Q:Do you have any tips on writing about music in fiction? By way of characters listening to it, describing how it would sound and things like that? Hope you're having a good day :)
Oftentimes when you’re writing music, a lot of writers like to use music that is commonly known among readers. For example, if you write that your character is listening to Bohemian Rhapsody a lot of readers can already get this song into their heads.
However, with lesser-known pieces, the characters touch upon some of the lyrics, narrating why these lyrics have an impact on them. They also touch upon the sounds and some of the instruments. Let me do an example—and hopefully it’s a good one.
In a contemporary book I plan to write in the future, I want my MC Shay’s favorite band to be Silversun Pickups. They’re mainstream, but I don’t know how well-known they are. I certainly didn’t know of them when I began listening to the rock station. However, I knew about all the other bands that played. Well, I want her favorite song to be ‘Panic Switch.’ I want her favorite chorus to be this:
'When you see yourself in a crowded room?
Do your fingers itches? Are you pistol-whipped?
Do you step in line or release the glitch?
Can you fall asleep with a panic switch?’
So I’m going to have Shay use an interpretation of this that I found on the internet, which might mean that the ‘you’ being spoken of in the lyrics is someone being questioned on whether or not to conform or not to conform. Fingers itch and pistol-whipped could mean this person doesn’t want to conform, but it’s difficult to not. And stepping in line and releasing the glitch could mean, do you choose to conform or not? And I guess if you do conform, you’ll have this panic switch screaming for you to not.
This interpretation is important to the story. I know I’m delving into symbolism and what not, but often when writers want to describe music in their books, it is because that music means something to that character. For this particular chorus, Shay will describe the rising of the guitars, the smooth bass in the background, the panicked ringing of the drums, the airy voice of the female background singer, and the urgency in the lead singer’s voice as he sings this chorus.
I hope this helps. If you have further questions on writing music in books, I’ll be more than glad to help.
I’ve got a post queued that should be coming out at 8 PM!
Q:Hello, i also have a question about naming characters. I know that it's very important to name a character that matches to their personality etc. But, i have trouble trying to pick the "Right" name. Like i don't want some regular usual name used like ' bob, joe, jack, or sam ' etc.. I want some unusual names that you wouldn't hear as often. Like in Divergent they used names such as ' Caleb, Beatrice, Tori ' etc. I just want some help how to pick a good name that no one uses a lot. Please help.
Names don’t necessarily have to match personalities. They can, but they don’t have to. My names don’t always (except for Sara and another name I’m not going to mention because it’d be a spoiler). I kid you not, but I mostly choose character names based on names I like that I haven’t already used. That’s really the only criteria for me.
But here’s a website that a lot of writers suggest using for those who are struggling to name their characters: http://www.babynames.com/
Q:Hi! I was wondering if you could help me with the naming of my character? See, I kind of need something soft sounding that can be shortened to something a little more strong and sharp. I decided to go with 'Caitlin'-- 'Lyn'. Does this even make sense? I know I could have named her 'Katelyn', but I feel like it looks so much stronger when I write it than 'Caitlin' does, so it really goes against the purpose here. I would really like your opinion on this, or if you have any other ideas that works.
It really does depend on what you want to go for with a name. Caitlin does look softer on page than Katelyn does. And ‘Lyn’ is definitely sharp and strong. So if that’s what you’re going for, I say stick with Caitlin, especially if you want to get across something about her character to readers by choosing a name that at first appears soft, but then giving her a nickname that is strong and sharp.
In the sequel to When Stars Die, I chose Sara instead of Sarah, just because Sara looks softer on page and conveys an innocence to Sara that she really doesn’t have.
I hope I understood your question correctly. If not, feel free to message me again, and I’ll do my best to be more helpful.
And, followers, if you have anything to add, you know what to do! You may have seen something that I could have missed.
Because I prioritize Tumblr as my blogging platform, would anybody like to do a guest blogpost for my Wordpress blog? I’m currently putting the finishing touches on an article for this blog, but I’d love some guests!
Q:You mention you're a freelance editor, do you charge for our services? I'm looking for editors and beta readers to help me with my novel, but unfortunately I have no money. I am however willing do trade type stuff, I was just wondering if you might be interested?
I do charge for my services, and unfortunately I don’t do trading anymore, simply because clients who have paid for my services have to take precedence. However, what I can do is offer you a sample edit (I do these for prospective clients), and it’s totally free. I can do the first 3,000 words of your manuscript (or first chapter), and you can actually learn a lot with just a sample edit alone. I can’t promise I’ll have it back ASAP, because I can’t take on too many editorial clients right now anyway due to school.
Also, would any of my followers being willing to help out? I guess re-blog and say you’re interested and the Anon can contact and give you further info, I guess?
You can also seek beta readers on AbsoluteWrite. It’s an enormous writing community where I’m absolutely certain you’ll be able to find a few people to help out.
Q:I don't mean to be rude, but I keep seeing reblogs about your book and as a lesbian woman, I'm seriously put off by how you keep repeating/insisting that your main char being lesbian "isn't a plot point" and "barely comes up!!" and etc. and it feels very minimizing and erasing and more than a little bit appeasing ("don't worry, straight people!!") and honestly turns me off the book 1000% because I don't want to read a book with a lesbian lead that minimizes and erases her sexuality in-text.-cont
-cont I just thought I might send something to you because I haven’t seen this come up really, and it’s been bothering me for a couple of days now. It just really hurts to constantly see someone “defending” lesbianism by minimizing its existence.
