All Because of Chickens

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saturday Morning Musings: Are writers naïve?

Hello and welcome to the last October Saturday.

So, how has the month of October been for you? Will you be celebrating Halloween this weekend? Something else or simply spending time with family? Whichever is your choice we want you to have a blast.

Let's get to today's musings: Do you think you're naive in your character writing - writing more innocent than reality? Writing more how you were or wish times were?

If we are writing with some accuracy, we will write young characters that are real and a product of the time periods we are writing in. The children in my fantasy series are flat-out precocious, and I make that known from the beginning. They do not behave as their peers because of who their parents are and how they are raised.

It is a danger to write too innocently because you will lose your target readership. That said, historically children were more innocent in different eras than they are today.

For example, I was watching rehearsals for a community theater play where this young boy (14 in the original play) chased death up a tree so he could still have his grandfather around. The actor playing the boy was about 11 and wondered why his character was so “dumb” and didn’t know much about life. The director sent the actor to the library to find books written in the time period with boys who were 12-14. (I looked them up, too, by the way.)

The young actor realized (as I did) that the children in those stories did indeed behave as if they were at least five years younger than he was. So, this young man thought about how his little brother who was 8 behaved. That gave him the insight into his character and made him believable on stage.

Write according to the readers you are engaging and be careful about liberties you take with history. You will need to balance accuracy with keeping your readers’ interest.

Although I strive for reality in my characters, I think I'm probably more naive than I should be when I write about them. It's hard not to draw on the experiences I had when I was a child, when it seemed like the world was a very different place, and it's also difficult to know how influenced I am by those experiences. But I do consciously try to base my characters in reality. In 'Daffodil and the Thin Place', there are characters from the Victorian times and the eponymous Daffodil from the present day, so I had to try hard to make them children of their times and to distinguish between each one's experience of life.

Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday Morning Musings: Boys or Girls

It's Saturday!  YESSSSSS!!!

What can I say, I love Saturdays. I know, who doesn't. There's just something about a Fall Saturday morning with nothing planned.

Well, except for reading our Sat. Morning Musings, this is...Do you or have you ever geared your story strictly to boys or girls. Or, always a mix?

I've never written a story for either boys or for girls and I hope that my writing appeals to both. I'm currently writing the sequel to 'Daffodil and the Thin Place', much of which takes place during World War One, so I hope that there will be aspects in the story that interest both genders.

I'd have to agree with Dawn in that I've never thought of specifically boys or girls when I've written for this age. As a teen I read both Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, if you could consider then gender specific?

Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note:

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday Morning Musings: Language

Hey, Saturday Musers!

I'm not going to try and find any smart way to start today's musings, but jump right into: Language - keeping current, keeping real, word choices...How?

Keeping current and read in language is hard when writing young characters. You need to be around children to find out how they talk amongst themselves and how they behave with each other or in groups. If you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or a teacher, you have a built-in lab to observe. You can also observe kids by tutoring or volunteering to coach a sport or by becoming a Scout leader or a lifeguard.

Observing teenagers is often harder because they like to hang out with their peers and not with adults. But observation and listening are crucial to look for new slang words and how words are used differently than you expected.

Once you have done your research, you can use a lot of it directly in the stories you craft. If you write science-fiction or fantasy, you can alter words, perhaps creating your own language.

In my fantasy series, I adopt a heroic writing style. I never use a contraction and I work very hard never to use any word or phrasing that seems modern and would jar the reader out from the world I’ve created.

Having worked in a senior school for many years, I heard first-hand the latest phrases and words but since many of them went in and out of fashion with remarkable rapidity, I have always been wary of using them. However, some words and phrases seem to catch on and they are usually found in the media, so I feel safer using them. Social media, especially is a good way to learn what's going on in the world of young adults.

Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note: