Tag Archives: QOTW

QOTW: Connecting with Readers

7 Jan


This week, the question comes from authorguy, who asks:

You’ve answered how you think we should connect with writers. How do we connect with readers?

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The first step to connecting with readers is to write stories they enjoy. Nobody wants to be a fan of an author if they don’t enjoy your work. My story was successful on FP because people gravitated towards a unique idea and then stuck around because they enjoyed the world/characters.

The second step is interaction. This one is extremely tricky because you have to walk a fine line:

DON’T advertise incessantly. Don’t ask for reader feedback all the time (it makes you sound pandering and/or desperate depending on the feedback you’re asking for). Don’t blog because you feel you have to. Don’t blog about stuff that’s only interesting to you. Don’t ever belittle your readers. Don’t get into fights with your readers. Don’t talk to the void (give them a place to talk to you back; most blogs do this).

DO reply to every comment you get with something insightful. Do answer every email you get, even if it’s a simple ‘Thank you for writing to me!’. Do blog about interesting things (how you’re feeling bored and uninspired is a bad topic, but sharing a story about a time when you felt bored and uninspired, and then give the solution to your problem, is very interesting and will also create a bond). Do blog about things you think are interesting to your readers (but only if they’re interesting to you, too!), such as book reviews or topics related to your writing. Do accept friend requests on FB, and comment on or ‘like’ something if you happen to see something that interests you (but don’t feel forced to stalk your readers).

When I was on FP, at the end of every new chapter I would respond to questions I had received in reviews since the last time I updated. My frequent readers came to know that their every question would be responded to, even if I had to say I couldn’t tell them yet, but they’d find out shortly. It made me reliable and interactive. In general, pretend you are in a forest and your readers are deer: You have to let them come to you. Once you’re ‘trustworthy’ then you can start petting the deer and using them as your personal deer army a la Snow White.

As for how to get readers/fans in the first place, that’s also tricky. See Step 1. But you also need to connect with other writers (apprently we’ve talked about that ad nauseum in the past) because one day their readers might become your readers. For example, a writer friend of yours will read your latest book and post a rave review on his/her blog, along with a story about why you’re a great person to follow.

Connecting with other writers also allows you to guest post or advertise with them (networking). However, of course you’ll want to be mindful that you’re not making friends just for the networking. Those friendships aren’t authentic and your ‘target’ will know.

The Writer Condensing Three Books into One!

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I’m of the mind that “connecting” with readers should come organically. I mean, as a writers, I suppose you’re obliged to sell yourself in some way, and I really don’t mind self-advertising when it’s not the only thing the writer talks about. For example, if I follow you on twitter, I don’t care if you promote your book unless it’s the only thing you have in your tweet stream.

I think that if you are going to advertise, it’s a good idea to put something fun and unique into it. For example, the writer of PARANORMALCY, Kiersten White, had some really fun tweets leading up to her book launch that asked people to buy her book but made people laugh at the same time.

As far as connecting with people who have already read your book, I’m not sure I’m the best to ask about that, having little previous experience ;P Also, I’m not a pure “reader.” I love learning more about how a writer wrote the book, the publishing process for the book, etc, so I’d love the author to connect to me in that way. Other readers who aren’t so entrenched in the writing world may have no interest in these things, though.

However, I totally agree with Savannah in that a great way to connect with reader is to simply talk to them! I know if I contacted a writer I liked and they emailed me back, I’d be much more likely to keep them on my radar and read more of their books. At the very least, I’d be sure to remember them that next time I’m in the bookstore.

But regarding all this “trying to connect,” I think things will work out fine as long as you are polite, friendly, and have good books! If you have a genuine interest in your readers and really do appreciate them, I’m sure it’ll come across 🙂

The Writer Revising for Subs!

