Urban Fantasy author D. Lieber interviewed me recently regarding magicks, characters, and books I’ve written.
Talk about fun!
Let’s start with this exchange:
Q: What kind of spell can I get for you (or your character) today?
Hmm…few ever offer me their magicks, usually they’re asking magicks of me. What magick would I be gifted with? Le Guin showed us that asking for a thing doesn’t put boundaries on how that thing is achieved.
I will ask that you weave a spell that lets all asking of magick to know all that happens for that magick to be, then giving them the choice of still asking or not. (wow, what a good piece of storyfodder, that!)
And it gets better.
I should also add that D. Lieber is an author after my own heart; “D. Lieber is an urban fantasy author who writes stories she wants to read.” so similar to my Twitter “I’ve decided to spend the rest of my life writing things I’d enjoy reading. Who knows? You might enjoy them, too.”
So give a read, let us know what you think, and thanks.
Bringing Your Character to Life via Exposition
This is the second in an ongoing series of StoryCrafting/StoryTelling posts I’m publishing for my own benefit; explaining something helps me determine if I’ve truly learned it or am simply parroting what others have offered. I learn my weak spots, what I need to study, et cetera.
Previous offerings include:
- Atmosphere is…
- Character is… (Part 1)
And note that I’ll update/upgrade/edit these posts as I learn more.
I ended Character is… (Part 1) with “The next in this series starts the exploration of the third character aspect, the techniques used to make the character real/alive to the reader.”
So far as I know, these techniques are:
- Exposition – the author explains (tells) the character to the reader. Most economical and least effective storytelling form. Improve it by sharing some sharp details, by having a character do the explaining (thereby revealing character as well as providing exposition).
- Description – Second most economical, second least effective. If you must provide a list of details, make the last one explosive, eye-catching, something highly contrasting with the previous, preferably bland, descriptive details.
- Action – most effective way to both show and demonstrate character.
- Shading – building a character by revealing contradictions about them.
- Gestures and Mannerisms – establish character by the little things they do, the non-conscious things they do, their habits.
- Settings, Tastes, Interests – what someone has in their environment, how someone interacts with their environment
- Opinions of Others – reveals both speaker and character.
- Dialogue – Character reveals themselves through their own words or through dialogue with another character.
- Thoughts – the author reveals character by sharing the character’s inner thinking about something.
- Narrative Voice – 1st person POV, the narrator talks to us and is revealed via their words and thoughts.
…a disaster waiting to happen. As stated above, exposition is the least effective storytelling form. It does have its uses. Quick transitions in time, space, or character are an example: “Jenny drove home from her office.” “Karl glanced out the window and waited for his stop.” “The Carsons walked out as the Davidsons entered.”
In all three cases, the events aren’t as important as the fact that something’s changing; Jenny’s environment is changing from office to home, Karl’s waiting for the next thing to happen. The players are changing from one group to another (Carsons to Davidsons). All are single lines that provide little information other than letting the reader catch their breath before the next big thing occurs.
Continue reading “Character is… (Part 2.1) – Exposition is…”
Ain’t nothing better for a wayward nipple
Rahki World author Rennie St. James invited me to guest blog WRITING REALISTIC HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT SCENES and I did.
I did I did I did!
Can’t tell you how many versions I came up with.
No, actually I can because I revision everything – four.
Some of those early versions…a beautiful demonstration of not knowing what to write about. There were lots of ways to go at it. Do I write about my many years teaching hand-to-hand mixmaster beef loin braising techniques at the Academie du HaHa in Paranormal, France?
Probably too graphic for most readers. No.
Instead I went with how to write a combat scene such that the reader believes it.
Hope it worked.
Let Rennie and me know, okay?
Psychologists and philosophers debate “horror” as a concept. Authors have it much easier. They want to give readers chills. They want to make readers nervous. Uncomfortable. They want readers to turn on all the lights, to check locks on the doors, to tuck their feet up under themselves so nothing can grab them from below, to check under the bed before getting under the covers, to look in their closets, to look at their loved ones suspiciously.
Remember last week I wrote “Why This Were Here, Now?” now on TimothyBatesonAuthor.com?
Remember that amazing post?
You’d think he’d learn, ya know?
Well, he asked me to do it again. Or something similar.
This week’s theme is horror and I thought he wanted something horribly written.
No, he assured me. That wouldn’t prove a challenge for me.
He’d much rather I write something about crafting horror.
Hopefully I did, and hopefully it’s not too horrible.
Give Writing Something Horrifying. Leave a comment or two. He’ll like that.
Werecreatures are nothing new. Cave drawings frequently depict humanimals. Study any culture’s mythology and one wonders who wasn’t a werecreature. The concept of versipellics as evil is relatively new compared to human recorded history (about 800 years v 35,000 years).
Timothy Bateson put a call out for his 31 Days of Halloween and I hid.
But he found me. I was cringing behind my mobile (it’s a big mobile. Not quite so mobile a mobile, you might say).
Anyway, he wanted something about were-creatures. I’ve written a few stories about were-creatures. Therefore, I’m an expert.
But I came up with something and he, being gracious (probably also taking pity on me), accepted it.
So make him happy, do yourself proud, and go take a read of Why This Were Here, Now?
Here’s a tease:
Let’s say someone wants to write about werewolves but nothing they’re coming up with fits “werewolf.” Probably they’re putting the hearse before the horse. Their interest is on the were, not the were’s purpose in the story.
Be sure to leave comments. He likes them.