Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Themes and symbols

As I peruse the web reading things that others say and do with writing I have found that other writers besides me have themes and symbols for their works. There is a romance writer who has dragonflies on her book covers, business cards book marks etc. I wish I could remember your name sorry, what you wrote had such an impact on me.

I love dragonflies and there are very pretty renditions of them out there but I felt that she as a writer "owned" that symbol. I have thought about it a lot: What is my symbol do I have a theme?

As I wrote Emergence a group of darker brooding songs were repeatedly played on my playlist. One especially, called ironically "Lean On Me" by Limp Bizkit. It isn't what you would think. It is dark and brooding and for the book I was writing at that time it fit perfectly. That song has become the theme song for that book and scenes play in my mind when I hear it. My second book Latent the song is "What I've Done" by Linkin Park. Each strangely appropriate for the work I am doing. I suppose that my other books will also acquire theme songs as I write them too.

As for the symbol, I was writing in Latent and my MC is pondering his past and thinking that no one will be able to see the new person he has become. His mentor tells him that even the most beautiful butterfly was once an ugly caterpillar. THERE it was my symbol the butterfly the symbol of the whole series, transmutation, metamorphosis, evolution. Bad guy going good.

I have lots of butterflies in my house, I like them but now they have special meaning. I chose butterflies on my website on a whim now they mean something deeper than just a pretty insect. What my MC's mentor said to his charge has become the theme for my entire series.

My Muse is truly working overtime and will be justly compensated.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Christmas treat. . . .

Merry Christmas, in lieu of some majestic message I offer you a simple gift. My favorite christmas carols.

Enjoy and may your holidays be warm and full of love.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Next Stop Orange. . .

So I did it. I tested on Monday and had the belt ceremony last night (Wednesday). I am now officially a Yellow Belt. Not only this is my second time at being a yellow belt. This is the hardest belt, going from knowing nothing, (forgot everyting since high school) to knowing all the basics, and two hand one steps, two foot one steps, two long distances, and one form. Also a little self defence.

So next stop orange belt and then orange stripe. Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Devil is in the Details

I have written since I was in middle school. I have had stories swimming through my brain even before that. When I was young I had an overexagerated sense of detail. Every story that came out of my head had every minute detail I could think of. If I described a meal you knew every item and descriptions from all senses. Every piece of clothing my characters wore was completely explained to the reader.

As I grew I realized that I was going overboard in the detail area and I trained myself to do the opposite. However that also lead to a problem. I would send a scene to a reader and they would comment "Great scene but one question. . . Where are we? what does your MC look like?" And things like that.

To train myself to find a happy medium between the overly descriptive younger self and the lack of description current self has been hard. I struggle with the guilt that I am writing what we readers call "purple prose", or worried that I don't have enough and my readers are wondering what where who?

I recently found two books by Melissa Marr called Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange at the library. She is really good at weaving great detail into the story with out you pulling away from the story and skimming over many paragraphs of description. (She also has built a wonderful world of Faeries.) In all I have realy liked her books. Ink Exchange is a little dark and I liked Wicked Lovely better, but I loved the deep character Niall in Ink Exchange.

There are many authors I have found that in one way or another I admire and emulate. Melissa Marr is one of them with her subtle detail and world building. I intend to study her methods and see if I can be more like her in the world of detail.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Keeping the bad guy bad.

I may struggle with plot. But I feel I do well in characterization. So I was surprised when in the first book was finished and sent to my line editors. (hi girls) That I was having a hard time pegging the two main characters in the second book. The first book has a dark and conflicted assassin and his energetic and sometimes quirky wife.

Then as I began to write the second book I began to struggle with the characters and plot seeming boring. As I talked with my friend she suggested that perhaps I was trying to write the MC as the calm and self assured character at the end of the series when I still needed the raw dark and conflicted MC. (Just a bit older and no longer an assassin) She was so right and as I pondered the problem this morning I had some very good ideas as to how to handle the MC and make it work.

I should know this by now; however some times I am a slow learner. When I get stuck, or a block threatens to derail me. I need to remember that in the past it was a symptom that something isn't right in the book. Hopefully if I realize it a few more times I'll remember it.