After days of staying stuck on some technical aspects, I’ve finally gotten back on track with my revisions. I’m now past a quarter of the way through. So I’m pretty thrilled with my progress.
Hi all! I’ve been checking up on my calendar just now and got struck by a terrible realization. In three weeks, I have no one to post on Friday.
For those of you who are new and have no idea what I’m talking about, Guest Post Friday is a feature where followers on this blog can guest post about any writing/literary world related topic.
Now I must ask… Do you guys enjoy and/or appreciate Guest Post Fridays? Because I know that it attracts hits. But do you really enjoy it?
If you guys aren’t all that keen in it anymore, I’ll have to end the feature (but I will put up the few guest posts that have been booked for the rest of the year). So please let me know what you think.
Thanks to everyone who entered into Judy Croome’s competition.
I drew using Random.org and chose:
I hope you enjoy the prize!
Hi all! Today I have the honor of welcoming J.C. Martin to My First Book. She’s here on a blog tour to market Stories for Sendai, a charity anthology where the proceeds will go to the victims of Japan’s tsunamis. So please click here for more details.
In the mean time, here’s J.C. on writing short stories.
Big thanks to Misha for hosting a leg of the Stories for Sendai Blog Tour de Force!
Follow the basic steps of a story: have an inciting incident (call to action), a climax (turning point), and a resolution. A graph of the action as your story progresses should follow a bell curve. Many short stories have an open ending, for readers to draw whatever conclusion they wish. That is fine, as long as there is some attempt at a resolution.
A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears.
Now, I’m not so sure about the painting part, but the first part really got me thinking today.
Not only is that part true, but it’s a vital part to our writing.
So how does one write with our eyes?
It’s a two step process.
The first step involves paying attention to our surroundings. Wherever we go, there are objects that surround us, people that move about in our awareness, things that happen. That’s the first part of our learning experience. Noticing how people move. Noting how they air their emotions. The big movements, the slow movements.
Then of course (and this is just as important) we notice people interacting with their surroundings. Some keep their heads down on rough ground, because they don’t want to injure themselves. Others are so secure in their ablity to navigate the dips and bumps that they go about with their heads up, walking about as if they own the place. Have you noticed how people act when they walk into a crowded restaurant? Some never walk in alone. Those who do tend to avoid eye-contact with the masses and dodge their way to a table and find something with which to keep themselves busy. Books are dug out almost before the menu is opened. I-pods are switched on as soon as the order is placed.
People’s interactions with their surroundings can, if we pay attention, tell us a lot about the people.
The second step to writing with our eyes involves applying what we saw on the pages of our writing. Does the bolt for the nearest table and attempt to vanish in the masses or does he walk in as if he owns the place? Those actions can be especially important when the writing isn’t dealing with a VP character. They give the reader impressions to work with to build a picture of the character’s personality.
Writing with our eyes also serves another important purpose (that I know I forget sometimes): Grounding the scenes. I’ve read more than a few stories where there’s wonderful conflicts and brilliant tension. The characters are interesting. The plot has me intrigued. But there’s a big problem.
The action is taking place in a white haze of nothingness. I can’t work out where they are. Or if I am told, I have no clue as to how it looks.
BUT this is not a problem solved by pages on pages of description. It’s solved by smart interactions by the characters.
For example, if something happens outside, we shouldn’t be describing the weather. Our characters should be stamping their feet. Their breaths should be coming up in white puffs floating up to the clear moon…
And so on.
It places characters firmly in relatable surroundings without giving readers the feeling that it’s a stage set.
Do you write with your eyes? What does the phrase mean to you? How do you do it?
“…so shall I taste
Thanks so much Judy. I will be drawing the prize for the US$15 gift voucher on Wednesday, 29 July. To stand a chance to win, all you need to do is comment. You have until 1 pm GMT on Wednesday to enter.
So… How do you deal with rejection?
Hi all! I had another idea that I wanted to try…
Twenty Questions with…
Basically it will be a game involving one of my favorite writing-related exercises: Character interviews.
It’s a really good exercise to do, be you a plotter or pantser, because the answers help you to know your characters on multiple levels…
So how does it work?
