Monday, October 25, 2010

It’s Time to Die … Or Is It?

Death ... it's a staple of fiction and movies.  Dramatic deaths.  Casual deaths.  Murders.

It's a driving force to advance plot lines or to resolve a dramatic arc.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Conversation Amongst Friends

Most writers like to write certain types of scenes more than others.  Some authors simply excel at action scenes.  Others are phenomenal at dramatic, soul-revealing dialog.

And when it comes to dialog, some authors prefer to write certain types of interactions more than authors.  Whether it's a conversation filled with snarky one-liners, or one in which the characters are professing their love for one another, sometimes the author just likes to write certain types of conversations more than others.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Minor Characters and Scene Stealing

Most stories have a score of minor characters, who shuffle in and out of the narrative.  Usually, they have their "screen time", convey any information they have, move the story forward, and leave.  Where do they go?  What do they do next?

Most readers don't care and, probably, most writers don't either.  After all, their minor characters.  If we cared about what happens in their life (beyond how it impacts the main characters), we'd be reading their story.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Protagonist. Antagonist. I’m the One With the Gun.

The basic structure of a story is a time tested formula.  Protagonist versus antagonist -- whether that antagonist be another person, a creature, or even the elements.

Just like parents, writers aren't really supposed to favor any one character over another.  But it happens.  Some of them are just plain fun to write.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Romance and Writing

Romance is not just a genre of fiction and movies.

One of the key ingredients to a dramatic story is romance.  Even light fare -- action movies or comedies for example -- almost always have some romantic element to them.  It may not be developed greatly, but it's there, adding depth and drama to the overall story.

Authors to Admire

Most everyone has someone that they admire and look up to, for inspiration or as a role model for how they should do things.  Writers, being people, are no different.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Map a Fictional World

There was a time, back when I was in middle and high school, that I would sit down with a blank piece of paper and have fun drawing imaginary coastlines, mountain ranges, forests, and other items.  A little later I got some software that could help me to do that; but it still boils down to your imagination and -- if you want a "realistic" and believable world, some knowledge of geography helps.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Best World-building

Even stories that take place in a contemporary setting have some element of world building in them.  Of course, fantasy and science fiction are the best examples of complex world-building exercises.  But even thrillers like The Hunt for Red October need to have some world building to make the story work.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Favorite Characters to Write

When you read some books, you can tell right away that certain characters are favorites of the author.  It doesn't necessarily mean that they show an undue favoritism -- like letting them constantly survive situations that they shouldn't -- but it could be something as simple as certain characters getting a lot more "screen time" than their role in the story warrants.

The Strangest, the Weirdest Situations For Your Characters

The essence of a good story revolves around the characters and the situations/messes they find themselves in.  Some types of stories call for strange situations stacked on top of the bizarre, where others need little more than having the characters be in the same room.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to Make Believable Characters

As I mentioned in my post about naming characters, they tend to pop into my thoughts almost fully formed.  They tend to have a name already attached to them, and a very general description for them.  I don't really have a process that causes that result.  The closest I've ever done it "on purpose" is if I go to sleep actively mulling a story over in my head.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Favorite Genre of Fiction

My favorite genre of fiction to read is fantasy.  I do like some science fiction, horror, and some thrillers.  But I often return to fantasy because it seems to capture -- for me, at least -- everything that fiction "should" be.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Music and the Creative Process

Do you need absolute silence to write?  Or can you handle some background noise, maybe even some music to help your creative juices get going?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Most Comfortable Place to Write

Some people can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) anywhere at any time.  Middle of the night on a work day?  Not a problem.  On a crowded subway car?  Good to go.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is There an Ideal Character Age?

Some writers are great at writing old characters or very young characters.  They have a gift to get inside the thoughts and convey the emotions of people who are of drastically different age.  Others like to keep their retinue of characters around the writer's actual age, as a sort of virtual entourage.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

First stories and characters

Every writer has to start somewhere.  So what was you first story about?  What sort of characters did you have?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Best Ways to Name Your Character

Everyone involved with creative writing has to come up with good character names.  Of course, "good character name" means something different to each of us.  If you think about it, there's a number of characters that you've read over the years that stick in your mind -- either because of their actions in the story or because of their name.  Some authors are particularly good at creating memorable names (Dickens and Rowling, for example).

With the popularity of role-playing games, this topic has expanded past the creative writer.  How can you come up with a good name for use in a computer game?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How Many Characters is Too Many?

Some books have scores of characters, providing the ensemble cast through which the author tells the story (for instance, the Lord of the Rings trilogy has loads of characters, most of them minor).  How many is too many, though?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Favoritest Story Setting

First things first ... yes, I'm fully aware that favoritest is not a real word.  Now that that's out the way, we can on to the topic at hand.  Story setting.  Some writers like to use the same setting for each book or story; usually this is because the books are in a series (like the Harry Potter series) and sometimes its a shared setting for all the (not necessarily related) books that they write (Terry Pratchett's Discworld is like this).  Some writers like to make up their own world, essentially giving them full control over all the details, without needing everything to make realistic sense.  Others (I'm firmly in this camp) like to use the real world as the backdrop for their stories, because you and I and everyone else knows how things work in the real world.

Or at least in theory we know how they work.

30 Day Writing Meme

I loiter on a writer's forum (Absolute Write).  While reading the "Did you update your blog today?" thread, I noticed a lot of others were doing this.  So, I figured, "Why not?"

Of course, they got the memo and all started it on the 1st.  So I'm a day late (and probably a dollar short, as usual).  Fraptious day, of course, because I'll have multiple posts today.  The first being this one, and then I'll be very shortly doing the 1st writing prompt.