Writers – lets pool our resources… the revisit.

Leave a comment

riesp books

About six months ago I suggested the pooling of writers’ knowledge in an attempt to create a sort of go-to page for any writers who were struggling with details of a particular concept. True, Google and Wikipedia can provide facts, but I still believe there’s little substitute for direct experience. Alternatively, some writers may have thoroughly researched a theoretical subject (who has direct experience of star drives, or ancient Greek rituals for instance?) and added their own spin. They may be worth consulting.

I’ve added the names of willing volunteers to my page ‘Writers who have offered their knowledge,’ my own included.  If you feel that you are able to assist other writers in their endeavours, please step forward. As stated below, we’re not trying to rival Wikipedia… just offer some helpful advice to other writers.

Here is the original post from mid-2013;

Some time ago I posted Jack versus Einstein- a post that discussed whether it was better for a writer to be an expert, or a Jack of all trades.

Whilst I’m quite happy to be the latter, it occured to me that many of us will still have some knowledge of a subject that others may find difficult to research. If I was to include a scene in my next book where a character baked… for example… cupcakes, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start looking. Alright, sure… Google would probably be my first port of call, but there’s only so much you can learn from trawling websites. Some scenes need the personal touch that only an experienced friend can provide.

This idea popped up whilst I was leaving a comment for Setsu (Hello and thanks for the follow!), an expert in martial arts. I wish I’d known Setsu when I was crafting my scene in ‘A Construct of Angels’ that involved a swordfight between Michael, the constructed angel and his Anakim foe, the self-styled Damocles. Instead, I had to trawl the interweb for sword-fighting techniques, finally chancing upon a gentleman who had written a book on sword-fighting and who was able to give me a few pointers.

Later, when I was writing a couple of triage scenes for the same book, I was lucky enough to be able to send the relevant passages to a paramedic I’d met in York. I’d done most of the research about the (serious) injuries on-line. He returned them with complimentary notes, but suggested some useful improvements – most likely stuff that I wouldn’t have found on-line.

So, what do you all think about this; listing what you consider yourself to be fairly good at?

Perhaps you’re not expert, but we’re not writing reference books here. We just need enough to craft a scene that is reasonably accurate and fairly thorough. I would be the last person to consider myself ‘expert’ in anything. I’m sure that I share that feeling with many of you (aren’t most writers self-doubting introverts, after all?). But I have amassed a fair bit of knowledge of a few disparate subjects in my twenty-five fifty years on Earth (who changed that line?).

So why not put that knowledge to good use?

For instance, I may be in a position to advise writers who are struggling to craft a scene that requires knowledge of *takes deep breath* quantum physics, or starship design – both subjects I love (yeah, I know. I’m a Geek. I admit it). I also love geology, cosmology, and a few other ‘ologies’ that I won’t bore you with here.

This is my proposal; Could you help a writer who was stuck for some details? Would you be willing to answer questions from other writers? Could you spare some time to read through some extracts and help them on their way? Could you at least point them in the right direction?

We could all benefit from this – and write better and stronger stories as a result. Think of this as a long-term project. It may not be something that would benefit your current WIP, but can you be sure that it might not come in useful for the next one?

So, to kick off, I’ll list what I can offer to other writers. If I can’t answer questions on these subjects immediately, I have a good stock of reference books to hand.

Here goes…

I have a good knowledge of;

Cosmology (star formation, beginning and end of the universe).

Quantum Physics (atoms, particles, energy and radiation).

Starship theory (drives, environments, construction).

Theory of time travel, plus cause and effect.

(Dare I say this?) Rocket Science.

Planetary behaviour including some aspects of geology and geography.

Some World War 2 history, mainly European Theatre.

And on a more day-to-day basis;

Mechanical engineering.

Vehicle mechanics, some military strategies, aircraft behaviour.

Chemistry, physics, engineering.

Movie-making (scene construction to post-production).

Factory production-line techniques.

.

Perhaps you could add to the list and we might build a healthy database of subjects that would give our writing that ‘expert’ touch.

It doesn’t matter if your knowledge overlaps with that of another writer – we all know different facts about similar subjects. List what you know, and a writer who is stuck can always throw out a question to more than one ‘expert’…someone is bound to know the answer.

