Sunday, December 28, 2014

Writers about Christmas... (It's 12 days, so no I'm not done yet!)

  • I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys." - Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
  • "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
  • "Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!" - Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers (1836)
  • "Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling."
    - Edna Ferber
  • "I do like Christmas on the whole.... In its clumsy way, it does approach Peace and Goodwill. But it is clumsier every year."
    - E.M. Forster
  • "Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven's making."
    - Leigh Hunt
  • "Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."
    - Washington Irving
  • "I heard the bells on Christmas Day
    Their old, familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
    - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • "I hear that in many places something has happened to Christmas; that it is changing from a time of merriment and carefree gaiety to a holiday which is filled with tedium; that many people dread the day and the obligation to give Christmas presents is a nightmare to weary, bored souls; that the children of enlightened parents no longer believe in Santa Claus; that all in all, the effort to be happy and have pleasure makes many honest hearts grow dark with despair instead of beaming with good will and cheerfulness." - Julia Peterkin, A Plantation Christmas (1934)
  • "Love came down at Christmas;
    Love all lovely, love divine;
    Love was born at Christmas,
    Stars and angels gave the sign."
    - Christina Rossetti
  • "And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
    - Dr. Seuss
  • "A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
    The poor man's heart through half the year."
    - Walter Scott
  • "To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year."
    - E.B. White, "The Second Tree from the Corner" (1954)
  • "Somehow, not only for Christmas
    But all the long year through,
    The joy that you give to others
    Is the joy that comes back to you.

    And the more you spend in blessing The poor and lonely and sad,
    The more of your heart's possessing
    Returns to you glad." - John Greenleaf Whittier
  • "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and
    devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus." - Francis Pharcellus Church

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pep-Talk from Tamora Pierce on NaNoWriMo 2014

Reblogged from NaNoWriMo Pep-Talks

Pep Talk from Tamora Pierce (2014)

Okay. You’re at the point that marathon runners call “the wall.” It’s the one where you’ve run smack out of inspiration and your start-up excitement. It’s quit or finish and you’d really rather quit, but you have all these words, and friends, family, and those nasty people at school or the office are waiting to see if you’ll finish.
So let’s talk about the commonplace: something you may not have considered when you got all swept up in the Characters and the Splendor and the Idea.
Try adding something short.
Show your main character doing something. They’re walking down a woodsy trail—unless they’re in space, in which case, maybe they’re jogging around the station, or coming in from fixing something outside. They aren’t really thinking about much, or if the end of their travels are in view, they’re thinking about news from home, a good person or a bad one, or a sudden summons from the boss.
They trip.
Do it inside the airlock. Over and over they go, hearing yells through their communication system and the sound of the lock pressurizing. Then their foot gets caught in an open metal grip, twisting.
In the forest, they tumble down a hill, twisting an arm. Climbing out of a swimming pool, they slip on the rim; there’s a loud whack as they strike their knee on the pool’s edge. On the sidewalk, they catch a foot on a tree root and go down.
Try something surprising, painful, or frightening to jolt your character into behaving violently.
Are they exhausted beyond all reason, given everything you’ve put them through? Have they no resources of strength, health, common sense, or good humor left? This is what they called, during the American Civil War, “middle of the night courage.” If your character has it. Maybe they don’t. That could be what we need to know, that this person has to lick the remains of their courage off of the floor to be able to continue on. And trying something you hadn’t planned with this character to find this last, possibly stupid bit of self may be what you need to get moving.
What happens next? Does your character pitch a fit of rage? Do they throw things, or yell for help? Do they ask someone to take them to the doctor, not knowing that the other person isn’t to be trusted? Is their rescuer someone they didn’t know cared about them? What does your character do now? Maybe your character doesn’t trust this person, but his or her companions do. What do they do?
Try something small.
Your character finds a box (think of those medical researchers who found a box tucked away in storage and opened it to find six little vials of smallpox), a book, a message, a painting. It fascinates them until they have tracked down its history and meaning. These things can lead to a talisman for good or ill, wealth, something that carries you into your planned climax, something that helps your character meet a person they need to know for that climax to happen, something perilous that brings them to the climactic action wounded and full of doubt.
With luck, you put this letter aside halfway through because you thought of something that you had to write, and you’re on your way again. If you read this far for my immortal prose, don’t be silly! You can read after you’ve finished NaNoWriMo! Now go git ‘em!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Deep third person POV

