Characterization: Hierarchy of Needs

Cate Russell-Cole:

I have been meaning to blog on this for two years! The only problem with Maslow’s theory is people can skip up to compensate for unmet needs. Other than that, it’s a golden writer’s tool.

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Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

I was reading a book the other day, and was amused (and bemused) by the number of things the hero noticed during an intense fight.

Greece has a conscription service, and I spent 23 months in the Navy, namely at a Navy helicopter base. During that time, I met a lot of pilots undergoing their training. One of them told me how instructors knew when the trainees had reached their maximum capacity for learning. It was when they could not answer a simple question: “What’s your name?”

I have been lucky enough to have participated in only one fistfight as a grownup. One thing I remember is that I experienced tunnel vision big time. Fighting is no different than that.

I believe that my experience ties in nicely with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who came up in 1943 with a theory to describe the pattern that human…

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A Warning on Image Copyright and Wikimedia Commons

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Trying to get free, or affordable images for blog posts is a giant pain in the derriere. Kristen Lamb started using Wikimedia Commons images on her site, so I followed along very happily and made sure I double checked copyright. All was dandy.

Then I sent an image to my husband as an idea for a project he was working on. Now my husband is a savvy dude, (I am not being bribed or coerced to say that.) He works in IT, likes gadgets and needless to say, he used his favourite whatsit to check the image. You don’t need a drumroll, you already know it was someone’s stock photo, (purchase required), that had been illegally placed on Wikimedia Commons. *sigh*

How did he check? It’s a very simple, free web site called Tin Eye.

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http://tineye.com

You upload your image and it sees where else it lives on the Internet, enabling you to find the original source and save your hide.

Now don’t be put off. Wikimedia Commons has masses of useful images, so don’t shy away from using it. Just be careful. You see Copyright notices on every post I put out, and they always include image notices. I never want to get a nasty email from iStockphoto or Canstock telling me I am in breach of $$$$$$$$. It pays to look after yourself.

Now there are some images which are placed online as Public Domain or Creative Commons, but then the owner changes their mind about copyright. Where that happens, Wikimedia Commons will place a notice on that images page which states:

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When this file was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, it was available from Flickr under the stated license. The Flickr user has since stopped distributing the file under this license. As Creative Commons licenses cannot be revoked in this manner, the file is still free to use under the terms of the license specified. See the Creative Commons FAQ on revoking licensing.

Oh and by the way… read Creative Commons codes carefully. They have differing requirements and one logo isn’t just a free for all. I vary between ‘do what you like,’ and ‘no adaption, but free to share,’ which is what this post is coming under today. Face it, never put anything online you’re not prepare to lose or have hijacked. It will happen one day.

P.S. sorry, but comments are off for the rest of the week as I prepare for NaNoWriMo.

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Creative Commons License
This work, created and Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2015 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Wikimedia Commons and Tin Eye logos are their property.

 

The Writer’s [Inner] Journey

Merr-pensiveThe Writer’s Inner Journey is an essential confidence-boosting blog by Meredith Resnick. She describes herself as: “I’m an artist and writer; a right-handed right-brain type who responds beautifully to deadlines… Creativity PRN is the intuitive work I do to help creatives and writers unblock. And always seeking ways to prove, see and understand that “the process” is different for everyone.”

Blog posts I have enjoyed include:

“Pull up a chair. You’re here because you’re fascinated by the creative process. Showed up because you’re intrigued by the breadth of originality of contemporary writers. And mostly because you, too, have a voice that is original and pure. You’ve got a pocket (or drawer, safe, trunk, notebook, mind) full of stories you want to write (tell, share, draw, paint, collage, or sing). And, yes, you want those stories to be heard. 

On The Writer’s [Inner] Journey, we relate. My hypothesis was simple: There is no one way—one right way—to create, to write.”

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http://writersinnerjourney.com

P.S. Sorry, comments are off on this post, as I prepare for NaNoWriMo

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morale boost

 

Aussie-isms and Novel Writing: It Gets Tricky!

