Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Tuesday Choice Words

Which writers have you learnt the most from? Which of those wonderful wordy folk inspire you? Personally, I'd have to say Mary Shelley, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. Benison O'Reilly cites Charlotte Bronte as her literary example in What Charlotte Bronte Taught Me About Writing on the Write It Sideways website.

This is the last Tuesday Choice Words until 2014.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Presents All Round

I'm getting very excited about Christmas this year. I don't know what it is but I can feel the kid in me taking over. I catch myself humming festive songs (my children tell me off while my husband practises his power of selective hearing) and musing over recipes for the day. Most of all, I am ridiculously giddy about giving presents this year. 

So I thought I would share my giddiness a little further. For the first twenty four days of December, you will find an advent calendar on my blog. On each of those days, I will post a short piece of writing advice, just a snippet so as not to distract you from your own festive preparations.

It's only a handful of days until December. See you then.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Tuesday Choice Words

Yesterday, I introduced my character Frank to you but it's a rare occasion when I share my novel and talk about it to anyone. I think that's because the idea, although planned out, is still fermenting in my head. Do you talk about your novel? Steven Pressfield suggests that you shouldn't. Find out why in his article - Don't Talk About It.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Supporting Cast

Frank has been a character in my novel since the first draft but he's not one of the main cast. He's there in the background, as the first suggestion of a world of magic, as a picker of locks, but mainly as a friendly bridge between two worlds. I've always had a soft spot for him with his gawky frame and cheeky smile but he has remained ever elusive until a couple of weeks ago when I came across a photograph of Rhys Ifans.

For those of you who don't know, Rhys Ifans is a wonderful Welsh actor seen in Dancing at Lughnasa, Little Nicky, several of the Harry Potter films and more recently, The Amazing Spider-Man, to name but a few.

With Ifans' voice in my ear, Frank comes to life. The playwright in me loves a lyrical accent and Frank's dialogue now reflects those Welsh tones.

I have plenty of work for him to do and now I can envisage him clearly.

Dancing at Lughnasa
Little Nicky
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Amazing Spider-Man

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Tuesday Choice Words

My life is hectic at the moment. There seems to be a lot to fit in and as usual my writing time suffers. Most autumn nights have found me scooting between children's bedtimes and working on my novel. I am nothing, if not adaptable.

How to pace a story so that it hooks the reader is an interesting article from Nail Your Novel, that leads you through the process of creating a novel your reader won't want to put down.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Photo Inspiration for November

This is another photo from my family albums, from the late 1940s or early 1950s. My grandfather Alfred stands on the farthest left hand side. I always thought he had characterful eyebrows. 

I have no idea what this meeting of gentlemen is about. Is it a presentation of awards? What is the circular raised item in the middle? What is the general mood and what do the varying expressions (some smiling, some not) indicate? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Tuesday Choice Words

After yesterday's blog post about whether we should have an understanding of why a villain is bad (their background), I'm still in a quandary over my own 'monster'. In the novel I'm working on, Jared is what they call 'damaged goods'. His mother was a drug addict and he spent a lot of time living on the streets. My quandary is that I can't decide whether it would add anything to the novel for the reader to know his back story, or if I do reveal his upbringing, how much of it to include. Will it move the story along?

The Other Side of the Story offers up many fascinating and incredibly useful articles on a regular basis and this one - 5 Steps to Better Characters Arcs - is no exception. It may well come in useful in making my decision about Jared.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Who will be the next monster?

I've discussed the idea of monsters previously in my article, Loving the Monster, and the recent Hallowe'en season has got me thinking about it all over again.

It seems to me that most of the fictional monsters and villains we meet through books, films and TV these days are generally created in a way that we can understand their crimes or brutal approach. For instance, in the novel, The Warm Bodies (and subsequent film) by Isaac Marion, we find a zombie who grows tired of his life of noshing human flesh and seeks something more, well, human. He wants to fall in love and have experiences beyond his condition.

In Dexter, the character of the title is a serial killer who appears to take delight in his gruesome murders but only slaughters criminals who have escaped justice.

Time and again, the actions of fictional monsters and villains can be explained away but what happened to having a baddie who was just bad? I miss that.

We need more thoroughly evil characters like Freddie Krueger, the Hitcher, the Candyman and Pennywise from Stephen King's It. I don't want to sympathise with a monster or a villain. I want them to scare me and endanger the characters I'm rooting for.

What about you? Do you like to understand the monster or would you rather be scared witless by an unrelenting villain?