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What great answers, Savannah and Kat!  I can’t really add much to them.  I do want to say that, for me, it hasn’t been the number of readers I’ve found online, but the quality of those readers that has mattered.  Savannah’s point about being responsive to people who reach out to you is really important, but not every person you speak with online is destined to be a real friend or even a potential reader of your work.  Since I took most of my writing down from Fiction Press, I’ve become very careful about the people I invite to read my writing.  I recently made a wonderful friend that I connected with through Let the Words Flow, (hi Rosie!) but I waited until I found out a bit about her reading habits, reviewed her book list ongoodreads.com, and got a sense that she might enjoy what I write, before I invited her to read something I’d written.  Of course, when I regularly posted on Fiction Press, I couldn’t hand-pick my readers, but I did try to write story descriptions that would attract the readers most likely to enjoy my work.  Posting regularly on FP helped, as well, as did responding to every comment or question, as Savannah pointed out.  Being friendly and open really goes a long way in our ultra-connected, oddly fragmented world!  🙂

The Writer on Subs!

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As a writer, how do you connect to readers? As a reader, what do you like to see from writers?

QOTW: Networking

10 Dec


This week, the question comes from Kelly, who asks:

How do you guys build your networking skills and form a sort of relationship with fellow writers in YA Lit? Is it possible to do so even if you’re an introvert in reality?

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In this day and age, I think it’s easy for anyone to appear as an extrovert online. The key is to make yourself available. Twitter is a really great resource for getting to know people in the business, and for those introverts out there, it’s perfect because you don’t have to say much at all! Loads of agents, editors, publishers and authors are on there, and many of them will respond to people who make the effort. I met a few people through my internship, but Twitter’s really been my biggest ally. I know it’s daunting to tweet at some of the bigger names out there, but it’s definitely worth a shot if you’re serious about networking. Plus, the internet still provides some amount of anonymity for those who are too scared to reveal their actual identities.

Writing and/or reading groups are also a good way to meet people. Those are more often done in person, so it requires a greater effort, but I think you may benefit the most from it. Groups like RWA, SCBWI, and others are also places to meet people. I haven’t been fortunate enough to attend any conferences as of yet, but those are obvious places to network. And don’t forget blogs! I follow a few pretty religiously, and sometimes leaving a comment is all it takes to make that connection.

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Sammy is right about Twitter — it takes some practice, but it’s a great way to start conversations with other writers. I’m a HUGE introvert, and I find Twitter is the perfect amount of chatting (140 characters!) without being overwhelming.

The same goes for the groups Sammy mentioned. I’m in both the RWA and SCBWI. In the RWA, we have some really fantastic chapters that interact entirely online through YahooGroups. For example, the YA-RWA (young adult chapter) is really fantastic, supportive, and active — plus, there are some really big names in there! You never know when Simone Elkeles or Marlene Perez will be the one to answer with you posts!

Two more groups through which I’ve connected with other writers are Savvy Authors and YALitChat. I like Savvy Authors a LOT because of it’s many fantastic & cheap workshops, experienced (and newbie too) writers, and its various support networks. I did a NaNoWriMo boot camp with them, and it was a blast! Made some new friends and got 50,000 words! 😀

YALitChat is also a great way to connect (I met both my crit partners there), but be wary about “quality” on YALitChat. What I mean is this: there are a lot of “newbies”, and while that’s not in and of itself bad (we all have to start somewhere!), oftentimes the feedback can be less helpful/accurate than a more experienced group.

Finally, interacting with blogs is a great way to connect! I follow so many blogs, and while I don’t always have time to comment, I try to comment and open conversations as often as I can. I’ve met a few beta readers that way, and I’ve become a beta reader for more than one person too!

Since I’ve turned into Super Long-winded Sooz, I’ll shut up and end with a link: http://shrinkingvioletpromotions.blogspot.com/. This is a GREAT marketing/network resource since it’s geared toward introverts!!

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I think what the others have said about twitter is very true. It’s a great way to engage in conversations with people in a totally safe way, and perfect for introverts. If you email an agent or author about writing, you might come off as a little bit odd — but on twitter, you’re expected to follow and tweet people you don’t know.

