Apr 29, 2010

QWC + First Sentences

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, April 29, 2010 0 comments
I was lucky enough earlier this year to win a 'taster pack' with the Queensland Writers Centre (QWC) from Fleur McDonald (author of Blue Skies).

As part of the taster pack I also got an online short course with the Australian Writers Marketplace. I'm coming to the close of the two week course. It's been a lot of fun. I don't think I've learnt anything new about my craft - but it has certainly made me revisit some aspects and consider others. A great tool to refocus my writing and remind my why it means so much to me.

One task had us considering first sentence of our favourite books. Why did we like them? I've never thought about my reasons before. It was a great task to sit down and really think about why I liked these first lines.

I analysed 4 books I love by 4 internationally successful authors (Dick Francis, Stephenie Meyer, David and Leigh Eddings, JK Rowling). I was surprised to find my reasons were the same for all four - very different - opening lines:

Thursday, March 17th, I spent the morning in anxiety, the afternoon in ecstasy, and the evening unconscious. "Risk" by Dick Francis


In defense of Althalus, it should be noted that he was in very tight financial circumstances and more than a little tipsy when he agreed to undertake the theft of the Book. "The Redemption of Althalus" by David and Leigh Eddings

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" by JK Rowling

I'd never given much thought to how I would die - though I'd had reason enough in the last few months - but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this. "Twighlight" by Stephenie Meyer

What I liked about them:

• they all introduce something about the characters - and in all but the Harry Potter example, the main characters

• they all make me ponder a question - What could cause such a range of emotions in one day? What is the Book and why would Althalus not agree to steal it unless he was tipsy? Why would you need to be able to say you were normal, let alone be proud of it? How was she dying if it wasn't something you could imagine?

• by making me ponder a question I have to read on to find my answer (they immediately captured me)

• they are all 'different', original openings

• they are all simple - simple language and simple ideas

I'm not sure why I've never considered examining great beginnings before. Now that I have, I know I will be more likely to incorporate these elements into my own first sentences.

Apr 26, 2010

My Excuse Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, April 26, 2010 0 comments
Poking fun at the but in all of us...
Printed with permission of Sam Morrison

Apr 22, 2010

Is Publication A Sound Goal?

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, April 22, 2010 8 comments
I read an article by Jenny Crusie recently. She advocates writers give up their goal to be published, and compares it to the pre-feminism era when a woman's goal was to be married. Both are totally out of your hands. You've no control over whether you succeed or fail.

I agree. A publisher isn't going to play by your rules and send you that contract to meet your deadline. BUT I do think having something to aim for makes you work harder; makes you keep trying, even through the hard times; makes you set achievable goals (all of which will take you that one step closer).

It may be splitting hairs, a goal versus something to aim for, but I value the difference, and will continue to have publication as that gold star to aim to.

You can read the full Jenny Crusie article here.

Apr 19, 2010

My Excuse Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, April 19, 2010 0 comments
Poking fun at the but in all of us...
Printed with permission of Sam Morrison

Apr 15, 2010

The Wow Factor

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, April 15, 2010 2 comments
What is it that makes you like one story over another? Both cover all bases... hero, heroine, conflict and motivation, black moment, happy ever after, but one just has that something extra, the WOW factor.

I've been trying to work out what that is, the WOW factor. Is it more emotion, more likeable characters, better plot? It doesn't seem to be something I can put my finger on, but I do know you either have it or you don't.


I just hope I find it in my writing.

Apr 12, 2010

My Excuse Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, April 12, 2010 2 comments
Poking fun at the but in all of us...
Printed with permission of Sam Morrison

Apr 8, 2010

My First Kiss

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, April 08, 2010 6 comments
Not my first kiss, but my hero and heroine's. I entered RWA's First Kiss competition (you submit the scene the first kiss occurs in) and I have just received my results.

Overall the judges liked my entry. There was no one place which pulled me down. Some common ground between the judges was:
  • my characterisation is good
  • my writing's very visual
  • the internal thoughts of my hero slow it down (less thinking, more feeling needed)
I'll leave you with my favourite comment: I feel this writer's imagination is an asset to her writing career.

Apr 5, 2010

My Excuse Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, April 05, 2010 0 comments
Poking fun at the but in all of us...
Printed with permission of Sam Morrison

Apr 4, 2010

New Page - Writing Resources

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, April 04, 2010 2 comments
I've added a new page to my blog. Writing Resources is a list of links to sites with wonderful information for any writer. To get to it, just click on the link under "Pages" on the right side of this column.

Apr 2, 2010

New Look

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, April 02, 2010 9 comments
They say a change is as good as a holiday... not sure about that, but I have had a lot of fun creating my new look blog. What do you think?

Apr 1, 2010

Brilliant Thought

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, April 01, 2010 0 comments
I stumbled across this quote the other day...



I love to read. Love, love, love it. But my love of reading alone would never stir me to write a book. I do, however, have a burning desire to write. In fact, the more I write, the more I want to write.

I can't help but agree with this brilliant thought.
 

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