Archive | January 2010

adding personality?

Today i was (halfheartedly) editing Dragon Slayers. The problem I’m having with it is that the main character, Natlie, (which is Natalie without the middle A. Her real name is Natalie but she doesn’t go by that.) Natlie anyway is having problems with being personable. I have dialog and I think I have perfectly fine dialog but the characters aren’t doing anything. They’re just there talking, and that’s all.

So, unlike normally where I say what I think, I want to know what other writers think. How do you add personality to characters? How do you make a scene more three dimensional? How do you life a scene off of the paper and into the head?

I think I’m going to post the first part of the scene right now too, just so that way you can see what I’m having problems with. So go to here: Dragon Slayers Scene One

I know this is random and I know there isn’t a whole lot of people out here reading this, but if any of you have any suggestions, it’d really help. Thanks.

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when writing random works

Earlier this much, probably actually at the very beginning of this month, I wanted to write desperately. Problem was  that I didn’t want to write what was then my novel and I was lazy and didn’t want to get any paper to actually plan one of the smaller stories bouncing around in my head out.

So for the first time in… years, I did something utterly random. I just started writing. I picked a line in my head, started writing and just letting it flow. I refused to let myself think beyond the next sentence.  I just let it go.

It actually turned out to be a very interesting exercise. I’ve had this beginning line, “I couldn’t say I hated him,” going on in my head for a long time. Writing out a story to follow it got out out of there  and let me move on to other things. Also, I found it fascinating how the story rather evolved.

There was one error when I tried this and that was my sister wanted to watch Dr. Quinn that night. Since I watch Dr. Quinn (don’t ask me why.), I had to break and then continue writing later on. So I did think a little bit about the story in bed that night, then I realized it was more interesting not to think about it, and so I stopped.

Anyway, once I finished, I did edit it twice. I kinda like it. It opens up a lot of possibilities. I’d like to do another story about her, but I’m not sure what. Or about him. I’m not sure.

Oh, and that picture. That is a picture of Micha before the story actually takes place, during the Radiation Storms. I drew it randomly. I also drew it in color but it didn’t come out too well.

I’m not quite sure how to say what the story is about to be quite honest. It’s short, only eight pages, which makes it difficult. I also wrote it automatically in present tense. I’m not quite sure why, except that a lot of my role playing was done in present tense, so I think it just leaks over.

I think all in all it was an interesting experiment. If I am ever smitten with the desire to write as strongly as i was then, I think I would do it again. Yes, was random, but I liked it anyway.

Anyway, here’s the beginning and it’s posted in pages too, under the title of Samuel Brakborn. I actually think that’s going to be the real title too. No, I don’t plan on doing much with it besides posting it here. Remember, the last words are also a link to the complete story.

Hope you enjoy.

***********

I can’t say I hate him. Hate is too strong of a word. Hate is a nasty, whip-lashing, dark, death-wishing word. But loath would work. I loath him. Yes, it works quite well. Or I despise him. That works too. I find him repugnant, appalling, insulting, obnoxious, infuriating. I honestly wish that Samuel Brakborn lived anywhere else in the whole galaxy besides Sigma-082, not like I can do anything about that mind you.

It didn’t begin like that, you know. When I first met him right after I stepped off the transport ship, he seemed rather respectful. He stood straight in his navy blue uniform with bright silver buttons, tall, handsome, with dark flashing eyes and a boyish smile. He shook my hand and welcomed me to Sigma-082, said how thankful he was that I came, and that he hoped I enjoyed it here.

Bah! He knew the moment I stepped off that ship that I would not enjoy it….

why stupid science is fun

I was glancing at the news today when I saw a headline proclaiming “Ben Bova: Global warming on earth; politics in space”” so I figured, why not read it? Ben Bove I think might be pretty smart  if I recall, he has a really big degree in something scientific. It’ll be interesting. So I read the article.

