Free Resources for Learning a Subject- MIT OpenCourseware

MITOCW512-300x300Yesterday I blogged about using Coursera to become an expert in a topic you might need to know for your latest fiction (infectious diseases, anyone?) But what if the topic you want to learn about is fiction writing itself? Where can you find a good, free course on honing your craft?

Continue reading “Free Resources for Learning a Subject- MIT OpenCourseware”

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Color Tools for the Writer

In the book, “Lolita,” Humbert Humbert describes his little nymphet with “lips as red as licked red candy.”

Wow.

How gorgeous is that description? Can’t you just see the deep red and glossy sheen of a wet lollipop? The fact that he’s describing a 12 year old girl’s lips makes it all the more provocative and disturbing. Perhaps that’s why it works on so many levels. When I heard that line for the first time (I was listening to the audiobook) I stopped and rewound it four times just so that I could appreciate how utterly amazing Nabokov’s writing was. And then I set fire to my current manuscript in a fit of despair as I realized I would never come close to the level of descriptive mastery that writers like Nabokov showed. Continue reading “Color Tools for the Writer”

All in the Name of Research

Sugar. It’s everywhere. Too bad we can’t run cars on it.

My main character, Roland, goes through quite a transformation over the course of my novel. He cleans himself up, stops acting like a dick, and quits smoking… all for a girl. He also loses a bit of weight and starts exercising. This is a painful process for Roland. He’s never exercised a day in his life.

As the author, I owe it to Roland and the readers to paint a picture of Roland’s roller coaster ride of ups and downs as he goes through this transformation. Part of me can use my imagination. I watched my dad quit smoking so I can draw from that, but I’ve never successfully quit a bad habit myself. I think it’s time to put myself to the test, all in the spirit of getting inside my character’s head.

Soo… two weeks ago I decided to give up sugar for 8 weeks. Continue reading “All in the Name of Research”

Story Bible Blues

A few weeks ago I listened to a podcast on Writing Excuses about story bibles. A story bible is a place to keep all the details of your characters, locations, and events organized so that you can easily look them up later on.

For somebody like me who 1) has poor memory, and 2) is obsessive about keeping notes in a systematic way, a story bible is an excellent idea. Wikis make an obvious choice for this type of document so I tried out a few. Continue reading “Story Bible Blues”