Aug. 19th, 2013 09:59 am
ilthit: (writing)
[personal profile] ilthit
On the whole, how distracting do you find POV switches?

I accept and approve of the rule that says POV should not change within the same scene, let alone from paragraph to paragraph, but I rather like splitting a longer story into several POVs, where POV switch is marked by a paragraph break or divided chapter by chapter. It lets you tell more of the story.

But, as readers, do you find this distracting? Do you think it would be better policy to stick to the lead's POV?

Obviously multiple POVs can be done right, but I have no pretensions of being Virginia Woolf. I'm currently writing light tropey superhero comedy.

Need a name

Dec. 6th, 2012 10:13 pm
anthimeria: Gears, some magnified (Gears)
[personal profile] anthimeria
So, the picture book that I accidentally wrote has a not-so-bright robot as the main character.  Right now he's named after Dummy, one of Tony Stark's bots in the Iron Man movies, but he needs a name all his own.  My Dummy helps his friend in their workshop--fetching tools, etc.

I'm looking for a two syllable name, soft, preferably ending in the -ee (e, ie, y) sound, that isn't a human name.  Think pet names.  The robotic inspirations are Dummy and WALL-E, both of which fit all the name properties I'm looking for.

(Yes, I know WALL-E/Wally is a human name, but the spelling and the rarity of the name in use make it workable.)

Any suggestions or good pet name websites would be incredibly helpful!

Crossposted on writers and wristerstorm, 'cause I need all the help I can get.  Thanks!
elizabeth_rice: Snoopy typing on his typewriter (Journal 2)
[personal profile] elizabeth_rice
Hello! There is still a lot I need to learn about fiction-writing, so I've come to you with a question.

What should the starting point be in a novel? Writers always say to start the story at the point where something important happens. Does this mean that the starting point should be the inciting incident?

There are other writers who suggest starting with the second major plot point. What is the second major plot point of a story? For example, in a romance. ETA: using the three-act structure as a guideline, the first turning point (signalling the end of act 1) is the point where there is a personal stake for the main character, it is the point where the outcome of the problem matters to the main character. Would this be the second major plot point? And is it advisable to start a romance story this way?

Also, would the starting point in a romance be very different from the starting point in a slice-of-life story? ETA: I mean, if the romance story doesn't start with the two main characters meeting.

The starting point in a mystery novel, or fantasy is pretty obvious. It's the romance story or a simple character piece that really confuse me.
anthimeria: Comic book panels (Sequential Art)
[personal profile] anthimeria
Do we still need First Girl Ever stories?

In the real world, these stories happen and are still happening, but we've been telling them for several decades--the Song of the Lioness quartet (Alanna), by Tamora Pierce, came out in the eighties, and I've read opinions that this trope is "tired and overused."  (To be clear, this isn't the only place I've read/heard that, Brennan is just very clear.)

While I definitely agree with Brennan in the article linked above, that I would love to see more Second Girl Ever stories, I'm wondering if there's still a need for the First Girl Ever story.  Is it still important?  There are girls making huge strides in male-dominated fields today, but as Brennan points out, they're largely in "field[s] that, while not exclusively male, [are] still heavily skewed that way."  Which makes the Second Girl Ever story all the more important.

So what do you think?  Is the First Girl Ever story tired and overused?  Or an important story that needs to be told, no matter how many times we've already said it?

(Crossposted, since I'm hoping to get as many opinions as possible.)
ilthit: (art)
[personal profile] ilthit
I found myself plotting a manor mystery yesterday, and continued it today, and I am having just so much fun.

How do you feel about writing genre fiction, especially fiction in a very specific niche like the manor mystery or gothic romance? When you have a narrowed-down genre, do you want to keep within the tropes of it, or mix it with another genre, or subvert those tropes? Or do you prefer not to think about genre at all?

