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Writing progress

Still a straight copy from the script. Trying to put Scott’s thoughts into the mix. A few problems changing tense. When we re-read what we have written a couple of days later we find that every so often we have slipped back into present tense. Don’t see it when we’re writing, need the distance of…

Story ideas

Not every idea turns into a fully fledged novel. Some of them die after three chapters. Others sit in the ideas box, waiting for time to write. Still others sit in the ideas box waiting for another idea or character to click with before we can use it. Ideas and characters are everywhere, but it…

The perception that some types of writing are lesser than others

I often come across the misconception that a technical writer has no ‘real’ writing skills. They can write a user manual or training materials, but that’s not real writing, is it. I mean, anyone can do that. In particular, there is a widely held belief that the technical writer cannot write business documents. (Even though…

Do you become your characters?

I was reading a thread on the SFF writing forum about whether or not people prefer to write in first, second or third person. The preferred style of writing appears to be third person. This is our own preferred style too. One poster said First person is probably the easiest to write in, there’s something…

Writing progress

Only a couple of pages into chapter 1, and already Scott’s a little wimpy. Not sure what Sherylyn’s going to say, and not sure how to fix it yet either. I think it’s because he’s a victim. Things happen to him, rather than him taking control. Sherylyn’s a few days behind on reviews on this.…

The ubiquitous prologue

Hmm. Looks like we’re going to start with a prologue on this novel.

I’m not a fan of prologues.

Some writers, particularly beginning writers, seem to think that because they’re writing a fantasy their novel absolutely, positively must have a prologue, whether it needs one or not.

A common mistake is writing a prologue that really is the first chapter of the novel. If the prologue uses protagonists from the main novel (particularly point-of-view characters), and covers a period of time shortly before the rest of the novel starts then this is not a prologue, it’s part of the main story and should be treated as such.

If a prologue is used to denote a time break, then that break should be a long one, again particularly if the protagonist is a main point-of-view character.

Personally, I like the way they do in the movies in this case. Start with the beginning of the story, then pop up a line—”Four years later”—at the start of the next chapter and keep going.

Another common mistake is the “This is a fantasy. I must have a prologue” type prologue.

This one has absolutely no reason to be in the story whatsoever. You could cut it out and no-one would even know it had gone.

A prologue has to be there for a reason.

David Eddings‘ prologue at the start of THE BELGARIAD series is one that works. You must read the prologue to fully understand what the story is about. It deals with matters that happened to secondary characters hundreds of years prior. Things that were written about in another series. What happens in The Belgariad is a direct result of events triggered in the prologue. (Some people might argue that Belgarath and Polgara were not secondary characters, but I say they were. The story is Garion’s, start to finish.)

Do you see what I see?

It wasn’t until the fourth draft of POTION that Sherylyn and I realised we didn’t see the characters the same way. Tegan, one of the point-of-view characters in Potion has long dark curls that frame her face. We mention her eye colour—blue—when comparing her to someone else but that’s pretty much all the description you…

Peek into another book

Finished a major draft of SHARED MEMORIES last night. I’m sitting here now with pen in hand while Sherylyn reads it through, waiting to write down her comments as she reads. She doesn’t like the start. That’s normal. She never likes the start of our books. This one has already been re-written about five times.…