Monday, August 23, 2010

What's your problem?

So we are all well aware by now how important conflict is in a novel.

What if Katniss had never been sent to the Hunger Games? Would we really have wanted to read about her day to day life in District 13? What if Edward had been a totally normal dude, moody and to be honest a bit boring (hello, classical music)?

With my last WIP, I had to stop working on it because the conflict just wasn't working. There wasn't enough and it didn't make sense and it just didn't work. And with my current WIP, well, I'm wondering....
Is it possible to have too much conflict?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's pronounced "Katie." Yeah, I'm gonna call you Caddy.

Okay, I have to put this out there. I don't know if anyone else has this problem, or if I'm a loner freak. Maybe you can help me.

Do you ever read a book and absolutely hate the character's name?

It doesn't happen a lot, but sometimes I'll read a book where I cannot stand one of the character's name. As in, every time I read it I a) roll my eyes b) pretend to gag c) literally gag (extreme cases only). Example: The hero of a book I read recently was named "Taggert". Now, I knew this going in, but assumed that he would heretofore be referred to as "Tagg." Um, no. His acceptable nickname was rarely used.

When I find myself in this situation I attempt to change the character's name in my mind, either to the nickname or to something similar to the name. I try to read the name as what I want it to be instead of what it is. Am I the only one who does this?

And, second part of this:

Do you consider the popularity/ease of pronunciation/likability of the names you choose for your characters?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How many writers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

None. The writers aren't actually screwing in the lightbulb, they are too immersed in the creative world to see to mundane details such as changing lightbulbs or cleaning or any such nonsense. They are, in fact, waiting for a lightbulb to appear cartoon-like over their head signifying a brilliant, just born idea.

So my question is this: are you as a writer actively seeking ideas for new projects? Do you walk around thinking "Could I write a book about this? What about this? Does anyone want to read about a poor college graduate eking out a living in a smoothie shop?"


Do your ideas come to you unbidden and unexpectedly? Does something random just pop into your head and you know that it would make a great book? If you finish one project, do you just wait for that next inspiration to strike?

For me it's happened both ways. My current work in progress was one of those lightning bolt type moments that came out of no where inspired by a video game commercial during the Super Bowl. What about you?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Battle Royale: The Reader vs. The Writer

The past two days I've found myself waging an epic civil war within myself. The Reader vs. The Writer. The Reader wants to, well, read. And read. And read. The Reader stupidly bought the first book in a series and then could not be persuaded to put it down on Tuesday. (The book was The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. AMAZING!!)

The Reader started reading the book at work on Tuesday. When The Reader got home, The Writer politely tapped The Reader on the shoulder and said "Hi. Um, look, I know that you are really enjoying the book. But you have your own book to write and now would be the perfect time to work on it." The Reader gifted The Writer with an angry glare and promptly ignored her. The Reader finished the book Tuesday evening and The Writer heaved a sigh of relief, believing that the next day she could get some work done.

Not. So. Fast.

The Reader bought the next book in the series Wednesday morning (ah, the joys of having a Kindle!). The Writer cried when Wednesday was a repeat of Tuesday. But now that the second book is done, the Writer is fervently lighting candles and saying prayers that on Thursday she will finally do some writing.

So, what do you do when you get so sucked into a book that it's like ripping off your own toe-nails to put it down? Even when you know you have your own writing to work on? Do you let yourself be sucked in or deal with the pain of separation from delightful book and plop yourself down in front of your computer and write?