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Squirrels, Traffic, and Sales: The Saga Continues November 13, 2010

Posted by laurenrobbins6 in NaNoWrMo 2010.
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This post will be dedicated to all the things that keep one from fulfilling one’s word count for the week. It’s safe to say that this is officially catch-up day for me as I have only had time to jot down a few handwritten pages during my lunch break this week.

Incidents keeping me from writing my novel:

1. A very sleek, large squirrel infiltrated our house through the chimney, was “chased” upstairs by our two lazy cats, and promptly proceeded to ravage my room. These elements I got simply from deduction save the part about the ravaging. I was the eye-witness for that. And the really ironic part was that this is not the first time that’s happened. Since there was no large, squirrel-shaped hole in my wall, and a picture frame had been knocked over on a shelf that my very round cat could not possibly reach, we know it spent a little time in the living room. The flue had been left open and one of my cats sniffed very suspiciously around the fireplace–it had come down the chimney. And finally, I saw it in my room. Where it panicked. And was very difficult to chase out. As a result: word count dropped.

2. Sales: there was a very nice, spur of the moment sale at a department store in my mall. Result: word count dropped.

3. Traffic: The commute is long and dark enough without traffic and accidents. Heavy traffic ensued sometime in the middle of the week and I got home later than I had planned. Result: word count dropped.

However, I think that I’m making headway in the character development at least. In one scene I have three different characters talking to one another and their dialogue sounds different…hopefully. This is very important and a really hard element to obtain. Because without characters, your story inevitably flounders. Of course, clichés also get you places in that you can have two different clichés and call them characters. But making your characters different from one another really is the most difficult part about writing a novel.

As an illustration of this, a very long time ago, I wrote a story where two characters were the same people from different dimensions who had the same name and were essentially the same person. Eventually, I had to give them different names because it would have been confusing, but this is precisely an example of what NOT to do.

Writing in characters is like a little paradigm shift. Sometimes, your character will have a different viewpoint on life that you might have. Or they might just take their coffee differently. Either way, in order to be convincing, your characters have to be individuals and not just your little puppets (which can sometimes lead your novel in surprising directions).

Now, time to catch up on those words…

Fiction in a Flash July 9, 2010

Posted by laurenrobbins6 in writing.
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Ah ha! No sooner had I posted Plinky Prompts than I saw this post, also on how to use it to help the creative writing process. On the weekend (apparently when people have more time to write) Plinky users can choose to participate in the “Weekend Writing Challenges.” The first of which will be writing in the third person.

However, the post directs you to a flash fiction story, an example of what you could write in the third person. And flash fiction without a warning label would just be false advertising:

Warning: Flash fiction is not for the faint of heart. Entire story arc must be completed in a limited word count. 

While I agree that flash fiction would be very useful for this era of short/compressed messages, a writer has to put as much thought into it as a novel or short story (sometimes more). I first heard about this genre under the title “sudden fiction” and that’s an even better description. It’s speed dating for the world of fiction. The story starts out slowly but frantically as the writer adds as much subtle detail as possible. Imagine a swan swimming across the water gracefully while its feet are paddling under the surface. Then, the end pops up suddenly and the whole thing abruptly stops. If it’s good, the reader feels that the whole story was extremely clever without knowing quite what it was about.

I’m not sure if all flash fiction is written in the third person or if it could also work in the first person.

For more information on flash fiction, or sudden fiction, there is a wikipedia article on it.

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