Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What Dr. Evil Teaches Writers

How many of you have seen Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery? For those of you who haven't it's a comedy movie about a spy. Towards the end, Austin is caught in his enemy's lair. His enemy, Dr. Evil, wants Austin to die a slow death involving sharks with laser beams. Dr. Evil's son, Scott Evil, is the rational person in this scene. The scene between Dr. Evil, Austin Powers and Scott Evil is quite funny. Here is a portion of the conversation I found off of IMDB.
This scene starts with Scott finding his father feeding Austin Powers.

Dr. Evil: Scott, I want you to meet daddy's nemesis, Austin Powers
Scott Evil: What? Are you feeding him? Why don't you just kill him?
Dr. Evil: I have an even better idea. I'm going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.

Shortly after this part of the conversation gets to where you really notice how rational Scott is.

Dr. Evil: All right guard, begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism.
[guard starts dipping mechanism]
Dr. Evil: Close the tank!
Scott Evil: Wait, aren't you even going to watch them? They could get away!
Dr. Evil: No no no, I'm going to leave them alone and not actually witness them dying, I'm just gonna assume it all went to plan. What?
Scott Evil: I have a gun, in my room, you give me five seconds, I'll get it, I'll come back down here, BOOM, I'll blow their brains out!
Dr. Evil: Scott, you just don't get it, do ya? You don't.

I love Dr. Evil. He's funny and surprisingly likable, but no real enemy will leave you alone in a tank to escape. Scott Evil on the other hand has it right. Just shoot him and get it over with.
I've noticed a lot in books that the villain will explain his motives or do unnecessary things like Dr. Evil did and leave your hero alone to escape. But how likely is that? More likely a real villain will be like Scott and go for the easiest way possible. Why go to the trouble of having a shark pit and have them possibly escape when you could just shot them or poison them? Not very logical.
Now the exception would be if there is torture. Torture has to be slow and painful. But don't have a torture scene unless it has a point. Most of the time torture is either to get info from your hero or the villain prefers to torture their victims first.
So if you have a very drawn out almost death scene ask yourself: how likely is it that my villain would do this?
It might help to write the scene from the villain's point of view. I understand that it's easy just to want make the villain talk until the hero can come and save the day, but just think, is this what my villain would really do?
A good example of a good villain is James from Twilight. Groan all you want, but in his way he was. Now I haven't read or seen the movies in a while, but if I remember correctly James got Bella alone and went straight to torturing her. There was a little bit of expliaination, but the direction was clear. (Please comment if you realize that I am wrong)
The quotes came from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery's IMDB page. For those of you who haven't seen the Austin Powers movies please do.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

How to Aviod a Literary Broken Neck (aka Plot Holes)

"A hole is nothing at all, but you can break your neck in it."
-Austin O'Malley

As writers we deal with pesky things called plot holes. According to Wikipedia
"a plot hole, or plothole, is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story's plot, or constitutes a blatant omission of relevant information regarding the plot." Basically the stuff that as readers we hate, and as writers we try our best to avoid.
When you read a book where a character breaks her leg in one chapter and in another chapter (set only a day after) said main character is kicking butt and taking names. PLOT HOLE! Unless you added something about a magical healer or the main character has magically healing bones, this probably wouldn't happen.
In my theater class, my teacher told us to FOLLOW THROUGH! She said if we were to talk with a German accent DON'T suddenly speak PERFECT English or if your character walks with a limp DON'T make him be able to run a marathon in less than a day. It doesn't make sense.
In my WIP, I realized that in my main premise of my novel had a GAPING plot hole. I fixed it of course, but if I continued my novel and never fixed it my possible future reader would be confused.
"A hole is nothing at all, but you can break your neck in it." I don't know if a plot hole is really nothing, but I thought the end was important. If you let your plot holes get too big the CAN break your neck (or in our case kill our story).
Most plot holes are discovered (I think) in the editting process. It important to look at your novel in a complete nonjudgmental third person POV. Yes, you and I know you're story is genius, but what would a nonjudgmental third person POV think? Would they start getting confused about how a dead cat in one chapter is suddenly doing dumpster dives for dinner. I mean he was dead... right?!?! Or did I just misread. *Flips back a few page* No the cat definitely died. They even had a funeral. So how is Mr. Fluffles in the dumpster still kicking? So remember even though YOU know that in book two you find out the cat has nine lives, the reader thinks a cat just came back to life. So either explain or delete it.
Also think aboout what you want the readers to assume. Know I know what you're thinking "don't assume it makes an *insert first three letters of assume* out of you and me." But assumptions in writing are important. If you are writing a murder mystery, and you want the reader to guess who is the killer you must make him a character. You can't just say in the last three pages the cops arrest the high school principle as the killer if the reader NEVER met him. This just made the past 300 pages irrelevant. So for things the reader must assume make sure they are probable things like the reader assuming that since your character has asthma he owns a inhaler. It would not be a surprise if said character pulls out an inhaler. It would by a surprise if said character suddenly does a Forest Gump and runs across the country without ONCE pulling out an inhaler. This is harder to fix since most of the time the assumption is obvious to you. You might think everyone with asthma doesn't need an inhaler because you best friend Bob has asthma and he pulled a Forest Gump, but to a reader, this is highly unlikely and even kinda scary. The best way to fix this is to ask someone who does not know Bob and you to read the story.
Plot holes are pesky and to fix them you need an outside opinion wither that means you being the nonjugmental third person or getting a friend read your novel. Hopefully, you can now avoid your literary broken neck.
BTW sorry for not post in the last four ish months. I don't have any excuses other than being busy. Hopefully I'll start posting again soon.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Does Size Really Matter? (This is writing related! I Promise!)

