Monthly Archives: June 2015

summer goals

So, in this crazy life, summer time has become writing time. Hopefully I will soon become a good enough teacher that I can spread writing time throughout the school year again, but for now, as a wee baby 3rd (4th-ish) year, this is what I have to work with.

Let’s lay out some goals for Summer 2015:

– I’m going to do Camp NaNoWriMo again (in July). The pacing and group encouragement of the program is incredibly helpful to my daily motivation. I am going to step aside from Copper again but not leave the world; instead, I’ll finish the story of another character from another city within that world, who actually can use magic (because I think telling the story and explaining the magic mechanics & history from someone who can use it will go more smoothly than trying to do it all through Copper, who hates magic). It will fit before Copper’s story.

– I also had ideas for 7 short stories, but since very few people played the inspiration game, I forgot about them. Haha. So I will work on those throughout the summer as well and post them sporadically throughout July and August.

– I have so much to read! I do read a lot throughout the school year, just not as quickly as summer time… and I have some exciting things stacked up. So my goal is to read at LEAST two books a week. We just did a loooong 12 hours in the car last weekend, and I finished a book on each leg of the drive, so I’m off to a good start! (One of the books was “The Girl with All the Gifts” — highly recommend!)

I think that’s it… time to get back to outlining!

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Writing Styles

Here’s a new game I’ve been playing to help establish voice for each character:

change the font for their dialogue!

Hear me out. Yes, it’s pretty silly, and yes, it takes time (time that can affect the flow of the writing) to switch out the font for each character as you reach his or her dialogue.

BUT… if you can find a font that “looks” like how you imagine the character would write, then it becomes easier to “hear” how he or she would speak–and, most importantly, how his or her manner of speaking is different and unique from the other characters.

I’ve been playing around with it on a rewrite (I was calling it a revision, but I realized that I had to throw out most of what existed before and re-do everything with the same characters and general plot… so, it’s a rewrite) and it’s doing an amazing job of getting me into the heads of each character. Of course, it’s not a thickly-peopled book, so that helps; G.R.R. Martin would probably go insane attempting a similar experiment.

I started this activity to try to spur my lagging writing, but coincidentally, the book I started reading a few days later uses the idea, too. It’s called “S” or “Ship of Theseus,” co-written by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. The book itself is one story, but there are annotations included in the margins that are a separate, suspenseful story as well. One pen (who writes in cursive) is a female character and the other pen (who writes in capitals) is a male character.

image

example from the first few pages of “S”

The different writing styles correspond with their different personalities, voices, and… literal writing styles, I guess.  Haha. I finished it this weekend–it took a while to read because I was trying to keep track of the real storyline, and the annotation story lines, which occur in different colored pens for different times–and loved it. The resolution was not as clear as I’d hoped, but what was I expecting from the dude who wrote Lost?? :) I still highly recommend the book.

I’m hoping this technique helps me keep better track of the voices of my characters. When I wrote my first draft of “Copper,” and dared to read through it after a few weeks off, I noticed how most of the characters spoke exactly the same as each other. Their dialogue was interchangeable… and that was bad. With the font-changing game, I hope to avoid that flaw (but will, surely, come up with some new one. Sigh).

Anyway, back to said rewrite…

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