Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Links of Interest


CREATING SECONDARY CHARACTERS WITH CHARACTER:



USING RESEARCH FOR YOUR STORY:



CREATING THE ANTIHERO:



FREE STUFF TO HELP YOU CREATE AND WRITE:



THE 1997 VERSION OF THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FANTASY IS NOW ONLINE:



LINKED IN STRATEGIES FOR WRITERS:



FIRST VERSUS THIRD POV IN CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT:



NEW COPYRIGHT LAW ALLOWS AUTHORS TO RECLAIM BOOKS FROM PUBLISHERS AFTER 35 YEARS:



Monday, November 26, 2012

Squandering the Reader's Trust


I fell in love with the TV show HEROES during the first season. It was different and clever. The writing was smart, the worldbuilding interesting, and the plot worked.

Rarely did the series fail on most levels through that first season. The fans were fierce, the buzz was good, and HEROES appeared to be a major hit.

Then the second season came. The plots went nowhere, many of the characters we cared about were tossed aside for new annoying characters, the worldbuilding faltered, the whole series went to heck, and many of the watchers went elsewhere. 

I only stayed around because, from a writer's point of view, it was a bad accident I couldn't take my eyes off. My weekly show autopsy was a class on how lazy writing and a smug certainty of keeping the fans no matter what could destroy a good show.

As I was thinking about my reaction to the show, I realized that the first season taught me to trust the writers to give me the kind of show I'd enjoy, and the second season squandered that trust until little remained. 

Novel writers can do that, too. Each book builds trust between the reader and the writer, and the writer has to be faithful to that trust for the reader to stay. 

Common ways to betray that trust are writing by rote with few surprises, worldbuilding changes for the writer's convenience, and simple boredom on the writer's part which most readers can sense. 

That series you are writing may be a major success, but unless you are willing to keep stretching yourself and to keep pouring your creative energy into it, you are better off starting something new before all your readers go away.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Links of Interest


FINDING READERS THROUGH GOODREADS:



AVOIDING THE INEVITABLE ENDING:



FACEBOOK PERSONAL PAGES VERSUS AUTHOR PROFILES:



KEEPING YOUR COPYRIGHT AND WORKS ALIVE AFTER YOUR DEATH:



AGENTS AND MONEY:



GENRE CHAT ROOMS FOR NaNO WRITERS:



USING BETTER COMMUNICATION DURING THE CRITIQUE PROCESS:



FREE SOFTWARE AND ONLINE SITES USEFUL TO THE WRITER:



HOW MUCH DESCRIPTION SHOULD YOU GIVE CHARACTERS?



WHAT IS NEW ADULT FICTION?



SEPARATE VERSUS JOINT ACCOUNTING FOR A MULTI-BOOK CONTRACT:



CREATING STORY RESONANCE:



PERFECTING THE QUERY LETTER:



HOW MUCH SETTING DESCRIPTION?



Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Thursday, depending on your location.

Marilynn

Monday, November 19, 2012

No One To Talk To

After last week’s post on characters having conversations with themselves, I thought I’d talk about similar situations in my own writing.

In my novel, STAR-CROSSED, my hero had no one but the heroine to talk to in the first part of the novel.  To cover topics he wouldn’t discuss with her, I didn't want lots of internal monologue or flashbacks which tend to be boring.  

What I ended up doing was letting him have imaginary conversations with his best friend.  Since he was also stuck in one place, I put these conversations at interesting locations from their shared past that showed more about the hero and his past.

The first conversation, for example, was in a bar on a Wild West style planet where the two friends have rescued a sweet young thing during a bar fight.  The two characters shared a beer, talked a bit about the good ol' days, and the hero spilled his guts about what was bothering him.  

At other times, the best friend was the devil's advocate for one side of a choice that the hero was trying to make.  

If you do something like this, it needn't be as elaborate as an entire scene.  It could just be the mental presence of someone whose opinion the character either values or can't escape.  Most of us, for example, can hear our mom or dad in our head reminding us to do or not do something.  

I’ve also had a character talk things out aloud to a horse he was grooming or a cat she was stroking.  The animal’s actions, as if commenting with a purr, a snort, or the shake of the head, gave a nice light touch as well as making the scene more interesting than internal dialogue.

