Gennita Low's Writing Muse needs a voice now and then to remind Gennita about her love for writing and her battle with words. It's a dark world illuminated by the glow of creation. The Muse is that light. Sometimes she sleeps. Sometimes she's ferocious. Often she patiently waits. Pst. Never ignore her. Feed the Muse or else.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Risky Bithnez

Two plot interruptus examples from the previous post:

1) 101 ways to harpoon a whale inserted in the middle of an angsty whale hunting/soul searching metaphor?

2) the ten pages of how the bomb was built while the hero looks at the device?

You have done your research. You want to share your knowledge. You want your readers to see the complicated details involved, and how much legwork you have done. So, in the middle of hunting for the mighty elusive whale, in the middle of cleaning whale gut and showing life on the sea, you insert a chapter of the different kinds of whales and the use of its massive body parts. You give, in excruciating detail, the width, the length, the depth of each of the dead whale's lips and ballocks. I die from the pain of laughter and resigned bemusement. And I'm just the Muse. Imagine your reader's reaction.

Truly, the wonders of whaling, the bloody battle, the incredible size, and the minuteau of fish filleting, would capture the attention, if rightly done. However, like an overchewed bubblegum that sometimes one just gnaw at even though one's jaw is hurting from the work, I think an author can be guilty of pounding the reader over and over with a wordy anvil until the reader gets a headache and starts skipping pages.

Just like describing the building and workings of a bomb in the middle of your explosive scene. You're killing your own suspense when the urge comes over you to impart your scientific research. Can we say, researchdump? Yes, we can.

I see your eagerness to show how terrible this device is, how much damage it could do with a few wires. Can I shout something in your ear? SHOW IT! By telling and telling and telling, you're losing the impact. Either explode the plane and rain pieces of human debris all over the landscape or pull it back, give one of your characters the sobering thought of himself as so many pieces of human debris. An image is worth a thousand scientific explanations, dear writer mine.

But I see your obstacles to clear storytelling. It's not easy to avoid scientificdump, especially if you're writing a techno-thriller, is it? After all, a techno-thriller deals with technology and its characters throws out phrases that could sound like a bad Star Trek fanfic. That first book nearly killed you, didn't it? All that research. All that information. So much to impart in a Book One.

This is what I mean with the daily battle with words you encounter as a writer. I can only show you so much because you're the attacking front to my strategizing. You're fighting with yourself because you know your readers don't want the scientificdump, so you keep holding back, and blocking your own flow.

It is an ambitious war you've chosen. Let's break it down:

1) You want to write a continual romantic thriller series because it's not out there.
2) You want to explore a continual romantic entanglement between two people.
3) You want to explore the cloak-and-dagger world with really cloak-and-dagger subjects that most people do not understand--the use of virtual reality and remote viewing, in the true-est sense, with scientific items and biological know-how to explain the phenomenon.
4) You want to write it all in one neat little package, meaning you risk alienating the readers who want the romance and find the science parts too scifi and the readers who are intrigued with the new type of techno parts and find the sex way too sexy.
5) To top it all, you want the male protagonist who will provoke nothing but the strongest response from your readers. Why? Because his idea of sex is closer to the kind depicted in erotic romance than romantic thrillers.

Can I shout again? ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?

But we pushed on. And you tasted your first battle in this epic from the heroine's perspective. It has left you bloody. Now you want it from HIS erotic perspective.


But we're talking of poop interruptus, aren't we? Not a problem. Next time, on to the next couple of examples from the previous post. That doesn't mean I won't explore the outcome of the risks you took with your battle decisions. Because you won some, and you lost some. Was it worth it?

Who won the battle? The alligator or the snake?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Plot Rendered Unusable

Could it be the

101 ways to harpoon a whale inserted in the middle of an angsty whale hunting/soul searching metaphor?

the ten pages of how the bomb was built while the hero looks at the device?

500 characters who have a say in what goes on in the story?

the three dozen times your heroine sabotages the plot with her stupidity?

the plodding description of every room in the house and everyone's clothes?

the joylessness of five thousand sexual positions in one night?

the cute child who has a wise saying/observation every five pages?

We can discuss each of these, if you like, to see why they can kill a plot for a reader. Can you come up with a writing block that stopped your interest?

I call this block Plot Poop Interruptus. It's curable.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Plot: Think Sideways

Plot is so boring. Consider these words instead:

Journey (as in Gabaldon's long saga of Jaime and Claire)

Adventure (as in The Bros of the Black Dagger)

Battle (as in the Dark Hunter books)

Flirtation (as in Pride and Prejudice)

Quest (as in the Feehan Carpathian books)

Game (as in Nikita Black's Cajun Hot)

Mission (as in LKH's Merry Gentry series)

Vision (as in Buffy)

Soul Searching (as in Facing Fear)

Remake (as in Into Danger)

Rebirth (as in Wuthering Heights)

Blooming (as in Linda Howard's Shades of Twilight)

Do you see? Can you think of a few more interesting words other than PLOT?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What They Call Plot

I come to you in dreams, in visions, in strange phrases, and from them you pull out plot, character, conflict, and those other things that give your story structure. Sometimes you overdo it, worrying about structure. You lose your story. You set the rules; I have none, you see.

Let's start with how you learn your first word, your first visual, your first phrase.

A is for apple.

And so your plot can be the simplest of them all, a story with an apple. And this fruit is given to you the writer to make bigger than life, to lovingly build your story around. Too many details and the apple loses significance. So the first step to plot is control.

A is for apple. What comes to mind? Let me unveil examples of perfect control in plot development.

The Forbidden Apple
as in Adam's and Eve's story (it started with A, huh?)

The Poisoned Apple, variation of the Forbidden Apple
as in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The Golden Apple
as in the one that brought forth the Fall of Troy in Homer's Illiad (oi, but that was a mighty finely intricate tale, indeed)

The Apple of Challenge
as in William Tell shooting the apple on his son's head

You see? One simple fruit, four diverse stories. All I had to do was show you an apple. And you weave your magic. So don't talk to me about building plots and charting chapters. Let me tempt you with this apple, apprentice.

What kind of apple do you see? It's a story in disguise.

Monday, July 2, 2007

And So It Begins

Words are coming. Don't waste them on worrying about what you can't control. Keep going, keep going. The words will flow soon, like that imaginary Milky Way. The beautiful shiny one in the sky, hungry one.