I’m struggling with secondary/side characters at the moment – of necessity I have seven of them trucking around with the main characters. Most of them, while they have a backstory and a life (I wrote short stories for each of them, trying to get myself in their heads) there’s not much that appears on the page because it moves things away from my main story. How do you know when you’ve got the balance of that right? There’s two in particular that I keep trying to give a little more story to, but every time I try it drags things away from the main action.
What’s your main story, the narrative that has all the juice that draws your reader into the story? Continue reading
And we’re back with more answers to questions you asked earlier in the week.
Cate M asked:
Any tips for getting the most out of an MFA creative writing program as a genre writer (in this case romance)? This is definitely putting the cart before the horse, since I may not even get in. But in the event I do, and you wanted to give me some tips any time between February – September, that would be lovely.
Alternately, what are some ways to grow/ and learn as a writer if I don’t get into that MFA program?
I don’t know anything about MFA Programs. There are some good ones. A bunch seem more designed to produce teachers of MFA programs based on my experience one year applying to every one as an instructor since I had nothing better to do. They preferred people with MFAs rather than publishing credentials. I’d take a look at who is teaching and what the graduates do. If you don’t join one? Read a lot. Write. Get some people you trust as a small critique group. I’m not a fan of large groups. Two, at more three people. Continue reading
I think this is the best post I’ve ever written about writing.
I just tripped across it as I worked through 2007 (it’s from 2013), and I read it again and thought, “YES, that’s what writing story is about.” Cheered me up no end.
So the 2005 post are up again.
The first post in July 2005 talks about having problems with You Again (still not finished after it was rejected) and meeting Bob and starting Don’t look Down, so a lot has happened in fifteen years. There’s also a reference to Charlotte’s Book which is one of those things that just died on me. I can’t even remember what it was about. Fifteen years, people. Continue reading
I used to love to write fiction – fantasy and romance especially. I hoped to publish someday but mostly I just enjoyed writing and living in those worlds. I went through a divorce awhile ago and it rattled some of the carefree feel to my writing but I carried on, believing in the romance and fantasy and hoping for love again. Two years ago, my mom died and going through that and the fallout with my relationship with my dad just broke whatever it was remaining in me that could pretend or believe in the dream. I sit down and try to write fiction and it turns into memoir or how-to or similar. . . . [D]o you have any suggestions on getting my real/dreamer self back? I had resigned myself to the fact that this is the new me, like it or not, but lately I am mourning that loss and just not feeling okay with it.
First, what’s wrong with memoir or how-to? I love writing non-fiction (as anybody who reads this blog knows, I LOVE the sound of my own voice) and I don’t see it as a second-choice genre at all. If that’s where your inclination lies now, embrace it.
But you say you’re not okay with it, so my next question is “What is the story you have to tell that you can’t not write?”
I have my MIL’s memoir draft. My question – Would it be a good opening for the memoir to have a “scene” of somewhat dramatic moment in her life? Then go from there. Make it a story of her story?
No. Also no, and please no. (I don’t quite understand “make it a story of her story” so I’m ignoring that for now.) Those flash forward teasers (on any narrative, not just memoir) are basically the author saying, “I know this is a really boring beginning, so I’m going to give you this to hook you, and then you’re going to have to slog through the rest.”
The question I need you to answer before I can tell you how to start this memoir is “How are you structuring this?”
A friend recently approached me about collaborating. I think we could be great together but she is not a writer. She is a devoted reader and I trust her judgment. . . . What advice or resources would you have for someone taking on a partner? I don’t think she’ll be interested in the grunt work but in the plotting and world building.
In your case as described, I would strongly advise not to. In fact, run away.
I write nonfiction (for work). But I find that many of the things you focus on–particularly the importance of the first scene, and timing–are helpful for both my written work and my presentations. I’m not sure that’s a question, exactly, but it would be interesting to talk about how many fiction rules also apply to non-fiction.
I’d like to expand that question to how much can be applied to presentations too, unless that’s getting too far beyond writing?
Nonfiction and fiction are different, of course, but there are some parallels.
I recently joined a writing group for practice and (digital) community. We do a prompt a day (or however often you want) and use it as a jumping off point for flash fiction/ a short story.Are there any prompts you recommend? And, in general, is there anything you recommend for trying to get the most out of writing exercises?
First confession: I did not watch Sharknado.
Second confession: I’m not going to watch Sharknado.
Third confession: I would LOVE to have written Sharknado. Continue reading