I learned something new today. But first some facts of my writing.
I'm an avid writer of third person POV.
First person doesn't work for me at all. I tried it and it was like using somebody else skin. I also don't like reading in first person - the only series I read is Robbin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy. There it didn't bother me because it's so cluttered with adverbs and description that Fitz's inner dialogue doesn't drag on.
I believe I'm using deep third person (though I've heard that expression the first time on this thread, so thank you for teaching me something new!) Third person comes most natural to me and I just realized it's the way I think (I never said I'm not crazy).
It's also the only thing that works for me since I have multiple POVs, as my characters insist they want to have their go as well. I realize that it's a matter of taste and point of view, but to me personally third is more intimate, I feel like I am in charge, holding this persons thoughts and feelings in my hands... 

Alas lately I had someone question, that I used words my character used when thinking. It would throw the reader of as I couldn't be that close.
I think what comes most natural to me is deep third person POV and I found the perfect article to explain it all. My critter apparently has never encountered it before. What a shame ;)

Reblogged from The editor's blog 

Deep POV (point of view) is a fairly new option for writers. It’s only become popular in the last 20-40 years, but it’s made itself strongly known and keenly felt, and now much of current fiction is written using this viewpoint.
So what is deep POV and how is it used?
Deep POV is third-person subjective taken a step farther than the normal. The third-person subjective shows story through the eyes of one or more characters—one at a time, no head-hopping please. Deep POV goes beyond that to take readers into the head and heart of a character, allowing the story to be seen and felt through the characters experiences and history and thoughts and feelings.
What the first-person POV accomplishes with its I narration, deep POV accomplishes with third-person he or she narration.
Thus readers see scenes through the viewpoint character, feel story events as that character does. What that character sees, the reader sees. What the character feels or thinks, the reader knows.
And the reader knows automatically that what is being reported are the thoughts and feelings and the intentions of the viewpoint character.
Deep POV allows writers to do away with he thought, he felt, he wondered, he saw, all those phrases that intrude into the fiction, that unnecessarily encumber story.
At one time such phrases were necessary to let readers know we were in the character’s head or seeing through his eyes. With deep POV, readers are in the character’s head [almost] all the time, and so such intrusions aren’t necessary.
A few examples of simple sentences to show the contrast—
He was lost, Thomas thought. Lost and certain someone followed him.
I’m lost, Thomas thought. Lost and certain someone followed him.
Third-person deep POV—
He was lost. Lost and certain someone followed him.
I’m lost. Lost and certain someone followed him.
Elaine trailed her quarry down Main Street, careful to stay busy with store windows on the opposite side of the street. She giggled when she watched him slip into Barrington’s MensWear, saw him hide behind a mannequin. 
Third-person deep POV—
Elaine trailed her quarry—better known as her ex—down Main Street, careful to stay busy with store windows on the opposite side of the street.
 She giggled when he slipped into Barrington’s MensWear and hid behind a mannequin.
Arkin shook his head. It was moronic, he said to himself, the way Peter fawned over his in-laws.
Peter threw open his mouth, faking a long laugh.
A moron, Arkin thought again, turning away.
Third-person deep POV—
Arkin shook his head. It was moronic the way Peter fawned over his in-laws.
The loser threw open his mouth, faking a long laugh. 
Arkin turned away.
As the first-person narrator doesn’t have to identify his own feelings and thoughts as being his own, so the third-person viewpoint character doesn’t have to repeatedly tell his readers that he’s thinking or hoping or seeing or feeling. Readers understand that the thoughts and hopes and visions and feelings belong to the viewpoint character.
The writer who uses deep POV for his viewpoint character doesn’t have to use markers to tell readers what a character feels—
Melissa reluctantly stuck her hand into the pouch. She thought that there was no way she could back gracefully out of the dare. She wiggled her fingers around. She felt slime ooze between them.
Melissa reluctantly stuck her hand into the pouch. There was no way she could back gracefully out of the dare. She wiggled her fingers around, wincing when slime oozed between them.
Using deep POV rather than traditional third-person subjective can cut the word count and keep the intensity high. It can also keep readers deep in the fiction of the moment rather than reminding them that they are reading a story.
The markers that remind readers a character is reporting that he’s doing something—felt, saw, watched, thought and so on—are a barrier between readers and the events and emotions of story. They keep readers one step removed from story events and a character’s feelings.
Removal of those reminders pulls readers deeper into story events and deeper into the character’s mind and heart. When the visual physical barrier is knocked away, the psychological barrier is knocked away as well. The reader can move even deeper into the fictional world.
Of course, being in a character’s thoughts and emotions for the length of a story can induce claustrophobia or otherwise make readers antsy. It’s quite okay to draw back at times, to step away from that deep POV.
When deep POV is too much
Look through a distance lens at the opening of new chapters or scenes to gain perspective and provide relief from deep POV. Go from a big-picture shot and shift focus until your viewpoint character is in the frame and then let him resume the storytelling.
