“Bad writing precedes good writing. This is an infallible rule, so don’t waste time trying to avoid bad writing. (That just slows down the process.) Anything committed to paper can be changed. The idea is to start and go from there.” –Janet Hulstrand
“Self-doubt, exhaustion, and confusion are part of the process. Embrace them and don’t stop writing to examine what you have. The world is full of people trying to perfect chapter one.” –Kerry Greenwood
“If you are struggling with writing a character, write 20 things a reader will never know about your character. These will naturally bleed into your writing and provide a richness even though you don’t share the detail.” –Barbara Poelle
Elizabeth Hardwick was an American literary critic, novelist, and short story writer. For a list of her available work visit Amazon.com: Elizabeth Hardwick.
Today marks my seventieth birthday. It’s been an interesting run through life at this point and I am hopeful there are more wonderful times yet to come. I think having a good sense of humor helps us get through the ups and downs of whatever the years throw at us thus the title I selected for this blog post.
I’m tempted to expound upon the humor of being seventy as the blog title illustrates. For instance, “I’m now eighteen with fifty-two years of experience”. Or, “I’m too young to be seventy.” And how about, “I’m 70 in years but 20 in spirit!”
Humor aside, I think author Victoria Erickson has a good take on aging for all of us, especially writers:
It is no secret one of my favorite authors is Ray Bradbury. He penned and published some wonderfully interesting work including ‘Illustrated Man’, ‘Dandelion Wine’, ‘The Martian Chronicles’, ‘Fahrenheit 451’, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, and so many more.
He also left us with some inspiring and often amusing sayings. Here’s one of my favorites:
February 29th has arrived, the month almost over, and my birthday is six days behind me. I’ve finally come up for air after spending the entire month working on wips (works in progress) adding new chapters to the second book in my Celtic murder mystery series, fresh stories in new worlds for my second book of short stories, additional poems for publication, all the while juggling life’s daily (and necessary) interruptions.
Where has the time gone?
Who cares, I’m writing!
Check out the blog writersinthestorm for some wonderful tips in a short, well-written article about creating a lovable villain by award-winning author Shannon Donnelly (Under The Kissing Bough) as she speaks of “villains we love to hate and how to keep them from becoming a cardboard stereotype whose every action is predictable and boring.”
“Nothing marks a writer as a beginner as clearly as the cliché bad guy.
This is the bad guy who is ugly inside and out with no redeeming qualities—this is the “boo-hiss” melodrama mustache twirling villain. And this is an easy fix in any story.
What’s that easy fix? Lots of things can help, but here are five quick fixes:
5 Quick Fixes to Make Readers Love Your Villains” –Shannon Donnelly
The article is definitely worth the read and I found myself thinking of one of my villains as I read Shannon’s advice.
I won’t say the assassin in “The Mystery of the Death Hearth” is exactly a lovable creature. Parzifal is, after all, a person who makes a living by killing. But he does have depth; that is to say as the story progresses, more is revealed about his background, his parents, his past and the horrid conditions among the less-than-honorable slave owners that helped create his inevitable destiny as a professional killer. He also has present-day motives that go beyond the daily, murderous tasks given him by criminal bosses. Parzifal has plans, high hopes for a new life, and a mental image of possibilities beyond his current circumstances having nothing at all to do with underworld crime. Does he manage to accomplish those personal goals? Can he successfully break away and fulfill his dreams? No spoilers here but I almost found myself rooting for this man even though he can and does make my protagonist’s life miserable to the brink of death.
I encourage a visit to writersinthestorm and read the rest of the Shannon’s article. Very interesting and informative.
Your next villain will appreciate it, too.
More sane advice from Mr. Bradbury. Not sure about the drunk part but perhaps my alcohol-to-ink blend is a bit too thin lately.