20g Koala Unit 3D2When my Canadian husband first came to Australia, he had to learn the language. It sounds odd, doesn’t it? Canada and Australia are both English-speaking, Commonwealth countries. However, whenever the Census comes around, I am now tempted to put myself down as bi-lingual. We took a walk through a supermarket picking up fruit and vegetables and comparing the names. You have no idea how many differences there are, in that area alone!

In Australia, we have a lot in input from other countries. I should be classed as tri-lingual as I was bought up watching American shows, British programmes and at that time, the Australian tv industry was much smaller, so there was less Aussie content. (Note the three changes in language, in just that sentence.) I had heard about Twinkies, long before I ever saw an image of one. But do you know what a Tim Tam is? If not, I feel bad for you, because they are one of the most awesome biscuits known to mankind! Ask any Aussie ex-pat. I know who Barack Obama is, but can you tell me who the Australian Prime Minister is? We’re oddly isolated down here.

product_timtam_classicdark_5845_largeI can read American and British novels without any hassle and love them, but in writing The Dragon Tree, I had to often stop and review whether phrases I used in dialogue, would be understood outside our borders. Except for Steve Irwin’s tendency to say it, the word ‘crikey’ went out of fashion about eighty years ago. There is a great deal of misinformation about our country and culture and there are many Australian names and phrases, that would have you scratching your head and reaching for Google. They are so common to me, I wouldn’t even notice I’d put them in the book. I have a glossary of terms, but I never think I need everyday sayings in it.

When my husband started work in Australia, he’d text me questions like, “what’s a sanger?” It’s a sandwich. “What’s arvo mean?” It means afternoon. “Someone said Woop Woop was near us, let’s go there.” *sigh* No, there is no Woop Woop. It just means somewhere out the back of nowhere, that is really boring. You know, like the Canadians refer to Dodge. That got me in trouble. Apparently, Dodge is a real place and he thought I was having a go at him – ha, there is another Aussie-ism “having a go” at someone, which means, teasing or telling off. That is how easy Aussie-isms are to write in and I never notice I’ve done it. To end my tale, my husband pointed out that Australia has a Woy Woy and a Wagga Wagga (yes, we do,) so why not a Woop Woop? How do you argue with that? (Enterprising souls have been smart enough to name their winery Woop Woop, so now you can go somewhere. People like me owe them thanks.)

So in pre-emptive self-defence (Aussie spelling there folks), my novel has a place in it named Wollongong. I wrote it in, as it is entirely appropriate and then realised, people will think I made a name like that up. I didn’t, truly. Just click on this link.

Do you have any writing challenges like this? What are your localised ___isms?

P.S. Sorry, comments are now off on this post, as I prepare for NaNoWriMo

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Wollongong


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This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Book of the Month: How I Overcame My Writer’s Block

uycs3dI researched and wrote a course on creativity, to overcome my writer’s block. I could argue over whether it was actually writer’s block or a complete lack of motivation, however, to overcome the problem, I wound up researching and writing a complete course on how creativity works! That course is now being taught to Seniors Australia wide, and I have had the pleasure of teaching it locally. As the course was so helpful to both myself and the students, it became an ebook. It’s enjoyed great reviews.

“Thanks, I enjoyed opening up to my creativity interesting that when I started looking into my own creativity I found a dearth of information and help just kind of flowed to me.”

“Very enjoyable course; inspiring and motivating.”

This e-book will help you turn your dreams into reality. It explores the process and practical aspects of creativity: the mental processing; philosophies that drive how we think about and assess our creative worth; creative character traits; historical role models; an extensive bibliography and web link list and more. The content is practical, not just analytical. It will give you ideas on how to move forward in your creative life.

Topics covered include:

  • Capturing the Muse
  • Quieting the Internal Censor
  • Building A Creative Space
  • Working With Failure
  • Finding Direction
  • Techniques To Use

To order in pdf or Amazon Kindle format, please visit this link.


