Writers: Easy Plot Twists To Avoid (Or Cynically Exploit)

21 09 2018

From Cracked.com: 14 Plots That Are So Predictable You Can Diagram What Comes Next





Writers: Supercharge Your Protagonist

13 09 2018

I haven’t been posting my own comments for a while due to my finishing the first three Lampreyhead novellas (now 90K words total). I’m getting the cover art back from my back-up artist (more about that in a later post). I’ve gone through alpha and beta critiques. I’ve got a launch and sales plan together (another post on that, I promise).

Now, I am trying to write a sequel to “The Flesh Sutra”. Last year, I tried but after almost two drafts at 80K words, I realized I was trying to cram in too much. Did I want a clever revenge horror like Dr. Phibes? Did I want a claustrophobic haunted house like The Haunting of Hill House or something more over the top like Hell House?

Heck! I decided to go for all three and man it went nowhere.

Now, just as I start this next draft, two articles caught my eye and I find them really useful.

This one talks about types of “Leading Characters” with a concentration on Noir tropes. Olivia and Alex fall within the Negative Leads very well, and James Scott Bell at Kill Zone is helping me narrow down which plot type I want to use.

This other post is by Adam-Troy Castro, award winning author of everything from intense and stylish horror to the Gustav Gloop YA series. After 30 years of writing and submitting, I have just begun the character structures Adam so easily describes in his first paragraph. Who would suffer the most? What would a unique character do in an unsuspecting world?

The articles will seem basic to some, and I probably ran into the advice many times before. But the timing is fortunate now and I can use it to best effect in this sequel.





Principles For Writing Viral Stories

26 01 2017

C. J. Cherryh, “it is perfectly ok to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.”

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This article is about writing viral blogs, but its points can be applied to genre fiction, namely:

  1. Convey the genre expectations quickly, even in the first sentence.
  2. Subvert those expectations with unexpected contrasts (glittery vampires? serial killer who lives in dreams?).
  3. Convey a setting the reader can relate to through comparisons (magicians but still teens in school; a world on a turtle’s back, but still has crime and bureaucracy).
  4. Convey through parallels (an alien rabbit is still called “a rabbit”).
  5. Have the story ask an important question (will Frodo save Middle Earth from Evil? How will humanity defeat the aliens?).




In Totally Insulated, Unrelated-To-World News, I’ve Got Another Novel and…

10 11 2016

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…I’ve gotten to 13K words in NaNoWriMo.
You all know NaNoWriMo. It’s my first time. I needed some sort of boost, because I’m two novels behind in my Five Year Plan, which ends in December. I’d be needing Beta Readers to give me critiques. Would you like to read the draft?
So far, having a deadline’s been working pretty well. Due to genetics and upbringing, I am suspicious of any sort of organized “fun” activity, but this is working out.
This novel is a sequel to my Stoker long-listed novel “The Flesh Sutra”, which is set in 1890s San Francisco and contains body horror, Tantric sex, ruminations about romantic love, and a dysfunctional relationship between two increasingly powerful mystics. Would you like to be a Beta Reader?
This new novel has a working title “The Flesh Frequency” and is set in 1971 San Francisco.
Weird Stuff count so far:

  • A Jim Morrisson/Brian Wilson analog has his soul imbued in his last recording, to have that recording duplicated over-and-over, so that he is doing the same song over-and-over until his torment goes multi-Platinum.
  • An antiquarian who likes young flesh realizes what coins and lovers have in common, and molds so medallions of smelted gold upon his own body.
  • An aspiring Satanist steals the wrong body and discovers enlightenment is infinitesimally different than death.
  • The protagonist has to choose between a passionless existence and a greater meaning placing all humanity at risk.

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  • Remember Olivia? One word: sokushinbutsu

I have to get to 50K by the end of a holiday month.
Would any of you good people like to be a Beta Reader?

Header photo courtesy of this rather interesting story.





Writer Advice: Tastes and Smells

27 09 2016

You can tell an experienced writer by the sensory detail. New writers concentrate on action. Over time, writers will add how things look and sound, then progress to hearts pounding against ribs and other physical sensations, then to how they taste and smell. The proper use of flavors and smells can evoke strong emotion.

I did not create these tools, as you can see. I am anxious to use these tools and will let you know what kind of response I get.

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Story Prompts: Megadeath to Survival

15 08 2016

A star gone supernova 4000 years ago could scorch a hemisphere in the next minute with very little warning. Old news for astronomers and the paranoid. What would that be like having everything going up in toast where you are right now? How about now? Now?

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What if you had been in a parking garage? How would you live once you saw what happend? After a year, everything would start growing back and the rest of the world would only start on the fringes of the Doom Zone. Memorize these videos. The lack of narration makes them strangely restful.

 

Scavaging for civilization would be deadly dangerous. Identifying warning logos would have been burnt away. The rewards for finding the correct gasses would be great as they could be used for everything from air conditioning to fuel to weapons against rival gangs. Here’s a fellow who knows all of the uses at “Things I Won’t Work With”. Touch the deadly molecule to learn more.

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More Story Prompts and Resources

29 06 2016

Dan Brown is paying to have one-of-a-kind esoteric volumes digitized for the internet. Click the picture to learn more. Prompt: What the hell is the green crap these guys are eating? Why?

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Wonder what the Koran really says? Wonder about Jainism, Sikhism, Discordianism, Swedenborgism, or the SubGenius Manifesto? Try Sacred-Texts.com. Click the guy giving the moon to the sun. Prompt: Now that he can see beyond, what will this lad do? Why?

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This blue hurts to look at. Friggin’ blue powder, just sitting there being smug. Scientists found this pigment by accident. Prompt: Did it want to be found? What will it do now that it’s going to be used by art school students?

Click this painful bastard and learn what science meddled with this time.

 

 








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