Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Clarkes World Subscription Drive

Via Aliette de Bodard's blog some news about Clarkes World, a Hugo Award winning science fiction and fantasy magazine available on-line, which is having a subscription drive - and, as we all know, magazines need subscribers to survive. With fiction from well known writers (recent issues have included Catherynne M. Valente, Genevieve Valentine and Theodora Goss) as well as top quality non-fiction and cover art why not have a wander over there and check it out. If you like it this might be the time to think about subscribing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Story Arcs and NaNoWriMo

They are related.

This post, on the blog of Western Australian author, Annabel Smith, titled Story Arcs and the Art of Writing a Page-Turner, is about something every writer probably needs to be reminded of from time to time. While it is obvious a novel needs a coherent structure to capture the reader with times of tension to lift it from the banal and ordinary where these actually fit in the novel is just as critical. In her post Annabel Smith analyses this and explains where they belong and why. I was aware of the importance of story arcs but this makes it so much clearer. There's even a diagram. She links to Darcy Pattison's Fiction Notes blog where there is also a wealth of information for writers. I found myself exploring it when I should have been NaNoing.

Okay, I'm pretty sure NaNoing isn't a word but for the uninitiated  NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month - takes place in November every year. This is when a multitude of writers from all over the world sit down and try to get the first draft of a novel written. Although I'm actually adding to my WIP and not starting something new I find the buzz around NaNoWriMo useful. The aim is 50,000 words - obviously they don't know much about fantasy novel lengths - but that is only an aim. The rules are few and the encouragement great so, for me, it's well worthwhile.

I don't think I'll ever be a step by step plotter but even for a pantser like me there are rules to make a novel flow and engage the reader and this is a good explanation of one particular aspect of them.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How with your characters.

This article, the title of which I won't transcribe here because it has a swear in it, contains some truly excellent advice on how to make things difficult for your characters, and, hence, exciting for your readers.

I am one of those writers who hate to make things truly awful for their characters. I don't like to make anyone suffer, even if they're fictional. But I have to admit, a main character who doesn't suffer makes a story bland. Conversely, a main character who finds strength, power, and virtue through adversity makes a story fulfilling. At least as far as I'm concerned. And even anti-heroes, for whom the virtue is optional, do better with something to struggle against.

Oh, and as you can probably guess from the euphemistic way I'm handling the title, the whole article is pretty full of swears. Read at your own risk.