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Transcript of Writer's Craft
Sometimes just writing is good too!
it ain't pretty!
How do you begin?
with an idea
a snippet of dialogue
Freeing "the Girls" in the basement
Writing it "Bird by Bird"
"Characters are interesting in their conflict, their misery, their unhappiness and their confusion. They are not, alas, interesting in their joy and security" (Elizabeth George).
outlines: chapter by chapter
plotter vs. pantser
writing a bit at a time: one inch frames
silencing the critic: KFKD radio
getting disciplined: butt in chair (Nora Roberts)
Look for inspiration
Once you've got a manuscript, then what?
Improving your craft: be a joiner, a reader, a critiquer, and above all, a writer.
Finding your niche: boy meets girl meets zombie
Don't give up . . . but don't quit your day job
Get tough or forget the whole thing
accepting soul crushing rejection
New York Times Bestseller, Baby!
"Somerset Maughn was once quoted as saying he only wrote when inspiration struck -- it just so happened that inspiration struck him every morning at 5 a.m. when he sat down at his typewriter" (Drunk Writer Talk Blog.)
"Samuel Johnson's old adage: anybody who writes for any reason other than money is a blockhead. . . . but anyone who expects any real money might be a blockhead too!"
"Money has never been the point of the literary life, says Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Ford, but it helps if your mate has a steady job."
"I've made enough to keep from having to work at other jobs, or from becoming a college-professor-who-also-writes, or a slave to cruelly pointless magazine assignments." ("Rich Writer, Poor Writer"
Glove and Mail. Saturday Oct. 22, 2011)
1. A character is in a zone of comfort
2. But they want something (a goal/conflict)
3. They enter an unfamiliar situation
4. Adapt to it
5. Get what they wanted
6. Pay a heavy price for it
7. Then return to their familiar situation
8. Having changed
"I know Suzanne Brockman’s process: divide the deadline by the number of pages and write that each day or else you die.
I know Nora’s process: three drafts. First draft story, second draft development of story and character, third draft language. Wash, Rinse, Repeat… Bestseller" (Drunk Writer Talk Blog).
Edit, edit, and edit again.
Get alpha and beta readers.
Stuck? Now what?
Change the point of view from which you tell the story. If you’re doing it from inside one character’s head, try switching to another character’s point of view. If you’re telling the story from an all-seeing, third person (“he/she thought”) point of view, try narrowing your focus down to one character telling the story in first person, as Huckleberry Finn and Anne Frank tell their stories.
"The story goes that when Tom Robbins wrote the first line of 'Another Roadside Attraction' ('The Magician's underwear has just been found in a cardboard suitcase floating in a stagnant pond on the outskirts of Miami'), he had no idea who the magician was or why his underwear was important. He started with that one sentence and then wrote the next one to see what would happen next." (Authorbootcamp.com)
"You're pirates. Hang the code, and hang the rules. They're more like guidelines anyway." (Pirates of the Caribbean).
"Some advice Matt Stone and Trey Parker (of South Park) gave about story-writing: If you're summarizing the plot beats, and connecting them with 'and then,' re-write so that each of those ands is replaced by a 'therefore' or a 'but'" (http://authorbootcamp.com/)
Jennifer Crusie/Michael Hauge
(Dan Harmon "Community" courtesy of Joseph Campbell "The Hero's Journey"
Tamora Pierce on Writer’s Block
"Introduce a new character, a strong one with an individual style in speech, dress and behavior—one who will cause the other characters to review their own actions and motives to decide where they stand with regard to the new character. Don’t forget that with me, at least, new characters include animals: most characters will react to an animal intrusion of some kind in an interesting way.
Have something dramatic happen. As Raymond Chandler put it, “Have someone come through the door with a gun in his hand.” (My husband translates this as “Have a troll come through the door with a spear in his hand.”) Machinery or vehicles (cars, wagons, horses, camels) can break down; your characters can be attacked by robbers or pirates; a flood or tornado sweeps through. Stage a war or an elopement or a financial crash. New, hard circumstances force characters to sink or swim, and the way you show how they do either will move things along.
