Foil and Phaser update.
I was discussing with my partner the origins of the some common terms, as these things often do the conversation degenerated and the origin of the term “hanky panky was mentioned. So of course I had to look it up 🙂
“Trickery – double dealing. Also, more recently, sexual shenanigans.”
Apparently the actual origin of the term is unknown – possibly deriving from “hocus -pocus” or “hoky-poky.”
The more recent usage was used by George Bernard Shaw in 1939.
We authors all know that writing fiction in a third person limited point of view comes with a lot of challenges. Yesterday, someone asked me if I could write specifically about two of them.
- When your narrator is limited to following one character, how do you stay in that one character’s POV consistently?
- How do you develop other characters without getting into their heads too?
Fleshing out a Supporting Cast
First off: If this is something you struggle with, I suggest you read or reflect upon the Harry Potter series. It is a fabulous example of efficient characterization with a third person limited POV.
JKR’s books aren’t perfect, but man, does she flesh out characters such as Snape, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Lupin! And the narrator never gets near their heads. The reader is always with Harry.
This characterization problem also makes me think of my first published novel…
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Everyone assumes the hardest part of any journey to publication is finishing
that first draft, but it really just takes time, patience, coffee, therapy,
medication, etc… For me, the hardest part was trying to write a back cover
“blurb.” Yes. A paragraph was harder to write than my short story collection
Humans and Their Creations. The main issue is the daunting question, “How do I
describe all of that hard work in a single paragraph, when the work itself
contains _____+ paragraphs?”
It’s a lot harder than it looks, but with a few tips, tricks, notecards, and
some more medication, you’ll have a back cover blurb all your own… And maybe
even a few new favorite medications, but we’ll cover that another time (I don’t
condone drug use, just by the way. Drugs are bad. Don’t do them. Don’t go pilfering your grandma’s cabinet for her heart pills. Those…
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Welcome to Heather Heffner.
Where are you from? USA
On average how many books do you read in a month? On average, 5-10 if they are YA Books, 1-2 if they are Adult.
Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? I’ve always felt “on the periphery,” so to speak, when it came to growing up. I loved my life, but I was constantly driven to search out alternative ways of living, new horizons, and other peoples’ experiences, whether across the sea or in a completely made-up world. Books helped me make sense of growing up, like Judy Blume’s Beverly Cleary books, and others enchanted my imagination, like the Redwall series by Brian Jacques or the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Reading brings a sense of wonder, a sense of clarity, and an opportunity to view the world differently.
What genres do you prefer and why? Fantasy and science fiction, which includes all of those little sub-genres like dystopia, paranormal, urban, and noir. I love anything with a surreal edge to it—a book that turns the world on its head in any bizarre or imaginative fashion makes life feel like it has more magic to it. Fantasy/Sci Fi are also highly effective genres to explore the implications of genocide, bigotry, and alternative forms of government because they are “pure fantasy”—but the consequences they uncover (Ender’s Game, or the Hunger Games) make them very relevant to our daily lives.
Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? My favorite book of all time has to be Roger Zelzany’s The Great Book of Amber series. In fantasy, we know the greats like Tolkein and George R.R. Martin because the world they’ve created feels authentic enough to lose oneself in. The Great Book of Amber introduces an equally nuanced and complex world, woven on so many different levels with King Arthurian mythology and contemporary, that you can get lost in it for days. For people who like dysfunctional families: Amber is ruled by the ultimate backstabbing, scheming, loveable band of royals.
What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? Paperback still takes the cake for me. When it’s hot and gorgeous out, do I want to take my e-book out to the backyard where the monitor gets hot and sweaty and dim under the sun’s brilliance? Or do I want a good old dog-eared paperback that can get a little grass stained and it’s all okay?
How do you usually find the books you read? For example: recommendations from friends, promotion on social networks, your local library, following authors you already know? Usually through social networking sites like Goodreads or Amazon.com. Those little recommendation lists are gold. However, with money being tight these days, I get most of my books from the library.
When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look? What makes you turn away? Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence the choice? A flashy cover and an enticing description lure me in—but then I always, always read whatever chapter preview is available (if it’s online). For example, many YA books these days have the most gorgeous covers—but they hide a bare-bones story. If the first few chapters sound derivative of what’s been done before—paranormal activity at a high school comes to mind—then I’ll most likely stop reading. I know the substance I crave won’t be there in the end. I do read reviews by others, and usually the lower-star ones—but bad reviews don’t necessarily mean I won’t give the book a shot. Someone who’s rating a book low because the book challenges their religious beliefs doesn’t disqualify it from my list. I always look for the reviews that are constructive—then it’s not to say that the whole book is bad, but there are parts that could be more fleshed out. I weigh that with what attracted me to the book in the first place.
What is the most important aspect in a book for you? Plot? Characterisation? Well written etc? Characters, hands down. I want characters I can fall in love with, characters I can root for, characters who inspire. For example, I could never get into Dan Brown’s books, as twisty and curvy as they are, because the characters felt so lifeless to me. With George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series, there are so many competing storylines that sometimes the plot gets out of control—but I don’t mind, as long as I can flip to Arya or Jon Snow’s viewpoint and see what they’re up to. Dynamic characters keep me riveted to find out what they’ll do next.
What aspects turn you off from a book? Are there things you avoid? Wimpy heroines, passive characters who don’t take an active stance in their own fates, villains with no dark lurking presence, world-building that feels forced and not authentic, love triangles with no tension, plots with no urgency, vampires/angels who for some inconceivable reason remain in high school.
Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? As we know them, yes. However, that isn’t to say they can’t transform and create a new prosperous identity for themselves.
When writing fiction, an author will often wish to include science, scientific concepts, or other facts and ideas drawn from the real world. Sometimes this works to the author’s advantage, sometimes it falls flat. In this article I will discuss several ways in which science is used in writing, what makes it work and what doesn’t.
Why include science?
Drawing information from the real world and applying it to fantastical or futuristic setting can add authenticity to the situation and make it more tangible and believable for the reader. Completely ignoring the laws of physics, group psychology, economics, or other concepts which a large portion of the readership intuitively understand can make the story unbelievable and hamper the audience’s suspension of disbelief.
How to incorporate science well:
Presenting a complicated and nuanced concept in a clear and easy to understand manner can be difficult, but is often required…
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The Sword & Laser Interview Quick Guide on Foil & Phaser, located under the menu heading Writers Resources, now has listings of every interview ever done on Sword & Laser, both in audio and video, sorted by guest. If you’re looking for a talk with specific writer, you no longer have to comb through pages of podcast archives. All the links are on one page. Check out some of the great interviews you might have missed.