Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Write Wednesday: Mixed Bag

Welcome back to Write Wednesday!

Today I'm going to be talking about:

A Beginning, A Muddle and an End -- Avi's unconventional book on writing (a sequel!)

Worldbuilding using The Five Senses (as discussed in Monday night's NaNoWriMo event)

AND the YAmazing Race -- a 50-blog hop around the web with PRIZES and introductions to new books!

Are you excited?  You totally should be.  (Mostly about that last bit, right??)

Avi's A Beginning, A Muddle and an End is a sequel to his thought-provoking The End of the Beginning -- but it isn't a typical sequel.  The End of the Beginning speaks about the meaning of things, while A Beginning, A Muddle and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing is specifically about what it means to be a teller of tales (The books feature the same main characters, a snail and his friend, an ant).

A Beginning, A Muddle and an End is hilarious -- I laughed through most of the book.  Avi cleverly twists words, offers advice and pokes fun at the way people look at writers (even writers themselves) and the process of writing.

If you want a fresh look at creating stories and living like an author instead of plodding through a dull and dusty text, try this one on for size.

In our local chapter of NaNoWriMo, we like to get together BEFORE November 1 and gab, gab, gab about what we're doing -- we also like to play games (Expando Sentence, Word Wars and role-playing as characters are among the favorites), eat more than our weight in candy, and buy waaaaay too many pristine and shiny new notebooks.  And also, err, learn stuff that will help us in our crafting of novels come November 1.

SO, our MLs (chapter heads, municipal liaisons) produced a World Building Online Event.  We eagerly logged on around 8:00 and chatted back and forth the entire time whilst 'listening' to the moderator about how to deepen our world using the five senses.

We took one character and plunged them into the busiest street in our world (for mine, that was in the middle of her city).  We were told to write out:

3 things the character sees (landmarks -- particular to him/her)
3 things the character smells
3 things the character tastes (defeat, smoke, etc.)
3 things the character feels (pavement, jacket, etc.)
3 things the character hears

These were scattered throughout the chat, not all at once.  It was a fantastic exercise because we had to close our eyes and take a good, hard look at how detailed our worlds were.  I thought I had a pretty solid grasp on mine (I went through 30 Days of Worldbuilding, after all), but I realized I had left out a few of the senses.  Grounding the character in the world will also help the reader, which is highly important since, you know, you want someone to enjoy your writing (even if it's just you and your family!).

It gave me a lot to think about and I might even go do some research (wander around downtown) so I can get the authentic take on a middling size city and its smells, sounds, sights, etc.  It was also interesting to read everyone else's -- some were extremely detailed (the food descriptions were mouth-watering), some sparse, but all were unique and interesting.

We also did an exercise where we had to have the character overhear a line of dialogue (mine was, "Where is that glittery little freak?") -- VERY HELPFUL when establishing tone and pronunciation, vocabulary, etc.

another thing we did was discuss what made our stories OURS.  What differentiates mine from my friend Mage Raven's story?  What's the unique thing about my book?  Being able to articulate that was encouraging and inspiring.

The last thing we did was to create a string of words that gave us the "feel" of our novel, something that will help us get 'in the mood' when writing as quickly as possible.  For example:  upon reading A Series of Unfortunate Events, I might say the string of words consisted of the following -- dreary, eye, mysterious, V.F.D., library/books, siblings, adventure.  All of those would bring to mind the series and help me flesh it out.  Does that make sense?

It was an extremely helpful and productive event, as you can see -- even for someone who's already spent a lot of time on worldbuilding!

OK -- so, the two most exciting parts of the post:

1. LEMONY SNICKET'S NEW BOOK CAME OUT YESTERDAY.  (Who Could That Be At This Hour?, Book 1 of the All The Wrong Questions series)  My friend texted me last night to say he had bought it and was halfway through AND IT HAD ALREADY ANSWERED THE QUESTION ABOUT THE QUESTION MARK IN THE OCEAN.  AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Anyway...

2.  Take part in the YAmazing Race!  Project Mayhem (a collection of awesome middle grade writers) is doing a ridiculously cool blog-hop contest and the prizes are out of this world -- books, bookmarks, author-signed copies, stickers, mugs, tees, keychains, etc.  YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS.  Each leg of the race consists of about 12 books, then you fill out a quiz about the synopses you read and then you can complete the next leg of the contest (there are 4; I've done two already).  Also, most authors are doing a separate giveaway on their blog, so remember to look for that as well.  The rules and contest info can be found here: YAmazing Race

Hurry, it ends Monday, October 29th!  Good luck!

...See you on Friday for First Lines!


  1. Now this is just pure evilness!!! How in the world am I supposed to get any work done now that there are 50 awesome sounding books to read about with prizes to win??? Ahhhh!!!!!!

  2. Muahaha! It took me two days to complete the race. It was actually grueling! But I'm hoping to win some great stuff -- here's hoping!