Monday, March 29, 2010

Me on Titles and Title Block

so, i've been working on an idea i got for a YA urban fantasy/paranormal romance novel. something's been bugging me about it, and a few days ago i figured out why.

i don't have a title. not even a working title that i can chuck and replace later on.

it's been bothering me. usually i've got an inkling of a title when i'm working on something, or i make myself come up with a title before i start writing. not this time.

i've got title block.

i hate title block. it doesn't help that i also suck at titles. titles are the hardest part for me, and it's ruining the fun of writing this novel because i like the story and the characters.

the title has to be good. it has to suggest something, get your point across, but not give everything away. i'm going to look at some books i've read recently (or discovered recently) and tell you what i think of their titles.

Amber Kizer's Meridian: the name of Kizer's narrator/main character. an interesting choice, but it's not just her name. the MC is a meridian herself, which is a compelling idea. when i finished the book i thought it was very good, and the ending left it open for the possibility of a sequel.

Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels, Betrayal, and Jealousy: i have to admit, i was expecting something about angels in the first book. there were vampires and werewolves and zombies (i need to read more zombie books), and so i didn't quite think the title made sense. i still enjoyed the book, enough that i read it right after i finished it for the first time, and then i waited for the second one to come out. it wasn't until about 10:30 this morning that i wondered if the two guys the MC meets are her 'strange angels' in a metaphorical sense. if so, then you're a genius, Lili St. Crow. after reading the second book, the title made sense, and with the third coming out this summer, i can only imagine what it'll be about. i'm currently waiting not so patiently for it to come out.

Lauren Kate's Fallen: i think with the word 'fallen' there's a certain assumption that the book will have some kind of fall, perhaps even a fall from grace. the book has twists and turns, but i don't think i was disappointed. i don't remember the name of the next book, but i'll look it up.

Bree Despain's The Dark Divine: the title grabbed me once i read it. i purposely drove 25 minutes out of my way to get this book because only 1 bookstore in my general area had it, and i was able to snatch up the last copy they had. the title hints at something sinister and something amazing, because what is dark and divine at the same time. and Daniel being so hot didn't hurt, either. ;) (i also love the way there were little headings giving us the time of day and what day of the week; i have big issues with moving forward in time when i write, i feel like i have to write about what happens day after day)

Kiersten White's Paranormalcy: it sounds so funky and bizarre and mysterious. i was instantly hooked.

Judith Graves's Under My Skin: i'm not sure what to say. all i know is it sounds intriguing and suggestive. so many things can get under our skin, and i can only imagine what gets under the MC's skin. (i'm going to have to order this book soon)

so, there are more of my thoughts. i can be kind of rambly at times. i should get back to writing before i get distracted again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Me on Types of Prose in Fiction

so, here's the continuation of my thoughts on writing. who knew homework would be so helpful?? :D

Hodgins describes the different types of prose in fiction and gives examples of them, but I’ve found that when I write I can’t separate them out in my mind. Everything is written the way is happens in my head, whether that be exposition, narrative, or a scene. It’s all a bizarre, and fun, mixture of showing and telling.

I need all of them, though. Exposition is great for back story, for informing the reader, for bringing the reader into an alternate reality that I’ve created. Narration is helpful, especially because I often write in first person. Sometimes I have an issue with how time moves in what I’m writing. I could easily write what happens to my narrator and characters one day and then the next and then the next, but it gets a little boring after a while. Being able to gloss over a few days with some of the narrator’s random thoughts mixed in is helpful.

I think I like scenes the most. Very often, I start either a chapter or something new with dialogue because it’s easy to use dialogue as a source of humour when writing. Sometimes jokes in the narrator’s thoughts don’t always work, but when someone is saying the joke, it seems to be funnier. You can be so informal with dialogue, fiddle with words and maybe even add an accent so when someone reads it, it’s even funnier.

I once heard that young adult fiction is written in scenes, but I think it’s more like young adult fiction is written in sections. There’s often one main idea occurring in every chapter, which is why in some I’ve read recently chapters can be five pages long or twenty-five pages long.

Chapter length doesn’t seem to matter, but it all has to flow with that correct mixture of exposition, narration, and dialogue, that correct blend of showing and telling so often found in good fiction.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Me on First Drafts

i'm taking a creative writing seminar right now as part of my B.A. in English lit, and every week we talk about the readings we have to do. they're all about fiction and writing, filled with examples and tips and advice and prompts. since i'm not sure what to talk about here, i figured i'd post them here for you people (if you exist) to read and comment on. the next one will be up in a couple of days.

While doing the readings for this week I found myself enjoying Hodgins’ A Passion for Narrative more than the others. I think it’s because I found it more accessible, and the language, to me, is a lot less formal than Wood’s How Fiction Works. With A Passion for Narrative, it feels like the writer is speaking directly to me and not to a general sense of ‘everyone.’

I was fascinated by Hodgins’ comments on the first draft, and how you should “[w]rite the first draft for no one by yourself. Write to find out what you’re writing about” (38). I heard someone say this at a writers’ conference, and I thought it was an interesting concept.

There’s something special about first drafts. You’re taking an idea, which may or may not be good, and you’re turning it into a story. It’s becoming something far more tangible than just an idea circling around inside your head, and it’s on its way to becoming an actual short story or novel.

When I first start writing after finding an idea that’s excited me enough to want to write about it, I do get emotionally involved. It’s something I created, something I had to search hard for inside my head, and it becomes important to me.

Hodgins’ idea is one I hope to use for all my future fiction writing. I hope it’ll help me distance myself from what I write, which will hopefully make self-editing easier. Keeping the first draft for myself lets me write it just for me, and then when I finish it, I can go back, look at it, and hopefully find areas to change that will make more people enjoy it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So, let's try this again

i've blogged every so often for the past, i don't know, 4 or 5 years, but i could never do it on a regular basis. i'd do it for a little while, then i'd run out of interesting things to say and i'd stop doing it.

i figure that since i'll be graduating from university this summer (as far as i know), it'll be something to do to keep me from getting bored. i should be graduating. i've done all the required stuff.

so, i imagine an intro on my odd life would be helpful.

i'm Lindsay. i'm, currently, an English lit major in my last semester of getting my B.A. i sort of work, doing after-school tutoring with kids, but i'm tired of how what i'm required to do keeps evolving and plan on giving notice soon. i'd like to say that all of my spare time is spent on writing, but it isn't. some of my spare time is filled with writing. the rest is filled with either reading way too many books or watching far too much TV.

i don't have anything published yet, but i'm working on it. my current work in progress is a YA urban fantasy coming of age type novel. at the moment, my basic premise is that my main character has moved back (with her mother) to the town her parents grew up in two years after her father was killed in a car accident. the town is divided, with two werewolf packs fighting for dominance. because her parents were the town's Romeo and Juliet without all the death, my MC is caught in the middle with one side pressuring her to choose them while the other continually reinforces the fact that the choice is ultimately up to her.

i want it to be more of a focus on my MC and what she's going through instead of the two guys who want to date her, but i'm getting the feeling that it'll be a mixture of both.

i don't really want it to be a stand-alone, i like writing series, but at the moment i don't see how i would continue it, unless the next one involved cops and mysterious dead bodies and strange werewolf ritual bits.

promise you won't steal my idea, people who might one day read this.

i'm not really sure what this blog is going to turn into. maybe i'll just write about my views on writing and books and other stuff. i really don't think i'm all that interesting.

just a girl who wants to grow up to be a writer.