For me, the biggest thing in terms of social networking with fellow YA writers/authors was joining AbsoluteWrite. That forum is a great resource for writers in general, but for me it also unintentionally became a place where I met a lot of other YA writers. I found my lovely critique partners, over there. One of the things I’ve noticed about people in the YA lit community who I’ve befriended, is that we’ve gone through things at the *same* (roughly) time. You’re all in the query trenches together, and that gives you something in common — it also kind of bonds you through trauma (forgive me my nerdy reference, but you know in Harry Potter when Harry and Ron face the troll with Hermione, and then become friends with her, because of that? Querying is like the troll).

So, my answer on how to connect is probably just to communicate with other writers who are at the same stage as you. Chances are, they’ll want to communicate with you, too (you have a love of writing and a love of YA in common — it’s a brilliant friendship waiting to happen), and will welcome you with open arms 🙂

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I don’t have much to add, really, except that I think that at the start, what people don’t realize is that things like blogs and twitter are incredibly addictive. They start becoming what you turn to when you’re bored. And if you’re bored a lot, you eventually swallow your insecurities and just go for it. Because it’s so casual, as long as you don’t troll or start any drama, the responses themselves should be casual as well. And if you keep up casual responses with certain people for a little bit, you start feeling more comfortable with saying things like “Oh man, me too! Didn’t you love that fight scene?” in response to something like “I LOVE this book”. If you can show people you have similar interests as them, they’re likely to check out your own profile or blog and maybe strike up a friendship. Then eventually you meet their friends, and then their friends…

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I will just add that back in 2006 when I discovered online writing communities and started my blog, I truly *WAS* an introvert. Somehow I just found that the more I put myself out there online (where it was easy– less risk of rejection or making myself look silly/awkward), the more I began to grow as a person. I started networking with writers in real life and yes, I was nervous and felt funny at first, but I soon realized that when you have the writing world in common,
it’s INCREDIBLY EASY to talk for hours and feel comfortable. Now I constantly set up little lunches or go to signings to meet fellow authors, and I have a blast. I never would have done that without trying it out online first!

To start my networking, I just found a few modestly successful authors– particularly debut authors– who were just ahead of me in their careers. I read the blogs they read (on LJ, it would be their “friends” page) and started commenting here and there. I launched my blog and put myself out there…and soon those people commented on my blog too. Some of my strongest writer friendships began in 2006 when I was a nobody.

If you go in truly looking to make friends and be a part of things, it grows pretty organically.

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Do you enjoy networking?

QOTW: Character Descriptions

3 Dec


This week, the question comes from Marina, who asks:

Is there a right or a wrong way to describing characters?

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Um… No. There’s definitely no wrong way to describe a character! It’s up to you, the writer. 🙂

I think one of the most important things to consider when describing a characters is WHO is doing the describing. From whose point of view are we seeing the description? The way character A sees and describes character B says LOADS about character A.

For example, a generic description would be: “Mary is tall.”

But how does Mary see herself? “Gawd, I’m tall — like Amazonian tall. When I grew up all the kids asked if I played basketball. I hated that question. Hated it.”

How does Philip see Mary? “Philip watched her across the waiting room and wiped his hands against his khakis. The woman stood out, but it wasn’t her height that caught his eye. It was the way she carried herself — shoulders back, chin high. She was poised. Confident. The kind of woman he would love to talk to, but who would make him feel shitty about himself. Yeah…the kinda woman he could only admire from afar.”

See how much those descriptions tell about the point of view characters?

The Newest LTWF Contributor!

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Susan gave some amazing examples! But I disagree, I do think there are wrong ways to describe a character. You could describe them for three paragraphs, for example, and turn them into the physical version of what you want to be yourself. It’s not a character at that point, it’s a Mary Sue. Plus all that description is boring. Never let your character descriptions go on too long, because it’s a sure way to have someone call Mary Sue.

You could also try too hard to be unique and use funky metaphors in describing your characters. “Selma had the stable personality of a table.” Um, what? “Allan’s moods could spike like a sparrow twirling in the fall sky.” Fail.

Worst of all, like Susan said, you could tell instead of show. “Catherine had a fiery temper, but also possessed the gentle coyness of a kitten. When she wanted.” Those types of descriptions should always be apparent through their actions. You shouldn’t have to say them.

