The People In My Head
January 24, 2013 23 Comments
I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned about writing today. Well, not what I’ve learned so much as how. I’m not going to pretend I’m so great that I can write about writing like an expert, but I’ve gotten pretty good at finding what works for me when I want to learn something new about writing.
One thing I’ve sometimes needed help with is creating characters. I think I’m pretty good at observing real people and I’m getting better about knowing what I’m feeling and why, but sometimes sticking to the fictional character requires reacting or acting how they would not how I would. That would be acting out of character which, even if you don’t specifically realize that’s what happened, you can definitely say that doesn’t seem right and you’re popped out of the story for a moment.
So, two books I really like for dealing with who these fictional people are and how they might act are:
- The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines, 16 Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders — This one is great because it takes an archetype like “The Best Friend” and explains it in a lot of detail, gives examples from movies, and then shows how this type of person might work with someone of a different archetype. It’s all really basic, idea-starter information, but that’s why it’s so fabulous. Also, I’m not limiting it to only women can be these archetypes or only men these other ones because that’s ridiculous. (I’m not linking to any site for this book because it’s only available in ebook for a reasonable price. I got mine from a library sale of used books last year for like $3, but print copies are going for over $40, which is just crazy. The author link up there has some really basic info about archetypes from the books that’s like a sneak peek.)
- The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi — This one is a printed version of some of the emotions available from The Bookshelf Muse. It’s a lot of lists that let you get a lot more creative about expressing an emotion like impatience or hurt without going for cliches or coming right out and telling the reader how the character feels. (Visit their website — and scroll down the right side — and you’ll find a ton more information on weather, settings, physical attributes, and a lot more that’s all for free.)
As for writing books related to the romance genre, I’m not thrilled with the ones I’ve found in bookstores and the library. They seem aimed at creating the characters and stories that drove people away from reading romances in the first place. Plus it’s all about selling to New York publishing houses or getting an agent and that’s just not happening for me. Not that I’m putting myself down, just that I don’t want to make writing that much of a business because it has to stay fun.
I liked Stephen King’s On Writing and other books about writing in general without an emphasis on genre, but I haven’t spent a lot of time reading bunches of them. A few had just enough to make me think I was doing it all wrong, so I put those down quick because I’m writing my way and that’s that and nobody’s going to make me feel bad about it. I don’t sell because someone doesn’t like my style, fine. Their loss. Bad reviews? You’re entitled to your opinion. But I’m doing it my way.
As far as I can find, there’s only one book about writing M/M and that’s Josh Lanyon’s Man, Oh Man! Writing M/M Fiction for Kinks & Cash. It’s a little tiny bit out of date, but I heard he’s updating it this year, so I’m excited about the new version. That’s just going to be awesome.