Blogzone

Welcome to my blog. Please, don’t be shy. Feel free to comment on anything you wish. I love to get a good discussion going, especially if it is on the craft of writing or anything to do with philosophy or Jungian archetypes. But, really, anything is fun to discuss. Are you a new writer? Tell me about your current projects. Need any advice? Let me know (other than run away, very fast, most of my advice is somewhat reasonable). And if you want to discuss graphic novels, I’m totally all ears. Also, let me know if you’d like to do a post exchange. You post one day on my blog and I on yours. I’ve done a few of these, and they’re always fun.

When Can You Break POV Rules?

dragonfly

I had a recent discussion with a colleague about the pros and cons of writing from third-person point of view vs. omniscient point of view. His book has one storyline from first person POV and the rest are from omniscient, but not true omniscient because he doesn’t really go into any character’s heads.

The reason, I think, writing from POV works (and it doesn’t matter if it’s first person point of view or close third person point of view, there really is no difference) is that by seeing the world through a particular character’s eyes, you get to not only build on the characterization of that character you also get to feel much closer to your characters. There are some cases where you have to fudge POV if you’re using it though. Let me give you an example (and this is something you see in Tolkien a lot.

“Do you think they saw us?” said Gus as he ran around the corner and ducked under some tangled foliage.

“No, they’re too busy looking for men on horseback.”

“How long should we wait until continuing on?” Gus’s heart pounded like a wet bag being thrown against his ribs. He
should never have left home. Home was safe. Home was somewhere you never had a chance of dying.

“Just give them ten minutes or so.”

“How about we give them a day or so?” Gus asked, hopefully.

“You undervalue your abilities, my friend. Okay, that’s long enough. They are on steeds, we are merely on foot. Let’s go.”

Gus swallowed and followed Matrix through the woods. He was too scared to put up any sort of fight. Besides, the encounter with the werenerves had him so on edge he was ready to pee his pants.

What neither man saw, however, was the image in the shadowy darkness squatted behind them, watching them slowly get up and follow the horse tracks still fresh in the mud.

Now that stays in Gus’s POV right until the end where it HAS to come out for one line. I think this is acceptable. The rule about POV was made because it immediately makes an amateur’s writing instantly better, but rules are made to be broken. I think in a case like this, you gain a lot by breaking the POV.

Just my two cents on the matter.

Let me know your thoughts.

Michael out.

Good Morning Vietnam!

Robin Williams

I recently met this woman named Mila Herenda www.mizotarot.ca who has literally changed my life and I haven’t even signed up for a single one of her courses (yet). Mila is a tarot card reader. I me her at Chilliwack’s Party in the Park and she’s a big fan on getting things done and growing your business. So much so, she has a book called How to get Shit Done which I also do not have yet.

What I have done is watch every video she has posted for free and I am considering taking some of her pay courses (although they are a little pricey–I am wondering if maybe I can trade off some writing skills work for some tarot work; we’ll have to see).

Anyway, one things for sure, she’s inspired me in a number of different directions. I now go to bed the same time as my little boy (9:00 pm) and wake up without an alarm between 2 am and 4 am. You can get a lot of shit done just by virtue of being awake during those times.

This morning, I woke up at ten minutes to two, so I hope to make some headway on my novella, I have a one on one novel workshop at 10:00 am with a good friend, a doctor’s apt at 12:30 then I have to drive my older boy back to surrey and then I am meeting another friend at 3:00 who I may be designing our own set of tarot cards and reading book with. It’s going to be a busy day, but I have nothing but time.
Waking up at 2:00 rocks!

Michael out.

Writing Character Biographies

Close to the Broken Hearted 500

As most of you know, I am a huge fan of keeping “story bibles” for my book. This first came along when my first professionally published story Dream with Little Angels turned into a series (I’m on book four). Without having a bible, the story would’ve been impossible to continue. It takes place in the mythical town of Alvin Alabama which I have documented to the hilt (complete with fold out maps, etc), and virtually every store and house that has ever been mentioned in any of the books is in there.

Also, the characters are all there. Even the insignificant ones. If I named someone in passing and simply said, “she was a pretty black girl with a round face and wore her hair in a pony tail,” it’s in the bible.

My friend John Pitts does much the same thing, although he uses Excel spreadsheets to track everything. I tried that, but found I got lost in all the little boxes. It might work for you, though. I prefer to have a big binder with everything marked off with page separators and all the important stuff in alphabetical order.

Part of my “bible” is sample dialogue of any important character so I don’t forget their voice. It’s easy enough to go back through the books and look, but I find it even easier just to pull out my trusty three ring binder and flip to that page. My bios aren’t hugely long, but they do list any details I’ve added to the characters over the years, and for my principal characters, that is starting to pile up. I have all their birthdays, astrology signs, what they got for Christmas every year, etc.

I was lucky. I kept a bible from the beginning even though I never expected Dream with Little Angels to be kicking off a series of (at least) four books (that I’m contracted for). Hopefully, it will continue going for more.

I’m also hoping to add another series to my plate, as I am a fairly fast writer and, even having tossed my first attempt at book 3 (A Thorn in the Lilies), have just handed in the rough draft of version 2 to my agent. It is so much better. I actually feel good about this one :)

Michael out.

Trying to Push Words In: When Your Novel isn’t Long Enough

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Many of you out there are reading my southern mystery series that takes place in the mythical town of Alvin Alabama. Book two, Close to the Broken Hearted, has just been released and I am working on book three. Book three has already had a rather interesting life. First, you should know, I have, contractually, until October 1 to bring in a polished, finished manuscript.

So I finished the book June 1, the rough copy anyway, thinking I gots me nothin’ but time. Then I read the thing and absolutely hate it. To the point where I spike all four hundred pages into the garbage can and start over again, now with only four months to go before my deadline. I’m still not too panicky, though. I can write pretty quickly.
I finish book three volume two.

I love it. Problem is: it’s only 72,000 words. I am contracted to write a minimum of 85,000.

So now, here I am going through with a fined tooth comb, looking for anywhere I can put down a thousand words here or a thousand words there. Lucky I have Dewey. I can get him rambling on some conversations for two or three thousand words, I’m sure.

Anyway, this is why you haven’t seen any blog posts from me for a while. I haven’t been ignoring y’all. I’ve just been trying to get things finished. By the way, book three will be called A Thorn Among the Lilies.

Michael out.

Darkstone Published!

Darkstone Cover

My Buddhist YA book, Darkstone: The Perfection of Wisdom is now published. It is available on Amazon right here.

Here’s what the back of the book says:

Crescent City: A madman has escaped from the asylum and threatens to destroy the city. Only one person can bring him to justice: A superhero known as Darkstone.

While studying the path to enlightenment, Buddhist monk, Kelsang Ananda, is bestowed a different blessing than he expects. Instead of eternal peace, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas grant him super abilities.

In his transformed state, Kelsang Ananda uses his gifts to help mankind by doing things he can’t do as a monk: take on the evil forces constantly threatening the city he calls home.

Now, the shadow of an insane super villain called the Helix has been cast over Crescent City, and Darkstone must not only confront this maniac, but also grapple with his own past if he hopes to put a stop to this terrible scourge.

Will Kelsang Ananda succumb to the pressure of having an almost split personality, being a quiet monk while secretly living the life of a superhero? Or will he give into the explosive horror threatening to blow Crescent City to pieces all around him?

The real question lies in his faith in Buddha. Is it strong enough to hold him together while he lives this double life? Only time will tell. And time is rapidly running short.

One thing’s for sure. This is one of the most original books I’ve ever written. :)

Michael out.