Basically, to summarize, the first part about it was that Earth appears to be moving towards a steadily warmer earth, and that we may or may not have human intervention to blame. The second part was more interesting, because of the political aspect of it how NASA is working right now and has in the past.

But what does global warming have to do with stupid science?  Because global warming is a joke. First of all, how can scientists who can’t predict when we are going to have snow in the next two weeks (or for that matter, that we are going to have a cold and icky winter.) accurately, predict how the weather pattern is going to be for the next century?  Based on this winter, I’d trust Farmer’s Almanac for that.

Secondly, a company in England was found with messages saying that they created teh whole entire thing up.  Why? My honest guess would be money. Think about everything that is sold as green and advertise as green and done in the name of being green and saving the planet. True, some of that things are actually good but a lot of it is just annoying.

Oh, and that whole entire thing about saying that we have to have a global cooling before we have a global warming, don’t people see that makes them right either way and is utterly stupid? If they aren’t confident in what they are doing, then maybe they should make up their mind.

We’ll come back to why that’s fun later.

Next scientific fact that is fun: evolution.  Yes, I believe in a literal seven-day creation, but besides that, there is a lot of evidence that is questionable about evolution, not to mention that it is sense totally farfetched. (Not micro evolution, where there is slight variations  within a species. But the macro, where dogs became cats.)  Moreover, we have several other theories about how everything came to be. So nothing says that, even if creation isn’t true, that evolution will be around in 300 years with all of the problems that it has.

When I started this, I honestly had another theory but it just totally escaped my mind. (I’ll talk about aliens later.)

So why is this so much fun? Because it gives you total freedom. I can write a science fiction book about what happens when global warming becomes real and takes over the whole entire planet and my little home in South Dakota has tropical weather and ocean front property. The next book I can have people make jokes about global warming and how stupid it is.

It’s also fun you realize how stupid people can be. In Shad, sweepers are people who collect garbage that people jettisoned into space because of garbage issues on the planet. Only later, they realize that they are littering in space, and that is bad, so they have to clean it up. It’s stupid to spend all that money when none of the garbage is doing much damage, yes, but it makes sense at the same time.

On evolution, I wrote a story where the character, Ka’yam, is making an argument against the war they’ve been fighting for the last five years. Slight bit of background, Ka’yam’s people took over earth because they believe that they are the descendants of their people and now inferior due to DNA modifications and should be enslaved. Anyway, she’s making the argument and she says that evolution was discarded hundred of years ago DUE TO LACK OF EVIDENCE. She doesn’t say what took its place. But it’s there as a jab against the people who think that is how it happened.

So basically, yes, there are basic principles of science that have to be obeyed when writhing science fiction but there is a lot when you take the stupid theories of people and extrapolate them. Because, in all honestly, who knows much of anything even now?

Oh, random thought about evolution why I’m at it. If you believe in evolution, you have to be against abortion. Why? Because some of those who are aborted are aborted because the amniocentesis said the child is not “right”. But in evolution, it would be the abnormal individuals  who would evolve and the normal ones who would end up dying out.

DWU writing contest

It’s official. I am entered into the writing contest at my school. I actually entered in two stories, but in two different categories. I entered in one of them because my English teacher from last semester told me to enter it in essay and then I entered my story for the fiction section.

As it turned out, I was spelling the writing contest all wrong. It’s actually spelled Agnes Hyde. I will fix that soon.

Of course, things couldn’t go completely right for me. I was trying to print it last night and my printer was giving me a little gray line down the side of it. I’m not sure why. My dad, the ex-computer tech repair person doesn’t know why. He told me to shake the cartridge and so I did but that didn’t help, so I had to print it at school. Luckily, that was no big deal. (I also mailed a copy of my story to my grandma, because I figured she’d like it to get a nice big package from us.)

Problem now is, I don’t know when it’ll be over. I honestly don’t. They didn’t us a good idea. But maybe it won’t be too far down the road.

