Tag Archives: creativity

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Editing Roller Coaster

Editing Roller Coaster

If the writing thing doesn’t work, don’t expect me to go into comics.

Proof I’m nuts

I’m a writer. More than that, I’m an author, meaning I’m putting my writing out there for people to view.

What’s so crazy about that, you might ask.  Oh let us count the ways:

  1. Gone are the days of the reclusive writer. If you don’t promote your work in some form or fashion, it won’t sell. I began life as an introvert. I have learned to step out of that shell. The more I did, the easier it became, but it will never quite erase that momentary dread when I “put myself out there”.
  2. The internet is a rude and judgmental monster. Have I ever mentioned that nothing puts my back up quicker than someone pointing the finger and telling another person how lacking they are? If not, now you know. As an author, I’m voluntarily handing that monster my words and thoughts. It’s sort of like stepping in a fire ant hill. Sometimes you might jump away quick enough, but more often than not you will get bitten and damn does it hurt.
  3. The “public” is extremely opinionated. Voting season is a good example of this. Everyone thinks their opinions is right (see #2). There are some writers who choose to write stories that won’t trigger the parting of the Red Sea of opinion. I write stories. Some of mine are fairly innocuous and some I anticipate might make waves. I’m a crappy swimmer. Parting the sea seemed like a good idea at the time…
  4. We court rejection. Getting a story published is like going on blind dates. More often than not you have to deal with a fair amount of rejection before finding a suitable partner. Sometimes it’s awkward, sometimes down right painful, but we keep doing it.
  5. The voices in our head aren’t the ones that are the problem. Telling someone you want to be an author is more likely to earn you a patronizing smile than encouragement. The more time that passes in between that first declaration and any amount of “success” the more likely those voices will push you to do other things, or suggest that you aren’t good enough. Silence can be just as devastating. Even when there are voices supporting you, all it takes is one loud voice to make you doubt. (See #s 2-4)

For all the other authors out there, you aren’t alone. Let your voice sing loud and true. Relish in this insanity called creativity, because it’s way more fun than so-called sanity.

***This was written especially for a fellow author, my best friend, Anne.***

Geekdom Just Around the Corner

It’s that time of year again. MidSouthCon 31 is this weekend. Once again, I shall be in attendance as a moderator. I rather hoped to achieve “guest” status this year, but there’s always next year. If you happen across me Friday evening, no I’m not impersonating a zombie. Likely I’ll be brain-dead from exhaustion after teaching a lecture at the perky, ungodly hour of 8:30am, followed by lab stuff, meetings, and somewhere in there cramming food into my gullet before making my grand entrance.

By grand entrance I mean nick-of-time mad dash to my panel.

There’s something invigorating about being surrounded by other writers and artists and discussing our craft. Every year it gives me a creative high for weeks after.

For those of you who’ve never attended a convention let me summarize what MSC offers. There are panels on various topics, from costume design, gaming, science, anime, to writing and fiction. There’s a video gaming room, a large board game area (not Chutes and Ladders, but in depth board games), costume contest, shows, art auction (for charity), and a dealers’ room with cool stuff to buy, or for the financially challenged, gaze upon wistfully. There’s also a ton of people in creative costumes.

I anticipate a fun weekend of geekery, laughter, and sleep deprivation. If you’re in the area, check it out. If you’re from farther corners of the world, be brave, embrace your inner geek and check out a con near you!

Playing Favorites

I confess. I play favorites. No, not with my kids, but with my characters. Oh, I try to be fair, but sometimes it takes a great deal of effort.
 

Sometimes the wrong character keeps putting in their two cents:

“Finn, this isn’t your story. Pipe down. You play a key role, isn’t that good enough?”

“Did you just tell me to pipe down? Be glad you’re my writer. Otherwise I might have to end your measly human existence.”

~~~~

Sometimes the plot comes to a screeching halt and the character is of no help whatsoever:

“We need to get you out of this forest.”

“Don’t look at me. You’re the one who wrote me into this darn place.”

“You aren’t helping.”

“You’re welcome.”

~~~~

More than once I’ve been well into a story when someone strides onto the scene and steals the spotlight:

“Who the heck are you?”

“Gabriel, of course. Tremble in fear at my approach.”

“I wrote you, you know.”

“Yes, I know. I’m awesome, aren’t I?”

~~~~

Is it any wonder I sometimes misplace my keys?

 

Pleased to meet you

One of the most common questions people ask writers goes something like: “Where do you get your characters?”  There’s also the inspiration variation on that question, but that’s a bit more vague, as everyone has their own source of inspiration.

No two authors approach writing with the exact same mindset and technique. Writing is an art form, and while there are certain methods and rules to follow, the process varies widely. In general there are two methods of creating characters. In method one, the writer happens upon, sees, or knows a person or often persons which by personality or quirks bring to mind a character. One could term this conscious character formation.  The other method is more subconscious in that the nebulous concept of the character pops into your head and as the story progresses the author discovers exactly who the character is. This is not to say that a character created by this method is not patterned after oneself or someone the author knows, but it isn’t done specifically.

Some authors might use a combination of the two methods, depending on the character and story. Others might use primarily one over the other. Understanding people, their motivations, emotions and ways people express their emotions are key to character development no matter how the character comes into being. How one achieves that understanding is an entire topic unto itself.

Personally, my characters tend to waltz into my head, introduce themselves and proceed with adventures. I discover them as I go along. Sometimes when I realize who they really are I find I’ve written a scene all wrong. Of course he/she wouldn’t respond that way! Until I know them, misunderstandings like that can happen. One of the most challenging tasks when learning to write is creating a voice unique to each character. This isn’t as simple as using slang or a specific “quirk” for each character. If done poorly it comes across as contrived. Creating the characters voice goes back to understanding the character.

For authors, our characters become very real (in a non-mental institute sort of way) to us. We build their life in our head, often far beyond the scope of the story the reader sees. It is that in depth knowledge of what makes them tick which we hope to translate into actions carried along by a plot. I find a personal thrill when a new character strides into the story and not only captures my attention, but says, “You’re writing my story next.” This is how I’ve gotten myself into writing two separate series.

So, for all you writers out there, how do your characters introduce themselves?