Monday, May 25, 2009

Catching Up

Whew! Done at last. Episode 9 of my science fiction serial, Thieves' Honor, is now with my trusty pre-readers, who will make comments and suggestions, and find all those pesky invisible words that I could have sworn I typed but somehow never actually made it onto the page.

My dad came over tonight, and I sent him home with a copy of the first episode. He's not a science fiction fan, so he only wanted a fraction rather than the whole (ahem) pi. If he likes it, he'll come back for more.

Ideally, I'd have the next couple of episodes completed by now, too. If I remain in my current place of employment -- I'm sending out resumes -- June and July are going to be busy, the kind of busy that wrings me out, makes me fall asleep sitting upright, dinner half-eaten. But then there's a mandatory two-week break in August, and I live for those two weeks. Sad, huh?


Catching up on recent issues of writing magazines, I encountered the following that might be of use to other writers:
I start with the characters, and I just get to know them really, really well. I know what they think, fear and love, what motivates them, what they want. I think about them until I know how they would spend every day of their normal lives. Then I write the story about the day on which something different happens. In other words, some conflict, something comes into their life, you know, something new. - Lee Smith, The Writer, April 2009
Every good novel has two quests--what I call the Public Quest and Personal Quest. If your protagonist is an investigator, then his Public Quest is stopping the villain from doing evil. But he should also be fighting personal demons--guilt, grief, addictions, loneliness, etc.--and trying to be at a better place by the end of the Public Quest...It's this all-important Personal Quest where characters are fleshed out, where they re-examine their needs and desires, where they show their moral fiber and determination in conquering their demons. It's also where they earn our respect and prove their heroics. - Gary Braver, The Writer, April 2009
Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it's work. And I think Jerry would agree that belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything. - Stephen King, Writer's Digest, May/June 2009
I hope my writing has become more spare and direct over the years. The longer I write, the less patient I am with needless words...That said, a good book can't be long enough for my taste. And a bad book can't be short enough. - Jerry Jenkins, Writer's Digest, May/June 2009


Anonymous said...

I like the Personal/Private quest comment. Maybe i'll share that with the romance writer friend I told you about. Very good info. I need to re-subscribe.

Keanan Brand said...

I need to work the personal quest idea into my stories more; there's often so much focus on the externals that the characters can lack depth.

Anonymous said...

That's kinda funny, because I often get wrapped up in the character's private woes, and then have difficulty wrapping up the plot line!