If this is successful, ‘experts’ might be able to advise on single scenes (like my sword-fighting scene) and tidy up the facts a little.

I read recently how many film-makers are simply ignoring physical laws for the sake of drama (don’t get me started on ‘Independence Day’ – although I still love it, or ‘Armageddon’ – which drives me craaaazy).

Let’s be better than that.

Let’s get it right. :D

.

signature plus n270

Revisiting the scary world of creation

Leave a comment

terror

After having spent so darn long living with my debut novel, revising, re-revising, then working through Tara Shaner‘s edits, I find myself (finally) back in familiar territory – something that all writers may recognise.

I’d almost forgotten the simultaneous fear and thrill of creating new adventures for my characters, of developing their personalities from the ones I’d grown so accustomed to in the first book, whilst remaining faithful to their original outline.

Just to throw a spanner (wrench) in my own works (something I do very often), I’ve switched First Person POVs for the sequel, describing the new adventures through the eyes (and other senses) of a different main character. For me, it provides a fresh perspective on the character’s mileu.

I just hope the reader will agree. By comparrison, Philip Pullman did something similar between ‘The Northern Lights’ and ‘The Subtle Knife’.

Another spanner/wrench is the two-day overlap that occurs between the first and second books… a sort of half-reboot, if you like. Think of how ‘Back to the Future II’ meshed with the first film - except I’ve used days instead of years. No DeLorean, though. Shame.

By introducing this half-rebooted overlapping First Person POV switch (still with me on this?), I may have limited my timeline to some extent as the confluence of events must fit snugly against the original adventure. On the plus side, the alternative POV enables me to expand on the details of the overlapping scenes.

Win-win? We shall see. Ask me in a year’s time. :D

.

CoA

Coming soon! Dun, dun-dundun-duuuun.

Write on!

.

signature plus n270

A Construct of Angels – the 2014 re-launch.

8 Comments

CoA post its

It has taken many, many months of hard work, but the revised version of CoA (Kindle, ePub and Kobo) is finally ready to be shown to the world. The paperback is due to follow shortly afterward.

My editor, Tara Shaner and I have been bouncing the MS back and forth across the pond since July, and now, finally, we are both happy with the result. It’s fifty or so pages shorter, two characters lighter and a great deal tighter than before.

I’ve learned a great deal during the process of revision (old hands will nod sagely at this point, but bear with me).

An edit is not just about spelling and grammar. It’s as much about the flow as it is about the structure. It’s about plot threads and loose ends; developing characterisations as well as removing characters who either complicate or lend nothing to the plot. Pace, language and humour are also essential elements of an engaging MS.

I began 2013 with the certainty that after scores of read-throughs, my MS would be error-free and ready to roll.

No need for an editor, I thought.

I can do English. I know how to use punctuation.

I was so naive.

I’ve learned, by taking this long way around, that it really does take an outside and professional eye to spot repetitive or erroneous patterns in a Manuscript – and to offer solutions. A writer can become settled and overly accustomed to the flow of the story and (I have caught myself doing this at times) can tend to ‘read’ the story, rather than edit it objectively.

Be in no doubt that you may begin to question your own skill as a writer as overused words, inappropriate dialogue tags and pointless character actions are unearthed before your disbelieving eyes. ‘Did I really write that? What was I thinking?’

But a good editor should also indicate the places where your work shines, where the humour tickles and where the pace grips the reader. And whilst human nature will automatically remember the bad over the good, an indicator of  competent, nay, great work will help to soften the blow – as well as encouraging the writer not to throw in the towel.

I know where my towel is. :D

So the re-launch is imminent. Watch this space and if you can, please join me on my Author page for some fun, frolics and giveaways on Friday, 28th February.

signature plus n270

If you’re struggling with that minority language called ‘British’…

23 Comments

aleazzurro  keyboard

I have occasionally ecountered comments that pointed out my failings - one of them being misspellings.

My spelling ‘mistakes’ often get picked up on Facebook and (occasionally) on WordPress.

I like to think I’m very thorough when I’m writing and take pride in my spelling and grammar.

Yes, I soemtimes mis-type (who doesn’t?) as my ‘want to type’ speed exceeds my ‘able to type’ speed and my fingers become a pink blur above the keyboard.

