Taking Action!

Well, 2010 is nearly here, and I have been doing some planning.  I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I do think about what areas of my life I want to focus on during the year ahead.  In the last couple of days, I’ve also written a Writing Action Plan, as suggested in Kelly L Stone‘s book on writing, Time to Write (the link for this doesn’t seem to want to work – check it out at http://www.kellylstone.com). 

This is a plan that articulates my overall writing goal for 2010 (to get my manuscript to a publisher) and identifies the actions and timeframes needed to achieve it.  I’m planning to keep track of my progress (or lack thereof) on a regular basis throughout the year and will adjust timeframes accordingly to ensure things are achievable but not too easy.  I’m not much of a planner in life generally, so if I don’t get something down on paper, I’ll just drift along and things take twice as long as they need to.

My writing self is certainly a planner, and feels most comfortable knowing where I’m going.  It’s funny how my writing self seems to operate in a totally different way from my life self.  I wonder why that is?  Perhaps my life self could do with a little planning too!

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Christmas is for…

… all the usual lovely things of course, like spending time with family, laughing and relaxing, watching little children light up when they unwrap their presents, enjoying other people’s Christmas decorations …

… and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of writing as well!  Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year.  To all the writers out there, hope you get a special piece of inspiration too!

Sometimes, one has to wonder …

The universe moves in mysterious ways, and if you ignore it, it’ll come back and smack you on the backside good and hard. 

After finishing the first draft of my book a little while back, I’ve been trying to redraft it rather than taking a good break from it.  I knew it probably wasn’t a good idea, but persisted anyway.  So it seemed like fate when I developed yet another tummy bug that prevented even the idea of sitting at a computer screen to enter my head without making me feel very sick.  It was a sign, I think.  I should have a break, at least until the holidays.

Trouble is, I really miss writing.  It’s odd getting up on Saturday morning and not having anything to do.  What else am I, if not a writer?

A problem with 1st person

I was thinking today about how many books I’ve read lately that didn’t feel satisfying due to the lack of plot development.  Often, the conflict between protagonist and antagonist in particular is flat and one dimensional.  In particular, the antagonist isn’t developed into a fully rounded character with his or her own drive, agenda and needs.   Most of the action revolves around the protagonist (usually pursuing an evolving relationship with another main character), and the antagonist is left as some vague threat in the background.  The antagonist rocks up every now and then to cause some grief, but we don’t really get a sense of what they want or why they want it.

Then I realised another interesting fact.  Most if not all of these books are in the first person.  As someone who writes in first person as well as third, I’m well aware of the drawbacks in terms of limited point of view.  I considered if this is another drawback, the lack of opportunity to fully explore motivation and character.

I came to the conclusion that it isn’t an inevitable consequence of first person, just poor craft.  I cringe in saying that, knowing how hard it is to write a book, let alone get one published!  But I’m someone who loves to read, and I can see how much more compelling a story is if the author has taken the time to get to know all of their main characters, not just the ‘good guys’.  At the very least, you have to know what they want and why.  Writing in first person is no excuse for not doing your character homework.

Now, hopefully I can remember that in my own work …