-The Writer Condensing Three Books Into One

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There may not be a “wrong” way to describe a character, but there are “better” ways…

Take these examples:

Anna came in the door. She was taller than any girl Mark had ever seen, with short blonde hair that reached right below her chin and brown eyes. She wore a sweater with black and white stripes and dark slacks, giving her an air something between dressed up and comfortable. Peeking out from beneath her slacks were a pair of scuffed sneakers. She was thin, too, and haggard looking, as if she hadn’t slept in far too long. She wore no make-up to try and disguise this.

“Had a long day?” Mark said, smiling at her.

“Isn’t it obvious?” she said, clearly in a bad mood.

OR

Anna came in the door. Mark stood to wave her over, and she acknowledged him with a slow nod. Her eyes seemed dull, and she walked slowly, as if she were in three inch heels instead of just scuffed up sneakers.

“Had a long day?” Mark said, smiling at her. She slid into the booth across from his, trying unsuccessfully to arrange her long legs so they were comfortable. Finally, she just cursed loudly and stuck them out into the aisle.

“Did you have to pick such a hole-in-the-wall place?” she snapped. She struggled out of her sweater, revealing a rather ragged T-shirt underneath. It contrasted rather amusingly with her formal black slacks. “It’s like a furnace in here. And the kitchen smells like a rat hole.”

“Well, the food’s good,” Mark said. “And you need to eat more–“

“I eat plenty,” Anna said.

“–and sleep more. And just all around relax. Try brushing your hair, maybe?”

Anna made a face at him and jerked her fingers through her short, blonde hair. “Thank you, Mother.”

The second example integrates the description into the story much better. The first block of description slams the story to a stop in order to info dump. The second allows the story to continue. Now, I didn’t actually HAVE a story to continue with this snippet, so the plot doesn’t actually go anywhere, but it does allow Mark and Anna’s personalities to come through a little better.

So I guess to sum things up–spread out your description!! Let your characters’ actions be linked to your description 🙂

The Writer Revising to go on Submissions!

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I think how much or little characters are described is pretty subjective and up to the author. Personally, I like very little description of appearance — it bores me, so I tend not to include too much of it. Usually, I’ll only describe what people are wearing when it’s weird/significant, otherwise I tend to think too much detail bogs down the story.

Despite this personal preference, in the end, I agree with Susan that there isn’t necessarily a ‘wrong’ way to go about it, although I also agree with Kat that it’s usually best to spread out your description. But maybe you like chunkier descriptions, and maybe you can select all the right details to make those two paragraphs worth reading. Some people can pull that off. It all depends on the way you write, in my opinion.

Unless, of course, you’ve written one of those dreaded character-stares-at-self-in-mirror-and-analyses-every-detail-of-their-face. To be clear, I’m not against mirror scenes being used to describe characters, although some would claim it’s a cliche. I just think it’s unrealistic for a character to ramble about their appearance in a mirror for three paragraphs, or so. I mean, surely they’ve seen themselves before, so their appearance isn’t quite that noteworthy?

The Writer on Submissions

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The answers above have covered just about everything! I can only add one little pearl about character description. I wish I could remember who deserves the credit for this, but unfortunately, I read it a long time ago. But once, reading through a handbook for screenwriters, I came across a comparison of two ways to describe a character. The first went something like this:

The man was short and stocky, with a barrel chest and a look of durability in his stout frame.

The second went like this:

He was a fireplug of a man.

I try to remember this example when I find myself describing my characters too literally. The second example is much more visual, and reflects much more accurately the way a person thinks when they take in a person for the first time.

-The Writer Working on a New Novel

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Aramis Nightshade Ebony Maufisant was 5’7″ with long midnight hair streaked with purple and pink highlights. Her eyes were naturally violet. She had knee-high leather boots, a ripped black t-shit with *obscure punk band*’s logo on the front, and hot pink fishnet fingerless gloves…

I’m going to say there is a wrong way to describe characters, but everyone reading this is probably long past that stage. Nobody likes an info dump, and when it comes to long descriptions of appearance people tend to have even shorter attention spans. Of course, there are plenty of right ways to describe a character, including ones that put most of the information in one place, like the descriptions of Katniss in The Hunger Games. Up front descriptions do make it much easier to visualize a character immediately. But, I tend to prefer descriptions that are more woven into the rest of the story, mentions of eye and hair color here and there, heights referred in comparison to other characters or the furniture, and other characteristics revealed through interactions, that let me come up with more of my own idea of what a character is like.