Mood: comme ci comme ca
Did the title scare you a bit? Don't worry. This is a very innocent post. So that's the big question:
Does Size Really Matter?
I read somewhere that a novel should be 50k to 100k. Any less and the book looks too small. Any bigger and it looks overwhelming to the reader. Personally I like bigger books compared to small books since their plots NORMALLY are more detailed. I normally try to read books that are in between. Even though bigger books tend to have better plots, the plots tend to drag.
I was reading a book that will not be named. I've heard rave reviews so I was very excited to read this book. The first thing I noticed was the size of the book. It's 400-500 pages long. Not mega long compared to my literary companion the Harry Potter series, but it's still not a light read. I found the book very interesting, but I had difficulty diving into the book since I felt the plot was slow. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the book, but I just wasn't glued. Maybe it's because I read/ write paranormal books which are mainly fast plots (and kissing).
Then there are small books. I really wanted to read this book a couple months ago. I went to the book store to get it, but I was discouraged at the size. I think my pinkie was thicker. I ended up not getting the book because of this.
Now this does not mean if you're writing a less than 50k book I won't read it. I will if you ask me too (since I might not hear about it since it takes me a while to find some books.) Some books are MEANT to be hundreds of pages long. Like Harry Potter. Some books are better short and sweet and not ruined by unnecessary drama. Like Firespell. Both books are brilliant and are perfect the way they are.
So what about you? Do you write long or short books? Do you read long or short books?


Monday, February 14, 2011

To Love, or Not to Love?

Mood: ehhhh
I'm so sorry for not posting more often. Last week, I was trying to reading 24/7 which left no time for blogging. Yes, I still plan to to PWTWs and my other amazing posts (HA!)
Lately, I've been thinking of my WIP. It's the same one I was working on two or so weeks ago. I haven't really found any SNIs to make me cheat on my precious WIP. (*knocks on wood*) Since it's Valentine's Day, (the day of love) I decided to share my love related drama. There is none. I am a romance writer. The only consistencies n my writing is that it's fiction and it's romance. Not this book! Not even a peck! Okay. I think I might do ONE kiss. (I was hoping to use it in the sequel though...) There is no major romance. This story is thriller/ mystery, I guess. The book is an introduction to my main characters and my group of "misfit toys." It's hard to explain. Bottom line. No romance.
Turn off or on???
What do you think? I don't want to add romance just to add romance. That seems pointless. So am i doing the right thing?


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Back Story

Mood: goodish
HELP! Okay I just write the first 600 words of my new story. But I feel like the entire thing is just background. Yes Background info is important yes, but it's so boring. I want action (it is an action novel after all). My intro was so good (at least in my opinion), but after that? Pretty darn crappy. The only good things about it is that 1) I'm using a lot of voice (*Squeal* third grade writing term) which is important. 2) It informs the reader about how my character views important things like Hollywood. But other than that? Not much. The thing is it's not like 600 words is a lot. But it feels like it's too much explanation for the first FOUR paragraphs.
I've heard that you should basically discard the first two chapters because most of the time it's all back story. What do you think? How do you know when it's too much?
Now to PWTW. For those of you who noticed, I didn't post yesterday. I was planning to do PWTW everyday, but that's crazy. I'll try to do PWTW at least every week. Hopefully a couple of times a week. Here's today's picture:
Gorgeous, right?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Write for Yourself

Mood: hurried
Okay so this post has to be short. I basically forgot all about today's post. So here's the picture:Pretty isn't it? Since winter is ending, I only have so many weeks to post this picture.
Okay now for my word of wisdom. Crap. Why can' I be wise??? Well I'll talk about my experiences. Yesterday was the first day of PWTW. It felt weird getting back into the writing game. I wrote 1.5K for my fantasy novel that I really like so when I started this new story everything felt off. Maybe I'll go back and edit it.
The thing that felt most off (offest?) was that I was so worried what someone would think if they read it. *hits head.* Bad Jewels. No thinking depressing thoughts. Wow, that sounds like I'm talking to a baby. Nice.
Basically the reason my writing suck (at least more than usual) was because I was so worried about what others would think which a writer should never do. Write for yourself not the reader. Wow this was a bad post. Sorry. I promise I'll type something better tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

That was Today?

Mood: feeling pretty lazy
It's the first day of February! You know what that means! Oh, you don't? Shame on you! It's the first day of PWTW. Are you excited??? Well you should be! Here's today's picture!
Any ideas yet??? Actually I have multiple scenes planned already. I'd love to see what yo write with this picture.
Now to the good stuff. What? You thought the beautiful picture was it? Nah. I've got more to say. What this post is really about is procrastination. Right now I should be doing laundry instead I'm blogging. Obviously, you can tell which I'd rather do.
Procrastination can be a major problem for me. I'll get it done... someday. As a writer, this isn't something I'm proud of. I mean *blushes* sure I'll catch up with the latest Bones episode instead of my WIP, but my WIP will be there in an hour... right? UGH. Or like right now how I'm watching Mulan (BEST ANIMATED MOVIE EVER) instead of posting this which the sooner I post this the sooner I can work on my PWTW. See? If I don't manage my time better I'll never get any work done. Then again I don't think there's ever been a better excuse not to write than to watch Shang. Opps did I type that out? Crap! *deletes*
See? I can't even stay focused enough to finish this post! Anyways this was a pretty stupid post, but I just wanted to know how often does procrastination prevent you from getting writing done? I promise to not procrastinate and post more tomorrow.