I have a confession to make: I ***HATE*** dream sequences and drug sequences in my books, movies, and television shows. (You might think that I’m being a bit too forceful, with stars, capital letters, bold, and increased font size. Believe me, I’m not. My goal is to make you understand the depth of my emotion on this topic.)
I get it. Authors want to convey information outside the mainstream of their narrative. They want to show a character’s inner self, her secret motivations, his true core beliefs. They want to demonstrate what happens when a character is plucked from all that is familiar and normative and thrust into a world where none of standard rules apply.
But when I read these scenes, or when I watch them, all I get is a disconnect from the story. All of the creator’s careful worldbuilding, the contract between the author/director and the [...]
Continue reading Dreams, Drugs, and Yawning
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 their [...]
Continue reading CREATING A UNIVERSE (it takes a lot more than seven days)
Today (Sunday), my older daughter was graduated from high school. It has been an emotional weekend, full of celebration, of wistful remembrance, of joyful anticipation of adventures and journeys to come.
Throughout the various events, as I have watched my child take these first decisive steps into adulthood, even as she still smiles at me with a face that doesn’t seem to have changed at all in the past eighteen years, I have found myself thinking about many things, most of them having nothing at all to do with writing. But I have given a good deal of thought to the notion of narrative, to the ways in which we humans seek to shape a coherent story out of events and circumstances and milestones that do not necessarily lend themselves to a coherent progression of “plot points.”
It seems to me that we do this at moments like these. A [...]
Continue reading On Creativity: Narrative, Fiction, and Life
This week I return to my series of posts on Creative intersections. Thus far, I have discussed point of view and worldbuilding, plot and character development, and worldbuilding and plot. Today, I am going to address plotting once again, and combine it with a discussion of pacing.
In my opinion, pacing is one of the most difficult elements of storytelling to master. We all have read books that seem to drag at certain times or that become so frenetic that they are almost impossible to read. And yet, I would never suggest that you try to make your pace consistent throughout an entire novel; to my mind, novels, like great pieces of music, have mixed dynamics. There are slower passages and fast ones, periods where everything is loud and exciting, and periods of calm, during which your readers have a chance to catch their collective breath. The key is, how [...]
Continue reading Creative Intersections: Pacing and Plotting
Okay, I’m going to steal one of the questions from Kalayna’s recent post asking what y’all would like to hear more about and I’m going to talk about endings (thanks Hepseba!). I figure this is the kind of broad topic that each of us approaches with a different perspective and having more than one of us discuss it might be interesting.
First off, Hepseba commented with the common advice that, “you’re not even *supposed* to start the story unless you know how it ends.” I disagree. I very rarely know how my stories are going to end when I start them — I may have a vague idea, but it always feels like it’s way out there in the clouds and I won’t be able to see it until I’m much much closer (which is why I tend to spend a lot of time revising rather than outlining). There are some [...]
Continue reading On endings
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)
I’m taking a break this week from the Creative Intersections posts that I’ve been working on. It is just a break — I’m enjoying writing them, and the response to them has been positive, so I fully intend to continue the series on and off throughout the year. But there are other things I would like to do with my time here at MW, and today I introduce another one of them.
We — my fellow writers and I — often post about some aspect of writing or another, and then ask you, our readers, to share something of yours with the rest of us. We then offer a quick critique of what you’ve done that (we hope) will prove helpful as you move forward with your WIP. Well, today I would like to post the opening graphs of my current WIP along with a brief description of what I [...]
Continue reading Turnabout is Fair Play: Your Turn to Critique MY Work