Tim Powers: Interview With a Secret Historian

‘“In my own first drafts, when I re-read them, it always seems like a bunch of people in street clothes holding scripts, standing on a bare stage, looking at tape marks on the floor and reading from the script very haltingly. And you think ok, well, that’s the first rehearsal. We’re going to get sets, we’re going to get costumes, there will be real drinks in the glasses, this isn’t the finished production.’

Oh my gosh, it’s nice to hear that someone else’s first draft looks like this. Sometimes I worry that all I have at the end is a bunch of talking heads, and the advice to cut X% of your novel just doesn’t work. I end up having to add more detail rather than cut out words.

I also love his advice of using Youtube videos to explore sensations or locations you haven’t been to yourself. I actually can’t believe this hadn’t occurred to me before. I also love his method of coming up with novel ideas.

Definitely worth the read, and apparently I need to read more of Powers’ books!

Writing: How to get it done

I definitely needed to read this today, so I thought others probably would too. I’m slowly getting better at scheduling my writing, but it certainly isn’t something you change overnight!

C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

1. Write what you’ll finish and publish soonest, first. Propulsion increases closer to payoff.

2. Don’t tinker forever. Set a deadline. Stick to it, on penalty of noogies.

3. If you’re a slow writer, outline first so you’ll stay on track. Stop at a place where you know what happens next. You’ll start tomorrow without pausing, stopping or getting stumped.

4. Think of how great it’s going to be once you’ve published. Alert your readers to your progress so they know when to expect the next book launch. You’ll keep your momentum going with a little positive pressure. There are numerous free word count bars you can put on your author site to display your daily progress. That which is measured, improves. That which is not, is rued.

5. Give your graphic designer enough warning so when you’re ready with the manuscript, he’s ready with the cover. You’ll deliver rather than stretch it out…

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Curs and Semicolons

Outline for Cloom’s Garden? Check.

  • I actually finished this on Saturday while waiting to get my car fixed. Three hours since I had to get new brakes put on. /sigh At least it was a productive three hours!

Start reviewing my final draft for Ghosts of Pikes Peak? Double check.

  • This draft is actually cleaner than I thought it would be. The opening especially I was nervous about, but after a little bit of cleanup it looks just fine. I’ll admit, I’m not used to going back to my work and actually approving of what I find. In fact I’m a little paranoid now that I missed something…

I had to give myself a few days off before I jumped into Ghosts. The writing styles are very different, and I wanted to approach my supernatural adventure tale with fresh eyes. I really do get a feel for how much bigger the world is in Cloom though. Looking at this piece now, it’s easy to see why I didn’t need an outline to get it finished.

By the way, I love the snapshot feature on Scrivener, which helps me keep the multiple draft versions straight. It only works on a per document level, so I have to remember to do it per scene, but it really does help if I ever need to roll anything back (or check out what I did on an old version!)

Some funny things I had to look up:

  • Semicolon rules. I was pretty sure I had this right, but dang it, I always second guess myself. Turns out I was right. If I hadn’t checked though, I would have remembered it wrong, right?
  • The definition of Cur. I always want to say it is spelled with two R’s. It just looks weird with one!
Image

Side Funny: Apparently it’s normal to call your new puppy a cur on a regular basis.

Not sure if I’ll have this done in time for Camp NaNo, but it’ll hopefully be close. Then I can devote some much-needed writing time to Cloom’s Garden. Woot!

Worldbuilding Workshop, Part I

I’m reblogging this cause it looks incredibly helpful, and I’ll need to be referencing it closely when I go back to start edits on my fantasy piece I finished up in April. I’ve been brainstorming some of these things, but there is plenty more that needs to be explored.

Lucienne Diver's Drivel

For those who’ve asked me whether I was going to post my Worldbuilding Workshop on-line somewhere, here it is at long last!  (The beginning anyway.)  Special thanks to Gerald Blackwell, who redrew the diagram because I couldn’t figure out how to get it to transfer from Word!  Welcome to Part I.  I hope you enjoy.  There is more to come.

worldbuilding_diagram

Worldbuilding Workshop

Whether you start with characters or conflict, no one and nothing is created in a vacuum. A character will very much be a product of the way he/she was raised, but also what ecology, nutrition, religion, etc. helped form his or her development.

Conflict often comes when an individual or group is at odds with or fighting against what are considered the norms of a society or when cultures clash against each other over ideology (religion), control of resources (ecology) or whatever. And, of course, rarely does it…

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