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Distinctive Dialogue

Sometimes, I realize I need to cut some characters or even combine characters or just change things. This results in scenes where I take out one character and use a different character instead. I did that once without needing to change the dialogue at all–and I realized I had a big problem. Dialogue should be distinctive to each character. Ideally, the reader should be able to tell who’s speaking without needing dialogue tags/attributions (but you should still include them). If you can substitute a different character without changing dialogue, there’s a problem.

Interchanging characters into the same scene can actually be a good way to get to know your characters. How would each character respond in this situation? How would they interact? I’ve been having fun putting the characters I’m keeping into the scenes formerly populated by the characters I’m cutting. It changes the dynamic. I like seeing how they interact.

Happy Writing!

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Making Progress

I’ve been avoiding writing for awhile. I have really changed the events of Book One since switching primary POV characters. The thought of starting in on Draft–wait, let me count–32 was a bit overwhelming. Then I realized that I’ve already written all of this. I just need to do some rearranging and revising. I will have to write some new scenes, of course, but I don’t have to rewrite the entire thing. YAY!!

I spent two hours this evening snatching scenes from previous drafts and putting them into an outline. I’m feeling really good about this. I even made some headway into confusing motivational type things. And the most exciting part? My Parts One and Two, which I have been planning and hoping to combine, were formerly between 70,000 and 90,000 words EACH. My new pieced together draft is down to 112,000!! This gives me great hope that I might actually be able to write a decently lengthed novel! I tend to be long-winded.

Well, the coffee shop is closing, so I’d better head out! I hope to update again soon with some of the cool insights I’ve been having.

Happy Writing!

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I Have a Nemesis

I have decided that grading is my nemesis. The friend who recommended me for the position gave me some grading rubrics to use. They were really helpful, but when I went to assign the actual letter grade, I NEARLY DIED. The rubrics weren’t mathematical! They were . . . narrative. Literary. I tried about five different mathematical equations to make them work, but no go. Once again, proof that I am a non-creative brained, logic-brained, creative fiction writer. Who knew? Finally, I just came up with my own system, and it appears to be working. Yay!! I’m only half-way through grading these papers, and I have a new round of papers due in a week. I hope I get faster at this . . .

Aside from grading being my nemesis, I am still enjoying teaching. 🙂

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New Year, New Venture

I hope you all enjoyed my series on visualization.

This year is starting a bit crazy for me. I took a job as an adjunct English professor! I have often dreamed of teaching college English, but it was more of a “sometime, down the line” idea. I feel in some ways like I’m learning to swim by being thrown in the ocean.

Something really surprised me, though. I enjoy teaching! This is fun. When I was growing up, the one thing I always said I didn’t want to do was teach. Teaching runs in the family, and I think I wanted to do something different. Teaching is also a certain amount terrifying.

But I really enjoy it! I love sharing what I know and the things I’ve learned to make me the writer I am today. I’ve never enjoyed a job quite like this. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it even more once I’ve got the wrinkles ironed out.

The challenge now will be finding time to write! Even just a couple of classes take a lot of prep work and grading. I hope to still keep up with this blog.

Happy Writing everyone!

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Movie Trailers

I love imagining movie trailers. I’m a visual person, and I always see my stories acted out like a movie in my head. For me, making a movie trailer comes more easily than writing a synopsis, but it serves a similar purpose. It helps me focus on the meat of the story. What is the story really about?

If I’m really trying to focus and hash things out, I’ll write a kind of transcript for the movie trailer. For me, they usually consist of mysterious, simple music and quotes from the story rather than a voice over.

Sometimes, I get ambitious and actually make a video using my sketches and my own music. They’re generally disappointing since they aren’t nearly as good as what’s in my head, but they can be a whole lot of fun. I’m impatient and low-tech, so I just take poor quality photos of my sketches with a digital camera and download them on the computer. The only person I’m doing this for is me, so it doesn’t have to be spectacular. 🙂

Over Christmas break my freshman year of college, I was just being introduced to Window’s Movie Maker. I dug out my old fashion dolls (all characters from movies like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Disney princesses) and took stills of them. I then put them together as my first movie trailer. I showed it to my roommate, and she died laughing. It wasn’t exactly the response I was looking for, but at least she liked it. 🙂

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I don’t have much experience with Scrivener thus far, but I’ve met people who take a lot of the things I’ve been talking about and include them in the Scrivener files for their stories. I’ve done this some. I can take the maps, location sheets, character sheets, pictures, and timelines and include them all in one convenient place.

Honestly, I think it confuses me more than helps me because I can’t keep everything separate, but for some people, it works great.

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html/Web Design

I love hardcoding html. It’s very soothing. So sometimes, when I’m tired of the unstructured creativity of drawing, music, and even writing, I open notepad and use the structured creativity of computer language. I haven’t learned anything new in ages, so what I code is way too ancient to be shareable. XD But it’s so much fun.

I made a whole website once complete with a detailed history of my world, a story timeline, a calendar of character’s birthdays, song lyrics, and photo galleries. This was about ten years ago, so I also included AIM buddy icons (anybody remember those??), desktop backgrounds, and interactive personality quizzes (I was in a C++ class at the time 🙂 ).

More recently, I’ve put the results of personality tests into html format so I can easily reread them.