Weekend Writing Workout: Seven Deadly Sins

I’ve been zonked with a nasty head/chest cold this week and am feeling a bit behind. But, since I feel behind most of the time, I’m not going to fret about that. I do wish I could breathe through my nose, though. This week’s exercise was inspired by an interview with author Jack Remick. I believe it was the interview on the The Ashley Fontainne Show on Artist First Radio Network: http://www.artistfirst.com/ashleyfontainne.htm (and even if it’s wasn’t, you should listen to the interview anyway, because Jack gives great interview) The interviewer brought up the idea of working with the seven deadly sins, which are: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. I’m sure each of us has experienced every one of these sins...

Weekend Workout from FaerieCon West

Greetings from FaerieCon West, where I will be storytelling and causing mischief all weekend. Before the workout, I have a few announcements: First, today is the LAST day to enter the drawing to WIN a copy of the FUTUREDAZE anthology of YA science fiction. Co-editor Erin Underwood has generously donated a copy. (I’ll close comments at midnight PST) Second, the 2013 Nebula Award nominations are in and Hydra House’s own Cat Rambo was nominated for her short story “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain” from her Near + Far collection. The Nebula’s Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy nominees are: Iron Hearted Violet, Kelly Barnhill (Little, Brown) Black Heart, Holly Black (S&S/McElderry; Gollancz) Above, Leah...

Weekend Writing Workout and Writing Workout Groups

Many people have writing groups where they read and critique each other’s work. It’s definitely a challenge, though, to find a good critique match. You want critique partners who have similar experience and who write in the same genres. And are just as committed to writing and critiquing as you are. My critique partners are separate from my writing group. I have a handful of friends I trust with early drafts of work and they trust me with theirs. We’ve been reading and critiquing each other for years, growing together as professional writers. My writing group does something else. We write. The idea for our writing group stemmed from a long-standing writing group in Seattle called the Louisa’s Writers. (named for both Louisa street and...

Weekend Workout: Sympathy for Bad Boys (and Girls)

Last week I posted a workout about creating compassion for characters. More specifically, getting your readers to sympathize with a protagonist who isn’t a particularly nice person. Who probably changes by the end of the story, who probably redeems him or herself eventually, but who starts out as someone you might not want to bring home for dinner. This is something I am personally dealing with in my W.I.P. for my protagonist IdoLL. I brought this up in my writing group and we talked about the need to create a “save the cat” moment for her. Save the Cat is a book, and a concept, by screenwriter Blake Snyder (1956-2009). If you want to show who your hero is, have him save a cat early on in the story. Even if the character is a not-so-nice person,...

Weekend Workout: Love Uber Alles

Yesterday, while I was procrastinating working on my own blog post, I came across this lovely post by children’s author Kelly Barnhill. It’s basically about how everyone, at some point in their lives, but particularly when we are mean-spirited children, participates in “bad behaviour.” It was also about the child taking responsibility for that behaviour and the parent loving the child in spite the behaviour. What I took away from it was the joy of loving the mess that we are, the whole package. We are tragically flawed beings, and I have always found a certain beauty in that. We are all mended cracks and creaky gears. We are broken smiles, broken hearts, broken minds and broken lives. We are hack-jobs and cast-offs and wobbly legs and gouged surfaces. We are soft...

Weekend Workout: For the Sheer Pleasure of It

Sometimes when I’m working on the White Forest series I find myself worried, overwhelmed, and slightly stressed about it all. I feel a pressure to deliver each story as good, or preferably even better, than the last. Sometimes the romance of writing gets lost in the day-to-day nitty-gritty of having to produce. Sometimes I have to remind myself of my more “innocent” days of writing. When there was no pressure but to write for the sheer pleasure of it. Hence, lately, I’ve been blogging about those “secret projects,” the ones no one knows I’m working on, where I can experiment and play, try a new form, a new direction, a new genre for the sheer pleasure of it. This morning I started thinking about the “sheer pleasures” of my series protagonist, Brigitta. As the...