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This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes images and text usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Computer Use: Minimizing the Strain

ABPASG 3D Cover
This ebook is free and has been approved by a Spinal Surgeon with a Master’s Degree in Spinal Biomechanics. Please click on the cover to get your pdf copy.

I can spend fifty hours a week at my desk easily. My work depends on it; then when work is done, there are the usual tasks such as paying bills online and keeping in touch with distant friends and family. Quite often a day has flown by and I haven’t moved position much. That not only strains my eyes, but it is a risk factor for back and neck problems.

In an office setting ergonomics has become a buzz word we have developed an immunity to. There are policies, handbooks and sets of rules which have been put together so we don’t hurt ourselves. We know they are there, but may not be using them. It is easier to rely on our subconscious habits. Being aware of and breaking out of those habits can save you chronic pain, or potentially more serious long-term problems.

To cut a very complex science down to a few basics, below are useful tips to remember when using a desktop computer, laptop or tablet device. These only cover neck and back strain. More information is available online on keyboard heights and other body strain issues.

  • Keep alignment in mind. Your back, neck and head should be as straight as possible, at all times. If you stay aligned, you are not fatiguing and stressing your spine. If your shoulders aren’t relaxed, your position is wrong.
  • Have lumbar support on chairs. Make sure your chair is the correct height for your desk.
  • The top third of your computer screen should be level with your eyes. iMacs have screens which adjust up and down easily. Similar set-ups make it simple to move the screen whatever your height, or if you need to stand up. That will save you crouching down to read the screen.
  • If you need to repeat tasks over and over, make sure you take frequent breaks or alternate tasks, so you can get up and move without feeling you are wasting time.
  • Don’t sit in awkward postures for more than a very, very short time.
  • Use laptop risers and iPad stands which conform to the rules above. If you are unable to, or still find your neck aches when using mobile devices, minimize their use and/or take frequent breaks.
  • If you need to use paper documents as you work, a document holder which is attached to your monitor, or free-standing, may decrease neck strain as you aren’t looking up and down repeatedly. Even slightly bending your back and neck can create pain at the end of the day. It is repetition which creates the strain.
  • Learn to touch type so you need to look at the keyboard less.
  • Software companies make programs which will pop up on your screen, reminding you it is time to stretch, move and give your eyes a break. That will also help your spinal joints.

Get Your Free Copy of the Book

Woman Working With a Sore BackBack pain affects more of us than any other complaint, including heart disease and asthma. It is an epidemic which is largely avoidable, but rarely addressed in public health education. The information in this book is quite diverse. Taking care of your spine is an issue for everyone, including mothers; athletes; military personnel; the aged; computer users and office workers who battle with back ache due to posture; builders; manual laborers; and anyone who regularly lifts, bends and twists their spine to get tasks done whether at home, work or recreationally.

Contents Include:

  • Back Health Essentials: A Simple Overview
  • Basic Guidelines on How to Lift Anything
  • Conditions Caused by Repetitive Back Strain
  • What Type of Bag Do You Carry?
  • Back and Neck Friendly Computer Use
  • Household Maintenance and Back Strain
  • Lifting and Caring for Children
  • Spine Safe Sport and Recreation
  • Back Saving Water-Wise Gardening
  • Avoiding Back Strain While Packing and Moving
  • Taking Care of Your Back After Corrective Surgery: A Cautionary Tale
  • Back Care for Carers
  • Back Care for Wheelchair Users
  • A Special Chapter for Young Carers
  • Online Back Care Resources

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This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2012. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes images and text usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Internet #Marketing Terms #Writers Need to Know

social-media-assorted-icons_freevector 95167If you watch my Twitter feed, you know that I frequently pass on blog posts which contain words that you may not think are relevant to writers. Have you seen these?

