For fiction writers, paragraphs are a form of punctuation. They break up large blocks of text, they signal a slight change of emphasis or subject, and sometimes they’re like the pause before a comic delivers the punch line. Let’s take an example – it’s not intended to be an example of good writing, it’s just something I threw together for demonstration purposes.
Blocks of text:
The castle, beautiful and vulnerable, rose from a hill covered with juniper trees. Built of white stone that glowed almost golden, it was an impressive sight in the light of the setting sun. Elion deduced from the location and the light golden hue that it had been built of locally quarried limestone, not the best choice for defensive walls. Within those walls, he could see a profusion of towers, balconies, peaked roofs and aerial bridges from one tower to another. If one could erect a catapult on the sloping ground outside the walls, it would make short work of those bridges. High arched windows in the towers doubtless let in the natural daylight, but they could also let in besiegers who climbed the towers making full use of the decorative carvings covering the outside. As for the aerial bridges, a catapult would make short work of them. Still, the castle was beautiful in an overwrought Gothic way. It would be attractive to a traveler who was not concerned with defense. His companion, Zaleria, spurred her horse forward across the narrow bridge from the previous hill. She was eager to reach the imposing gateway that was currently closed by massive doors ornamented with evil-looking spikes. As if they were expecting an elephant to ram the doors, Elion thought.
And I think the reader will skim all this and not really take in most of it – which would be a pity, because you wouldn’t have written all this detail unless you meant to use it later, right?
Yesterday was a perfect example of if something can go wrong, it will. I was happily sitting at my desk, doing research on the current work in progress. In this day and age of the internet, that meant I was online, browsing maps, looking at building floor plans and checking the headlines for a certain ay in history. So imagine my surprise when, after taking yet another sip of coffee, I input a new search term and. . . nothing. I tried reloading the page. Nope. nothing. In fact, I got the notice that Safari couldn’t connect with the server. I was suddenly thrust into the First Circle of Writer Hell–I had no connectivity. Read more
Yesterday through this morning has been research on site for something, I have no idea what. The First Reader, sitting in the dark with me at the wee sma’ hours, suggested I make this post about cranky old men and bad hospital beds. So… yeah. He’s cranky, and recovering, but it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. This was a repair of damage and ought to make him better than ever. Once he’s allowed to get out of the godsdamned hospital bed and into his own.
I hadn’t necessarily approached this as research from the beginning, although I’d learned something yesterday – under stress, I can’t write. I knew that. Under sufficient stress, I can’t even draw, or focus enough to do much of anything other than sit in the waiting room – and I was perfectly healthy and fairly comfortable. It’s not the first time I’ve dealt with stressful situations, by any means. But there is a difference between being in a situation where you are doing something, or can do something, and one where you are sitting on your hands until news comes. I was contemplating this sensation in correlation to story situations while I was trying not to watch the board… this hospital has a nifty thing where they give you a number (for privacy reasons) and you can then keep an eye on progress similar to watching flights come and go at the airport. Read more
(The next several weeks are going to be hit-or-miss for me on the blogging front. Today is a miss. So here’s a blast from the past from 2015. The post may be a rerun but the advice and opinions are still valid.–ASG)
One of the biggest challenges we face as writers is getting what we see in our heads onto the written page. We live with our characters and settings for so long as we plot and plan and then get down to the actual writing. Our characters are alive to us and we see the world through their eyes. That’s a good thing except when it’s not. Read more
They tell you to write every day, and that’s a very good habit to develop. However, since most of us live in this messy place called Real Life, it’s seldom possible to follow that advice literally. The babysitter just quit, the ten-year-old broke his arm, the nursing home has an emergency with your father, the kitchen caught fire, the garage roof fell in… Only someone completely without human connections and supplied with a large staff of perfect servants gets to be that rigid about rules.
I think most of the people who are sufficiently interested in writing to read a blog like this come as close as humanly possible to writing every day, even if Real Life does force them into some complicated detours. Read more
Last week, I wrote about how I was considering shaking things up, at least a few things, in my professional life. Specifically, I’d been considering taking an underperforming series off-sale, do a quick re-edit and then rebrand it before doing a re-launch. Well, I’ve made the decision, started the process and have been looking beyond just the re-launch into what I can do to help boost sales across the board (hopefully without spending too much money in the process). Read more
It’s hard to believe I’ve been indie publishing as long as I have. Thanks to Sarah, I crossed over to the Dark Side as soon as Amazon opened the doors to the unwashed masses that had been kept out of traditional publishing by the oft-lauded gatekeepers. In the years that followed, I’ve made a pretty good living at it. However, it could be better and I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last month or so looking at what I do as a writer and indie publisher and what I need to do to increase not only my exposure but my bottom line.
The final judgment? I need to shake things up some. Read more