Things In Writing I Pay Attention To That Other People Might Not Care About

If Haskell gets any closer Nyxie will show him the consequences

Yes A Does Really Have To Get To B Eventually

Cause And Effect

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Unresolved situations are frustrating.

Example: If a character experiences trauma, they will be traumatized and then display signs of trauma as a result of the event.

To not experience trauma in response to a traumatic event indicates something other. This could be used as a literary device. If it is not being used as a device it is distracting and takes away from the work. Make sure all actions have consequences.

Does The Characterization Of Each Character Match Up With The Timeline?

Characters are on a journey. Each character is moving from A to B and some will go on to C or D. Along those paths each character is changed. This creates the timeline of a book. How a character is portrayed in a scene needs to match the point in the timeline a character is at.

Example: A character that is in her twenties thinks about bills and her job as opposed to a character in her teens that is thinking about school. Because of this, the relationships formed around these areas are most important in life and are the most emotionally impactful outside of family and those that might as well be family.

We Didn’t Go Anywhere

When the setting of a story changes it’s important to have some form of transition to show movement of time and place.

There are some stories that don’t include enough details about objective indicators of passage of time and check that they are consistent such that all of the details of the story align temporally.

There are some stories that don’t include them at all and it’s somehow eternal summer somewhere bizarre like Alaska.

There are some stories that include way too much detail. It’s overwhelming and distracting from the story. I am suddenly studying the passage of time and the changing of the seasons instead of the nature of man.

There are some stories that include lots and lots of details. So many details. All the details. But none of them align temporally, so suddenly April was both 6 months ago and 2 months ago with Winter only 3 months away. This is when I start getting headaches. James Joyce does this. A lot.

Characters Have Hidden Lives

It’s Okay To Have “Offensive” Characters

There’s a huge difference between an “offensive” character that upsets readers and an overdone inaccurate stereotyped character that upsets readers because it doesn’t resonate.

The best offensive characters speak to the group they’re offending because they are too accurate and too real. This will be upsetting to some people. That’s the kind of “offensive” I relish. There may be those that demand a content warning. Good – research is showing that content warnings increase the reads a piece gets much like good tagging because people are seeking them out.

I don’t care who the author is – I promise if you have done your research and shaped your character in a way that reveals truths in your observations, I will love your character even if people get really upset with you over it. Cut the wound deep and hit where it hurts, not where it’s been done ad nauseum unless it’s real. Reveal something no one else has, but remember that pen names exist for your protection.

Your Characters Have Conversations The Reader Doesn’t Know About And Doesn’t See

An author cannot document everything. They are writing down a snapshot of a potential alternate universe that could exist because someone thought of it, right? That means all of those characters have private inner lives the reader can’t possibly know in its entirety. This means characters can have relationships with each other that are implied instead of explicitly stated. All of this helps to create depth.

It helps to come up with a full backstory for every character in a story even if it’s never talked about or mentioned. This will influence how dialogue is written and how hidden relationships between characters are revealed.

Your Characters Have Moods

Depending on your character’s internal state they will have a mood. This mood will translate into action or inaction in response to a stimulus and that will result in some consequence. Moods and energy levels related to exhaustion as an effect of the story timeline should all be cohesive.

Your Characters Of Different Cultures Are Going To Have Trouble Getting Along

Culture clash is real. The minority of people will be peaceful and fine and that’s great, but your characters aren’t the saints you think they are. Nope. They are averse to change and other cultures and view other as dangerous. This goes all ways. Be real – your characters from different cultures are going to be uneasy around each other and hesitant to make friends for legitimate reasons evolutionary wired in (if they’re humanoid).

Settings Are Places That Can Only Be Known Through Experience

Setting Descriptions Have A Time And Place With Characters In Them

It is not uncommon that I run into setting descriptions that are detached from the story either by the characters not interacting with the setting features or by the characters existing completely separate from setting descriptions.

By integrating setting details with the story as a whole the sensory experience can be the focus. The integrated sensory experience of the setting provides the reader with a greater sense of passage of time.

Settings Indicate Culture

Think about it – In the United States, if I set a story in the South a reader is going to anticipate a lot of passive aggressive saccharine manipulation straddled by y’alls happening. If I set a story in the Northeast, there’s a more WASPy social norm puppet show expectation.

But that’s based on the dominant culture of an area. What about when you’re writing about an area’s subculture?

I like to refer to framing subculture structures in writing as “country clubs” – it’s exclusive, you need to know someone to be someone, and there are generally specific central gathering places.

TL;DR

  • Make sure everything makes sense temporally
  • Ground the reader in temporal details outside the character
  • Offend by speaking the truth and make very effort to ensure that truth resonates in an effective and impactful way with the audience
  • Characters have conversations the reader won’t see but totally influence what the final dialogue will be.
  • Characters have inner lives, states, and energy levels that change as a result of the story. Write that.
  • Culture clash is real. Observe it and describe it. Be curious and nuanced. This gives a story so much depth.
  • Details of setting can be added to show passage of time in the story and immerse the characters and action in the location.
  • Settings indicate dominant culture and can somewhat indicate subcultures.

