The Characters are Aware That They’re Fictional

Shasta looked at the text message again. Henry wanted research done for his new book and as usual sent Shasta out to do the dirty work. This new novel would be about the dynasty of a wealthy Texas family. He sent Shasta to Texas to get the jargon of workers on an oil rig as his story would have all the action and drama of fire on the rig. Shasta knew she couldn’t talk him out of it. If Henry wanted to start a new series about this Texan family saga; then what was going to happen to the Shasta Gains series?

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Fiction About Writers

Some of my favorite books are fiction books about writers and books. Heads You Lose, by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward is a detective story written by two authors, each taking a chapter. In one chapter Lisa killed off a character she didn’t like, then next chapter David had him revived in the hospital, so in the next chapter Lisa killed him again and wrote “now he is really really dead.” Lisa Lutz’s other books are great. Canapes for the Kitties by Marian Babson is a mystery in a small village with a number of mystery writers – the end is great so won’t spoil it for you. I also love Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series of books that take place in a world where books and reading is common, and also where characters in a book can cross the line into the ‘real’ world and vice versa. You do need an imagination to read Jasper Fforde’s books. And if you want to experience a unique website go to http://www.jasperfforde.com.

Writing for Fun

You might find writing can be fun, even if you are not a writer with aspirations to create short stories or a novel. Some friends and I took a prompt writing class from Write Around Portland (http://www.pdxwriters.com) a great non-profit group. When the class was over we didn’t want to stop — so found a few more friends and made our own prompt writing group we call the Wesix Writers. 

Prompt writing is great even if you literally only have a few minutes. My group usually does ten-minute exercises. Many of my blog postings come from my writing in this group — the ones I considered fun. One of the best parts is reading what others come up with using the same prompts.

I follow a blog for a group that does five minute prompt writing exercises https://inkslingersguild.wordpress.com. This group shares what each of them wrote from the prompts. Prompts are easy to find. My favorite site for prompts is: http://writingexercises.co.uk. However, a quick query to Google will result in a long list of resources for prompt writing. 

Wesix Writers could produce quite a few novels from the ideas created in our prompt writing sessions if we were ambitious novelists who had time, and more importantly the inclination, to utilize our brilliant ideas. We don’t, instead we simply have a lot of fun writing.

Controlling Your Characters

Uncontrolled Fire

This photo is of my neighbor’s house fire. My home is the one in the front. Thanks to the wonderful Gladstone Fire fighters, my house survived. This fire was nothing compared to one I experienced a few years earlier when I attended a planned fire for firefighter training. 

Back then I was writing a scene in one of my novels about a fire burning a mansion. In order to better to describe a fire I had the privilege of attending an actual planned one by the Gladstone Fire Department. The firefighters were in control of burning this house. At that time I experienced many senses as I felt the heat, smelled the smoke, heard the roar of the flames, and saw the intensity of the colors of the flames, well described as fiery red, and the shades of grey in the smoke. I used the experience as best I could in my writing. That novel is still unfinished. 

A deliberate controlled fire is quite a different thing from an uncontrolled fire as you can see in this photo where the heat, the sounds, the intense colors all are magnified at least twenty times — or more.

As a writer I want to be in control of my characters and my plot. I have had some characters take off on their own and try to turn the plot for their own use. I almost always rein them in and tame them down. I find myself trying to write for my perceived readers and not allow my characters be who they want to be as they try to turn my PG13 book into …