Monday, October 31

World Under Construction

World building sucks.

That's right, I said it. It's fantastic when done well, horrible when done anything but well, and doing it well is harder than a witch selling wrinkle cream. (It's Halloween, give me a break.)

World building can be as simple as adding a few elements into the real world that we are already familiar with, to creating an entirely new world from scratch. With my current WIP I find myself somewhere in the middle, and it really hard. Not coming up with the world itself, anyone can do that. The hard part is portraying it in a way that is true to what I envision, but also something that people would actually want to read. In my case--as it is with most major world building projects--it is for a series, and I am fast realizing that, not only is world building difficult enough on it's own, but it is also a plot killer. I've heard that for every paragraph of world building you add, you have to remove a paragraph of plot. Is that true? Can you have expansive world building and an involved and intricate plot?

Yes, of course... but not really.

I have always noticed that the first book in a series with a large amount of word building is always considerable shorter and simpler in plot then any of the books that follow. I had assumed that was due to the fact that publishers want first books--and in some cases multiple books--in a series to be able to stand on their own in case the sales aren't high enough to justify continuing publication of the series. However, only recently have I realized that that is only part of the reason. The other reason is that a good majority of that first book has to be devoted to world building, not leaving as much room for plot. Sure, you could have a huge information dump in the first chapter or two and lay out your entire world for the reader, then jump head first into the story--but I wouldn't recommend it. Not if you are looking for someone to sign/buy the book, anyway. Ideally, you want to spread your world building, and character building for that matter, out over the course of the book, weaving into your plot. With plot having to share the stage with your world and character creation, obviously, there won't be as much room in your first book for an involved plot, but if you are building your world in an interesting and engaging way, your readers won't care.

Look at the first Harry Potter. It is vastly simpler in over all plot compared to any of the following books, but you don't care because the wizarding universe that is being introduced is so interesting that it makes up for what might be lacking plot-wise.

The good news, is that once that first book is done and you move on to the subsequent books, you can dive straight into plot from chapter on, giving you more than enough time to create as involved a plot as you want. Don't get me wrong, world building should never stop entirely; your world should continue to expand and become more detailed as the series progresses, but after the first book, the major work should be done. Think about it, why do you think that writing fan fiction is so popular? Because it's easy! The hard part is done, and all you have to do is come up with a story! Lets say I go to write a Twilight fan fiction, do I have to introduce the charters? Do I have to set the scene, or build the world? No! All I have to say is Bella, or Alice, or Forks, or any other character, place, or idea from the series, and you immediately have in image in your mind that I did nothing to put there.

Having to be the one who puts the images there without boring or confusing the reader is the trick, and at the moment, it is kicking this writer's keister.

Anyone else?

Saturday, October 29

8 Sobering Truths about Commercial Writing

First of all, let me say that I take NO CREDIT for this what so ever. I came across it by chance, and though it was so wonderfully appripriate for not only me, but so many of by bloggity friends, that I had to share it with you all. I tried to simply link you to the original blog post, but the link refused to work, so here it is. It was written by Steve Burks whom you can find at He has several other fabulous posts, so stop by and give him a look-see when you have a minute.

Without further ado, Steve Burks'
8 Sobering Truths about Commercial Writing

1. Almost everything's been written about already. Screenwriter Paul Schrader calls it "narrative exhaustion."

2. It doesn't matter what you think about your writing. The buyer's always right. So unless your instincts happen to jibe with what the editors and the masses want, you'll be doing a lot of guess work.

3. The same technology that enabled you to get in the game, did the same thing for millions of other people. Of course you're better than "them," but from the gatekeeper's point of view, allunsolicited submissions look identical in the slush pile and e-mail junk folder. And the market was already glutted before the digital revolution.

4. If you depend on feeling inspired to write, you're in trouble. It takes a long time to write a good book. You're not going to feel like doing it every day. If you can't wrap your mind around the concept of art as work, you'll never make it through a first draft, let alone revise it ad nauseum.

5. Getting information on how to write a good book is easy. Actually writing a good book is hard.

6. Gatekeepers expect you to suck. You can't beat perception. A referral from someone they respect would earn you the benefit of the doubt, but that someone must be an agent, editor, or published author. In other words, getting referred is just as hard as getting published.

7. Only great writers have no competition. Good writers still do, because there are enough of those around. So even if you don't suck, the competition is thick.

8. No matter how well you write it, someone will hate it. The flip side is, no matter how badly you write it, someone might love it, but that someone won't be an editor, so you'll never get a chance to find out.

Wednesday, October 26

How Cool Is This!

Just a little Happy Halloween to all my buddies! If you like the TSO house at Christmas time, you'll love this!

Monday, October 24

Blog Awards!

I am nearly done with my first draft of my current WIP, and might just be able to do some regular blog posts by the end of the week! Yay! As it stands, I have a list of topics sitting on a digital post-it note on my desk top, but I refuses to let my self succumb to the temptation to blog, as I figure if I have time to blog, I have time to write.

In the meantime however, I received two blog awards this week, and our of respect for the givers, didn't want to put off posting and passing them on. Though the fact that I even got them is somewhat crazy considering I haven't posted in so long, I'd thought people had basically forgotten about me!

First off the Your Blog is Fabulous Award from Janice Mullin

As well as the Beautiful Blogger Award from Kaite Purseglove,(yes, that is her real name)

Thank you SO much ladies!

The rules were to pass them on to four each, but as I got two in one week, I am going to make my own rules. Oh, yeah, that's right, I'm a rebel. :)

I am going to pass them on to three bloggers each. The Fabulous Award will go to Jen Daiker and Angela Cook, and the Beautiful Blogger to Angela Cook again(as I am loving her new look), and Bethany C (because, who doesn't love a good short bus!).

Be talking to you all real soon!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 11

Fun ways to waste time...

First off, let me say sorry to my peeps for the neglect lately. A combination of my WIP and Blogger issues have made my posts scarce. (My computer was actually the one at fault, not blogger, but for some reason, Blogger was the only site affected.)

I don't have a full post today, but I figured in the mean time I'd share a few fun things I've found/been shown over the past few days.

First, if you are a follower of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, you'll already have seen this, but it is so cool it's worth seeing again. Just in time for Halloween, decaying and condemned Victorian homes... made completely of Legos.

Next we have Wordie, shown to me by my agent. All you do is copy and paste a bunch of text and it will automatically create a word cloud. You can choose the colors, and style, then save, or print. It's really cool!

Last but not least, we have Ben and Jerry's special Holloween website. Really cute site with fun stuff like build your own scarecrow and the 'Flavor Graveyard'--a special graveyard dedicated to all the flavors Ben and Jerry's has discontinued over the years! (Tip: Click on the mortuary in the cartoon graveyard to see the full list of 'dead' flavors.)

Yeah yeah, I know, as if we don't waste enough time online as it is, right? Well if I'm going to get sucked into internet randomness, then darned if I'm not going to take a few of you down with me! So, enjoy my randomness, and I'll be back soon!