However, when I begin to receive feedback that I ‘should check my speling’ (sic) and see one-word corrections for my spelling when there is nothing amiss, I begin to see red.

I’ve been told (more than once) that I use a lot of British English (BrE). Yes, that’s true. I’m British, my characters are English and their story takes place in England. That would follow, wouldn’t you think?

Apparently not.

Ciara Ballintyne appears to have the same problem and states her case here .

So recently, I’ve been writing British English, but with the knowledge that non-Brits may very well read my work. For instance, my character drives a Volvo ambulance instead of the (correct) locally-sourced type because only Brits would know what a Vauxhall Astra was. However, I don’t compromise on ‘labour’ or ‘honour’, ‘realise’ or ‘criticise’ because Brit readers would hate me for it. My characters use Pounds rather than Dollars. I was astounded when I was told that someone had to Google ‘Biro’ because it wasn’t clear that it was a ball point pen.  What are those cheap, crystalline ball point pens made by BIC known as in the US - BIC pens?

These are things we need to know…

British English

I had considered adding a disclaimer stating that the book contains ‘British English’ just to clarify. In this electronic age, the written word is spread far and wide and a novel in English could easily have been written in Australia, South Africa, Japan or any number of countries. I learned recently that along with Australia, Canada still uses BrE, which was a bit of a surprise. I wonder how many other countries do? I’d be interested to know that Britannia does not stand alone…

Write On!

signature plus n270

Published for a year…

14 Comments

CoA post its

On October 17th, 2012, I clicked a button marked ‘Upload’ and sat back, nervously awaiting the delivery of a stream of electronic information to Amazon KDP. Twelve hours later, ‘A Construct of Angels’ was live and I realised that I had finally achieved my dream – to complete a novel and put it up for sale.

Thirty-seven years ago, I could never have dreamed that in this future age of flying cars, silver jumpsuits and daily trips to the Moon, my book would exist only as data and that it would be held in storage in a distant country. Readers would only have to tap it with their finger if they wanted to select, pay for and read it.

Cool.

I am still working to make the paperback version a reality, but with the recent bout of editing that I have subjected the poor thing to, that particular realisation has been delayed yet again. Configuring an electronic (Word-based) template with paragraphs, page breaks, chapters and the odd image isn’t as straightforward as it ought to be. *frowns* It’s now back with my new editor, Tara, after receiving some swathing cuts, including the complete removal of two characters.

In some ways, I hardly seem to have moved on at all. I am still editing and I really need to put A Construct of Angels to bed and pick up the sequel. But it will haunt me if my first book isn’t the best it can possibly be. Only when that’s sorted, can I let it go…

However, as I mentioned in a previous post, One Year On,  a great deal has changed for me in the last twelve months (plus I now have 300 followers - who’d have thought?) and I still can’t quite believe how much has been crammed into such a short space of time. I can only wonder what the next twelve months will bring, although I can’t imagine them being as crazy as the last twelve. The learning curve, I feel, is no longer as steep as it has been and for that, I am grateful. :)

Regular readers will know that my job sends me all around the UK. Well, by sheer chance, this week happens to have landed me back at the exact same desk from where I uploaded my book, one year ago. I am experiencing an eerie sense of deja vu – again.

It’s another reminder of what’s changed. If I could borrow Sandra Bullock’s time-travelling postbox (The Lake House), I would send my past self a message that says ‘hang on to your hat.’

Not that I wear a hat. I’m not Terry Pratchett. :)

Anyway, until Tara has finished looking over my new edits, I’m hoping to press on with the sequel,  ‘A Vengeance of Angels.’ I’d really liked to have completed it, one year on, but life has a peculiar way of rearranging even the best-laid plans of mice and authors.

.

signature plus n270

Apologies to Twitter followers

Leave a comment

svilen001  tweeter

I feel that I ought to extend apologies to everyone who has chosen to follow me on Twitter.

I finally found the time to get my Twitter account in order this weekend.

When I saw my stats I was stunned.

Before I began my long-overdue spring clean, they said;

Following; 197

Followers;  542

How does that happen? And why do 542 people think that I am worthy of their precious time to follow? Perhaps some of them are simply accumulating numbers. Others (and their profiles support this) are fellow writers and artists and have chosen to extend their writing  family -  and their contacts.

it’s encouraging to be part of such a large group and I hope to continue meeting new writers, readers, artists.

