Friday, December 13, 2013

How Characters Deal With Loss




I’ve been rolling the idea of death around in my head for a bit. There’s fighting and death in my book and at one particular part; I’m sitting there, thinking “How should this person react to this?” I know how I’d react. But I know my reaction wouldn’t be like my characters’. Then I started to really think about it, and I realized:

Everyone deals with loss differently. 

I recalled a post by Holly Black a while ago on Tumblr. I remember reading it and thinking “Yes. This is exactly right.”  (Link: http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com/post/46320324565/clockwork-princess-questions-and-answers-spoilers ) She basically summed it up perfectly. I loved this quote in particular “We were crazy with grief; we were wild with it.”

Everyone is different. Everyone deals with grief differently. My grandma broke down and clung to a toilet in the funeral parlor’s bathroom at my uncle’s wake. My mother’s friends had a pork roast party for my mother’s wake. And for my grandmother’s wake. I didn’t cry until I felt GUILTY enough to do so. So guilty that it hurt. Why hadn’t I cried before? I don’t know. I could have been numb, or just so used to death that I was over it. I thought “How heartless could I be to have dry eyes at the wake of the person who had raised me my entire life?”

Obviously I can’t use myself as an example for my grief stricken character. She’s not used to death and loss. She’s sheltered. So I have to think of it from her point of view and really get into her mind set. 

I think this is harder than getting into their head to make a decision. When grief and despair come into play, people change and can do things you’d never think they’d do.  

Just something to think about, I guess. Does your character have to deal with loss? If so, how did you figure out how they dealt with it?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Conquering Edits Without Going Insane



Getting edits back from a critique partner can be exiting, exhilarating, and overwhelming.

 I just got a full MS critique chock full of red pen marks from my lovely CP/Beta and as I skimmed through it…it confirmed something that’s been inkling at the back of my mind for a while.  I need to re-write a bunch of scenes…. Not only that… but the ending just isn’t working. I have to re-write four chapters worth of the entire ending. And edit the whole thing of course.

Initiate flailing, rolling on ground and consumption of too much chocolate.

The world is over! I worked my butt off on this MS and now… now I need to cut and re-write huge chunks! Not only that, but I also noticed I needed to add an entire chapter for the second POV character.

I took a deep breath- got a pen and paper, and listed out all that I needed to do:

-Re-write 6 scenes.
-Write new chapter for POV2.
-Re-write the entire ending (sob).
-Get those edits done.

Okay…. Not so bad when you list them out like that… Next, I needed to plan out those six scenes I need to re-write. 

Now that I have the basic outline of what needs to be done. I had to decide what to do first. All the re-writes? The ending? The New chapter?

I chose to do the edits, those I don’t have to think too much about. I fix things and adjust things, fix the flow of parts, but nothing huge- nothing I can’t handle. Nothing creatively draining.

During my editing, I actually became randomly inspired to write that POV2 chapter. So I tackled that and went right back to editing- this time with a bounce to my step. I’m starting to feel good. I’m working towards something and I can see it shaping.

One step at a time. Don’t let the knowledge of how much you have to do overwhelm you. Take one thing on your list and do it without the pressure of the other things on it. 

Plus, it feels really good to be able to cross something off a to-do list. ;)


Monday, July 22, 2013

First Five Pages Workshop

So for the month of July, I was lucky enough to participate in the First Five Pages Workshop! This month the mentor was Susan Dennard. And Honestly. I wasn't PLANNING to enter for July, but once I saw that Susan was the mentor, I jumped- no Pounced on it. I use her awesome blog posts for writers all the time. She has so much advise and helpful tips.
Go Look!
I got my e-mail all ready after making absolutely SURE that the layout was correct. I was using my Gmail account, which isn't really adbvisable because it seriously messesd with your layout. But if you remove all formating and make sure it's set up correctly, it's troublesome and time consuming, but I was determined and stubborn. (I LIKE my gmail! Though I will probrably make a new e-mail in something else solely for querying when the time comes...)

Anywho. This workshop is amazing. Just from the first revision- yes you get THREE critiques!- I saw such a huge improvement. All the workshop participants were really great and pointed out things I had missed so many tiumes over. It really helps to get your work commented on and then AGAIN after you revise. A lot of places and giveaways give you one critique, but how will you know if you nailed it? You don't!

Susan wwas such an amazing critiqer. She really too kthe time to understand your writting and went in depth with her suggestions. I think my pages turned out ten times better - and now I'm inspired to tear apart my entire ms and think "What would Sooz say?" (Cheezy, I know)

Seriously though. It was so worth it. I can't recommend this enough. But if you DO participate, you have to really take comments into consideration. If you don't want to listen or try to make excuses and don't TRY to revise, then you won't get better!

All in all, I can't recommend this workshop enough. You have to be quick and it's a lot of work, but it was SOO sooo worth it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Female Lead

I've been having quite a dilema recently. Mainly with my MFC.

You see, I've had this fear that I would write her liek a Mary Sue. Not even a Mary Sue, but a plainly annoying character. Being a female reader, I'v had bad thoughts about MFC's that make me shake my head, face palm and roll my eyes. So when I looked to my MFC I was scared. I was scared she turn into a Mary Sue. And then I was scared she'd be a Plain Jane. And then I was scared she wouldn't be anything at all.
It really shouldn't be so hard right?!
But it is!
For some reason, females are more agressive towards female leads in books. We want them to be realistic, but amazing, but not too amazing, and definetely not perfect or the opposite of perfect and it's just so hard.

This issue made me panic a bit more when Cassandra Claire posted an answer to a question on her Tumblr. The question? "I know clary is the main character but is she meant to be a little annoying? I love the books, I just can’t stand her thought process." Click on the quite to see her lovely answer.

There's also this  little thing I found on Tumblr a while ago that goes like so:

"Male Character: i made a mistake
Fandom: oh you poor misunderstood soul
Female Character: i made a mistake
Fandom: WANTON MISTRESS OF THE NIGHT, RETURN TO THE SHADOWS FROM WHENCE YOU CAME, THIS IS NO PLACE FOR YOUR SELFISHNESS PLEASE GO BACK TO YOUR HOME ON WHORE ISLAND  "

M'kay. Now instead of "Fandom" put "Readers" And that's all you need :P

There have been female leads I love and female I hate, and yes, female leads I find annoying and also female leads I didn't even remember. There's not a secret code or check list you can write up to make them likable by everyone. The only thing you can do is write them the way they ARE. The way you think they should be. Becuase that's the best and only thing you can do. If you try to write them the way you think other people will like them, then they won't be yours anymore.

I'm finally understanding this and accepting my MFC for who she is. Took me a bit long though. :P