Monday, May 23, 2011

Just a Bit Too Easy

We've heard me gripe in the past about Easy Button Endings, where everything gets wrapped up a little too quickly and cleanly for things to quite make sense.

But, up there with Easy Button Endings might just be Easy Button Openers. How you open up a book, plot arch, or character is important. And, if you don't put the effort into opening them properly, there's going to be a sense on the part of the reader that it was rushed and doesn't quite fit.

Have you ever seen a movie where the villain walks in, kicks a puppy, and then insults his own mother? No, because that would be like hanging a giant, glowing sign above his head announcing I AM THE BAD GUY. But, you know, I've seen some openers that come pretty close. I've seen movies where one of the first things you see the new villain do is shoot some pretty, young thing dead for little reason, and then the camera stays on that so you can remember that he's not a nice guy. To my mind, not subtle.

We like subtlety. We like nuance. It makes characters more interesting and believable. It gives people a chance to find something to love in the villain so that they can feel more like they're reading about real people instead of a cardboard cut-out of a bad guy.

Writing a good opening is hard. Just like all good writing is hard. But we owe it to readers to figure out how to tell the story right. We owe it to our characters. We owe it to ourselves. Because it's worth it.

Ever seen any openers that made you want to drop the book and run? Any that you thought were just so incredibly awesome? How's your writing going?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weird = Good?

Sorry, I'm not going to be scintillating today. I know, this is starting to sound like the worst comeback ever. But, for necessary reasons, as a result of yesterday, I am in a certain amount of physical discomfort. (I'm totally fine. I'm just also a total wuss.) I also spent yesterday not thinking about this blog.

But something did occur to me this morning about yesterday. I realized that while I was sore and loopy yesterday, the rational part of my mine was saying, "You have to remember this. It's good empirical experience to draw on when you're writing."

This is not the first time I've had the reaction to a situation.

Is this just me? Whenever some weird/new thing happens, do you start thinking, I need to store this up so I can use it in a book?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm Back

Okay, I hereby acknowledge that I am an absolute wretch for just taking off somewhere for two months. I absolutely promise that I wasn't abducted by aliens, but I can't promise that I was not temporarily in the Witness Protection Program. But, you know how those things are.

I'm just kidding. I somehow got ridiculously busy. It's not excuse, but, as I said, I'm horrible. In other news, I'm writing again. Working on another first draft. I'm both excited and absolutely terrified. You know, the usual.

How have you fine people been? What did I miss?