I’ve now addressed the imbalance, even making an effort to tilt it the other way. I’m currently following more than are following me, which generally seems to be the case with most Tweeters.

I intend to keep a regular eye on my stats from now on, so that anyone who chooses to follow will not have to wait (in some cases) three or more months for a return follow (unless you only Tweet about Stock Market shares or advertise cars).

Write on… or it you don’t write, then Happy Following! :)

signature plus n270

Casted – by Sonya Loveday

2 Comments

Casted Blog Tour banner

Today is my turn to host Sonya’s whirlwind tour of the blogsphere, as organised by Book Crazy.

Sonya Loveday

I thought it would be just a simple interview, just a quick half-hour chat by Skype, but I found that I had to go to unusual lengths to grab a few words from Sonya’s very busy (and fairly cautious) characters. ‘Skype is traceable’ I was told by a young guy who introduced himself only as ‘Jude.’ Before I could say anything else he warned me not to ‘make that crack about the Beatles.’

I’m still not sure what he meant.

No, I was told that I’d have to meet with my interviewees in person. I suggested a public place – somewhere they’d feel safe, but a chorus of ‘No’s in the background led me to compromise. I would have to meet them where THEY felt safe.

What follows is my notes from that meeting;

*   *   *

If you’re reading this then you may already be sympathetic to the plight of the people I’m about to meet. Or you might be a Triad spy. Either way, what you’re about to hear will perhaps explain why these women have been running for most of their lives.

I’ve not been allowed to know the location of the interview. In fact, I’m not even sure which country I’m in. I can’t feel a blindfold. Nevertheless, I’ve been in darkness for the past half hour – ah!

A snap of my escort’s fingers returns my sight. That’s better! I can see.

“Sit yourself down,” the stern-looking guy says to me. “I’ll tell them you’re here.” He throws me a look that makes something very clear – he doesn’t trust me one bit.

“Thanks,” I say. He leaves via a chipped off-white door, giving me the chance to pull the crumpled notes from my inside jacket pocket and try to smooth them out on my knee.  The room is spartan, empty of all but the essentials of a farmhouse kitchen. A well-used cooker tries to hide itself in a corner. I’m on a mass-produced chair, set back from a planked table big enough to seat eight people.  The light, too, is poor. There are no windows in this room, only a couple of strip lights without diffusers that provide harsh illumination.

Not for the first time, I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. I’m considering moving the hard chair over to the table when a frowning young woman bangs open the door and stares at me.  I swear that I can see sparks rising from her mahogany hair. She’s athletic, but her anger stops me from considering whether she’s attractive.

“We’re here, now what the hell do you want?”

I wonder what I can say to calm her – to assure her that I’m no threat to her and her friends – when a study of calm and beauty wafts past her. Long blonde hair and startling blue eyes consider me for a moment before she turns to her companion and sighs.

“It’s okay Jessa. Mister Toynbee is only here to help tell our side of the story.”

“I don’t trust him. He looks like a Triad spy.”

“He’s not a spy Jessa, he’s from WordPress.”

“Wordpress, spy, Mick, Triad plant…..all the same to me.”

“Jade asked us to do this, now stop trying to scare Mister Toynbee.”

“It’s nice to meet you ladies,” I say. Nervously, I shuffle my notes, hoping to find a starting point.

“Thank you Mister Toynbee, it’s nice to meet you too. Would you be more comfortable at the table?”

I nod my thanks to her and move to a chair half-way down the rough table. Now seated, I could spread out my notes and begin to figure out what I was going to ask them. But I think my first question was a big mistake.

“Will Jade be joining us?”

“I bet you’d like that wouldn’t you.”

“Jessa, we discussed this. Jade will be coming soon, Mister Toynbee.”

“I still don’t trust him, Rainy.”

Jessa spins one of the wooden chairs the wrong way round and drops herself onto it. Her dark eyes watch me carefully.

“I understand that you’re trying to protect her,” I say. “But at the same time, a lot of people are watching this battle between the Triad and the Original Coven and wondering why it’s happening.”

“You’re kidding me right?”

