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Pinchofmagic last won the day on March 25

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  1. Pinchofmagic

    Quitting a book

    I so agree with this. There is something so psychologically draining to be forced to read something one's brain is fighting against. Also a book-chucker here, lol! It seems like the snobbery has lifted a bit though, these last 20-30 years. When I was younger, like in the 90's, romance novels were considered really trashy and the lowest form of books where I live, and now romances are actually subject for a university-course here. Maybe it's just me, but it feels a lot more accepted to like whatever, and to stand proud whatever someone else says. Also, the opposite, that it's okay to say one doesn't like something, no matter how popular it is. :)
  2. Pinchofmagic

    Dissecting your favourite characters

    Omg, yes. And I love Esme too. She's not only so much fun to read about, but she's definitely relatable when one is fed up with people, lol! I also agree with whiny characters. They do test my patience a awful lot. Your post reminded me of what I call the Baldrick-trick: I have a cunning plan. Characters who are problem solvers are so much fun to read about, and it doesn't matter if it goes pear-shaped (hopefully not out of too much stupidity though) because that means they have more problems to solve. I try to remember Baldrick when I feel my own story stagnates a bit. It's usually because my characters don't have enough problems and no reason to make and execute plans. :)
  3. Pinchofmagic

    Quitting a book

    I give up on a lot of books. And often for a whole slew of reasons. If they're boring or too writerly in language, or if it feels forced and everything is turned up to eleven, I find that difficult. Or if it's too somber. Or if I don't like the main character. One popular book I remember gaving up on was Gail Carriger's Soulless. Sounded great, love a steampunk flair, but I didn't like the main character, and I thought a lot of the situations called for a shame-pillow for me. I remember I had to put it down and stare out in front of me at times. But books are like any other taste; music, movies, food... It just wasn't for me. I've given up Pratchett novels too, and some of his books are on my top five. It's often really hard to say why a book isn't fun to read (which makes it so hard to write fun books!), but there is something like an entertainment factor for me. I need to feel entertained with novels. Something that pulls me in. Doesn't have to be a huge hook or anything. Just a lightness in style, a glimmer of humour, or an interesting character/situation... Oh, yeah, speaking of Patrick Rothfuss, I didn't finish The name of the wind. Nothing wrong with style or anything. I think it was the character. I just didn't care, so I gave it up about 2/3 of the way through. I tend to buy a lot less books now unless I can look through them and see the style and get a feel for the character, because I've made a lot of bad buys. Thankfully Amazon has the "Look Inside" these days (which is brilliant!), but I had to order a lot of books without knowing more than the blurb in the past. Now I try to get as much information as possible before I buy.
  4. I wrote words!words to add: [7360] words
  5. Pinchofmagic

    Dissecting your favourite characters

    Gytha Ogg from the Witch-books of Discworld is my favourite book character bar none. She's just so well put-together: very cheerful, loves life, has a friendly country charm and an incredible joie de vivre, but underneath there's a sharp intellect and she's very active in the stories. She's never one for whining, she solves problems, is incredibly loyal to her friend and is just fearless. Because she has a big family she's reasonable, and often acts as a mediator between her much harsher friend Esme and others. She can cause trouble though, by gambling away the travel money and such, and she's the mother-in-law from hell, so she's got flaws. That she's got a dirty mind, loves a drink and eats everything in sight is also really funny. I just love her. Another character I got hooked on lately is Stiles Stilinski from tv-show Teen Wolf. In the first season he was pretty much the only draw for me, but strong enough that I got more seasons. He's like Gytha Ogg, the best friend-type, and a hyper-active, curious instigator of trouble, but also the intellectual investigator. He's sarcastic in a funny way, really squeamish, impulsive, sooo expressive in every way (he can't even shut up when someone beats on him). If he's got flaws it's probably that he's impatient (which is one of my flaws too, lol!). Also, he's got a sad backstory. So, looking at my fave characters, that's the kind of people I fall for, and who I wanna read about, so it's naturally the kind of novel character I aim to write too. The very active, curious, funny type who is really entertaining to follow. It's one of my prime goals as a writer. I love a strong plot, but even in a weaker plot a good character can keep me interested for quite a while.
  6. Pinchofmagic

    Hi, everyone!

