Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Periodic Table for Writers

I came across this post at Janet Reid's blog today, and as a chemist, I just couldn't resist mentioning it here. Someone has put together a Periodic Table of Typefaces which is just gorgeous and fun to read.

Here's a picture of the English version.



Go and check it out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Long is Too Long?

I spent some time last night counting the number of pages in my Hogwarts book. This may seem like a trivial task, but each chapter is in its own file and I have to open each one up separately and add the totals by hand. I’m currently on Chapter 20 out of an expected 30 chapter book and I wanted to get a feel for how things were progressing.

The result?

Just over 600 pages!

OMG!

Now, I admit this number is somewhat misleading. Although I’m officially only on Chapter 20, I’ve done quite a bit of rough writing on many of the subsequent chapters. (I tend to jump around a bit while writing.) And some of the earlier chapters have multiple versions of the same scene, much of which will be cut later. But still, at the current rate, this book is going to hit 900 pages if I don’t do some heavy trimming.

To think there was a time when I worried I wouldn’t be able to come up with 300 pages.

Anyway, I’m already thinking about which parts of the book to cut. I know many writers will say I should wait until I get to the end before I do this, but I’m just not built that way. I’m going to fret about this until I do something, so I might as well do some of it now. Besides, if I don’t, I just know I’ll subconsciously start to write the rest of the chapters as short as possible to compensate. And that’s no way to write a first draft.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Exposition? Nothing wrong with it.

Okay.

I know, I know. It’s been over a month since I last posted. Entirely my fault.

I’ve been busy with a lot of things at home - painting the living room, repairing holes in the wall, working with my daughter’s robotics group (I’m the coach and the competition is in less than two weeks). It’s not like I haven’t had a few minutes here and there to write, but my story insists on coming first and spending time posting to this blog leaves me feeling guilty (and a little dirty). You may look at this post and ask yourself, “How long could it have taken to write this?” Unfortunately, I’m a notoriously slow writer, and even a post as short and simple as this one will take over a half hour. Lord knows how other bloggers can manage to write multi-page posts and still have time to work, or eat, or sleep.

Anyway, I ran across this blog post about “exposition” today and it caught my attention enough for me to stop and share it with you. In the post, the author rails against the notion that exposition is “always” worse than story. I completely agree. In my opinion, exposition, written well, and in an entertaining manner, is just as much fun to read as dialogue.

As a newbie, unpublished, wannabe writer, I suppose my opinion doesn’t count for much, but many of my favorite books contain exposition – Harry Potter, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, SciFi by Arthur C. Clarke and Issac Asimov, etc. I’m not saying all exposition is good. I’ve been turned off by badly written exposition, but I’ve also been turned off by poorly written dialogue, so what’s the difference?

Feel free to comment.
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