“You shouldn’t be so surprised Jessa.  The Micks don’t understand what is happening because it is not of their concern. The Covens have never included the Micks in our world, only the Triad have. You see Mister Toynbee, it’s a war as old as time, ever since the Original Coven formed there has been a restlessness in the spell caster community.”

“The Triad wanted to continue using the magic that was banned. The Original Coven wouldn’t let them. A small group of men broke away from the Original Coven and plotted ways to rise above the Original Coven, they were ruthless in their plight. They forced powerful people into their ranks by murder and entrapment. It was, and still is, an ongoing fight. No one is willing to let the other side win. The original Coven thought at one point that the Triad had gone off to lick their wounds after they failed to get Elinor and Leif – they were wrong, so very wrong.”

“That’s the reason for all this killing?  All the destruction? Isn’t there any kind of compromise that can be reached?”

“Compromise? Ha! You think this is just something both sides are going to sit down and negotiate? People are dying because of this. Jade is hunted. We’ve lost everything…family, our Coven’s…everything Mister Toynbee, all for the sake of a man on a power trip. He’s a ruthless bastard that would take out his own granddaughter to gain more power.”

“What Jessa is trying to say is that there is no compromising with someone like Lorenzo. The Original Coven members have been picked off slowly; the other Covens are running scared, splitting their Covens up and hiding in fear, when they should be fighting back.”

“But you still outnumber them, don’t you? I thought there were many Covens, even though the Triad has destroyed some and scattered others.”

“Outnumbering them isn’t the problem,” Jessa said

“There aren’t many willing to go up against the Triad – against Lorenzo,” Rainy added.

“And this…” I consult my notes. “…Lorenzo. He’s behind all this? He’s the driving force?”

“He’s the reason everyone is running scared, yes.” Rainy nodded.

I lower my voice. “But you must have some kind of plan. You don’t seem the types to just hide in this…” I indicated the room with a wave of my hand. “…bunker.”

“Hiding? In fact Mister Toynbee we’re doing the exact opposite…….OUCH! Damn it, Rainy, that hurt.”

“What Jessa is trying to say is there’s always a chance for hope.”

“Of course.  I understand. But you must realise that there are a lot of people out there who are ready to take sides. If they see that you’re the good guys, you may gain some useful allies.”

“It’s hard to gain allies when a war is being waged over a book. Would you join a war like that?” Jessa asked.

I decide to go for the human story angle. “Well, why don’t you tell me a little about yourselves. How did you meet, for instance? And how did you meet Jade?”

“Jessa and I have been friends since childhood. We’ve witnessed what the Triad was capable of. We made a pact that if our Covens split, we’d meet in Scotland. Never did we imagine that we’d actually have to do it. When I witnessed the murder of my family……”

“And you’ve been running ever since? You must have felt so lonely – so scared. No wonder you’re suspicious of everybody.”

“We’ve been through a lot Mister Toynbee…things we don’t care to discuss because it’s painful. I’m sure you understand. The fact is, we met up in Scotland after losing EVERYTHING….it was in Fate’s hands that Jade was in the same place at the same time. Rainy took one look at her and insisted we needed to help her. I was just trying to get us to a safe place – There isn’t anything we wouldn’t do to keep Jade safe, she’s our family.”

At that moment, another young woman enters the room. She seems nervous. Jessa  and Rainy rise from their chairs to flank her like bodyguards. Thin and of average height, she watched me with bright green eyes that were a startling counterpoint to her thick red hair.

“It’s okay….Sonya told me we can trust Mister Toynbee. She wouldn’t put us in danger.”

“So, Jade. You seem to be at the centre of all this,” I say as she settles into a chair opposite me. She is careful to remain out of my reach.

“Unfortunately, yes I am.”

I glance at Jessica and Rainy. “But you’re not alone. You have good friends. You seem to be as close as family, would that be a fair assumption?”

“They are my family.”

“And is there anyone special for you right now? A guy, perhaps?”

“You don’t have to answer that Jade.”

“No, it’s okay, I don’t mind. Edge is….”

“Overbearing, demanding, protective….”

“….acts just like Dagger?” Jade quirks her eyebrow at Jessa.

“Shhh…don’t let him hear you say that.”  Jessa laughs quietly.

