Sunday, March 27, 2011

Screenwriting rule 3

This is the third rule that I still use in my novel writing.

Use the dialog to express subtext:

In screenwriting, since you can't write your character was feeling this way or that he thought this way of someone else, you had to have layers of your dialog. This can be simple enough as him saying, "I believe you" with a smirk and a dart of the eyes, or it can be as complex as "You ruined my life" when they are talking their parents because they caught them sneaking out. This works doubly in novels, because you have the added presence of the inner thoughts so you can go further and really expand on the initial comment. Use the dialog, "You ruined my life" as an example. The character could have been sneaking off to see their friend who is leaving the country, or it could be to see their secret boyfriend. But you can play with this in ways because you have the inner thoughts of either the one who got caught, or the one doing the catching depending on the POV.

So I have pointed out three of the major tools that I have learned and developed in screenwriting and implement into my current novel writing.

Have you ever used anything you learned in another field in your novel writing? Research, or job related? I think I know of a specific writer friend who uses her job experience in her writing.

Screenwriting rule 2

I started this segment on Monday, so if you have any questions about the history of how this subject came about you can check it out below, or above, or to the side. However you have your blog reader formated.

The second rule:

The character names are supposed to be in Capital letters when you first introduce them. This was useful for me because it made it hard for me to forget the character even if they only showed up once in the entire script. This helps me now because when I create a character I develop a character one sheet for them. This is basically their history and the minute details of them. I don't refer to them all the time, but if I forget a character who has been out of touch in my book for a while, I can get reacquainted.

What are some of the ways that you get to know your characters? How to remember the minor ones? What are some of your favorite character traits that you have come up with?

Screenwriting rule 1

Has anyone thought about attempting writing a screenplay?

I started writing them back in 1996, during my junior year of high school. My English teacher of the year was having us go through poetry, screen writing and short story writing over the course of the year. A 3rd of the class on each section, and during the time I was really into video games, and wanted to do something with Computer Science.

The teacher in question inspired my creative side in ways that I hadn't experienced before. The way that she presented the material was different to me, because she gave us freedom to explore the stories that we wanted. Weirdly enough, as you might have known by the title of this post, is that I really got interested in screenwriting.

The format was strict, the rules were there and you had to follow them. This was enticing to me because at the time I was a skater, who played sports video games with friends. I didn't really have much in the ways of goals outside of working in video games.

So I wanted to share with you some of the things that I liked about screenwriting over this week.

Rule 1:

If the camera can't see it, you can't write it. This rule wasn't that hard to grasp and I liked it because back in my teenager self, I had trouble dealing with internal emotions and conflicts. I did find out that I could write one mean action scene, and my dialog was realistic.

Have any of you tried another format to tell your story? What did you learn about yourself during the process.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Soundtrack of your book

For some people, music plays an integral part of the story. Without it, they lose their place and things get mixed up.

Right now I have been listening to Green Day as my music to keep me focused. I have a lot of action going on and need the fast beats.

Some of the other things I listen to is The Corrs, for soothing music with some pop to it.

I listen to Avril Lavigne for my teenage angst scenes.

So what are some of your favorite musicians for when you are writing?
Romantic scenes?
Action scenes?
Tender scenes?

I would love some suggestions, because my ipod needs an update.

Tough Chapters

I have been working on a chapter for a couple weeks now. Its in my first draft, but its a pivotal chapter that is causing me headaches. Mainly because I can't decide what way it should go.

I have tried to write it a few times now and gotten to the end and started over because it left me with a cold feeling at the end. Like it was against my character's will to go this way or that way.

So I have decided to take a small break. Let my characters rest. Let me refocus on the goal of the chapter. Hopefully when I come at it again this week, I will have the intelligence to stand out of the way and to let my characters lead me through the fog.

What do you do with tough chapters? What are some tips you can share with me?

Toolkit for writing

As many of you know I came from a screenwriting background. I have written a few feature scripts in my day.

I wanted to list a few of the things that I use when writing.

Microsoft Word. The flexibility of this program works perfectly for me. However, I have never tried any of the other writing programs out there, so I might be a little biased.

My laptop. I like laptops for the ability to write anywhere. Granted I have limited battery power when not near an outlet, but that can be a good thing in that it sets a determined time for me to write and I use it to keep my focus.

