Category: Writing


Happy Tuesday everyone! I’m slowing down a bit posting the podcasts since I recorded nine of them before I put them up on the blog. Now that I’m getting closer to “real time” so to speak, I’m figuring out how often I want to update. Might be fun to go three to five times a week. Anyone have an opinion, leave me a message. I’m hoping that these are useful!

Today’s podcast follows:

Epenthesis-Episode 008: Dialogue

This is Part 1 of the Dialogue Series (dun dun DUN!) and I get pretty passionate about it. I also have a nice little tangent in there about the History of Reading class I took in grad school, and how grammar came to be. I might do a video at some point about it since I would have a lot of fun with visuals!

Next episode: Dialogue Tags (Part 2)

Edit: Action Around Dialogue (Part 3)

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Epenthesis-Episode 007: Brainstorming

I was apprehensive about sharing details about my upcoming project but I wrote about 2,500 words last night so I’m on a good high about it. It also helped me figure out some sticky plot points by talking it out!

Episode 004: Discarding Old Tools I talk a little in the beginning about Episode 4 so here’s a quick link.

Episode 006: Plot vs. Theme I mention this one too so here’s a quick link for it.

 

Progress Stats:

Current Wordcount: 28,323

Goal: 70,000

Draft: First

Deadline: October 31, 2011

Epenthesis-Episode 006: Plot vs. Theme

Wherein I talk about plot, theme, and how they’re different. I also talk about time travel, Sailor Moon, and my secret new writing project that I hope to keep secret…but I reveal more about in upcoming podcast.

Epenthesis-Episode 005: Making Promises to the Reader

Epenthesis-Episode 004: Discarding Old Tools

Epenthesis-Episode 003: Daily Wordcount

My mom’s a shrink – that’s what I tell people when they ask me if I have any psychology background. I can usually whip out a slew of Freudian-based motivations and behavioral changes analysis as fast as I can recall a friend’s phone number. But the truth is that I’ve been perceptive about people’s thoughts and motivations since I was a kid. One of the things I’ve been good at figuring out is relationships, both for romantic as well as friendship, so I maybe analyze books a little too much (or just enough?). I treat characters as if they are real people so when they break character, I can trace it back to when and where and why. One of the big issues I wanted to write about today was the Lone Wolf character, the “I’m better going it alone” type who (almost always) learns the lesson that nothing can be accomplished alone.

Bearing in mind the psychology thing, I started thinking about why this character never works. Why is this character prominent at the beginning of the story but by the end has softened his hard shell to allow at least one other person in? Why must a lesson be learned for this otherwise self-sufficient character?

You see him in romance novels just as often as you see him in mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, even nonfiction to a certain extent. You may even have a picture of him in your head: the lone wolf, the cowboy who rides by himself into the sunset, the quiet guy who doesn’t want trouble (but it tends to follow him around anyway), antisocial, or just plain mean. Maybe he talks, maybe he doesn’t, maybe his whole family died, maybe his family never understood him.

The reason he never works as a complete character is because being alone is a self defense mechanism in writing. Instead of being alone to stop anyone from hurting him, the character ends up hurting himself so that no one can do it for him. There is always something a little bit wrong with a lone wolf character: sure we admire his strength and aloof attitude, but part of what we want is to be around him. We want his strength at our back, we want him to believe in us and confide in us. We don’t actually want him to be alone.

So if you’ve got a cool loner type, make sure he doesn’t stay that way in your writing. If he does, make sure it makes sense because the reader will question why. Also remember that a character who stubbornly refuses to interact with ANYONE usually has something wrong with him. Human beings are social creatures by design and environment: we’re supposed to be around people. Straight-up hermits need to get out of their caves sometimes. If they don’t, we never hear about them. It sounds like one big existential commentary on life, but no one wants to be alone so why would anyone read a story about someone who is completely alone?

So, I was eventually going to get to this since I can go on very long rants about all kinds of issues in writing, but there are those cleverer (or at least faster) than I who have already written about some of these problems.

This one’s REALLY GOOD so check them out.

As a side note, these are all things you should look at WHEN YOU’RE EDITING! Do not try to stop yourself from writing. If you use an adjective, for example, in a first draft, do not beat yourself over the head with it. Slice it off during editing, but don’t let it derail your writing. The more you practice, the less you’ll do these mistakes.

One final thing: I’m playing with podcasts now. You’ll get to hear me ranting live and in surround sound! Or at least loudly. I’ll link to it when I get the blasted thing done.

Hello everyone!

So, thank God it’s Friday, first and foremost. My program in NYC is going great but let me just say what a relief it is to have the weekend to relax a bit? I tend to carry whatever work I need to do around on my back so forcing myself away from the environment helps a lot to lift the stress from my shoulders. I went to Time Square with the roomie today, which was awesome and a little overwhelming with all of the lights and sounds and, yes, definitely the press of people all around.

And now that I’m back in the dorms and getting ready for bed, I thought it would be cool to write another blog post. So this led me to this topic that I’ve been thinking about for a while now: which is, violating your character’s worldview.

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Creating Setting (continued)

My friend Night-mare wrote a response to my blog here and of course, that got my brain thinking of some advance techniques for playing with setting. If you want to see the first part of Creating Setting, go here.

Advanced Tip for Setting

Night-mare mentions how different characters should have different feelings when it comes to their surroundings. A person’s background and experiences will always color their perception of their surroundings. Now, the easy answer is to match the internal mood to the external: if your main character is depressed, make it rain. If your two main characters are having their very first romantic kiss, have a perfect sunset hang behind them. If the villain has just appeared, have a lightening storm.

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