At least now I done with When Darkness Swallows and I can devote myself more to Dragon Slayers (which is probably going to be named Time of the Dragon Slayers but I’m too lazy to write that all out.) and hopefully tomorrow night after shabbat I’ll be able to edit another story called Samuel Brakborn and post it here too. I already did the paper edit.

Anyway, until tomorrow or Sunday. Enjoy your weekend.

dumped with cold water

There are been a few times when something as happened and I get so nervous that someone is going to find out something that it feels like someone dumped cold water on me. You know that saying. We use it a lot in writing. But I didn’t realize until how what it felt like.

See, it’s not really cold water per se. It’s more like warm water, like the whole enter weight of something warm and soft still fell on you, but your heart stopped at the same time as you wait to find out if what is happening is either what you fear or what not.  Then, you find out everything is okay, and you slowly relax again and go back to feeling normal.

The thing here though is that it wasn’t cold water, although cold water make sense. It was warm water. I’m not sure if it is important or even if that should be incorporated into my writing. It’s just interesting.

It’s interesting like the time when I got my wind knocked out of me after falling out of a swing. It is literally getting the air knocked out of you and you have to inflated your lungs with air again. (Also, as a note for anyone who has not fallen out of a swing or some other similarly large structure, there is a very strong desire to urinate afterwards.) Anyway, it is a literal gasp.

Just interesting observations with life.  I wonder how many of those observations are important or not important. Does anyone even care?

finished

I might as well mention this, since I did post that other thing earlier.

I work in the TRIO writing center at school, which is basically a place where students, with certain qualifications, can get assistance with their writing. If a student comes in, I help them; if no student comes in, I don’t have to do anything.

As it would happen, I didn’t have anyone come in today. So the whole entire time I worked on my story for the writing contest. And, I finished. *little party* Oh, and I did post the updated version here. There are a few fixes that were really important, but nothing that wonderful.

Now,  in all honesty, I’m not as excited as I think I should be. I wish I knew why. I think part of that I think it is way too long still. Another complication I’ve had is I don’t know if I have a real climax and if I do, if it is technically in the right place.

Or perhaps I’m just completely insecure about my writing and don’t like not knowing what to expect. Before, I had a clue. Now… I’m not sure.

I also don’t like the title. I don’t have enough of an elusion to the idea that he got swallowed up by space. But I also don’t have any better ideas. It’s not like something else I wrote where a guy’s name made sense. (Samuel Brakborn, you’ll see that soon hopefully.)

So I’ll admit it; I’m scared. I’m scared I missed something while editing it or that I messed up or anything. But as I said, it’s basically due tomorrow and so I don’t have a choice but to let it be. So I’m done, I’ll go home tonight, print two copies, send one to my grandma and bring the other one to school tomorrow and deliver it at lunch time. It’s probably best for me to do it like that.

procrastination

Obviously, there are much better times to write this so I will probably be quick.. Why do I procrastinate so? Yesterday, I was going to basically have the whole house to myself. My mom went to church, my sister and brother went to youth (at another church actually), my brother was working and my dead disappears into the basement, so I would basically be alone. Did I work on writing things (since I don’t have that much homework)? No. I read comics, then I got distracted reading another website, then my mom came home and we started talking. So guess who didn’t write last night?

Why do I do this to myself though? The writing contest is basically due as far as I know tomorrow. They say it is January 31st but I don’t know how to deliver my manuscript before then. I edited all of it on paper so all I need to do is enter it into the computer, run  a spell check and that’s pretty much all I can do. (Now, it is 20 pages of things to enter in but still, it isn’t that bad. i’ve done much worse.)

Instead, I’m getting distracted by every single thing imaginable, from stupid websites to writing blog posts to answering e-mails I actually need to answer. Worse thing is that I work from 12-1 (horrid times, I know.) and I want to eat lunch or some semblance  of lunch (maybe I’ll bring a snack with me too.) before I leave. I just hope I don’t do something stupid and wait too long to enter. (Read Flashes of Imagination to understand my problems with procrastination more.)

music

Last night, because my brothers were watching HEROS, I listened to music while writing so as to drown out the TV show. This proved to very interesting in the fact that I was writing the climax and more so, a particularly saddening scene. I don’t normally listen to music, although I find music is very good for finding plots, for  a number of reasons. After doing this, I am almost tempted to try a few things.

