Monthly Archives: October 2014

Writing a Series

Writing a series can be fun, but has some difficulties associated with it. The fun part is you get to work with the same characters for several books. You get to know every aspect of their lives and they become trusted friends. The world is a familiar playground for games of all kinds. It sounds like fun until you realize a few things about writing a series.

The first thing is you need continuity. If the character’s name is spelled one way in the first book, then it better be spelled the same way for the rest of the series. If the car is blue in the first book and the same car is silver in the second book, it becomes a problem. The best solution is to make a sheet with all of this information as well as have copies of the other books handy to double check things.

The second thing is the characters have to grow and develop over the course of the books. If the character is the same in the fifth book as in the first, the reader doesn’t bother to read the next one because there isn’t any different from the last one.

And the last problem I’m going to list is the one every reader knows. The wait for the next book. If the series is well written, the reader will be impatient for the next book. This is a good thing for the author as the reader will buy the next book, but the wait had better not be too long.

Handwriting vs. Typing

Many people seem to think it is weird to handwrite a novel when it is much easier and faster to type everything into the computer. I’m one of those people who will write stories out by hand and then type them up. I don’t write them out all the time, just occasionally.

When I write things out by hand, it has a calming effect. It is a form of relaxation and mindfulness. Sometimes it is the best way to get around a block. As long as it isn’t too much at once, it is great. But the hand has muscles in it that if not used regularly loses its strength. So it is best to do short increments to start with. Five minutes with a two minute rest over the period of an hour stops cramps before they can get started.

Typing is faster and removes a whole step from the process. It is a means of getting the story down and finished as quickly as possible. Sometimes it is much easier to get in flow when typing. Flow can also be trouble when writing by hand because your hand can fall behind where your head is. I have been told it is much easier for left handed people to type things up, but I believe preference also factors into which people use.

Both writing by hand and typing a good ways of getting the story down. Handwriting is not for everyone depending on preference and readability, but it can be relaxing. Typing is good for flow and speed. And crayon is for those times when you have the urge to write but lack anything else to use.

 

A New Idea

I always have half a dozen projects on my to do list at any one time without counting the projects I have sitting there that I’m not working on. Right now I have four novels I’m working on editing, three novels I’m trying to get written, and a short story collection. I also have a stack of library books begging to be read next to my reading pile. With all these projects I shouldn’t really have time to think about anything else. But my brain uses distraction when it feels stressed. It will do things like suggest a movie when I should be writing an essay for a class. So, with my endless to do list it comes up with new ideas for stories.

These new ideas are usually great ideas and I would love to see how they play out. There is a certain level of excitement around a new idea, which makes it what my brain wants to work on. But it I just worked on the new ideas, I would never get anything finished. And finishing things is important to me. Lately I have been letting new ideas go, especially if it is an idea for a whole new story. I just don’t have time to work on it.

Sometimes I write the idea down and put it away for a time when I can work on it. But that is becoming something I only do if the idea is really great and I really want to work on it. Like my most recent idea, I’m fifteen hundred words into it. I guess that makes four novels in editing, four in writing, and one short story collection.

 

Princesses

Princesses are the damsels in distress of literature. In many stories they don’t do anything except get kidnapped, wait to be rescued, and then marry the hero. If there is going to be spunky female in the story it is more likely to be the milkmaid than the princess. Some of this came from fairy tales where the hero was the protagonist and the princess was merely an excuse to beat on the bad guy. In stories where the princess is a bigger part of the story, she tends to develop more character and is useful.

Many people point to Disney princesses are being useless, but I don’t see that as the case. If you found yourself in a cottage in the middle of the woods, what would your first thought be? Snow White’s first thought was to clean it. If it wasn’t for Cinderella, the grand duke would have lost his head. Beauty went to the Beast’s castle and offered herself in exchange for her father. These are not useless behaviours.

Princesses may be the damsel in distress in a story, but she can still do it with character and spunk. There are lots of stories out there proving that.