If you want the hero himself as the other character, you should choose some aspect of him you want to emphasize.  Say Dr. Indiana Jones--the scholar versus Indiana Jones--the adventurer.

Set up the use of the mental dialogue/scene fairly early in the novel or story so that the important scene when the character finally must make the big decision won't make the reader go "huh?" when the other side of his personality or an imaginary character shows up to discuss the matter. 

In other words, have the mental character show up a few times so the hero can tell his other side to shut up or whatever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Links of Interest


FIVE TOOLS FOR OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL:



BRUSH UP YOUR GRAMMAR, HYPHENS:



STEPHEN KING ON HOW TO CREATE IMAGERY:



ENGAGING YOUR BLOG READER:



GIVING YOUR CHARACTER A SECRET:



KEEPING YOUR SUBPLOT ON TRACK:



SPACING OUT SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS:



THE CURRENT YOUNG ADULT MARKET (FROM AN AGENT):



AFTER THE EDITORIAL LETTER FROM AN EDITOR’S POV:



SOCIAL  MEDIA PROMOTION SECRETS:



THREE COMMON COMMA ERRORS:



FORMATTING THE SYNOPSIS:



MARKETS--SF, FANTASY, ROMANCE:



APPLYING THE MORAL PREMISE TO YOUR STORY:



MUSTERING THE COURAGE TO TURN DOWN THAT HORRIBLE CONTRACT:



25 WAYS TO UNSTICK A STORY, (BAD LANGUAGE WARNING):



IS CHARACTER MORE IMPORTANT THAN WORLDBUILDING:



Monday, November 12, 2012

Me, Myself, and That Jerk


QUESTION: I am trying to write a dialogue scene in which a character is arguing with himself yet it seems that there are two distinct persons talking, almost as if the good side of him is arguing with the bad side. What is a good way to show this?

You could do it like regular dialogue between two people.  The "real" character could give his better self some kind of snarky nickname which you could use as a dialogue tag.

Jon sneered as his other self.  "Why don't you shut up, Angel Fart. I stopped believing in virtue and nobility years ago."

"If you stopped believing, why am I here?"

Or you could do it like normal internal monologue but with the good Jon’s comments underlined/italics.

Jon fought to ignore his inner voice.  He knew what he had to do, and he'd do it.  He'd stopped believing in doing the right thing years ago.

If you stopped believing, why can you hear me?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Links of Interest


WHICH OR THAT.  WHICH TO USE:



SHOWING TIME AND EVENT PASSAGE WITHOUT BEING BORING:



TIMING YOUR BOOK’S RELEASE FOR MOST IMPACT:



PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE TYPES FOR WRITERS:



IS THERE A PEFECT CRIME, FORENSICLY SPEAKING?



ADVICE FOR THE SELF-PUBLISHED:



TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR BOOK AT THE iBOOKSTORE:



BEWARE THE WHEN STATEMENT:



WRITING PROMPTS:



BUILDING YOUR BACKLIST WITH SHORTER NOVELS:



DOS AND DON’TS OF SYNOPSIS WRITING:



ONLINE GRAMMAR CHECKER AND POSSIBLE PLAGIARISM FINDER (Only 7 days for free):



AVOIDING A BAD ENDING TO YOUR NOVEL:





Monday, November 5, 2012

Beware the Bubble Scene


Fiction narrative is a river of cause and effect which sweeps the reader and the characters through the novel.  What happens in each scene affects what happens through the rest of the novel, and main characters should change as these events affect them.  

If the sweet heroine has to kill someone to save her lover’s life, that death should change her, and the person’s death should affect the events of the novel.

If that death scene has no effect on either the heroine or the plot, that is a bubble scene.   

If she nearly makes love to another man and doesn’t think about her true love and that event does nothing to change her or the plot, that’s a bubble scene.

Bubble scenes are such an emotional disconnect from the rest of the story that they are failures.  

You should ask yourself if a scene which has nothing to do with the rest of the novel or the character should be included.  In most cases, you’ll realize that the bubble scene should be popped. 

NOTE: This is my 500th post!  Thanks to my loyal readers for letting me talk to you every week.  

To thank me, please tell your writing friends about my blog, ask me questions about writing, or just let me know you are out there.  Blogging like writing fiction is a lonely business and a little feedback is appreciated.

Thursday, November 1, 2012