Tag Archives: characters

Perspective

The ah-ha moments are what get me. I like having them in my writing. I like good surprises. Admittedly, in most cases of my writing, I wish they would happen earlier, but I’ll be grateful when they happen.

Recently, I was editing a chapter on my first novel. I wasn’t setting out to do anything major. (I have comma issues.) I went over a chapter I knew well, which was a conversation between two men about a third. Let’s say Man A, B & C. So Man-A reveals something to Man-B about Man-C.  Both the first two men know the third and have for many years, and I did a little tinkering with the conversation, though not much. I went onto the next chapter, where I did have to fix a plot point to match a change I had made further down the line. But the conversation I left behind stayed in the back of my mind. Something has always bothered me about the scene. It’s a necessary scene, revealing a few things about Man-C that will be important, but one plot point always seemed wrong.

I have strange reactions to my ah-ha moments. I can remember some of them so well, it’s like I re-live them. This one happened as I got home from work last week. I parked the car, opened the door and wham! Like a literary realization walked up and smacked me. I absolutely knew why the scene bothered me, and how to fix it. It wasn’t that the information I was revealing was unimportant, but that it absolutely did not belong in said Chapter. The reason was that both men would know such an occurrence happened in their friend’s life. Some events change people, and this tidbit is one such event. Why wouldn’t Man-B know this already????? was pretty much what came screaming into my mind. So today I sat down and deleted a small chunk of the scene, added a few sentences here or there to tighten it up, and hit save, satisfied in my work.

What really excites me is that I get to hold onto this information for when it will make the biggest impact. Fingers crossed that if my books ever hit shelves, e- or real, then my readers will like surprises as much as me. 🙂

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Sometimes the old way is better.

If I’m stuck, really stuck, on an idea or scene, or the direction my character is going, I will abandon my laptop for pen and paper. There is something about writing by hand that allows me to work out the kinks. Maybe it’s because I am actually forming words, rather than just typing them. It’s easier to mark out crap I don’t like, not taking the time to highlight and delete, or hold down the Backspace key, or worry about misspellings because I’m typing too fast.  What is that phrase? My brain is working faster than my hands? Something like that. People that use a computer or laptop regularly for any sort of writing often spout those words. It’s true I guess. At times you know what you need to say and are concentrating so hard on the thought that you sort of abandon control of your fingers in order to get it all out. A couple of weeks ago at work, we were having a discussion about spelling, and my manager, an admitted bad speller, used that phrase. She also lamented the absence of a spell-check on the word process program we have on the office computer, but that is a whole different topic. 🙂

Writing by hand seems to slow down the thought process. You can’t think too far ahead because you must take the time to write. Using a pen or pencil connects you physically to your words. The brain must wait for the hand to finish before moving on to the next thought. Unless you don’t want to be able to read the writing for later use, like typing what you wrote.

I think Elmore Leonard sums it up best in his article The Lost Art of Writing by Hand:

“I write using longhand because writing is rewriting and if I’m to compose on a typewriter, I’d spend half my time x-ing out lines.  I write and cross out not wanting what I write to sound like writing; write a few more lines until the rhythm of the narrative or dialogue exchanges kicks in and I keep going, the lines getting closer together though rarely filling a page before I’m crossing out again.  Finally I stop and type on an IBM Wheelwriter 1000 and the handwritten pages go into a basket.  The typed pages – hoping to get four or five clean ones in an 8 hour shift – are revised the following day.

Well-meaning friends urge me to use a computer, but I don’t more for the dull sound of the keys or the idea of looking at my work on the screen rather than a sheet of yellow paper, and when you delete, I’m told, it’s gone forever.  The lines I cross out are still there and sometimes find their way back into the work.” –Esquire Magazine, Feb 2002 (excerpt)

 


Today’s House Special – A Hodgepodge.

I’ve been trying to be better at keeping up the blog, but as I have no inspiration today, I’m just gonna wing it.

Chapter 22 on Book 2 is nearly complete! The last time I wrote about book issues was May (re: Do As I Say), the pair of characters I was wrestling with were not cooperating. Glad to report they have been since, and I am enjoying their ‘feeling each other out’ phase. Granted, they are going to have a backslide soon, but since I write sporadically on occasion (timeline wise) I already have most of that put to bed. I love connecting sections, although it is a writing habit I am trying hard to break. I used to write on whatever part came to mind, and then I got stuck on the middle bits. About two years ago I sat down and made myself write in chronological order, and I have to say, it’s worked out better for me than I thought it would. I’m sure many people would think it only makes sense to go from point A to point H without skipping any in between, but I’m not many people. Knowing and doing – two different things.

