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Showing posts from July, 2011

Act I Complete!

Current Word Count: 111k altogether, 105k from prologue to interlude.Song I was listening to when the the final period was put on chapter 23: Chrono Cross: Chronopolis____
After twenty-one months of writing, the first twenty-four chapters of my novel, encompassing the first act, are complete.
Part of me is relieved. The climax event is over 110 pages long and stretches across five chapters (18-23; there is a 24, but I'm debting putting it in act II.) I have been writing it for over six months.
It's cool to see things I thought of years ago finally put down in a readable format. Connecting dots A to B was a much lengthier process than I had imagined.
Another part of me is not so relieved; if my estimates are right (and if history teaches us anything, it's that every estimate I've made so far has been very low) I am only halfway done. And that is a very daunting prospect.
On the other hand, I have multiple scenes--bits of dialogue, some of the stuff is actually good, I think-…

How to Write: Divulging Information in a Limited POV Tale

I was recently discussing a novel-in-progress called The Fisherman of Cat Island, about a Frenchman named Pierre, with the story's author. I raised in my critique of his work the topic of the infamous "info dump." Here are some thoughts about sprinkling that information in a contextually-appropriate manner.

I think every writer has their own method for revealing information. If a story is told from the POV of a certain character, the reader may still be interested in the back story and physical appearance of said character. The problem is, in real life you and I don't sit around day in and day out thinking about how we look, so it doesn't make sense for a character in a story to do so--if we want the character to be real and the story to be true-to-life, that is.

Information is contextual in a story like in life. There are times when you muse on your appearance: perhaps when you are getting ready in the morning, shaving, or dressing up for a special …

How to Write: "The Rules" - On Context and Myth in Storytelling

Regarding "restraining your research" (the topic of my last update) I began a short dialogue with the author of a blog about exposition. It went a little something like this:

Daniel, thanks... I recently gave a seminar about the subject of revealing too much of your valued research via exposition. Many professional authors still to this. I could name a few, particularly in the SF field (it's hard not to go on and on about your cool discovery of (theoretical) particle inter-dimensional plasma dark-matter propulsion that you've researched for months)...  I'll share here what I shared in my seminar:  One way to keep yourself from over-sharing all those "clever bits" (instead of keeping them to yourself) is to purposefully file them away in a backstory scrapbook or dossier or in directories devoted to spin-offs, short stories or even novels set in that same universe, world, time period.  Think of J.K. Rowling's spin off book on Quiddich, the game Harry …

How to Write: Realism in Fiction

The following is a response to a question about realism in fiction:
I'm basically begging for advice on how to write this so it doesn't seem fantastical or contrived. Any ideas?
Realism requires research: books, internet, knowledgable people, personal experiences. As an example, things I have researched for my novel include: British accents, Muay Boran, bo staff fighting (YouTube,) magnetic fields and space travel (a friend who works for NASA,) animal behavior (a friend who studies wildlife,) names and ideas in religious history (school,) human muscles (Wikipedia,) the feeling of a stiff drink going down (I went to a bar and bought a stiff drink; asking a friend did not suffice.)Realism requires familiarity: even if you were to write speculative fiction in which you engaged in full-blown world building, your story would still written by you and would thus be crafted with your experiences and expertises operating behind the scenes. For example, the relationsihp between two of my …

An Autumn Veil: Slowly but Surely

Current Word Count: 108,000
Listening to: The Swell Season, This Low

A Prelude: My Travels

I am sitting at the kitchen table of my friends Lauren and Allie in Bowling Green, KY, following a road trip that began June 9th with a flight to Atlanta, GA, and brought me and Burks to Fayetteville, NC, Yorktown, VA, Washington, D.C, Philadelphia, PA, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Richmond, VA and finally Birmingham, AL. In two days I will board a plane in Nashville, TN and fly to Chicago where I will spend five weeks staying with my friend Alex and his family in Crystal Lake, IL, until school resumes in mid-August.

My travels themselves could reckon a lot of blog posts (sights, sounds, smells, people) but that's not why I'm writing. I'm writing because I woke up this morning and said to myself, "Today you will write something."

I've been reading Stephen King's On Writing (I got a lot done on the hilly backroads of rural Pennsylvania, particularly) and could have …