Categories
Novel writing

WIP Update

Finished with Arc 2 of my WIP? Maybe. It’s about the same length as it was before and I really wanted it to be longer than that. I suppose that the overall work being longer is satisfying. The overall work is sitting at 57,000 words right now so that means we’ve got a ways to go. For now, here’s what I’ve done.

Combined Characters

Sometimes you have too many side characters. This was the case with an old seer woman that the MC and group meet along the way. So, I wrote out the old woman and gave her lines to one of the other people in the group. This made things way simpler and meant that we got more time with the scenes that were important. I love the way this also gives Laima (the character who got the old woman’s lines) more personality and really affirms her religiousness. I hope she keeps developing in a good way over the course of the novel.

More Time With The BBEG

The BBEG (big bad evil gal) is very personable and, under different circumstances, might have been an ally. I really wanted to drive that idea home in this section. Although the reader met the BBEG in the beginning of the story, it wasn’t clear that she was the opposition. So, in the middle section I really wanted to explore what could have been. And build up how tragic a relationship she has with the MC.

Changes Yet To Come

It’s amazing how, even while writing, you think of things that need changed. I have a doc on the side in which I have written important things I need to change. I need to talk more about magic, and a spear, and get the character’s voices distinct. There’s a lot of work yet to go. But this is going from dirty draft, to draft one. So the main point right now is to expand things out to the proper length. Even though we’re at almost 60,000 we still gotta get closer to 80,000.

So, wish me luck and let me know how your own WIPs are going. Don’t forget to like and comment. What do you struggle with most on your drafts?

Categories
Reviews writing

Why Maleficent Never Needed To Be Good

Over the last decade there has been a fascination with how villains become villainous. Megamind (2010), Despicable Me (2010), Maleficent (2014), Joker (2019), and others have taken to humanizing their “bad guys.” I personally enjoyed some of these titles for their genius. However, I have some qualms with the depreciation of evil in mainstream media. So today, I’m going to talk about why Maleficent never need to be “good” to be good.

I still remember reading a series of unfortunate events as a child. Even then one quote in particular stood out to me:

“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”

– Lemony Snicket

I thought this was pure genius. And it is so true that people are a mix of many things. Writing a well-rounded villain takes a skill and thoughtfulness that comes from recognizing that they are people too. In fact, John August does and excellent job of explaining this in his article “Every Villain Is A Hero.” For a villain to feel real, they do need to have both aspects of good and evil. They need to have hero-like motivations which put them at odds with your main character.

However.

In Maleficent (2014), I found myself startled and disappointed at the defanging of Maleficent in what could have been a truly spectacular remake. While there could have been a deep dive into the culture of politeness among fairies, we instead got an uncomfortable rape analogy which “justified” Maleficent’s actions. In the end (SPOILER ALERT), it was instead her love that set Sleeping Beauty free from her slumber. This was, overall, an interesting take and a well-executed twist.

But, was it the Maleficent from the original Sleeping Beauty?

This villain was a far cry from the well-spoken, noble-reminiscent, castle-dwelling woman who was both petty and vengeful. Disney had already reinvented Maleficent in their retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story back in 1959. The woman in the original tale didn’t play such a large role. However, it seems they were unable or unwilling to keep that character’s spirit alive in 2014.

Maleficent did not need to be a misunderstood person in order for her to be a character that was both compelling and complex. Whatever drove her original character to sit alone in the dark castle, away from other fairies, would have been an interesting story indeed. Just look at her rage in the original movie.

[the video got taken down… but you can look it up]

I don’t know about you, but I want to know more about the character I see in that clip. I want to know more about how she amassed all that power. About how she remains unchallenged on that mountain for 16 years even when the people know she’s going to kill their princess.

No one dared challenge that Maleficent.

We’ve entirely lost the spirit of fairies, now. Sylvia Spruck Wrigley explains this perfectly in their article “Five Reasons Not To *** Off the Fair Folk.” Fairies are not nice, but they are extremely complex, extremely tricky, and very compelling characters. Why wasn’t this explored? The character we saw in Maleficent was not one of the “fair folk” but was the romanticized fairy that means humanity no harm.

