Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Exile Chapter 5 Draft 4

I've finished drat 4 of Exile Chapter 5 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

There were a lot of small edits made to this chapter, mostly clearing up some of the history that Silmera thinks about as she running and fighting. Despite being mostly action, this chapter is where you get a lot of exposition on the history of the world through Silmera's thoughts. The trick to doing this is to tell things that have happened in teh world's past without sounding like I'm sitting down and writing out the world's history for you (ala tolkien) and instead making it seem like events that are currently happening are reminding the character of things that happened in the past. As cool as the history of your world might seem to you when you're writing a story, it's hellishly boring for the reader to jut sit there and read pages nd pages of it when they really don't need to know even half of what you've written. You have to walk a thin line, giving enough information that things make sense and the world seems real, without boring people to death. Mostly you play iceberg with people. You hint at things, like the tip of an iceberg above the surface of the water, and keep the bulk of what you've come up with for the world's history to yourself below the surface. Other changes include cleaning up the language to make it easier to read and the meaning of the words as clear as possible. I have this problem where I try to make things sound all flowery and poetic, but then I come back and read it and think to myself "wtf was I trying to say here...?"

Another change in this chapter is the beginning of some major changes in the way that the characters speak. For the first few drafts I have the characters say what needs to be said the way I would say them, pretty much. It makes all of the characters seem kind of like they've got the same personality, and it's hard to tell which one is speaking without dialog tags (he said, she said, etc). In this draft one of the changes I'm making is on how each of the characters talk. Each character needs to have a distictive way of speaking that is different from every other character, and reflects their personailty. You should always be able to tell who is talking without me telling you who is talking. In this chapter I started with Silmera. I've decided that she is going to be sarcastic and foul mouthed, which is perfect for her personailty. She didn't really have much in the way of dialog before this chapter, but I did try to add a little sarcasm to her earlier on.

An example for this in my previous work is in Beyond the Lost Horizon. Each character speaks in a different way, and to cut down on the word count I removed most of the dialog tags, because they're not needed since all of the characters speak differently. Brand basically talks like I do. Raven talks like a hick, often leaving the last letter off of words, saying ya instead of you, making up weird contractions like wha'da'ya or who'da and such. Temari talks to everyone in the sort of exaggerated way a mother might talk to a very young child. Kriss talks with perfect grammar at all times and never uses contractions, she sometimes uses very large words that no one else understands, but usually tries to dumb down her speach for commoners. Behindred talks like everything he sees amuses him and makes him angry at the same time, often gleefully growling the ends of his sentences, and pretty much goes over the top in every single line of dialog. Tristam talks like he's not sure what he's saying is right, and is nervous someone will call BS on him. etc etc etc

The personality of every one of my characters is usually based on someone that i know in real life. This also helps in writing out distinctive dialog, because all I have to do is think to myself, how would this person say this.

When I first thought to myself that i wanted to write books, way back two decades or so ago, I thought hey, write out a cool story and taht's it. I didn't realize at the time how much work you have to do to plot everything out, make all of the characters distictive individuals and a whole bunch of other junk. Taking many writing classes in college helped, but mostly I've figured most of it out fumbling through on my own. It really helps that I'm able to keep track of pretty much everything I need for a book like Exile in my head without too much in the way of notes. I've always sucked at taking notes, and using them when i had them.

1 comment:

  1. Easier to get a character's voice from people you know.. It's great being able to take bits and pieces from certain people and create a conglomeration into one person...

    Noticed the hick voice in BTLH...and the dark/light personas of the people that pass through.. Very cool.