Sunday, March 13, 2011

Irish Eyes and Celtic Tempers

Okay, my bloodline is infused with a lot of Irish blood and the coming St. Patrick's day is irksome for because all the local great Irish pubs are always too crowded and you can't get in one to save your mother's soul.  Yes, I know it is holy day, but I am more universal in my spiritual philosophies.  But I will have a drink at home and think of the great story telling that the Irish are known for throughout history.  And I am not talking about leprechauns in neon green suits with orange hair.  The Hound of Ulster and Epona come to my mind.  Despite being a warrior culture the Irish were also know for their arts, music, and storytelling. 

So I shall put on some Chieftains or Clannad, and raise a glass to my heritage.  A great heritage.  One day I hope to visit Ireland.  Perhaps if I am ever successful as an author (I mean in the financial sense) I would like to live there.  So as I write my stories of magic and warriors, I cling to that hope.  The love of Ireland.
More next week. 


Verna McKinnon 


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spellbound by words...and Pilates

Hello Fantasy Fans and Friends,

As a writer,  I face a daily challenge of creativity on several planes of focus.  In this daily challenge there is a rim of terror-terror that my writing is less than worthy, my plots are mush, and my characters flat.  I could go on and on, but I shall edit myself and decline to bore you with the gruesome details that haunts authors everywhere.  Those who write speculative fiction especially have even more to agonize over.  We create new worlds and races, bring ancient legends to life, invent mythologies, compose exciting characters that wield magic, manipulate time and space,  have to write about things that simply do not exist in this realm of reality-at least that we know of.  Making it natural and real to our readers  (and publishers) is the tough battle. 

Two factors that writers need to focus on is character and dialogue.  Characters are the lifeblood of writing and dialogue an essential soul that brings it to life.  Complex plots and detailed storylines mean nothing without this central core.  Consider your characters and dialogue the Pilates of your writing routine.  It is your core-that important strength that holds up the rest of the body.    Without a strong core you have a weak body. 

There are some authors that shine in their expert characters and dialogue.  Two I will give as an example (of many I adore) are the late Brian Jacques and David Eddings.  I loved the works of these authors and sadly they have both passed from this world.  Their absence will be sorely missed in the realm of writing-and not just fantasy.  Their characters and dialogue support there novels and their ideas, and make them damn fun to read.  These essential attributes give  personality and depth and support the story.  They make the reader want to continue reading.  All the perfect syntax in the world will not make up for dull conversations and one dimensional characters.

The next thing to consider is the natural tone of your dialogue.  That can be tough.  I often read my works aloud along with traditional editing because if you have trouble speaking the words then it needs work.  You will find over time every character has a certain rythym.  Once you have it for that character then it becomes easier.

Now I must leave you again and will be back next week with more thoughts.  I have writing to do.  Characters and worlds to create and explore-and drobba to eat.  Lots of love.

Verna McKinnon