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Showing posts from October, 2019

Unconventional Character Study

When I decided to try my hand at writing a novel, I thought it would be a piece of cake. Writing was easy. I would be rich and famous before I turned forty, retire from the daily grind, and spend the rest of my life touring the country – the world! – sharing my deep and intense knowledge of all things writing. I labored over that first attempt for years. I read every craft book available about character building, plotting a novel, and writing scintillating dialog. I wrote and wrote and wrote, but there was a disconnect between what the craft books said and what ended up on my paper. My biggest weakness was a realistic grip at “characterization.” Craft books back then focused on building a character from the outside in, how the character looked, instead of looking at what motivated the character and then how it projected itself outward onto how the character dressed and acted. So, I resorted to skulking, stalking, and slinking. I packed up my kids. At the time one was in elementary scho…

Scuttling my One Ship

Like Hernán Cortés, the infamous conquistador, I have decided to scuttle my ships and march forward to meet my destiny at all cost. Knowing I would retreat at the first sign of unpleasantness, I ditched all my other options and chose one course – forward. There is no looking back.

Cortés took on the whole Aztec Empire against all odds, and succeeded in defeating two great leaders, Moctezuma and later Cuauhtémoc, thus claiming Tenochtitlán and the whole interior of Mexico in the name of God and king.
Or so he said at his trial. 
In reality, Cortés could care less for either (he was an immoral and greedy man), and his tactics and character left much to be desired, but his determination is admirable.
I love the whole bit about scuttling all the ships so his men had no other option but to go with him into battle (and possibly live), or to stay behind and let the hostile territory or its inhabitants kill them off one by one. 
Now that is what I call guts.
Last January I decided it was time to ma…

Word Count

A lot of my friends are writers, so I get to watch them work. Each one has a different process of how they come up with characters, plot, and conflict. They especially work at different paces.
I have one friend who jumps into the writing immediately and isn’t satisfied unless she can accrue thousands of words on paper each day. I also have one friend who has to have a looming deadline (like days away) before she can sit down to write, and then spends complete days nonstop to meet that deadline. I have friends who write and write and write and then when “finished,” go back to edit and trim their manuscripts. Others edit as they go, polishing each chapter to perfection before moving on to the next. Some plot everything before typing a single word; some type and let the words create the flow of the plot as it forms on the paper. This is known as the plotter versus pantser (fly by the seat of their pants) conundrum. I’ve had to learn the hard way as to what works for me. Until a few years …