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Posts from the ‘WRITING: CRAFT’ Category

Thinking Like a Stranger

A schematic of a patrician’s home/ware-house in the Hansa Museum in Lübeck, Germany. Author photo.

Well, that’s what all writers do, isn’t it? We get inside the heads of fictional people and other critters, find out their motivations (or give them some) and then see what happens. Right?

But what if you need a character with a mind that works in a very different way from yours? Read more

How Do You Show That?

No, not that. Pervs.

This whole life thing keeps being complicated. I don’t like it. I’d like to speak to the Manager. Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave continue to make my life interesting, and I’m not writing nearly enough to keep me happy (I suspect my eventual goal of a novel a quarter isn’t enough, but I’ll nuke that site when I orbit it). That said, some time alone and writing is good, and despite the eventual burnout my chosen-because-the-alternatives-are-worse lifestyle is likely to bring, I’m doing fairly well. Most days. Some days. Adulting is hard, okay? And it hurts: marriage, parenting, loving. It all opens one to several worlds of hurt.

Which segues neatly into the topic today! Suppose you have a main character who is an emotional wreck, for some reason. Or any character, but we tend to put our MCs through the wringer most, and for good reason. How do you demonstrate this in such a way that it doesn’t cause your readers to bounce your book off the far wall? Read more

A Bolg snippet

I’m frantically trying finish a short by deadline – so forgive me digging the start of another short up as a how I do this exercise. You should see me show the setting, establish the characters and hopefully set a hook in this.

The moonlight shadows on the water trembled slightly, shivered by the pre‑dawn breeze. “Not too fast, Eochaid. Not too fast. Wait for the wind to be still,” whispered Fintan.

My wet fingers were numb. I had a frozen snot stalactite forming on the end of my nose. “What are you whispering for, you daft old bodach,” I said, trying to stop my teeth from chattering. The icy water wanted about three inches before it would come fountaining over the top of my waders. It would probably drown me, or worse, let Fintan rescue me. He stood about 6’2″ in his bare feet and dirty white robe, so the water would be barely up to his underwear, if he ever actually wore any. I could always hope it would freeze his testicles off, and save me a lot of trouble in future. But I knew from bitter past experience I wouldn’t be that lucky. Read more

Pirates are “In”

Apparently, pirates are sailing back over the pop-culture horizon this fall. Pirate Halloween costumes are very popular. Scholarly and popular books about pirates are reappearing.

So, should you whip out a book about pirates? Read more

It’s all in how you look at it

Point of View

How many of you here have started something in first person, only to go back and redraft it as third? Or third person redrafted to first?

Or figured out you were in the wrong person’s head, and had to restart in a different head?

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I Bet You Weren’t Expecting…

Welcome back, all. I’m sorry to have to do this, but I’m going to require three sample chapters and an outline from each of you by this time next week. The theme is kitchen sink space fantasy: anything that can happen, will happen somewhere.

I’m kidding. Really. That was an attempt (ED: a ham-handed attempt) at subverting your expectations as readers. I’m required to apologize for that (ED: extremely ham-handed), but I would have anyway. For similarly unwieldy subversions turned into tropes, take a glance at daytime television sometime. Or anime. Or fanfic. Shoot, even a goodly mess of scifi abounds with examples of writers attempting to put one over on the reader.
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To Be Continued…

When last we saw our hero (for a given value of the word), he was clinging to sanity by his thoroughly gnawed fingernails. Small, ravening beasts surrounded him on all sides, nobody had his back, and he was staring deep in the Abyss (who said, “Hey, bro, you have pretty eyes. More coffee?”). Would he survive? Would he be reduced to a gibbering wreck, good only for boiling more mac’n’cheese? Stay tuned for next week’s episode! Read more