Author Blog

Author Blog

For the latest news and musings on the writer’s craft from Patricia Bray, read her not-so-secret diaries.

 

 

 

 

Everything you always wanted to know about sidekicks, Part 2

Posted by on Oct 14, 2012 in craft | 1 comment

Everything you always wanted to know about sidekicks, Part 2

This summer I was a guest instructor at Odyssey (odysseyworkshop), where I focused on the role of sidekicks as part of an overall discussion of characterization. The first half of the lecture was posted as a podcast last month, and they’ve just made the second half available on their website here.

Podcast #32: In this podcast, the second of two parts, Patricia Bray explains how the sidekick’s characteristics can balance those of the protagonist, or contrast with those of the protagonist. She discusses the requirements for a good sidekick, and describes how the sidekick’s character arc can complement or contrast with the protagonist’s character arc. She explains the difference between a sidekick/protagonist story and a story with multiple protagonists. She also lists some of the very useful purposes a sidekick can serve in a story, such as making your protagonist more believable, providing an embodiment of the protagonist’s motivation, and serving as the external conscience of protagonist. She also reviews the various mistakes an author can make in creating a sidekick. Patricia discusses sidekicks in short stories as well as novels, and explains when you might want to use the sidekick’s point of view. You can find part 1 of Patricia’s discussion of sidekicks in Podcast #31.

Secret fact about fantasy writers

Posted by on Oct 13, 2012 in craft | Comments Off on Secret fact about fantasy writers

Secret fact about fantasy writers

The reason why we write sequels is the sheer number of things that have to be named when you’re starting a story set in a new world. Character names are bad enough, but everything has to be named–countries, cities, rivers, mountains, seas, monetary systems, religions, governing organizations and political factions, the lists are endless.

Mystery writers have it easy. šŸ˜€

Writing in dog years

Posted by on Oct 13, 2012 in craft | Comments Off on Writing in dog years

Writing in dog years

I’ve spent the past week working on a synopsis, which has been behaving in the way they typically do. Over this morning’s coffee, I found myself considering why it was that writing a six page synopsis is so much harder than writing an entire chapter of a novel.

And then it hit me. A synopsis is to a novel as dog years are to human years. Each page of a synopsis carries the weight of fifty or more pages of story. A superdense form of prose, each paragraph of a synopsis must do the work of at least a scene, if not an entire chapter. It’s as if I went to do my normal workout only to find that someone had swapped out my five pound handweights for fifty pounders. No wonder it’s taking me so long to make progress.

The important thing is that I am making progress, so rather than beating myself up over having created only five good pages, I should recognize that these five pages are worth many times their weight in ordinary prose.

Now all I need is more coffee, and I’m ready to tackle that one last page.

Oh, and if someone wanted to return the hour that was stolen from me last night, I wouldn’t say no to that either.

My people are a simple people

Posted by on Oct 13, 2012 in craft | Comments Off on My people are a simple people

My people are a simple people

Thanks to a friend who introduced us via email, I met up with two area sf&f writers last night. It was fun to hang out and talk shop, and the chosen venue of a local brewpub was ideal.

My people are a simple people– we like to talk about writing, craft, what’s going round the internets, the latest sci-fi movies, the endless submission/rejection/submit again game. And, oh, yes. Beer.

We found out that we’d all been at Boskone last month, and even had mutual friends there, but hadn’t met up. Next time I go to a con, I’m wearing a shirt that says “New Hampshire resident” on both sides, to make it easier for fellow Granite Staters to spot me.

Hopefully we can do this again soon. Among the many things I miss about Binghamton is the loss of my local group of writers. The internet is a lifeline, cons are great fun, but there’s nothing like being able to regularly meet face to face.

Now if I could only convince jpsorrow that he needs to move to a New England college town….

Revisions: when is enough enough?

Posted by on Oct 13, 2012 in craft | Comments Off on Revisions: when is enough enough?

Revisions: when is enough enough?

MIND MELD asked a group of authors: As a reader and as a writer, how do you feel about the practice of revising books after they have been published (or at least have reached the ARC stage)? How much revision goes into your writing process? (How clean are your drafts)?

Click here to read what I had to say on the topic, along with Lucy Snyder, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jon Sprunk, Christopher Golden, Rhonda Eudaly, Leah Petersen, Linda Nagata, and Deborah J. Ross.

Everything you always wanted to know about sidekicks, Part 1

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in craft | Comments Off on Everything you always wanted to know about sidekicks, Part 1

Everything you always wanted to know about sidekicks, Part 1

This past summer at the Odyssey Workshop I discussed the role of sidekicks in fiction, as part of an overall discussion of character-driven writing. The talk went over so well that they turned it into a two part podcast. The first part is now up on their website here.

Once I got past the kneejerk reaction to hearing my own voice (OMG! Hyperactive squirrel!) I was pleased with how it turned out.