Thursday, April 24, 2008

Author Technique of the Week

At Nancy's Blog, SF author Nancy Kress reports this useful tip from Eeriecon:
Joe Haldeman offered that it's very difficult, perhaps impossible, to horrify any more with your aliens: "MEN IN BLACK ruined that." Carl Frederick said that in order to discover what vowels his undersea aliens would favor, he tried sticking his head into a basin of water and talking there.
Hey! I used to do that as a kid at the community pool. I also used to pretend that I had one hand tied to one foot, and had to swim the length of the pool to freedom. I did it, too.

Right now, I'm testing out a new approach to a WIP that I had shelved and now want to revive: rewriting it as a novel in verse. I'm worried, because I'm having way too much fun. Isn't writing supposed to be work?

What's the strangest thing you ever did to try out an idea?


  1. I did what you're doing (change novel to one in verse) and I didn't think it was strange. I didn't think it worked, but I didn't think it was strange. :)

  2. What's interesting is that even if I decide not to write this as a novel in verse, the experiment is VASTLY improving my writing of the story.

    For the record, I don't think this technique is strange---it's the part where I pretended to have one foot tied to one hand and flop across the pool that was strange. :)

  3. I wish I had known you as a girl. We would have so much fun together! I used to do stuff like that in the pool too. I can totally see us spending the afternoon in such silly challenges. We used to pretend the living room was full of alligators and you had to travel by jumping from sofa to chair all around the house. If you touch the ground you die.

    I think making up handicaps and figuring out how to get around them is one of those intrinsic creative processes that should be encouraged at all costs. Plus it's one of the most fun things ever!

  4. I have a caffeine-addicted character and to flesh out his eating habits I tried consuming coffee in different ways -- in cold cereal and then in hot oatmeal, using the coffee instead of the water. It tasted awful but I'm still convinced HE liked it.

  5. Writing wise, my strangest thing is practicing pirate phrases aloud in public to see how they sound.

    But foot/hand/tying wise, I remember holding a mirror right under my nose and trying to only look at it, so that I could walk around the house on the ceiling...

  6. :) You guys are making me happy.

  7. Yep, I just restarted my novel in diary-format. So far I think it's going to be a better fit.

  8. Jacqui said, "I remember holding a mirror right under my nose and trying to only look at it, so that I could walk around the house on the ceiling."

    Hey, I did that ... walked on the ceiling, I mean. Only I was on the sofa with my head hanging down toward the floor and my feet up the wall. I thought about how it would be to live on the ceiling, having to step over the foot-high obstacle at every doorway and stepping carefully around light fixtures in the middle of my new ceiling-floor.


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