Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Fortunately, there are several ways to address this problem.
Give the character(s) a past, one that's plausible. Give the main character a unique characteristic, not flying or the ability to see through things, necessarily, but a particular gift, interest or aptitude. Then frustrate that plan. Further raise the stakes by making it seem the dream is dead. For a realistic result, ask yourself what in the characters' past would cause problems now. Consider what ability or gift the character has that he/she would love to use, especially now, but can't. Consider a realistic way this desire could be frustrated. One good reason for doing all this is described well by stakes guru and literary agent Donald Maass in Writing the Breakout Novel: "By risking what we most desire a novelist can show us how we are."
Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
To put today's musing into action, check out the writing tip below, and let me know how it goes.
Blessings at Christmas and always!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If like most of us you find it hard to keep working, consider this from Nathalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones: "If those characters [writer and editor] in you want to fight, let them fight … the sane part of you should quietly get up … and write from a deeper, more peaceful place."
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
For effective verisimilitude (from veri similis, like the truth) in fiction, it's important to include what John Gardner in The Art of Fiction calls "vivid detail," which really is the "lifeblood of fiction."
To put today's musing into action, see the writing tip at the top of the list and let me know how it goes.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Stuck for words? Who isn't at some point? One way to surmount this form of writer's block is to tell yourself (in writing) what you think the story should be until the real story comes.
One reason for writer's block is the seemingly endless number of ways to craft a scene. Should Harry and Sally have their hilarious explanatory scene in a bus station or a café? Should the scene end with Sally's exclamation, or should there be one more line? When a finished product works, the countless decisions (many subconscious) behind the scenes are invisible, and the effect is seamless. But when you're in the process of creating the scene or story, each word choice can seem like life or death. Rather than bog down in details or go off on a rabbit trail only to deal with a major rewrite later, explain to yourself — right where you're stuck on the page — what you really want to say, or what you think the scene should be. You'd be surprised, pleasantly, I hope, with the outcome.
Consider this from author and frequent Writer's Digest contributor James Scott Bell: "Your scenes are like the stones in an English wall. I prefer that image to bricks because bricks all look the same. You want your scenes to vary in shape and feel, but when you step back they should all fit together." Planning that stone wall in advance is key to it standing the test of time.
To put today's musing into action, check out the writing tip at the top of the list and let me know how it goes.