Harry Potter and Rowling’s Story Soundscape

hogwarts_teach_us_something_please_by_albus119-d57sgo9Recently I discussed how learning styles match writing styles, and since then I’ve been more alert to writers’ use of the senses. As I read I ask myself, does the author linger with visuals, jump ahead into action, or take advantage of every sound? Which element is predominant? Inspired by Claire Saag’s guest post for StoryForge, I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

You know what I discovered? Sounds. Everywhere.

If you can, recall the scene where Harry first meets Hagrid. Boom, crash, smash! Sounds bring the chapter to life. When Rowling isn’t describing the howling wind or sizzling sausages, she plays her characters vocal chords like musical instruments. Continue reading

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Friday Reflections: Challenge Yourself to be the Best

DSC00489After spring break with the hubby, it’s been a little difficult getting back into the rhythm of life. And if you’re struggling with time or motivation, these are the perfect articles for you:

When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Emulate Famous Creative Routines” – Whitson Gordon writes from LifeHacker, reminding us of the pros and cons of those famous routines that we–or may be just I?–obsess over. It’s a comfort to remember that I don’t need to copy some secret formula for success from other creatives; I can cultivate my own habits and schedules.

So you want to be a writer…” – From the Guardian, Philip Hensher, Jeanette Winterson, Rachel Cusk, Michael Cunningham, etc. share their teaching process and their advice about creative writing. They set high standards and accept no excuses. The tone of each challenge makes me want to learn, grow, and never stop pushing toward excellence.

This article is long, and So. Damn. Perfect. I’m not even going to bother finding a third. Dive in and enjoy!

From the Forge: Interview with Animator Mary Jane Whiting

maryjanewhiting_PortraitThe world needs more storytellers like Mary Jane Whiting. A talented artist, she is excited to share fun stories and encourage others along the way. Instead of spilling everything about her here, I might as well let her speak for herself! Without much prompting, she jumped right into the interview:

I was born in Texas and moved to Florida to major in Computer Animation at Ringling College of Art and Design where I’m a Junior. I’m a chai tea enthusiast, certified workaholic (but it’s more like fun than work) and my passion is visual development artwork for animation. I’m currently working on pre-production for my senior film. The process includes doing all of the concept design, visual development artwork as well as storyboards. At the same time, I’m working on a lip-sync project of myself as an animated character.

Read more to learn how to bravely follow your inspirations and build an online presence!

The Visual Writer’s Writing Day

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After publishing the last Friday Reflections post, I dove back into my novel. I settled into my study and shut the door on all other responsibilities. My Italian mask kept watch to deter distractions. Call me crazy, but I also went through the house and shut a few more doors for a clearer mental barrier between my novel and anything that threatened to press against the study door. Do you ever feel that connection between the physical and the mental? It’s a quirk as a visual and kinesthetic learner, I suppose.

Though my responsibilities eventually burst through the door, I was able to write 1.5k before they pulled me away. I settled in with my tea and sipped who knows how many cups of tea as I typed.  Maybe I go a little overboard with my tea, but I enjoy having some small, ritualistic break. I pour a new cup, stir in sugar and milk, and watch the steam rise.

DSC00511My novel is up to 72k and I’ll reach 80k by the end of the first draft. I wish I could say that I didn’t post on the blog last week because I was finishing my manuscript, but instead I was sick. Health returned around Good Friday, just in time for my writing group came over. Jen insisted that she be the first one to read my completed novel–no argument over here! She’s the most enthusiastic reader I’ve ever had. In order to get it to her decently soon, I’m aiming for these goals:

  • Outline last few scenes (done!)
  • Finish manuscript by May 1st (getting there!)
  • Get through two drafts by June 1st (Lord help!)

What goals do you have? If you’re stuck, what’s stopping you from charging through your story?

 

Friday Reflections – Tips on Fight Scenes and Characterization

Recently I’ve moved toward non-fiction side: writing articles, posting blogs, and editing everything. And I mean everything. This week I was even promoted to Lead Writer at StoryForge–which I’m really excited about. But as a result of all my freelance activity, my fiction is getting shoved in the corner. It’s time to pick up the pace. My novel is so very close to the finis. So, for some inspiration and instruction, here are some articles on scene work:

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I’m so happy with my new business cards! Freelancing is an adventure; however, I’ll dive into another world this afternoon and engage in an oceanic battle.

The Gospel of Combat: How Fight Scenes Feed your Story” – Chuck Sambuchino from Writer’s Digest introduces Marie Brennan’s book on fight scenes. Instead of writing for “pure spectacle,” let the fight create rich ground for character growth. Every person has a unique reaction to violence that reveals deeply psychological desires or inhibitions.  This advice is surprisingly timely for me, since I’m going to tackle a fight scene very very soon.

How do you create realistic feeling characters?” – Author Marivi Solvien answers an aspiring writer’s question on NaNoWriMo. To create rounded, relational characters, you need to draw on associations–observations of strangers, friends, family, even actors. Read her answer for more details.

I hope you have a restful weekend and a productive week! Got any plans in the making? Any goals to keep you chugging? 

From the Forge: Key Benefits of Collaboration

People balance us when we go a little crazy: encouraging us when we drag our feet, checking us when we rush into the blue, and critiquing us when our heads get swollen. After dealing with all of our manic behavior, hopefully they are still willing to collaborate with us.

Teamwork enables amazing opportunities, yet risks great hurt. Though I want to address potential cons and how to avoid them, let’s begin with some heartening pros… Read More at StoryForge, and see the fantastic illustrations that accompany!

 

 

 

Get Paid! The Anatomy of a Writer’s Paycheck

13483674021616Today I’m not just talking about the satisfaction of a job well done; I’m talking business. Rates, skills, and time.

Alongside my usual freelance work, I recently edited friends’ grad school portfolios and cover letters. I’m happy to help them out; I’m invested in their success and I want to support them however I can. But far too many people out there don’t realize the pecuniary worth of a writer. Continue reading

Friday Reflections: Write Your Heart Out

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Let’s start writing! …just give me a minute make some tea, okay?

Since I’ve been talking a lot about business and freelancing lately, I thought that today I should get back to my roots. Here are a few writing challenges to get you going:

2014 April PAD Challenge: FAQs (and Tips)” – Though we’re a few days late with this peom-a-day challenge, Robert Lee Brewer from Writer’s Digest encourages writers to try their hand at a few stanzas. The challenge can teach you a lot about the art and discipline of writing, so you might as well sneak a look and take a shot! Continue reading

From the Forge: The Art of Collaboration Part 1

Art can be a lonely endeavor. Your muse spills onto a canvas, a page, a screen—and that intense focus often requires solitude. Your mind delves into invisible worlds, trying to pull slivers of imagination into reality. It takes a lot of work to communicate your original vision but, no matter what, it will be a shadowy simulacra of the original thought. Though solitude can be a helpful meditation to invoke your muse, community remains an essential component both the creative process and your survival in the ever-competitive professional realm.

Symbiotic Networking

Networking is a hive of potentiality, but before I explain, let’s do away with any negative connotations that may buzz around your brain…(Read more at StoryForge and see illustrations from some fantastic artists who were kind enough to collaborate with me!)