Thursday, April 26, 2012


Sorry, for the lag time on my responses lately. I need to go on a brief hiatus for the next week or two, but when I get back I promise to have some new posts for you. Until then, take it easy:)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Favorite Plot Devices

What’s your favorite plot device? Maybe you like stories with a red herring thrown into the mystery? Or perhaps you like dramas with a convincing femme fatale?

One of my favorite plot elements is to run opposite characters into one another. Any situation where you can force two people who don’t really like one another to have to work together usually provides great tension. Everything from the characters in Pride and Prejudice to Star Wars use some element of throwing opposites at each other.

So what plot devices do you like to see? A talisman object in a quest, i.e. like Tolkien’s One Ring? Or maybe you prefer something more subtle, such as a film noir character who should be a bad guy, but does good things?  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Receiving Comments

How do you like to receive comments on your blog? How do you prefer to leave comments on others’ blogs? I’m always trying to find a happy medium with how people like to interact in the blog-o-sphere.

Way back when I used to respond to every comment on my blog right after it was posted, but I found that somewhat cumbersome. Now I make a single post with comments specified to each person at the end. On the one hand I don’t want to overburden people with lots of fluff, but I do respond to each and every comment by week’s end.

How do you typically respond to comments on your blog? One at a time, en masse, some other way? How do you balance it all on your blog?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Forbidden Books

Some books you’re not supposed to read. Considered dangerous or even evil. Depending on the country in which you live they may actually be banned.

I recently read some socially “forbidden” books, not because I agree with them, but because I wanted to form my own opinion about these books, without having to read what someone else wrote about them. I read Mein Kampf, and needless to say my wife gave me some very strange looks for reading something written by Hitler. Needless to say I abhor fascism and Nazism in every form, but I wanted to read this book so that I could form my own opinion on the subject and the man who indeed turned out to be truly evil. I also read the Koran, which many in the West shy away from, and even though I do not practice Islam, I found it enlightening on some subjects and disturbing on others. Such is my opinion, but I based it on my own reading and interpretations and not someone else’s.

What “forbidden” books have you read in the past? How do you evaluate controversial topics on your own? Do you feel that books that you disagree with should still be available in bookstores and libraries even if they contain offensive materials?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Writing 1,000 Words A Day

A little over 40 days ago I promised myself for Lent that I would write between 1,000 to 2,000 words a day in fiction. Needless to say, I was a little overly ambitious. However, I’ve managed to stick to a rhythm of approximately 1,000 words a day since then and am still at it.

Obviously, just because I write a 1,000 words a day doesn’t mean all (or much) of it is any good. I fully admit that I’ve nearly given up a half a dozen times just trying to maintain the pace, but I’ve been at it a little over 40 days and I’ve heard that if you can maintain something of 60 straight days it becomes a habit.

So, how do you drive yourself to keep writing? What goals have you set yourself and how have they adjusted or stayed the same? How do you balance your writing schedule with everyday life?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Scrabble…A Writer’s Game

Do you like playing with language? Maybe you have a competitive streak and like word games you can play with friends? Ever wonder how many words contain Qs, Xs, or Zs?

If so, then you probably love Scrabble. I’ve found that most writer’s across the board (no pun intended) love playing this game. There are a lot of variations of Scrabble I like to play as well, some of which involve the players not even using the board. But I still like playing the regular way too…you’ve got to love those triple-word scores!

So how many of you enjoy a good game of Scrabble? What are some of the craziest words you’ve gotten away with on the Scrabble board? Do you feel playing Scrabble helps your writing?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Insecure Writer’s Day

I’ve been fortunate enough to have plenty of literary agents read over my manuscript, and although I got plenty of enthusiasm back I didn’t get any “yes, we’ll sign you” answers. In fact, I got several, “we’d be willing to look at this again once you make some large scale changes.” Which sounds okay, I suppose, but puts me in something of a creative limbo.

Some of these suggested changes call for me to eliminate my multiple points-of-view in my story, de-emphasize my male characters, and cut out portions I found interesting while adding segments that don’t really appeal to me as the core of my story. It’s got me doubting myself, since much of what made the story really thrilling for me apparently is what agents don’t consider sellable. It’s put me in a bit of a funk with my manuscript, so I’ve taken a break from it to write other stories in the meantime.    

How do you balance what you find interesting versus what other people like in a story? When do you stick to your guns on a point, and when do you compromise? How do you clear your head and get back to just being you again when putting your creativity onto the page?  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How Do You Feel About Multiple POVs?

I won’t deny it. I love books with multiple points-of-view. Not only do I love reading such books, I like to write stories with multiple POVs.

However, I’ve noticed that a sizable majority of agents I’ve spoken to over the past year tend to shy away from multiple POV books, particularly for first time authors. Now, this is only what I’ve encountered in my own experiences so I could be off. Ironically enough, I’ve found that most readers I talk to love multiple POVs, so it astonishes me somewhat to hear so many different agents remarking how they prefer to sign books written from a single perspective.

How do you feel about multiple POVs in a story? Why do you prefer to write/read one way or the other? Have you found some agents more willing than others to consider manuscripts written with multiple points-of-view?