“National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Wallace Stegner said that, in 1983. That viewpoint, however, has come under ever greater scrutiny as we move into a century that will see a white minority by the year 2044 or 2045, according to U.S. Census data projections. The National Park Service has taken note of this and have consequently initiated outreach programs to minority groups in an effort to save their own lives. Why? Because outdoors spaces, national parks specifically, are and have been predominantly white, straight, cisgendered spaces. In recent decades this has become an unconscious trend, where minorities simply don’t see themselves reflected in the park advertisements or in park employment; on the other hand, this stems from a long history of racism that includes a park ranger telling Henry X. Finney…
Evelyn M. Hill’s blog post struck home with me. While part of me resists the conventional wisdom that your protagonist be likeable (or at least respect-worthy), the fact remains that if you totally loathe a main character, it’s hard to want to keep reading. But some famous classics have awful protagonists and people read (and love) them.
So how do authors pull it off?
This is not a rhetorical question. The main character in my as-yet-unpublished novel Escaping Andronicus is decidedly unlikable. She detests her children and is having an affair with a married man. She’s a spoiled dilettante. She does find herself in jeopardy (one of the ways to make a character interesting), but not until midway into the book. But she gets better <insert obligatory Monty Pythonesque accent here>! She has a positive character arc. But it seems like I need to make her more sympathetic, or no-one will want to read the book. Or does she just need to be so compelling that readers love to hate her?
What would you do, dear readers? Re-write her to be more likeable or hold onto the initial character concept?
One flaw in many books is that even though the writing is good, the hero or heroine is a person that I would not want to spend five minutes with in real life. It’s rare for me to start a book and not finish it (DNF), but when I do that’s generally the reason. I’m […]
When the plot bunnies are bounding around in your head and you need to actually FINISH that novel/screenplay/other long writing project first, try these techniques. I particularly like the idea of writing a short story based on the shiny new idea. It takes less time away from my big project but I capture the feel of the new idea.
Writers find ideas everywhere. They pop up seemingly out of nowhere, and you can often find yourself brimming with inspiration. When this happens, it can be hard to focus on your work in progress. It’s so easy to become gripped by the excitement of a new idea. As such, I’d like to share someways to remain loyal to your WIP, when inspiration strikes.
Write down new ideas in a separate notebook I am in support of ignoring the shiny new idea, until your current project is complete. But that doesn’t mean you should shut it down completely. Jot down every idea, and store it away for another day. Writers write, after all, and you’ll want those ideas for projects in the future. Keep them in a separate notebook, so you’re not tempted by then, but keep them all there. The act of writing them down will stop your mind from resurfacing…
Hey, SE Readers. Joan here today with more of my thoughts on writing.
“Truth is stranger than fiction.”
Probably everyone has heard this quote or some variation. If you google for who wrote it, you’re not likely to get a definitive answer. Some say it was Lord Byron, while others attribute the quote to Mark Twain.
Even Tom Clancy got in on the game when he said:
“The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense.”
Clancy was right. Truth is often strange, and life doesn’t always make sense. There are some things we can’t make up.
I’ve been a people watcher for years—long before I became a writer. Sitting in a crowded shopping mall, airport, or restaurant is at the least entertaining. Last year, I wrote a post about how we can use observations for story ideas.
But we also have our own experiences. And yes, some…
I just got back from Burlingame, California (near San Francisco) where I attended a delightful steampunk event, Clockwork Alchemy. I’ve been to this convention for quite a few years and the costuming on the attendees always delights me. I did mention that I loved dress up, right? There are always way too many things to see and do, so needless to say, I missed a lot. One thing I didn’t miss was the Fashion Show because I got tapped to model an amazing gown created by the Clockwork Alchemy Fashion Guests of Honor Karin and Adam Lidl. I seriously did not want to give that outfit back. And the hat was completely adorable. I wish I had a photo of the back of the skirt. So. Many. Pleats. I could go on for days about this outfit but here’s a pic instead.
I saw some new faces at Clockwork Alchemy this year, which gives me some hope that the steampunk fun will continue for many years!
In other happy steampunk news, author Kristen Brand, who has some beautiful covers for her steampunk books, has a new publisher.
Hoping her new publisher doesn’t change those lovely covers…And CONGRATULATIONS, Kristen, for getting them re-published!
It seems as if the steampunk genre still has some interest.
My apologies if you’ve clicked the link to buy The Ghost Machine or Clockmaker recently and found that the books have vanished from Amazon. They’re unavailable at the moment–but don’t worry, they’re not gone for good. They’ve been picked up by a publishing company and are getting ready to be republished–yay!! I’m thrilled that they’re […]
Sometimes rules stifle our creativity. I find them useful but sometimes, you just have to trust your intuition about characters or your story. No, I’m not switching from being a hard-core plotter but I value writing what feels right.
For the longest time I had major problems doing revisions on my writing. It seemed so easy for everyone else. Why was it so hard for me? Of course, I also had trouble writing. I hardly ever experienced that state of “effortless flow” everyone talked about, in which the words just magically spewed out of me down onto the page. For years—a lot of years—I felt like something was wrong with me. I felt like I was a failure as a writer.
Hey SE Readers. It’s Friday and time for another book share. I usually share a work of fiction (after all this site is about writing fiction), but today I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to share a few of my favorite (and most helpful) books on writing.
The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi – I purchased this book when it first released several years ago and found it extremely helpful. Recently the authors published a new version that lists 130 different emotions.
Each entry defines that particular emotion, notes, physical signs and behaviors, internal sensations, mental responses, acute or long-term responses to said emotion, associated power verbs, and more.
Angela and Becca have also published The Emotional Wound Thesaurus, Negative Trait Thesaurus, Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Rural Setting Thesaurus, The Urban Setting Thesaurus, and Emotion Amplifiers.