NaNo Prep: Writing Rules III – Return of WriMo
Monday October 29, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave CommentsNaNoWriMo is merely three days away, and in the spirit of preparation I revamped my Writing Rules again. This time when I went back to review them I realized that they were a hodgepodge of thoughts with no form. So I organized them and revamped them and added some new content. As always I am open to suggestion if you see something wrong or something that needs clarified or plain just doesn't make sense.
This is kind of long and I have it posted as it's own page here.
Put your novel through CreateSpace in trade paperback form in POD. That gets it to Amazon. Cost: Free (or $39.00 if you want better distribution into all stores.)
Put your novel through LighteningSource in trade paperback form in POD. That gets it to Ingram. Cost: around $100.00
Let That Thing Fester
Thursday March 29, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments
Inspirations to Get in Your Character’s Head
Saturday August 6, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave CommentsIn case you missed it, I finished the 1st draft of the WIP. You get to go on this journey with me as I move to this next phase, the rewriting phase. I have two main POV characters, and they are as different as night and day. For the first pass I've decided that I am going to go back through and stay with one character's story line to the end of the book just to stay in their head and get their voice right and try to tighten up their perspective. I have a little helper to get me in the right mindset -- it's called music. =) Do you like to listen to music when you write? I do, and I find that different types of music put me in a different mindset while I write. For Laurent, who is a Nemesi, or what you would call a vampire, I like something edgier, a little darker. I have a playlist for this type of music which includes Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and Red. For Anneliese, my female bad-ass pilot, I like something a little different and have a set with TRON:Legacy Soundtrack, Muse, The Black Keys, Radiohead and 30 Seconds to Mars. They can help with emotions and feel, they actually have empathy for my character. How about you? Do you have a thing that helps you get into your characters head? I'd love to hear about it! Clear Ether! Read More
Saturday June 25, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments
If you haven’t seen the classic skit on Saturday Night live, here is a link. I think it’s apropos to what I want to talk about this week. It’s all about adding the right components to your story as you go along. Maybe not quite that much cowbell, but definitely more. It may not be quite as important on the first draft, but it really needs to be paid attention to in the rewrite phases. If you’re an aspiring writer you really should be listening to Writing Excuses. They have a real knack for presenting material in a way that is easy to understand and provides some great instruction. They just added the wonderful Mary Robinette Kowal to their permanent team and this week’s episode was about Internal Motivations. She is a great add and she has a fascinating take on how to write and is very good at clearly describing how she thinks about it. This week’s episode spurred a conversation with my wife about maintaining the right perspective through your POV character and how when it is well done really makes a huge difference in the showing instead of telling. I think we all know when we read something and it is compelling. It just feels right and evokes emotions or understanding on our part. However, I’m not convinced that we all know why we feel that way. If a character has been giving hints as to how they think with little snippets of how they see the world peppered in along the story if makes their observations intuitive later in the book. It cuts down on the need to tell about something when you are already in that narrator’s head. My wife made the comment, “isn’t that just common sense?” You would think it would be, but I think a lot of new writers don’t quite get it. It makes a lot of sense on hindsight, when it’s pointed out to you how the author built their character’s POV along the way, but seeing something that “feels” right and really understanding how the author got you there is not so intuitive. We know as writer’s what we should be doing, but so many new writers still end up telling instead of showing because they miss adding the little touches along the way and then want to convey something, but end up having to add an info dump or take the reader out of the story to add a narrative to add in extra stuff to make their point. This becomes the classic telling instead of showing. It’s the smooth touches along the way that add the magic. The reader hardly notices that the writer is adjusting their point of view with subtle hints and observances. In the last book I read, the main character was always noticing what things were made of or who designed it because she was very much about design. It was one of her characteristics that she was good at noticing trends in the subculture and Gibson didn’t just tell us that, he showed it in every detail along the entire story. She noticed architecture and materials and when things were old or new. But it wasn’t in your face; it was just her noticing it, with very little actual text -- just little bits and pieces here and there. As you’re going through your rewrite really focus on staying in the POV of the narrator and show the reader what they see, just a little bit here and there, it will save on the telling later on and will make your character come to life. We can all use a little more cowbell in our writing. Clear Ether!Read More
Finding Your Voice
Tuesday May 31, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments
Point of view is a basic building block of writing a story. It’s the vantage point from which a story is told. When done well, it can really make your story pop. First person is obvious; you are in the head of the main character and stay there. 2nd person is a little strange, and rarely used in story form, but puts the reader into the story, referring to “you” instead of the “I” of 1st person. 3rd person is the most commonly used form for narratives and has many forms, from Omniscient, where you see into everyone’s head, to Objective, where you see into nobody’s head, to Subjective, where you have the point of view of a particular character. Subjective seems to be coming into vogue, and to me, it gives you, the writer, a lot more options to do interesting things. Limited 3rd person POV falls in this category and I’m using it for my current WIP. I started with the story in 1st person, but I decided to bring in a second main character, so I needed to change up how I was writing it. Limited 3rd person POV gives you the flexibility to change points of view and stay in the head of the narrator for that section. It is very similar to first person, but allows you to tell the story from more than one character, and if there are parts of the story that your main character won’t see but you want to share this can really add a lot to your narrative. Or maybe you just want to bring in a different view point to see something from a different angle. Another subcategory is the unreliable narrator, which adds another flavor to the story. This from Ask.com: The opposite of a reliable narrator, an unreliable narrator typically displays characteristics or tendencies that indicate a lack of credibility or understanding of the story. Whether due to age, mental disability or personal involvement, an unreliable narrator provides the reader with either incomplete or inaccurate information as a result of these conditions. Done well it will really draw in and perhaps down a path that may be misleading, as you can’t be sure what you are experiencing is reality or just how the character perceives it. I do have a pet peeve though and nothing bothers me more as a reader than when the author jumps from one person to another in successive paragraphs without so much as a breath, especially if they are very similar in perspective and style. I really dislike it, so I’m switching chapters for each change, at least until my main characters come together in the story. I may switch those to chapter changes as well after I finished reading a book by one of my favorite writers. I just finished William Gibson’s latest novel, zero history, and it’s a work of literary art in my opinion. His best work I think and I’ve read all of his novels. It is a study in character development and the use of limited 3rd person POV and a well done unreliable narrator in the character of Milgrim, a recovering addict. There is one particular scene that really stood out as a great example of how to differentiate your voice when looking through the eyes of a different character. In this setting each character climbs a stairway in the Salon du Vintage in Paris separately.
Hollis Henry -- She went with them, up a minimalist stairway of pale Scandinavian wood,… Milgrim -- …he climbed a handsomely renovated stairway to the second floor.In these short sentence fragments you can see how the world looks differently and how Gibson shows it. She notices the type of wood used and the architectural design. Milgrim just sees a newly renovated stairwell that he is favorably impressed with and little other detail, because he just doesn’t know architecture or materials. It’s a very small piece in a novel filled with details like this. But this is the stuff that sets the really great writers apart from the average. Every character should have a distinct voice that the reader should be able to pick up without you having to put up a neon sign. It can be tricky. You don’t want to start overdoing the speech idiosyncrasies; a little goes a long way. Men and women are different, but not so different that you turn them into caricatures. They should see the world differently, as they bring their prejudices and expertise, or lack thereof, to their viewpoint, but it’s little things. As the example shows, in the long view, many little things add up to a nice tally at the bottom of the balance sheet. Good luck in your writing! Clear Ether! Read More