January 4th, 2004

bear by san

(no subject)

Who would have thought that there would come a day when Schoolhouse Rock would be edgy political commentary?

"if the government won't give you your basic rights / you'd better get another government."
  • Current Music
    Schoolhouse Rock - Fireworks
bear by san

Characters vs. roles

1,158 words on Bridge last night. None so far today. Stuck because I don't know what Fyodor's issues or agenda are, and he's useless to me until I figure that out. He has to go from being a purpose to being a person....

...and cpolk just cracked him wide open for me. Leading me to a Major Writing Revelation. It's not enough to understand a character, or his motivations, or his role in the story. It's not enough to keep him consistent, with enough inconsistency to seem real. It's not enough to know what he wants and what he needs, and how he can't have both.

A character in fiction, to be convincing, has to be a person, and not a purpose. He can't just live his role. The writer has to know his damage, even if he doesn't know it himself. The writer has to know why. Otherwise, the reader will be able to tell that that character is only a role.

I can see I have some fixing to do on this book, and on Stratford Man, because I have two other characters in this one and one character in SM who are just that--roles.

Drat. Plateaus suck, but going back and fixing things you did poorly in the past by using the things you learn when you break the plateau sucks more.
  • Current Music
    Hayseed Dixie - Money Talks
bear by san

Progress Notes

818 words on Bridge of Blood & Iron, finally, once I got that nasty character hiccup ironed out and got my characters into their places.

Pictures Ricardo Montalban warbling 'Places, people! Places!' and wishes for better drugs.

Page 138 of 500. Progress *is* being made. Also, it turns out that the subplot that I thought had nothing to do with the major plots and themes of the book, and was just there to keep a POV character busy until he was needed for the main plot, is, in fact, a major thematic element in the story and a piece of misdirection. This is really kind of exciting.

Also, somewhat slow going, this rewrite process, when the revisions are this intense. It becomes almost like writing a whole new book around the bones of the old one. Or possibly sewing a sasquatch suit to pack your monkey into, so people think it's a sasquatch and has been all along.

However, it's already becoming a richer, more complex book. Less about the journey of the protagonist, which is what it was before, and more about the journey of the world.

Interesting, that.

Also, wrote a long pointless backstory thing for a short story I've already finished (the backstory thing actually longer than the short story--writers is nuts) written yesterday and today. Not actual wordcount, because it's not for publication. But I had fun playing with the characters.
  • Current Music
    Wille Nelson - Bird On A Wire
bear by san

Things writers forget:

Editors are their paying customers and deserve good customer service, which includes politeness, and providing what the customer asks for.

Most editors will tell writers up front what they are asking for. That's what 'guidelines' are for. And writing a rebuttal to a negative response to a query letter is not good customer service.

It amazes me sometimes, how many writers don't seem to get that they have to impress the guy with the checkbook, and not the other way around. Editors, on the other hand, seem pretty clever about remembering that they have to impress their customers--the reading public.

Why do you suppose that is?

(xposted to cranky_editors)
  • Current Music
    Jethro Tull--Bourée