Monday, May 22, 2017

Writing Studies and Hero Lost Blog Tour Continues!

As I've been healing up from two surgeries, I've started to study the craft of writing more intentionally,

Chapter after Chapter by Heather Sellers is being discussed at Goodreads (since last week) with the IWSG Goodreads group and I found it to be a great read. I didn't agree with Sellers on all points, but I found that when I disagreed and took notes, I honed my own thoughts on writing to a fine edge. I do love most of the book and agreed with many of her thoughts and tips. I marked with pen and pencil, dog-eared for special places (nearly every page in certain chapters), and I did 70% of the exercises, which is pretty good for me with a writing craft book. I can see applying different exercises at different times in my writing life. While I read this book, I laughed, I thought, I snorted, I shook my head, I almost wept over one part, and I wrote. In short, it was wonderful.

I don't know what the next IWSG Goodreads book will be, but since I already have a copy of Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine, I'm working on that one. I actually started it midway through Chapter after Chapter because I needed a different approach for some of my current WIP. Think to Ink has some fantasy-friendly writing exercises that fit with The Greenling Chronicles (book 1 of a series). Levine's book also has good general writing advice and exercises found in her sections. I'm currently in her section on Character Building (chapters 4-9).

The one part that I keep coming back to from Chapter after Chapter is Chapter 21: Braids. I loved so much of the entire book, but this chapter hit me right in the gut of my current WIP. I needed this chapter and I keep referring back to it as I'm writing. I would love to share the whole chapter, but I know that is wrong, so I'll just give you a few bits here:

"Braided books (or articles or stories) are made up of three or four strands of storyline .... You tell three stories, bit by bit. The juxtapositions lend life and suprise, tension and drama. ... Things stay fresh and lively and manageable."

Oddly, I think I knew this by instinct (from reading) when I wrote Champion in the Darkness, but somehow I forgot it by the time I started writing the last few novels I've attempted. Last year's novel disaster still smarts. I never shared much of it because getting that far in a project and then dumping it is just painful - like an early romance just gone wrong. I think that my best parts of my Captain Wrath WIP include braids, but then somewhere in there, I lost the sense of them and end up with a snarl (fitting for the Captain, but not good for the novel). Although I do want to go back and unsnarl, or at least re-braid Captain, I'm determined to finish The Greenling Chronicles book 1 with a decent braided outline for the rest of the series before I return to the Captain's side.

With Greenling, I have Dunnie, the villain, and the writings of his family and friends. Ray's comics are an important piece but I can't draw so I'm hoping I can find a publisher that will be excited about combining text with comic book pages - at least in a one comic book page every chapter kind of way. I've also been tossing around the idea of including a "science and quest journal" from Dunnie's mom in this first book - she leaves him with his Gran so she can go on a bit of a quest and then she goes missing and leaves her journal behind.

I really want to include different types of imagery and text for this novel. That's one of my big ideas behind it - not a theme, as much as a hope to draw in more visual, artistic readers. I've met a handful of young readers this last year who prefer graphic novels to text novels and I would love to tackle a crossover graphic and textual novel style book for a MG to early YA age group.

Have you ever read a book that contained comic book or graphic novel elements? Am I biting off more than I can chew with my wild crossover idea?

Have you read Chapter after Chapter or another writing craft book lately?

Go Here for the IWSG Goodreads discussion.

Hero Lost - the Blog Tour is happening at these sites this week!
May 22 - Christine Rains - Review 
May 22 - Nick Wilford - Guest Post 
May 24 - Toi Thomas - Interview

18 comments:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I have one shelf of craft books that I've already read and consider keepers - my go-to's. I have another shelf of ones To Read - not sure which one I'll pick up next though. :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'll have to check this one out. I think picking things from all genres give a story some flavor.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's an interesting mix of genres. I say mix them anyway.

I've never agreed 100% with any writing book, but there is always enough there to get some new tidbits and tricks.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Madeline - I have that kind of mixture on my shelf, too. I've realized I read the "life and craft" type of writing book faster than just the "specific skill area" writing book. I probably should challenge myself to read more about specific skills.

Elizabeth - yes, I love that idea of a shelf having flavors! :)

Diane - Thanks for the encouragement!

Yolanda Renée said...

I love reading the latest on 'how to' then I just pray that some of it actually sticks longer than it took to read it.
Still a learner, always will be!

Hope you're healing well! Take care!

The Happy Whisk said...

Thank you for your nice words today. Here's to slaying the biggest dragon first. For me, it made everything else smmoother. Much healing your way. I love that you're learning as you get healed up. That is the best.

Cheers and boogie boogie.

M.J. Fifield said...

My niece was reading a book a while back that combined textual and graphic elements into one story. For the life of me, however, I cannot remember the same of it.

It can definitely be done. Have you ever heard of the novels "House Of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski, or "S." by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams? They combine all sorts of elements and truly make reading them an experience. They're so creative, it boggles my mind.

cleemckenzie said...

That is such an intelligent idea, Tyrean--taking notes where you disagree and then looking into why. Glad you're enjoying the Goodreads discussion.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - glad you're healing ... look after yourself. Glad you're stimulating the brain though with your 'research' ... sounds interesting ...

The two books MJ has suggested sound very interesting ...

Good luck with all you can do ... cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like graphic novels!
Braiding - not so good at it. I'd tie myself in a knot.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I haven't read a book on craft for awhile. I like the idea of braiding. Sounds like it can add depth and interest to a story.

Karen Lange said...

I haven't read this book, but it sounds like a great reference and encouragement. Appreciate your thoughts about it, Tyrean!

Erika Beebe said...

The idea of combining graphics and writing is a bit scary to me even though I have background in both. I admire you for wanting to crossover and I think it could potentially be huge. As far as the book, I haven't read it but I do love with my own two sources :) I wish you the best Tyrean :)

Lynda R Young said...

With shortened attention spans, your crossover idea is a good one.

Heather R. Holden said...

Best of luck with The Greenling Chronicles! The mix of graphics and text reminds me a bit of Queenie Chan’s work. I've only had a chance to read some of her comics so far, but she has also released novels that she describes as "comics-prose." Probably not exactly what you have in mind for your WIP, but here are some articles she's written about it, in case some of it's helpful for you!

Stephanie Faris said...

I've found we need to bite off more than we can chew occasionally. That's how we push ourselves!

krystal jane said...

I think the crossover idea sounds great! Go for it! We can just about always handle more than we think. Challenges are great for our writing skills. ^_^

Chemist Ken said...

I think my most recent craft book is "Creating Character Arcs" by K.M. Weiland. Still working my way through it.