Sorry for the late post I have been volunteering at another event today! The 3 Dimensions – Write, Edit, Publish – conference was amazing yesterday. It was certainly the total opposite of today’s word – Hebetude – definition: the state of being dull : lethargy.
I was assisting my publisher, Dream Write Publishing at their table in the marketplace on Saturday, where numerous other vendors were in attendance. Once we had set up the table we waited for the first influx of attendees – there were over 300 – to arrive and browse. With a constant supply of refreshments and snacks everyone was well catered for. After each session we would have another influx of interested people asking about Dream Write’s services and buying books, so we were kept busy answering questions and handing out information for Dream Write but also our writers group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. It was a great interactive day with excellent networking opportunities for everyone that attended.
In all there were 24 separate sessions from Friday evening through to Sunday afternoon. Linda and I attended the Friday evening wine and cheese reception and then enjoyed the keynote presenter, Alistair MacLeod in conversation with Shelagh Rogers. She is host of the CBC’s The Next Chapter and the interview was recorded for a future programme.
Today’s event could not have been so different! I volunteered with my daughter at her reptile club’s Spring show.
Condescending – definition: showing or implying or patronizing tone towards; talking with an air of superiority
I have to admit this is one of my pet hates – either being the focal point or overhearing a patronizing rant just makes my blood boil. There is no excuse for it, after all there is no human on this planet who knows or can be an expert of everything. As a species it is our diversity and at times conflicting views that makes life interesting! We can all learn from others and when we are sharing our knowledge it should be given politely and willingly, not as if we are deigning our presence on someone else.
The recipient of any condescending outburst will immediately feel unworthy, which is unforgivable. We all want to improve, whether physically, mentally or spiritually and when we are open to others views and experiences we learn much more about ourselves. All I can say is someone who acts in a patronizing way must have some serious inferiority issues.
I am attending the Words in 3 Dimensions – Write, Edit & Publish – at Grant MacEwan, Edmonton today. Review tomorrow.
One entryway to the Grant MacEwan University campus in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Melodramatic – definition: exaggerated and emotional or sentimental: sensational; overdramatic
There is a fine balance between making a character believable and making them too melodramatic. I am sharing a favored author, K.M. Weiland’s video here. K.M. is very generous in sharing her vast experience and knowledge on her web site.
I remembered a favorite cartoon from my childhood, Wacky Races featuring Dick Dastardly & Muttley as I was pondering today’s word. Dick was always trying to sabotage the other racers in an attempt to win. Without fail his cunning plans backfired on him and Muttley would laugh as Dick uttered one of his catch phrases. “Drat, and double drat!” or “Drat, drat and triple drat!” or “Curses, foiled again!” He would also plead, “Muttley, do something!” I loved Muttley, the sidekick and was nicknamed Muttley as I would laugh like him on occasion, when my breath would leave me silent laughing followed by a huge gasp of air. Dick was melodramatic but funny.
These characters were perfectly balanced and that is why they were such an endearing and funny partnership.
Whodunnit – definition: a narrative dealing with a murder or a series of murders and the detection of the criminal
This is one genre I have not yet delved into but there is always time! As a British native the author who comes to mind for me is, of course, Agatha Christie. She wrote 80 detective novels, which in anyone’s books is a lot. There was a formula to her work but it did not deter hundreds of faithful readers from buying her books as well as inspiring numerous TV series and movies. With numerous ‘red herrings’, twists and turns that kept her readers guessing, Agatha was a master of her genre. It is believed she enjoyed reading the genre so wrote ‘what she knew’ to some extent.
As most of you know I’m not restricted to one genre, having written children’s fiction, romance, speculative fiction and fantasy. I enjoy exploring the differences each genre possesses. Who knows maybe one will ‘click’ with me and I will find my favored genre – or not! Even Agatha wrote other genres, such as romances under the pen name Mary Westmacott and also the famous long running play, The Mousetrap.
Testing out various genres is a good way to find our true voice as a writer. Some may not appeal of course so don’t waste your time struggling with those. Sometimes an idea grows into a particular genre without us consciously driving it one way or the other – these are the fun ones.
Flawed characters can be difficult to write on occasion as they are far removed from our own personality (well I certainly hope so!)My antagonist in Life in Slake Patch, was actually the leader of a group of young men fighting against the matriarchal system they wanted to change and in The Rython Kingdom, it was a vengeful witch, Malgraf, who gave my protagonist trouble.
However, in my reincarnation themed novel, The Twesome Loop, I admit to going further into the dark depths of a character. The character, William, is a wealthy landowner, expecting all his servants and serfs to be at his beck and call, no matter what he desires. William has a very dark side and carnal lusts. As I wrote scenes that included William I imagined a loathsome, brute of a man. This imagery helped me write from his viewpoint. Compassion was not a trait William possessed, he felt as the law of his domain nothing was forbidden to him.
Once I had finished my first draft and gave it to a few trusted friends, I waited for their reactions. Yes no-one liked William – perfect. However, it was suggested I write a redeeming feature for him. This would give some balance to his character without detracting from his main personality traits. Bizarrely finding and writing this part of William’s personality was the hardest.
Eventually I found a ’cause’ for his despicable attitude to women but it didn’t completely redeem his actions. I still needed my readers to dislike him after all.
Excerpt – adult content: Gabriella has tried to evade William during the wedding reception but he is impatient to have his new bride alone.
“My sweet, it is time to go.”
“But maybe a while longer…”
“No more dancing. Watching you sway back and forth has my mind on more delicious delights.”
His breath stank of ale and his brow gleamed with sweat. She was at his mercy now, the night ahead a fearful proposition.
With her cloak wrapped tightly around her shoulders, Gabriella stepped into the carriage. She looked back at her childhood home to see her mother wave. A tear ran down her cheek as William stepped in and closed the door. The horses hooves crunched on the gravel and the carriage lurched forward.
“Make haste, Hall, we are impatient to be home.”
William’s hand grabbed Gabriella’s thigh.
“Alone at last, my sweet, now I can taste your young flesh with no interruptions.”
“We must wait…”
“Wait, whatever for?”
“I have a surprise for you but I cannot show you until we reach our bedroom.”
“A surprise, how wonderful, you are quite the temptress. In the meantime I will enjoy those beautiful breasts.”
Before she could stop him, William plunged his hands down the front of her bodice and squeezed painfully.
“You are hurting me, please stop.”
Who are your favorite despicable characters from your stories?