Thursday, 3 July 2014

Don't step over that line!

With horror writing abounding over in Zombie July, let's talk about our own writing limits.

What will you absolutely not write no matter what? Even if the story tends to lead toward it. And where do you put your foot down in your genre? Do you write fantasy but not darker than a medium shade of grey? Do you write erotica and rape is not acceptable to you? Let us know your reasons why!

I will write violence to a certain extent but not go into graphic detail about anything. Unless it's essential to the story I'd rather leave it before the violence starts with the hint that it's going to happen. I think that's pretty much my limit in any genre with any type of violence.

The reason is just that I don't really like writing extreme violence and I don't think I could do it justice anyway, so I'd rather go with the Blair Witch effect and hint at things rather than showing them. I think the reader's imagination is likely to come up with much more interesting things than anything I could put on paper in that respect.

Bonus: For fun, what genre will you never ever ever write?

Easy question - I will never write horror or erotica. I don't like reading them and I can't imagine ever wanting to write them either.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

But what does he look like? - WriYe

How much is too much for you? How little is too little? How do you find your happy medium? What must you describe about every character when you write?

I don't think I've mastered description yet. If anything I tend to do too much description, tossing it in all over the place - 'she shook her head, her brown curls falling into her face' or 'her blue eyes took in the forest scene with its lush green leaves and red and yellow wildflowers' type of thing. Possibly not quite to that extant though...

I always at some point include hair colour and general body type/size/height because I like to know what characters I read about are like, so I want to include information I look for in stories. That wouldn't be 'he's 6ft tall with short spiky black hair and a toned body' though, it's more likely to be dropping his hair colour in at one point and later mentioning his height compared to, say, a shelf he's reaching something off, or a small child who's talking to him.

Body type can be slotted in at any point - a woman not being able to make her hands meet while giving a friend a hug, or someone calling an insult to someone (stick insect or fatty, maybe) or describing the type of thing that person does for fun. Someone who spends all his time in fast food restaurants is likely to have a very different body type to someone who's a member of a running club.

What's the worst way to use and/or reveal character descriptions?

The worse way is when you get paragraphs of description with nothing to move the story forward at all. I try to avoid that! The second worse way is the 'looking in a mirror' technique, or the variation 'another character looking at him/her'.

How much of the scenery do you put into your novel and why?

I like to include scenery if it's relevant, but it not I just like to set the scene. If someone is in a train station you can have the noise of a train pulling interrupting a phone call and that's all you need to include, but if someone is meeting underneath a clock at the railway station you might want to add detail as the person searches for the clock - because in that instance, it might add to the tension as the person tries to find the clock in time.

Bonus: A picture is worth a thousand words... Draw us your main character!

I can't draw people very well, and I especially can't get people to turn out the way I imagine them in my head. I usually do internet searched to find a picture of someone who looks like how I imagine my main characters. This is the picture I found for Dawn Bell, the main character in my July Camp NaNoWriMo novel.

Judging a book by its cover

My favourite book cover is The Host by Stephanie Meyer. You can't tell properly in this picture, but the white ring around the pupil of the eye is metallic silver.

I love that they used a very simple image but put so much thought into it - in the story (and this isn't a spoiler) you can tell the aliens because their eyes shine silver when you shine a light at them.

I picked up this book a few years ago partly because I'd read the Twilight books and enjoyed them, and partly because I really liked the cover of this book.

What's your favourite book cover?

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Software decisions - WriYe

What do you use to write? Do you shift between software for different parts of writing: planning, writing, editing, etc?

This one's easy - I use Microsoft Word most of the time because I tend to colour code my writing - red for ideas, green for outlines, blue for bits of text I've taken from somewhere else that have given me an idea, etc. I use Notepad as well sometimes when I just want to write without distractions, like when I'm word warring, have an idea I want to get out or am using a prompt to do some freewriting. I have tried Liquid Story Binder and I quite liked it, but not enough to pay for the full version.

I do most of my editing in Word as well, although I do print out everything before every big edit so I can mark up bits to change, highlight, scribble out and generally scrawl all over the draft before I make any changes on the computer.

What do you use to supplement your writing? Music? TV in the background? YouTube channels?

I like to write to music and give my story a soundtrack. I can't write with TV in the background because I get distracted, but I will put on CDs or, more usually, make a GrooveShark or YouTube playlist especially for the story. I use choosing a soundtrack as part of my character profiles too, deciding what sort of music they would like and what they'd be listening to in their everyday lives before I set dragons and/or aliens loose on them!

Bonus: Give us a screenshot of you mid-writing. Seriously. Pause, snap, post.

This is the planning stages of my Camp NaNo novel. I'm using a 100 words prompt for chapter titles and under each one I'm outlining what's going to happen in that chapter. I doubt I'm going to use all 100 prompts, but I find them useful to give me ideas when I'm not sure what to throw in next.