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Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Random

Random Thing That Makes Me Wonder Why I'm Not Published Yet: I you haven't seen this yet, wow. Just, wow. Thanks to loving friends on my critique group I have been brain broken. I'm not sure how this got in print. I don't know what drugs the author was on to think this was good. But the fanart is awesome. (Note: Small children and impressionable readers probably shouldn't look at this. And I will send zombie hordes to burn you alive if you try to write like this. Consider yourself warned.)

Random Nonfiction of the Week you Ought to Consider: How meals reflect our society as a form of silent communication. It sounds like a whole series of articles is forthcoming. I'm excited. I love food. <3

Random Progress of the Week:
This is a misnomer. There is no such thing as progress in editing. I have deleted and rewritten two chapters several times this week. Reintegrated phrases from my slush pile (I never actually delete chunks of writing, I save them in another file to be used as spare parts), and now have added more tension to the chapters. But they aren't done yet.

Random Chaos of the Week: Next week is spring break for the kidlets... and it's supposed to be cold and rainy... HELP!!!

Random Realization of the Week: Mad Character Love... although not loving my own mad characters. Feeling defeated by editing I went to go gorge myself on my favorite treat, new books. And some old ones. And somewhere around the middle of the week I realized that putting all my favorite characters in the same place would probably result in something very bad happening.

There is a pattern to what I read. I went through all my books, looking at the ones I love, hate, and all the rest, and I found that I don't have a single book with a weak protagonist. My friend once tried to get me to read a book with a victim as the protagonist. Someone who wouldn't stand up for themselves. I had high school teachers who did the same thing. I have the same reaction, my eyes twitch and my fists itch and I hope the protagonist dies early so the book can end!

Not really a good reaction.

I also found something interesting in my antagonists. I love complex antagonists. Thinking villains are good. Antagonists that think they are in the right are even better. I don't mind greedy and self-serving antagonists. But I don't like the ones that are cardboard cut-outs and have no thought to their planning and writing.

So I think my plan for this weekend is to make an Antagonist's Outline to compliment my regular outline that the MC follows. Usually you chart an outline based on what you are going to write, but I'm realizing this leaves an information gap if you don't write the Antag's POV. It's hard for the MC to get hints if the author is scratching their head and going, "Well, it looked cool from this side. Isn't that motivation enough?"

The other thing I realized is that for major projects (i.e. those I intend to query in the next five years) I need to stick to a pattern I like rather than write a book that pleases someone else. It's good for an author to branch out and try new things. It helps us grow. But it can have devastating affects if the author tries to branch out to fast or for the wrong reasons.

I've seen it happen. A young author goes out and tries to write a totally different style, just to prove they can. They get cranky, they hate all the characters, they want to kill their protagonist in chapter one, and they quit the project. Most bounce back and get on with life. Some young authors stutter out, seeing this failure to write one style as a sign that they can't write at all. Scary!

My advice here is branch out if you want to try something new, but label it experimental in your brain. Make your ego understand this is an experiment and an excercise before you proceed. If it works, wonderful, you've found a new skill set. If it doesn't, well, that style isn't for you try one of the other five billion ways to write and have at it.

Have fun!

So what's your random?


  1. My random: I finished my synopsis! It's exactly five pages (which was my target length). Now to let it sit for the weekend before reading it again to see if it actually makes sense...

  2. Had I just saw this passage on another blog...crazy, isn't it? But then I guess we'll find anything in publishing if we look hard enough. The other day I was reading a published book where the author in her author's page mentioned a work she had published by Publish America.

    Think about that...actually tying yourself to PA. And the editor didn't axe it before printing, either. It boggles the mind.