Thursday, July 28, 2011

"All good plots come from well-orchestrated characters pitted against one another in a conflict of wills." James N. Frey

I've been getting ready to plot a new novel and when I'm in this process I go back and read favorite writing books to get my enthusiasm revved up and come away with new ideas that will improve my writing.

In The Philosophy of Plot by James Frey, (The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing from Writers Digest), he covered how characters affect plots.

When a writer creates characters he should, according to Frey, make them strikingly different from one another. He goes on to say that these differences will minimize plotting problems that usually develop. The one problem I seem to have over and over again is stalling out and can't seem to get it moving. He attributes that to characters who are too much the same and me, the author, trying to get the characters to do what I would do in that situation instead of what they would do.

Well-orchestrated characters "once pitted against one another, the author needs only to present the predicament to send the characters on their mission."

One of his examples was why not have a streetwise kid hide from the law in a nursing home...my mind took off with that one.

Another example he gave was in The African Queen, how different it would have been if the story was about two old drunks instead of the uptight, Bible-thumping, Rose pitted against the old sot Charlie Allnut.

 Creating the plot from a set of well-orchestrated characters is one of the truly creative aspects of the fiction writer's craft.

Thanks, Mr. Frey, I'm off to try and do just that!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baking a Chapter

Maybe I'm just desperate to blog creatively but here goes. A chapter from my young adult mystery/thriller is ready to share with my critique group tomorrow. Today as I was making a loaf of sour dough bread, I waxed sort of poetic and compared the baking of bread to writing and revising.
This chapter has been giving me fits. I did my best to mix all the ingredients then put it aside hoping the "yeast" of more depth would rise and make the chapter seem bigger. This morning as I read through it, it seemed a smidgeon bigger, but it needed more revision, so I pound it down and and revised a little more.
Of course, the loaf of bread is pretty on the surface, nice color, crisp crust, but after I slice it...?
 I'm hoping they tell me I baked this chapter just right.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter, The End (sniff)


Tonight at midnight several people will be jamming the theaters to go to the last movie. This will be the first year I'm not eager to see it right away. Why? Because I'm going to miss these films. I already miss the books!

For the last several years I have looked forward eagerly for each movie and have never been disappointed. Now, when Part 2 ends...it really ends!

J.K. Rowling accomplished something that has never been seen before. I don't know if it will ever happen again, but I like to think that maybe that writing genius is studying the mobile above his crib and thinking.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

E-Book Publishing- the new Wild West!

Sisters in Crime gave a link in their e-letter to the Wall Street Journal article by Eric Felton entitled: Cherish the Book Publishers—You'll Miss Them When They're Gone

Very good article that makes you stop and think. The part that bothered me was the reference to an e-book author asking other self-publishers for reviews to make them more noticeable. So many writers are bombarding Amazon with, in my opinion, works with no merit that any author who can construct a wonderful story will not be found among the drivel. Sort of like a reader's slush-pile.

Kindle readers I know don't even try any more. As one said, "I've been stuck a few times. Now I only go with publishers/authors I know." She went on to say she looks at who the publisher is before downloading no matter how good the book sounds. "It may be only 99 cents, but that's what I can use toward my favorite authors, instead of throwing it away."

I find myself doing the exact same thing.  Traditional publishers have established their reputation for putting out a quality product, if they keep to that tradition, they will thrive in the e-book market as more and more readers get "stuck".

I'm thinking Amazon may have to eventually change from accepting anything anyone wants to upload to having some kind of control or evaluation since they are moving into the publishing business.

E-book publishing and marketing is definitely the new wild west--open and free for the taking. I wonder what things will be like twenty years from now, even ten years.