  • Content / Content Marketing
  • Business
  • Branding
  • Engagement
  • Sales
  • Web Design
  • SEO
  • Platform

I wouldn’t blame you for tuning out to those posts, however, if you are an author or blogger marketing your work, you need those posts and an understanding of the terms. Those posts are passed on to help you.

May I demonstrate?

  • Content: your book, your blog posts and what you place on social media. Content marketing means you gear what goes into those elements to make people want to read your work and buy from you.
  • Business: if you sell anything, you are a business. You are liable for taxation. Even if you are a small time Indie author, you are still a micro-business and it helps to be organised and think like one: without getting bogged down!
  • Branding: whatever image of you that is placed online in pictures, web design and your “voice” in your work, makes a brand that is YOU! Wherever you see my online presences, you see my teacup logo and Macbook desk image. They are part of my brand and make me recognisable. If you build a strong brand, people will recognise you.
  • Engagement: how you interact with followers, other authors etc. that sells and promotes your work.
  • Sales: we all hope for them! If you don’t sell books, your “sales” could be likened to your blog stats and followers.

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Find these posts on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cateartios
  • Web Design: necessary for everyone with a site, whether it is a blog or independent web site.
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimisation which dictates how far up the search list your name, web site, books, blogs etc. are found.
  • Platform: speakers stand on a platform to be heard. It raises you high enough that others notice you. Your platform is your blog, web site, social media presences and whatever you do online to be noticed.

You will also find me passing along posts relevant to the main social media including Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter; email list services, plus varied other technical topics… it is all relevant believe it or not. Have a read, stretch your view of your value a little further and see what new tips and tricks you can discover.


This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

The 10 Social Media Commandments for Authors

Cate Russell-Cole:

The reminder we all KEEP needing. Do not feed the trolls… live in peace with everyone… but there is much more in this post to inspire, than just those points. Really – the Internet is a small world. Not only will that troll notice your negative actions, but so will others. Faithful followers can lose their respect for you.

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Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

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Photo found on telegraph.co.uk

Anne R. Allen has published a great list with The 10 Commandments of Social Media Etiquette for Writers on her blog. Here’s a brief summary: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.

Not enough?  Alright then, here are her ten tips for online behavior for people planning a writing career, summarized for your convenience:

1) Thou shalt not spam.

What is spam?  Here’s the short version: if you’d ignore it in your own inbox, FB page, or Twitter stream, it’s probably spam.

2) Thou shalt support other authors.

Your fellow authors are not “rivals”. The number one thing a beginner should be doing on social media is getting to know other authors in your genre and subgenre and making friends.

One of the hottest sales tools in the business right now is the multi-author bargain boxed set with several titles by different authors. These…

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Giving Antagonists Depth and More Effective Roles in Plot Resolution

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Source: A Lofty Existence Blog on WordPress: http://tinyurl.com/blmdl2g
Source: A Lofty Existence Blog on WordPress: http://tinyurl.com/blmdl2g

Whether you want to believe in personality typing or not, for writers building characters, the enneagram is one of the very best gold mines you’ll ever find. It is similar to a road map for human behaviour, which shows our basic motivational needs, strengths, weaknesses, temptations and what we can do to balance out our negatives (and thus resolve interpersonal conflicts in plots).

Using the Enneagram has been a wonderful tool for fleshing out the motivation of my antagonists. It’s given them depth. Instead of the good guys just being good, and the bad guys inherently having to be bad, now the bad guy is bad because he is a Reformer (the 1). He is compulsively motivated by a need to make things better, but he’s handled the challenges he is facing the wrong way. It has created fights and barriers, not change. He is out of balance (the enneagram shows you how to create balance) and is a danger to himself, as much as he is to others. I have a relatable, humanised bad guy, who doesn’t mean to be a rat and has no idea why people are opposing him, but he can’t stop himself. He isn’t a one-dimensional, one-task piece of the novel puzzle.

