When coming up with a subject for this week’s blog post, the only thing that came to mind was the short story I was working on. Which in turn made me think of how I had created this story, and that in turn made me think of audience, and how it relates to writing. I’ve never paid much heed to it, but this particular story was shaped by its audience, and so was a lesson in how maybe there was more to it than I ever gave credence to. Continue reading
I’m writing a sequel to a book I wrote a while back, and for this one the plot circles around revolution and how the various characters respond to it. For it to work, I need a bunch of fairly well established characters reacting in various opposing ways that still meld with their personalities. Unfortunately, except for the two mains I’m having trouble picking out details for a sequel (which tells me something about how well written those side characters were in the first place).
First problem is my notes are shoddy. I have a vague sense that certain details exist, but I don’t know them so I’ll have to read through the book to find them. Probably multiple times, when I could have saved time by just making note as I wrote it in the first place. So oops. It’s been kind of a long time since I wrote the book, so it’s not exactly fresh in my mind.
Of course, there’s not a ton of the information I need to be gleaned, anyway. These characters tend to lurk in the background, and don’t really have any plots of their own in that book. Which is fine, because too many plots spoil the book and all that. But in my experience and from what I’ve read, well-written side characters might not have much happen on the page itself, but there’s at least a sense they have lives, and rationale for being involved in the plot, and they need to be involved in the story arc in an essential way. As in, you can’t just swap out one person for another and have the story develop exactly the same way.
Not every person needs an essential role, of course, but right now almost none of them do. Which makes them all pretty flat. So now I need to go through and figure out who they are, and maybe if I’m lucky a few subplots will pop up along the way.
I ate too much amazing food, and then I spent the next day feeling nauseous after throwing up. It strikes me that writing is a lot like my experience with this food, so that’s what my topic is.
(Lessons learned in no particular order, so ya know) Continue reading
Little things have meaning. I recently had a birthday, and I got some pretty great gifts. It got me thinking about descriptions, how the right one can be just as perfect for a reader as the family heirloom I got from my grandmother was for me. Or like how each one can be like a delicious little cake (I didn’t have any stock images of presents, I had pictures of cake. It probably says something about me that I deliberately chose to store such a picture on my computer.)
Now I get to make a metaphor! Continue reading
Every writer, myself included, has advice for other writers. Some of this is excellent and comes from a place of expertise. Some of it is terrible and no one should listen. Some is in the middle, so is either vague and unhelpful or else accurate but not coming from personal experience or knowledge gained. There is such a thing as right and wrong advice. The problem is, it varies from person to person. Continue reading
Which project to tackle next? It’s bugging me. Not that I can actually start for a while, but I really need something to shoot for so I can finally get motivated and get writing seriously again. Help me pick! Please? Continue reading
I wanted to call this post “My Favorite Character Tropes”, but I’m not actually listing my favorites, and I really couldn’t fit them into specific tropes.. This is a list of the traits that I find myself writing my characters into. Continue reading
Short story writing is hard. So far it’s taking about twice as long to write as the equivalent amount of words for a novel. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m that unfamiliar with short story writing (and thus subconsciously moving slower, more carefully), or if it’s just because writing a short story takes longer. Have to give it a few more goes before deciding.
Here’s all the opening lines I’ve gone through over the course of writing the rough draft:
- Shelley Marchant often wondered what life was like for people who didn’t have an archnemesis.
Yes, I know it’s just the one. I don’t know if it’s any good, but it’s the only one that’s occurred to me so far so it’ll have to wait until edits. It was kind of weird, actually, that the story was able to start from this one line and progressed from there without being deleted or having more words added in front of it.
Of course, it’s more than been made up for by the number of closing lines I’ve tried.
- And as Maya screamed her outrage, Shelley went out into the night.
- She became a superhero.
- Shelley let go of everything she was thinking and stood tall.
- Murder on the knees with the landing, but such a cool exit.
- And then she got on with her life.
And those last two were just from yesterday.
Sometimes beginnings snap while the endings flounder, and other times beginnings are vague while the endings are inevitable and poetic. And any number of combinations in between. There are worse problems to have.
Anyone else having trouble with beginnings or endings?
There are some things that ought to be sketched out well in advance of writing a book, and a system of magic (if applicable) is one of them. It’s important to know the rules under which one’s characters will be functioning. In my defense, I did have my system sketched out. The problem was that I didn’t really write it down, and I didn’t develop it very well. Continue reading
I have been having a bear of a time writing over the past few weeks. Part of it was exhaustion from lack of sleep, part was exhaustion from November writing, and part of it was that I do not want to write this scene. And there I was, struggling away with this scene that I couldn’t figure out how to flesh out, and then I realized what I was doing wrong. Namely, I was writing it at all. Continue reading