Episode 35 - Toss a Gimli
Works in Progress
[00:00:37] Mike was in Philadelphia for WordCamp US. While he was there he did not do much writing, but he is working on the copy for a relaunch of his personal website MikeHale.me. He's building his online brand.
[00:01:32] Eric is still working on the rewrite of Don't Wake Up. He decided to get some professional help with Prince of Pigeon Hill and is fixing the story.
[00:03:02] John is back to working on his Drone and Mob story. He decided to use his NaNoWriMo story as just that, because it's more fan-fiction than an actual novel.
What's happening online
[00:04:47] The New Yorker had a piece called Talk about the Weather. Weather, according to the article, should never be discussed in literature unless its pertinent to the story. "It's never just raining."
Fore edge book painting
[00:05:38] Fore-edge book painting are scenes painted on the edge of the pages of a (paper) book. When you fan out the pages of the book, it displays an image. Flipping the book over shows another image.
The Explorer's Guild
[00:07:01] The Explorer's Guild is a new book co-written by Kevin Costner (the musician and actor) that combines a traditional novel and a graphic novel. Pages are beautifully illustrated by artist Rick Ross and the story is also told in comic form every few pages.
[00:08:46] The Subtle Knife: Writing Characters Readers Trust But Shouldn’t. Angela Ackerman writes a great post on how to create characters the reader trusts but shouldn't. She covers three techniques: the red herring, pairing and character flaws.
One technique is the red herring. This is where a writer nudges a reader in one direction hard enough that their brain picks up on ‘planted’ clues meant to mislead them.
Another technique is pairing. Similar to a red herring, pairing is when we do two things at once to mask important clues. If, as an author, I show my friendly pastor leaving an alleyway at night and then have a car crash happen right in front of him, which event will the reader focus on?
A third technique is to disguise aspects of his “untrustworthy nature” using a Character Flaw.
Balancing your clue-sprinkling so that the reader doesn’t pick up on your deceit before you’re ready for them to.
[00:10:30] Eric's reading a lot of watchmaking materials.
Mike finished reading The Power of Broke by Daymond John.
John's not reading any one thing in particular, instead reading a bunch of different books just to get a sense of prose and dialog. He has been reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King here and ther.
Eric mentioned a call to science fiction authors by Ursula K. Le Guin to reimagine worlds without capitalism. Here is a link to the article: Ursula K. Le Guin Calls on Fantasy and Sci Fi Writers to Envision Alternatives to Capitalism
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
-Winston S. Churchill
Tech Focus - Backups
[00:13:12] John was using an online app for tracking his word counts. He was going to discuss this app for Tech Focus, but when he went in the the app a few days later, all of his data was gone. John is always trying out different programs for the show, and losing data is pretty common with what he's trying out.
What options are there for backups?
Google Docs - automatic backups
Downloaded down to local machine as a pdf or word document.
Crashplan used to backup that folder.
Evernote - on all devices and in the cloud.
Writing in text/markdown.
Have multiple copies on multiple platforms.
Penflip is a good backup because its built over git.
Carbonite is an clound-based
Paper backup routines?
Craft Talk: Dialogue
What does dialogue do?
- Show rather than tell
- Build tension and drama
- Reveal Character
- Creates white space on the page
- Don't use saidisms.
Dialogue should be heard and not seen. Don't pull your reader out of the story.
Don't overdue the dialogue tags.
- You can skip them altogether if the conversation is clear, and include them every so often to reestablish the pace.
- See also adding action to the conversation.
Don't repeat the spoken dialogue
- "Welcome to New York City," the man greeted. "Greeted" is redundant in this case.
Don't use tags that aren't how the dialogue is spoken:
- "Yes," he smiled. You can't "smile" words.
Don't info dump.
- You should be watching out for a wall of text.
- No one speaks in long blocks in conversation. <- have another character ask questions.
Don't use exposition in dialogue.
Don't use dialogue to explain the back story. "As you know, Bob, Sue is our sister."
Don't provide too much information at once
- Your dialogue shouldn't tell the reader everything up front.
Don't go overboard with dialects and accents
- Throw in a few words here and there for characterization, but don't make it hard to read.
- Authors seem to love doing this with Scottish accents.
- Many writers do this badly, and it's difficult to pull off correctly.
Don't let you dialogue be a transcript of a conversation.
- Skip the "ums", the half-finished thoughts, and the hesitations.
- Dialogue still needs to be clear for the reader
Don't be too "on the nose" with dialogue
- People often don't say what they mean
Do sound natural, but not too much.
- People sometimes skip words or speak in partial sentences.
Drop words when it makes sense
- Do intersperse beats of action and movement when there would be natural pauses.
- Characters pausing to look out windows or sip coffee.
Do give your dialogue a sense of place - where are your characters speaking to each other?
Do give your characters distinct speech patterns
- Certain things a 5yo would say that an 80yo wouldn't
- Characters may have certain words or short phrases they use, and other characters shouldn't
Do let silence speak for the characters
- Sometimes what they don't say is more important than what they do.
- People don't have to answer each other directly.
Do arrive late and leave early.
- You can skip the "hellos" and "goodbyes".
- Hitchcock said a good story is "life, with the dull parts taken out"
Do move the story forward
- Get confrontational - not all characters agree with one another.
Do convey character
Do learn the correct punctuation for dialogue.
- Punctuation inside the quotes
- Double quotes in US, Single in UK.
- Blubber in your first draft, rewrite later.
- Listen to real conversations between people.
- Read your dialogue out loud.
- Act out the scene, playing the characters
- Cut and paste all of a character's dialogue into one block to see if their speech patterns remain true.
Writing that Pays
[00:34:55] Nothing for the guys, but ladies, here's a paying gig with Women on Writing.
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