Give me the no-apologies-given noble fairy who lusted after power and didn’t care who she stepped on to get it. After all, what’s more relatable and more human than something we see so frequently in our everyday lives? Show us how regular people rise to power, how their desires can lead them down dark paths, and what conflict did Maleficent face within herself as she walked that path, if any?

Do you agree? Or do you think this change was for the better? Share and comment below.

Categories
Friends Merch writing

I’ve Created a Patreon

I’ve started a Patreon under https://www.patreon.com/cwspalding. Join me on my writing journey and get exclusive inside looks at my work by supporting me today. I”ve also posted a link to my patreon on my landing page.

Join me on this journey, it’s going to be a long one, but it’ll be worth it down the road.

Categories
writing

Things We Should Have Known About Books, But Didn’t

There are many things the school system should have taught us regarding books and how they get out of people’s heads and onto the shelves in the library. This is another of the American School System’s shortcomings. And so, today we’re going to focus on merely a couple of things I discovered recently regarding getting the word out about books.

Hand Selling, Is That A Thing?

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I guess it makes sense that this is a thing. In fact, I could see how it was a thing and I kind of wish it still was a thing. But why not let it be a thing still? The logistics of that are complicated but I do think there’s still a place for this in modern times. Perhaps (once covid is over) it’ll be alright to participate in your local farmer’s market doing exactly this for yourself and other local artists. What do you think?

Prepare For Poverty, I Guess…

There are so many other things we should have been told about books, but for now, let’s talk about making money.

As with many creative jobs, authors get paid under the poverty line and their work merely isn’t appreciated. Their stuff seems so consumable, especially now with eBooks. There’s just not enough understanding that it can take years for the author to work their labor of love. It’s a job you do because you love it, not because you hope to get rich.

Also, you’ll likely be working one or two other jobs to keep up with rent.

So, those are just two things that I’ve been coming to terms with lately. How about yourself? What did you find out about the book industry that surprised you?

Categories
Friends writing

3 Writing Hashtags To Know On Twitter

Things really started to pick up for me as I discovered the power of popular hashtags. Goodbye frumpy tags that no one knows. I saw immediate results. And so, this article is going to go over 3 writing hashtags which I see time and time again.

They’re ones you should know.

#WritingCommunity

Writerscommunity, WritingCommunity, and other similar tags all take you into the world of agents and fellow writers in an instant. Also, these tags are specific enough that you’re sure to be found if someone searches for writing. Not only that, but the people that follow/post to this hashtag are overwhelmingly positive as they discuss the struggles they’ve faced while writing.

#Amwriting

Amwriting, Amwritingromance, Amwritingfantasy, and there are a whole lot more where that came from. These are great for writers to find people writing in your genre and discuss problems, tropes, and successes. Find your kin! This hashtag also extends to amreading or amagenting. Basically, keep this one handy because you’ll need it later. It applies everywhere that I’ve looked so far.

What are you writing? Not sure if there’s a hashtag for that? Helpful tip: use Twitter’s search like a google engine and type in your question.

#Writerslift

This one is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a lift. Either a lift in awareness, a lift in mood, or anything else to help your fellows. Let this one bring light to your day and use it to share the nice things that are happening in life. The writers and agents that use these tags are trying to share the happy.

Where To Look

The way I discovered hashtags was, surprisingly, as easy as a google search and one simple click. I found http://best-hashtags.com/. It had a list of hashtags, right at my fingertips. As well as:

http://best-hashtags.com/hashtag/writing/

A chart?

They have a chart. Fantastic. I’m sure this plays into SEO and I really miss Yoast (which is something I used while I interned for a blog agency). There are other websites out there for you to explore, if you have the time and the brainpower, but if not… here are the one’s I’ve found and used.

Thanks for sticking around until the end. In the comments below let us know what hashtags do you use to share your writing?