“Edge is my preordained, Mister Toynbee. We are bonded through a very strong, very old spell – one that doesn’t choose sides, only people. “

“That’s very old magic, Jade. And very rare, I believe.  With that sort of power behind you, you might just have the edge.” Jade smiles at my unintended pun.

“Do you know that there are a lot of people rooting for you out there?”

“Really? I’m not sure how to reply to that Mister Toynbee. For so long I’ve stayed to the shadows…we’ve stayed to the shadows. Involving others only guaranteed someone’s death.”

“Some will remain neutral, but there are many who are waiting to see which way this swings before they decide to join in. What would you say to them?”

“You either let things happen or make things happen. Don’t expect mercy from the Triad, they will give none.”

“Many Covens have suffered so far. Do you really think one Coven of refugees can prevail against the Triad?”

“People are dying because of me….DYING! They don’t understand why….they run in fear from a situation no one understands. I will fight with everything in me to stop him. He’s taken too much from everyone, not just me. I owe it to the Covens, I owe it to my family. This small coven of refugees, as you call us, we’ve all lost so much because of him – because of Lorenzo. Don’t mistake our secrecy for weakness. We may be few in number, but that’s not going to stop us from doing everything in our power to stop the Triad.”

“Well, you certainly have good on your side – and that can count for a lot. One last thing – do you ever think you will find out the truth about your family? About what happened to them?”

“The little I’ve learned about my parents is that they paid the ultimate price for their love. As far as what happened to them, I may never really know the answer to that. I could lie and say it doesn’t bother me, but the truth is that it bothers me too much.”

“Well, I wish you the very best and I’ll be sure to let the world know that you are fighting for all the right reasons.” I begin to rise to my feet, but Jessica stiffens. I’d wanted to shake Jade’s hand, but I’m sure that would have earned me more than a harsh look.

“I’m ready to leave, now. Could someone tell the gentleman who – .”

“Matheson!” Jessica bellows. Rainy sighs as she makes a show of clearing the jangling from her ear with a forefinger. Matheson couldn’t have been far away. He steps into the room and meets my gaze.

“Ready?” he says. I nod. He snaps his fingers and my sight goes dark before he grasps my arm and leads me on a series of stomach-lurching jumps back to my own world. I have time to wonder how far we have travelled before we lurch to a stop. I hear fingers snapping. My sight is restored and I find myself standing alone on a rain-swept street, my notes clutched tightly in my hand.

Andrew Toynbee

Reporting from somewhere in Southern Ireland…

…in need of a good taxi service.

Casted book cover

http://www.facebook.com/sonyalovedayauthor

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/SonyaLoveday/status/371384324764860416

Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17839278-casted

Blog Tour managed by Book Crazy

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Casted-series-ebook/dp/B00E891C06/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377378873&sr=1-1&keywords=Casted

B&N:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/casted-sonya-loveday/1116240459?ean=2940148653486

Book Trailer:
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DzrmmGao_b-k&h=2AQHef6aa

WordPress:
http://sonyaloveday.wordpress.com/

‘Angels Week’ is paying dividends

12 Comments

source; Stock.Xchng

source; Stock.Xchng

A month ago, I decided to nail down the fourth week of each month in order to concentrate solely upon my sequel, ‘A Vengeance of Angels.’

This hapless WIP had languished in my documents folder since January, having been overtaken by other pressing priorities. But now things are rolling again. Setting aside one week per month allows me to continue with the promotion of the first book, the editing of the paperback version, the creation of payment-per-project short stories and novellas and still allow me time to move the WIP forward.

Since I resolved to discipline my writing self, the Word count has risen from 21,000 to 29,500. Not a huge leap by any standards, but it’s progress. Add to that the research that I’ve put in and I feel that the pace is adequate to complete the sequel by the middle of nex year.

Sure, I’d love to complete it sooner, but I have so much paying work coming in that to finish it sooner would be to rush it and I prefer my novels to grow slowly – to marinate, as it were. If time allows, I can speed things up a little, but at the moment, it’s a case of finding time for everything – and keeping the (non shape-shifting) wolves at bay.

Have you made any big changes to your writing schedule that’s allowed you to be more prolific or more organised?

.

signature plus n270

Ghostly WordPress goings-on

7 Comments

Am I the only one who is being haunted by the Ghostly ‘like’?

