Sunday, 27 February 2011

This week's word is: STASIS

Hello dragon fans.  It's like the hour after that heavy Sunday lunch here at the moment.  Everyone just wants to fall asleep.  Hrrrzzzz.  There's very little going on.  So all the dragons have shut down for a while - except Gwillan, of course.  Someone's got to water the plants. To be fair, the author has been very active as he tries to reach the 30,000 word marker on THE FIRE ASCENDING (he's at about 29,000).  He wrote the first 20,000 reasonably quickly and rather foolishly imagined it was going to continue like that.  However, he's been grappling with a bit of "pre-history" over the last couple of weeks.  In the second part of TFA we find ourselves back in time, to when Gawain was a baby dragon and Guinevere was around to catch his fire tear.  Those of you who can cast your minds back to THE FIRE WITHIN and ICEFIRE will remember that Gwilanna, the sibyl, was also around in those days.  So what the author's been wrangling with is the back story, which must marry up with what you know already.  For instance, we know that Gwilanna gets her longevity from possessing one of Gawain's scales.  But there is a bit more to it than that.  And there's a lot more to her, in fact.  In this book, you'll discover how Gwilanna came into existence - and Guinevere too.  It's all good stuff, but it's all a bit tricky.  I keep offering to write some words of inspiration on my pad for him, but he keeps flapping his hands and insisting he can work things out for himself.  Clever author.  Don't worry, if he gets really stuck I'll zap him.

As it's another quiet week, I thought I might use the notepad today to offer you some advice about stories.  The author did a very nice event a couple of weeks ago and many of the children wrote to him afterwards to ask if he could give them some tips about writing.  It turned out that they wanted to enter a National Short Story competition being advertised on the radio here in England by the famous DJ Chris Evans.  They had to write a story in 500 words.  Now, followers of the blog from overseas probably won't be able to enter the competition (we're not entirely sure of the conditions of entry), but you may still find the following info useful.  This is what the author wrote back to the kids (with my help, naturally):

Hi guys.  Here’s my advice.  Write a STORY, not a novel.  You can’t get Harry Potter into 500 words.  Concentrate on the setup and resolution of ONE incident and try to write well and descriptively about it.  Think simple, not complex.  For that reason I would avoid fantasy and stick to something more human, but keep it fictional.  Keep your characters to a minimum.  No more than three.  Make sure you have some dialogue in there.  Nothing describes a character better than the words that come out of their mouths.  Dialogue will also move your story along quicker.  You need a really strong opening line.  This is one of the hardest things to do in a short story.  Try to think of something that will give the reader an inkling of what the whole story is about.  The best opening line I ever wrote was for an adult short story about a bomb hoax.  It went: “I was standing at a urinal when the sniffer dog walked in.”  DON’T steal that.  You’ll get into trouble!  But you see what I mean?  The title also needs to tell the reader something about the story.  Finally the ending must be satisfying.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be believable, but it has to work within the context of the story.  Good luck.

Not bad, eh?  For him.  Anyway, I feel my eye ridges growing heavy and I can hear him snoring somewhere in the background.  So I'll leave you with this thought: don't forget it's World Book Day this coming Thursday.  Your local library NEEDS your support.  Get in there and get something borrowed.  Till next time.  Happy reading.  Hrrr!

Blog Archive