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Posts from the ‘WRITING: CRAFT’ Category

Ford vs Ferrari: On the Money!

If you haven’t seen Ford vs Ferrari yet, you need to correct yourself. Yes, it’s a car movie. No, you don’t need to know a great deal about cars. Hell, go in knowing nothing. Because in the end, this movie isn’t about cars. It’s about men. Being men. Doing manly things. Without being negative! You heard that: Hollywood has delivered a wholesome movie about men! In the prescient words of Tychus Findlay: “Hell, it’s about time!”

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Rabbit-holes

I am sure Alice found Wonderland down one of these. I sometimes find rabbit droppings, or, more occasionally, rabbits.  Fortunately, not here on Flinders Island, as we don’t have rabbits… but I daresay if went down enough holes here you might encounter a wombat’s bottom… (they have a very tough thick skin pad on their derrieres  – which they use block their holes to unwelcome visitors, like dingoes, or possibly Alice.) They also produce very odd rectangular droppings, so while you’re down there you could investigate the shaping of these. It must require an odd orifice!

Maybe the wombat’s world domination plan was to convert vegetation into small building bricks? Read more

Describe this

Can you describe the scene? Look at it for 5 seconds,  look away, try and ‘redraw’ it in words…  (it’s actually not a fantasy cover, but a modern hamlet in the mountains. You can see powerlines, but not at a glance) Yeah. well the same applies to characters or people…

“Can you describe the villain who perpetrated this hit-and-run for us, Ms. Smith?”

“He was tall, blond, and was wearing a MAGA hat.”

The one thing you can be sure of is… if they catch the villain, she will be none of the above. She won’t be tall, as in above average height, she will probably have indeterminate color hair, and most likely won’t even own a hat of any description. Might have been wearing a pinkish-red bandanna.

Was Ms. Smith doing a Jussie?  Was Ms. Smith trying to protect the guilty party?

Quite possibly not. Read more

Help! Theirs a Typoo in My Book!

It never fails. You go through your manuscript. You catch the big problems (the six-foot tall bad guy becomes five-foot-one three chapters later), fix the continuity problem (She got married two books ago. What’s a fiancé doing here?), have eagle-eyed copy-editors track down the lingering hints of older sentences and verbs that had switched tenses mid-paragraph.

Your formatted text is perfect. You upload the book. All is well. You download the book. You open to the first chapter. . .

Arrrrrgh! Read more

Greeny-yallery

“A greeny-yallery,/Grosvenor Gallery, /foot-in-the-grave young man” Read more

The name’s the thing

I know there are authors who come up with a character name, then fill out a character sheet like they’re doing a D&D game, and proceed from there unto the plot and story. I am not one of those people.

I know there are authors who put tons of research into their names, and crafting them carefully to match the world.

I know there are authors who have multiple baby-naming books or sites, and cruise through them until they get something that matches the character already in their heads.

Me? I often end up using placeholder names, of something that caught my eye, until I finally figure out (you know, about 25,000 words in) what the character’s actual name is. And then comes the find & replace joy. (Fun fact. Find and replace treats Seth, Seth’s, Seths & Seth’ as 4 separate words, and will only replace one at a time. So make sure you look for potential misspellings and possessive cases. And plurals. Or your (hopefully beta) readers will go “Who’s this?”)

How do you handle names? What resources do you use?

No One Right Way

In the open floor last week, a thread developed on how to tell if that idea you have is a story or a kumquat. There was discussion about how to develop the idea, writing, etc. I want to thank everyone who commented and talked about their process. One thing became clear reading the thread, everyone writes differently and that’s the important thing to remember. Too often, writers (especially new writers) feel like they’re doing something wrong because their process isn’t the same as others they talk with or study. So here is probably the most important rule you can ever learn in writing: quit worrying about how someone else creates and do what works for you. Read more