Let me give you another example of how this can work. Let me use an intellectual personality as an example. They are referred to as the Thinker or Observer (the 5). Out of balance, they can be withdrawn, thought-driven, self-motivated, happy to be alone and have a strong need for independence and privacy. Often they don’t fit in with social groups. This is a weakness of their personality type. Problems for fives include isolation, pride, power-seeking and their intellectual approach can drive people in the other direction, seeking friendlier company. The five can become one very frustrated, lonely individual, with answers no one will listen to.

No one has just one type they solely fit into. They have parts of all the types and two other, less dominant types which are called wings. They balance the psyche out. A five will have the wings of a four: the romantic, withdrawn ideal-seeker who wants authenticity, self-expression and who can also be deeply empathetic; and a six wing, which is the attachment-making loyalist. They can work towards balance by utilising their ability to empathise and be loyal, alongside their need to think, rather than coldly retreating.

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One-dimensional villains, who simply exist, as a bad guy is needed for the story line to work.

Enneagram research will also give you lists of ways that the various types can get along with other people. It flags sources of conflicts, how to approach them and other techniques which will have writers in seventh heaven! This is a mystically based theory which has been around for centuries. At it’s simplest level it is an excellent idea generator, that you will find useful and intriguing.

Enneagram Resources

http://www.9types.com/writeup/enneagram.html#FAQ
http:// www.enneagraminstitute.com/  and   http:// www.enneagram.com.au/


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This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

The Rules

Cate Russell-Cole:

Common sense for your writer’s survival kit. We all need to hear this message from Jo Robinson. Thanks Jo!

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Originally posted on Lit World Interviews:

Jo Robinson
Jo Robinson

A lot of indie authors are pretty rigid with their writing rules. There’s nothing wrong with this when it’s your style, and self-imposed. You’ll have problems though if rigid rules don’t fit well with your character, and you’ve only inflicted them on yourself because a successful and well known writer said that that’s what you should be doing if you ever want to succeed. “Must” is often the word lurking behind procrastination in any field, and when it comes to creative souls, I believe it could shut down production pretty well.

The minute we’re told we must do something, our subconscious goes into overdrive, bombarding us with all the ways we could fail, and settles like a lump in your mind, effectively blocking all those wonderful sentences that had been champing at the bit to leap onto your pages. This fear can be good in small doses. When…

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NaNoWriMo, Should You or Shouldn’t You? A Balanced View

NaNoMania
My current planning for my next novel. I need time to put in all those plot points which are mapped out. I just can't get this, work and health commitments all in sync and completed in a month!
My current planning for my next novel. I need time to put in all those blank plot points which are mapped out. I just can’t get this, work and health commitments all in sync and completed in a month!

Each November, my blog visit stats drop as everyone focusses on their plans for National Novel Writing Month. Then later in the month, the visits pop up again as the dream of winning NaNo is abandoned or hijacked my real life. So should you sign up? I won’t be. I tried it a few years ago and stressed right out. I need more flexibility. Some of us need a push to get into gear, some of us need creative time and space. I am the latter.

Last year I wrote a post on how to assess whether or not initiatives such as NaNoWriMo are suitable for you, individually, or not. If you want an alternative to NaNoWriMo, try the links below. They are far, far less stressful and will suit those of you who don’t fit the “full steam ahead, hell or high water” mould.

Don’t forget that October is OctPoWriMo, October Poetry Writing Month: http://www.octpowrimo.com Write 31 poems in 31 days.

 


 

ROW80Logocopy~ A Round of Words in 80 Days: http://aroundofwordsin80days.wordpress.com There are 4 rounds of 80 days a year. Rounds start in January, April, July and October, but you can participate in as many as you wish. ROW80 is the challenge that champions the marriage of writing and real life where you post your own goals, check-in twice a week and can change your goals as needed. Join at any time.

~ Creative Every Day: http://creativeeveryday.com This is a low pressure, all-inclusive, year-long adventure for bloggers. You can join at any time.

