Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Links of Interest


KNOWING YOUR SECONDARY CHARACTERS’ STORIES:


SMOOTH SCENE AND CHAPTER TRANSITIONS:


THE GRANT OF RIGHTS IN PUBLISHING CONTRACTS:


TWEET 101. @REPLY:


FIGURING OUT A CHARACTER WHEN HE REFUSES TO TALK TO YOU:


WHEN YOU HAVE TO MAKE RADICAL CHANGES IN YOUR BOOK:


WORLDBUILDING, THE BASICS OF A SF PLANET:


PLOTTING WITH MINI ARCS:


FOR HISTORICAL WRITERS, A BOOK RESOURCE ON THE HISTORY OF FORENSICS:


THE COMIC FANTASYISH NOVEL:


INSPIRATION-ONLY WRITING IS JUST A MYTH:


SETTING THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHARACTER:


NANOWRITE RESOURCES:



Monday, September 15, 2014

LIsten to the Force, Luke Skywriter


I'm of the firm belief that a writer's subconscious is busy planting things the writer is blind to at the moment. 

When I rework a novel, I'll find lots of foreshadowing of events I didn't think I'd planned until the moment I wrote it, and I'll discover that certain types of metaphors or images keep  appearing that fit  a theme or event I didn't know was coming.

Part of the trick for a writer is going back over your work and building on the bread crumb hints left by your subconscious.  Make it obvious enough that the reader’s subconscious also picks up these crumbs to create more resonance in the novel.  

NOTE: My subconscious  just showed its unhappiness of my comments by making me unable to spell "subconscious" which is a word I normally spell with ease.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Links of Interest


FIXING EPISODIC CHAPTERS:


HOW TO START RESEARCH:


USING BACKSTORY TO INCREASE CONFLICT:


SCIENCE AND TIME TRAVEL, VERY GEEKY:


CREATING AUTHENTIC SOCIAL RELATIONS:


FIVE WEAK WORDS TO AVOID:


FIVE TIPS FOR LONG-TERM WRITING SUCCESS:


BACKSTORY, WHEN DOES IT HELP AND WHEN DOES IT HINDER:


TWISTING CHARACTER STEREOTYPES IN FANTASY:


CREATING INTERESTING PREY/VICTIMS  IN YOUR FANTASY WORLD:


THE MIRROR MOMENT:


HOW AUTHORS SABOTAGE THEMSELVES AND HOW TO AVOID IT:


PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS FOR WRITERS:


HOW TO AVOID HEAD HOPPING:


PROMO, 15 TIPS TO REVITALIZE YOUR SALES:


SETTING THE STAGE:


THE ANATOMY OF THE SHOWDOWN BETWEEN THE HERO AND BAD GUY:


CAUSE, EFFECT, AND STORY FLOW:


HOW SETTING AND LOCALE SHAPE CHARACTER:


Monday, September 8, 2014

Real World Logic and Urban Fantasy


Werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural beings are a staple in current genre fiction. One problem I've seen in many of the fight scenes involving these creatures is created by a flaw in worldbuilding.

Consider this scene from a contemporary novel: The vampire protagonist is in a dangerous part of a major city, and he's attacked by a large pack of demon-possessed humans. He fights them off until some of his vampire friends arrive, and all the demon-possessed humans are murdered. Fortunately, no normal humans saw the fight so the vampires' existence remains a secret.

What's the problem? Simple. How can a race remain a secret for long with widespread killings and the sheer number of combatants on both sides? Wouldn't the police become a tad suspicious if the murders kept building up? Wouldn't a medical examiner suggest that someone with superhuman strength ripped these guys apart? And what about that weird DNA found on the ripped throat of one of the victims?

The fight itself can be perfectly choreographed and written, but at its end, when all the bodies are lying there, and the vampires are leaving the scene, some readers will go, "Wait a minute. What about the police? What about...." If you leave that kind of question, the fight scene has failed.

In a recent urban fantasy novel, the human-shaped demons spent the novel taking human prey while the vampires were killing the demons and the vampire hunters were killing the vampires, yet the humans and the police were apparently totally clueless about the existence of any of these creatures and unconcerned at a body count that fit a war zone, not an American city. 

For a race like vampires or werewolves to remain secret, they must have very small numbers, a large number of anything can't be kept secret, or the race rarely makes contact with humans, and they have rules about contact and punishment for failure to comply with those rules. 

If they take prey, they must dispose of the bodies so no evidence of the death will ever be found. Their prey must also be on the edges of human society so that their loss won't be obvious. In other words, vampires should attack a homeless person, not the beautiful young Countess surrounded by friends, retainers, and family. 

Vampires definitely shouldn't attack tourists in a town which supports itself with tourism. Considering the incredible national coverage and outrage caused by just a few tourist deaths in places like Miami and New Orleans in recent years, it's highly unlikely that dozens of tourists becoming monster chow wouldn't cause a similar outcry and intense scrutiny. 

