Wherein I endeavour to share writerly advice lightened with humour, pictures and a dollop of 1930s-1940s history.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
It wasn't all gloom and doom during the 1930s. Here's a quick video of goings-on high above the Picadilly traffic in London.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Writing Game
Some of us write about this...
while some write about this...
and if you're a mystery writer (like me) you write endless versions of this...
But really, we're all writing about this...
There are the days when you feel as if you're playing this...
and even the days you feel as if you're playing this...
But we all need to play this...
and make our characters play this...
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
10 Reasons It's Great to Be a Writer
9. You're not eavesdropping; you're working.
8. Your rather eccentric computer history of websites can be explained as research.
BONUS: Actually, anything can be explained as research - it just takes a bit of thought.
7. Your active imagination now has something to focus on.
6. Although you say you don't base your characters on anyone you know, you could. Revenge is sweet.
5. People expect odd behaviour from creative types. This is an advantage.
4. You know talking to yourself serves a purpose.
3. You can tell yourself your typo isn't a typo, it's a new word. Language evolves.
2. If you write romantic scenes you can blush and tell people you couldn't possibly confirm whether they're autobiographical.
1. You can make your own rules and then break them.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Most of us try to make a good first impression - we check our clothes for stains, ensure we're wearing matching shoes, maybe even practice a few phrases. Good first impressions pave the way to second impressions; and after that, the sky's the limit!
Take a look at your current manuscript and see what first impression your main characters make. I always try to ensure:
- The reader may not necessarily be meeting him/her at their finest moment (or maybe they are) but it is a moment that will demonstrate one of the character's priorities.
- There something intrinsically likable (in my opinion) about my main characters. People want to learn more about people they like or can identify with in some way. It might the situation the character finds themselves in, it might be their background, it might be their love of shoes - but there's something that makes the reader want to read on.
- No character makes the same first impression as another. My logic is the reader is just getting to know these people - I try to keep it as easy as possible!
- I will not introduce a continuing character in a way that harks back to a previous event in an earlier story. The reader may not know the event and will start off feeling that they're missing something. That's just mean.
- I'll always choose dialogue over description.
First impressions - you can only make them once.
Make them count.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Some views of my little corner of the world in autumn.
Take a moment.
See you Monday.
Take a moment.
See you Monday.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Here in the northern hemisphere, it's the first full day of fall. Let's look at hats from 1935. Back then, you'd have never left the house without one. Now, hat-sporters garner odd looks and are often judged as eccentrics. Times change.
But, I still wear a hat from time to time. I like hats.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Getting to Know Them
Each of our new characters start off like this...
But over time...
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
10 More Lies You Tell Yourself While Editing
Continuing on from last week's Tuesday post...
9. No one will notice that the location of the rooms in the house keep moving.
8. My main character isn't an insufferable prig. He's just wise.
7. These jokes are funny. I know, I wrote them.
6. (if you're writing a mystery) It doesn't matter that any of my first readers haven't been able to solve the mystery.
5. It matters even less that they say my solution comes out of left field. It's not unsolvable - it's incredibly clever.
DANGER! DANGER, Will Robertson!!
Back to our list...
4. You can't have too many colourful, quirky characters. More is more.
3. Oh look. I didn't write that scene three times, I wrote it four times. Wow. It's like Rashomon.
2. My main character is in two places at once. Obviously, my he/she has an identical twin.
And one big truth...
1. Any editing pass will go quicker with chocolate. But...watch out for crumbs.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Everyone has good days and bad days. There are those days when you wake up energized and eager and then there are those days when you feel you're deserving of a yet-to-be-invented award because you didn't spend the entire time sprawled on your bed, moaning in a low, mournful register. Not everyone is agreeable all the time. Not everyone is disagreeable. People's moods change.
It's easy to forget this as we write our way through our stories. We're so busy focussing on plot and pace and not repeating words and dialogue tags, that our characters' moods sometimes get short shrift. A character who is happy all the time or conversely, ornery all the time is going to get dull fast. Readers may not always be able to put their finger on it, but those characters are going to hit a false note.
Of course, moderation is the key.
I don't worry about this for every character; my small, one paragraph wonders appear, say their bit, trip, and get off the stage. But I do try and remember it when I'm writing through one of my POV characters' eyes. Not every one of them understands why they're in a bad mood, but I know why and it's there. Bad moods make people short-tempered. Impatient. Not wanting company. Bad moods make people retreat to their 'places of comfort'; whether it's a bar or a bathtub. Good moods make people talkative. When people are in a good mood, they physically touch other people more often. Good moods make them walk quicker. They plan activities. They want to be with their significant other or they want to search a little harder to find one.
Let your main characters change as often as the weather. Let them have good days and bad days. The more human they are, the more beloved they will be.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Welcome to another edition of Fun Friday! You can't go wrong with funny bumper stickers. Or maybe you can, but what's life without a little risk?
Have a great weekend, everyone.
I'd avoid this car, if I were you...
However, you will note the sticker is right by the gas cap...
Don't you love irony?
Brief. Succinct. Winner.
Here's an important philosophical question...
And a final one for all of us...
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Last December, I wrote a Thirties Thursday post which sounded as if it was about the (then) up-coming Royal Wedding, but was really about this wedding which took place in November, 1934. Please enjoy this rare newsreel of the event.
THE ROYAL WEDDING (aka DUKE AND DUCHESS OF KENT'S WEDDING)
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
It's a Puzzle
As writers, we all start off with a pile of these..
Some like to start here...
And some start here...
There are days when your puzzle looks like this...
Even though you know it should look like this...
But sooner or later, you're about to do this...
And take a step back and look at the whole picture...
which might look like this...
or maybe this....
My puzzles always end up looking something like this.
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)