~ #writemotivation by K.T. Hanna. http://www.kthanna.com/category/writemotivation/roll-call/  This initiative runs periodically through the year. You need to sign up, make a realistic list of blogging goals for the month, check-in once a week and visit your team mates to encourage them.

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November also has these two challenges:

LeNoWriCha: a “rank-and-reward system is to provide an escape from the “success/failure” paradigm that seems to evolve from NaNo.” Started by David Shelverman Grimes and accessible through here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/david-shelverman-grimes/lenowricha-an-upgrade-to-nanowrimo/10151561140712496

WNFINNOVWrite Non-Fiction in November: http://writenonfictioninnovember.com “Challenges nonfiction writers to spend the month of November writing and completing a work of nonfiction. It also discusses nonfiction writing and publishing and provide a way for nonfiction writers to comment on their writing experiences during November each year. This is not a contest!”

 

REBLOGS WELCOMED


Writer’s Resources on Twitter: September 2014 Update

 

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I started this post in 2012 to give writers and bloggers a list of resources on Twitter which would provide promotion, inspiration and industry resources. The list of excellent Tweeters I have discovered has grown so much, I’ve had to start multiple lists, which I regularly update. Also there are now too many to name here. So here are the links to my lists.

You can subscribe to these lists as a Twitter user so you are kept in the loop with new additions. My Twitter username is @cateartios  and posts I share are writing related, not personal.

  • Publishers and Magazines covers everything publishing and is a list of 380+ Literary agents, publishers, industry news providers etc. Use at your own risk. Always get legal advice about publishing contracts and check industry news and trends via multiple sources. http://twitter.com/#!/cateartios/publishers-and-magazines

  • Books and Readers is a public list for readers of all genres, plus it lists some tweeters that publicise books and may also publicise yours on request. 196 members. https://twitter.com/#!/cateartios/books-and-readers

REBLOGS WELCOMED

Caught in the Prologue Cross Fire? When to Hit Delete and When to Save Them

2014-10-25_18-11-30Everyone tends to like things to be done a certain way, generally their way! That’s not necessarily problematic, it’s a matter of placing your own mark on what you’re achieving. Some of the best novels have broken the rules, some of worst ones have decimated the rules. Fashions governing what is acceptable also change over time, leaving writers sitting in the middle of raging arguments, wondering which direction they should be taking and what it will do to their sales.

One of the debates I’ve been reading up on, is “forget about writing prologues, no one reads them anyway. They are just a frustrating delay.” I can see the point, but I am still scratching my head and considering that to be a sweeping generalisation, rather than solid advice. Could prologue bashing be part of the reason why are turned off them? If we keep seeing them reported as bad writing, the force of repetition can lead to us adopting the same negative view, whether it is biased, erroneous, or not. We need to think for ourselves.

A well-written prologue can be an effective story hook. I always read the prologue and epilogue. I’ve always liked them. They can set the scene for a story and contain gems of information I can’t understand the book without. I particularly like the ones which talk about a future event, that motivate me to dive into the novel to see how it comes about. My curiosity is aroused. Please note the words well-written. Actually, note them again. Poor writing is the entire basis of the prologue problem.

Have a think about this further. Television programs, such as The Big Bang Theory, are structured to include parts that act very much like a prologue and epilogue. If you are an avid television watcher, you are being conditioned to expect that structure. There is a ‘prologue,’ or teaser at the start; the front credits roll and then the body of the episode begins. At the very end, there is a small, comedic part you never want to miss, which works as an epilogue. Every episode is the same. You expect it to be.

The quickest way to determine the effectiveness of a prologue, on a fair book-by-book basis, is if you can give just your prologue to a reader and they start to care about the characters and want to read more to see what happens or happened, it’s working for you.

Below is a summary of all the arguments about prologues so you can determine your own fate.

