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Posts from the ‘WRITING: CRAFT’ Category


How best to handle introducing new characters, new stories, and readers to one another? Well, my preference both as a writer and a reader is to get a sense of them, but not necessarily learn everything about them all up front at once. It’s a slow dance, a tease, a little here, a little there, and you get to know them, just like you do in real life. When you are introduced to a person in front of you, you might get their full name, or you might not. There’s formal introductions: “may I present Princess Hildegard of Aronia to you, Grand Duchess of Rexington?” and then there is: “so this is Joe, my plumber. He’s pretty good, if’n you don’t want it done fast.” With a wink and an elbow nudge. Read more

Early Birds Get Word Time

But more importantly, quiet. And coffee. Especially coffee, but mostly just an hour without children clamoring for attention. Good news on that front! Wee-er Dave will be rocking mornings at the local Montessori next month when Wee-Dave starts preschool. I’ll get them up, fed, and dressed (cold, dead, and lifeless hands, non-Oxford comma heretics!) and to their respective babysitterslearning establishments, and then I’ll have a blessed three hours(ish) to write. Every day.

I’m so excited I can barely sit still.
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Process vs. Event

No, this isn’t a NaNoWriMo post. Well, not really, though it touches on that. This actually started when my darling and I were discussing the need to reshelve books. In our house, this can become a big deal – not just because we like to pull out old favourites to read, but because Peter pulls out lots of books to check on facts while researching (Many things for his westerns are much easier to look up in the right reference book instead of spending hours searching on the web, and same for military history research that gets transmuted into milSF.)

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I don’t know if life is dropping on anybody else like the proverbial measure of squarish building things, but it is me. Mom and Pop Dave had a great visit. Caer Dave is sparkling (ish), Dave wrote (a bunch: short story and several space opera chapters), much goodness was accomplished, and Wee and Wee-er Dave had ALL. THE. FUN.

Which is part of the problem. They are now having less fun, and taking this out on each other, which really means they’re taking it out on me. But I also received a call (half an hour after Mom and Pop Dave drove orft) asking if I was actually planning on bringing the car in to get the collision damage fixed. YES! Yes, I am. Called the insurance to clear up a final question, call the rental place to confirm pick-up, get the littles set, and loaded, and start the car. Start. The. Car.

The car isn’t starting.
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The revenge of the doorstop

I’m damned sure I’m not the only reader who has hoped there’d be just a few more pages… (if you’re a writer who doesn’t read – trust me, you’re doing wrong. Like deciding to have babies without all this DNA sharing stuff, it doesn’t really work well, unless you’re a newt. Those sort of books work well… for parthenogenetic newts.)

Of course I wanted a few more pages to JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings at about 450K and to Louis L’Amour’s Flint at about 45K.

It wasn’t actually a specific length I wanted – just more of a book I had enjoyed. Read more

World Building – Foundation and walls

So, you have amazing nifty sources and details for your world. Now all you need is a story to stuff them into! That is, without having too much of a good thing. James A. Michener was (in)famous for starting a novel about, oh the Front Range of Colorado with the Laramide orogeny and then working forward 70-80 million years before introducing his first human characters. OK, maybe not that bad—he starts in the Pleistocene*… That’s taking world building too far, unless there is an in-story reason for it. You also don’t want a series of info-dumps loosely connected by a character. (Parts of Dune might be an exception, but most of us are not Frank Herbert, and he was writing a milieu novel that happened to have an adventure story tucked into it.)

So what do you do? Read more

Compensatory Mechanisms

There are times I hate being a writer.  One of the things it does is set me at odds with normal (or really, abnormal but not writers)  human beings, and prevents the enjoyment of simple pleasures that involve story telling.

I used to think I was alone in this, but the last few Liberty cons have quite put paid to that idea, as I hear colleague after colleague say things like “I used to enjoy reading, but now I find myself analyzing it”  or “I loved movies but now I can see the mechanics and the effects.

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