PJ Shann's Blog – January 2014 Archive (6)

THE PERFECT SETTING?

Okay, so the moment has arrived – it’s finally time to begin your incredible new project.  The idea for this masterwork, previously a tiny, dry seed sleeping in your mind, has suddenly begun to sprout.  Urgent stems have thrust their way into the sunlight and reached for the sky, buds have formed, leaves have unfurled, roots and tendrils have surged in all directions at once, and the whole thing is growing at a geometric rate.  New characters are introducing themselves to you on a regular…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 31, 2014 at 5:05am — 2 Comments

DON’T LOSE THE SUB-PLOT

There are a lot of people who view all sub-plots with the gravest suspicion, regarding them at best as a pointless distraction from the main business at hand, and, at worst, as a dangerously amateurish self-indulgence.  Kill your darlings, they screech like dogma-drilled harpies, kill, kill, kill them all!  Needless to say, I disagree.

In a general sense, I’m all in favour of sub-plots.  In fact, I delight in them.  They offer so many exciting possibilities to writers of…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 25, 2014 at 6:40pm — No Comments

NOMENCLATURE’S A BITCH AND THEN YOU DIE

One of the many smaller pleasures of writing fiction is the fun to be derived from choosing the names of your characters.  There’s a lot of joy in nailing down the perfect name for your maverick cop/cerebral private detective/vampire overlord/super-soldier from Planet Zap, and just as much amusement in bestowing the names of people you dislike upon the seedy/degenerate/evil characters currently paddling around in the shallow end of your WIP’s gene pool.  But the truth is that the more you…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 25, 2014 at 6:39pm — No Comments

BUILD A CHARACTER OR GROW ONE?

Apart from ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ (although in some cases, ‘Why do you get these ideas?’ might be the more appropriate inquiry), one of the more frequently questions writers get asked about their work involves the creation of character.  Both readers and writers alike are always interested to know which came first, the story or the character.  The answer is usually character.  Or story.  Or both.  Or neither...

The truth is there is no stock answer, it’s different…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 21, 2014 at 8:33am — No Comments

THE FILM OF THE BOOK OR THE BOOK OF THE FILM

Always a tricky one, isn’t it?  People who love books frequently love movies, but it doesn’t always work the other way around.  Filmmakers and studios know this, which is why movies of books so often disappoint their avid readers.  A novel is usually the work of an auteur, a tin-pot god whose every word is law.  Even in the hands of a cinematic auteur, film-making is a massively collaborative process, and very rarely is it the chief aim to painstakingly recreate the novel that only a tiny…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 21, 2014 at 8:32am — 1 Comment

FICTION IS NON-LINEAR

Of course, I've always known this.  It's a rare day when I write something that works perfectly first time.  More often than not, everyday stresses and concerns intrude on my writing time, meaning that my mind is never as focused as I would wish it to be.  The end result is that I not only write sentences back to front, I also write paragraphs inside out, and write them in the wrong order, too.  It's like my mind has all the information it needs to write the story, but because there's so…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 21, 2014 at 8:30am — No Comments

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