Please note first that most if not all of the posts mentioning the character’s sexuality are asks and replies. It’s never been a selling point for me, I’m not using lesbianism as a cheap draw.
But to answer your criticisms, I’m not in any way minimizing her being a lesbian, I’m minimizing the romance aspect of the book. It’s an action book and I don’t want people to think it’s a book just about being gay or centering on a romance.
This is in absolutely no way to reassure straight people of anything, if they can’t deal with the main character being lesbian I don’t really want them reading it anyway. It’s to assure readers that this isn’t another book where a gay character is reduced to their sexuality or defined by it. Frankly I find it offensive that nearly every book with a gay protagonist has to make the whole story center on them being gay. I find this to be much more reductive than not mentioning it at all.
I do not in any way whatsoever erase or undermine her sexuality in-text. She’s gay and has a crush on a woman and that’s part of the story. In the sequel there’s much more of a relationship. I maintain it’s not a significant plot point in Valhalla because the book is all about the action and spycraft. I feel it’s important to let potential readers know that. I’d not want people to read it just because they think it will have a story about being gay, nor do I want people avoiding it thinking it’s a book primarily about being gay which also has some action scenes. It’s a sci-fi action novel, so when asked again and again about the main character’s sexuality, I feel it important to remind those who ask that the book isn’t focused on that. It’s focused on explosions and flying cars and ray guns.
I did not set out to defend lesbianism. I don’t claim to, I don’t even think it’s this book’s place to try. But some readers feel that representation is important, and others feel that representation without comment is also important. When I reply to those readers, I’m happy to clarify that this book features a few gay characters without further comment on their sexuality.
I’m very sorry that you feel minimized by that. It’s not in any way designed to minimize you or your sexuality. It’s meant to treat it realistically, and that means when you’re shooting bad guys and blowing up bridges, you’re not polluting the book with ruminations about the main character’s love life.
I hope this at least explains why I’ve posted what I have and clarifies that it’s not my intent to minimize lesbianism in any way. More than that I hope you’ll take a look at the novel so you can see that it’s not de-sexualizing its character in any way, and that you’ll consider the offending posts in context- As tumblr messages and replies about a subject that’s not the focus of the book.
Sort of like if people kept writing to J.K. Rowling to ask about Harry’s heterosexuality. It’s there and it factors into the books, but she’d no doubt prefer readers read the book on the merits of the world and story she’s created. Harry’s straight, but the books are about him. Not him being straight.
Violet’s gay, but the story is about her. Not her being gay. If every book about a gay character had to focus on the fact they’re gay, that would be far more minimizing by suggesting that gays are defined exclusively by their sexuality.
Sorry if this post is longer than you hoped, I just want to be very clear on my intent. Which is not to minimize or erase lesbianism, here or in the novel.
I really hope you’ll give the novel a chance. I think you’ll find it very respectful and complete.
When I talk to people about what kind of books they want to read that involve LGBTQ+ main characters, they want books like Valhalla. They want characters who are LGBTQ+, but it’s just another part of them like having curly hair or brown eyes or dark skin or braces or freckles. Many of the people I’ve talked to want a Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen or Percy Jackson or Hazel Grace who happens to identify as LGBTQ+. None of their stories revolve around those characters being straight, even the ones with romance (other than the obvious bit of the romance being with a presumably cis person of a different gender). So why should a story with an LGBTQ+ protagonist?
In Valhalla, the fact that Violet is a lesbian is as important as the fact that she has violent tendencies, that she doesn’t know how to read, that she’s from Scotland, and that she sometimes herds walruses. Those things all play a part in who Violet is and they shape her choices in the story, but the plot doesn’t revolve around any of them.
Valhalla doesn’t minimize the fact that Violet is a lesbian. It comes up when it’s relevant and there was never any doubt in my mind that she was lesbian when reading the manuscript. What Valhalla does do is refrain from giving her a romance. No one else has a romance either. It’s just not that kind of book.
I think that Valhalla is exactly the kind of book a lot of people I’ve spoken to are looking for: one where the main character is LGBTQ+ but the story doesn’t revolve around that.
Fantastic post on treating homosexuality (or any sexuality) as normal as heterosexuality.
Q:Same anon who inquired about writing classes; thanks for the website that'll be really helpful are there similar sites or maybe full classes that teach plot, passive sentences, character development etc... basically everything you need to write a story properly for free? THANK YOU AGAIN!
Try this website: http://www.creative-writing-now.com/free-online-writing-courses.html
Q:Hello I was wondering if you knew where I could take a writing course to perfect grammar, style, punctuation, etc... (basically everything) online for free? I would like to do that instead of having to spend tons of time trying to find this stuff from various resources and that may or may not be in depth. Any help would be great thanks. :)
Grammar Monster is fantastic because you can learn the material that you need to learn, then take a test to see if you understand everything that you’ve read. I remember using it in grade school, and it was always helpful.
My followers might be able to chime in with some other class-like resources, too.
Follower: 'Daww, thanks for the offer! As of late there are two which I wrote for the Freedom Fiction Journal, about the “Monster Wrestler” (these are funny stories).
There are older ones but I don’t like them as much anymore, haha. Lately, though, I’ve posted two stories to my deviantArt which I simply wrote on a whim without a care to sell to anybody (these are much darker):
Pick whichever you like, and thanks! :)
Me: Check out these fiction pieces for a fellow follower of mine, everyone!