Read it aloud
Laura Harrington "Alice Bliss"
Her child is dead, her best friend's got cancer, and her ex stole every cent she had and disappeared. "And Then she Said Yes"
Maddie's construction company is on the verge of bankruptcy, she's fighting to save her sleepy lakeside town from becoming McMansionville, and her friends won't let her forget she hasn't had a real date in months. So what should she take off the to- do list first? "Painting Maddy"
Brie campbell is useless, or so she's been told every day of her 17 year marriage. Then her husband died and a whole new world opens up. One that's even worse . . . she's got no money, no job, no home and the Nazis are bombing her country. "Missing a Halo"
Ulysess - one piece of punctuation in 40 pages
It's a crap shoot: Buy a lottery ticket. But don't lose hope!
NBA Superstars vs. European League vs. intramurals vs driveway basketball
John Green"Don’t complain to me about rewriting.The first draft of this book [Looking for Alaska] was 62,000 words, and I ended up cutting 55,000 of them. You’re not going to get any sympathy from me. All writing is rewriting." (Advice on Dumb Boyfriends, Going to College and More)
Junot Diaz "throws away a lot. It can take him 1,000 drafts before he's satisfied. Not that there's any valour or superiority in that, he stresses. 'Part of why I'm rereading Moby-Dick is Moby Dick was written in six months. So anybody who [says] it takes longer to write good work, f* that. There's no relationship between how fast or slow we work. For me to say it took 16 years is not a badge of honour. It's just the process'" (Globe 10/18/2112).
11 years - A Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao
16 years - This is How you Lose Her
Junot Dias: "My mom looks at something called the Pulitzer and she's like, '[What's] that? And then she hears that it was $10,000. She's like, $6,000 after taxes and it took you 11 years to write the book?' She's like, 'You earned more on your paper route'" (Globe 10/18/2012).
"This is what it’s like, financially, to have the indie book publicity story of the year and be near the top of the bestseller list.
$12,000." (Patrick Wensink)
Jane Austen's Lizzy Bennett fights zombies
Two guys condemned to death in the siege of Stalingrad - how do they survive?
If down the road in the world you’ve created someone had written a book or encyclopedia about these events, insert a nonfiction-like segment (that doesn’t give the important stuff away) as a change of pace. Try telling it as a poem, or a play (you can convert it to story form later).
Put this story aside, and start something else: letters, an article, a poem, a play, an art project. Look at the story in a day, or a week, or a couple of months. It may be fresh for you then; it may spark new ideas.
If you have an intelligent friend who’s into the things you’re writing about, talk it out with him/her. My husband often supplies wonderful new ideas so I can get past whatever hangs me up, and my family and friends are used to mysterious phone calls asking about things seemingly out of the blue, like what gems would you wear with a scarlet gown, or how tall are pole beans in late June?
Most important of all, know when it’s time to quit. Sometimes you take an idea as far as it will go, then run out of steam. This is completely normal. When I began to write, I must have started 25 things for each one I completed. Whether you finish something or not, you’ll still have learned as you wrote. The things you learn and ideas you developed, even in a project you don’t finish, can be brought to your next project, and the next, and the next. Sooner or later you’ll have a story which you can carry to a finish."
Tamora Pierce NaNoWriMo
"Live somewhere cheap" (Patrick Rothfuss)
. Snoopy “Stormy Night” circulatinglibrary.net.
Pirates of the Caribbean
. Disney. 2003. www.imdb.com
Early Picasso Images: pictify.com, thwack.solarwinds.com, alethakuschan.wordpress.com, www.aristos.org
Later Picasso Images www.openculture.com
Old folks Dancing www.retirementhomes.com
Crazy weather guy
Empty fridge www.examiner.com Mary Ellen Olsen
Sue Danic Collages and Rejection Letters
Jenny Crusie Collage www.jennycrusie.com
Hero’s Journey Image www.yourheroicjourney.com
Nora Roberts Image promo shot www.goodreads.com Nora Roberts
Novel Covers are not cited
Trademark Images – twitter, facebook are not cited
"Books, boys, buzz Blog" page header yawriters.blogspot.ca - now defunct
Moonlight chronicles Images www.moonlightchronicles.com
. “Genius.” www.fox.com
Girl Skipping Rope www.wallgoogle.com
Ack. . . sinful
may be replacing this