The End is Near!

Just a quick note:

I’ve got 50 hours left to fund-raise for the editorial work on my book. So, just thought I’d share this:

Help Me Get My Novel Edited!

But seriously, you should check it out. This is about my book being the very best possible version of itself, and it’s also about me starting up my own publishing company in order to be fully independent as an author. On top of that, if I haven’t mentioned it before, it’s also about helping others beat heart disease.

Just FYI. 🙂

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Writing and World-Building Tools!

Honestly, I’ve been writing for years, but never have I been as productive as this year. Especially since I discovered yWriter.

Anyone else use this software?

I never thought much about how writing software can take the hassle out of organizing info and scenes for a book.

yWriter, like Scrivener and other writing programs, helps organize a person’s writing, cutting things into easy-to-manage scenes, chapters, notes, categories, tags, etc. Everything in manageable separate files, but tied together in a simple interface.

Unlike Scrivener, yWriter is totally free. It sort of saved my life. 🙂

Also, in the off-time, to keep my info all in one place, I’ve decided to create a wiki full of everything pertaining to my world and all its characters. For this, I discovered WikidPad, which is a stand-alone wiki creator, allowing you to create a wiki (ya know, like Wikipedia), that you can export to a single file, or multiple (you’ve got some options), and keep on your computer, or host online, or do whatever with.

So far, this process has been good for me getting all my stories straight, especially backstory and all the details.

Anyone else use something like this to keep organized? Whether a novel-writing software, or a organizational tool?

Two Questions About Characters

For the writers out there:

How do you develop your characters? Do you create a character profile, do you just write and see what happens, etc.?

For the readers:

When you start to see things unfold involving a character, what are the first and most important things you notice about that character? What are their unique traits?

Just some stuff to think about. Happy Thanksgiving for all the Americans out there.

Finding the Balance in Perspective

I’ve been thinking about narrative lately.

If you’re at all a fan of manga, the Japanese (or often Japanese-inspired) form of comic book art which has of course gone on to give birth to the wide and very international medium of “anime” (not to be confused with mere animation)—then, you’re probably familiar with the classic way manga often presents narrative.

Especially with the great creators like Osamu Tezuka, the narrative of the story is often not left up to the reader to interpret by just looking at each panel–at least not completely. We get to follow the character’s thoughts, which to be honest is something done to overkill with American serialized comics… i.e., Spider-Man is always, always thinking, or even talking to himself.

See? Always thinking… (image from http://www.allposters.com)

At any rate, this sort of thing got me thinking about how comics have often tried to present characters’ internal dialogue as a way of creating narrative perspective. Creating first-person perspective is really what they’re doing.

It does tend to give much more depth to a story. It can also let you in on the thoughts of unreliable narrators and outright incorrect narrators. In some cases where the art is so complex or the character’s observations are so detailed, letting the readers in on the internal dialogue is the only possible way to reveal important information, even to help move the plot forward. I’ve seen this done rather well (especially in manga). I’ve also seen it done horribly, i.e., when it’s very clear what is happening, but the character’s thoughts describe it anyway, dumbing down situations for the readers, etc.

There are other times when, especially in the visual medium, when leaving out internal dialogue is best. It lets the reader interpret everything for his or her own self.

How does this relate to writing non-comics?

Sometimes, it can be the difference between classic literature and most modern day literary fiction/all the other genres–but it’s all in how narrative lets the story reveal itself to the reader.

Obviously, non-visual fiction relies solely on the words. I know, stating the obvious is what I do. 😉 But even here, writers can sometimes over-simplify the narrative for their audience, or dare just the opposite and risk confusing even the savviest of readers. There must be a balance.

The same with perspectives. How much do we reveal to the reader? How much info is too much? How much is too little? This depends on whether we are narrating through first-person or third, and in what way? (first-person present or past tense, third-person limited or omniscient, etc.) I leave out second-person here, because it is fairly rare in fiction, not unheard of, but not so common.

It can be easy to zoom in on a character’s thoughts from third-person perspective and see all she has to say on a subject, but why not limit the narrator to not knowing the character’s thoughts? Let those thoughts be revealed when they manifest as actions. This is more often the case in classic literary fiction.

Modern fiction tends to follow characters’ internal dialogue more frequently, and sometimes it’s great… Sometimes not so much. Sometimes it becomes all too obvious where the story’s going, because you suddenly have no secrets.

Personally I do most often write in third-person, but I try to find a balance. If I find myself zooming in too often to see my protagonist’s thoughts, it feels like I’m doing too much telling and not enough showing. It can be a tricky balance.

It can be the thing that makes and breaks a story. Great stories are only as good as the way they’re told. Just some thoughts.

The In-Between Blues…

So, I’ve finished my 90k+ word novel, and I’m raising money to get it professionally edited. In the meantime, I can’t start the editing process until after the first of the year. It’s sort of like I’m crashing from an amazing high. I worked day and night (especially night) for months straight, writing, writing, writing…

Now, I come to a crashing halt, so to speak, waiting for things to happen. I sort of feel as though I can’t just delve into other projects until I’m truly done with this one. It’s almost in limbo.

I hope to use this blog as a way to redirect some of my creative urges. Maybe write about my world a little bit. Let people know about my process. Also, I honestly think WordPress still has one of the best blogging systems out there. Sorry, other guys. Makes my life a bit easier.

Anyhow, if you’re interested, or wondering, about my fundraising campaign, I put a link in the sidebar, but here’s another: Editing demiGod

For lack of a better word, it’s urban fantasy, minus the overly romantic stuff that tends to accompany much of the genre. It’s really just a story that has fantastical elements and happens to take place in the modern day, and a story about real people that happens to take place with fantastical elements.

That said, I’ll say that I’ve been struggling to figure out what I can do in the interim between writing and editing that won’t end in me overly committing myself creatively. For now I’m thinking of making a little music here and there. But, I don’t want to stop the flow of writing.

Any other writers out there have any similar conundrums after finishing a book?