James R. Tuck
As a writer and as a human I must admit, I am a bit of an egotist. Occasionally I swerve over to arrogant assdom, but mostly I reel it in and keep it entertaining.
But often, like the slip of the drunk cousin at the church social, my ego shows in my writing for the world to see.
You see, all my stories are set in the same universe, some more obviously than others, but all of them there. I don’t have a name for it, though I’m leaning toward the Spiralverse.
The Spiralverse is a universe built on the concept that major events cause a resonance that splits reality into a new timeline placed on a new earth. They are all interconnected and separate at the same time. Now this isn’t anything new. It’s been done a hundred million ways. Almost every comic book publisher has one shared universe for [...]
Continue reading CREATING A UNIVERSE (it takes a lot more than seven days)
I’ve been thinking a lot about structure recently and more specifically about outlining. This is not something I’m used to doing — I’ve never been much of an outliner, but over the past several months I’ve been forced to become one. For me, outlining is the first step to drafting a synopsis and I had several synopses to write in order to send various projects out on proposal.
In the past, whenever I’ve had to outline something I’ve turned to my favorite structure guru, Michael Hague. He uses a classic three-act structure and a fairly straightforward set of stages and turning points that a story moves through. Late last year, an author friend turned me on to Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat which lays out 16 plot beats at the heart of any story and I’ve found his approach to be super helpful as well (plus it meshes well with [...]
Continue reading Plot Structure Chart
On Monday, our own Mindy Klasky started a series on how she writes a synopsis, which I am dying to read because … uh … I have no idea how I do it. I mean, I do it, I write them, but I don’t know if I do it right. I know I must have my own way of constructing a synopsis because I have never read anyone else’s synopsis. Synopses. (shrugs) I’ve learned a lot from the other writers here at MagicalWords.net, and I am looking forward to her process.
Through MW, I have discovered one major way in which Mindy and David (and probably everyone else for that matter) do character research and planning in the pre-writing phase. They have their characters histories fully fleshed out, sometimes down to their childhood sports injuries, their pets’ names, the schools they went to (the characters, not the pets) and their [...]
Continue reading Character Preparation … Stuff I Don’t Do
I was listening to an NPR show one morning on the way to the lab, (a rerun, surely) and they were talking about books, interesting characters, the psychology of loss, and Scrooge. I never got the name of the show, but it had a varied and almost dissonant cast of professionals, including a psychologist, a book reviewer, and the host, among others. If I hadn’t been driving I’d have taken notes, but it’s a long winding country road to the lab, and so I didn’t. What I did was let the ideas being tossed around by the guests ferment in my brain and combine with the thoughts from the post that I wrote on the 6th about Chaos and Order. This could be part two. Or not. We’ll see how it plays out.
In the previous post I said that: Order without chaos is entropy, and entropy is death. That [...]
Continue reading Of Loss, Brokenness, and Scrooge
At the outset of my career I read a lot of books and articles on the hero’s journey and the three act structure and while I found them interesting, I had a difficult time really internalizing the information. I could objectively see what the authors were talking about, but I couldn’t apply it to my own stories. I just didn’t get it.
Then, I attended a workshop with Michael Hague and he blew my mind. His background is in movies which have a fairly rigid structure that’s fairly easily translatable to writing novels (where the structure doesn’t need to be as rigid). Something about Hague’s explanation of the 3 Act structure just made sense to me (you can find an overview of his approach here).
Except that I still struggled with one part: the stretch between the second turning point (25% of the way into the story) and the midpoint [...]
Continue reading Promise of the Premise
James R. Tuck
Today I will be in a car heading to the Olde City New Blood convention in St. Augustine, Fl so I apologize in advance that I will not be getting back here to any comments until later in the day, possibly in the late evening.
That being said, let’s get into the heart of today’s musing.
I’ve been a descriptive writer from the get. I will tell you exactly what a thing looks like and every moment of its existence as it relates to my story. I’ve always prided myself on it and I work to improve what is already one of my best abilities. I seek out new words, looking to boldly go where no writer has gone before.
I use words like eldritch, corpulent, and etheric. I pair words with things and actions that create a jarring feel to them like oilsheen crackle and I use: “A musty, [...]
Continue reading THE METAPHOR OF THE THING (or, getting my Cormac McCarthy on)