Sunday, April 24, 2011

Character development

Tonight I wanted to dash off a few words about character development and what brings your characters to life.

Someone asked me a few days ago how I outline the personalities in my stories.  He wanted to know if they grew while I wrote them or if they came pre-ordained.  I told him, as I’m telling you, that it is a little of both really.  My goal, when I write a personality, is to write someone who is believable individually.
I love flaws.  We all have them, some more than most, and it is by our flaws not our virtues that we are defined.  What I mean is, no one is 100% horrible, or 100% great.
In fiction, it is sometimes hard to bring this out.  But I think by doing so you help to create a more ‘real’ experience for your reader.  Stories with one-note characters are boring to me.  Villians with completely unrelated acts of non-villiany (villainess? Villinantiude?) draw me even further into their story lines.

Delve into the WHY your hero is who s/he is.  What motivates the antagonist? What completely non-sequitur habits or personality quirks can you give your MC or those he deals with that brings them from the flat to the 3d?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New looks!

I added a little bit of functionality to the blog.  I'm hoping that by adding the word count thing to the left there I will give myself goals by making it clear to the internet how much writing I am doing.

Not that I have a huge following or anything, but if the few of you who are on the site could maybe look at it and tell me what you think?


- KT


So I wanted to layout some info on the work-in-progress of "WIP".

I'm currently around 41,000 words of what should be an approx. 90,000 word novel.  It might be a little more, it might be a little less.  Constantly chanting "Less is more, less is more" as I type seems to help prevent worthless additions. (such as that last sentenceing originally being written - 'as I type seems to be helping me to prevent worthless additions in my writing.')

I find it amazing at how my muse works, so amazing I believe I will make an entire blog post on the subject.  The quick 'teaser' is simple - My muse is not only growing stronger as I write, but has begun to take on a life of it's own.

Today I have been graced with an entire day of writing.  My plan is simple... spew forth my story at breakneck speed, get it out of my head and worry about editing later.

So enough blog, time to novel!

- KT

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We've only just begun!

Oh wow!

I have been at the blog for seriously days and I have already received a comment.  Not only that, but the wonderful Linday Buroker (@GoblinWriter) even built a blog post over a question I posed to her.

That's the link, go check it out.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hero of the day!

I want you to envision this tale -

A man wakes up in the morning, puts on his slacks and polo while reading the paper.  After a morning filled with getting the kids to school and getting to work he spends his day in a cubical, furiously typing out report after report.  During the filing process, his computer suddenly pauses for a moment... and then continues to print. 

Problem averted he quickly dashes off an e-mail to his boss before grabbing his jacket and stepping into the bright light of the afternoon.  He finds his car where he left it and then heads home for an evening of his favorite sitcom before putting the children to bed.

Riveting isn't it?

When writing your story, make sure and push your main character to his/her limits... and beyond.  The normal MC is remarkable, for a reason.  Because of their ability to stand out, and thus be worthy of a special story, they can and should tolerate more.  It brings life to the page.

If your MC is about to spend the rest of the day slugging it out the sucking mud of a swamp, why not make the swamp mud super hot to give him blisters?

MC about to have to battle it out with the evil mage?  What if that evil mage's henchmen lands a grevious knife wound in the MC's side.  Now he's got to worry about defeating the wizard before bleeds out.

Having our hero's overcome insurmountable obstacles  is what makes them hero's. Imagine this fight -

Clark Kent is walking down the street when he see's two robbers breaking into a bank.  He quickly dashes to a phone booth, changing into his superman costume and bursting forth faster than the eye can see.  As he runs up to apprehend the villains, he see's the police on the scene.  Apparently someone had tripped a silent alarm and the police were able to arrive on time.

Not nearly as interesting as someone hijacking a bus that can't go below 50mph, being driven by a guy who has a heart-attack, and finding the bus is actually careening towards a bridge that is under construction... and the cop that shows up on scene just happens to be dark/mysterious/and works out professional, and did I mention the girl who takes control is just naturally flustered?

Books are entertainment... since they are entertainment they should be entertaining, stretching the boundries of what if is always more interesting than 'wasn't it neat when...'.

Just my thoughts.

- KT

Thursday, April 7, 2011

When your outline goes off track

I have written a lot of stories.  I started when I was probably around 6 or 7 years old.  They were never complicated and normally simple tails about pre-existing events or people (Fan Fic!).  Most of the stories were strictly video game related.  If I was playing 'Mario Bros.' then my MC was more often than not, Mario himself.  Normally it would be my own spin on why he was saving (or capturing) the princess. Back then, I never really outlined, I just allowed myself to become caught up in the story as it was forming.

When Mario was leaping potted plants and jumping on top of turtles, I was WITH him... in the action.  I would spend my free time creating elaborate, to me, stories that took the video game and made it my own.

With writing now, everything has gotten so...sterile.  I'm not saying outline's are bad... far from it actually.  I always outline my stories, and I highly suggest if you're new to writing as an exercise that you do so as well.  It helps.

Anyhow, what I mean by sterile is... it's all about deadlines and NaNoWriMo contests.  So many people are concerned about 'how much' or 'how many', fewer people seem to comment on the key part of their story-the story. 

If you outline something and your MC seems to pull against your outline... stop and reread what you've written.

Did you mean to move the direction you're going?  Does it feel natural or unnatural to move that direction?  Maybe that's the direction you NEEDED to go, maybe that's the way the story SHOULD go.  I could be wrong, but to me, a revision isn't limited to only the 1st/2nd/3rd drafts of your story but of the complete story... outline/MS/cover/etc.

Double check your work, maybe your MC is smarter than you give him/her/it credit for.

- KT

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

1st post is 1st...

I've decided to jump into the self-publishing thing with both feet.  Hopefully it won't chop me off at the knees.

What brought me to this decision?  Well, a lot of things really...I made a list and the self-publish route seems to be a good fit for me at this time.  Maybe things will change in the future, who knows.

Hopefully I'll look back on this post as the beginning of something wonderful.

- Kevin