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June 19th, 2007

book and glasses

A Writing Meme of Sorts

A Writing Meme from Dave Moles (you can read his blog here - Ten Things I Don't Know About Writing.

Go read, but in the interests of being helpful, here's what the original Moles Ten Things were:



1. How to describe with all five senses.
2. How to get a character across a room.
3. How to have your protagonist learn something without having another character talk about it for six pages. (Failing that: How to get characters talking without sitting them down at a table and serving drinks.)
4. How to write about happy people.
5. How to capture the arc of a relationship — the dynamics of a friendship, or a love affair, or a lifelong hatred, or a family. (I read in Gwenda’s interview with Bennett Madison that Mr. Madson’s next book is “about the very bloody rise and fall of a teenage friendship,” and that scares the daylights out of me.)
6. How to write a scene when you don’t know what should happen in it, only what it should accomplish.
7. How to write a scene when you don’t know what it should accomplish, only what should happen in it.
8. How to measure progress when word count doesn’t tell you anything.
9. How to plot a multi-layered conspiracy theory without it turning into the stupid middle hour of Pirates of the Carribbean 3 where the characters all take turns betraying one another but in the end none of their betrayals has any consequences because the (static!) character relationships trump everything else.
10. How to make the story on the page as good as the one in your head.


Some of those kind of boggle me. I don't know how NOT to write using all the senses; I can get a character across a GALAXY, if need be, not just across a room; my protagonists attend the school of hard knocks and learn things CONSTANTLY, sometimes unwillingly; I write about relationship arcs all the time, and that's what my work is all about; I am ALWAYS writing scenes in which I don't know what is supposed to happen, and am constantly surprised by what I find out, AND vice versa; my novels have multi-layered theories - if not precisely always conspiracies - coming out of the woodwork all the time by definition. Three of his points I'll take:


4. How to write about happy people.
Happy = content. Content = perfectly satisfied with status quo. perfectly satisfied with status quo = no problems. No problems = no conflicts. No conflicts = no plot. And now we're in trouble.

I need to have characters who need to solve some problem in their lives. That's where the story happens. Happy people live in Nirvana, and Heaven, although by all accounts pleasant, doesn't make for gripping storytelling.


8. How to measure progress when word count doesn’t tell you anything.
I don't quite GET that one, but I do, in a nebulous kind of way. I get obsessed with word counts somewhere in the last third of a novel in progress, and it hamstrings me.I know this. I don't quite know how to get out from under it.


10. How to make the story on the page as good as the one in your head.
Anyone come up with an answer to this one, please let me know...

And now here's my tenCollapse )

There you go. Feel free to take it and run with it.