Thank you for reading! If you like this post on writing please like and let me know. What are things in books that drive you crazy?

Nyxie Explores The Downstairs

Nyxie is getting more settled and comfortable in her new home. She is now demanding attention by inviting herself into Jacob’s lap while he is working. She has decided drawers and cabinets are the best things ever. She opens them, runs inside, then closes them. She thinks she is a clever kitty. We think we need to invest in child safety locks.

She has discovered that Jacob’s desk is also a standing desk. You know, that one standing desk from Costco that lots of people decided to all go and buy right before tech companies started saying work from home indefinitely? That one. It’s buttons spook the hell out of me and are so touch sensitive. Nyxie doesn’t care. Elevator cat.

Guess what else this cat is fearless agains? Robotic vacuums. Shadow cat don’t care. House dragon cause bigger scare. Rawr.

Nyxie is doing well. We’re wondering how much she was eating at the shelter – she seems satiated around 2/3 of a cup of food per day with some treats, a snack, or a little wet food thrown in at some point. Otherwise she is *starving* throwing a tantrum.

Play is a work in progress. She does not seem to engage with objects quickly. That makes using toys difficult. I want to try a laser pointer next.

Thank you for reading this update!

Nyxie Explores The Downstairs

Nyxie is getting more settled and comfortable in her new home. She is now demanding attention by inviting herself into Jacob’s lap while he is working. She has decided drawers and cabinets are the best things ever. She opens them, runs inside, then closes them. She thinks she is a clever kitty. We think we need to invest in child safety locks.

She has discovered that Jacob’s desk is also a standing desk. You know, that one standing desk from Costco that lots of people decided to all go and buy right before tech companies started saying work from home indefinitely? That one. It’s buttons spook the hell out of me and are so touch sensitive. Nyxie doesn’t care. Elevator cat.

Guess what else this cat is fearless agains? Robotic vacuums. Shadow cat don’t care. House dragon cause bigger scare. Rawr.

Nyxie is doing well. We’re wondering how much she was eating at the shelter – she seems satiated around 2/3 of a cup of food per day with some treats, a snack, or a little wet food thrown in at some point. Otherwise she is *starving* throwing a tantrum.

Play is a work in progress. She does not seem to engage with objects quickly. That makes using toys difficult. I want to try a laser pointer next.

Thank you for reading this update!

Nyxie Meets Haskell

Haskell met Nyxie today. At first, Haskell was rather apprehensive. Admittedly, that may be reasonable given half of the etymology for the cat’s name comes from the Greek goddess Nyx. The other half? Nixie Tubes (because we’re nerds), but the name Nixie may come from this kind of nixie. We have a habit of naming our animals in our own ways. If you hadn’t noticed, we named our dog after a programming language.

Nyxie took to the house as one would expect her namesakes to take to their domains: she owns it. As for how Haskell is taking the new addition to our family? He is confused and jealous.

Nyxie is not scared of Haskell, nor is she threatened by his presence. She has not hissed at him once, nor has she swatted at him. This is impressive given he has not behaved in the most reasonable manner toward her, but we’re doing everything at her pace here. By the end of the first 24 hours Nyxie and Haskell have spent several hours in each other’s company peacefully, under the same piece of furniture, sniffing each other.

Nyxie has a healthy appetite and is not showing any signs of stress. Haskell gets agitated if we show Nyxie affection and has learned her name faster than she has. He’s working through his only-child-syndrome.

Many jokes will come of this:

As in the Universe if for all Matter there is Anti-Matter then there too must be Dog and Anti-Dog.

Ceiling Dog and Basement Cat

Haskell is not very effective for Nyxie interactions

Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope this brought a smile to your face. Without you this would be bits of data stored somewhere and recalled only when someone stumbles on it by mistake. Maybe that’s you – Thank you anyway if that’s the case.

Nyxie Came Home

At the beginning of April 2020 Missoula Animal Control picked up a little black cat on MacDonald Ave. On 12 May 2020, I brought her home. Her name is Nyxie.

She had been sitting since 7 April 2020. All of the cats need homes, but in a time of stay at home orders, for once pet adoption is on the rise. A once over crowded cat room was practically barren, save the older cats and the little black cats. Another little black cat, Wade, in the kennel above Nyxie, also sat waiting for a home since 29 February 2020. There’s one cat named Dumpster with a laid back personality, but he needs a home with no kids for the long run because he gets irritable around high energy, unpredictable environments – so his owners surrendered him at the age of 5.

Nyxie so far has a strong, independent personality. She is curious and brave. I like that about her. She is precious and I cannot sleep because she is determined that she wants to explore the house, not be kept in a bathroom! She’s yowling, but she purrs so loudly the moment we’re in there. I worry she’s lonely, but she will settle in and sleep.

Why did we get a cat? Because I finally got an allergy test that said I wasn’t allergic to them and she chose us when we opened the kennel door and walked out to head butt our hands immediately, then proceeded to investigate us and decided she wanted to go home with us.

In conclusion, a little house dragon chose us.