Tag Archives: realism

Keep her? Lose her? Why the Clairvoyant?

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Quite simply, I wanted to tie these two main characters together in a realistic way that advanced the story and complicated (in a good way) the plot – Sturn is royalty, and by that, I mean high up royalty – He can choose pretty well any woman in the Khekarian half of the galaxy as his mate, and his marriage will most certainly be to a Khekarian of royal blood with high connections.

Love was never going to work. Aleisha is from the opposite end of society and Terran, and Sturn doesn’t care about emotion or the mentality of young women. What he cares about is power.

Would lust do it? No. My lead villain would just take her and dump her afterwards. Sturn certainly wouldn’t marry her, and he would have no reason to bring her home with him.

So why else, outside of sex, would an exiled prince be interested in a seventeen year-old wanna-be pioneer? She’s totally beneath him. She has nothing to offer. There is nothing that could be deemed of value to him.

This story evolved over many years. Once Sturn gained high connections, I realized that if I wanted to keep that aspect open, I would need to ditch my main character and make the story about Sturn, or find a reason to keep Aleisha.

It took me a year to find this solution, so – please – enjoy it! :D

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The Hidden Depths of Writers.

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The non-writers around you do not understand the process – to them a writer is someone who sits at a desk every day, producing reams of wonderful prose that turn into a book within weeks or months, to then be quickly embraced by a publisher.

What they don’t understand is the creative process, the time and effort and dedication needed to grow your skillsets – there’s more to being a writer than writing.

Not only do you have to know how to put words together, you have to know how to put ideas together, as well. You have to have solutions, connections, the Why, the How, the What. You have to get character development, plots and backdrops all worked out. You have to have done your research on a multitude of thing, events, professions, and gain some understanding of the psychology and drives of the individuals you are writing about.

So years go by. Your friends and family show support to varying degrees, but they’re not seeing what you are seeing, and they’re not seeing what’s going on beneath the surface. They understand that you have a passion to write, they even see you occasionally scribbling away, but they also see not much actually accumulating.

Instead, they see you staring the skyline, seemingly distracted or noncommittal, which doesn’t look much like dedication. Dedication, of course, is exactly what they are seeing, they just don’t recognize it.

So words sneak into the conversation about how perhaps you should turn your attention to a ‘proper’ career or maybe give up this foolishness. Most writers have jobs, they have ‘proper’ careers, it’s just not where their heart is – and foolishness? These people read books, right? They watch movies, yeah? Why is it ‘foolish’ to think you can produce in this line? It isn’t foolish, and while it might not sound like it, most of your friends and family actually would like you to succeed.

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An Experience at an Autopsy.

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Know your stuff! There are hidden gems inside knowing what you are writing about, snippets of information that bring the whole thing to life. As boring at it might sound, research will lift your work to new heights for professionalism alone.

When I started writing, the very thought of research was depressing. It seemed tedious and boring and a lot of effort, and I just wanted to write exciting bits and adventure.

Then I discovered that reading a soldier’s biography was exciting. Learning the modern process of fixing a broken jaw was deeply interesting. Finding out about police procedures or how an autopsy is done is riveting.

But it is the personal things that brings a story to life.

A policewoman friend told me of her experience while attending an autopsy. As the body had not been recovered until some days had gone by, she soaked a hanky in her favorite perfume and held that over her mouth and nose throughout the procedure. It didn’t help. In fact, it backfired. She was never able to wear that perfume again.

That’s the sort of snippet that puts the reader there. The unexpected consequences bring it to life. But you can’t write it if you don’t know it!

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Hidden Histories and Character Secrets.

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Characters have history, but I don’t always tell it – Some histories are hinted at, some are referred to, some never get a mention even though, when they develop in my mind, I intend there to be a place for them in the story.

Then the story expands and goes its own way and there just isn’t room anymore for that tale to be told. So, it’s discarded from the pages, but not from my mind. Was it wasted? No. That history still guides that character, it still makes that character who he or she is.

Some of those histories will find their way into these postings. I can show you then why some characters are as they are. You can see how I came to choose such a character and how each grew from their untold experiences.

While those histories might indeed be there in my books, although not plainly and not told in words but in deeds and feelings, outside my stories, I can give you a glimpse behind the scenes or, at least, into my mind. I can share some of these character secrets.

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Oops! Late and Not Here Anyway.

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I’m searching for exciting new pics to use – Yes, I know, I love what I had, too, but maybe it’s time to find something that tells more of a tale and connects more with characters and action and locations.

There’ll be scenery. And skies. And adventure, if I can find any. Gosh, that means people. I do intend to get something beautiful and keep to colorful, and I’ll try not to get lost in the crowd.

I will keep my planets and stars because I love them too much and they say “sci-fi”, but I’ll lose the abstracts (mostly).