-The Writer Querying

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How do YOU like to handle character descriptions?

QOTW: Character Chemistry

12 Nov


This week, the question comes from Ramani, who asks:

People keep talking about all this chemistry between two characters before for readers to believe they are actually in love. My question is… what do you consider chemistry?

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Great question. I think chemistry in real life is not the same as chemistry on the page… On the page I feel like it’s an undeniable attraction between characters, but there’s some HUGE reason they can’t be together. Maybe they hate each other (Pride & Prejudice), he wants to eat her (Twilight), she can’t be with him because they’re not “free” (Shakespeare in Love), or he’s the bad guy (Son of the Shadows).

When I’m writing character-chemistry, that’s how I approach it. Push/pull. Desire/obstacle.

The Newest LTWF Contributor!

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I agree with Susan. Chemistry most usually arises out of conflict, e.g. the characters want each other but something is in the way. In high school, it’s probably shyness and fear of rejection, so the characters moon at each other most of the book but never quite get up the courage to get together.

Chemistry can have a different meaning too, however. For example, well established couples can still have chemistry that stems from their mutual desire. Friends can have great chemistry as well. Chemistry in these cases is the energy that arises between two people when they interact.

-The Writer Condensing Three Books Into One

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For me, chemistry is more than just “OHMYGAWD he has the most gorgeous blue eyes and rock hard abs!”. It’s a chemistry between your character’s personalities. And yes, chemistry also involves the physical to some extent – but they don’t need to be so extreme or quite so superficial. Sometimes, you start to notice things like the size of someone’s hands, or how close they’re standing to you, or how nervous they make you – it doesn’t have to be the chiseled good looks or enormous breasts. And good chemistry will often involve a bit of tension – and conflict is one of the best ways to go about that. Because really, who wants to read about two people falling in love at first sight who live happily ever after without anything coming between them? No one. Everyone loves to see the unwanted chemistry, or the friendships that turn awkward, the enemies who can’t help but want one another. It’s cliché, but you can make it less cliché when you give your characters flaws and complex personalities.

Chemistry can also be when conversation flows naturally and easily between two people (be they friends, or rivals, or whatnot). It really depends on what kind of chemistry between characters you’re looking for – the chemistry between friends and family (or perhaps a lack thereof), or the chemistry that leads to a romantic relationship (between a boy and a girl, or two boys, or two girls). You’ll know when characters lack chemistry when dialogue and physical interactions fall flat.

The Writer in the Publishing Industry Working On Her First Novel!

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I’ve always thought of chemistry as what you have when two characters can’t ignore each other. They may believe they hate one another, or that they are completely indifferent, but the reader can see that something binds them. The old adage, “opposites attract” seems to apply to a lot of fictional relationships with strong chemistry. Reiterating what Susan said, it can help quite a bit if the characters’ goals are at odds.

The Writer on Submissions!

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What’s YOUR definition of chemistry?

QOTW: Favorite Magic System?

15 Oct


This week, the question comes from tymcon, who asks:

What was your favourite magic system in a book?

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Oh, I can hardly pick…if pressed, I guess I’d have to say the one in the Bartimaeus Trilogy. I love how “magic” in that world is really done by all sorts of demons, which are invisible to regular people. Only magicians can see them using special lenses, and they control these demons using pentacles and such, making them do their will. Then, to regular people, it seems like the magicians are doing all the work! It was all quite fascinating, and I loved it!

My second favorite would be the bells in the Abhorsen Trilogy. Music and magic always seem to go well together in my mind!

