Category Archives: On Writing

The Secondary Character

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately since I have a stress fracture in my foot and the way my uterus is positioned is causing a lot of sciatic nerve issues. I can’t be as active as I was earlier in my pregnancy, I’ve been stuck laying down a lot so this has led to more reading.

I’ll admit I have a soft spot for silly historical mystery type books (things in the vein of the Da Vinci Code) and lately I’ve been reading an author named Steve Berry. I’m not gonna say these are the greatest books ever written because they’re not. They have a lot of cliche and the occasional ridiculous and unnecessary romance side plot but they are entertaining. One reason I’ve been reading them is looking at the way he develops his characters, the main characters are always very three dimensional. They’ve got a history and they are obviously well developed in his mind. The other characters are often not, they’re a lot more one dimensional and that is what leads to a lot of the cliche and some of the silliness in the books. When the characters your main character interacts with are underdeveloped it makes their interactions have to be somewhat simple and cliched.

Some of the secondary characters he utilizes are The Ex Wife. She is predictably bitchy and very rarely is she a sympathetic character. Then there’s the Older Friend/Mentor/Father Figure. This character is almost always wealthy and either has no children or lost their children when they were young so the main character is a sort of replacement. And finally there’s the Mysterious Attractive Other Woman. She’s younger, extremely attractive in that unrealistic supermodel sort of way and also is stereotypically bitchy until the main character saves her or outsmarts her.

I read books like this 1. because they’re fast, they distract my mind and they are entertaining and 2. as a writer who doesn’t want to create cliche characters and cliche interactions between my characters. It forces me to go back over my own writing and rethink how my characters interact and whether or not a secondary character is just a stock character or if I have a fully fleshed out idea of who they are and why they are doing what they’re doing.

I’ve found I have a lot of editing to do, which I guess is a good thing. More stuff to do while I can’t do anything other than lay down.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Novel): A review

I recently read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (TGwtDT), I was surprised to find that I liked it. I’m a picky reader, I tend to avoid stuff that I can find on a shelf in a Wal-Mart, mostly because a lot of that stuff is just crap. I want to read writers that can tell a story and create characters that are believable and relatable, not just churn out some crap that will sell to the masses and get a movie made based on it (i.e. Twilight series).

I was very hesitant to read TGwtDT because it was “critically acclaimed” and Hollywood felt the need to make it’s own version of it. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t put it down (or actually, close my laptop as I was using my Nook app). The characters are complex and make you want to keep reading to find out what makes them tick. The story is layered and interesting, it keeps you guessing. Larsson manages to keep two distinct plotlines interwoven and connected. It doesn’t get bogged down by the sheer amount of details, which is a surprise. One other aspect of this book I was wary about is that it’s a translation and it takes place in a country I know absolutely nothing about. I didn’t feel like I was an outsider though, it’s written in a way that makes the reader feel familiarity even though it’s completely unfamiliar (at least for most American readers).

When I first started reading I didn’t understand why the book was titled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the character of Lisbeth Salander isn’t exactly what I would normally consider the main character. However, it’s clear by the end of the book that she is the focus of the series. She is an interesting character, at times you relate to her and at times you want to hit her with a brick. I was completely enthralled with her, I wanted to learn more about her and understand what makes her tick.

I can now understand why such a big deal was made over who would play her in the American version of the movie, this is a character that can make a career. She is not a character for a faint hearted actress. I’ve watched the Swedish version of the movie and I love the actress they chose to play Lisbeth, she’s perfect.

Enough about the movie, I can honestly say this is one of the best books I’ve read. It gets under your skin and makes you think about life and the people around you, which to me is the goal of any good book. I now must finish the rest of the series.


Pause

I decided to take a bit of a break from poetry in order to focus my effort on some of my unfinished stories. I have quite a few and I’d like to be able to have at least one finished relatively soon.

I’ve noticed a problem with my fiction writing, I have a tendency to start off with a short story idea and as I write it just gets massive and I get overwhelmed with it. I need to re-teach myself how to create a tight, compact plot. I’m going to start working on some micro-short stories and posting them up here, I appreciate constructive criticism =)


The Prodigal Writer

I took a bit of a break from writing, I do this from time to time so I can find new inspiration and make sure the voice I’m using when I write is my own. As soon as I decided to take this little break my whole life turned upside down. Normally I bitch and moan and complain about it but this time it’s exactly what I wanted, what I needed. Everything I thought I knew and thought I could rely on just fell apart and out of it something else was born.

One thing I love about being a writer is that my writing is constantly evolving and changing as my life evolves and changes. I can look back on my writing and know exactly what was going on in my life and I can see how my writing has grown and gotten better as I’ve bumbled along through life.

I’ve learned I like to write poems with imagery in mind, lately I’ve been playing with a more staccato rhythm, rather than the long flowing pieces I’ve done in the past. I like the idea of using fractured images to create one big image. I suppose in someways I’m creating a collage with my writing, which is really kind of funny because I used to really hate collage. Lately I’ve felt like a collage, all these little pieces I’m slowly putting back together in order to rebuild myself and make a completed image.

I didn’t realize how much my writing has been reflecting my inner feelings until I took this break and really looked at my work and myself. I’m lifting my self imposed hiatus and I’m ready to experiment with both my writing and my life.


The Wise Man’s Fear- A review

Ok so a few weeks ago I wrote a little review on the Name of the Wind, well since then I have finished (twice) the second in that series The Wise Man’s Fear. I REEEEEAAAAALLLLLLYYYYY enjoyed that book. Like the first novel this one is extremely well written, however, unlike the first novel it lacks the slow spots and repetition characteristic of a first novel. Which is a good thing because this was his second novel.

The Wise Man’s Fear consumed me, I couldn’t put it down (so to speak, I was reading it on my Nook app). The plot does not follow the expected routes and the characters remained complex and interesting. The novel jumps ahead of many others in its genre in terms of plot development and character development.

I highly recommend these books to anyone who enjoys a good read, even if fantasy is not your genre give these a chance. They will remind you why reading is such an enjoyable pastime and why writing is such a skill. The way Rothfuss is able to weave his complex and interesting plot is nothing short of miraculous. I am officially a fan.


The Name of the Wind

Well since this was supposed to be a blog pertaining to my writing lets get back to that, shall we?

I read a book a friend of mine has been bugging me to read for a few years now. It’s called The Name of the Wind and it’s by Patrick Rothfuss. I had tried to read the book a couple of years ago but just couldn’t get into it. I tried again and to my surprise, really enjoyed it.

Technically speaking, it’s not perfect. But then, very few books are. It drags in some places and seems repetitive in others, but overall it’s a very well done book in a genre in which there are very few well done books (Fantasy). It reminded me of several books all at once. I’ll explain each one in turn.

First, The Lord of the Rings. I think it’s impossible to write a fantasy novel without there being some similarities to LOTR. Unlike some books this was not an overt reminder, more of the feel of the book. The overall tone was similar, rather than it being a rip off of the story of the LOTR.

Second, The Dark Tower series, more specifically the Gunslinger himself. The adult Kvothe (main character) reminded me a lot of the Gunslinger, which is a rarity for me. Very few authors can match Stephen King’s ability to make characters really live and breathe. Kvothe lives and breathes, he’s a fully fleshed character. Complex and interesting, versus flat and somewhat boring. He is relatable even though he is very much himself.

Third, Ender’s Game. Young Kvothe reminds me of Ender, a lot. He’s got that same sort of intelligence, though Kvothe is less internal than Ender.

Despite being reminded of several different books and authors (or perhaps because of) I still find The Name of the Wind to be an exceptionally written book. Patrick Rothfuss weaves a complex story in a way that makes it seem alive. His descriptions are quite possibly my favorite part of the book. He goes into these descriptions of people and things and you can just get lost in them. I’ll definitely be rereading this book from a more technical stand point in order to see what I can take from his writing to apply to my own.

So thank you Kim. And hurry and send me the next one!!


Something Good

I have been published!

http://www.madswirl.com/content/poetryforum.html