Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Writing tip: the subject needs to act, not be acted upon.
He was briefly stalled by two guards at the door to the tent.
At the door to the tent, two guards briefly stalled him.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Writing Tip: The point of view character must be clear to the reader at the beginning of each scene. I started a scene with:
Fenworth sat on a rock and contemplated a column he’d just sculpted from the salt-saturated sandstone.
Then realized I was not supposed to be in Fenworth's POV. (I avoid his POV at all costs. Can you imagine being trapped in his roving thought process?)
Hollee is my POV character for most of Fenworth's scenes, but she is in the other room, cooking.
So how did I fix it. With a paragraph that began:
Hollee peeked around the corner to see her wizard.
Simple. And POV purist will be satisfied.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Writing Tip: Sometimes the same word of a similar word sneaks into a sentence. I ran into that in this chapter.
Verrin Schope asked the innkeeper to put several tables together so his party could sit together.
Verrin Schope asked the innkeeper to join several tables so his party could sit together.
This wasn't in today's writing but it is something that can happen:
The runt kept running back and forth in the dog run.
Even though runt isn't related to running and run, it still has too much similarity to be allowed.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Writing Tip: I do this all the time, especially since I have quite a few characters to work with. Someone who should be with the group is never mentioned. I get to the end and think, "Where'd he go?" It can happen with an object, too. The villain is carrying a large pouch of ill-gotten loot. One minute he is at the bottom of a cliff that he must scale, soon he is at the top. How did he transport that big burden? I carefully described how he had to search for handholds and how hot it was and when he nearly slipped. But where was that bag?
Writing Tip: Reread. If I lose momentum, it helps a lot if I go back and read several chapters previous to the one that is giving me trouble. This is not a waste of time. I always edit, tweaking words and sentences and catching typos, etc while I read.
BTW, the name of the book has officially changed to Valley of Dragons.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Writing Tip: I can say that I started Chapter 35 because I put 35 in the middle of the page, hit enter and put Title, hit enter twice and moved to the left side of the page and put ho-hum.
Today was a busy day with a clinic appt. and shopping. And I fiddled with fixing up a few earlier chapters with a word here and a sentence there.
But I am ready to do 35 as evidenced by the page I set up. I almost always put ho-hum as a place setter because I definitely do not want anything ho-hum in my work and almost anything I write to replace the ho-hum will be better. I've set myself up for success.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Writing Tip: I started the scene as Hollee admires the cave Fenworth had found for a special purpose. Can't tell you what the special purpose is. Anyway, I re-read that paragraph, and decided I need to back up one step to when Fenworth, Librettowit, and Hollee are "whirling" to their destination. Whirling is a wizard form of transportation. The chapter began much stronger by just backing up one step. We are often told to begin in the middle of action. If you want to talk fancy it's in medias res. Hollee was in the middle of spinning around and around to see the whole cave, but it was much more interesting to begin in the middle of being transported. Think carefully when you begin a chapter or a scene. You want to make a good first impression.
Monday, December 7, 2009
A friend sent me this site today. Great place for all kinds of sounds:
Sometimes its good to listen to a sound in order to do it justice in your manuscript.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
On Thursday I found out that DragonLight has won the new Clive Staples Award. Pretty cool, eh? Made me feel extra guilty about being stuck in the doldrums and not writing.
You know, God is so good to me. He is faithful, even when I am not.
Writing Tip: A villain has been captured and Paladin is questioning him. Well, the reader would not want to hear all this information that has been explained in chapters before. So a third party, Bealomondore, is watching the interrogation, and I wrote about what he is thinking and only summarize a bit of what the reader already knows. Ta-duh. No boring the reader. It is very, very bad to bore the reader.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Writing Tip: My character walked up to a pond and rather than just say that the water wasn't really brown, but looked like it was, I chose to say that the character knew if he held the water in his hand it would be almost clear with some floaties. After I finished the chapter I re-read and discovered the character needed to move out of "he could have," "he would have," and "he knew that," into action. So he dipped his hand in the water, observed the exact color and noticed the floating debris. Must more "in the scene," and much more satisfying for me and, I hope, the reader. The reader is now sharing an action rather than a reflection.
By the way, I think the name of this book is not the Wandering Artist anymore, but Dragon Guard.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Writing Tip: In this passage, I did something I usually avoid. I like telling straight out tales, and I stick to that in most cases. But this chapter is a turning poin,t and I picked up the challenge of creating image within image.
The country is being invaded, and ordinary men are going to be called into extraordinary circumstances. One young man realizes this, and he contemplates the serenity of the moment he is presently in, knowing that all that is about to change. He picks two things from nature, a dried leaf and a handful of dirt, and looks more deeply into what they are. He doesn't vocalize any great metaphor, but in his analysis of what these things are, the reader should be able to make deep comparisons.
Now, a lot of readers will zip through these two pages and not bother to make the connections. That's okay. But perhaps some English teacher, somewhere , sometime, will torture a class into really thinking about dead leaves and decomposing stuff that makes dirt. And maybe some philosophical reader will mull over these things without the threat of a C- if he doesn't come up with something profound.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Writing Tip: I've been reading Donald Maass' Fire in Fiction book. One section talks about the importance of the first line and last line of every scene. We all know we want to hook the reader on the first page, but I wasn't aware of the concept of these anchor lines in each scene. I'm experimenting with it to see if it works in my writing. (By the way, there are so many ideas about craft, it would be ridiculous to try to implement them all. If one appeals, give it a test run. It may or may not work with your voice, or it may or may not work in this particular piece you are writing.)
The first line of chapter 32:
Fenworth did not take the plate Bealomondore offered him.
And the last:
She grinned as she chewed.
The first one raises a question. Why didn't he take the plate?
The last one gives a concrete image to hold on to. Of course yours is nebulous because you haven't read this section and don't know who she is. But, if you had, you would have a tight grasp on how this scene moved the character who is grinning.
Anchor lines are fun when they work.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Almost finished chapter 31 tonight; 55,063 word count
Writing tip: When you are published, don't read your reviews. One person says you copied heavily from Tolkien and Lewis; another says your work is refreshingly different from the traditional rip-offs of Tolkien and Lewis. One says your descriptions stink; another says your descriptions are the only thing that saves your hollow plot line and depthless characters. Sigh. Ignore both sides of the criticism. Chances are you aren't that great, but you aren't that bad either.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Still on chapter 30; word count 54,078
Writing Tip: don't repeat words and don't forget contractions in dialogue.
Tears surprised Tipper, running down her cheeks. She swiped at them but not before her kimen guide saw them.
Got to get rid of them twice. She swiped at her cheeks? No, cheeks is in the previous sentence. Leave of the second them? No, the sentence ends too abruptly. Running down her face. She swiped at her cheeks? Better. Maybe I'll keep that.
"You are tired and hungry. I will bring you a cool cloth and you can wash your face. Then you are to lay down and rest."
Better: "You're tired and hungry. I'll bring you a cool cloth. You can wash your face, then you're to lie down and rest."
Got to fix lay to lie. Lay/lie always traps me. And Kimen have a short sentence pattern. Plus this kimen is bossy, so I rearranged the syntax a little bit.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
My new computer is wonderful. I am rapidly becoming acquainted with its bells and whistles.
Writing Tip: Never, ever, take a break. I'm really joking, but it seems to me that if I write steadily every day, then every day I write steadily. But if life, circumstances, or a sudden bout of laziness keeps me away from the keyboard, then it take several days for me to find my rhythm again. I am glad to be back with Tipper and her dragon. Now I need to pick up some speed.
By the way, we have decided to rename this book. Something with dragon in the title. Wandering Artist will be called something with more of a fantasy ring to it.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Kulson nodded and continued with his meal. Groddenmitersay lifted his empty tankard as a server went by. He needed a drink.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Finished Chapter 19; 34,534 words
Writing tip: I wrote a sentence and then looked at it with my editor eye. I began trimming.
Her tight muscles complained as she followed Rayn’s directions to slowly stretch each set to loosen them.
It was just too long, saying more than was needed. First of all, why say "to loosen them"? I already said they were tight muscles so it is pretty apparent the stretching was done to loosen them. I have pretty intelligent readers. Authors should respect the brain power of their audience.
Do I have to say "each set"? Nah. How many of you quickly stretch? I didn't hear anyone say, "Me, me!" So slowly gets deleted.
Now the sentences says,
Her tight muscles complained as she followed Rayn's directions to stretch.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
“Good afternoon.” His smile reinforced his cheerful greeting. “Business has been rather slim these past few weeks. We’re mighty glad you stopped. Come ashore and rest a bit. My mom makes the best traveler’s stew on the river. We’ve clean, soft beds, and bathtubs on every floor, and even a shower on the second.”
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tipper gritted her teeth against the pain that shot from her foot, up her shin, and beyond her knee.
Tipper gasped as the pain shot from her foot, up her shin, and beyond her knee.
The red flag in the original sentence is the word "that." As soon as I saw "that," I knew to reread and rewrite if possible. A writer does not have to eradicate all "thats" from her work, but it is good to see if the sentence would benefit from rephrasing. I switched from "gritted her teeth" to "gasped" not because I wanted fewer words but because I acted out in my mind what reaction I would have to the first time I took a step on an injured foot. I would grit my teeth on the second step. On the first, I would be surprised by the severity of the pain.