-The Writer Who Just Signed With A Literary Agent

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The one in Garth Nix’s ABHORSEN trilogy, of course!! The necromancer’s use of bells, and how even pipes and barks are used to control magic creates an intricate system of magic that is inventive, original, and wonderful (without being too confusing). The bells all had not only their own distinct sounds or purposes, but their own functions (Ranna, the smallest of bells and therefore the one with the highest ringing and lightest ringing sound is the Sleepbringer – and there’s no way you can say that isn’t the coolest thing ever). And the charter marks add to the wonderful world that Nix created, where not only is sound used as magic, but so are visual symbols. I may or may not have dreamed that I had a charter mark on my very own forehead, or pretended to draw one in front of me.

Also, the opposition of Free Magic and Charter Magic was something that added an extra layer of depth into the magic system of the Old Kingdom. He was able to give “forbidden” Free Magic a heightened sense of evil. And there is just such a great harmony in this magic system; I still find myself daydreaming about walking into Death with bells in hand (I mean, come on – walking INTO Death! Which has 9 precincts! Awesome!). Nix is just so amazing at including all of the senses in his writing. So magic is not just something to be seen, but something one can smell, taste, and hear (and is more than just chanting a few incantations).

-The Writer in the Publishing Industry Working on Her First Novel

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The magic used in Susan Cooper’s THE DARK IS RISING series! I was obsessed (and still am) with these books as a kid. The use of Arthurian legend, and Celtic and Norse mythology was incredible, and really aided in the magical background of the series. I remember reading the second book in the series, THE DARK IS RISING, and loving the idea of the six signs that, when used together, could repel The Dark. The Old Ones had the ability to jump through memories, freeze time, control the elements, and basically do the impossible. To collect certain artifacts, Will had to break through barriers of High Magic. The entire series, really, revolves around the combating magics of The Light and the Dark, and it’s woven into the story so seamlessly that it’s almost believable.

-The Writer Querying

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One of my favorite books is CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES, by British writer Penelope Farmer. The story centers around two girls in different times that continuously switch places. Although the means of the time travel is somewhat understood, it is far from predictable! Because the “magic” behind the central conflict is never fully explained, there is an inherent danger in relying on it. It’s impossible to know for certain when – or even if – the magic will happen again. At first read I felt frustrated by the fact that the mechanism wasn’t more fully defined, but then I realized it couldn’t be, since it was the randomness of the magic that created a large part of the conflict. No explanation, of course, is preferable to an explanation that isn’t convincing. Ultimately, I think it fit the story that the characters, and therefore the readers as well, never learned how the magic worked.

-The Writer Rewriting Her Novel

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I agree with Vanessa; Garth Nix’s ABHORSEN trilogy has a pretty unique magic system. However, I’m also a fan of THE GOLDEN COMPASS series… I loved the Golden Compass, which told the truth through different layers of symbols, and the subtle knife which could cut through dimensions. Pretty awesome.

However, my favorite magic systems are the ones where -this is really corny, I know- love makes all things possible. Kind of like in HARRY POTTER. At the last moment, when all hope is lost, the inherent goodness of the characters forces the positive energy of the universe to act and save them. I suppose I enjoy that kind of magic because I wish real life worked that way, that the good triumphed and evil always perished.

-The Writer Condensing Three Books Into One

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Ditto on the ABHORSEN trilogy being the most awesome magic system–and I agree with Savannah that HIS DARK MATERIALS has some pretty awesome magic as well. I also ADORE the magic system in Anne Bishop’s BLACK JEWELS TRILOGY–she has a complete hierarchy of magic that goes hand in hand with politics, and the magic itself is uber-destructive. And then there’s James Clemens’ BANNED AND THE BANISHED series, where the magic is just…beyond cool (and violent).

-The Writer With Her First Book Deal

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That’s a hard one! I love the magic system in HARRY POTTER; it’s just classic and fun, there’s a spell for everything, and it feels really organic and complete. Discworld’s magic is pretty great too. It’s so chaotic you never know what’s going to happen, except that it is probably going to be bad for Rincewind. I also think I’m going to have to read the ABHORSEN trilogy now since everyone keeps raving about it!

