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But, it’s all been done before …

OK, I said I was going to dish a little ‘advice’ so here goes my version of advice regarding:

  • Bad Guys – gettin’ to the good stuff (or, Good vs. Evil)
  • “I’ve just realized my plot’s been done a million times before … should I toss it?”

I have SO many versions of my current WIP. I’ve lost beta readers cos I keep re-starting. But, I’m getting close, I can feel it … my presciousssss … anyway, um, where was I?

I guess I’m saying it is really up to you. How excited are YOU by the idea of your current WIP? Sometimes it’s not the outcome that’s important, but the journey. Sure, we know Luke has to defeat Darth Vader, but getting there, finding out that the evil guy is actually Luke’s father – THAT was a kicker. And, even when you know that already, you can go back and watch the movies (the first ones, anyway) because it’s about the journey.

Spin a good tale. Write what you want to write (with half your mind on what will sell, if you hope to sell it). Has it been done before? Yes? No? Does it matter? There are only meant to be so many plots in the world, or something. It’s how you dress it up that matters. 

Read more…But, it’s all been done before …

Critics – gotta love ’em

I was just reflecting on how lucky I am to have a critic. I’m talking about a friend of mine who isn’t afraid to say “That’s crap” when I shoot an idea her way. And, I think I’ve mentioned before, sometimes she is wrong. Especially because she’s not actually read any of my story, and her understanding of my characters is not quite the same as mine – although, we’re finding a parity.

What’s good about it – even if she is wrong – is that she forces me to look at what I’m doing and re-think it. Why do I think that my idea is the best way to write things? Why is that the best way for my characters to act in that situation? I still remember the time a reviewer told me one of my protags didn’t behave how she expected him to at one point – and the suggestion she made? It was BRILLIANT! And so, Jonas punches Llewella in the gut (Chapter 1, hardly a spoiler) That sounds bad … but, she had just stolen his very, very special knife … and, he thought she was a boy, at the time. It was somewhat deserved, and Jonas IS that kind of guy. How had I not seen that on my own?

I think I know how. I was too focussed on the future romance in the works (which may or may not happen … sometimes characters don’t work out the way you planned) – I just couldn’t imagine him doing something so mean to his future one-and-only. What I needed to do was to come back to the “here and now”. Forget the future. They can deal with the fact that he did that then. If it matters.

So, for someone who said they don’t dispense advice on their blog, I’m advising: get other opinions. Or, at least, let that idea/scene/reaction stew for a bit. And don’t be scared to ask what others think.

(As I have found myself ‘advising’ someone else recently, I will, in fact, be dishing a little advice over the next wee while – just in case it helps others. However, I recommend that people who like my advice go and look up further information from others – I am not the holy grail of writing know-how).

What a week …

Or, rather … what an end to a crazy week. Hmm. No. I’m not so sure it’s over, yet.

OK, here goes. (I’m on caffeine, so bear with me). Last week, I learned new stuff about writing (Thanks, Janice) and I set about implementing what I learned in my WIP. This meant MAJOR re-writes (good-bye scenes I was really quite attached to …). The problem with doing this now is we start reviewing in the “First Three Chapters” group I am part of next week! Eep! OK, that’s fine. Breathe, you can do this. And … you know what? I was doing it. At over 2,000 words per day, I was doing it. The end of Chapter 1 is done. Chapter 2 is done. Most of Chapter 3 is done – thanks largely to the fact I can reuse some old stuff here.  And, I even finished a short story (~2000 words)  for a competition yesterday. Yeh man. I am a MACHINE.

So, the two competition stories I did over the last couple of weeks? They earned me two 3rd places. Not too shabby, huh? OK, so they weren’t major, prestigious writing comps, but that’s OK. It’s nice to prove to myself that I can write to a prompt and do alright. Especially when the story I write is away from my WIP. As a novelist, I get worried that I’ll only ever have one story in me. This is it. Once I’ve sent these characters out to play, I’ll be stuck. I’ll never write anything again. Oh woe is me.

So, I encourage you to play with short stories. Find a few competitions (writing.com is great for it … but I’m sure there are others) and challenge yourself.

Even better than placing in competitions is getting feedback – in-depth feedback – from an enthusiastic reader. And I found one today.

