jaebility: (ben wade)
Bookstove.com has a list of Five Good Books About Genre Writing by Actual Authors, which includes The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West: From 1840-1900 by Candy Moulton.


Next time I have an Amazon gift certificate, I'm getting the hell outta that book.

I did a fair amount of research for TTBtM, which takes place around the same time period as Yuma, last year and then a little more when I started work on the second draft. Medical care and fashion were my main topics of study, since my main characters are most interested in those subjects. I think I avoided any major anachronisms or snafus in general; we'll see what my writers group has to say.

Here's another interesting link about writing: Villains vs. antagonists by Marie Brennan.
jaebility: (mst3k)
More advice for my fellow writers! This list is from [livejournal.com profile] jimvanpelt - Found it while wasting time at work.

"Whad Ya Say?" Writing Dialogue

A. Dialogue, like details, should be significant.
B. Dialogue can show action, emotion, advance the plot, provide exposition, set the scene, characterize, set the mood, reveal the theme, foreshadow or remind.
C. Include only the dialogue that, no matter what else it does, advances the story in some way.
D. "The trick to writing good dialogue is hearing voice. The question is, what would he or she say? The answer is entirely in language. The choice of language reveals content, character, and conflict, as well as type."
E. Dialogue is characters saying "no" to one another.
F. Elliptic speech is often a part of dialogue (fragments).
G. Characters will sometimes finish each other's sentences.
H. Use speech mannerisms: fragments, slang, interruptions, changes of direction, and indirect replies.
I. Use contractions.
J. Capture the rhythm of real speech without real speech's hums and haws.
K. Give each character distinct speech mannerisms. A character should be identifiable by how he or she speaks.
L. Eliminate needless "hello/goodbye" exchanges or meaningless chit-chat.
M. Don't make characters say things to each other that they already know for the benefit of the audience.
N. Avoid tags that are unneeded. Include a speech tag only if the speaker is unclear.
O. Avoid unspeakable tags.
P. Watch out for uninterrupted dialogue that fails to reveal emotions or reactions.
Q. Pace dialogue by interrupting with action, thoughts or description.
R. Try your dialogue out loud.
jaebility: (goblin!)
Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Good Fiction Writing

1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said" ...he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
jaebility: (ben wade)
Every good book begins with a protagonist who wants something. - Nathan Bransford

Applying that to that crap I'm working on now:

NaNo novel
-Katharine wants to get married to cement her status in town and the power that comes with it, but while her betrothed is the handsomest man in town, he's also one the most difficult and dim.
-Sam wants to upstage his father by earning his own place in the world of medicine while aiding a backwater town with his modern medicinal training, but his teacher has too many secrets and too few morals to help him gain a foothold.

Fine Art
-Daisuke is deluding himself by thinking he wants a normal freshman year at high school; he actually wants to bone his best friend.

Typical!fantasy story
-At first P. wants to get over the rejection of her first love by finding a new target for her affections while escaping the marriage her parents have arranged for her. Later she wants to figure out the secret of the city. And bone her new crush.

[Cross-posted to my IJ.]

on writing

Mar. 16th, 2009 04:35 pm
jaebility: (mst3k)
I was rummaging through LJ and I found Seanan's Fifty Thoughts on Writing, which has been really enlightening and thought-provoking so far. There are a lot of writers on my friends list, so I thought I'd share.

She's going to compose 50 guides on writing; she's at number 24 at the moment ("Anyone who tells you that your first draft is brilliant, perfect poetry and deserves to be published just as it is and you shouldn't change a word and oh, you're going to be famous and make enough money to buy a desert island is either a) lying, b) delusional, or c) your mother.") and I'm reading number 8 ("God Made the Mosquito.").

I'm always looking for ways to improve my crappy writing, and I like the way that McGuire lays out and then develops her ideas - Her tone is friendly and helpful, like a good teacher's should be. And when she's right, she's right:

Putting fifty thousand words on paper does not make you a novelist. It means you successfully put fifty thousand words on paper. You should be proud of yourself for that, because dude, it's difficult to stick with a plot and a concept and an idea and characters for that long, and I salute you. At the same time, you're not a novelist. Sweating over those fifty thousand words until you're confident that at least forty thousand of them are good ones is what makes you a novelist. Good luck. (From You May Not Be A Novelist (and That's Okay))

Man, that was like a harpoon to my heart. When I finished my NaNo novel book, I was so so proud and so so convinced that I AM AUTHOR NOW! She's completely right - I just arranged 50,000 words in a non-random order. Maybe after the second draft, I'll be able to join the ranks. Or maybe after the third. Or probably never.

Can't wait to read the rest of her guides.

[Cross-posted to my IJ.]


jaebility: (Default)
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