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Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Random

Random Personality Test of the Week: Linked to by the ever wonderful Ms. Janet Reid.... the font test. What font are you?
I'm Helvetica.... solid, reliable, the industry standard.... Hmmm. I guess I should have set the oven to roast %-)

While you're wandering over at Ms. Reid's blog scroll down and check out the tid-bit about book covers.... ones with no name and no title. Oh my!

Random Solution to the Workout this Week: Week one of 2009 and already you slackers are avoiding your workouts! My, my, I suppose you're all just too busy. Although one friend who happens to be a police officer looked over the scenario and said, "That's breaking and entering." She's so smart!

Yes, someone did break into sweet Nona's home. And cleaned it. I think it was her friend she'd scheduled for a playdate. The friend showed up, the door was unlocked, but no one was home. The friend, being a bit of a fuss-budget and the sort of person who either takes charge or just does things herself, started cleaning until it was obvious Nona hadn't just run her kids lunches to the school. If the friend were a character in a book I'd say she/he's: helpful (almost too much), organized, on schedule, a to-do list person, Type A, slightly OCD.

Random Thing to Think About: Joan over at SlingWords has an interesting dissection of modern literature and how or why we need to fit in. I agree with her that books are being sexed-up. I've found too many thrown in "adult" scenes in decent books (yes, Virginia, pointless sex does ruin a book) to know she's right there. I'm not so sure about the capable heroine thing. I keep seeing FMC's who are TDTL (too dumb to live). Quite a few MMC's too.

The other trend I've seen paralelles the old anti-hero (think Rincewind of DW fame), it's the unlovable hero. The MC you really wish would die, but won't. Some of the authors are just good writers, I read their books whether or not I love the character. Once. Never twice, it's too painful. But I'll finish the book. Other books the character is detestable enough that I drop the book, or series. It's happened a few times this year, and I've got to say, it's not a trend I like.

Random Writing Realization: Everyone has a stumbling point in writing.

Some people can write short stories, but struggle to find a way to extend that to a novel. Some people trip over opening lines, but write a slam-bang finish. Some find tension elusive... For me it's a certain point in writing. Either chapter 3, or the last 3 chapters.

By chapter 3 you need to know where you are going, and if the first three chapters haven't set up your plot and the tension, you're doomed. When I sit and write at random, just for fun, chapter 3 is where I realize I've just been spewing words, not structuring a story.

Then the last three chapters, the big climax, the wrap up, and a satisfying ending that doesn't make your readers hunt you down with torches and pitchforks. It's as hard as it sounds. Especially in rough drafts, I hit the last few chapters knowing what I want for the endings, but realizing that my characters haven't reached the end of their developmental arc. The plot has wrapped up, but the personalities are stuck back in chapter nineteen.

I know this is fixable. Logically I understand a first draft will never, ever, be perfect. But I still struggle with those last chapters because I'm forcing the characters into unnatural positions. It will be the natural ending after several edits. But it doesn't fit the story line now.

And that's why Skippy isn't finished yet.

So... What's your random?


  1. I have noticed said trends, yeah, but I refuse to add sex for the sake of it. Granted, a lot of the time the characters defy my wishes and go at it anyway ;-( and drive me crazy, but I demand they have a natural place/set up.

    It's why I like TIH--the MCs are far too busy staying alive and stopping the deterioration of the space-time continuum (not to mention there are no chicks around at all, and three of the guys are straight) for them to have any time or opportunity to mess around. :P

    Stumbling points for me are generally the beginning, middle, and climax of novels. O:)

    Heh. Okay, specifically my beginnings always suck, are usually too slow and long, and the endings seem to rush to conclude and aren't as fleshed out and are tied up too fast. Middles tend to ramble and wallow while I figure out what the heck is going on, and... O:)

    I have far more problems with the endings of short stories than anything else. I can seem to write beginnings on them well, even sometimes a decent middle, and then I get stuck trying to wrap it up and finish it (if it's not nifty horror where I can kill everyone).

    The randomest thing today is finishing a musical horror story and editing. :P


  2. A musical horror story? Interesting.

    I can't see myself writing a sex scene. But I'm sure some of my characters will probably wind up having sex off-screen. I have some characters that are married, and I just don't see them remaining celibate while married. And in some books I skirt the line and have some innuendo, naked characters walking around, or the insinuation that a character is a bit of a bed-hopper. But all heaving and pulsing is off-screen and will stay that way.

  3. I'm Helvetica.

    I think the worst anti-hero is Bella from Twilight. Why couldn't she just DIE?!

    My stumbling point is first chapters. I HATE first chapters!