Since manor mysteries are all about messing with your expectations (as long as it doesn't ruin the brain teaser) I expect this will be the most genre-loyal of any of my subgenre-specific stories. If it was a sword & sorcery story, I would not be able to resist making the lone barbarian warrior into the villain.
jarandhel: (Default)
[personal profile] jarandhel
After a long hiatus, I'm trying -- once again -- to become a writer of fiction.  This has been a longstanding goal of mine, but things always seem to get in the way.  Never enough hours in the day, right?  But after a while, that stops being an explanation and starts becoming an excuse.  I've seen that, and have started pushing myself to write again.

Thing is, it's not happening. )
redbeargrl: (Default)
[personal profile] redbeargrl
In trying to move to the world of writing original fiction as opposed to fan fiction, (sort of like Pinocchio trying to become a real boy) I read a lot of blogs either by writers or those who have good information for writers. For the fun of it, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorites.

Chuck Windig's blog, Terribleminds

I especially like his "25 Things you should know" posts.  Most recently this one called, 25 Things You Should Know About Plot

A precautionary word about this blog.  Chuck has the mouth of a sailor...if you can't take foul language and the occasional donkey dick joke, you might want to skip this. However, if you want to become a better writer...well, it's up to you.  'Nuff said.

I'm also fond of Kristin Lamb's blog.  She concentrates on how writers can benefit from using social media and about blogging for writers.
If you're looking to build a fan base, and enhance your web presence..this is the place to see how it's done.

Although geared for the Urban Fantasy market, there's much good information on the writing process here at Lilith Saintcrow's blog, A Fire of Reason. There is also much madness and self promotion, but hey, isn't that why we do this as well? (Who else but Lily would do a picture spread on Gilbert the Zombie Garden Gnome?  Well, don't say I didn't warn you!)

So, what blogs do you read?

In Peace...
guardian_of_hope: (Winner's Badge)
[personal profile] guardian_of_hope

I need writing advice for my NaNo novel. I'm asking this question in a variety of places hoping that I get a good answer. Now that I've managed to WIN NaNo, I'm shifting into finish and edit mode which is where this question comes from...

Long explination....question at the end )
sweet_sparrow: Miaka (Fushigi Yûgi) looking very happy. (Work)
[personal profile] sweet_sparrow
A pretty long time ago, [personal profile] guardian_of_hope asked whether there was a program similar to Scrivener for Windows.

Some of you may already know this, some of you may not. (I considered posting a reply to the original post, but figured this was likely to be more useful to more people.)

The people behind Scrivener are working on a Windows version. If you're willing to put up with all the hiccups of a beta product and submitting bug reports and all that, it can be found on this website.

Hope it helps someone! ^-^
sterling: (Sephiroth - Creativity)
[personal profile] sterling
In a recent discussion with a writing peer, the subject of genres came up. She asked me what genres I typically wrote, or would like to start writing.

My answer was a lengthy ramble that could have just been summarized by two words: Speculative Fiction. But of course, I wanted to get into more detail than that, so we talked about it for several hours. Almost everything I've written falls into this category (both fanfiction and original fiction), with specifics in: post-apocalyptic, dystopian, fantasy, steampunk, and/or urban fantasy worlds. With the rare exception of a few horror and sci-fi works, I was actually a little amazed that my writing focus was so easily defined.

Even the genres I'd like to start writing for are under the big "speculative fiction" umbrella (one specifically would be alternate history, but I just don't know if I have the patience to do the kind of research I would need to do to make it feel historically possible).

So, some questions for other writers here...

What genres do you usually write?

What genres would you like to write for if you decided to try something new?


Jul. 15th, 2010 11:50 pm
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
[personal profile] jazzfish
I have a first draft! I finished something! It has all the awkward inbetween bits filled in with text other than "And then they explain this part"!

... only it's awful. The pacing's all off, the characterization changes midstream, there are plot hooks that don't connect to anything and other parts of plot that desperately need hooking earlier. In short, it's a first draft.

