Friday, June 28, 2013
Yesterday I spent several hours trying to figure what was going on with my computer. I am not a computer guru. After trying on my own I went to get help. Two phone calls later things were in order.
Fortunately I am able to follow directions, well, sort of. That's why it took two phone calls. Fortunately those I talked to were very patient and to those brave men I give cyber hugs. Needless to say I did very little on the computer the rest of the day.
What do you do when there are glitches in what you want to do? I spend a lot of time stewing and trying things before I ask for help.
It's rather like that when I'm writing. The story is not going well. So I stew trying this and that. Sometimes I even put what I'm working on aside. Then I discovered the fault lies in not knowing where my story is going. Mostly it's because I've chosen the wrong focus character. This is not necessarily the character whose point of view I'm working in but the character who has the most to lose. Once I force myself to look at the characters things fall into place.
That's why I had to make two phone calls. The first time solved some of the problems but not the one that I didn't see. That was the focus. Now I've mastered that problem both with the writing and the computer. Until the next one arrives.
Friday, June 21, 2013
For some stories (and movie franchises) the reason to start off with an origin story is that of explaining the character to the audience without an infodump. How did that character acquire superpowers, money, fame, etc.? What made him or her into the person they were?
The definition of "origin story" on Wikipedia mentions that origin stories are retold again and again in order to "keep the characters current". The 1950 Superman is very different from the 2013 one. Ditto the radio version of the Lone Ranger from what will be appearing in theatres soon. But with the recent retelling of stories not even a decade apart I'm more inclined to think that it's because each writer and director wants to put their own spin on the character, their own agenda.
Robin Rosenburg says an origin story shows viewers how to become heroes or how to cope with adversity. TV Tropes goes into a bigger list than the previous article (which had three) of the origin types of superheroes and their motivations. There is indeed a difference between "The Chosen One" versus "Hero by Accident" versus someone who purposefully sets out to help others. Each type of hero has their followers, as longtime comics readers can attest.
Not all bigger than life characters need an origin story. Some develop one along the way. Viewers went through two incarnations of the Doctor before learning how he left Gallifrey and even now, during the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the complete origin story is still murky.
When the original television series of Star Trek began, viewers saw the regular shipboard adventures of "every person" crewmembers. However, with the 2009 movie makeover, an origin story appeared. Captain Kirk became "The Chosen One" rather than someone who had trained through Star Fleet Academy and risen through the ranks like everyone else.
With YA stories, you are often starting with a character at the time they are deciding to become someone, though the Harry Potter series did start with baby Harry being dropped off at his relatives. There is a reason many YA fantasy stories are labeled "Coming of Age" tales.
If you're just telling a regular story, one theory is that you're supposed to start when "things change". That way both the character and the reader can try together to make sense of what is happening in the character's life. It's up to the author, then, to decide when the story starts. How far back do you go in the character's life? With a superhero, it can be when she or he first acquired their powers, or first decided to fight evil. But with a regular person, do you begin when they first decided to change things? Or when change happened? Do you begin when he or she began school? When they were born?
It’s hard to resist wanting to explore important decisions in your characters' lives. When I wrote The Crystal Throne, my point of view characters met all these interesting people. But those characters' back stories were not important to the story. They were simply there, at that point in their lives. It was only later in short stories that I began to explore why a Fleet One would be interested in legends, or what happened in a young girl's life that would lead her to become a wizard, or even where a particular ring came from.
What origin stories interest you? When do you say "Enough about the origin? What else is happening with that character?"
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
So, obviously, I don’t write for the money. If I did I’d have quit years ago. Maybe someday, my stories will earn enough to buy a new car or fancy clothes or to take a vacation to Hawaii. Until that day arrives, I’ll buy a couple of books with my royalties and read.
Some people dream of writing a novel that Hollywood will snap up and turn into a top box office movie. Interviews, spotlight, celebrities, and trips around the world, every viewer gushing over the characters, the story, and waiting for the sequel.
Ah, yes, to see one of my novels on the big screen, or the little screen for that matter, would be awesome. I could get into that scene for sure. Successful book. Successful movie. A dream come true. No one has mentioned making a movie for my work. (I think they’re passing up a marvelous opportunity.) So I’ll just enjoy watching the success of other writers and imagining what their world is like, seeing their characters come to life. I’m truly happy for each of their successes.
Authors often write to send a message to friends, family, and the world. Perhaps something happy or sad, frightening or fulfilling in his or her life demands to be told, so others might learn from his or her experience. We see many stories written about special children or a traumatic even in one’s life or a story about making choices, based on personal experiences.
I believe my personal experiences influence much of my writing. A magazine article I read about advances in medicine and science prompted the idea for Secrets I Have Kept. A twilight ghost tour of the historic district of Charleston, SC, resulted in Listen to the Ghost. Life on Hold was born from a newspaper article I read about a boy and girl that found the son they had given up for adoption eighteen years earlier. My picture book, Frankie’s Perfect Home, was born when a young armadillo made his/her home in our pasture.
So why do I write? I write to share my world, or my view of the world, with others. I write because I find people and animals, whether contemporary or make believe, fascinating. I write to satisfy a need inside me that I really can’t explain, but it’s there. I write, hoping to give readers, both young and older, an escape from every day life to another place, another time, if only for a while.
Why do you write?
Monday, June 17, 2013
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013
New hotel, new bigger rooms, and with it being the first year at the Hilton Anatole, new chaos! And we were able to make it back in this year. These are only a tiny fraction of all the costumes you could see there.