Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

1. No more internet until you've finished your homework!
In 'Research Part 1', ComicRelated.com stresses the importance -- nay, the necessity -- of relentless research. An excerpt:
What does a story that hasn't been researched look like? Generally, it'll take place in a generic world that seems vaguely familiar to two or three settings from popular movies or books you've read. The characters will seem shallow and inconsistent, and as a reader, you just won't care about them, no matter how cool the situations they find themselves in. And not doing your research makes it hard on the writer, too. You might get off to a blazing start, but somewhere in the middle, find yourself stuck in a poorly conceived plot point. Chances that you'll abandon the project are very high. This all could have been avoided if you'd have done the work up front.
Click here to read.

2. It's at least somewhat about the Benjamins.
Valerie D'Orazio has a funny piece up on Comixology titled, 'You Have to Get Paid: Lessons in Freelancing'. My favorite of her many 'Freelancer Mistakes'? Number two: "We are all just friends here working towards something awesome." An excerpt:
In my case, the client and I shared certain hippy-dippy viewpoints on life like "going with the flow" and "universal awakening for the betterment of mankind." Screw contracts: did the ENERGY feel right? Whenever I talked payment with this client, the energy was decidedly "low." Because it's materialism, man. There are things more important than money. It will all sort itself out by the wisdom of the planet. I honestly believed that anyone that enlightened couldn't possibly back out of payment – why bring the vibe down by talking dollars and cents? Which, I realize, put me in the John Locke incredibly gullible category. At least I didn't donate a kidney.
Click here to read.

3. Location, location, location hypnosis.
This last article, 'Location is Key in Novels, Neighborhoods', comes courtesy of Julia Keller and the LATimes. It's about the semi-hypnotic trick of using recognizable place names to better engage your readers. It's a neat idea and a well-written article, but I really just wanted to share this totally-creepy-yet-I-think-I'm-gonna-try-this-is-in-the-bookstore sales technique that Keller uses to open the piece:
Salesmen have a trick. It's a well-known trick, but even though you know it's coming, it really works: They use your name over and over again in their spiel. Hearing your name operates as a sort of verbal aphrodisiac. Ever seen a cat's reaction when a soft-fingered person slides an index finger across that continental divide that runs down the feline back? The closing of the eyes, the satisfied purr, the blissed-out arch of the spine? Hearing your name repeated ("I'm just sure, Julia, that you're going to love our new Super-Deluxe vacuum, because, Julia, a person with your taste and sophistication, Julia, would settle for nothing less, don't you agree, Julia?") Come to think of it, I'll take three.
Click here to read.