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Monday, April 5, 2010

Mystic Monday


Here it is almost 4 in the afternoon when I realized that I forgot I had a blog to post! It's been a long weekend, please forgive me!

Okay, here's the deal. I've been distracted by many this past weekend, the biggest of which was the injury that happened to Milwaukee Bucks center, Andrew Bogut. I blogged about it on my personal blog site, complete with footage. Click here to check it out.

The girls here have been nudging me to work on my writing so I could get something submitted. I haven't felt they were ready because they lacked something, but I couldn't quite figure out what. This weekend, I decided to consider those stories and "judge" them as if they were entered them into a contest by someone else.

I'm glad I did this because I realized that they were missing a few elements that could really help fix some of the problems I was having:
- characters' thoughts were absent and as a result, it's difficult for the reader to really be in the heads of the characters.

- not enough emotion was present to help the reader "feel" what the characters were going through.

- back-story heavy. While I know some back-story is good, too much in the beginning can really slow the story down. Some of it, I can give through dialogue.

- while there is dialogue, there needs to be more, to help break down and offset the chunks of text that create and explain the setting of the story.

- the world isn't quite done, and some of the stuff needs to be changed so it all works together fluidly. This is a complex world with all kinds of nuances I must fully understand before I can help the reader to understand them.

Beyond that:
- I think some of the stories have some strong characters while others are flat or lack personality, even if they seem complex or mysterious.

- I like the storylines, or where they seem to be going, but they're not finished yet. It's as if I've just scratched the surface.

What does all this tell me?

I need to keep digging, I need more face time with my characters and I need to go on an all-inclusive trip around my planet and see what else it has to show me! Lol! Meaning, I need more details.

What about you, what kind of details do you need when it comes to making a setting "feel" real?

Beverages: Do you need to feel the bubbles on your face or is it good enough to know it's a soda? Does flavor or brand matter? If it's an alcoholic beverage, do you need to know more than the fact that it's a cheap wine or beer?

Surroundings: Do you need to know what kind of trees they are and the color of their leaves to be in your setting, or is it good enough to know that there are trees and that they've turned for fall? Do street signs, bridge names, highway numbers matter? Can you just accept it if you're told your in a particular state but don't need to know exactly where?

Clothing: How important are clothing details to you? Do you need to know brand names? Colors? Material types? How important are the details of what characters are wearing? Do you need to know that she's color coordinated or dresses in contrasting colors?

How much do the details matter? Think of the books that made the biggest impression on you. What kind of details did it offer?

3 Moonbeams (comments):

Sheila Deeth said...

That's an interesting thought, to judge as if in a contest. Not that I've ever judged a contest, but I can sort of imagine it.

I guess the amount of detail I want tends to depend on the character I'm reading with. Some characters notice everything. Others skim the surface and rush into trouble.

Molly Daniels said...

I guess it depends on the author. The most vivid descriptions I remember are the ones where I'm somewhat familiar with brand names. Lisa Logan has an excellent book out (blanking on the name...I'll have to go get my flash drive) and in it, she describes what the women are wearing, labels and all. I felt I was THERE at lunch with the ladies.

On the other hand, there are some books where I'm too caught up in the dialogue to care about the setting. And no, can't cite an example off the top of my head...

I do like to know color, and yes, what season it is.

Molly Daniels said...

A Grand Seduction by Lisa Logan. Excellent!