You can also switch viewpoint characters so readers get the view from inside a different head. This gives readers a break from the intensity of a single character’s viewpoint.
Remember, however, to switch viewpoint characters only with scene changes. And be choosy about the heads and hearts you dump your readers into; not every character deserves to tell your story.
Not every character is the right one to tell your story.
Inside Out vs. Outside In
Deep POV allows story and scenes to be experienced from the inside out rather than reported from the outside looking in.
Right. So what does that mean?
It means that your description and actions can be shared through the eyes and feelings and experiences—through the words—of your viewpoint character.
Instead of providing a description that comes across as cold or indifferent or distant, in the words of an uncaring or unknowledgeable narrator, use deep POV to proclaim a character’s relationship to setting or props or even other characters. Use it to reveal character personality and emotion.
Since deep POV keeps us inside a character, you’re free to use words that only this character would use in the circumstances you’ve dumped him into. Use emotion-inducing words, words that come from the character’s emotional state. Use words that arise from his background and his history.
Use words that the character knows will cause a reaction in others.
Don’t limit yourself to words and phrases an outsider would use to describe what he sees. Use words from the depths of your character. Let his frustrations fly with your word choices.
Deep POV is a great tool for stirring up conflict.
Leon’s dress shirt was buttoned to his throat, cutting off his air. The air that did manage to move through him was then squeezed to almost nothing by his tie—one regulation blue stripe, one burgundy.
He yanked off the tie, stuffed it in his pocket.
Penelope was watching and frowning. But he’d only agreed to wear the clothes. He hadn’t agreed to a time limit.
 Third-person deep POV—
Leon yanked at the vintage buttons of the vintage dress shirt that choked him, cutting off his air and making him lightheaded. Lightheaded and angry. The damned tie—one regulation blue stripe, one burgundy—had to go. He yanked at it too, pulled it free and stuffed it into his pocket.
So what that Saint Penelope was watching. He’d agreed to wear what she’d picked out for him.
He hadn’t agreed on a time limit.
He grinned when he caught her frown. Fifteen minutes satisfied the requirement for him. And it ticked her off.
A win-win in his book.
Choose a variety of words—nouns, verbs, and adjectives—to reveal character emotion.
Remember, too, that once we’re in deep POV, there are some words a character wouldn’t use.
A character isn’t likely to refer to a sibling as his brother Richard or to a firm he works at as Collins, Hollingsworth, Timbrall, and Dean.
Use words and phrases the character would use. And relay necessary information—that Richard is a character’s brother and that the Collins he refers to is his law firm—through other means.
Tip: Think personal rather than impersonal. Use words meaningful to the character.
Format for Deep POV
For the most part, text is formatted the same in deep POV as in any other point of view.
Yet, where third-person subjective might use italics to show thoughts, deep POV allows the writer to get rid of the italics. And since the use of italics is one more way of calling attention to the form of the words on a page rather than the meaning of the words, getting rid of italics is another way to keep readers deep in the fictional world.
There is no need for italics in deep POV, not for simply reporting thoughts. However, if a character uses I or me in his thoughts, then use italics.  Without the italics, readers could be confused or wonder why the writer had switched from third person to first.
And if a reader’s wondering about the mechanics of the format, he’s not lost in the story.
Bopping down the stairs, Ike considered his choices. He’d either have to go to Vail with Mom or Barbados with Dad, no staying at home with Paul. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs to pluck his hat from the fat knob at the end of the railing.
At least I get a choice this Christmas.
He grabbed his board and slammed the door behind him.
And I choose to bag me some beach babes.
** In the original of this article, I had also said that you should use italics if you showed a character’s thoughts using verbs in the present tense when the rest of the narrative is past tense. However, you don’t necessarily have to use italics in that instance. In deep POV you can use present tense for the viewpoint character’s thoughts (with some cautions, of course). Look for an article on this topic soon.
You should know, however, that not all agents, publishers, and readers would agree with this choice. But you will find this method being used.
An example—
Bertie tracked his wife to the no-name motel and watched as first she entered and then that loser of a gigolo knocked with a damned unmanly grin on his face. One knock followed by three followed by a drumroll.
And she thinks she’s getting away with this crap? Please.   
Of course, that last line could have just as easily have been—
And she thought she was getting away with that crap? Please.
If you’ve not yet worked deep POV into your stories, I encourage you to start. Today’s readers apparently like that close relationship with characters.
Practice writing deep POV. Get into your characters’ heads and hearts, into the rhythms of their thoughts and speech, and convey their emotions and true personalities through the words you give them to both say and think.
Remember too that you are not limited to deep POV, even if it is popular. Try it, use it when it works for your stories. But step back when it begins to smother. And try a more distant approach if that fits the style of story you wish to tell.
Don’t limit yourself. But don’t be limited by others and the practices of the day either.
Go to the deep places in your writing today. Challenge yourself. Challenge your characters.
Challenge your readers while entertaining them.
Get them talking about your stories.
Write about the deep places today. Write strong fiction.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