-The Writer Revising Between Queries

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Thirding ABHORSEN trilogy. Those books are awesome. I also really like the magic systems in the HARRY POTTER series, THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss (and it’s follow ups, which I’m eagerly awaiting), and in Tamora Pierce’s WILD MAGIC books, which I thought was pretty unique. And because I feel like it’s this strange, fun blend of science-fiction and fantasy concepts, the system ARTEMIS FOWL series by Eoin Colfer.

-The Newest LTWF Contributor

 

Do you have a favorite magic system?

QOTW: Do You Become Your Character?

24 Sep


This week, the question comes from Kairee-Anne, who asks:

Do you ever feel like you become your characters when and after you write about them?

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This question really made me think about what’s happening in my head when I’m writing. Do I ever feel like I AM the character? No. I’m still me. But I guess the closest approximation of what’s happening is that I’m like a computer running a program. I don’t become the program, I simply use it for a while.

-The Writer Converting Three Books Into One!

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I don’t think I ever feel like the characters I’m writing… but I do feel as though I begin to roleplay as them in my mind. And often I’ll find myself thinking, “What would Danae do?” or “How would Wen react?”.

-The Writer in Publishing Working On Her First Novel

 

 

 

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I definitely slip into a different “persona” for each story. Each story has a different mood/color scheme/feel to it. I don’t really “become” my character (that would be an interesting situation for my friends and family!), but I get in their heads very deeply, which means it can be hard for me to work seriously on more than one big story at once. I’m too deeply entrenched in the voice for each of my books for me to switch easily. However, this only lasts for as long as I’m actively writing/editing!

Often, if I’m trying to gain insight on a character, though, I either write present tense summaries of their past or journal entries from their point of view 🙂

-The Writer Who Just Signed With An Agent!

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I do “become” the character when I write to a certain extent. But usually only for the amount of time that I’m writing. Sometimes, though, a character’s emotion will stick with me and make me gloomy, happy, whatever. So, I don’t really become the character totally but there are elements of their experience that I take away.

-The Newest LTWF Contributor!

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I don’t know if I become the character so much as I become the mood of the story. Does that even make sense? I can’t really become the characters, but whatever the mood of that particular story is, I can slip into fairly easily. And, like Vee, it will stick with me beyond the time I spend writing. And honestly, it’s probably good I don’t become my characters since it seems that, lately, a lot of them are killers :-p

The Writer Who’s Loving Her Internship

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I’ve really struggled with this question, because my answer reveals an “Easter egg” that I hide in all my novels.  Without saying too much, let me just say this:  I have a name that I insert into every manuscript, and that character name is supposed to represent me.  Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect system.  My newest idea is a period piece, and since the name is contemporary, I’m going to have to tweak it, I guess, but I’ll try to keep it close enough that a very observant reader would catch it.  Also, all the characters that appear in the first draft don’t necessarily make it into the final draft, and I wouldn’t preserve a character I needed to eliminate just for the sake of keeping the name in the manuscript.  But I do always begin a story with a character who is meant to represent me in the world of the book.

-The Writer Out on Submissions

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I’ve never felt like I was the character, though when I write emotional scenes, I try to pull up those emotions in myself and analyze them so I know how to show that my characters are feeling the same thing. When I’m writing first person narratives it often feels like the character is telling me the story and even when I slip into her head, I’m not her, I’m just poking around.

-The Writer Revising Between Queries

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Oh, I definitely embrace my characters while I write about them. I mean, I’m obviously not going to go around assassinating people while I’m writing from Celaena’s POV in QUEEN OF GLASS, but I definitely channel her feelings, usually by acting out the scenes before/while I write them. I’ve always had a mirror either on or by my desk so I can study my expressions/movements. There’s one scene in QUEEN OF GLASS where Celaena is lying on the ground, half-dead–and you can bet good money that I spent about 30 minutes lying on the floor in front of my wall-sized/giant mirror, trying my best to put myself in her head. It sounds totally bonkers, I know.

Maybe I’m just unnaturally attached to my heroines, but if I have to write a particularly upsetting scene, I definitely feel their pain and anger. Those feelings can stay with me long after I’ve stopped writing for the day. I guess all of this craziness is just part of the fun of writing, right?

The Writer With Her First Book Deal

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Do YOU ever find yourself channeling your characters?