Where I’m at Wednesday
I used to write a weekly blog after publishing my first novel The Sphere of Archimedes. It let readers know where I was in writing the sequel The Omphalos of Delphi. I exhausted myself trying to meet last year’s deadline, countless hours researching Roman, Greek, and Assyrian history, and juggling normal, everyday life.
“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”
― Lao Tzu, Te Tao Ching
I burned out!
My writing suffered. My home-life suffered. And, I [personally] gave up. It is the honest truth.
I felt, I no longer could write; I went numb.
This year, I got a part-time job. Feeling better about the situation, I began writing again.
I. Am. Back.
The Omphalos of Delphi is due on the editor’s desk October 15th. I must hurry and finalize the manuscript.
Could I ask —my dear readers— for one favor?
I really appreciate all my subscribers, friends, and family for your support and understanding.
Have you ever anticipated eating something visually appealing, but upon the first taste it had no flavor?
Tasteless or over-seasoned characters can kill a book. A well-seasoned character must flow with realism, grow into a likable or loathsome individual, and have a basis for their actions. Personally, I like to build an attachment to them, root for their successes, or be grief-stricken by their losses.
When I first envision a story, I create the main struggle, then build the characters around it; however, I tend to produce more along the way.
Establish what they look like:
— Try to visualize what your character looks like. It’s not necessary to incorporate that in the first few pages, but it can be a slow introduction. The importance is to grasp a mental image of your character(s).
Add characteristics you are familiar with:
— Each character you create is a piece of your personality.
— Graft to principles you admire about them.
— Highlight the not-so-likable qualities.
Add traits which aren’t normal for you:
— Maybe a profession or hobby (you may have to research)? What sets this character apart from you?
— Add imperfect characteristics: flaws, disfunction, or some other trait that will make them more realistic.
Lastly, as weird as it sounds, become the character:
— When you are writing, you must step inside their head, see behind their eyes, and create scenes from their perspective.
— Every character feels emotions. Some characters may suppress feelings that others cannot see; however, their emotion is always visible to the author/reader.
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, you cannot help but to feel sorry for the abhorrent monster—an intelligent, articulate beast.
“You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do; and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to concede.”
Just from that example, you feel the creature’s pain and loneliness. It is a sad tale, but Mary Shelley poured enough seasoning into each personality, leaving the reader is conflicted.
So, with that said, it’s YOUR monster. Get out there and create it!
Take care, my friends 🙂
. . .to Read
Have you ever picked up a classic novel out of curiosity? At first, you thought it would be boring and/or stupid. But once you started understanding the content, it became impossible to set down. I felt this way on numerous occasions, and have yet to be disappointed.
Shakespeare was very difficult for me to understand. In the beginning of the novel, it was like reading another language; however, after awhile words and phrases started to make sense. The story developed and the plot unfolded.
Hamlet became my all-time favorite of his stories. The history, beauty, culture, and words kept me engaged throughout the entire book. Yes, it was a sad tale—typical of Shakespeare’s work, but I’ve enjoyed reading it over and over.
As writers, we must engorge ourselves on the written feast. Words and writing styles should mold our own creativity. I believe that the more we consume, the harder we’ll try to improve our writing.
So, I challenge you to read or reread a classic novel. The words will engross you, the scenes will entice you, and you can thank me later.
Take care, my friends. 🙂
Scissor words are overused words which can be eliminated. Here are some helpful tips:
1. “To be” verbs: is, are, am, was, were, be, being, been.
Try reworking your sentences, and cut back on using them. You cannot wholly avoid “to be” verbs, but limit their usage.
2. “That” can be overused within a sentence. Take out some in your story; it may make the sentences flow better.
3. Just, like, & as are used for emphasis or comparison. But, they can turn into writing crutches.
4. “ly” adverbs are lackluster descriptive words. Even though there are some situations you cannot avoid using adverbs. Do not go overboard. Using “ly” adverbs too much will weaken the story. Use other descriptive words to strengthen it.
5. Now means: NOW. It’s an immediate response. If you choose to use it, avoid placing now at the beginning of the sentence.
Now we can go.
We can go now.
Don’t worry about following these steps until after you’ve finished your work. If you edit in the middle of writing, you will only get frustrated. I usually print a chapter off at a time and then rework it. Once you start looking for specific words, they will stand out.
Take care, my friends 🙂
Kill the clichés!
Cliché—a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.
A cliché or cliche (UK /ˈkliːʃeɪ/ or US /klɪˈʃeɪ/) is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.
When starting out as a writer, I did not know the rules of clichés. Many readers and definitely literary agents frown upon the usage of them in stories. Why?
Clichés are basically a phrase that has been overused. It reflects the lack of your opinion and/or originality. They can become annoying, and might possibly get your manuscript rejected. Apparently, literary agents loathe clichés; however, I’m sure some are willing to overlook a few.
Avoid them *like the plague*, unless you are doing it to be cheeky.
Here is a website of abused sayings:
As you read several overused expressions, it’ll become more evident that clichés kill our uniqueness.You will see them as beacons in literature, and *the rolling of the eyes* will be entirely yours.
Are you an avid cliché writer, and your work is crawling with them? STOP IT! I would advise to revise. Find different ways to express or define a situation, emotion, or description. Use your own words.