Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to Whedon as Bathroom Coach

Song playing right now on my playlist: “Monday Morning” Fleetwood Mac

Writing and the Writing Life:

Ada Lovelace:

Browncoats:
  • If you’d like to see a Serenity LEGO model crafted by LEGO, sign up here. Less than 900 votes needed to make this a reality!
  • Have you seen Avengers yet?? I can’t wait to get some Joss Whedon goodness. Am going today if I can…
  • Did anyone else catch Nathan Fillion live tweeting Out of Gas and Ariel last Sunday? It was really cool, but distracting, as I was doing word sprints at the time. Plus it was making me sad hearing him talk of his love of the show.
  • for some Whedon weirdness, check out Whedon as Bathroom Coach (h/t the Nerdist):

In Geekdom:

  • check out what the instructions are on Google Maps for the walking option, if you type in directions for The Shire to Mordor
  • And I’ll leave you with this:

Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to Making Sure You Have the Right Batman

Song playing right now on my playlist: “Lakme” from The Hunger soundtrack

Writing and the Writing Life:

Ada Lovelace:

In Geekdom:

  • And I’ll leave you with this. Make sure you book the right Batman (h/t Stubby the Rocket):

Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to Gandalf skateboarding

Song playing right now on my playlist: “I Shall Believe,” by Sheryl Crowe

Writing and the Writing Life:

Ada Lovelace:

Jane Austen:

In Geekdom:

Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to Stormtroopers relaxing in a pool

Song playing right now on my playlist: “Sally MacLennane” by The Pogues.

Writing and the Writing Life:

Ada Lovelace:

Jane Austen:

In Geekdom:

Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to Vader In A Kilt On A Unicycle Playing Bagpipes (I Kid You Not)

Song playing right now on my playlist: “Stray Cat Strut” by Stray Cats

Writing and the Writing Life:

Romance Writers:

Ada Lovelace:

Jane Austen:

Browncoats:

In Geekdom:

Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to Vader Hugging a Unicorn

Song playing right now on my playlist: “Bittersweet Symphony,” by the Verve. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Writing and the Writing Life:

Romance Writers:

  • Sarah Wendell does an awesome post in reaction to 50 Shades and everyone in the media shocked to learn that women enjoy sex: Romance, Arousal, and Condescension
  • Merry Farmer writes an awesome post in reaction to a Philadelphia magazine article about the sorry state of the modern male which could explain why women like to read about Alpha males in romance: Where Have All The Good Men Gone?
  • Apparently we’re hitting the fruit too much, specifically cherries and berries, when describing nipples– this post will either have you chuckling or groaning: A Description of Nipples
  • Romance author Beth Dunn does an excellent and humorous overview of men’s fashion, specifically their pants, in the Regency and why some eschewed underwear (they didn’t want a panty line!) in her post at Wonders & Marvels: The Turn of the Leg

Ada Lovelace:

Jane Austen:

Browncoats:

And I’ll leave you with this:

Pantsers – Done with your first draft and not sure what to do with the god-awful mess?

imageYou’ve finally finished your first draft and you’re ecstatic. You should be! Many aspiring writers never get that far!

Go out and celebrate!

As many writers will tell you, take a break. Long enough to forget the little details. Week, two weeks. A month.

Then do a reread (without editing!)

Did you flip out at how much work you have to do? Are you staring at it, wanting to shove it under your bed and just forget about it permanently because it would be just too much work to fix?

You are not alone. Pantsers have this trouble more than plotters, but as Stephen King said ‘all first drafts are piles of %&^%^’ (or something like that).

