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Posts from the ‘WRITING: ART’ Category

Meeting Strangers

There’s a psychological phenomenon that means when you make yourself smile, you begin to involuntarily feel happy. The well-known cliche ‘fake it till you make it’ has a kernel of truth. I don’t know about other writers, but I use mood music while I’m writing to get me in the right frame of mind to create war/love/melancholy or whatever my story requires of me. I can’t wait on inspiration. If I want to do this on my own terms, I can’t follow the will ‘o wisp that is the muse. I don’t want to wind up drowning in the swamp of my own doubts and insecurities.

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More things to consider when it comes to covers

Last week, I described my first foray into Fiverr in search of a cover. I admitted the process was both easier and more difficult than I expected. Easier because the process of finding someone and staying in contact with them during the creation process is seamless and, at least for me, quickly done. More difficult because a number of those you will come across may be good to awesome at what they do, but they don’t all know the technical requirements sites like Amazon place on covers. So you have to be up on that information and make sure they know what you need.

But, that post and a couple of conversations I’ve had since them pointed me to another issue authors have when it comes to covers. Now, I’m not going to try to tell you how to create a cover. I’m not a cover artist or designer. Been there, done that and know I don’t have the time or desire or money to get the programs I need (and learn them) to make the quality of covers I want for my books. What I am going to do is talk to you as a writer about covers and about what you need to pay attention to when looking for a cover artist. Read more

Writer Beware

When I began reading Dave’s post yesterday, I smiled and nodded. I’m up to my eyeballs in the final edits for Nocturnal Revelations. My brain is focused on not only the edits but what needs to be done to promote the book between now and release date. So figuring out what to write for MGC is, well, challenging. Because of that, I did what I often do when I’m having a hard time coming up with a topic: I wandered over to The Passive Voice. BTW, if you aren’t following TPV, you should, especially if you are a writer. Anyway. . . . Read more

When a Character Gels

Author photo of a Deutschmark from during the Great Inflation of the 1920s.

Sometimes, authors start the story knowing who the main character or characters are, and build the story around them. Other times, an idea leads to noodling around with world building and then characters sort of wander in. And a few times, world building comes first, and the author looks at her wonderful world, sighs a little, and starts auditioning characters so she can explore her world (and sell it to readers).

I tend to alternate between idea and character. In the case of the Powers books, the “what if” idea came first, followed by lots and lots of research. Specifically, since the world Joschka and Rada inhabit in the Cat Among Dragons series is slightly off-kilter from our history, I started working backwards to see what would have to happen to make it that way. And then hit WWI and really had to dig into the material, which took me back to the Austro-Prussian War, which led to… You get the idea. But I needed a protagonist. And not Joschka. Read more

Noise

The human factor in art is noise. When you are taking a photograph, the noise is the graininess, the imperfection that when you blow the photo up large enough to see the details, the details erode into static. When a scientist runs a baseline on a chromatograph, the baseline isn’t smooth. If you zoom in far enough, you see jagged peaks and valleys that mean nothing when compared with the actual signal of a substance being analyzed. That’s noise. Read more

Chekhov’s Gun and Writing Backwards

So, a bit like Merlin in The Sword in the Stone, my characters are living life backwards. Sort of. I had to do something unusual-for-me with Shikhari #5, that being write the first chunk, then jump to the end, then work backwards. The reason is Chekhov’s Gun*. Read more

Pretend Story

Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave love stories. I’ve found the Junior Partner sitting quietly by herself “reading” a book any number of times in the last several weeks, her Number One Buddy is constantly making up backgrounds for the creations he build. And I can hold them both rapt for easily an hour just by talking. Which is where this arrives at the MGC. For the past several weeks, I’ve been telling the Pretend Story at bedtime. (I’ll work up a better title for it when we’re done.) Read more