Recently, Warner Brothers announced the official synopsis for the upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” movie: Fearing the actions…
So, there I was: writing the first scene of the first draft of Hapax. I was bright-eyed and innocent, the scene zipping along beneath my fingers. My monks were preparing to hold vigil to see if the Apocalypse was nigh (spoiler: it was). I had a plot outline, I had character notes, I had worldbuilding…
And then, I realized.
I had forgotten to figure out the monks’ hierarchy. I had no idea who or what their leader was.
I want to take a moment to address an issue many writers, including myself, are plagued with:
So many ideas, so little time.
I’m struck with a least two new story ideas a week. Sometimes I can satisfy my fickle muses with a short story or two. Other times, the ideas demand novel-length exorcising. I can’t control it, and I’m somewhat scared of what might happen if I tried. As a result of said caution, I’ve devised a means to placate the voices in my head while maintaining my sanity. I…
“Descriptive” is a common compliment for books. Perhaps too common – one of the usual downfalls of newer writers is the tendency to over-describe every aspect of their stories, from the characters to the setting to the teapot in the cupboard.
Characters should be described. So should setting. That teapot, though, probably doesn’t require the readers’ attention, and you should not be wasting your authorly breath on it. Too much description, even of vital elements of the story, bogs down your narration and leads the reader to start skipping entire sections of your story – assuming, that is, they don’t simply quit reading.
How much is too much? At what point do you go from “very descriptive” to “bloated and boring?” With writing, there are never any rules – only guidelines. The following are a couple of mine.
I’m currently 63,000 words into my second novel attempt. Sounds fairly impressive, but I’ve been at 63,000 words for the last six weeks. Sure, I’ve written two short stories, a couple blog entries, participated in recording ten-or-so Roundtable episodes(my favorite distraction besides my wife), taught, graded papers and lesson-planned for about 60 hours a week, etc., etc., and on, and on. A lot like you! But is all of that really keeping me from writing my book? Yes. Because I let it.
We all are experts at wasting time, and the successful few have learned to at least minimize the bastard! We’ve all heard and read countless papers and pamphlets and programs on how to beat down the maniacal villain known as Master Procrastination. That is not what this post is going to do.
There is no one better equipped to build rich authentic characters than someone who has actually “lived” (for a few hours) as someone else. In order to appear authentic on stage, an actor has to be able to respond to cues and events AS THEIR CHARACTER. If they don’t, the performance is flat and uninteresting. Writers are striving for that same authenticity… and suffer the same consequences if they fall short of the mark. So how do actors do it?