I've never really gotten anything to this point before, not with something I thought actually had any potential. So I'm basically going to be making up my process as I go. (Current writing process: entire story in an OpenOffice document, with a .txt of notes and deleted scene fragments open beside it.)

How do you go about revising? Any useful tips?
guardian_of_hope: I don't know where I'm going, will you come with me? (Traveler)
[personal profile] guardian_of_hope
I know this makes the third post about writing software, but I'm hoping this will be a new slant to it. You guys really talked up Scrivener so I went to look at it. But Scrivener is only for Mac, at least, that's what I saw. Can anyone recomend a similar program for Windows? Or point out where I could find Scrivener for Windows?


Jul. 14th, 2010 06:40 pm
meilinmiranda: (Default)
[personal profile] meilinmiranda
Forking off from the writing software post:

I am a Scrivener junkie. I love it to pieces and cannot write without it. I'm not even sure I'm getting everything out of it I could get out of it, it's that versatile.

My main issue right now is, I'm writing a series. I'm contemplating whether it's better to have the whole ding-dang thing in Scrivener, or break it into separate files. Those of you who use it, do you have a preference? Can a Scrivener file get TOO big?
redbeargrl: (Default)
[personal profile] redbeargrl
If anybody has any experience with either writing package Scrivner or Story Mill, I would dearly love to hear your comments on their usefulness, ease of use or any other thoughts you might have.  Or, if you have any input on other writing packages, that would be lovely as well.
Also, do any of you publish your own works as eBooks?  Any thoughts on Smashwords or similar sites?
Obviously I'm floundering here...
giveamouse: Chocolate chip cookie (Default)
[personal profile] giveamouse
Hi, everyone! I just joined this community, and wanted to introduce myself by mentioning an idea that can help inspire writing, if you've dried up.

A friend of mine elsewhere on the 'net has been agonizing over an idea for a novel for several years now - trying to work out the characters and plot points and such, but has made very little measurable progress on writing it. Last week, it finally occurred to me that his angst over this particular work, and his efforts at trying to make it good (for some unreasonably high definition of good) was getting in the way of writing anything at all.

So I issued him this challenge: Set that story aside, and write me something terrible. It should suck in every way possible - bad characters, weak plot, lame dialogue, ad nauseum. Nobody should *want* to read it. It needs to be ten pages of suckitude that sucks mountains through a drinking straw, and you have exactly one week to do it in.

Because if you try too hard to make a story good it can have a completely paralyzing effect. What better way to get the muse back in the room than to deliberately make something that sucks? Without the emotional investment, the writing should be easier.

And some part of it might turn out to have redeeming value, despite your best efforts at deliberate failure. After all, writing something bad can be better than writing nothing at all!

anthimeria: Open book, says "sometimes you reach what's realest by making believe" (Books)
[personal profile] anthimeria
Every writer I know approaches editing a little differently--some people blow through the rough draft and then painstakingly edit, while others edit as they go and end up with an almost-perfect draft eons later.

My question is: what is your personal approach when working on a long piece?

Short fiction (no matter the medium) is always more flexible because you're not dealing with very many pages or words.  But how do you deal with a 150k word novel, or a 90-page screenplay?  What do you consider a "draft?"  Any tips or tricks for keeping track of all the minutiae (plot changes, character development, that scene you moved from chapter three to chapter five)?
ilthit: (you're my hobby)
[personal profile] ilthit
Signed up for NaNoWriMo! ...Did you? Who's for it, who's against it, does it matter?

Read this brief article (on FWD/Forward) about how odd it is to read "She couldn't breathe. Her heart skipped a beat" when you actually HAVE been in that situation and it's a little more crippling than feeling a little shocked at the time. There's a lot of descriptive shorthand and embellishment like this that authors use - that I use, too. I keep thinking I should pay more attention, and sometimes during re-read and edit catch really embarrassing mistakes that just sounded right at the time.

