Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sci-Fi and Dragons

In my writing world, I've been doing a lot with Dragons and with Sci-Fi. I know, two different variations of fiction, but sometimes that's how things go.

2017 is going to be a year of the Dragon for me.
Image result for writing tip: if in doubt add more dragons.

Image result for writing tip: if in doubt add more dragons.

Hagrid approves!!

I started writing a dragon into a piece that I was stuck on, it worked. It was on Ficlatté, so I wasn't messing up some new manuscript or anything. Read it here.

My co-author and I are writing a book that involves a dragon. We're actually working on the book that comes before the dragon part. It involves Vikings, a Chinese Monk, Harpies born of Nephilim who loved the hive-mind and the beauty of butterflies, and the King of these fisher-folk who commands this giant Sea Serpent. In the second book the main character meets his Dragon. They have to fight these Knights commanded by a Christian King bent on conquering the world.

Then there are all these Sci-Fi stories.. This has inadvertently been a Sci-Fi weekend. I was inspired to write a little Sci-Fi piece on Ficlatté because I read some Asimov which my co-author sent me to read. Nightfall

Then he suggested 2 more pieces, one by Harry Bates, and one by Anne McCaffrey, of which I am reading a book, too. Anne McCaffrey writes about Dragons and Sci-Fi ...and here we have come full circle!

Meanwhile, my husband queued up 'Lost in Space' last night while I built a Lego Dragon.
Image result for lost in space

So there were more Sci-Fi and Dragons.

I'm not finished reading those links, so until I do, the pattern continues. I may end up writing more about Sci-Fi or dragons, or neither. Who knows!?


Image result for writing tip eat more dragons

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Editing: Timekeeping

In my last post I talked about my issues with finding time in my busy schedule to write, but in this post I want to talk about time in my stories.

One of the biggest areas that trip me up when editing and writing a first draft is the flow of time in the book. Sometimes the season makes a difference, or the time of year in a YA novel where school is involved, but most often it is the time between events. Whether minutes, hours, days, or months, time and the order of events matters.

Time is affected when I edit. If I go chopping out scenes, I lose the time it took for my character to be there. I need to address that time in words.

The best way to handle time is to outline your story first. If you need to rearrange scenes to make the story flow better, you can do this before the scenes are shaped by setting. Your outline doesn't need to be full of every detail, but it does need to have all your important turning points, struggles, and the outcome of your story.

If you are a 'pantser', meaning you write by the seat of your pants, you still know how you want your story to end, even if it's just a feeling you want your character to convey to the reader. You don't even have to write in order, but having a small blueprint will allow you to work out from your central idea. For pantsers,  perhaps your outline is on notecards that you can fluidly move around.

Some stories mess with time. These are more difficult to track in edit-mode, so an outline is essential. Maybe 3 or 4 timelines are needed to keep track. Many things from your many plots can happen on the same day, even at the same time. You need to have a master outline where the storylines intersect. your outline might look like a chart in this case. Then you can write your scenes in any order to allow your reader to flashback or discover tidbits as your character goes along that reveal more and more of the plot.

The point is, TIME matters. How your readers follow along with you matters. If you mess with time, then you will lose your readers. Things become incomprehensible.

Unless you mess with it in the right way, leaving foreshadowing and tidbits of clues to pull the reader through the muddled mess to clarity. :)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

On Writing: Form and Time Management

Yeah, I haven't worked on the Love book at all.
Weekends are too short! My to-do list and my to-read list are too long!

I've been working on other things; webinars on overcoming distractions and streamlining your work, updating my book covers on smashwords as I promised, doing a little bit or writing, typing a bit more of a  manuscript for a friend, and working with my husband on a new way to collaborate online in real time on our book series.

I also work full time, tutor two afternoons a week, and this weekend I celebrated my son's 14th birthday. My weekends usually have something going on.

So when do I write???

I write while I am watching a show, or in bursts when I feel the creative juices flowing and I have an idea. Did I learn anything from these webinars on streamlining my work? Basically, when you plan out a story, use an outline. Have an idea of where the story should go. Add in stuff. Expand the outline.

When I write micro fiction, I usually only have a feeling and a character in mind. That's it. I add in setting, other characters as necessary, and I edit and develop as I go. It's micro fic. It needs a set up, delivery, and twist or some sort of conclusion. Bam.

If I'm going for a novel, I need plots, subplots, the epic battle scene be it external or internal, characters, settings, and some research. Sometimes bits and pieces of this process are fun. Developing book covers, finding pictures of characters, typing up the outline, each process is a project. Writing time is when details start to flow.

Basically the outline is like this:
Story beginning - intro the main character and main problem
Things happen TO the character to cause them some discomfort
A big incident happens to cause them to wake up and take action
They react to the incident, they can fail
The Villain enters and readers get some info
They react and plot to try to outwit the villain, they can fail
They find the missing piece of the puzzle and can conquer
They conquer
Story Ending

If I get stuck, it's probably because I strayed from the outline. It happens. Sometimes I can weave my way back to the original idea. Sometimes I have to change things. Too much change, however, causes me to stop. I might drop a project. If I drop it for too long I will forget what I was working on, but sometimes going back a while later gives you new perspective. You can look at it with fresh eyes and maybe fix the outline or edit the prose to shape it into a masterpiece.

There will always be distractions, work, and life things that happen. Find time for your loves. If writing is one thing that makes you happy, then do it. Research. Design a book cover. Begin an outline. Look up pictures to model your characters on. Don't waste a moment. The time is there if you take it.