Wednesday, April 3, 2019

April IWSG



Happy April! Were you fooled on Monday? My twelve-year-old got me good. She ran into the kitchen right before bedtime--or rather, an hour past--looking for her backpack and muttering about a homework assignment she forgot to do. Instantly livid, I was about to yell emphasize that I don't feel like doing homework at 10-freaking-o'-clock she should be more mindful of these things, when she stopped, smiled, and said, "April Fools'". 

Good one, kid. 

Of course, as writers, we fool people all the time, or at least, we try. So, it's time for another post for the IWSG,  led by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and his merry crew of co-hosts: J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken! 

First, the IWSG optional question:

If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?


Once Upon A Time





I'd pick the first five pages and have some magical super-fairy sprinkle writerly intoxication powder all over that sucker to make it irresistible to agents and publishers. Ooooo, they'd think, I've got to represent/publish this one, for sure! A 110K word count? No problem.



College of Charleston grounds
Image: denisbin


The first draft of my current work-in-slomo-progress is still clunking along. It's set at a college campus, and is it just me, or are there a lot more novels and movies about high school than ones set at college. Why is that, you think? 

Besides wanting help on those all-important first five pages, I'd also take some pointers on the parts of the novel between big scenes. Writing about specific things like fights, kisses, chases, or death are the fun parts. It's the lulls in between that can be tricky. You don't want to think of those parts as "filler" or else, chop-chop, they need to go. But you can't have things going full blast, 100 mph all the time, either. Or can you? 


speed 1
Image: Hsiung/d6487coke


Being able to write the lower intensity scenes so that they are just as interesting and as important story-drivers as the high intensity scenes is a skill. In fact, I often find myself enjoying those parts the most when rewatching/rereading things.

I mean, face it. Most of us went to our first viewing of Titanic to see the boat go down. But fess up. Who here kept going back to enjoy the evolution of Rose and Jack's love story, hmm? And whenever I reread Stephen King's IT, it's the characters and their backstories that I linger over much more than the final destruction of the monster. 

Can you name a book or movie that took place at college besides Animal House? Any book or movie you love for the development more than or as much as the climax?


21 comments:

  1. Monsters University and The Graduate. (Yeah, two totally different college movies!)
    It is the characters that keep us coming back.

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  2. Animal House comes to mind... Great April Fool's prank by you daughter! I'd also like some of that "magical super-fairy sprinkle writerly intoxication powder all over that sucker to make it irresistible to agents and publishers."

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  3. Now I want to re-watch Titanic. And I feel the same way about pretty much all of Stephen King's characters.

    A novel set in a college? FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell.

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  4. Four of my five-book series took place at college and the fifth ended with the character graduating. But there aren't many stories, so you should write it for sure.

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  5. Do my own books I wrote where the characters are in college count? ;)

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  6. I've thought that, about the college age kids. When I wrote Defying Reason, I made them college age. That way I could play with the insecurities of youth, yet they could still be "legal" to touch on adult issues. Maybe it's the mom in me, but I don't want to write high school kids who live like adults. I know it happens, but I prefer not to go there.

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  7. You make a good point about those lower intensity scenes. They have to have a reason for being there and they have to be as carefully crafted as everything else.

    Great April Fool's on you!

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  8. I would pick the first five pages too. Though I have trouble with those low intensity chapters too.

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  9. And maybe look at new adult books for ones set at college campuses. I bet you'll find some.

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  10. I think Carrie Butler'sseries is college based. Her first book, Strength, is free on Amazon if you wanted to check it out.

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  11. How about Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl? It’s set in the first year of university!

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  12. Almost any book by Jennifer Crusie. I love her fiction, not for the endings but for the stories and the characters.
    No suggestion for a book with a college setting though. I don't think I've read many of those.

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  13. I'm struggling with figuring out the in between parts of my novel right now, especially as I get towards the end. I actually want to go 100 mph for the rest of it, but some of these things need to be paced out.

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  14. I loved Titanic. I know some the new cozy mysteries are set at universities, but can't recall a name of one. I struggle with middle. Happy IWSG!

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  15. The day after, of course, I can think of a few I should have remembered including: Legally Blonde, Good Will Hunting, Circle of Friends (plus many of Maeve Binchy's novels).

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  16. I'm not really a movie person but Titanic ranks in my top three favorite movies. The other two are The Shawshank Redemption and The Man In The Iron Mask.
    I need to pay more attention to the lower intensity scenes in novels. Maybe dissect one or two to learn more. You're right in saying that it requires a special skill to make them interesting.

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  17. If I'm not invested in the story itself, I won't continue to read even if I've "heard" it has a great ending. I try reading dozens of excellent first chapters, trying hard to get mine right!

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  18. A bunch of 1920s films take place on college campuses, since it was so fashionable to go to college and take part in the associated culture. Harold Lloyd's The Freshman (1925) and Buster Keaton's College (1927) are prime examples.

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  19. "magical super-fairy sprinkle writerly intoxication powder"...I'm always in search of this. I'd sprinkle it on my 1st chapter, but you're right about the inbetweenees too.

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  20. I had a hard time finding your blog because your Blogger profile is blank and Google + is gone. On Blogger, make sure to go to "settings" and then "user settings" and selecting Blogger as your user profile. If it's already selected, you may need to make sure your blog is added to your Blogger profile. In your profile, select "edit" then "show blogs to display" and make sure your blog is checked. :)

    There have been times when I skipped those lower intensity scenes to write the fun, exciting stuff.

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I will do everything in my power to visit commenter's blogs unless I've been abducted by aliens or my children get sick. (If my children get abducted by aliens, I will be very busy, of course, catching up on my sleep.)