Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 26

Photo by Tim Simmons
Happy Thanksgiving!
Here's wishing my fellow Americans good food, good company, and a relaxing weekend.
And the same goes for everyone else!


Finding Time to Write Part II

Tuesday, November 23

Photo by Rick Bowden

I was skimming through Marc Shapiro's J. K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter when something caught my eye. Despite the pressure of being a single mother, working to stay alive, and all that "rubbish", she manage to find the time to write and completed The Sorcerer's Stone in one year. It's not as if she had unlimited time on her hands. But she prioritized her writing.

She wrote during train rides, at cafes, on scraps of papers. She rushed to finish her secretarial work so that she could use the corporate computer to write. She prayed constantly that no one would have a birthday or a meeting that she'd be obliged to attend.

Every spare moment she had, she wrote.

I know we have busy lives. I know that we rush to take care of families, work, and the occasional curve balls life throws at us. I know that writing can seem like just another thing on an already full plate.

But maybe we're just forgetting why we write. We write because we want to. No one's forcing you to do anything. So just remember your first writing sessions when writing was pulling characters from thin air and watching them walk around the page.

We need to stop dreading the blank page. If you've lost the love of writing, try free-writing every day before you write your novel. It gets your creative juices flowing before you have to tackle the novel.

In all honesty, this post title is a lie. We don't Find time to write; we Make time.


I'm not Dead

Saturday, November 20

No, I'm still here. I've just been insanely busy the past couple of weeks.
New post coming soon. I promise.


Omitting Needless Words

Tuesday, November 9

Photo taken by Ville Miettinen

Most of us want to write a novel. Some us may write fro kids while others target young adults. There's a big difference between an easy reader and a YA Fantasy; for one thing; size.
For the most part, we want to end up with a book that's around 250 pages. Which is why its disappointing when the rough draft comes out to be...40 pages, like my first rough draft (In size 12, Times New Roman).
For some, its only too easy to write Above and Beyond the Call of Duty and end up with rough drafts 700 pages in length. (Stephanie Meyer *cough*)
Others have a hard time thinking up enough events. And that's where the trouble begins.
The slower writers feel obliged to add any random scene and long-winded paragraphs, just so they can meet to word count goal. I'll admit, I've done this. But then I stumbled onto the best bit of writing advice I'd ever received:

Cut unnecessary parts...you'll never run out of ideas, so don't be afraid to let go of things.
-Todd Mitchell

And he's perfectly right.
Revision is mostly about hacking your novel to pieces and sewing it back together. Anything that doesn't belong needs to go.
If only it was that simple.
But, like most writers, we get attached. We fall in love with plot, with clever little aphorisms, with characters, with conflicts. And it hurts to let them go.
But let go we must.


Creating Characters: Motive

Friday, November 5

Every character, minor or major, needs a motive. It’s the driving force behind everything they do.
In other words, their reasons. That’s all good and fine, but what it really boils down to is that there are consequences to their actions.
I cannot stress how important motive is. If there’s no reason your character should be doing something, then why are they doing it? Unless there’s a motive, your book will end up as pointless as a kid’s menu maze.
Courtesy of Applebee's

Self Interest
Face it. The human race can be selfish. But there’s a fine line between selfish and smart.
One of the most overpowering motives for a character is death. Most characters desperately don’t want to die. Death is the reason they do things they know are wrong, because self-preservation kicks in.
It doesn't have to be that extreme. Lying and cheating are things we do because we're afraid of the consequences.
This includes personal goals.
Other People
If humans were entirely logical we’d never risk our lives for someone we love, get angry, or set off on quests with only faith to guide us. If Spock needed to find the Holy Grail, he’d make sure of its location and existence before he went after it.
For the sake of a good story, humans don’t think in pure logic. We think about others. We do so many crazy things, good and bad, because of other people.
Your main character might risk his life for the woman he loves. That’s good.
He might get angry at a minor bad guy and accidentally spill the beans. That’s bad.
But either way, his actions are affected by other characters. The reason he acts is because of someone else.
Even the villain can be affected by others. Take Voldemort. He is so intent on killing Harry Potter himse that he spends far too much energy preparing a secluded trap for Harry and not enough time protecting all his lovely horcruxes.


Nanowrimo 2010

Tuesday, November 2

For those of you who don't know, November is National Writing Month. On the Nanowrimo website, participants are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.

How about you guys? Is anyone out there doing Nanowrimo this year? What are you writing and how far are you?

Feel free to link to your novel, and Good Luck to everyone!

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