December 22nd, 2006

vmars happy

A short post on my birthday

One of my writing tools is a set of sticky notes to myself (currently attached to a little drawer box on my desk), to remind me of things I want to keep in mind while I'm writing--usually things that other people said that particularly struck me. They change, of course, as certain lessons become ingrained and I don't feel I have to remind myself, and new lessons appear. Right now, I have three:

"If I can't wait to write it, it should keep the reader hooked. If I'm too bored with the scene, who wants to read it?" (Reminding me that if a scene is boring me as I write it, it probably shouldn't be in the book, at least in that form. It's a rough paraphrasing of something astres said in a post a while back.)

"Make sure the main characters have agency--they are active and work to get what they want." (Reminding me that I want to have characters who are passionate, who go out and do stuff because they want stuff, rather than characters who react because they have to, because circumstances force them to. It's inspired by a post Justine Larbalestier made a few months ago.)

"Not how a detective works on a case--how a case works on a detective." (This is the most recent one, for my current project which has some mystery/crime fiction elements, reminding me to make sure the mystery plot and the character development are closely tied. It's pretty much a direct quote, which I got while looking for crime reference books at Amazon.com, from the description of a mystery writing book--the description quoted it from one of the essays in the book.)