Nine Things You Could Add to Your Scenes Today
- a family joke
- the names of your three favorite cousins
- your deepest, darkest secret
- your favorite song
- something you make up from nothing–like your own Proverbs
- make up your own horoscope for you character that she always checks the day after (Ann Dee did this is the book we wrote. She is so danged funny.)
- Your own riddles that play toward the plot in some way
- I always add a tiny something from my core beliefs. When others, who believe the way I do, read the book, they can wonder about me.
- let your character do something you’ve always wanted to do
How To Take a Compliment
We are all “delicate flowers” (as my mother used to say) when it comes to critiques. Some of us get over it. Others give up writing. Some get better. Some get vindictive, lose their perspective and argue rather than critique.
What kind of “delicate flower” are you? Can you take a sincere compliment, without down-grading it to the point that your friend/fellow writer gives up trying to make you understand how good she thinks you are? Do your family members make you cringe if you read something to them?
And how do your characters accept or reject compliments? How do they know which are sincere, which are for nefarious purposes?
I often find when a person has some sense of self-worth, he or she can take a compliment with a simple “Thank you” without belaboring it. Someone who is less sure of himself/herself may react in a negative way, be derisive of the person who made the comment, plunge into depression, or what have you.
Think about this as you give “critiques.” Or get them. Or write a character into your story who needs building up, but gets torn down. How does he or she react?
Think about these things as you give critiques, as you write your characters. How can you make “compliments” within your story which will wound or heal your characters?
When it comes to writing, I’ve found the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t even know what I don’t know. There are so many things to think about, so many concepts to combine. We are literally creating worlds. We have to have an understanding of art and science, of human nature and psychology, of politics and government. To create our worlds, we have to know everything about everything. Then we have to communicate that knowledge in the simplest of terms. It has to be done in a way that the reader doesn’t even realize they’re learning it. We need to combine knowledge with storytelling, and weave them flawlessly together.
Sometimes it just seems impossible. The story I have in my head is never the one that makes it onto the paper. In my mind, the characters are living, breathing entities but on paper they become flat. That witty dialogue becomes stale words on a page, the brilliant descriptions are overwrought and unimpressive. Nothing is as it should be.
But I keep at it. Why? Mostly because I don’t have a choice. If I could do anything other than write, I would. If I could get these characters to just SHUT UP in any other method than writing them down, I would. But I can’t. So I continue on, held hostage by the voices in my head.
To be a writer is to be just a little bit crazy. I’m okay with that.