A thesaurus. I like to use varying words for the same thing. My added spice.

Dictionary. Word has spell check, but still it misses words sometimes.

So these are my basic tools for writing. What are some of your favorite tools?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Visualizing characters

I didn't get the response that I was expecting for the pictures of my characters last week. So it made me think, what do you do to picture your characters? Do you draw them? Do you write the details down?

What works for you? I'm curious because the pictures sort of gave me a new perspective on my characters.

Building Fear

I've been watching a lot of scary movies lately. Some have been pretty bad and the reason they have been bad is because I don't fear the monster. Some were because the characters were shallow and I can sort of root for them to die.

So I started to think what makes a good scary book/movie/story?

One thing that I think is necessary is something that is realistic. The fear has to be something you can understand. Some stories try to be to complex in building the bad guy that by the point you get to any fears you are tired of the build up that you are disappointed in the outcome. I think the movie "Cloverfield" is a good example of this.

Another thing that there are too many scares too close together that you get tired of being scared. Some of the "Saw" movies have this effect. So many traps that by the end when the big traps are supposed to make you cringe you are just plain exhausted. Bad thing.

A good example of building fear is the book "Salem's Lot." You have a vague introduction to the bad guy. You have a slow deterioration of the town. You have the unreliable priest. You have the characters that you relate to being put in situations that you can relate to. All of these things combine into an ending that is satisfying and makes your blood pump with fear.

I know this isn't all of the things to build fear, so what are some of your examples? What do you find effective?

Memorable Characters

I have been reading for a really long time. I have an award in 5th grade where I read something like 110 book during the school year. So I've read my fair share of books throughout the year.

Some of my favorite characters that I remember reading were Harry Potter, Hester Prynne, It, Cujo, some others that my cold induced head can't think of right now. But as you noticed some of my list above were antagonists.

Are they okay to be Memorable characters? I think so because they are memorable for being so bad. Some of them aren't even human, which is also okay since they don't have to be. What about the rats in Secret of Nymph? I think there are some in there but I can't recall any names at the moment.

I think one thing that makes a character memorable is the fact that they have something you can relate to. Either a fear, or a skill that you admire.

Do you think Cujo wouldn't have been a success if the fear of dogs isn't a very common human fear? Do you think It would have been scary if people didn't fear clowns? I'm not afraid of either of these things, yet these antagonists were still scary. Cujo because he was uncontrollable and smarter than some dogs. Not sure if it was the rabies, or something more. It's been a while.

Harry Potter is memorable because he is the awkward kid that sticks out, we've all been there. Hester Prynne might be harder to define, but it still boils down to her being an outcast. I can get behind that sort of character. I like to root for them when the odds are stacked against them.

What about character makes you remember them?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pictures of your characters part 2

On Wensday, I showed you what I felt were my main female characters. Here are my 3 main male characters.

Alex Stevens: The brother of Rebecca, strong, takes charge, and doesn't back down:

Kellen: Best friend of Alex. More reserved, but dependable:

William Stevens: Rebecca and Alex's father. Mayor of the city and very well liked by most people: (And yes I know it's Alec Baldwin, but it fits.)

So these are the three main male characters. What do you think? Any suggestions?

Pictures of your characters part 1

A member of my Crit group brought up using images to visualize her characters, so I wanted to give it a shot. Below are 4 of the main female characters in my current project. I would love to know what you guys think?

Rebecca Stevens: The main character. Shy, but strong willed. Very intelligent.

Yasmine Gray: The girlfriend of Rebecca's Brother Alex. Sassy and fun loving. Fiercely loyal to Alex and Rebecca:

Sue Stevens: The mother of Rebecca. The wife of the mayor and a previous woman with anger issues:

Natilee: Mayor's assistant. Member of a group of gifted people trying to live peacefully in the world:

I would love to know what you think of these 4. I might do this again next week for the antagonists.


As most of you know, I write mainly supernatural sort of things. The only major difference is the fact that my characters and their opponents are super powered. The world remains the same. I do this for too reasons.

1.) I like to keep my world easy to recognize.

Second.) I think the most fun is to alter something you see on a regular basis and make it new again.

What are some of your favorite things in the settings of your books? Do you like a real world or do you like to play with the reality? Do you set it in the past, future, or present?