Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Fiction Feed - Onomatopoeia and You

When writing, we don't tend think about how something sounds--or, I don't. You rarely read a description of someone's voice. Sometimes the accent, but rarely the timber. It is the same thing with the sounds going on in the background. We might be sitting in a coffee shop, but are you focusing on the sound of the espresso machine? The sounds of the coffee beans in a grinder? Probably not.

The most effective way to describe it, though, is to tell the reader the direct sounds--using onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia means that something sounds like how the word sounds. For example, buzz. There is the word buzz, and it is used to describe the sound buzz. Other examples can include sizzle, bang, and the like. So (going back to the coffee shop), the espresso machine can hiss. Now your reader does not need to picture the sound of the espresso machine; they know exactly what it sounds like. Similarly, if someone snaps the sheets as they wave them dry, the reader knows exactly what sound you mean.

(Onomatopoeia is not an onomatopoeia. This is rather disappointing.)

So, your task for this weekend: in a scene, focus on the sounds. Use onomatopoeia. Describe the sounds of the scene. Hiss! Bang! Crack! Whap! Ooze!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Musings - Mr. Kiss and Tell by Jennifer Graham Review

Tada! Another book review! (Remember how I was supposed to review the last Heroes of Olympus book? Well, I haven't even finished it, so that should tell you about my feelings.)

This, however, is a positive review. I give you: a Veronica Mars book!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Fiction Feed - Apologizing for Dummies

After all the mistakes from last week's cold medicine fiasco, odds are your character has to apologize to someone. Apologies are tricky things that can play to your protagonist's flaws. Does your protagonist tend to over compensate? Make them give a gift (or several gifts). Is your protagonist unemotional? They can sort-of apologize, but allow the other character to rant back about their apology is not good enough. Did the protagonist reveal something to another character that makes things awkward? Then make sure that there are awkward silences and statements in your apology scene. Making a mistake can be a great way to find out more about your protagonist, but apologizing for that mistake can progress the plot significantly.

Don't just go, "Hey, I'm sorry!" Have some fun with it. Add a twist. Apologies can be fun to write!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Weekly Writing Wrambling - I Miss Writing

My name is Christine, and I miss writing.

Why, do you ask? Because right now (write now?), I am stuck in my least favourite part of writing: revisionland. Now, there are some pluses to revisionland. I like knowing that I am making my work better. I like fixing the commas and the periods and the colons. I like helping characters grow and change. It can be fun.

The first hundred times.

Then, it just gets boring. And every time I look at my book again, I still see commas in the wrong place and a character that is not quite in place. This is always going to be the case, even if I eventually get this book published. I am okay with it not being absolutely perfect. So why can't I just finish it?

I think I am just, simply put, a worrier. I am worried about whether my plot makes sense. I am worried about whether the book is even compelling. I know my book cannot be perfect, but I want it to be as close to perfect as it can be. When you are trying to chase a dream, after all, you know it is going to be work. And I have worked. The characters have changed, and they have settled a bit. I know them for the most part, even though my passive-aggressive main character who still refuses to grow a backbone is driving me crazy (he is probably 80% of my problem right now). (The issue with writing teenagers is that they don't know their weaknesses yet, so you're stuck dealing with someone who refuses to acknowledge that he resents his siblings and is underachieving for attention.)

But the art of letting go...that is tricky. I don't want to let go, to a certain extent. I always, always have to do one more rewrite. One more rewrite to add more mystery. One more rewrite to work on more character. One more rewrite to help with the word count. I always need one more rewrite.

So I am stuck in revisionland, while the back of my head is simmering with plots and ideas and a desire to, once again, open a new word document and got lost for a little while. It is hard to get lost when you are worried about syntax and characterization. But when you can ignore the little things, and just enjoy the first draft--that is what I live to do. I am a writer, not an editor, when things are cut down to it.

So I miss writing. And I want to start book two. But my last rewrite will always beckon....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Travels - No. 25 - Drive on 1 and take some pretty pictures

My first Tuesday Travels for realsies! Yay!

This week I accomplished number 25 on my Bucket List - I drove on Highway 1 for a while and took some pretty photos of the California Coast. I also stopped and found an excellent thinking spot. It was kind of hidden away from the parking lot, and then you sit on a cliff and nobody can see you and I had a lovely view of the sunset and the beach.

Overall, very nice, and I'm glad I did it. For all my complaints about the Bay Area, it really can be a beautiful place. Pictures below!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Fiction Feed - Cold Medicine

I am creating another feature! I should probably write a "State of the Blog" post to help iron things out. It is like a Weekly Writing Wrambling (which would happen if I was NO LONGER SICK AND COULD WRITE THINGS, cough cough), but I am calling it a Friday Fiction Feed. It is a short little port with a plot device to help with weekend writing. Something to get you going, fictionally speaking, on a Friday evening. Should be fun!

Today's Friday Fiction Feed: Cold medicine is a weird thing. It makes you feel better, but it can also make you hyper and do silly things. It is like caffeine meets alcohol meets medicine. So give you protagonist a cold and give them lots of cold medicine. What will they do when they are energized and slightly less inhibited? A carefree character can make lots of interesting messes for you to clean up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday Travels: Bay Area Bucket List

I have decided that this year, 2015, is the year I will complete my Bay Area Bucket List! My Bay Area Bucket List is the list of things I want to do in the Bay Area while I am still here. The updates regarding my Bay Area Bucket List (that is a really long name. I may start calling it the BABL, which should be pronounced "Babble") will be posted here on Tuesdays, as a Tuesday Travels.

So: the list!