NaNoWriMo Pep-Talk from Kami Garcia on "Write your Book!"

 Reblogged from NaNoWriMo Pep-Talks

Pep Talk from Kami Garcia

In October, you were busy plotting your novel, or—if you’re like me—pinning motivational quotes on your Pinterest boards. Now it’s almost November, and the plot that seemed perfect a month ago reminds you of Harry Potter or Star Wars, and those motivational quotes aren’t as motivating as you thought.
It’s the 11th hour, and Doubt is paying you a visit. Giving Doubt a name is helpful. I call my unwelcome friend Ozzy because he sounds suspiciously like Ozzy Osbourne from one of my favorite bands, Black Sabbath. Whatever you call him, Doubt’s endgame is always the same: to keep you from writing. There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t write this book, right? Here are a few of the things Doubt whispers in your ear:
  • You’re too busy. You have a job, or kids, or a spouse, or a pet, or a pint of chocolate ice cream waiting for you. How can you possibly find time to write? So what if Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 on a typewriter during his lunch breaks?
  • Your idea sucks. Now that you’ve read over your idea a few times, it’s clear that your idea is worthless—and there is no way to fix it. Real authors come up with ideas that are completely formed from inception, and they never outline or rework an idea, or call a friend sobbing because they think their plot isn’t salvageable.
  • Your muse is MIA. Everyone knows that when real writers sit down in front of their computers, the words just pour out. Real writers have muses who whisper ideas to them in their dreams and solve their writing problems. There are, of course, a limited number of these muses—and to date, they’ve all been assigned to other writers who are not you.
  • You aren’t qualified to be a writer. You don’t have an MFA in Creative Writing; maybe you don’t even have a degree, which everyone knows is a requirement for successful writers. Harper Lee, Ray Bradbury, Charles Dickens, Jack Kerouac, and William Faulkner are the only exceptions to the rule. Or maybe you have an MFA, but now that it’s time to start writing, you don’t know how you earned that degree in the first place.
Here’s the truth, from me to you:
  • Most writers are “too busy” to write. We have spouses, or children, or dogs, or cats, or gremlins we’re responsible for. Some writers even have another full-time job that (gasp) has nothing to do with writing. Yet, they still write. Instead of finding the time to write, you make the time to write.
  • As far as having a plot that sucks, welcome to the first draft of every idea I’ve ever had. If you don’t believe me, ask one of my writer friends; most of them have endured at least one of my sobbing phone calls, during which I insist that my book is broken beyond repair.
  • And the muse? I have no idea who has one, but if anyone does, I’d like to know so I can stage a kidnapping.
  • While it’s wonderful to have an MFA, you don’t need one to be a writer. At the end of the day, the only thing you need to be a writer is an idea and a pen. Your job is to write the best song, poem, story, or book you can.
Here’s the million-dollar question: how are you going to write this book if you’re afraid to start writing? Give your friend Doubt a name, and then block his calls.
I’m not a fast writer. I type with three fingers, and there’s a video on YouTube to prove it. The way I finish my novels is one word at a time. Don’t focus on 50,000 words or 30 days. Just write one word at a time, and focus on hitting your word-count goal one day at a time.
So start writing your novel. I’m waiting to read it, and I’m rooting for you.
XO Kami