Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tricks and Treats

Happy Halloween!  My mind is full of tricks as well as treats—both the sugary kind and the writing kind. I thought that I'd share some, but
Photo by earl53
not the yummy chocolate or caramel stuff since I haven't figured out how to download high calorie goodies.  

Some treats:
An article written by H.M. Lewis in the July/August SCBWI Bulletin: “Smart Research for Dummies.” It highlights the benefits that writers might find in some of the For Dummies books. Believe it or not, this was interesting enough for me to label it a treat. Body Language For Dummies by Elizabeth Kuhnke, for example, snagged my attention. Suggestions on how to give my characters another way to communicate? I'll take them.
To learn more about the For Dummies books (on writing and almost everything else), check out

The list of finalists for The National Book Awards, which were announced last week. I love reading award-winners.  For more information:

Another treat is when my mind stirs up the “perfect” ending to a story that I am writing, especially when this solves more than one story problem. I’ve only experienced this kind of an epiphany once or twice, but it can be more delicious than an entire bag of Halloween candy.

Writing inspiration that comes from reading a novel written by another author. I love this treat. A story can be different in every way from what I am writing, yet inspiration, unrelated ideas, and lots of insights pop into my head about my own work as I read. Yummy.

Some Tricks:
Novels with ho-hum stakes. When I start reading a story only to realize that the stakes are not high enough, I taste sour disappointment. Why not? If I don’t care all that much about whether the protagonist reaches his or her goals, there's not much point in reading. When I mutter “So what?” it's only a matter of time until I put the book down, usually with a sad sigh.

A character that does something that I can’t believe he or she would ever do, and without reason or justification. My trust disappears. Or when a character says something not in keeping with his or her personality, also without reason or justification. What? I am left feeling as if I’ve been tricked. I no longer trust that I know this character. 

Computer irritations. This can be anything from a computer glitch that means my writing, edits, research, etc. has not being saved to some craziness that allows my computer to eat my work. Any techno-nightmare that ruins my writing day falls into this "trick" category.

Are there any tricks and treats that you enjoy? Or tricks that make you want to throw candy at your computer? 

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween!