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Showing posts from April, 2011

Showing versus Telling

I am such a wimp where my computer is concerned that when there's a storm raging, I sit at the kitchen table candle nearby in case of a power outage, writing things by hand in my journalling scrapbook. Green ink today, trying to finish an old pen. I've suffered a lightning-fried motherboard and the results were not pretty. Once bitten and all that. But it does mean my blogs are delayed. Sorry.

This week I've been working though Chapter 3 of Srese Kerr, more slowly than I expected it would take. The problems are the parts which are still in the told mode, rather than being shown. Large chunks of Srese's story were written more than five years ago which equates to approximately the amount of time I've been conscious of the tell/show divide.

What I'm discovering is that telling makes me (the writer) feel distant from the character. To my mind now,  telling equates to running a character as though they were a marionette, with me pulling the strings. When I re read,…

Part II of the Lodestar Series

Part II is now under way. I named it Srese Kerr after the main character, the mover and shaker of status quo in her home scene. Her name is Srese, after cerise the colour and it is a pair-name. Her twin brother's name is Sard, after Sardonix, a semi-precious stone of a tawny yellow colour.

I've tried quite a few other names for this section, none of which worked, all of them awkward as novella titles. Quite possibly even this name will be seen as awkward, as it is the first and family name of the character, when several of the main characters of previous and subsequent parts in the series don't have the same traditions in naming.

Chapters 1 and 2 have been rewritten. The action now starts much closer to the inciting incident where Srese sees the 'mermen' for the first time.  Of course everybody thinks they are a figment of the community computer's imagination. And yes, how wrong they turn out to be.

A taster ...
1: Srese

Srese stopped running as she entered the l…

Writer Doodling

Today the wind blows from the coast, across the flat land between the coast and the hills behind, and the strains of music from the Blues Fest with it. I hear the all-pervasive drumbeat, and voices. Whether of singers or the cheering crowd, I don't know. My hearing isn't that good.

We're probably about 6 kilometres away as a crow would fly, if there still are any in the area. I wonder how the flying foxes are coping with the nightly noise. They are an amazing sight every night between about six and eight pm, and it is amazing to be able to stand under the flight path of tens of thousands of flying foxes winging their way purposefully to their nightly feeding grounds.

I presume they come from Ocean Shores where there is a big camp, fly over the highway, south easterly across this town. Many individuals drop off into the fig trees everywhere ripe with autumn fruit. But seeming to make directly for Tyagarah, where the Blues Festival is roaring day and night.

The fly-over seem…

First Paragraphs

Thanks be I read about first paragraphs on one of the blogs I follow. When I find the one it was, I'll insert the link but as so often happens, I read am inspired and forget to hit the + to add the page to my favourites. Hence I'm having to re read my whole history. For which I don't have any time set aside.

Yes, I was reading about first paragraphs. Being reminded what they need. Revising what I know. That's very necessary sometimes. I tend to get into a space writing writing writing where I forget the meat and just write the bread. My turn of phrase is good but I forget to crank the handle that tightens the suspense. Or I start into the second novella with Srese, the protagonist, and I have her doing all her stuff but never thinking why.

A first paragraph, of any length of story, I think, needs to introduce the main protagonist. These days, anyway. I do recall reading two or three paragraphs of setting before the protagonist made it onto the page. Olden days books, I…

Solving Problems by way of a Brain

What does a writer need to solve knots in a work-in-process?

A brain will go a long way. Time for some in-depth thinking is probably another essential. It is for me. Which means just sitting around. Great when the sun is shining. Today it was cloudy all day.

Thinking thinking.

Apparently it helped that I had talked with a friend about eyes and eye diseases and how eyes work, a couple of weeks ago. Singapore was mentioned, in relation to a study suggesting that an astronomical number of Singaporean people are short sighted because they spend their lives in buildings and among buildings. Only ever seeing short distances their brains never develop longer sightedness. Or so the article tells us.

I've been wondering how the heck I was going to explain robots moving through spaces shared with humans, without being seen. And I was wondering how to explain that the Caves' management was able to convince its slaves they were in a 3D virtual situation when they most certainly were not.

A Cat in the Story of her Own Making

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Everybody, even animals, live in stories of their own making.

Sometimes you can catch yourself at it, as I did composing the facts of my aches and pains into something I could tell a doctor. Of course he straightaway broke it into its component parts, to see whether they matched any of the stories he knew about such particular symptoms. The result on that was a ream of blood tests. That story on hold until the results come back.

A certain cat called Maggie does a story when she has a problem she can't solve herself. This particular day it was the usual. At a very inconvenient time, too. The set up and first crisis.

The human was weeding in the garden. Maggie Cat went asking. "Mau. Mau." She's spoke very softly and undemanding, but with a definite request in her voice. The suspense... could she make her human understand her need?

When Maggie Cat is reasonable, the human doesn't mind going to have a look, which was how Maggie trained her. She takes the human to th…

Lodestar "Back Cover" Blurb

Every couple of weeks I work on the mythical "back cover" blurb. Below is my present version. Fifty six is merely a symbol for the uncounted tries I have had at writing these two paragraphs.  
I've given up doing a synopsis for now and am concentrating on a summary with a paragraph for each novella, to give an idea of the sequence of events. (This is as well as the ongoing rewriting.)
I did the travel lines the other day. These represent the travels by each of the main characters. I needed them to get a fix on the times that certain of the characters meet, and where. Because one thing I've learned through the years that I have been working on this series, is the importance of keeping the whole story in my mind for the duration. 
If the truth be told, I learned this the hard way, by losing sight of the end plot numerous times and forgetting where I was going with it, and how I was going to get there, in the words of a popular song. Resulting in lots of other writing,…

About ePublishing

I've been studying up on digital publishing. In particular I've been researching the following:

1) The Naked Reader Press, though I read about it more recently on ROR. While I am more clear about the rise of the digital book industry in comparison with the paper print publishing industry, I have yet to fix in my mind what the Naked Reader Press does for its authors.

Digital publishing is a wide field with a lot to find out.

2) I discovered The Creative Penn, Joanna Penn's website, in the Viewpoint article in the latest Writers Queensland Magazine, and where I spent a couple of hours yesterday coming away with a bit more of an idea as to how to run this blog.

3) A Newbie's Guide to Publishing which link has lived in my bookmarks for a couple of months now. The articles are mainly about indie publishing and make informative reading. I hang on to this link because every time I do read it, I'm learning the language that goes with digital publishing, though I'm yet …

Mired in Plot

Every so often I start writing what I know about the way story works. Usually now I skip over narrative. I think I've got quite good handle on what it is for and how it works and the difference between it and every thing else going on in a story. My short cut is that narrative is the what, when, where and how.

Agency and plot are the who and why.

I put agency first these days because a plot is nothing without someone running the show, someone to generate the action. They're like a chicken and egg thing, which came first? The agent committing the crimes? Or the crimes?

The concept of agency seems simple. In our times of wanting actively-voiced heroes, we'll have the protagonist for that job while leaving the baddie with the reactionary ways to get what s/he wants. In the story I have been writing for the past week, I've had the protagonist acting and the antagonist reacting.

The plotting left much to be desired, I realised only when I hit a much better inciting incident…

The Chaucer Project Continued

While I was chanting my lines aloud, and every so often stopping to try and work out what the various words meant, it struck me I was reading back at the level of a beginner reader. The stage that reading teachers call 'decoding'.

When the beginning reader knows all the sounds and the letters and maybe some of the sound combinations. They have a good speaking vocabulary, so that when they sound out words, and the sounds start to resemble something recognisable, that word is grabbed and the letters/sounds in question are made to fit the guessed at word.

When meaning is gained, it feels good though laborious.

(There's a thunder storm happening overhead and I wonder if I should disconnect my modem. One of those fragilities in the communication system. I'll hurry, maybe I'll get this done before the storm comes any closer.)

As I was saying, decoding is intensely laborious. Back in the Prologue still, line 824, I came across the following words, 'And gadrede us tog…