Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Binge writing

Ok, I admit it. I'm a binge writer. 
In a perfect writing world I don't recommend it. 
In a perfect writing world you don't need it. 

For those of us who juggle ____,  ____ & _____ (Fill in the blank.), it can give you that shot in the arm, that sense of satisfaction, that scene full of possibility you can continue to mull over when Life calls & you have to quit to ______, ______, or _______. (Fill in the blank.)
Fellow writer Sally Bosco has it all down in print. She'll be teaching a workshop on binge writing at the Seton Hill University “In Your Write Mind” writing conference June 21-24, 2012. In preparation she interviewed several authors who admit to plowing through the process of transferring that scene in your head to the words on the page.   

✍   ✍   ✍ 

Take a look at what I (& other authors) have to say:

It might work for you. 
Keep in mind, however, you'll then be out of excuses.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

From the Outside In~~

Your Fictitious World    Part 2:  

Setting, Setting, Setting 
Your Characters' Physical World

Carol Ferderlin Baldwin  posts thought-provoking writing-related questions on her Facebook page, from getting into your character's head to getting into your character's world. 

She got me thinking I should share some of the tipsheet topics I use in workshops and manuscript critiques.
covers check lists for making your characters three dimensional. The world they inhabit needs that same depth, breadth and believability. 

the rooms of the house, the streets of the town, 
the halls in the asylum, the colonies on the planet 
~~ the fine art of world building ~~

Shelley Adina's Trilogy Magnificent Devices yanks us into steampunk London. She uses real streets but "my heroine's experience of them is fantasy.... she breaks a mad scientist out of Bedlam~~which was the Bethlehem Hospital in its old location near St. George's fields. I found a floor plan on line and she broke in near the cold baths that they plunged the poor 'unfortunates' into in real life." 

~~Another planet, another century,
 another country or three blocks over~~            

It's in your head, now hit the keys or grip the pen.
Create your own system; keep it at your fingertips.  

❉  In a single paragraph Describe broad settings: fictitious, real or combination?
  Start wide and funnel the view. 
          Another planet? Another country? 
          Urban? Suburban? Rural? 
  • Name streets and relevant buildings your characters inhabit, where they work/go to school worship/party shop 
  • Describe habitats: A pod on a space station? A barn on a commune? Subsidized housing? Apartment complex? Condo? Post-WW2 tract housing? McMansion? Estate?
  • Own or rent? Mortgaged or not? There by choice? 
  • Describe significant rooms in detail
 ✐ Draw floor plans, sketch maps 
 Remember the importance of flora, fauna & weather

As with character sketches, a fraction of this will wind up on the page. Your goal is to breathe life into every individual & create atmosphere for every setting. 

You have to take your readers there.

And they have to want to stay.

Monday, May 7, 2012

From the Inside Out~~

Your Fictitious World 
Part 1:

Know Your Characters 
Inside & Out

My credentials are over there  ☛

↓↓ My advice begins below  ↓↓

     Most novels, especially in  genre fiction, are character driven. As author it's your job to create men, women and children your readers care about, cheer on, fret over, rail against, loathe or love.

     This happens when you make those characters three dimensional. Heros need weaknesses; villains need strengths.  

You need to know how they got that way.  

     From their grammar & speech patterns to their philosophies, the ethnic, socio-economic, physical and emotional backgrounds you devise should~~must~~affect your characters as they make their way through your story.

     A fraction of this information should/will wind up in print. (Beware the dreaded info dump, but that's another blog.) Instead you want it filling your imagination as you create fully formed characters. Then when the Martians land, the will is read, the prom date arrives an hour late, your reader is right there in the scene, breathless with anticipation. NOT shrugging in an armchair muttering, "What the heck, he'd never do that."

    Create a character sheet for every important member of your novel. List, manipulate, design the cast you're about to bring to life. 
 For one thing, 
these preliminaries save you time 
in the long run. 

 For another, 
it's  a lot more fun than actually 
writing       the       book. 

~~Some suggestions to get you started~~ 

  • Full name & significance, if any
  • Full names of parents & significance, if any
  • Occupations of parents 
  • Go back another generation. Include grandparents
  • Family dynamics: Two parents? One? Which one?
  • Siblings & ages, order within the family
  • Religious affiliation, if any
  • Full physical description
  • Education:  Name & location of schools, K-thru whatever. Public or private? If private, day or boarding?
  • Economic background: Old Money, New Money, No Money?
  • Incidentals: hobbies, pastimes, allergies, cravings
     Whether your character works against the background you’ve devised or reflects it in stereotypical detail, you’ve provided a solid frame on which to weave voice, behavior, attitude and goals as you hook your reader with their tale you’re telling.