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Cold Pursuit - Book 2. Cold Light of Day - Book 3. This could be mundane, or as weird as you want to make it. Tension between characters is conflict, and conflict is what fuels great storytelling. This one can be really interesting. Depending on the character they might have difficult decisions to make the whole way through the plot, or for a smaller character they might only get one.
Hint: The character can be wrong about their solution. In the gap between the Problem and the Solution is where the conflict lives. And what did I say about conflict before? More pure, uncut Chuck.
Limitations are internal to the character — a character trait or personal flaw that might help or hinder them whether or not this trait appears to be positive. Complications are external. I was going to try and keep rehashing, but instead I spent a couple of minutes looking through the Terrible Minds archive, and found the post. It puts a limit on his role as a serial killer and thus creates not only a deeper character, but also offers new plot angles and opportunities for tension.
Complications tend to be external — they are entanglements outside the character that complicate their lives. We keep this at the end, because now that you have a good idea of who this person is, you can think about what they look like. If your default, or your first-instinct, is white, cis-male, and able-bodied, ask yourself if they really need to be that, or could your work be improved by diverging from the first thing your brain reaches for? But, also remain sensitive to the real people who could be affected by your depiction of a character who might be outside your own experience.
For more on this, check out Writing the Other. If I lived in North America I would certainly look to get involved in some of their workshops, but if nothing else the WtO ebook is a great starting point. As an aside: you should be thinking about diversity before you get to this point, but this is a good place to solidify your thoughts. Also, remember, you can change things as you go! The idea here is that you can re-write your initial log-line now that you have a better idea about the character.
While I often skip the initial log-line, this one is too useful to skip. So there you go — a long-ish distillation of some Wendig Wisdom you can have that for free, Chuck. Do what you need to build it and maintain it. More details here as soon as I have them. And a big thank you to Warren Ellis for the fantastic blurb. American War tells the story of a Second Civil War taking place approximately 50 years in the future, across an America altered by rising sea levels, climate change, and related political upheaval. El Akkad is doing a lot of interesting things with this book.
One of the things a few of us in the Book Club were iffy on was the complete lack of discussion about race in a book about southerners fighting a Second Civil War. As a writer, I understand that sometimes you might leave something out of a story because you want people to be able to read it without being reminded of their own past trauma. They do a fantastic job of deconstructing the Southern mythology surrounding the Civil War. So I get it, but it was an odd choice. It should have been obvious, but I was so caught up in the texture of the world he was creating that I got lost inside it.
She did it because she was certain it was the only way to save her friend. I highly recommend it. This is the main gang that I had the pleasure of touring with for Supanova in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast. James and Marc Lindsay , who I toured with at a previous Supanova, and who are always good value. It was a great panel, talking all about writing action scenes, and I had a great chat to the brothers after the panel too.
I had planned to write more, but some bastard infected me with con crud, and 2. I will however say that Alan Baxter joined us on the Nothing Here newsletter , where he and m1k3y went into some detail about writing martial arts action scenes Alan being a kung fu instructor as well as a writer of dark tales. Thanks to Ineke for having me on board! My first novel a middle grade book inspired by The Invisibles , but which ended up looking more like Harry Potter by way of William S. Burroughs was written by hand, and that came to around 50, words. But if I do it right, my next book will be closer to 90k.
That is a lot of notebook pages, a lot of hand cramps. You do feel freer working by hand, you can add notes and comments and all the rest into the margins of your page which just works and feels better than using comments in MS Word. The main place where it falls apart though, is in moving text around.
Say you write a paragraph, and then decide you actually want to shift that around? Then he paused, exhaled hard against the wood, and wrote an obscene word in the fog. Tossing aside the cloth, Bast made his way through the empty tables and chairs to the wide windows of the inn.
He stood there for a long moment, looking at the dirt road running through the center of the town. Bast gave another sigh and began to pace the room. He moved with the casual grace of a dancer and the perfect nonchalance of a cat. But when he ran his hands through his dark hair the gesture was restless.
His blue eyes prowled the room endlessly, as if searching for a way out. But there was nothing new. Empty tables and chairs. Empty stools at the bar. Two huge barrels loomed on the counter behind the bar, one for whiskey, one for beer. Between the barrels stood a vast panoply of bottles: all colors and shapes. Above the bottles hung a sword. He focused on them for a long, speculative moment, then moved back behind the bar and brought out a heavy clay mug. Drawing a deep breath, he pointed a finger at the first bottle in the bottom row and began to chant as he counted down the line.
He finished the chant while pointing at a squat green bottle. He twisted out the cork, took a speculative sip, then made a sour face and shuddered. He quickly set the bottle down and picked up a curving red one instead. He sipped this one as well, rubbed his wet lips together thoughtfully, then nodded and splashed a generous portion into his mug.
This time it was a clear bottle with a pale yellow liquor inside. Bast yanked the cork and added a long pour to the mug without bothering to taste it first. Setting the bottle aside, he picked up the mug and swirled it dramatically before taking a mouthful. He smiled a brilliant smile and flicked the new bottle with his finger, making it chime lightly before he began his singsong chant again:.
FEAR: The Black Shadow
The red-haired innkeeper stood at the bottom of the stairs. He brushed his long-fingered hands over the clean apron and full-length sleeves he wore. What the hell else is there to do? We need to talk about what you did last night. Kote shook his head. You tried to warn us. Bast frowned. It got Shep. But I know the truth. If not for you, it would have slaughtered everyone here. I just got it first. The innkeeper shrugged the comment away. Bast smiled. The innkeeper nodded. Do you think you could take care of it while I get things ready here?
Bast nodded enthusiastically and practically bolted, pausing by the kitchen door. The man who called himself Kote went through his usual routine at the Waystone Inn. He moved like clockwork, like a wagon rolling down the road in well-worn ruts. First came the bread. He mixed flour and sugar and salt with his hands, not bothering to measure. He added a piece of starter from the clay jar in the pantry, kneaded the dough, then rounded the loaves and set them to rise. He shoveled ash from the stove in the kitchen and kindled a fire.
Next he moved into the common room and laid a fire in the black stone fireplace, brushing the ash from the massive hearth along the northern wall. He pumped water, washed his hands, and brought up a piece of mutton from the basement.
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He cut fresh kindling, carried in firewood, punched down the rising bread and moved it close to the now-warm stove. And then, abruptly, there was nothing left to do. Everything was ready. Everything was clean and orderly. The red-haired man stood behind the bar, his eyes slowly returning from their faraway place, focusing on the here and now, on the inn itself.
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They came to rest on the sword that hung on the wall above the bottles. It was menacing, in a way. The same way a tall cliff is menacing. It was grey and unblemished and cold to the touch. It was sharp as shattered glass. Carved into the black wood of the mounting board was a single word: Folly.