DaveK's blog

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Prologues

Every now and then someone in a writing forum asks about prologues. Are the forbidden? Are they a good idea? The replies break down into: prologues suck, I never read them, simply fold the back story into the rest of the novel; or it's part of the book so I read them; or the ever non-helpful, if it works for the story then it's OK.

I'm of the opinion that the author put it in and it may contain information that I would find useful and it's usually a small part of the story so I read it. From a writer's perspective I haven't had an opportunity to need one.

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Book VS E-books

The publishing world is all abuzz about e-publishing vs paper and when or if electronic formats will replace paper. The electronic proponents like to point out the music business and how that is now largely electronic. And with that, all the problems of pirating. The problem with that comparison is that books and music are used quite differently. A book is used like a movie. It will be read/watched once or maybe a few times and in a setting in which you are not doing much else.

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Conflict

Writers are told to put conflict in their stories, that stories without conflict are boring. This is true. While the prose of a story may be beautiful without conflict what you have is more like poetry. That is fine and if that is what you're going for: great. Or, it may be history, a boring part of history, but a true story. But if you want a story in which a reader will be interested you will need conflict.

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Tribute to Discovery

Tribute to Discovery

I watched the shuttle Discovery land this morning. It's last landing; the beginning of the end of an era. It brought this to mind:

"I pray for one last landing

On the globe that gave me birth;

Let me rest my eyes on the fleecy skies

And the cool, green hills of Earth."

Robert A. Heinlein

 

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Good Enough

I occasionally read blogs where the theme is "good enough isn't good enough". This sounds stupid to me. It's like saying green isn't green. The context is that you should write and edit repeatedly until the prose is perfect then send it to an agent. That only the very best writing will get published. Has everything you've read been perfect? I didn't think so.

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Writer's Bingo

In dailywritingtips Mark Nichol wrote an article about Beware of Buzzword Bingo. The article discusses the niceties of playing Buzzword Bingo, where you have a 5x5 grid filled with buzzwords and every time one is used in a meeting you mark that word. The first to get five in a row wins. When I was in the corporate world that would be fun, but now I'm a wannabe writer so I think I'll try it here.

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Knowing Less and Knowing It

Today I read a blog where they dissed the Star Wars movie for the line by Solo, "You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon? It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs." I'll agree that it was probably an error by someone who didn't know that a parsec is a distance measurement not a time one. It's usually easy to pick these technical faux pas and when I was young I delighted in doing that.

These days I know that don't know it all and instead I try to figure out as many alternatives as I can. So let's see what I can do:

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Write What You Know

"Write what you know" is some standard advice to new writers. I came across it again in some blog this morning and I stopped to think about it. Why is it good advice? From what I've read it means to say that write what you know about because you know about it and therefore will write a more realistic story.

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It's Not Our Fault

Did you ever notice how what you write is not as good as it was when it was still in your head. In your head the ideas are great, the prose and dialogue sparkle and you can't stop thinking about it.

Then you write it down. As soon as it hits the paper or screen it turns to crap. The idea is one you've seen many times before, the words seem as if they were written by a sub-literate monkey who learned English as a third language. Well I think I know why.

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Dead Darlings All Over the Floor

The first draft is done. It now flows logically from beginning to end (I hope). Many poor darlings of mine had to be cut and cut so bad they died. Oh well, as with many such they may rise again and new ones will be born.

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