Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Identity Theft

Character development plays a very large role, as any writer knows, in the process of novel-writing. Often times your characters are faces of your own personality, whether buried in the depths of your pain ridden soul, or bubbling out of you like suds from a champagne bottle.

My current novel, Trueborn, features two unique personalities, both of which were modeled after personality types that I've come to understand via the bonds of friendship. The fun thing to watch is, when I'm writing their stories, they almost take on a life of their own and I've even found that they make decisions that almost break the roles they are supposed to be tied to. I write like I'm watching a movie. I see it happening as if watching the scene play out then try to pen it down. (Or type - to be more accurate).

It's amazing though as I watch my story unfold, I notice that even though the characters are supposed to be independent of one another and made up, I feel like I'm writing about me. I'll notice as I look back over chapters I've written and find that characters are making choices, thinking like and behaving like I would if I were in that situation. I think it must be an art to be able to write completely unattached from a character. It's definitely something I have to work on.

Do any of you find that your characters are mirroring you? Is this just an example of author induced reverse identity theft?

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where Do You Draw the Line?

As I consider the requirements of writing a believable novel, I find the best descriptions come from those, not of the imagination, but of the experienced. Afterall, the word author does have its roots in the word authority. So, how can one write about something with which one has no knowledge?

If you ask me, this presents a problem. Does every thing that can be written need to be experienced by an author before it can be written about? No. Of course not. That would be absurd, however I believe there are some things which need to be experienced to write effectively or authoritatively about. So, where do you draw the line? I have a novel that I'm soon to pickup writing again called "In Eyes of Jade." The characters in this novel spend the majority of their time within the halls of a mental institute.

There's the problem.

Despite what some people may say, I'm not crazy and have no experience within such a place. I'd love to really deliver an honest, blunt, realistic and authoritative description of this institute, which demands that I spend some time within one (If I want to get the full effect) I am not suggesting that I hop in the padded cell, slip on the straight jacket and just see how it goes, but rather set up an interview or two with institute workers and or a tour.

Did any of you writers have to go through a dangerous or unique situation to acquire the research for your material? Where do you draw the line?

Any thoughts?

Book Cover Judger's Anonymous

I think I might need some help. Maybe I should found a new program, for those out there like myself, called "Book Cover Judger's Anonymous."

No, I'm not talking about people here. I'm talking about book covers.

Let's face it, we all are guilty of book cover judging. If we weren't, there'd be no industry involved in, specializing in, dealing with, marketing for.... BOOK COVER DESIGN.

I can tell you that while I know the age old saying about not judging a book by its cover rings home with me, regarding people and prejudices, I do find myself passing up books simply by the art on the outside. Is it terrible? Probably. Am I missing out on some incredible novels...? Probably. Can I change it about myself? Probably, but I enjoy the book covers of the novels I choose. Some, having detailed art of scenes from the book, help me connect with the story as I recall that glossy picture on the cover. Other's leave so much mystery that the art, or lack there of, helps build the intrigue surrounding the story within.

So, on to my questions.

1. If you are a published author, did you care about your book cover design? What influenced you to choose the cover you went with?
2. If you are an aspiring author, do you have any ideas for design? Are you a simplistic person, or do you want something that screams "oooh ooh pick me," on the front of your book?
3. And last, as readers, are you guilty of passing up a book simply because the cover just didn't do it for you?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hoocked Aun Fonix Werked Fur Mea

I was one of those poor saps who had the privilege (cough, hack, wheeze) of learning to spell with "Hooked on Phonics." I'm not here to pick on that program per say, but would love to get feedback from writers and authors as to where they really learned to spell. Was it a tried and true systematic approach of memorization like Spalding? Or did you become the guinea pig of the next generations literarily challenged and learn via phonetic pronunciation? Do you think it helped or hurt your chances at a writer?

As for me, I'm not too proud to admit. I can't spell to save my life. I learned the phonetic way and I really feel like it hindered me in my writing life. If I could go back I'd learn another way, but alas, it is too late. What about you?

Any thoughts?