I attended a really good class last week about creating realism when writing fiction. But, we don’t need realism, we’re creative writers, and we can write anything we want. This is true, up to a certain point. The question the instructor asked us, “How long dies a fight last?” Well in a movie we know it takes a matter of minutes. In reality it takes a few seconds. So how, as a writer, do you write a good fight scene in your story, and still have it be believable? Weapons and wizards aside, just a plain hand to hand fist fight, how long does it last? How many pages are you going to fill? Can you take twenty pages for a 20 second fight?
The instructors pitch to us, if we want to write realism into our fictional prose, then it is a good idea to understand what we are talking about. For instance, you want to write about a beat cop, who spends his time writing tickets for parking in a no parking stall. Ever go to Walmart and there is always that one car that thinks they are okay to park on the painted areas under the no parking signs? What better way to understand the importance, and methods of police procedure than to do a ride along with an officer? You want to write a murder mystery that takes place in a hotel…why not ask the manager if you can shadow house staff and maids to get a better idea of the layout and what they do?
The thing is, believable details, the ones the reader doesn’t have to try creating in their mind, but pop up on their own keeps the reader more focused on the story rather than getting lost in epic fight battles that go on to long. If you want to understand how to write good realistic scenes, then get ready to get your hands dirty. Consider it a benefit of your job. Not only do you get to write about all your cool ideas, you get to do hands on research to make sure your giving your reader the best writing you can muster.
AS a writing challenge, go out and do it. Pick one thing in your work that you could use more detail about. Figure out how to get it, then do it.
D. B. Flint
I had the opportunity to attend a writers conference last week at Snow College. To any would be writers, or to any established writer, I would recommend attending one. I chose classes to help me become a better writer. There were the standard classes one would expect to find, writing a query letter, tips for writing, publishing and marketing. What I enjoyed the most was hearing first hand accounts from writers that have spent their lives writing and being rejected, but never giving up.
The last class of the day was a critique offered by a panel of writers and editors. An opportunity for anyone to have their first page read aloud, and then critiqued afterwards. I took the page from a new novel i’m writing. The copy was rough so I was prepared to get dinged on errors, which I did. It was insightful having my work read, and getting the response from a reader. Feedback from readers is a powerful tool. Use it. A good critique now and again is a very useful way to see the holes in your own work.
There is no mistaking that writing is hark work. I didn’t need a conference to tell me that. What I needed was that common ground, the advice from others that have been down the same road, found the same potholes, but persevered because they were passionate about their work. I came away with a better knowledge, and a binder full of notes. I can’t wait to incorporate many of the learned practices into my own writing.
Interesting thing happened to me tonight. An individual on one of the sites I regularly contribute to posed a question. One that I chose to answer. Funny thing, when I read my answer, it didn’t sound much like something I would say or write. Those of you who know me best will understand why this unsettled me. The question was asked, “Why do trashy people exist?” My usual repertoire of snide comments jumped to the forefront of my mind. Then for some reason I tried a different tack. It felt weird, unnatural even. In fact, I may even have to see a therapist after tonight. So you know the question, now here is the answer.
They exist in order to balance the amount of boorish snobs. Nature loves balance. People are people. In the world there is always someone that holds themselves in higher regard than others. Lawsuits have been filed, wars have been fought, questions have been asked.
Perhaps you should ask yourself what kind of person you are, and what others may think of your existence, rather than talking down about those who are different from you.
It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Every one of us just as screwed up as the next. Self reflection, can do wonders for the narcissist.
I think I (sob!) gave good advice. If am turning into a millenial…all I ask is a quick death.
I had the opportunity to see a performance from the Utah Symphony with my daughter. The Utah Symphony has a program where they perform at schools across Utah. For starters, it was amazing. The numbers they performed were designed to highlight each section of the symphony at different times. The conductor walked us through a magical hour of discovering sound. As I sat and listened, my mind was immediately drawn back to my childhood, when Disney created Fantasia.
I closed my eyes, focusing on a singular instrument, or section. I was able to see lively images in my head as I allowed myself to be lost in sound. Just as Creative writing is my art form, it was music that was the symphonies. Art that, at times, transcended into the realm of magic. For a time, the outside world had vanished. All that was left was sound, and emotion. It was truly, and in every way, a great work of art.
My thanks to the Utah Symphony and their program introducing art and magic into the auditoriums of our schools, and into the hearts of our children. #symphonyofmagic
I’m sure there are some readers out there who are not fans, I however, am a fan of most Dr. #Seuss books. Therefore, I am happy to add The Cat In The Hat to my book list. I can identify with this story in several ways. The first of which is, I hate bad weather. I think most people can empathize with me on that point. Many times, even today, the weather was too cold, and too wet to go out and play. (See what i did there?) The heavy clouds settled into the valley bringing rain, and dusting the mountain peaks with snow. I was left trying to find something to do other than go fishing. Lucky for me I like to write.
One of the other reasons that this book is relevant, is that it’s a testament to the problems with many of today’s youth. A self entitled generation in constant need of stimulation or entertainment. Over the years I have spent a lot of time sitting in front of a window, staring out into the world, wishing things were different. The only thing that I saw was the rest of the world going on around me.
The advice Dr. Seuss offers, is to get off your butt and do something, anything. There is a whole world out there if you are willing to look for it. Fun and adventure await the willing. Of course not every decision will be a good one, but you will never know your potential unless you try. Or, you can keep staring out the window, waiting, and wishing.
Please like and share if you can relate.
I have a case of the editing blues. Probably the most important aspect of any written work lies in its editing. Not to say that I don’t enjoy the process, I just get over excited at finishing whatever it is I am working on and want to get it out to readers as soon as possible. Have you ever peeled an onion? That’s what editing is. It took care and time to grow this onion from a small bulb. It needed to be fed and cared for. You added nutrients and water to help give it substance. The finished product, a perfect onion. Then just as you think all your work is finished, you tear through the rough outer layer and start slicing up the insides, layer by layer. And yes, at times it even makes you cry. However, when you are finished, you end up with something better than you started with. Like fajitas, I love fajitas.
Point is, it is a necessary part of the process. Necessary for you, as the writer. There are ways around this barbaric action. After all, that’s what some editors do. Ask yourself, do you want someone else co-writing your novel or short story? Do you want other people changing your words, your characters to suit their own desires? Of course not. So why let someone else tear down what you have worked so hard to create? If you take shortcuts in your writing, sooner, or later, it may have a way of coming back to bite you. Any piece you write should never see the desk of an editor until your second, hopefully third draft. Unless you are that one exception, it’s a good rule of thumb to abide by. You want to be a good writer? Start by becoming a good #editor.
I had just gotten off a long, 12 hour graveyard shift. Generally I took an hour to wind down before heading to bed. A plate of eggs, over easy, with a side of toast. Many mornings my little girl would come and sit with me and we would eat eggs and watch Spongebob. That morning was different. I turned the television on just after the first airplane hit the tower. It took me a second of watching before I realized what I was seeing was happening now, on my own soil. I roused my sleeping wife, “Come here, you’ve got to see this…” I said half dragging her into the family room.
Together we watched in silence. The second airplane seeming to move in slow motion as it struck the second tower. Smoke billowing, people falling, then the collapse. Time was lost. I don’t recall a word spoken between my wife and I. We watched helplessly as thousands of lives were lost. Every one of them meant something to someone, a father, a mother, a daughter, a son.
Let us not forget that united, we are strong. In the face of adversity we overcame. In an act of cruelty, we did not turn away. We stood strong. We stood proud. We stand Free.