The ghostly like

This little orange ‘tease’ hangs in the corner of my toolbar like a candle, drawing my eye away from whatever I was writing and…

Eh…

Sorry, I lost my thread there for a moment. What was I saying? Right, so I click on the ‘like’ only to find that there is nothing new there.

Worse, if I change pages in WordPress, it reappears! I click on it

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it has been joined by a ghostly ‘comment’ that does exactly the same.

The ghostly comment

There’s nothing there.

I know it’s not my computer because I’ve seen this whilst using four different units (not all at the same time, obviously. This isn’t ‘Swordfish’).

Please tell me that I’m not the only one who is being teased and mocked by technology.

WordPress, if you are reading this, please come up with a ‘fix’ for this.

If you don’t, I may need to seek out a ‘fix’ of my own…

S’okay, I’m only talking about caffeine.

Without the sugar.

And the milk.

And water.

*crunch*

signature plus n270

Writers – are we all amateur psychologists?

Leave a comment

Make yourself comfortable on the couch…and tell me, how does this make you feel?

len-k-a couch

When we write fiction, we play God within the boundaries of our own created world. Depending on the genre, we might invent a brand-new race of beings, decide what stage of development their civilisation (if we decide to even give them one) has reached and set up the conditions of their planetary system.

In other genres, we might set the limits on magic that can be used, whether the land is forest or desert, decide if vampires  turn into charcoal at the merest hint of daylight or if they just sparkle and look moody (you know who I’m talking about).

Even if you’re writing contemporary tales set in real cities (*raises hand*), the writer still must lay out a basic plan of many of the character’s lives right up to the point where we first meet them and – yes, I’m finally getting to the point – why they act the way they do.

In order to create a credible and engaging story, we must delve deep into a character’s motives and feelings as well as thoroughly document (even if we don’t publish) that character’s life history. Does that sound boring? Dull and unnecessary? Too much planning when all you want to do is write? Sure, you could write a female character who hates all men and sticks to that pattern throughout the book. But an interested reader will certainly, after a few chapters of your misandrous main character spitting fire and venom at her colleagues, begin to wonder ‘what’s with her? Why is she like this?’

As two-dimensional ‘evil villains’ have risen to the top of the ‘do not create’ list, shallow main characters are very close behind.

Each of us is the sum of our own experiences, so why wouldn’t a fictional character be exactly the same? Naturally, they would tend to be larger than life, otherwise they would be no more interesting that the average Joe. But for them to have arrived at the point where we pick up the book and begin to journey with them, haven’t they had a childhood, teenage years, formative characters all around them?

But, you might ask, what if my character was grown in a lab and has just escaped? Then you have an excellent blank canvas with which to view our society through their eyes. Remember, even the android Data (Star Trek, if you didn’t know) who was created in his adult form, was an extraordinary character and as we later learned, had a fascinating back-story.

But with more down-to-earth (or whatever planet you’ve chosen) characters, the shape of their mould (that’s not a medical term, by the way) can make the difference between a two- and a three-dimensional reading experience. Most would have had a childhood and at least a few years of life which would have left lingering impressions on their psyche. And the more profund the experience, the stronger the effect upon their thinking.

If you’re not sure how to do this, then this is the point where you get to play psychologist. If you have already created your character, or have a good idea how your character is going to turn out, ask yourself ‘why would they be like this?’ Go back down the line of their life and work out what event(s) set them off down this path; what turned them from being a happy child / teenager / adult into the person that you, the writer, need them to be? After all, we are born as innocents. It’s our circumstances that mould us – and perhaps to a degree, our genes do too.

Something I’ve found  to be very useful is my interest in time travel, particularly my fascination with turning points. Most of you will remember ‘Back to the Future’ and the event that flipped Marty McFly’s forty-something father from a wimp into a confident writer. He was backed into a corner by a bully and came out fighting – something that would never have happened without the intervention of his future son. That was a turning point – something that set him along a different path. Darth Vader? He began his slip towards darkness because he was forbidden from falling in love. In ‘Jersey Girl’, Ben Affleck’s successful life was turned upside down when his wife died giving birth to their daughter. You can probably think of many others.

