Nine days ago my neighbors and I stood out on the sidewalk peering up at the sun gone an eerie red. A massive dark ominous cloud devoid of rain seethed an angry yellowish red just to our south. We felt like extras in a Poltergeist movie, and it was descending on us fast.
You’ve probably heard enough about pandemic stuff to make your brains leak out of your ears. I’m with you. Whenever my well-meaning neighbor gets on the subject, I can feel imminent cerebral leakage occurring. Please don’t think that I’m not concerned–I have no intention of making little the pain this is causing too many people–but we have to push on. We need to help each other to stay positive, get through it, perhaps even thrive!
In that vein, I would like to offer a little comfort to those of us who are “sheltering in place” to prevent it from getting worse.
You are following … well, just close enough. Thanks!
Unfortunately, this is my old blog address and something apparently went “oops” with the follower-forwarder thingie.
Please re-follow me at Mikibits.com. I look forward to seeing you there! ❤
The new redesigned, self-hosted Mikibits.com is ready for action!
It still needs work on the mobile version (it frankly looks terrible), but I should have that banged into shape soon. It has an all new custom theme (and no ads!). If you’re not already looking at it now, please feel free to come visit and let me know what you think.
The most important thing is that I properly brought my followers along… I hope. If you see this post but don’t see the purple “Mikibits” or a UFO swooping above, please re-follow me at Mikibits.com while I figure out what went awry.
Happily, I’m still connected to everyone on WordPress.com, but if you got here via mikibits.wordpress.com, please link mikibits.com instead (because I’m no longer feeding this blog address).
I’m looking forward to staying in touch with each other.
When asked “What does it take to force a reader to read?” …
I don’t like that word “forced”. To force them is to kidnap them, kicking and screaming, dragging them someplace they don’t want to go.
Instead, I prefer to trick the reader. Lure them in with a pretty cover, a sexy title; then hook them with the very first sentence, a sentence that would keep them up at night staring at the ceiling, if they didn’t continue reading. Now you’ve got them–and under their own power.
The challenge is: you have to deliver on the promise of that first sentence. Not only does the story itself have to pull them into your world, you have to keep throwing more “hook” sentences out there at sneakiest moments. Like at the ends of chapters, or in quiet moments when they think everything is okay again.
But it’s never okay! Bwahahahaha!
You have to put the reader in the hot seat, make them realize: These characters they’ve fallen in love with will not survive without the real hero–the reader–getting them safely to the end of the story.
My short answer to a recent writing site prompt asking, “What is the purpose of backstory.”
For me, there’s two flavors of backstory…
If the backstory is part of the story, then it is where the hero’s Problem lurks, the one they trip over in the inciting incident and must battle throughout the story, until they finally see it and stomp on it in the end. Although stories seem to be about a battle with the Antagonist, in the end it is usually winning the battle with some part of themselves that allows them to win against the bad guy.
If the backstory is not shown to the reader, then it’s often used as a bible of sorts for the writer to follow to inform who their character is as a three-dimensional, fallible–and often broken–person. It helps them know what their character will do and feel in any situation the writer throws them into.
It pays to get to know your characters from beginning to end. The more “alive” they are, the more they will bring your stories to life, too.
(A response to the prompt “What’s your favorite way to start writing?” when you don’t know what the story is yet.)
Although it doesn’t often work out this way, the most enjoyable part of my writing process happens when I’m scribbling longhand in a notebook somewhere pretty outdoors, about whatever I find interesting or silly or disconcerting at that moment, until … an idea forms. Excited by the possibilities, I continue scribbling until a story begins to evolve. Eventually, witnesses will report a crazy person running home to the computer to see where the ideas take her.
For me, paper is slow and good for thinking;
The keyboard is fast and good for writing.
You might want to try this yourself if your ideas have difficulties gestating. Perhaps it will work for you, too. Tell the police I put you up to it.