Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving treat. . .

Well tomorrow is one of my FAVORITE holidays. And seeing it is late I am posting a few pictures that I have taken in my home that I thought were funny. Have a good weekend.

Front door typo's, or when your two year old only picked at the letter L.

My two year old thinks he can read. He fell asleep like this. (the book is Inkheart BTW)

My seven year-old thinks he is an airplane.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Writing what we don't know. . .

You hear it all of the time "write what you know". I'll be the first to agree that for worlds and characters and scenes it is a good idea. However we as humans live BORING lives. I clean the house and kids; referee fights and write stories. There is nothing interesting about me.

I can imagine that for a writer like Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, or Dean Koontz, what they write definitely ISN'T what they live. For Mr. King's sake I certainly hope not.

Anyway, I write Speculative Fiction and the first book in my series is about an assassin. If I wrote what I knew I definitely wouldn't be telling this story. The story consists of a guy, (I am a female) who is a retired military sniper, (never served) turned assassin for a large business. (I am a stay at home mom) He and his wife can't have kids (I have 6) and Travel the world. (my farthest out of the country is Tijuana)

In my book I have my MC do both close hits, and long distance hits, as well as guard people, act as a driver, and steal information.

The key to writing what you don't know is research and then when some reader points out your wrong going back to the drawing board and rewriting it until it is correct. That isn't to say that such a genre as Speculative Fiction doesn't have some suspension of belief it is a branch of sci/fi. But it has to be believable to a point.

Take my long distance hit for example. My MC has to take out a prisoner that is being transported from a small plane to a helicopter. Why? two reasons. I have to have the opportunity to "hit" him, but also in my mind the prison has a hilo pad but not a runway. But to transport a prisoner from Perth to Canberra is too far of a distance for a chopper. So the plane to chopper thing works. Second a private transfer of a prisoner wouldn't happen in daylight on a well used runway. So the scene is set at four in the morning using a little used runway. So this little used runway ends behind a large hangar constructed of metal struts and sheet metal. (I have seen them in real life), My hubby owns a plane. (definitely a know subject)

My MC situates himself on the top of the hangar where he can see the transfer area. I provide a way to get up. He loosens a panel of metal on the roof the night before and steals a uniform and a "tool" to fix it. If anyone sees him he has a reason to be there. Four in the morning? The day shift didn't get to it? So he sits up there his British .338 sighted in. (my hubby was also a firearms instructor) he sees that the guy is heavily guarded and decides to hit him fast and get out fast. Which he already has that planned. His running clothes are under the "coveralls" and his rifle case is open waiting for him to pop the barrel off and shove it in his pack and run.

He uses a silencer because it is a flash suppressor too. He doesn't have to worry about the sound because no one will hear it over the turning rotors of the chopper and the planes engines as it waits to taxi either to a runway to go back to Perth or to a hangar. He hits him twice, pulls the barrel off the stalk of the rifle shoves it into the case in the pack and repels through the loose panel he created, into the hangar, strips off his coveralls and stuffs them and the rope he stole into the cavity where a plane retracts its landing gear and takes off into the darkness.

I am not an assassin, however, I have shot a rifle and been inside a hangar. What I don't know I plan and research thoroughly, (I draw maps, diagrams, discuss it with others, and research along with other things) and when someone tells me it is wrong I research it again and rewrite.

So. . . While writing what you know is a good thing. For those of us who write what we don't know, careful planning, research and a willingness to fix the errors goes a long way. Well an overly active imagination helps a lot too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mastering plot. . .

As I have said before plot is not my strong point. I struggle with it. My friend Paulette at 700blankpages has got it. So with her help I eeked out a great plot for my second book.

When I typed out my scenes/chapters I origionally started with a white page with black text on the left side of the page. Then I added the plot points I was trying to establish, transition notes in necessary chapters, and the relevance of the scene in the basic plot of the story.

On a whim I highlighted the parts where the antagonist is present or antagonizing my MC's in yellow and it looked like this. . .

Please note: by nature of origination, I own these plotlines and they are copyrighted by me.

Then I had an awesome idea, what if I highlightd the other parts in diferent colors? I asked myself, so I did. Anyway here is what I came up with. . .

Here is the color code so you have an idea what this post is about.
Light blue- MC's moving from average guy to better guy.
Pink- MC's romance with the girl, and the girls actions.
Yellow- the bad guys actions.
Green- MC's best friend and his part in the book
Red- MC's normal life
Grey- MC's past
Purple- times and seasons (marking time)
dark blue- secondary characters
No highlight- writing notes

If you notice the three main plots: MC's progression, (light blue) the romance (pink) and the antagonist (yellow) are the most seen colors. Then the others are nicely interspersed throughout the body of the book.

Judging by the colors, I think the plot appears well rounded and pretty evenly interspersed. What do you think?

Please note: by nature of origination, I own these plotlines and they are copyrighted by me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Marking time in your writing

I love fall, I love orange pumpkins and red maple leaves. I have a permanent display of pumpkins in my kitchen. When the weather turns cold I retreat to my kitchen and begin to bake cookies cakes pies and bread. I love wearing long skirts and sweaters. Those things I can't do in the summer because it is too hot. I love to buy holliday baking supplies and orange sprinkles. This year I found orange glitter frosting on clearance and I am going to bake pumpkin shaped sugar cookies for my kids to decorate.

My love of fall transfers into my books and has become my main characters favorite season too. It has become the "marker of time" in my series. Life changing things happen on or around Halloween, the family gathers for Thanksgiving and Christmas and you as a reader know that another year has passed for the Standing family.

I can't think of a better way to inform my reader of the passage of time in my books.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

To blog or not. . .

Okay, I was psyched and ready to write for Tristi's book in a month challenge. I sat at my lap top and tried to write. The wall however was too tall for me to climb.

My brain is fried. I had to remind myself that I did just write 70,000 words in four months. (Actually it is approximately 116,000 words since July.) My BFF reminded me that I was going to reward myself with a reading reward for finishing my novel. So, in response/reward I shut my word program down and have taken a break. However taking a break has meant that my writing brain which includes my Blogging brain is somewhere on some island sipping non-alcoholic margaritas. So in desperation I have tried to think about what I should blog and nothing amazing has popped into my brain.

Never fear my blog friends, I have been mulling book #2 over in my head; even though my writing brain is on vacation I guess my plotting brain missed the plane.

Perhaps I will have some amazing totals some time before Thanksgiving.