You’ll have to let me know what you think about the new lot when I start using them. :D

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Writing-writing.

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There’s writing and then there’s, you know, writing-writing, important writing, manuscript writing, the Real Stuff.

Apart from the occasional day when I deliberately step back from EVERYTHING to do with writing, I judge the success of my day by my page count. Writing-writing, that is.

It counts for nothing if I did the laundry, stacked the wood, washed the car or painted a room. It matters not one iota if I scrubbed out the bathroom or vacuumed the floors. I don’t care if I end the day muscle sore and tired from physical labor – Yes, it’s good to have those chores done, but “What have I done today?” still gets answered, “Nothing!” unless I can include a page count.

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Waiting for Inspiration in the Cold.

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I don’t know about you but I like my warmth, and as pretty as snow is, it’s not nice waking up to a cold house, it slows me down – Yes, folks, it’s Winter in Australia and we’ve had days and nights of sleet and hail and snow.

I’ve changed all my screen savers to warm sunny pictures. Icebergs are out. Snow, ice, water scenes, even cool colors are out. In come pictures of volcanos, fire and desert scenes. All just to give me the illusion of warmth as I sit in a cold office at 5:00 a.m., wearing fingerless gloves, waiting for my brain to warm up with the latest cup of coffee, and start producing.

Yes, I do have a heater in my office. It’s a kerosene heater meant for outdoor camping. I DON’T CARE, it’s faster than waiting two hours for the combustion stove in the kitchen to kick in. Actually, unless it’s very cold, I won’t light that until the afternoon.

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Fleshing Out the Minors in Fiction (a post from the past)

 

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It’s easy to be focused on your main characters and to put your creative energy as a writer into just those characters you adore – the Good Guy and the Bad Guy, mainly – and leave until last (or leave out altogether) the small guys and gals that provide background support.

I’ve read a lot of books over the years and have seen lots of variation. I have seen books where the reader got the full life history of every single character, none of them important to the plot and none of them having anything to do with any of the others, until the plane crash or motorway multiple collision – some big accident, anyway – at the end of the book (the one you were shown a glimpse of at the beginning of the book). Basically, those books seem to be an exercise in writing characters, not plots, and I’m afraid they don’t do much for me.

I’ve also seen my fair share of Main Character in all his/her glory, right down to zits and all their foibles – completely and totally surrounded by 2D nothing characters that might have been made of cardboard.

There is life in between. It doesn’t have to be a giant pain and it doesn’t have to be ignored, either.

You can flesh out a character with a word or two. Flashes of human feeling or an expressive action will do it. Very simple things can do it.

A woman standing at the doorway of her home as she’s informed of an accident is emotive, but the same woman buttering bread when her sister brings the policeman into the kitchen tells you a whole lot more than there’s been an accident.

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The Zing of Realism.

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The most alive characters in fiction, the most realistic, are true to themselves – They are not there to do your bidding as their writer and creator – They are not there to follow your orders or to show the world your feeling or thoughts or ideas – They are not there to obey you – They are there purely as themselves, reacting as they would react, thinking and living and breathing inside their world – not yours.

This is something I have learned. It might not be true for every writer (you all know your own style and what works for you), but it sure is true for me.

Some writers find character development tricky – how do they flesh them out? Personally, I don’t try to flesh them out, I let them flesh themselves out because then it’s the reflections of circumstances that’s doing it, not choice.

It’s too easy to try and control your characters. You created them to say something but you cannot force them to say it. They are not dolls or puppets, no matter how much you want them to be. Yes, you can treat them as such, force them to comply and have it all your way, but I guarantee that all your readers will see is awkwardness.

If you want something said or done, you must create the circumstances that will allow a character to develop into the sort of person who would want to say or do it.

It’s truth that brings a story alive and consistency that keeps it there.

That means giving them incentive that is true. That means setting them into the circumstances that will promote development of action or plot in a natural way and along understandable channels.

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THE BLOOD AND THE MURDER AND THE PSYCHIC – From The Khekarian Threat, now out on Amazon.

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The knife was wet with blood, the handle slippery with it, the huge blade dark and crimson. He was splashed with its color, drenched with its odor. The coppery smell, warm and fresh, filled his nostrils and lungs, exciting him.

There came no warning. Clairsentient experience blasted Aleisha with horrifying abruptness, the great ugly weapon physically somewhere else, yet at the same time up beneath her ribcage, slicing her heart in two.

Tactile experience was always the worst part, the touch and feel of every sensation immersing her right into the action, but clairvoyance and clairaudience gave her sight and hearing, completing the experience for her. Aleisha knew the event was physically remote, but the real-time encounter didn’t feel remote at all. For the duration it was her flesh, her experience.

The knife had punched into the victim, panic slamming the woman, her heart slashed open so quickly that everything washed out. Splashed out. No time to feel the promise of death, no time even for pain.

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