Writing By Numbers

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As far as I know, there aren’t any packages with paper, pens, and numbers you fill in to write a masterpiece, so that’s not what this is about.

It’s the simple fact that I hate numbers. Now, as a former biologist, who specialized in the most math heavy specialty in biology, that may seem odd. However, by the time I was in grad school, computers were just entering the scenes and there were wonderful programs that could do the biostats in seconds. With a matrix of nine characters across (leaf measurements) and five hundred across (number of plants), it made life easy.

I still can’t balance my checkbook. I can’t remember my phone number. And I have a heck of a hard time keeping score when I judge dogs. I let someone else take care of the addition.

Why didn’t anyone tell me the truth about [...]

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Getting Here

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<Looks around!> Wow! <Fangirl squee!> <Thud!>

What am I doing here, on this blog, with people that I admire for their strong characters, their ability to give me a vacation from life, for making me think?

Got me. I’m not famous. Not as a writer, anyhow. Now, if you are into dogs or plants, but this blog has nothing to do with any of that.

So here I am, surrounded by those I admire. And stalk. I go to their signings, I follow their pages and blogs and tweets. I want to know more about them. How do they get their ideas? Where do they work? What famous person did they model their characters after?

I want to be the one that finds out what happens in the next book before anyone else.

Boy, that IS stalkerish.

I could stalk, though, if I didn’t know [...]

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That Time Merit Was In A Band . . .

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I’ve shared with a few readers that the first iteration of SOME GIRLS BITE was, well, regrettable. Merit, the earnest main character, was in a band with her friend, Mallory. Merit was insulted by a club’s demand the band, which had performed at the locale many times prior, audition for its new owner. Merit went to the manager’s office to complain about the inconvenience, and she was attacked by a vampire in a dark, back hallway.

I know. Awful, isn’t it?

The next draft of SOME GIRLS BITE had very little in common with the first one—primarily the sneaky vampire attack and the friendship between Mallory and Merit. It took another character coming to mind – Ethan Sullivan – before I knew who Merit really was. He provided a foil: fusty, imperious, gorgeous, and political to Merit’s earnestness, her desire to do good, her intelligence and stubbornness.

[...]

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Chris Marie Green –on worlds

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Worlds Can Be So Mean

Hi again! I’m glad to be back with another guest post for this month, and I’d love to talk about one of my favorite elements of writing. World Building.

In general, I’m sure you all have read a lot of posts about this topic already, but how about looking at a different aspect of world building? How can you flip a world that’s already familiar—or one that you’ve already started to build—to make it something totally different from anything a reader has ever experienced?

Before I really get started here, I’d like to mention that, oftentimes, world building is perceived as something exclusive to paranormal authors. I, myself, have built worlds for my Vampire Babylon series, my Bloodlands series, and my upcoming Ghost for Hire series. But writers of historical fiction or, yes, even contemporary fiction need to build strong worlds [...]

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The Danny Ocean Moment — Alethea Kontis

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Happy New Year Everyone! I’m here every Monday this month, and I wanted to start with the very beginning. Plotting/Craft. I’ts been done, right? We all have our personal twists, and our personal demons. I call mine The Danny Ocean Moment.

“Where do you get your ideas?” used to be the question everyone asked authors. Nowadays, it seems like the question du jour is now “Are you a plotter or a pantser?”

In a way, it’s just as hard a question as the previous. The answers will vary from author to author, even project to project. None of them is the magic bullet that panel audiences are hoping for. And most start with, “Well, I’m a little of both…”

Me? I’m a little of both. I start out with a general road map and bullet points: events that need to happen, who the bad guy is, who ends [...]

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PLOTTING WITH BUNNIES (or whatever other animal you like. Want a hippopotamus? By all means, plot with hippos.)

James R. Tuck

Character and Plot. The two things you need to make a book. (Please don’t cite me examples of books that have one but not the other. Those are outliers and not the main thrust of books.) Generally speaking those are the requirements.

Now for most folks, myself included, character is actually pretty easy. They come swaggering up in our heads all badass and near fully fleshed out. The plots? They’re a different story. Plots are tricky little devils and hard to get hold of sometimes.

But that’s because we overthink them.

We do. As writers our brains are moving 90 to nothing and cruising top speed down multiple tracks. We mix our plot up with the following things: Character, Backstory, World-building, Themes, and Motives.

But we don’t need that for the actual plot.

The plot is the skeleton you hang all that meat [...]

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DRINK YOUR HATER-ADE (or editing)

James R. Tuck

I don’t know what kind of writer you are. You might be the kind who works each sentence until it’s perfect before moving on to the next one, lining up the words in exacting order for the most impact and literary explosiveness.

If so then this blog might not do you much good. lol

This advice is for the writers like me. The indulgent ones who spew words on their first drafts, who write with an abandon of language, allowing all the sentences to run amok on the page. I sling phrases and concepts around during my first draft, just acting like they are free and I can have as many as my greedy little, or not-so-little fingers can conjure.

The result, for me anyways, is a first draft bloated like Elvis on a toilet and full of sentences that I love, words I adore.

That’s all fine and [...]

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