Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Writing Book Review - Successful Novel Plotting

There's one thing I find frustrating. Well actually I find many things frustrating, but "Successful Novel Plotting" by Jean Saunders only hits on one of them. What is this thing? Books that are jam packed with good advice, but which I find the tone too dry to absorb properly.

And that's exactly what I find with this book. It's annoying because in many ways it does everything right. It's well organised, exhaustive and the writer acknowledges that everyone writes differently and attempts to deal with that. Taken as a road map to organising your plot it can only help.

But to me it was also boring. The tone did not engage me at all, so I had to keep stopping. Even now I feel like I haven't properly got to grips with all the advice in it simply because I found it hard to focus on. There's nothing wrong with the way it's written per se, it just didn't suit me. Even with the problems I have with it I'm sure it's going to be very useful to me. I suspect many other people would find the tone and style fine - it's a matter of taste.
This is a book that I'd suggest find in a bricks and mortar store if you're considering it. That way you can look and see if you get on with the tone.

It's also a hard one to rank because of this. It's a good book that I don't like due to what i can see are taste issues. I'm giving it 3 stars because of this.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Quick Link Post and writing update

Okay, I confess, I'm at a bit of a loss what to blog about today. So I was nosing round the web looking for inspiration and I came upon this wonderful post about writing scenes over at Charge of the Write Brigade. It strikes me as a really useful piece, so I thought I'd link it here.

I've started doing some preliminary work on some scene ideas myself as part of my outline for the same story I've been doing the weird worldbuilding for. And I've been researching wind turbines of all things.

I'll try and do a proper post tomorrow, but having skipped yesterday I didn't want to miss another post.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Beginnings are delicate times

I just invented a new post tag "brainstorming ramble". A blog post in which I ramble about writing issues I have in order to clarify them to myself.

Especially when you're writing fantasy with a non-real world setting and you're torn between not indulging in back-story and infodumps, and not confusing your readers. Ifodumps bore readers and the leave, but confused readers leave as well. It's about balance I suppose.

The problem is sorting out what the reader absolutely has to know in order to not be confused into putting the book down. This is what I'm struggling with at the moment. And I don't really have the answers. The initial setting is a former eco-holiday park that's become a kind of post-apocalyptic refugee camp/frontier town because it's still got electricity and similar. Why society collapsed doesn't need explaining yet (especially since exactly what happened is a mystery to the people in the story as well), but I do need to make it clear that it's collapsed. I'm only outlining at the moment, but my mind is looking at the synopsis and going 'how the heck do I show that?'.

I suspect a leap of faith is in order. I'll just jump into the story and trust that it will be obvious from context if I do it right. It's not like the opening scene doesn't establish that weird shit is going on anyway.

Yeah, hopefully that'll work.