Thursday, February 25, 2010

That whole tortured artist thing.

Some days when I feel like I'm not getting enough done, that my writing is weak, trite, and meaningless, that I'll never amount to much, I understand why writers have a stereotype of drinking too much.

Of course for me, drinking too much is two glasses of wine with dinner and then toddling off to bed early.

It lacks the flamboyant drama, but it's ever so much easier on my liver.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scaring the hell out of myself.

Both Bob Mayer and Michael Hauge said many brilliant things this past weekend. Fortunately, I wrote them all down and I'll be able to work my way through them all.

The biggest lesson I got, though, really threw me for a loop.

You've got to go where the fear is, both your characters and yourself.

As the old saying goes, "If you have a character who is afraid of water, she'd better be in the ocean by Act Two."

As an author, I'm afraid of revealing too much of myself to my readers. Where does the line fall between pulling in real emotion and oversharing?

That scares me.

I guess that means I'd better go there.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Well, so much for that.

Every time I sat down to write about archetypes, I managed to find something else that really really had to be done at that moment.

Like plucking my eyebrows. Or starting an IM with a friend. And quite frankly, it was amazing how often I really needed a nap Right Now.

I finally had to admit to myself that my brain was not ready for archetypes right now. Curses!

Instead, I'm getting ready for a Winter Writing Intensive put on by the Rose City Romance Writers. Michael Hauge and Bob Mayer are coming to the area and are planning on kicking our asses. I'm preparing by getting my new work-in-progress to the point where I can discuss it (sort of) intelligently.

So I'm back to that!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Back to work. :)

Sorry about the skipped days there. Back being productive!

Every writer finds ways to make her characters three-dimensional and interesting. We fill out character sheets, brainstorm via longhand in cheap (or expensive, depending on your personality) notebooks, post pictures of what we think they look like - the list goes on and on.

Archetypes or stock characters are fantastic starting places. Often people get quite upset about these ideas, claiming that using them leads to one-dimensional characters or stereotyping. In the hands of a writer who isn't paying attention, yes. That can happen. I really like the way Christopher Vogler puts it in The Writer's Journey:

Looking at the flexible character functions rather than rigid character types, can liberate your storytelling. It explains how a character in a story can manifest the qualities of more than one archetype.

Every good story reflects the total human story, the universal human condition of being born into the world, growing, learning, struggling to become an individual, and dying. Stories can be read as metaphors for the general human situation, with characters who embody universal...qualities, comprehensible to the group as well as the individual. (pgs. 30-33)
Here are just a few archetype systems that writers I know use.

  • Campbell's breakdowns which includes categories such as Hero, Mentor, Threshold Guardian, Herald, Shapeshifter, Shadow, and Trickster.
  • The Tarot
  • Astrological signs (a perennial favorite)
  • Gods and Goddesses of various pantheons (I have a weakness for the Greeks, but I've found inspiration in other religions, too)
I'll be getting into these ideas into great depth in later posts. Let me know if you want me to go into the whole Jung/Joseph Campbell origins of modern thought on archetypes. It's fascinating and I love it, but I can be long winded about it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ok, I lied.

Nothing of substance going up here today. Move along, nothing to see. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Post a day, part two.

I'm going to see if I can do the post a day thing again. I loved it in November. Let's see if I can do it again.

This time, I think I will go through various archetypes that writers use to come up with memorable, vibrant characters. I use a variety of sources to get personalities for my characters.

Tomorrow, I will start with some male archetypes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I love my agent.

Just got this email from Jewelann:

Hi Linda,

Thought you would like to know I have sent queries out to Harlequin, Berkeley, and Kensington so far. Nothing yet from Harlequin, Berkeley has requested a partial and the synopsis (which has been sent) and…….Kensington has requested the FULL. Which has been sent. Along with the synopsis, of course.

That’s it so far.


I'm sure you can hear the high-pitched squealing from where ever you are!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Back to work.

Today, I officially started on The Sequel (title still unknown, sorry). I've had several outlines, plots, and ideas for this book, but since I changed the ending for Dracula's Secret, I had to start completely from scratch.

I don't worry about all the previous work because I've found that writing is never wasted. I know it'll be useful, and most likely sooner rather than later. :)

And to top it off, I found my plot! I'm not going to announce it yet, because things can always change (and usually do), but for now, I have an road map for myself. I also started in on my GMC charts.

And that makes for a very very good day. :)