Tim feels I should blog about the strawberry-peach cobbler I did Not make today, but that would be a short post. He might be a little upset about the lack of desserts in the house.

The work front is, uh, business as usual. 🙂  This morning a co-worker told me that she went to see The Dark Knight Rises with her boyfriend. She was mad about going and then sat through the whole movie, completely enthralled. This is the same woman who made fun of me for wanting to see that movie over Magic Mike. A movie about male strippers??? Kill me now. That was a fun conversation in which I was the only woman in a group of four who wanted to see Batman. The term nerd got thrown out. Turns out, she luuuuuurved it.  Said, “It’s the best movie I’ve ever seen.” She hasn’t even seen the previous two in this trilogy. More and more I’m under the impression that people with kids, especially younger ones, don’t get to watch grownup films. Yet another personal validation for not having kids. 😛  I love a good Pixar flick as much as the next person, just not all the time.

To finish off for the night, I offer you an in-game screenshot of a druid in tree form, with a disco ball in a box. Why? Why the hell not.

Disco anyone?

 

 


Do As I Say

Dear Lorien and Jenner,

I know things are hard right now. You both feel an enormous amount of guilt, and actual physical pain. But it will work out in the end. You will heal. You will be happy. You’ll get married, live through the ups and downs, etc., blah blah, and it will all be peachy with a side of keen.  But that time is still in the distant future. If, for now, you could both stop being immature, obnoxious assholes, my life would be easier.

Sincerely,

Your author.

Sheesh.

Anyone, and I’ll go ahead and make a rare universal statement, *anyone* who writes fiction and fiction novels, would tell you during some point the characters tend to take on a life of their own. Some describe it as author channels the character, or the characters decide the direction. Whatever it is, it is usually a great experience. Usually.

I’ve been delving into my second novel. For over a week, as I tried and tried and tried to write, I got from page 99 to … page 99. Top to bottom. Then I hit page 100. When I finally separate the above-mentioned pair, I wrote almost three chapters. Now they are back together, literally stuck with one another, and they aren’t happy, which means I’m not happy. These are two characters I love. They are important to one another. They’ve crossed paths a couple of times in the past, but both have a secret or two.

And it occurred to me, while I tried to write a scene I’ve tried to write numerous times, maybe this time would work. My male character, in his usual ‘I”m going to avoid speaking about all the subjects I wish’ stubbornness, tosses something to her, and she chucks it back – at his head, leading them to a ‘are we really going to do this now’ scenario. Possibly clichéd, but it clicked. Before, I’ve sort of let them keep avoiding the problem until I thought they would be ready. Screw that. It is time for a work together or go stand in the corner until you stop misbehaving attitude from me. Do it now. Stop avoiding the issue and get it all (most) out and get over it. I began the hard conversation last night before I went to bed, so I had some time to dwell on where it needs to go.  Now all I have to do is write it. Easy-peasy … right???


A Tad Irrational

A couple of days ago, my husband and I were heading home, and got stopped by a train. There’s a lot of train tracks in our area of West Virginia. I stopped the car as the barriers were lowering, and jumped when the train sped by. Trains freak me out … well, train tracks freak me out. It led to a discussion of my irrational fear of them, and how every, single, solitary time I drive over train tracks, my entire body tenses.

As a kid, I heard that myth about standing too close to a train will suck you under. (Apparently the guys at Mythbusters busted that myth) I can tell you my fears are over-exaggerated because the conversation went something like this:

Tim: That train is maybe going 35mph.
Me: I don’t care. Nothing good ever came from hanging around train tracks. And you can’t ask anyone either. You know why? They’re DEAD now. Dead.
Tim: Laughs and gives the ‘You are slightly insane’ expression.

Driving over the bridge a few minutes later, which is not a favorite area of mine either, I did laugh and say my fears might be a little irrational.
It got me thinking. Don’t we all have something we fear that we shouldn’t? Real or intangible? Love, emotions, spiders, any manner of flying creatures (bats, mom?), broccoli, puppies?

Puppies?? You never know.

So I ask, what are some of your irrational fears? And, in a rare moment of suggestion, I’ve got a writing prompt. Do you have a character(s) that are scared of something silly? How do they deal with it, and what’s their reasoning?

I asked my husband, and he could not think of any particular thing he feared irrationally. I’ve made it my mission to find out. 🙂


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