    Hi Jess! First, your favourite characters sounds so freaking amazing and I really love the sound of them. Second, you raise butterflies? 😮 And third, welcome to the forum! I hope you'll find some fun stuff around here, so jump right in. :)
  7. Pinchofmagic

    QOTD #50: Beginnings, Middles and Ends

    I noticed that, lol! But I agree with you on the beginning, the novelty is fun and there is a rush of ideas. It's not a bad feeling really. No, that comes later, when I've edited the first chapter a thousand times, and then a thousand more, and hate it with the heat of the fires of Mordor. That line gave me some flashbacks. Pre-2011 I used to have only beginnings. I probably started a new story every week. I could never get to the middle until I started to outline. But yeah, I still have more beginnings than endings. :)
  8. Pinchofmagic

    QOTD #50: Beginnings, Middles and Ends

    I have to say the middle. Then I usually have a better grip on the characters and the world, and I really enjoy weaving them together and get that rush of plot-ideas. Some stories have more troublesome middles, but I find the climax/ending difficult in every story. Even if I have an idea for an ending early, I still end up re-writing it a lot. The beginning can be a bit frustrating too because there's a mass of ideas struggling to get out at the same time, and everything develop simultaneously... It can get a little messy. But then I pants my way into the story and outline later. However, I'll take the beginning over an ending any day.
  9. Oh, wow, I loved that! Tragic relief is so necessary for comedy, and you got both in one twist here. Nice! I found the evil overlord a bit hard to twist too, it's been twisted a lot for comedy already, so it was a challenge. I don't actually know if this has been done by someone, but here it goes: The evil overlord inherited his title as evil overlord, and have a league of minions eagerly awaiting his grand plan for world destruction, but the evil overlord is a perfectionist. He can't act until every piece in the puzzle is utterly fail-proof. By then the bank he planned on robbing has closed, the superhero decided to get new villains to fight and the landlord for the overlord-lair got fed up waiting for rent. New trope: The Gentle Giant (big, strong, intimidating, but with a heart of gold)
  10. Pinchofmagic


    Oh, awesome! Thanks for sharing the names of the apps, that's great for someone looking for places to make moodboards/aesthetics. :)
  11. Pinchofmagic


    That's what I did too before I found Pinterest, just collected a whole lot of files on the computer that I could go back to look at. Those files were great, not only for the detailed stuff about characters/objects/buildings, etc, but sometimes for finding ideas for plot. For me Pinterest started out as just a way to free up space on my computer, but that place really exploded with pictures and it feels way better than pic search on google, so a lot of writers use them. Some have incredibly specific boards, like one of for each room of a house and things like that. Amazing. I'm usually content with one board per story. But yeah, with spotty internet, it can be quite frustrating. I live in the countryside too and sometimes the coverage is pretty bad. Oh, by the way, I like your blogs! Very cool pictures of Little Alligator Creek (even though the name terrifies me slightly). :)
  12. Pinchofmagic

