You have a great idea for a fantasy. There are four hominoid races that range from almost good but a little more on the bad side to very good, practically angelic. There are also corruptions of two of the races that are evil. Of course there are also wizards that really don’t make a race, but are different from the others. Plus, of course a handful of intelligent and semi-intelligent creatures and monsters, like dragons. They all have their own cultures, religions, myths, personality traits, physical characteristics, ways they use magic (or don’t), etc. And, of course, the world has a rich 10,000 year history plus the “Age of Myth and Legend” which gives another 25,000 years.
So there is all of that detail in your story. But then we get to the story itself. Hold, though, we need even more detail… Continue reading →
I am currently doing a few editing run-throughs of my novellas targeting some very specific problems relating to “show vs. tell”. Yes, this is a huge topic and many words have been written about it, but I just want to talk a little bit about what I am specifically targeting right now.
There may be technical names for the various types of “telling”. I’m not sure. There are two variations that I am looking at, though I will mention a third as well. Here is an example of the first:
The sun was bright causing a blinding glare from the desert. John was hot, tired and thirsty. He knew that if he didn’t find shelter soon that he would most likely die.
Yeah, not great writing, but that is not the problem. I could dress this up and try hiding the “tell” quality in a fancy wrapper, but if it basically boils down to, “the sun was bright, it is hot and John I tired,” it is pure “tell”. A possible solution might be: Continue reading →
When I first started this blog I did a series of writing exercises. Every now and again I do more. I’m not talking about just following the various challenges, like Friday Fictioneers or Sue’s #writephoto, I am talking about experimenting. As anyone who read the story I posted yesterday, Honor, knows, I am doing a bit of experimentation again. This time it was triggered by the Ursula K. Le Guin’s book Steering the Craft, which I received for Christmas.
Point of View (POV) and tense are two big choice any writer has to make when starting a story. They are also areas that are very easy to screw up. Before i started a blog, I spent some time over at the forums on Writer’s Digest and found that people were very militant with POV. Pretty much only first person and limited third person from a single person was acceptable. There could be no changes whatsoever in any work. One POV, solid like granite. Continue reading →
I spent a lot of time working on the formatting of my first book, Seasons of Imagination. I downloaded a template, but it did horrid things to the book. So I wrote down all of the settings that they used for formatting, like margin and gutter and such. Sticking those into my original document was better. Finally I had it.
But when I received the first copy, it was awful. So I redid it. And it was better. Good enough.
After I put out The Halley Branch, someone who had read all three in paperback noticed an issue. A big issue (I won’t tell you. Find it yourself ;) ). So when I started working on Embers, I made sure I fixed it first thing.
So Embers was put up with my fix and using all of the stats for my pretty good formatting. I ordered a proof, just to be sure. Continue reading →
I have always enjoyed writing. I also enjoyed creating stories. The problem is, those two things didn’t always coincide quite right. I would write stories in my head and nonfiction for school, work or different organizations, but I always grew frustrated with myself when I tried to actually write those stories out.
One morning in November of 2009 I posted a poetic line about the beautiful, unseasonably warm day. A friend told me that she thought it sounded like a great first line of a short story. So I sat down and over the next few days I wrote a story to fit that line. What came out was the story Indian Summer, which I posted a few days ago.
A week or two later I wrote another story, a “short-short” of about 500 words. A few weeks later, in mid-December of 2010, I wrote another longer story. The new story, Five Long Walks, I planned out in my head before starting.
Hello and Welcome! Come on in and I’ll get you a nice steaming mug of a strong Sumatra roast, a cuppa tea (many varieties), a mug of hot cocoa or other beverage. It looks like it is going to be a lovely early Spring day out there. Perhaps a little cool and too much snow on the ground, but sunny and, well, Spring. Where are we? Some of you may recognize the photo at the top as coming from Ireland New Hampshire. Yes, I know, three weeks in a row.
Why am I in New Hampshire when I promised to be on Cap Cod? We received our fourth Nor’easter in a row this week that hit at the time I was supposed to be traveling. Up here in NH it was pretty much a non-event, but there was snow on the road on the way down. I just didn’t want to risk it, so I wimped out.
This week I wrote a 15K story (novella?) that I’d been planning for a while. I am a 100% panster. Usually. But I did do a little background work on this. If I can bank it into shape you will see it in the short story book I plan on releasing in the late Autumn. Continue reading →
When you are done, you’re done, right? When I post something on my blog, once I click publish, it is a done deal. If I go back and find 10,000 typos? Oh well, too bad. OK, I do sometimes go back and correct things, but usually not after the first day or two.
I spent a good chunk of time the last few weeks before I published The Fireborn reading over it to catch errors and typos. I also had two people go over it for me. Between the two of them, they caught a dozen or so things that I had missed and had a handful of subjective ideas. So when I clicked Publish, it was a done deal. I had done my work.
A couple of months later I heard some complaints that there were a lot of typos. I knew I would have to go back and fix them, but I didn’t want to. When you are done, you’re done! Last week I finally broke down and faced the inevitable. I had to fix it. Continue reading →
Recently someone told me that her uncle really liked The Monsters’ House, which is the first story in my short story collection, Seasons of Imagination. I told her that I wasn’t too surprised, given how much symbolism there is in the story. I then said that I really don’t use a lot of symbolism in my short stories.
“Why not?” she asked.
She had me there: why not? I think it is because I typically write “flash fiction” instead of “short stories”. My typical story is made for my blog. It is usually very short. Not including the 100-word Friday Fictioneers, my typical story runs about 1,000 words. They tell a simple story. The Monsters’ House is closer to 8,000, maybe 9,000 words. It is complex. The characters have time to breath and grow. There is room for little motives and symbolism.
Still, why not? Why don’t I use more symbolism? I know it does creep into my stories, sometimes intentionally, usually not, i.e., subconsciously. But I rarely sit down and think it through. Continue reading →
I walked around the house humming. It wasn’t a song known to anyone, just something I was improvising without thinking. I turned to the dog.
“Are you ready to go out, is that why you do shout? With gnarly little woof, you need to get out, from under the roof?” I sang this improvised ditty and the dog got excited. It knew “Out” and that’s all he cared about. It didn’t matter how awful the words or melody or voice were, there was a walk to be had.
I had been humming and singing for days. At work I had to force myself to talk to coworkers instead of sing. My tendency when I opened my mouth was to sing, so I was very careful. I mean, even if it wasn’t weird, I realize I don’t have the greatest singing voice around.
At last, Friday came. I sat down and started playing the piano as soon as I could. Later, I turned on my electronics and music computer. All of those improvised songs were gone, but it didn’t matter. A new one soon came up. I worked the entire weekend on it and had a finished recording on Sunday evening.
Back at work on Monday, I didn’t even have to think about talking. Singing an answer would have felt so wrong. Right? Continue reading →
During my short break from editing The Halley Branch I have been throwing around blurbs and right now am stuck. Yes, I can be a bit indecisive at times. Don’t worry, I will eventually decided between the different variations I’ve come up with, but I wanted to ask your opinion.
I have one, with some slight variations, that uses a “tag line”. That’s a little line at the beginning of the blurb that sums it up. For instance, all of my posts on The Fireborn start with “In the shadowy area where myth and history collide“. It is on the back cover as part of the blurb using a different color font.
I am going to put up the original version of the blurb with the tag line, since this is as far from the other I will post as possible (I have some inbetweenies…) Continue reading →