bits of work in order to help and educate other writers.

You can see my work and what she said about it at the link above. I highly recommend sending something in. Especially if you write science fiction or fantasy.

It was great fun to read her comments :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ugly on the inside

So, someone sent me a nasty rep on AW. Just for sake of being obnoxious I guess. I wouldn't have even seen it except that I had change my password because of log-in issues. But it's never fun to be blind sided by the unpleasantness of people at any time. The only possible reason they could have had to even write the rep is to be specifically mean. Which means they put a lot of thought and energy into replying to a post of mine that was buried on at least page two of the forum it was posted in.

It's funny how people now think they are entitled to be awful just because it's the Internet and they are very far away. As if their opinion is somehow supposed to crush your spirit.

Part of me would like to take terrible rep revenge upon them, but a therapist once told me "You can be right, or you can be happy" so I am trying more and more to make the conscious decision to be happy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Neglected books

The path to a novel is littered with abandoned short stories and the decaying carcasses of other novels.

I started on Tea Times Three April 17, 2010, I'm not kidding. I wrote it on the first page. For awhile I was going to try and get it done in a sort of personal Nanowrimo of three month at a rate of 5 pages a day. BUT that hasn't happened.

In the interim I have abandoned:

R.F.N. which I haven't touched in months. My only hope is that I seem to be able to slip back into Ambriel's voice effortlessly and can pick it up again without trouble.

Circumpolar- ubercool short story suffering from a alack of plot. I am going to try and finish it this year a I have an idea for it even if it isn't good.

Just yesterday I began work on a short story for a werewolf anthology which I had no intention of writing but an idea came to me.

Suffering from mild neglect: Calvin my MG horror which people tell me is too much for MG. Although I'm tarting to wonder about that... I mean it could go to an adult publisher as a horror novel with a 12 yr old protag... MAYBE. I mean nothing too terrible happens to Calvin, I wouldn't do that!

But I'm not good at working on too many things at one time. I can do it but it require a lot of me.

I have been making much more of an effort to put butt in chair lately though and slog onward whether the writing is working or not. Progress is the only thing that matters.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Developing Characters

I don't develop characters in any one single way. I use a multitude of different techniques and it just depends on my mood and the project and how much I have to go on regarding plot and character.

Develop as I go- As I write they 'come alive' and I add things as they come up including background and family details. That way they can surprise me. I decide sentence by sentence need by need who they are, what relatives they have, their attitude, background, and issues. This does require a lot of record keeping. Details need to be written down as they develop and often I have to go back and look things up in the draft if I didn't write them down.

Spring forth fully formed- This happens sometimes. A character complete and total and fascinating bursts fully formed from the imagination. I know them inside and out. This isn't really a good way to do it. It is unreliable and sitting around waiting for characters to 'just come' is... not the kiss of death... but certainly a form of procrastination.

Idea of a character- I base them around a few personality traits or their function in the plot, or an idea I want to explore. This is an abstract way to begin. Without gender or appearance. In some ways it's working backwards. I have one character who is based on the idea of ambition- driving all consuming ambition and this defining trait informs her actions throughout the story and provides her drive forward.

Plan them- Once in a awhile I work them out on paper before hand making a character info/profile work up- I like the one from "You can Write A Mystery" by Gillian Roberts has a very good character profile to fill out for creating characters. It's very thorough and asks questions you may not normally consider like "Work Life" and "Private Life" so you can define who the character is in these different situations.

It honestly just depends. A lot of times I just start writing cold. Sometimes I want a plan. But I like to let them evolve and surprise me as I go.

Often I find giving them a goal, makes them interesting. Giving them something they want to achieve, whether saving up money to start their own B&B or a desire to become a fashion designer. I think this helps secondary characters a LOT because it gives them something they want that isn't related to the main character at all and gives them a life independent of the events of the novel which enlivens and informs their actions in the story.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Scene analysis

I've come to realize that virtually every scene in Tx3 breaks down to three parts. I don't think all my writing goes like this, not the short stories anyway, but the novels kinda do this all the time! Especially Tea Times Three.

The Set Up- I set the scene, establish the setting, the action and the POV character. I also begin with a recap of what's happened off stage that is pertinent to what is happening.

Action- Usually dialogue or some interaction/conflict with another character. This goes on until it... well, ends. Either the parties resolve, or since Tx3 is very real-world based people usually either back down, get exasperated and drop it, or just leave without any resolution.

Reflection- The POV character then reflects on their feelings and lingering misgivings about what just happened. Sometimes they come to a conclusion about how they feel and why they feel that way but as often as not their emotional life is as unsettled as whatever it was just happened.

Now, all this requires a bit of telling. I mean no one is running around performing verbs constantly. I want to involve the reader in the characters emotional lives and while SOMETIMES emotion is physically demonstrable it isn't always! Otherwise we'd have people running around crying and punching walls all the time. I mean how often aside from a few verbal and body language ques do people emote a ton in public? OK, this day in age maybe that is a bad question. People just run around and flail and tell strangers in the grocery line the most horribly personal information. But do you really want to read about people flailing and pounding their fist all the time? Or do you want to read what the character is thinking?

Oh, and Happy Birthday to ME!

And Happy New Year to you all!