The point of the article was that people who have not had these conditions don't realize how odd it is to use them to describe something completely different. The same criticism could extend to a lot of other examples. In some situations I suppose it's obvious it's meant metaphorically - "the realization hit him like a sledgehammer" doesn't actually mean the character's skull is suddenly split - but then again it's easy to overuse gestures such as blushing, quirking an eyebrow, tapping a foot, frowning and sighing when people usually don't blush all that often. It's hard to find some other indication for embarrassment, scepticism, impatience or displeasure even though these states manifest in a lot of different ways.

I guess there should be a healthy balance between metaphor and reality, and a good visual and kinetic idea of how the character's emotional reaction shows in her body language/reactions other than just applying trope gestures (though, when appropriate and not overused, some of those can be good too). I never tap my foot when I'm impatient or irritated. Sometimes I swing it. Sometimes I tap a pen on the table. Mostly, then, I frown, twist my mouth a little and type angrily/walk faster, or begin shouting. When I'm shocked by a turn of events, everything goes a little hazy while the new facts sink in; I can't muster the brain focus to move or act. I do breathe, as it happens automatically. My heart rate might be affected, might not - I can't tell, I'm too busy being shocked. Oh, and hah, notice how we keep saying "shock" and "panic" when those medical states are a lot more intense than the states we often use those words for? 

Anyway, food for thought - editing thought, anyway. I'm not going to worry about ANY of this stuff while writing next November. The reason I find NaNoWriMo fab is that it forces you to get the bulk of the writing done, after which it's all just editing, cutting, adding and molding until it all actually works. 


Oct. 15th, 2009 11:49 am
ilthit: (writing)
[personal profile] ilthit
 A blog called 21st Century Geeks had this post discussing different approaches to writing sci-fi, inspired by Charles Ross' article elsewhere. I agree with 21stCG. There's room for a lot of approaches and a lot of flavours of SF out there. Do you write SF or fantasy? How do you approach those kinds of stories? 

Might veer towards off-topic as it's about television, but it is specifically about television writing and would apply to prose as well. 


Oct. 13th, 2009 07:35 am
guardian_of_hope: Take a breath, it gets better (Rose)
[personal profile] guardian_of_hope
People say to write what you know, but I've also heard that in fantasy, anything is possible.

So here's the background, in my story there are talking animals, they're created by the God and Goddess who look after that particular land, mostly just to appear wise and occasionaly offer useful advice. If I wrote what I know, there would only be dogs, cats and horses, but if I took the 'anything is possible' route, there are a variety of wild animals that I could find useful that I know little about beyond species and random facts.

Here's the question: In the 'anything is possible' version, should I take the time to research things like, say, common illnesses in birds of prey, and make the animals be close to their mortal brethern, or should I just assume that since they were created by the God and Goddess for the purpose of being sort of guides to humans such things are not a concern?

I'm not saying the animals are immortal, but they do have an extended life time, roughly from the time their human partners are thirteen until said partner dies. And they can be killed; like shot down by arrows or stabbed.


Oct. 8th, 2009 03:30 pm
ilthit: (writing)
[personal profile] ilthit
Stories need to be to the point and include nothing extra, say the experts.

I agree in most cases, though I'll also not budge in my opinion that every arguably boring scenery/walking passage in Lord of the Ring was pure gold, but then I'm a nerd. This is a very specific question though.

Mentioning a character's race: necessarily significant and generally insignificant, or not?

The argument being that if race is mentioned, it must be relevant later on, and that unless it has an effect on the plot you do not need to know the race of any particular character.

My counter-argument being that the race of the main characters are significant in the same way their gender or age or ability status are important, because it colours their experiences of the world and change the way the people in their world view them. Even if it doesn't change anything in the story, it adds its own nuance. I think it IS significant, for that reason and also because the assumed default race is so often white; leaving out the characters' race works out a lot of the time as if you're writing all-white casts, even when you're not.

This was probably covered somewhere during RaceFail '09, but I'd like to know what you think.

Edit: This post on The Magic District is relevant to this conversation!