Tag Archives: realism

Sometimes it’s good to know you aren’t alone.

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If you’re a writer, you know it isn’t all play and sunshine, you know that following your dream is not always easy and that your efforts are rarely recognized for what they are.

Those nearest and dearest to you know that you are aiming high, but fail to grasp the sheer size of the journey. Sometimes it seems they are not with you at all.

A massive amount goes into writing a book. It’s not enough just to come up with a plot and characters enough to fill it. There’s an huge amount of understanding necessary for each character and research to do on every angle and profession. Your plot, your characters and their actions must be based in truth for them to come across as realistic and believable.

You have to understand the human animal too, and not just from your own perspective. You have to be in the heads of everybody you write about, villain and hero alike. You have to understand psychology and (depending on the nature of your villain) criminal psychology as well. You have to “be” the police officer, the psychopath, the thief and the victim. You have to understand immense fear or immense loss. Gain too – joy, excitement and love so grand your heart wants to burst. You have to understand adventure and the thrill of danger.

But that’s only part of it. You not only must put that all together and make a story out of it but put it together in such a way that it sings and shines and sweeps your readers up into a world that makes them forget all else, even if just for a time.

So, a very important part of being a writer is learning to be artistic with your words, with pacing and the weave of your story. You want to build pictures in the minds of your readers so that they easily and effortlessly fall under your spell and see what you see and live where you live in the finished result. You not only want to lure them into the world your have crafted, you want them to want to stay there. That’s important! Anyone can put a book down, you want them not to want to put your book down!

Understandably, that mastery over the translation of your mind’s landscape and adventures into words and images your readers can enjoy is the biggest and most important part of your craft.

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Ah! Found! The Missing Ingredient!

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I knew there was something missing from my manuscript, it’s been a major stumbling block for best part of 15 months – with so much happening in my life this past year or so, I was blaming that.

So, what was missing? I’m embarrassed to say! Moods and emotions are a strong point with me, I write in a way that lets you get to know my characters well. You know and understand what makes them tick.

So what the heck happened? Action happened. I got so tied up in the action that I had neglected to spell out the driving force behind it.

All this time I was poking it with a stick trying to get it to move and wondering what was lacking… Grrr… (I know, I think I’ll blame everything that’s been happening in my life for the past year or so…) :D

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Adventures Just Beginning – True Life Wilderness Living.

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So, the backhoe that neither of us could drive sat there waiting, and Greg had the key, which was the place to start – He sat in the cab and started the engine, then basically fiddled about until he knew what most of the things did, or at least how to move it forwards and backwards.

The caravan was on the road, too, and had been there through the night. We picked the spot for our driveway and Greg practiced with the backhoe by filling in the sudden drop from hill to roadside, and generally smoothing down a pathway. It was still very steep but was the only way onto the block.

When all was as good as it could be, Greg towed the caravan off the road and up to the brow of the hill where it would remain for some months before we ventured deeper. Our first mission a success, we then encountered the first snag. Greg couldn’t turn the engine off again. The key didn’t do it.

After half an hour searching for a switch or a lever that would turn the beast off, Greg gave up and asked me to give it a go. I did pretty much what he did, I searched everywhere, but finally spotted a bit of metal sticking out that had a screw thread, but nothing on it. Wondering if a button was missing on the thing, I played with it. It turned out to be the decompression lever and the engine, thankfully, died.

Great. So now we had Greg with a basic understanding of how to operate the backhoe, and me knowing how to turn it off. The next day was Monday and Greg went to work, leaving me alone to “tend the property”. That involved putting a road in, he informed me, jokingly, before heading away for the day. He had done the driveway bit, maybe a hundred feet, so it was my turn to learn and operate the heavy machine.

I don’t think he was expecting much, and I know I could have left it, but I thought I might just give it a go and surprise him. I was the one in for some surprises, however. If we thought the driveway was steep, I was about to learn that the other side of the hill was even steeper and dropped down far lower than the road.

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Self-Taught Backhoe Operation – Oops!

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Back into the subject of our Wilderness Adventures (with no house and no amenities) in the Top End of Australia – Just getting onto the 250 acre block was proved interesting – the flat bit was too muddy and the steep bit was too steep, and it didn’t help that there was no driveway or any access tracks at all.

Greg had decided that we needed a backhoe. He thought it would be really useful. Personally, I thought it would be a waste of money and basically a toy he would play with, but he was right and I was wrong. The backhoe turned out to be the most important piece of equipment we could get. We used it for everything, lifting and carrying, digging holes (which saved me a heap of time in bodily waste disposal). It proved its worth on our very first morning, towing the caravan up the steep embankment that would become our driveway.

The backhoe was delivered to our wilderness block. It arrived on the back of a truck, which tilted down to allow the large vehicle off, then the guy and the truck left. It never occurred to us to ask for any instruction. Greg had a truck license and I had a semi-trailer (articulated heavy vehicle) license, and we both rode motorbikes. On the flimsy assumption that we “knew vehicles” we thought we had it figured.

On close inspection, we realized that it wasn’t as clear cut as we had supposed it would be. Never mind all the levers, even the pedal was weird – a three-pronged contraption that we’d never seen before.

There it sat on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, a beautiful backhoe, and neither of us knew how to drive it.

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Writing and a Universe with a Sense of Humor.

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What is it about writers? Take them away from their computers, their notepads and pens, isolate them from their work and – whammo – inspiration will hit every time.

It will be urgent. Words will flow with perfection. The writer will turn to their inner blackboards and capture their prose there, only the mental blackboard really is too small and fills up all too quickly. They’ll run through several of those, then turn to other means, other methods, finally resorting to etching words into their arms and/or legs with anything sharp to hand – fingernails, sticks – anything.

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Bare Bones Will Not Do It – Dang, I have to look into the Future!

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I need to look ahead – Yes, it’s like that – Something that happens in Book 3 of my science fiction series gives rise to something monumental in Book 5, or possibly 6, which is two or so along and likely to be the last in this particular series, although not the last from the Khekarian/Chiddran and Terran Galaxy (that structure and interplay is far too grand, and fun, to abandon after only five or six books).

Point is, the knowledge of this link between stories is not enough. I need to know the details of where this goes and, from the other end (the future), what information is needed from this end (the present) to make it workable and sound.

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BACK TO NORMAL! Nearly…

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Not even sure what normal is, but it’s seemed awfully busy around here lately – So I’m going to ease back a bit, just to get my breath and, hey, maybe some writing done (yes, Book 3 of my sci-fi Khekarian series)!

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