Read more…What a week …

A partially complete drawing

Sometimes things just take too darn long to do. Here is my partially completed drawing of Braph:

Close up of antagonist, Braph
Braph Close up

Actually,  it’s only part of the picture. The whole picture shows him crouching in front of a fire. It’s taking me ages to do, but I thought I’d share what I’d been up to recently, anyway. He’s my “bad guy”. Not bad looking, eh? He’s not all bad. I’m kind of coming to like him – as a “villain”, anyway. He’s not exactly a good guy, but he’s not inherently evil, either.

Anyway, by the time I finish the picture, I will have spent many, many hours on it. And it still won’t be perfect. But I won’t know how to fix it without starting all over. And then I think I will draw a picture of Llewella. And then I need to get back to the one of Braph and Llewella. I like the image in my head of that one. Of course, the finished product will never look as good. I wish I could show it to you. One day, when they come up with technology that let’s us project our head-images onto paper, or into a computer. Hmm …

I think I may be awake too late.

Night night.

 

Woot!

792 word Short Story written. (Limit was 869 – random, I know). Yay. I completed something.

Time to return to adjusting my WIP before the boy wakes for the afternoon.

 

(I’m not sure if I’ll put my short up here. It was written for a competition called “The Weekly Quickie”. Most entries are highly sexual, of course, but they don’t have to be. They just have to stir feelings in the judges. I’ll see how it rates, and then I’ll consider whether to post it under my “Other works”.)

Joy

I love it when I sit down thinking “Major re-write time” and then I look at what I have and think “Well, actually, I can keep that – it fits with my new plan, and ain’t all that bad.” and “I can keep that …” and “I can keep that …”. Yes, I am revising some stuff, but no longer am I so scared of it. This is kinda fun.

 

Oh, yeah … But, I also have to sit down and churn out that short I was planning. Right, knuckling down.

Inspiration: The Fickle Beast

Gosh, haven’t I been quiet of late? Indeed.

So, a quick catch up (and a mountain of excuses).

I don’t give writing advice on my blog for many reasons. Number one being that I am a novice and any ideas I put here would just be someone else’s idea regurgitated ever so slightly into my own words – although, when you don’t know what you are talking about how can you possibly say it better than the experts? If you want writing advice, go here. No, seriously, do. You’ll spend hours flicking through Janice’s blog, just like I have, and come away feeling like you really could write that killer novel because, you know, you know how to now.

Read more…Inspiration: The Fickle Beast

The Art of Failure …

“…  it’s as simple as that. Once I decided to risk failure I became a more complete person for it. I mean all you gotta do is risk. See you are looking at a better person now.” (Michael DeLuise (as Joey Penhall) in 21 Jump Street episode “Film at Eleven”)

 

It’s something I try to teach my son. He’s nearly 17 months old and, so far, his tendency is to (literally) throw his toys if he can’t do what he wants to do with them. If I threw my toys (read: computer) every time they didn’t work the way I wanted them to, oh boy, it’d get expensive! Like now. It seems I need to have different browsers for different tasks. Firefox runs some things better, but it is totally crappy for typing up a simple blog entry – for me, anyway. I can type words ahead of what Firefox shows me. Chrome manages the typing fine. But if I want to look at (or play – sheepish look) anything with Flash, I gotta go to Firefox. Gah!

Anyway, that wasn’t the point behind me starting this post.

Ever since I got “nominated” for a Liebster Blog Award, I have been trying to fulfil my part of the deal. Someone linked to me (and four other blogs), now I am meant to do the same: link to 5 blogs. And not just any blogs. They have to have 250 or fewer followers. Not all blogs post their follower number, either, so how am I supposed to pick them? I don’t have a heck of a lot of time to troll through the interwebs finding random blogs that deserve a boost. Not to say I wouldn’t love to. So, what I am going to do, is re-post parts of posts I really like and link to the original post, of course, and also just link to blogs I like. I should do the whole “Blogroll” down the side, shouldn’t I? OK, time to make friends with technology.

Anyway, back to the topic I indicated with my post title. I was just reading this post about failure and thought I would share – even if it is nearly a year old already.

Learning from failure is a good thing. Learning from other’s failures is even better – although I do admit you usually learn more by experiencing things for yourself, there are some things you won’t get the chance to learn from if you make a mistake trying them (such as speeding uber-quick on a motorbike). So, learn from others if you can. Try the things that you can live with the thought of failing at. Well, at least that you can live after failing at.

Wow, this post was just meant to be a quick, light-hearted link … What happened?