    Fixing a Character Megapost

    Very interesting, and hard questions, but I'll give it a go. :) How do you fix character voices when you find out that two of them are too similar? I'd pull out what separates them, like digging into their background. If one was brought up mostly alone they deal with stuff more by themselves maybe, whereas someone used to constant feedback might be very interested in hearing other's opinions on everything they do, stuff like that. Giving them a few opposite personality traits work the same way (calm/hyper, negative/optimistic,etc). Or interests that bleed into the way they speak and move. How can you tell if a character is, in fact, the problem? When they don't have enough to do, too few important agendas, too few things they need to get/fix/solve, and they just seem to wander. That's boring to write, so easy to spot. Also, if they don't sparkle in my mind. They need to have that thing that promises a lot of fun stuff ahead, and a satisfying arc. That's not really the character that's the problem though, it's me! 😄 How do you maintain interest in a character who is largely inactive? Oh, tough one. I like very driven characters, but I guess... really interesting internal thoughts, or interesting interactions with other people. Maybe they have funny stories to tell, or a great sense of humour. I think it could work great for shorter stories. For a novel, especially a fantasy adventure one, it might be difficult with an inactive character. Someone probably did it though! How do you write interesting bad guys when your only POV characters are the good guys? I dreaded this one, because this is hard to do. I usually solve it by having the antagonist be a person from the POV-protagonist past, so that memories filtered through the protagonist can help build interest. Or to have the protagonist look into the antagonist's past in a "know thy enemy"-way, that can work well. Also having them meet quite a bit to get a sense of their personality through dialogue. I was bad at this, and kept my antagonist hidden for too long, but I'm trying to bring them in a lot more and much earlier. How do you give meaningful challenges to a powerful character? I don't have a lot of powerful characters, but if I did I'd probably try to outsmart them. If they're magically powerful, maybe challenge them on the personal level. Finding the loopholes in their power and exploit them. I like problems that can't be solved by magic or powers, so socking them in the mouth with the realisation that their great powers are useless in this case can be delicious. How can you make a normal, everyday character interesting? By throwing crazy shit at them, burst that everyday bubble and see how they deal. Having the ordinary meet the extraordinary. Dig around in them to find their fears, prejudices, secrets, bad memories, etc, and then just throw it at them. Other stuff that appears normal and everyday could be great too, like someone's hobby could be really useful in dealing with shapeshifters, or their organizational skill might make them able to dig through a messy archive to find the right sort of spells quicker than anyone. My characters are usually not that magical or extraordinary, and they would be considered normal and everyday in their world, but they're driven by something in the story, and they go after it. I find that interesting. :) How do you edit an existing manuscript to give characters interests which mesh with the plot? I don't think I ever have. Those things appear in the first draft, and are rarely after-thoughts. But I guess I would add the moments when the interest is stated, what it means to the character, and rewrite the situations where it could become relevant or useful, or thematically fitting in. I'm not quite sure what "mesh" means in this context (because I didn't listen to the podcast. I knew that would come back and bite me), if it means an interest the plot rests on a fair bit, or if it's something that will thematically deepen the plot. But if it's the former, a complete re-write? Which I would probably never do.
  13. Pinchofmagic

    "Said is Dead" and Dialogue Tags

    I'm definitely in the "said is alive"-camp here too, and agree with the tweet. Said is invisible, unless it's used too much in a row, like you said, and that's when it could be tempting to search for other verbs instead of looking for ways to get rid of some of the tags altogether. I think there are places for other kinds of tags than said, but agree with the tweet: using them sparingly is best. And I'd like to add: not use too odd ones, because they make a bump in the flow. For me dialogue is often a quick exchange, so things like "bemoaned" holds it up. Terry Pratchett uses non-said tags quite a bit, and I don't even notice, because it fits so well and he doesn't over-do it. The problem for me is when the tags feel unnatural or unnecessary. I agree with Banespawn on so much, like situation/character mood revealing how things are said, and action/character voice/wording instead of tags. It's a balance really. Some writers just have that natural way of writing dialogue, they know exactly how much information is needed, when to put in a pause/character action (and what kind of character action), when it's time to indicate who is talking, and how to add the proper subtext. Maybe it's a matter of taste, but I like the "less is more"-approach when it comes to tags, especially in a thrilling piece of interaction, when the explaining tag can take away a lot of tension in the dialogue. I want the response quickly, but it's being hindered by an (often) unnecessary tag. For me it ultimately comes down to the feeling of flow though. Bad dialogue is the one I notice too much. Good dialogue just gets gulped up.
  14. Pinchofmagic


    Oh, yeah, I can spend a bit too much time on them too, and yes, Pinterest is a vortex where a day is easily lost never to be found again. 😄 But I feel like I'm actually rolling around story ideas in my head as I make moodboards or collecting images on Pinterest, so I treat it like part of the writing process. And it's darn fun. I also get inspired by them, just like you, and get reminded of what made me start this book and how I envisioned it. I love the look of your Pinterest board, I also have a lot of mixes in my boards: text/quotes/small objects/characters/houses. Pinterest is awesome for that, and of course for keeping them private if one wishes. I have several moodboards on private too. Pinterest do have a lot of YA aesthetics and stuff like that, but there are so many pictures on that site, they're often better than Google Picture Search. I love old street photography, like Vivian Maier, and I have one board full of candid pics of old ladies from the 1960's for my current story, and I plan to make a moodboard wallpaper of them for my lap top. :)
  15. Pinchofmagic


    Now I really wish I hadn't pinched the moodboard picture, lol!. But yes, it is beautiful. A great example of what you could do as a moodboard. I think the hardest work is always finding the right pictures, and putting them together is a bit easier. I do it in Photoshop, but I think there are online sites where you could create your own moodboards, but I'm not sure how they work. Oh, I never heard of Canva before, but I looked them up. Very interesting. :)