My friend, Theresa and I are picking ten (this time eleven) questions, alternating who’s asking. Then we’re letting one of our characters answer then. After that, we have a more specific section where we ask the characters specific questions.
Her character’s interview will be posted here. My character, James Braden from Doorways, will be on her blog.
So, without further ado: Please welcome Mia to My First Book.
OK, Mia, we’re going into some easy questions first.
1) How old are you?
I’m not sure. Nobody ever told me and since I was so young when I was taken from my mother that I can’t remember. I am of “indeterminate age”. I guess I am about 18. Maybe a bit older.
2) Where were you born?
In a small house near a river. My first memories are of bright light shining off the surface of the calmly flowing water. It is still my favourite place.
3) Do you like animals?
I guess so. The only pets I have ever had are the rats that share my room. They are really kind creatures once you get to know them. My owner had a dog once but it was vicious and dangerous. I avoided it at all costs.
4) What is your favorite pass-time?
I like to think about what it is like out there. I see people walk about without someone guarding them. I wonder what it is like to go to the park. I walk around the city in my imagination.
5) If you could take a holiday anywhere, where would you go?
Home. I would go back to where I lived with my mother. Maybe she is still there. Then we can go to the beach like we used to.
6) Who’s your best friend? Be honest.
My best friend is Charlie. We don’t talk much. He is actually my guard when I get to go outside the compound. But he once bought me an ice cream. I think I like him *blush*.
7) What really gets on your nerves?
Incessant drinking. And people who treat you like dirt. I know I am just a servant, but would a little kindness and consideration really hurt that much?
8) Have you ever wished anyone dead? Who?
I have wished that Jules was never born. He is my owner. He treats me like dirt. Please refer to previous question.
9) Have you ever been in love?
Not officially *smile* Maybe a little bit with Charlie. Please don’t tell him! He would hate me forever.
10) What would you rather have: a house or a car?
I would prefer a house. Who needs a car when you can walk? But I would love to one day have a place of my own. With a bit of garden. I know it is highly unlikely that that would happen though. Unless Jules sells me as someone’s wife. I think he’s up to something…
11) Describe yourself in three words.
Strong but frail.
That’s an interesting combination. OK then, on to the more personal questions:
12) How did you end up working for a beast like Jules?
He bought me from my mother when I was three. She had to pay off my father’s drug debts. I was all she had to pay with. He would have killed her.
13) Three?! Wow. How did you survive growing up like that?
I had to. My mother wouldn’t want me to give up. The important thing is to not draw attention to yourself.
14) You said earlier that you think Jules is up to something. Does he get up to stuff a lot? What does he do?
Jules is a drug lord. He has gang wars, orgies, you name it. But lately he talked about getting rid of me. At first I thought he would kill me. Now I think he has something much more sinister in mind.
15) Like what?
Strange as it may seem, I have never been … Used. I am very valuable as a wife.
16) You mentioned that Jules might sell you. Would you see that as an escape?
It depends on who he sells me to. I don’t think his usual business partners would treat me well. But maybe a stranger… I don’t know. This is all I’ve ever known. I am afraid that a change would be for the worse.
17) Rather the devil you, know…
Something like that. Still, maybe I could get away one day.
18) Why would you wait to see what happens? Why don’t you escape right now?
Where would I go? Who would help me? I am no one. The police would put me in jail because I don’t have papers. Nobody would give me a job for the same reason. I am on my own.
19) I see… And Charlie? Does he make you want to stay too?
Charlie. In a way I want to stay with him. But he made his choice. He is here because he wants to be here. If he wants to leave I would definitely go with him.
20) But if you had your chance, you’d leave him to Jules?
I… I would leave him *sniffs*
Aw. I really hope things work out for you, then. Best of luck, Mia!
Thanks for lending me your character, Theresa. It was fun!
So, ladies and gents. What did you think of the characters and the interviews? Anyone else interested in playing? I’ve got plenty of characters who’d love to talk. Let me know if you’re interested. Extra reminder: Tomorrow’s post will have a voucher up for grabs. So don’t miss Guest Post Friday!