Knowing that, though, and then wondering how the heck you’re going to tackle it is daunting. How you need to approach it is like a trauma surgeon in ER– tackle the crucial, bleeding parts and amputate/bandage as needed. No use polishing prose on stuff that will need to be cut. So how to analyze? Focus gobbling up any and all craft books on plotting and do the work that plotters actually do before they start to write. Basically, you’ve created a novel length outline/synopsis and now you need to create a structure. (Plotters, you can keep snickering. We know we’ve created more work for ourselves)

There are many things to do, but I will focus on one craft book today to illustrate. The book most people recommend is Blake Snyder‘s Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, but I would like to focus on a successful fiction writer who applies the screenwriting tips to novels, Alexandra Sokoloff. She takes a lot of Snyder’s tips, but expands on them. One of her screenwriting tips is the use of 8 sequences, spread through the 3 Act structure. In the picture above, you’ll see my storyboard with colored stickies for each scene that I created after reading her book. The board itself is not only divided up into the 3 Act structure (with Act 2 divided in half) but also divided by sequences. Each sequence should have a climax too.

She has written two e-books on story structure: Screenwriting Tricks For Authors (and Screenwriters!) and Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors II. I hate reading craft books on my Kindle, it’s just so cumbersome to me, but it’s the only version she currently has. I did ask her about print versions, and she’s hoping to have those available maybe by the end of the year. Anyway, if you’re a romance writer, you might want to skip the first book and just get Writing Love, as it’s the same as the first one, but expanded to include elements for love stories.

What I loved about the books, besides breaking up the traditional three-act structure into eight parts, is that she goes into more detail than Snyder on what elements need to be in place in each act. There’s also fun homework, like watching movies and seeing how, on cue, the sequence climax falls exactly where it should almost to the minute. In a 2-hour movie, the first sequence climax will be at the 15 minute mark, and then the Act One climax will be at 30 minutes, etc.

image

So, I made stickies on my board (blue for hero’s POV and pink for heroine’s) and then wrote down what happened and stuck them up on my new board (which I can now re-use for new WIPs). I then went over all of her elements to see if I was missing anything. Boy, was I! It really helped me pull it into shape big-picture wise, but it also helped me add subtle layers of subtext. Pictured here is a closeup of some stickies where I wrote the elements in all caps on the appropriate sticky.

I can’t say enough about how helpful this book was. There’s more to it than just this. She also delves into theme, and insuring you have a consistent thematic image system and how to engage readers with visual storytelling.

Her blog has all of it on there for free, if you’re short on cash, but I found it handier (Kindle still easier to absorb this stuff than clicking through web page links) to get the e-books.

How about you? Are you a pantser and do these things that plotters do when facing revisions? What’s your favorite craft book? Have you used Sokoloff’s tips?

Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to Jedi Squirrels

Since I missed last week, these linkies go back 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Song playing right now on my playlist: “A Postcard to Henry Purcell,” from the Pride & Prejudice (2005) soundtrack.

Writing and the Writing Life:

Jane Austen:

  • Jane Austen Fight Club. Okay, this had me giggling:

Browncoats:

Randomness and Geekdom:

Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to Vader ‘You Can’t Touch This’

Still needing some sleep, but am mostly recovered from Mardi Gras. Since I missed last week, these linkies go back 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Song playing right now on my playlist: “The Promise,” from The Piano soundtrack.

Writing and the Writing Life:


Romance Writers:

Jane Austen:

Browncoats:

  • Best baby portrait ever!

Randomness and Geekdom:

Weekend Grab Bag – From Writing Tips to LOTR as band instruments

Ah, another Saturday morning and I’m sipping a cup of Yerba Maté tea and listening to the sweet sounds of raccoons fighting in the ceiling and walls above and around me. Song playing right now on my playlist: “He Won’t Go,” Adele.

Writing and the Writing Life:


Romance Writers:

Jane Austen:

  • Over at the new blog, The Popular Romance Project, Dr. Sarah Frantz wrote a piece called Austen, romance novelist about the reluctance of some Janeites to call her books Romances because it’s good literature, so of course it can’t be Romance…

Browncoats:

  • An artist has done some awesome posters of different sci-fi favorites reworked various ways. Here’s his Firefly Muppets mashup

Randomness and Geekdom: