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I actually didn’t know about that before, lol. I don’t know if it was more or less creative that they just stuck the skull on a black blob instead of creating some goofy looking monster to try and make it work (like the rest of humanity since forever XD )

LOL, I can just imagine a bunch of Greek artists staring at the skull like “Now what do we do?” “Minotaur?” “We have one!” “Cyclops?” “We have one!” “How about… a black blob?” “Genius.”

That authenticity of character can make the entire difference between a story that is a cliche Franken-trope and something that is really enjoyable. And as for plot, I think its primary goal should be to fuel character development.

Exactly! Now I’m a writer, I can actually tell when a writer is literally just creating an ‘arena’ for character development. “The Westing Game” comes to mind since a large part of that plot was just there to force the characters to interact. (Though it did feel a little complicated to me and I had trouble keeping everything straight.)

Most plots are very simple when you break them down, which makes sense since life is usually straightforward from that perspective. Moreover, even clever plots feel convoluted and contrived rather than intricate when disconnected from the characters that should be the driving force of the plot. When you boil it down, why we tell stories, and why we listen, is because of the change their example makes in us. It’s the human element.

Definitely! No matter how twisty or ingenious a plot is, if I don’t engage with the characters, I just don’t care. I actually quite enjoy simple, straightforward plots, as long as the characters are interesting and complicated.

(“So long and thanks for all the fish…” XD)

LOL! I actually quite enjoyed how weird that book was. I distinctly remember one scene where Arthur Dent (I think that was the MC’s name?) and Ford Prefect were chasing down a red chesterfield couch. That was literally the weirdest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on XD

Honestly, you will probably find more and more themes popping up as the work continues. The truth is, in so much of life, we play catchup with what our heart is doing. You can think of it as a journey of discovery ^_^

Oh, yeah, finding a theme isn’t my problem, it’s picking one of the four thousand that swarm over the pages. Like, when I was reading my first draft, one of the notes I made is literally “Booo! Pick a theme!” Along with “MeLOdraMATic MEloDRama.” (I think I’ve improved at that since XD) It’s kinda hard, but I tried to pick what went with the character arc the best. I think it’s working out so far, but I’ll see after the second draft…

Yeah, that is kinda what I am hoping for. Trying to write characters who haven’t fallen is… really challenging, and I am hoping this helps, lol.

I can imagine! So far for me, it’s also helped with improvising scenarios. Never in my life did I think I would have to write a scene where one of my villains, a ruthless, highly skilled assassin, gets chased and bitten by a goose.

lol, I just pictured staring at a book like a disobedient pet “are you going to be a good book? are you going to behave? don’t make me through you in the trash…” XD

That’s literally exactly what happens XD It always involves a lot of squinting and rereading the blurb several times XD

Descriptions are hit and miss for me. I feel I can write them really well when motivated, in the mindset, or just have a really clear image; but that part of my brain just feels different from the dialogue/character side of my brain so it can feel really draining. I often stay in the movement of the scene, writing all the things the characters say or do, and then put in the descriptions later.

Same! For me, another big element is character voice. My second book is written in dual POV, and my ‘main’ MC (Liorah) isn’t very wordy. She’s quite straightforward when it comes to descriptions and voice, even though it’s often detailed in other aspects. And the other one…. Well…. Faye can’t describe anything without a simile and two metaphors XD Her voice is far more detailed, dreamy, and poetic than Liorah’s. So, my descriptions do tend to be a bit better from her POV, since under-describing is my biggest issue.

But in all honestly, I would say motivation and confidence. To look at my work with an objective eye, to both not blow the critiques out of proportion and to let the praise be a celebration of the reality that it is good.

I totally get what you mean! More often than not, critique can end up feeling a lot like “This is all awful and terrible and why did I start in the first place?” And praise can feel like “Yeah, but what if it’s actually trash?” At least to me, I still tend to fall back into that mindset, though I’m trying to improve.

On a similar note, what do you think is your greatest strength as a writer? Mine is probably the characters, dialogue, and themes, lol.

Hmm, I’d say concept, setting, and structure. My initial concepts are often far more interesting and vivid than when I’ve edited the daylights out of them. For structure, what can I say, I really enjoy formulas XD Personally, I use Save the Cat, and it’s transformed my plots.

I’d say my dialogue and plots are passable. There aren’t any glaring flaws, but they aren’t amazing strengths. I’m not entirely sure about my characters in general and character voices in particular. I haven’t received any negative feedback, but not much positive either. Personally, I like where it’s headed, but it can always use more work XD

What is your biggest writing goal for this year?

My aim is to get the first draft of my second book done, and at least get a dent in the second draft of the first book. (Yes, I’m working on both at once. Nope, it isn’t working out well.) Both goals are…. optimistic XD (And I probably won’t manage both, but it’s more a loose aiming point than a concrete deadline. “I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they whiz by.” XD)

Since the first draft is only about halfway (50k but I’m only halfway through my outline.) And for the second draft, I’m completely rewriting with the first draft as an outline since it was my first attempt at creative writing and it’s genuinely awful.

Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

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