Real world logic applies even to supernatural characters. Make the fight and its outcome logical, or you've failed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Links of Interest


LAYERING BACKSTORY TO CREATE CONFLICT:


WHY A SELF-PUB SHOULD HAVE PAPER AS WELL AS DIGITAL AVAILABLE AND HOW TO DO IT:


THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CREATING YOUR BAD GUY:


LEARNING HOW TO WRITE BETTER DIALOG:


WRITING GREAT PROSE, EXAMPLES FROM THE MASTERS:


USING THE SENSES IN YOUR WRITING:


COLLABORATING ON A PROJECT:


HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON AN EDIT:


PACE, WHEN TO PICK IT UP AND WHEN TO SLOW IT DOWN:


GIVE YOUR CHARACTERS A REASON FOR WHAT THEY ARE DOING:

DESCRIBING YOUR CHARACTER BEYOND HAIR AND EYES:

SOFTWARE TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR NOVEL TIMELINES:


FICTION VERSUS REALITY, LAW ENFORCEMENT VERSION:


RESEARCHING YOUR BOOK:


GUIDE TO USING TWITTER PITCH TO GET AN AGENT:


TIPS FOR WRITING A PAGE TURNER:


SETTING WITH PURPOSE:


HOW TO INTENSIFY CONFLICT AND DEEPEN CHARACTERS:




Monday, September 1, 2014

The Inspiration Demon Returns



"Psst. Psst. Over here!"
I ignored the tiny voice, leaned closer to the computer screen, and continued typing. 
"It's crap, you know. Total crap. No editor in the world will touch it."
I flinched but kept typing. "Go away."
"Boring, badly written crap. But I've got this great idea. A sure winner."
"That's what you said about this novel. Go away. I only have three chapters left. The final confrontation, the villain's glorious demise, the final love reconciliation, then fade to happily ever after."
"But I have a wonderful idea. You see the villain hires the hero to murder the heroine, and it's a South American country, and..."
I pushed my glasses back up my nose and straightened. The little demon, complete with horns, hooves, and curly black hair, sprawled on the WEBSTER’S UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY by my computer. He twirled his forked tail in his hand and grinned with more seductive skill than a host of romance novel hunks.
I smiled back in spite of myself. "I dreamed that last night."
"Yeah, it was me. Great idea, huh?"
"I wrote copious notes when I woke up. Thanks."
He preened his horns. "Thought it was your style. Action. Adventure. Cliffs to shove the heroine off of. Why you wasting your time with that--"
"It isn't crap. I have to finish. I always finish my novels. I'm a professional."
'And don't it steam me." A puff of smoke drifted out of his ears.
"I appreciate the ideas. Keep them coming. Now go away!"
"But.... How about a planet where--"
"Aren't we desperate." I smiled wickedly. "It won't work. I know what you are and what you're trying to do."
"I'm your friend. I'm trying to give you a salable idea."
"You're a withdrawal symptom."
Sitting up indignantly, he straightened an imaginary tie like a miniature Rodney Dangerfield. "I beg your pardon. I am your adventure muse. And you don't do drugs. Not even booze. I am not...."
"Adrenaline withdrawal. Nothing more," I insisted.
"Adrenaline's what your body pumps when you're afraid," he protested.
"Or when you're facing a challenge. And adrenaline is addictive. Ask any stage actor. Or rock climber. That mountain gets climbed, not because it's there, but because the climber is addicted to the rush of danger."
The demon rested his hand on his forehead and wailed, "Oh, the terror of paper cuts, the exciting rush of eye strain."
I chuckled. "You don't know fear until you stare at a blank screen and try to bring people to life, create a world that is as real to the reader as it is to you. Creating order and reality out of nothing."
"And you're throwing away all that to finish that garbage."
"It's finished already. In here." I tapped my head. "All I have to do is type it out. All the creating is done. That's why you've shown up as you usually do. The adrenaline's stopped pumping so my subconscious starts giving me new ideas. New sources of that wonderful addictive adrenaline."
"But--"
I continued relentlessly, "When your brethren show up, amateurs toss aside good projects and start something new. A pro knows what you are, takes copious notes of your ideas for the future projects' file, and finishes."
"You kink my tail sometimes."
"Go away, please, and let me finish. The sooner finished, the sooner started on one of your glorious ideas."
The demon grinned jauntily. "In that case...."
As he disappeared, I said, "And keep bringing me those great ideas."
With a thumps up gesture, he vanished in a wink of smoke.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Links of Interest


THE INCITING EVENT, WRITER BASICS:



GUIDELINES FOR CONTACTING BOOK REVIEW BLOGGERS:



WORLDBUILDING A RELIGION, HOW RELIGION SHAPES CULTURE:



WORDPRESS SECURITY TIPS:



GOOD ADVICE FOR A NEW WRITER:



USE THE ELLIPSIS POINT SPARINGLY:



TURNING THE DULL INTO THE POWERFUL:



DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH ACTION?



CHARACTERS, A MENTALIST AND HIS TRAITS:



CAN I USE THAT PICTURE?  THE LEGALITIES OF USING IMAGES:



PROMO, MAKING SOCIAL MEDIA WORTH YOUR TIME:



NAILING YOUR GENRE IN YOUR FIRST SCENE:



POV 101, THIRD PERSON:



TIPS FOR WRITING MULTIPLE POVS:



KEEPING GOING EVEN IF IT SEEMS NO ONE CARES, OR SOMEONE ELSE HAS ALREADY DONE IT BETTER:



YOUR REPERTORY OF CHARACTERS:



CRAFTING GENUINE CHARACTERS: