I’m still not even halfway looking back at my old notebook…
But I’ll make this my last musings on its contents.
One thing that’s surprised me straight away is that I originally was going to title the last in the Angel and Actors series novels, Drama Queens and Demonic Beings. So glad I didn’t.
There are, however, a list of one liners for that project which was finally titled Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes. All of the following, I’m sure I didn’t use. And I can see why.
“How do you know if you have character?”
“When you realise the empire is not worth saving.”
“But you weren’t born into money?”
“No. I actually have character.”
There are many pages of notes for this novel, followed by an idea for a romance titled Lost in Music, with the first paragraph written. I’m glad I left that behind.
Experimenting with Science Fiction.
I did a one on one feedback session for TAYLeR, finally released as Social Media Central. It was centred around pitching, and it was here that I was encouraged to change the title. I was also encouraged to pitch within Australia as the US was too large a market.
It’s interesting that early on I had a tagline for it – Where social conditioning begins. Perfect as a concept for writing it. I used “Murder is only a keystroke away” when I asked my fellow authors on social media for a tagline.
More writing advice
Much later in the notebook are jottings from my time at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans, including notes from a session with Felice Picano on the secret to a lasting career. The first point is – This is an endurance contest. So true.
Strangely, there’s not many notes from that session.
But now I’m getting to the part I really wanted to share with you.
Pixar Secrets. This was from an online article with advice for scriptwriters of Pixar movies.
- You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
- You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
- Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
- Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
- Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
- What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
- Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
- When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
- Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognise it before you can use it.
- Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
- Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likeable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
- Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
- If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
- Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
I originally was going to go through this notebook with a fine tooth comb, but there’s too much to report that I realised is not as interesting second hand. But for me it was a lovely way to revisit my writing career thus far.
Next week I have a real treat. I have a Q and A session with book cover artist, Natasha Snow. Join me then.