01 02 03 Amorina Rose Writes: Making Lasagna at the computer instead of the oven 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Making Lasagna at the computer instead of the oven

7th November 2015

I have quite a few favourite authors that I have managed to collect in my reading travels.  Some of them are really great at offering advice to the new writer.  Sometimes this advice can be so simple and yet so incredibly helpful.  As writers we are so close to the narrative that we often overlook things because they are in our heads.  Sounds funny, doesn’t it?  It’s true though.  The lines for me are so definitely in existence, in my head that is, that often I don’t see that I have failed to let the reader know that bit of information by putting it on paper.  It happens in many of my scenes despite how hard I try to do it right. 

Writing is very hard work.  I am now working on the next novel in my series and have so much to consider, not the least being the ability to maintain the continuity of my world-building.  Rebecca Zanetti (don’t you just love that name, yes I know I have a little bias towards all things Italian) says that writing a good scene is pretty much the equivalent of baking a good lasagna.  Now I am also Italian so you would think this would come naturally?  Sometimes it does but layering is an art, an art that also encompasses world-building. 

I have just sent off a submission and though I stressed and checked everything a million times I found on my last frantic read through I had still managed to mess up in a few places.  How did I know I had, or rather why did I look even somewhat unconsciously through the manuscript?  The answer to that is I remembered reading this article by Rebecca and it played on my mind so I dug it up and it came in very handy for some last minute adjustments. You can have some exciting and interesting action mixed with some really clever dialogue and still find something’s missing. What you may well ask? The feelings or thoughts of the characters are missing, and without these the reader can’t grasp through to the insight beyond the actions.  Without this the connection is jarred, even broken. 
Basically what she says is that we need to layer these feelings to round out the scene.  For example if you are talking about a room the reader doesn’t care so much about what the room looks like as much as the reader cares about what the room means to the character…and what he or she sees because what a character notices reveals more about the character. This makes a lot of sense, right?  The more a reader gains that insight into the character the bigger the connection to the character and hence the book. Duh! So simple and yet...!
Rebecca Zanetti also has some very good words of wisdom when it comes to building our worlds, something vital when writing a series. I am hoping my technology skills hold out here as I am hoping to link directly to a guest blog she did a while ago.  My novels are contemporary and bridge two countries, countries I am very familiar with but it has a host of characters who interact in different ways and in different places.  To keep it real for my audience I do need to build a world that is believable and it isn’t easy.  Again M/s Zanetti was most enlightening in this guest blog for Kendall Grey’s ‘Life is But a Dream in late 2011 with the following five mistakes not to make:
1) Making the world waaaaaaay too complex right off the bat. Keep in mind your reader doesn’t live in your head. (Sure, lots of other people and voices do…at least in mine.) The reader might not understand how the shifters relate to the vampires who relate to the demons and the witches—not to mention the humans. Start off with the important stuff and maybe hint at later information, but don’t dump it all in there at the beginning.
2) Forgetting to look ahead. This is a similar issue to number one above. If we give all of the rules in book one, they may hold us back in book two. Try to leave yourself some wiggle room—be able to create new rules in the next book. You’ll get new ideas, and you don’t want to be held back.
3) Forgetting that even the characters may be new to the world. I’ve read so many contest entries where the normal human characters fail to react in a believable way. For instance, if somehow I found myself transported to a new planet in a new galaxy, I wouldn’t just think, “Wow. Pretty trees.” I’d think, “What the *!@$ just happened and where am I?” Our characters have to react just like we would in such a situation.
4) Forgetting to relate our new world with the world the reader lives in. Paranormal creatures need humanistic flaws, dreams, hopes, and problems for the reader to cheer for them. If we’re asking the reader to suspend reality (which we often are, and that’s so much fun), we have to give the reader something to hold on to. While most of us haven’t been on another planet, we all can relate to what a moon or moons look like. While many of us don’t understand genetic research, we can visualize what the laboratory looks like where the research is going on. If your heroes are vampires…do they have family issues? Sure. Why not?
5) Holding ourselves back. As a reader, I can tell when an author pulled back. Sure, it’s hard putting those bizarre ideas we have out there. I mean, some of my stuff is just different. In my Dark Protector Series, the male vampires in the royal family actually have a brand on their hand that transfers during sex—only with their mate. I mean, come on! A brand. No way would I have written that had I stopped to think about my first grade teacher reading it. I pretend that every scene I write will only be read by me. Then when it’s finished, I let my editor worry about if I’ve gone too far. I haven’t yet…but I’m still hoping.
What I loved about this is that Zanetti is a paranormal favourite of mine and yet her advice is not genre limited and it is so simple to understand. Suspending reality occurs in the normal world too and if we want our reader to believe us we have to consider what we say.  I repeat writing is hard work but I also have to say no feeling has come close to how I felt when I sent my novel off the other night.  It wasn’t the first time I had submitted but it was the first time I had beta readers, some intense editing and some ghastly accompanying forms which caused all manners of stress but are oh so necessary, and so this time I felt really professional.  Whatever the outcome the satisfaction of completing something after so much hard work was phenomenal.

Please follow my link Barbarina The land of Oz on the left hand side of my blog to Amazon and have a look at some of Rebecca Zanetti’s books.  They are very entertaining and have never let me down in enjoyment yet.  Happy Reading!



Labels: , , , , , ,

35 36 37 38