Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spelling in English

I'm sitting with my family listening to Mr take our girls throught a surprise spelling bee.
The groans to begin with were funny but now it's all on. Competition is a great motivator.
Of course it would help if we spoke, and spelled, in a language that made sense.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Haven't moved an inch

Worked hard this today to add 1500 words to WIP. Then stopped to go back and edit chapter three, four and five for my critique partner.

Net total after I chopped out the excess fat and sharpened up the Prose? 100 words. I literally did not move an inch down my manuscript.

The up-side is that I figure my editing must be good if I'm able to be that ruthless (and it deserves a chocolate). I also haven't completely lost those words. The majority have been put in a cut and paste file - they're foreshadowing and enlightenment that were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I'll have better chapter(s) to put them in either for this book or a later one in the series.

Which brings me to the important points of this blog post:

1) Never just "delete" your words. If they're good writing that you feel sorry to cut, then put them into a separate file. They could be what you're looking for later, or they could give inspiration when it's what you desperately need.

2) Never be afraid to cut the fat out of your ms. It slows the story down (no matter how important it is!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm talkin here!

"I'm talkin' here!" is my favourite expression to put unruly, know-it-all characters in their place.

You know the type. They're supposed to follow the plot I have in mind and not wander off on their own, taking my story to hitherto unimagined regions that put all my pre-story-processing to waste.

It doesn't seem to matter how clever I think I am, and what foreshadowing I've engaged in, my characters tend to rule the roost. Frustrating!

At the moment I'm grappling with a scene where the lovely, but tough heroine is infiltrating a building. She's supposed to do it with stealth but on the way she gets annoyed with some drunken louts who had the cheek to whistle at her. Now, three seriously maimed guys lying in the street does not 'stealth' make. I suddenly needed to have a busy street that for some reason went quiet for a two minute time period - urghhhh!

Still, she kicked arse - so I'm not entirely unpleased with her...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thy Name is Procrastination

Updating a blog is worthy - surely - of some time from my day.

Also worthy were:

Housework, check out facebook, cleaning school uniforms to be put away for two weeks, tidying the attic, watch a movie (paranormal, which makes it homework (I still call Buffy homework as well)), check out facebook, build a website (been meaning to do that for a while), phone a friend, check out facebook...

Ok - so I had a day with no kids and I did everything but write...not good. I have a scene that's giving me trouble which probably means I need to "can it" and let the characters tell me what's next, rather than me trying to force my characters into something they don't want to do. Characters can get a bit bossy like that.

Tomorrow I'll get onto it, when I arrive home from the day job. Tomorrow I'll read the chapter out loud and see if that kicks me into gear. I bet it works. Of course I'll need to check facebook first.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

High Concept

High Concept

What is it?

Something vague - maybe clever - possibly inspiring.

Writing isn't just about a story and characters that won't go away (mine wake me up every morning with a fully formed scene in my head - it drives me nuts because I can't write every morning).

Writing - really good writing - is about the High Concept. What is the purpose, what is the goal. What do your characters really want and what makes them tick. A high concept means you have to do some homework. You have to understand you characters motivations - truly understand them - so that what happens and how the story evolves is directly related to a cause and affect that takes you to an amazing place.

It's a story that makes the reader feel both clever and empowered (because you let them in on some secrets "on purpose") and also like they're just along for the ride (because they didn't see "that" coming).

I'm working on a High Concept for my Paranotte series - and its HARD. If I want the writing to be really good, I need to watch out for every word and make sure it conveys the speed and intensity required at each point. I also need to be clever with foreshadowing, which doesn't work properly until you absolutely know where you're going.

Writing...? It's not a walk in the park - gotta love the challenge