Sometimes the causes can be more subtle. Would a beautiful and smart girl have different college experiences to a plain, smart girl? How would a parent’s estrangement affect a small child? Would a minor physical defect have a cumulative effect on a character’s confidence?

The flip side of this is; how will your character change throughout the story? Will they shed their emotional burdens and grow as a person? Will their baggage drag them down even further? Are they able to realise what they need to do as a person in order to change? Remember the Twelve Steps – the first step to a cure is to admit that there is a problem. As writers we must not only create the problem, we need to envisage the cure…or at least, the consequences.

For a reader to empathise fully, it is also important that the character can be reached and that there is hope of redemption (if they are low), satisfaction and justice (if they are malevolent) or happiness (if they are being oppressed). That way, the reader can engage and share the journey, whether it is good or bad. This is where stereotypical evil villains fail – they have nothing that a reader can empathise with.

Have you found a creative way to twist your character’s life from the straight and narrow? What have you done to add that third dimension to your character’s psyche?

.

signature plus n270

Older Entries

elizagalesinterviews

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

Viking History with C.J. Adrien

Bringing Viking Age Europe to Life through History

A Girl Who Writes

author. blogger. ranter & raver.

Rati Mehrotra

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer

JDSFiction

Joseph D. Stirling, Author

WRITING MY NOVEL- NO WORKING TITLE YET

One writer's burning ambition to become an Author

Dropped Pebbles

A Safe Pond For Little Fish to Gather-A Writing Blog for Upcoming Authors

So you want to be a writer?

I'm an aspiring author. This is my escape blog. Follow the journey day by day.

Amanda Staley

Fulfilling the dream of becoming a writer

cicampbellblog

WriteWhereYouAre

Paul Kirsch

written by the light of a guttering gas lamp

Tricia Drammeh

Author, Blogger, Book Lover

vic briggs

A writer adrift

Eye Candy Visionz

Photography by Jennifer L Thorpe

leftbraintendencies's Blog

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

toemail

Pictures of toes, pictures of feet, making the world a better place, one foot at a time.

lili's urban signs

... seen in different countries

Drops of Ink

by Phoebe

Crooked Tales by Jennifer L Thorpe

Short tales, Poems and Stories.

Supertramp

Get your poison, love.

Sorin Suciu

Official Website

Stories From the Belly

A Blog About the Female Body and Its Appetites

janyceresh

If sarcasm and self deprecating humour were an Olympic event I'd definitely qualify.

Tina DC Hayes

Author at Large

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Entertaining Stories

Just a fiction writer, trying to reach the world.

What Is A Writer?

"A writer is someone who can write things we, humans are WILLING to read."

The Stranger Canvas

Live. Love. Dream. Explore

geniaestranero

A dreamer but definitely a Believer

Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

Romantic & Passionate. Emotional & Compelling. Sensual Contemporary Western Romance

kushtrimthaqi

Just another human being who's trying to reach new levels of consciousness.

Arnold Zwicky's Blog

A blog mostly about language

Jennifer Nichole Wells

Fine Art Photography & Print Based Graphic Design

Karma's little spanker

Reality ... @#$%ing your brain...since...forever :)

Jodie Llewellyn

The ramblings of an aspiring YA author.

fictionfanaticandromance

I'm just a guy who decided to stop sleeping but kept dreaming. I'm Edward Redd and I write novels. Come get blown away by my imagination.

Texan Tales & Hieroglyphics

A Collection of Somewhat Tawdry Tales of Texas (and of a few 'lesser' places)

Serene Delusions

"I'm so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word I am saying." -Oscar Wilde

Eli Glasman

Blog of Australian author Eli Glasman

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

I will shatter a word and scatter the contents into the wind to share it with the world.

tutorials4view

Watch free tutorials in Full HD (1080p) quality video tutorials, sorted by subjects, like: Photoshop, Gimp, Facebook, Torrents, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Viruses and malware removal ( like ask,com, vqo6, Babylon ) and more and more.. If you like our tutorials and guided, please SUBSCRIBE to out channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ShaiSoft - tutorials4view.

Jheng-koi

Something that is ME

Ink Spillage

Another Teenage Writer with Crazy Ideas

Covered in Beer

by Thomas Cochran. Just another idiot on the Internet...Great.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,556 other followers

%d bloggers like this: