I Don’t Know How to Finish

I Can’t Believe it! I’ve written a book! I’ve created people who ran around and did things, loved each other, hated each other, saved each other from danger. I love them ALL! Yesss! But I can’t seem to stop going back into their lives and “fixing” this and “fixing” that. Just in case. Two posts ago (“Blame it on Writer’s Block”), I wrote: We need to choose one story/book/article and be faithful to it until the end. When we getRead more

Surprise! Surprise!

In the old days of Saturday afternoon Western movies, the Cavalry would often arrive at the last moment to save the day. de·us ex ma·chi·na (dāəs eks ˈmäkənə,ˌdāəs eks ˈmakənə/); noun an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel. (“We” don’t do that in our writing, do we?) There’s nothing as wonderful as a surprise ending whether it’s in a movie, a story, a book or aRead more

Not Enough Novel for a Novel?

Writing too many words as discussed in my most recent Post can have its benefits. But what if we need a specific length and don’t have enough words to fill that requirement? Develop a story or two to weave in. Make them form a “rope” or a “braid” toward the end. Trim off the “ends” (literally!) until only the Protagonist is left then have him/her ride off into the sunset. ta-da The End How Am I Going to Do That?Read more

Be Kind to Your Critters

Be Nice to Your Readers Don’t make loveable anybody you’re planning to kill off in the first few pages. A reader won’t trust you anymore, and a reader has to be able to trust you in order to suspend disbelief. And to read the rest of the story. Along the same lines, try not to kill off the family pet unless you’re dealing with a really despicable antagonist. The term “bunny boiler” has come into use on Inter­net dating sitesRead more

Don’t Stalk Your Characters

Let’s ensure that our major characters live out their own lives while we observe, read their minds, and record. However … we must not: follow their every single move; look in the mirror with them; go to the toilet with them (unless it’s to see something unfortunate like blood in the urine or crabs in the pubic hair); go shopping with them — unless it’s to purchase a gun, rat poison, the wrong flowers (or flowers on the wrong day).Read more

Describe without Details

Place We may describe a scene or a background to develop an atmosphere, a feel for the scene we are writing, but we must maintain restraint. Pages and pages on the colour of trees and long winding roads, etc., are no longer de rigueur in novels — except in literature class. Let us eschew the hell out of doing this, even for gothic novels. Marcel St-Amand, author of the Lemon Ultra action-adventure series, is a master at providing just enoughRead more

Using Backstory without Using It

The importance of backstory cannot be overemphasized. It’s a real joy when we create a character that comes alive and starts going her own way, thinking on her own, and making decisions. When it happens, we can pat ourselves on the back. What is backstory? It’s everything we (author) know about our character that never makes it into the final product. Because? It has nothing to do with the current story. Why bother with it then? The more backstory weRead more

An Opinion for EVERY Character

EVERY character has an attitude. An author MUST show this through Action and Dialogue. Or Action Alone, never dialogue alone. Why? Mere chatter is not an attitude. We need to throw some body language into it. Every character has an opinion about what’s going on. Even the bystanders. Let the reader see it. Perhaps … A smarmy look from an Extra (or equivalent) in a crowd. The stereotype is the gum-snapping, confrontational waitress with a hand on one hip (let’sRead more

No Loose Threads

Bread crumbs. Loose threads. = Food? Clothing? Food, water, shelter, clothing, “love”: the necessities of life. These necessities keep our story characters alive, too. Not only must we weave threads of stories and substories throughout our works (generally, only one story per short story though), but we must clothe our characters as well with those threads of story and substory. (I’ll cover more about clothing characters in my next post: “An Opinion for EVERY Character”.) Threads are important. (But notRead more

Leaving Bread Crumbs

The other day, while working on Refuge in l’Acadie (the second book in my Kesk8a series), my Muse suggested an interesting twist. I said to myself (I think I even said it out loud!): “Ooh yes! Like. Like.” This meant I had to go back into the story and tuck a bread crumb in early and I did this with great delight. (I thank the Goddess of Cyberspace for inspiring the computer. It makes it so much easier to addRead more