Showing posts from June, 2012

Finding A Character's Voice

I have a neat little thing I'm doing in my wip (Book 5, Wing), which is introducing each chapter with a special scene, told in first person. A few of these scenes show a dramatic event in the character's life. Others simply establish a mood or a central symbol. All introduce us to the interior life of the character, which is what I like about these scenes, and why they are important to the book. The other thing that I like, but which is also sending me in circles about my own tail, is that there is no faking it in these scenes. Unlike the more standard, third person, plot driven scenes of the novel, characters cannot hide behind their current predicaments to disguise who they truly are. These scenes demand that I know the voice, the history and the deepest concerns of the characters. This is a problem, because there are one or two I still don't know. There's one in particular who is hard to catch. I'm rewriting his scene over and over again, in a different voi

Full of Rape and Adverbs

Every now and then I feel sorry for myself that my novels will never be literary masterpieces. There's that law, passed by Congress, that Tara Maya may not write such things.... Although, after resisting literary literature all through school, I have come to appreciate the genre, I'm still not willing to sacrifice the story I want to tell on the altar of High Culture. My books are much too "full of rape and adverbs," as Elmore Leonard once (through a character) dismissed Romance novels, contemptuously . However, Janet Fitch's 10 Rules for Writers surprised me. Seven of them, I'd read before, but three were bits of advice that struck me as fresh and useful. Probably none of them are new, but that doesn't make them any less useful. Maybe it's that we are open to hear the advice we need when we are most in need of it. That's a nice thought, at least. These are the four "rules" I found I needed just now. 1. Write the sentence, not jus

Scene Helper

How's that new outline method working out? (I forgot to tell you, I've dubbed it "Scene Helper.TM"*) Awesome, thank you. At least for the material that I've already written for Wing. I've had insights into what I need to edit, external vs. internal action and the problem of empty characters. If I were a better blogger, I'd make each of these its own topic and schedule them for days when I don't write any posts, but I'm honestly too lazy. I'm just going to throw it all at you, and you can re-read it during the next three month period I neglect my blog. (Uh huh, Tara, that's how to build traffic. Woohoo!) Outlining To Edit So, yeah, I went back and retroactively applied it to all the scenes I've written so far. In that sense, it was a good aide to planning edits. For one thing, I could see clearly that I'd left out any smells, sounds, tastes and touches, and sometimes even any visual descriptions, out of about two thirds

Maybe THIS Outline Method Will (Finally) Work

Here's my plan. It's pretty straight-forward. You know how They Say there's two kind of writers, those who outline methodically and those who fly by the seat of their pants? Outliners and Pantsers. I'll be darned if I know which one I am. I seem to suck at both. Ugh. A series of twelve novels is too complicated to just write in one sweet session of red hot inspiration. Or even a bunch of sessions of red hot inspiration. Red hot inspiration is indispensable, but unattainable, if I don't first have some clue about what I'm doing. Hence, outlines. The problem is, I don't have much luck with outlines. "When I let go, sit exactly where I tell you, and don't move. You can do that, right?" My scenes are more like cats than dogs. And you know what They Say about herding cats. I write what seems like a perfectly suitable plan for the novel, only to find halfway in that my outline left out too much crucial detail. Like, where the

Each Scene Must Fight Or Die

Each scene in your book must fight for its existence. If you are a writer, you must have no mercy for weak and flabby scenes. Kill them. Now. Die, boring scenes! Die! You may think this is cruel. You may feel sorry for those scenes. Don't. What doesn't kill a scene makes it stronger. Some of those scenes you try to kill will fight back. They will surprise you by proving they are stronger than you ever suspected. They will slam you in the gut with grief. Tickle you with laughter. Send a shiver down your spine.  If the scene doesn't make you feel something , it shouldn't be there. Now, I admit that I often put scenes into a book for completely different reasons. I put in scenes because the Plot Requires It. Plot Requires That the Companions Travel. Plot Requires That Someone Be Injured. Plot Requires That Something Bad Happens Here. But even if a scene sneaks into a novel on such a flimsy pretext, it needs to beef up if it wants to survive to the fina