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Posts from the ‘plotting’ Category

Tinfoil Fedora Time

Before I get to what’s useful for writing, I’d just like to ask the world to spin just a little slower. I could use a couple more hours in each day. I have projects to finish. The car need an oil change, as (probably) does the Valkyrie. And Mrs. Dave’s Jeep. The bedframes are coming together (hehe), but some of the boards need another shot with the sander, and then some stuff needs gluing and screwing (fun, but not fun-fun), and then staining, and I’ll need to acquire some plywood to support the new mattresses. I can almost taste the greater organization of having a clean laundry-room-slash-office. Read more

Back in the saddle

So I am trying to get back on the (writing) horse again.  Like falling off the real thing, there is considerable wisdom in the advice about getting back on immediately. Still, this is the first break I’ve taken for 10 years (the last one was 3 weeks to emigrate) and it was 17 years before that. I’ve not taken a ‘work-free’ holiday in that time. Slowed down, worked on editing, proofing, research, taken a day off, yes. But longer, no.

I had dramas getting paid for my last book (just trad Pub working at normal speed – only a drama from my point of view). It was money I was relying on for the house-building and moving, which – today, it seems are finally resolved. Three months late but, I suppose, better than never.  Still, it hasn’t helped that get back on the horse process.  Defensive memory makes it hard to remember which end produces dung and which end bites. I think I am supposed to be in the middle between them, but I may be facing the wrong way. Read more

Good Critic, Bad Critic

Last time I talked about dealing with the destructive inner critic, so I thought that today it might be worth mentioning that it’s not really a good idea to silence or ignore all the criticisms that float through your head. Some of them come from the useful critic, the one you definitely want to listen to. It’s not hard to distinguish them. The Bad Critic makes statements that are usually personal attacks, and are always designed to silence you. The Good Critic asks questions that spark ideas and help you improve the story.

There are lots of checklists of questions to ask yourself, but I don’t find these terribly useful. I prefer to take a step back from the story and see what floats into my head when I try to read it as a stranger might; when I sense a weakness in what I’ve written or recognize an old stumbling-block. A lot of them are things you might expect to hear from beta readers, but I don’t believe in counting on beta readers to fix problems I can catch for myself. Here, then, are some things I might hear from the Good Critic during the journey from initial idea to finished draft. Read more

Plotting around what you know

I’ve reached a point in the current book (#7 in the Applied Topology series, for those who care) where I have to stop, take a deep breath, sit back and… read all day. Or maybe all week.

No, really. I have to. I’m not just making excuses to take off, I swear! (Oy… please, people, don’t let Thalia beat me up! She doesn’t like it when I ask her to quit talking for a few days.)

Thing is that A Child of Magic has a subplot which requires my characters to visit Philadelphia for a day and a half. Um, during the Constitutional Convention. Summer of 1787, that would be. The bits that got them into this fix have already been written, and I’ve already worked out how this assignment leads right into the final confrontation of the main plot. But now it’s time for them (and me) to take a deep breath and plunge into the noise, smells, and mud of the big city. Read more

I Aten’t Ded … Again

The first thing you need to know is I’m alive. I know that might not seem particularly relevant, but last week’s fiction was written a couple weeks earlier, and by the time it went live here, I’d already woke up feeling rather poor. When I got in to see a doc on … Thursday? It was in time to find out I’d developed bronchitis, and I should get a chest x-ray, “just in case.” Well, case happened, and I got a phone call that even letting me know I’d also contracted pneumonia. “Just a small spot in the middle of your right lung,” not that I could really tell. Kinda ouchy, actually. Fortunately, good meds are good, and I can breathe again.
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Story Arc, Marvel Movies, and Human Wave

So on release day, my kids dragged me to watch Captain Marvel. It wasn’t a hard drag, as overall I’ve enjoyed the Avengers movie arc. I have not seen all of the movies, have definitely not watched all of the TV series spin-off, but I’ve seen enough to be Team Cap all the way, and to appreciate the Human Wave story underlying the series as a whole. My takeaway from Captain Marvel? Human Wave. If you’ve enjoyed the previous movies, you should go see it.

That being said, while my review on my blog was about the movie, the message, and the massive missing the point the actress who tried to torpedo the movie was guilty of, this blog post is about storytelling. Read more

Hitting the Restart Button

Just a couple of days before leaving for LTUE I finished the accidental novel. I’d set a mental goal of ‘done before the con’ and I was elated to get it finished, and off to beta readers, before I left on the trip. During the trip, beta comments trickled in. I love my readers, and am so appreciative of the time they take to make thoughtful insights that help my work improve. But while I was at the con, I’d get a notification, see it was from the beta reader, and think ‘do I need to see this now?’ Read more