Tuesday, January 19, 2021

3T Writing Tidbit

How do you come up with those ideas??

Have you ever been asked this question?

Have you ever answered it?

I like creating stories, characters, and settings because to me it's like Tetris. Different characters have different shapes (needs/goals/personalities). They fit different ways with their setting, and with each other.

Some shapes don't fit at all. Some snug down so beautifully I know they were meant to be together. Some even fit together with the hole of the exact shape of another character!

But I have to be willing to put a few together wrong to really appreciate when they're right.

Or it's like building blocks. Snap a few together and you get a bridge. Snap others and you get a building. Depending on what kind of theme I want to explore, I'll pick up and discard a dozen, two dozen or more element blocks of character, setting, and motives.

But I have to be willing to discard a wrong block and try another.

The point I'm trying to make is, creativity abounds with wrong paths. 

Creativity isn't like most things in life. It's not building something everyone knows how to build. It's not following a recipe to the letter to get exactly what you expect.

It is, by definition, creativity creates, which means the unexpected. It also means some things won't work out.

At some point in the writing process--either before you start writing, when things aren't going well, or if the ending falls flat--you need to envision the scene you're trying to create. Put people there and work with them; put them through their paces. They might not work out. In fact, the first few probably won't!

But keep trying. Be willing to envision and scene and try different paths. be willing to put together pieces that might not work. They may surprise you! or turn out to be absolutely awful.

It's still creative. And if you keep creating, you can make something that you'll read and be astonished and delighted and proud.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

2T Repeat Performance - What Kind of Reader Are You? A Quiz.

 I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published April 20, 2010 for Vivi Andrews's blog

Thanks so much, Vivi, for having me here today!

I love those little “What kind of chocolate monster are you”-style quizzes, and thought it might be fun to try my hand at one.  Keep in mind this is totally subjective and without scientific basis. Though there’s scoring, no bias is implied toward any category.

I tried to find a non-value rating system but the closest I have at the moment is hash marks.  Add up the hashes to find a category.

Note: No bunnies were harmed in the making of this quiz.

1.       When you look for a read, you’re looking for

a.       A good story – 4 hashes

b.       A great story – 3 hashes

c.       A solid story built in nearly-perfect fashion – 2 hashes

d.       A story that excites you personally – 5 hashes

2.       You need to tell everyone when you find what kind of book?

a.       A great book – 2 hashes

b.       A wonderful book – 5 hashes

c.       A POS-awful book – 3 hashes

d.       It doesn’t matter, I need to tell everyone the best of every book – 4 hashes

e.       One or two movers-and-shakers – 1 hash

3.       You read

a.       Everything and anything – 3 hashes

b.       Your favorite autobuy authors and a few new ones if they look good – 5 hashes

4.       You try to

a.       Find the best in what you read – 4 hashes

b.       Find the worst in what you read – 3 hashes

c.       Find structure in what you read – 1 hash

d.       Just read—unless something breaks your suspension of disbelief, then you throw the book   5 hashes

5.       When you find a great new author, you love to

a.       Abstract the story into a few sparkling sentences – 2 hashes

b.       Tell just the right person – 1 hash

c.       Turn all your friend onto her – 3 hashes

d.       You prefer to know your friends’ tastes, and recommend just the right author – 4 hashes

6.       Nothing good was written after

a.       Shakespeare – 1 hash

b.       1940 – 2 hashes

c.       Great new authors are popping up all the time – 5 hashes


Here are my totally unscientific results!

24-29 Reader—You're priceless. Without you there would be no publishing industry.

18-23 Reviewer—You're smart and wise, with the ability to find the best, most exciting things about a book. You pass that along to your readers, helping a story find its audience.

13-17 Critic—You're witty, clever, and primarily an entertainer at heart. The story's important but more important is how you can use it as a tool to entertain.

10-12 Judge—You're looking for a solid story, without the need to impress or excite anyone else. A Plato, measuring every story against the perfect Story Form.

0-9—You're my eighth grade E