Word Dreams…

Other worlds, barely visible, made whole with words…

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SWF Alumni-made Forum… Some Assembly Required

OK, so…  here’s the link for the software and free hosting folk for our little project….

Currently, I’m not in a position to do this myself.  Life on life’s terms doesn’t allow it right now.  I will assist anyone who is willing and able.

https://proboards.com/

Sorry this is going so much more slowly than we’d hoped.  I’ll attempt to liaise with some of the other folk who’ve been interested in helping put this together and report back.

If you have availability, please let me know here.

Thanks,

Blue

START WRITING FICTION ALUMNI-MADE FORUM

COMING SOON! (we very much hope!)

If you’re interested, please indicate here in your comments, and please share it with your various followers and any fellow SWF course alumni you’re in touch with.  If you have technical abilities and especially if you know something about running any kind of forum, we need your help!

See my continued activity on the SWF site for further information.  Once we’ve got things going, I’ll post a URL for the site.

Thank you,

Blue

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Plot can drive story or reveal meaning.

I learned from Joss Whedon that plot can serve personal development and reveal so much about a person – put them through hell – and you learn who they are, and *they* learn who they are!

I learned that the best ‘adventure’ stories are about people. Not pointless melodrama just to ‘gin up’ interest, but deep interior questions and the interpersonal relationships that make life worth living or can break you when they fall apart.

In recent years I’ve learned a lot about writing from analyzing the kinds of choices that some of my favorite writers have made for their stories and their characters.

There can be ‘victims’ strategically ‘placed in jeopardy’ – this is supposed to make one ‘sympathetic & worried’, while giving your hero a chance to ride in and save the 2D cardboard cutout – or you can have real people in a horrendous predicament and watch them fight to survive while the hero also fights to save them. Then it becomes a story of humans’ fight to survive and the choices real people make.  It gets complicated. You’re on the edge of your seat watching life unfold and you’re utterly engaged.

If the ‘victim’ dies, you’ll feel sad and the hero will pause meaningfully before moving on, but if the ‘person’ dies, you’re devastated & your hero questions herself. You have REAL.

You may have had a devastating fight with big monsters or terrible criminals, but you’ve also had a human struggle.  The first kind can be diverting, but like a cupcake, it’s not deeply satisfying, there are no complex flavors to savor.  The second makes you come back again and again because it answers a hunger that’s deeper than the moment.

_____

This is an edited version of a OU SWF post.

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Don’t screw it up.

I actually like writing sex scenes. Most times, however, I leave my couple at the bedroom door and pick them back up next morning.

IMO, the sex scenes that tend to matter are first sex (either first time ever, or first time for a couple), last time – because last times matter, particularly when we know it’s the last time because the relationship is over or one person’s leaving for reasons that mean they probably won’t be able to see each other again.  They especially matter when the next scene (though the reader doesn’t know it yet) will be something traumatic and there needs to be one last moment of sweetness.

Other sex that matters is ‘getting back together sex’ not just ‘make up sex’, but ‘rebuild from the ground up’ sex.

Then we have ‘life is changed because of this sex’, sex.

Or ‘life is coming apart and sex is the “attempted glue” sex’ – mostly unsuccessful.

**Sex scenes are really studies in your couple and their relationship.**

How a man treats a virgin can tell you a lot about what and who he is.  The same is true of a woman… maybe even more so.  That can raise so many interesting issues in a relationship and in terms of sexual politics.

Sex is the most exposed we can make our couple. IF we do it right.

Sex, if done well can also be incredibly funny – and this works best with ‘sex as a bonding activity’ type sex scenes.

Humans are weird. Go with it!

(c) DBJ Gold

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This is not a complete list! 🙂
This is my opinion.

What doesn’t work for me in a story:

Mean and ‘small’/small-minded characters as protagonists.
Overly descriptive stories, particularly in the introductory chapters.
Info dumps. (show me as we go along if it matters. If not, leave it out.)
Death & gore for its own sake.
Rape ‘sex’ lovingly described.
Writing of author’s *unprocessed* personal issues – especially rage/self-pity/self-hate/resentment.
Stupid victims. Most people want to live.
Troubled people who give up (easily).
Uselessness, helplessness.
Unthinking ‘followers’, slaves to fashion, fashionable books and ‘cool’ people.
Careless errors.
Dumb medical mistakes (eg: slow cpr (on film or tv))

Instant genius, just add water.

What works for me:

People who care about others.
Friendship/family.
People do don’t take themselves seriously even when life is rough.
Humor.
Intelligent plotting.
Getting it right. If you include a fact, get it right.
Sex is fine if it adds something – don’t ‘sex it up’ to make it saleable.
I love ‘characters’.
Heroism – incl. ‘Small’ heroism .
Survivors.
Fighters.
‘Victims’ who try to stay alive.
Troubled people who try.
Resourcefulness in my writer and in the characters.
Willingness to learn even if you are clueless.
Iconoclasts.
Independence of thought.
Writers willing to take risks.

Writing is hard.  Story creation is hard, but I’ve read a lot over the years and I’ve come to the strong opinion about what I think works in a story and what doesn’t.  This isn’t a definitive list (not even MY definitive list, I suspect) but…

The presence of certain things in a story means I probably won’t finish reading it (or watching it on a screen).

The presence of the things that work for me won’t guarantee a great story, of course, but several (sometimes most) of them always seem to show up in the better ones.

Stupidity is NOT a good plot device: if your otherwise intelligent character has to be a complete idiot in order to get into the difficulties you’ve created, you’re probably under-thinking things.  There’s plenty genuine bad luck in the world.  Or situations that simply don’t match the skill set of your protagonist.  Or impossible choices where both outcomes are going to be bad (run into burning building without gear or let baby die, for example).  Use those instead of stupidity if you don’t want to design a complex situation that would stump a person who has decent common sense.

I don’t feel ANY empathy for people who are just too stupid to live.  (probably why I don’t watch ‘slasher’ horror movies!)

The smart cop doesn’t run into the ‘suspiciously open door’ without calling for backup first… unless the building is (or appears to be) on fire and/or someone’s crying for help.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen/read where the cop go into the dark, empty building, simply in order to put a ‘hero’ in jeopardy.

It makes zero sense.

Day one of any first responder class is: Is the scene secure?  Failure to ‘secure scene’ is a fail point in every first responder testing scenario I know of.

Incidentally: uber-genius is not a great plot device either… not as a neat ‘solution to everything’ anyway. Note well: being a genius is hard – but please don’t create a stereotype ‘outsider genius’.  True genius is rare and bright people seldom fit in perfectly, but sometimes that very big brain also allows for interpersonal insights.  Genius doesn’t equal social idiot savant.  Genius is like being average in at least one way:  Everyone is an individual.

Note: this was a OU/SWF post and the formatting/punctuation are imperfect.

Please live with it.  Thanks!