Five Links 3/13/2020
1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/03/scene-writing-is-where-the-fun-happens-2.html “We’ve had some good posts and comments about writing methods, grouped generally under the two broad headings of plotter/outliner and pantser. You can read the latest entries HERE and HERE.
What I want to examine today is a bromide I often hear when this subject comes up. It issues from the pantsing side of the room, and goes something like this: “If I had an outline and knew everything beforehand, that would take all the fun out of writing the book.”
I beg to differ. For the one thing both sides should agree on is that writing scenes is the most fun of all.
Why? Because, of course, the scene level is where the story actually happens, unfolds, gets “discovered.” For the pantser it’s all discovery. For the outliner, the discovery is in finding, and delighting in, the granular details of bringing the scene to life.
Let’s illustrate how this is done. I give you a writer named Jeb David Huggins (this is a mash up of the three writers behind one of my favorite action movies, The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford. Jeb Stuart and David Twohy did the screenplay; Roy Huggins was the creator of the TV series upon which the movie was based).” I believe both ways are beneficial. I’ve written both ways. I do like the outline at the moment, but each book is different and demands a different approach.
2. It’s time for another one of my guest posts over at Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s Writers Helping Writers site. As one of their Resident Writing Coaches, I’ve previously shared: “As we learn to write, we often hear about the need to create a strong pace in our story. Many seem to think that a strong pace requires a fast pace.
However, that’s not what’s meant by strong. So what is a story’s pace and why is it important?
Pacing is not the same as the speed that a story takes place, whether the plot covers days or years. (That said, a drawn-out time frame for a story can affect a reader’s sense of a story’s pace, especially if it feels like characters are waffling on taking action.)
Instead, the pace of a story is determined by how fast or slow events unfold in the storytelling. Stories are about change, and pacing is a measure of how quickly things seem to change from a reader’s perspective.”
Research & Fun Bits:
Some Things More Serious:
1. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2020/03/11/anonymous-i-got-swabbed-for-covid-19-today/ “So, let’s say this up front: this post is not from me, but from a friend. A friend who wanted this kept anonymous due to — well, not just the Internet, I’m sure, but friends and family. You are wise not to trust this, because it’s an account from a person you don’t know, a person without a name. I know them. And I trust them. And this story isn’t even that salacious or terrifying, except for me in a kind of subtle, dystopian way. This person asked if I could post this somewhere, and so here I am, posting it.
* * *
I got swabbed for covid-19 today.
I went in to my rheumatologist for a routine appointment, and at admission, I was asked if I’d had any of the symptoms listed on the wall. As it happens, I’ve had a very mild fever (between normal and 99.6) off and on since Feb. 20 (it’s March 10 as I write this, so 18 days), and a cough intermittently for even longer —but I have asthma, I have a cough a lot of the time.
So I told the nice woman manning the desk. She very apologetically gave me a paper surgical mask, then told me to sit in the waiting room. Some time later, I was told to go into an exam room to wait instead.
Even later still, a PA came in with gloves, a gown, a surgical mask and visor, awkwardly tried to take my temperature without holding the thermometer, and when it fell out of the sleeve and onto the ground, she gave up. Then she said my rheumatologist would call me later, and I should go to urgent care to be tested. She gave me a bad photocopy showing three locations where testing for coronavirus was already set up.
When I left, all of the desk staff were wearing masks. They hadn’t been before.”
2. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2020/03/11/so-youre-working-from-home/ “HELLO [work_from_home_user], I SEE YOU HAVE BEEN QUARANTINED DUE TO [current_pandemic] AND ARE NOW SEEKING INSTRUCTIONS.
GOOD NEWS, FELLOW HOMEWORK CITIZEN. I HAVE BEEN — *clears throat* — sorry, I’ve been in these here freelance mines for oh, about 22 years now, and so I am glad to share any lessons I’ve learned along the way regarding the brave, surreal act of working from home.
Let’s just get this out of the way up front: I am no expert on this, except I am, and you should listen to me, or you’ll die. It’s dangerous to go alone, except you’re going alone, and only I can save you. *checks notes* Okay, my lawyer informs me it is not best to paint myself as an “expert” or “cult leader” in this regard, so I will add the legal disclaimer that I am not an expert, but please see my vigorous winking, wink wink wink, so you know that really, you can trust me, and only me, forever.”
3. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/03/gotta-have-thick-skin.html “Full disclosure: This post originally appeared here in TKZ on July 23, 2010, with the title, “Skin Like Leather.” I bring it back here today for two reasons: 1) It’s still relevant; and 2) I’m crashing on a deadline.
We always tell up-and-comers that they’ve got to have a thick skin if they’re ever going to break into the publishing business. As the rejections pile up, it’s hard not to lose faith in your own abilities. When the news finally turns good, and an agent wants to see the manuscript, and later when an editor decides to buy it, you feel vindicated. Ha-ha and neener-neener, you think. Clearly all those rejecters were wrong.
What clearer affirmation of talent can there be than a publishing contract, right? If you’re not careful, you might start rubbing aloe on that leather-tough skin, thinking that it’s time to shed the bullet-proof coating.”
Teaser Fiction & Poetry:
Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:
1. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2020/03/11/guestpost-c-s-boyack-lisaburton-talks-about-grinders/ “Lisa Burton is visiting with Marcia today. Her topic is the antagonist from Grinders. She’s also handing out one of her new posters, so you might want to check it out. While you’re there, Marcia has a great blog worth following, and a few novels you might want to check out.” This is an excellent character interview!