See, what I found was that although it seemed my concentration was not bad during the happier music, my concentration became much better during the sad, mournful  music. (Remember, I’m writing a sad scene.) It came to the point where I could see her standing on the dragon’s crossbow trying to shove the damaged pieces away while the ran fell and the tears ran off her cheeks, like a movie. (Actually, I think that Dragon’s Slayers would make a pretty decent movie, but I think that with almost everything I write. Worse part is, I never plan on letting them do that or if I do, they need to do very strict requirements. They always ruin the book.)

Now, I’m almost tempted to make some playlists on itunes that are happy music when I’m trying to write a happy scene and sad music when I’m trying to write a sad scene and so long. Then, depending upon what I am writing, I switch playlists.

The problem is that I fear my mind my determine that something is better than it actually is. One advantage that movies have over books is that they can put in soundtracks to slightly control a person’s emotions during a certain scene. I can’t do that while someone is reading. So although it might sound good with the soundtrack, it might sound rather poor without it.

I suppose that I’ll actually see when I get back to editing it. Whenever I get frustrated I keep thinking about the one person who said that he can never tell the difference between a good day of writing and a bad day because they all end up turning out about the same. Unfortunately, that’s very depressing after you just had a good day.

Dragon Slayers!

So, I started a story called Dragon Slayers that I’ve mentioned earlier. If’s just a short little book. Technically, I could do a lot with it later on. There are so many spinoffs that one could do with it, but I doubt I will at this time.

Anyway, today, I finished the rough draft. I am so happy.

NOw, I’m not as excited about it as I was when I finished Darkness Swallows. But, I do think that it has potential. I’m not quite sure how to end it exactly, or where, because it ends up being a huge tear jerker with no hope if I end it where it should be ended. I’d like for there to be some hope in the ending.  But I don’t want to have too much.

Anyway, it’s pretty cool. I need to do a lot more with characters and such and how the characters think and act. There isn’t a lot of emotion in the characters and I don’t like that. But it might not be as bad as I think.

Final count for now is 1,000 words and 19 pages. I’m rather pleased. But now i must go to bed before it gets too late here. I do have school (and a test) in the morning.

(Oh, side note: I finished the second paper edit of DArkness Swallows, just in time too. That is due this Friday.)

next…

How does I describe what it feels like to be suddenly overloaded with information? Everything can be fine at one moment. You’re sitting at the side of the road, watching the cars driving down. The normal roar of the engine is just like any other day. The cars drive through the puddles, splashing water in their wake. It’s just a voom, voom. voom.  Then suddenly, there’s a moment when there is too much. The vooming is too loud. There is so much going on. It’s feels like all the noise in your head is trying to pound through it and beat on it. It’s like there’s a ball bouncing around in the head, pounding, pounding, pounding. Someone reaches into your chest and squeezes your heart and there is this pounding. It feels like you’re going insane. Like, you can’t control anything and just need to get away from the noise and from the pounding and from everything.

“And that was when you snapped?”

*************

Bad news. There’s nothing else! Nada.

I was thinking about this while riding my bike home on Friday. It kinda just popped into my head. And I haven’t really pursued it yet but I’m tossing it out there as prompt.

What was really awesome with this was I told my mom basically what I wrote up there and she thought it was really good. Actually, she thought someone else wrote it, not me. That’s always awesome.  (She doesn’t know how well or not well I write though, because she hasn’t read much of anything I wrote, but that is pretty much okay with me.)

So that’s all. Take it or leave it as you will. It’d be kinda interesting though to see what other writers do with this, so  I have this post set up for trackbacks. If you write something off of this, stick the link in the post so we can see what happens. (Yes, that is totally random. But it would be cool.)