Pro Prologue

  • You can put specific events under a spotlight to emphasize their importance.
  • You can talk to the reader from a different point of view than the rest of the novel is written in. For example, instead of third person, you may speak from first person as an onlooker, or one of the characters.
  • You can start to build solid characterisation, motivation, suspense and plot with a focus on one pivotal element.
  • If, like me, you are a science fiction and/or fantasy writer and need to world build, a prologue can familiarise your reader with place, science and customs. Just keep it interesting and adding benefit to the story. Don’t info dump! If there are parts of the world you can’t introduce through dialogue, this may be an effective way to set the scene.

Anti Prologue

  • They can be used as lazy information dumps, rather than building proper story. For example, you can write far too much about a character’s past, bypassing show don’t tell and boring your reader. Try a glossary or build these elements into your story properly.
  • IMG_0182If it doesn’t make you care about the characters or get you interested in the story, cull it!
  • If you can understand the story without the prologue, you don’t need it, you are wasting time and paper.
  • Due to the abuse of prologues, many traditional editors may reject your work as you have included one.
  • If you put in plot points which leave the reader hanging for a very long time before the answers are revealed, you can divide their attention and frustrate them.

 

Effective Prologues

  • Keep it short and write in active voice, not passive terms. Prologues can be a single paragraph or a single sentence. Length is up to you.
  • It must be written in the same spirit and style as the novel, or it looks out of place.
  • It was stated in one article that it should read like a short story, but without an ending. The ending is your novel.
  • Both the prologue and chapter one must hook the reader in, just as powerfully. Both have to work hard, or they don’t work at all.
  • It must be distinctive from the rest of the novel in terms of time or point of view, otherwise it’s a chapter you stashed in a silly place.

So what parts of a novel do I skip? Prefaces, Forwards, Dedications, Acknowledgements and most Introductions, especially lengthy ones. They have no story value and unless I adore the author and they can teach me more about them, I skip over the pages. I’ve always seen them as the part that is written for the Author’s benefit or as a courtesy. But that’s just me…


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This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Getting Your Characters Help! The Character Therapist

BLOG BUTTONThis is one of the most original writer’s resource blogs I have discovered, and it’s a goldmine of information on many topics including:

  • romantic scenes, break ups and all the soppy stuff
  • amnesia
  • mental illnesses of all kinds, including some you’ve never heard of
  • attachment
  • character archetypes
  • body image
  • backstory
  • character flaws and criminology
  • comic relief
  • conflict, defence mechanisms etc
  • social issues such as domestic violence, cults,
  • physical illnesses including autism, Down’s Syndrome and many things
  • dialogue and character inconsistency
  • emotional revolution
  • marital issues

… and if those haven’t piqued your interest, go look up Fascination by Mystique, countertransference, the Cotard Delusion, Nazism and Paris Syndrome. Plus, it is Christian friendly.

Screen-shot-2013-03-13-at-9.20.59-PMLink: http://charactertherapist.blogspot.com.au

The blog and accompanying services are run by Jeannie Campbell, who is a licensed and highly experienced marriage and family therapist. She has turned her skills into a helpful resource where she “diagnoses make-believe people” to assist novelists. Jeannie also has a newsletter you can sign up for.


Need more help?

“Creating and Resolving Conflict in Fiction,” dissects conflict into its component parts; looks at how it works and helps you generate conflict plot-lines and themes which will add richness and realism to your work. The principles apply to any kind of fiction, regardless of the length, characters or genre.

CRCF4DimCover3lowresThis book is not a “how to write” text. It is a user-friendly, introductory reference on the topics covered, which will enable you to write about them effectively. You don’t have to read it from cover to cover, it can be used as needed.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • How to Fuel Conflicts and Misunderstandings
  • What Character Traits Go With What Type of Person?
  • Human Behaviour Is All About Patterns
  • Using Power Dynamics
  • Making or Breaking Character Relationships

Available in Kindle and pdf formats from this site: http://virtual-desk.com.au/conflict_in_fiction.html


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This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.