EnE: Elemental Novel Experiences
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Welcome to my blog!


This blog was my online wordsmith workshop, where you'll find notes on my writing experiences, excerpts from my fantasy and science fiction novels, and essays of a more homeworld flavor.  Some of the advice therein may still be of interest to new writers so I have left it here but due to technical difficulties, I no longer post here regularly.  You can look me up on Dreamwidth, although I do not post frequently. 

Feel free to share a link to this site. If you opt to download it or share content, please give due credit to this website and the author: Emmalyn N. Edwards. Thank you--Emmalyn

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

chocolate and quilts
Lots of seasonal stuff: Halloween chocolate candies to make, leftovers to clear the fridge and freezer for holiday foods and family, quilts and other sewing projects for gifts, and all of them make m think about journaling while making it a challenge. The quilting and sewing especially because they are gifts and when I'm working on gifts, I either decide as i make it who will get it, or I already know, and so I think about the recipient. All kinds of random things about the person that I remember, scenes and events more than statistics like what colors they like, but sometimes places, like an apartment front room, so I hope that the colors and themes that were there are still things they like years later if its someone I don't see a lot (and I know lots of people in different parts of the country, many of them that I actually see once in years, three times in a year, then once in years again).

It's a thing, to sew the love in by thinking about people and choosing things for them personally, even if it might not be quite right or quite current in the end. But it's also a story thing, Or lots of story things. Its a way to think about stream-of-consciousness. It points out the value of minor little things in a scene: a way to draw the the reader's attention to a scene enough to remember elements of the scene: not facts, but senses, events, odd little details that give the setting substance, and to tell about characters in a way that is internal, subconscious, visceral, nothing conscious, nothing that can or needs to be explained and narrative, just there.

I always explain in the early drafts, but the end goal is to take the plunge and remove as much of every explanation as i can. The risk is that the reader won't understand it the way it's intended, but that just means the reader can make it their own. Trust them to make into what they want or expect, and that can only be to the good. Like the lap blanket that someone adopts as a shoulder blanket or chair cover, oh well. They obviously like it better that way, and it's theirs, and if they find a way to use it that they like, guess what, that means they like it. Create, make your best stab at the right features, and let go.

Writer's challenge: Write a scene and a setting. Eliminate explanation. invite someone to read it.
30 oct 12 @ 7:47 pm

Monday, October 29, 2012

It seems to be my season for taking the plunge on new things so I took the plunge and signed up for NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month (aka National November Write More, as I've heard it elsewhere than the sign up site.) The goal is 50,000 new words, avoid editing, keep in touch with area and global participants through the website..., and write a whole novel (of 50,000 words). Since I am nearly through the latest revision of my first-in-a-series 0f short books (I consider 50,000 a novella or chap book, but maybe not so much...) so decided it was a good time to tackle the next one.. we'll see how well rough drafting as well as writing and polishing online works. Not my usual way of approaching a book, but we'll see.

Usually November is overwhelmingly busy and I don't lack for things to work on--including a few more Christmas presents to make, cleaning, cooking, the usual holiday chaos, and will be starting the month out with a short trip. But I'm also wrapping up my novella at home, my handbook at work, and am ready to start some new projects. Besides, even at my busiest, I regularly manage to write some and the weather won't be calling me outdoors... That's the plan anyway, even if 50,000 words is a lot to aim for! Nothing says I can't write notes when I'm away from the computer... that's closer to my usual approach and my typing is quick enough.

Writer's challenge: Sign up for NaNoWriMo with me! let me know you've joined!

Writer's prompt: Pick your favorite (or least favorite) technology. Make it better (or worse) a few notches. Add a character who can use it to advantage (or has to deal with the consequences).
29 oct 12 @ 7:57 pm

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blog tour - Stephan Lawhead's Sprit Well
Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy tour is the theme of the day. Notice: In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

This month's book: The Spirit Well is the third in Stephen Lawhead’s BRIGHT EMPIRE series, a fantasy series with "historical novel" elements as well as alternative worlds, The science fiction/fantasy (I'm never sure how to categorize books that mix sub genres though I have nothing against the mix) elements include paranormal/supernatural elements that, like the Angels in Eye of the Sword, are not meant to reflect biblical reality despite the sometimes religious dialogs and resurrection theme.

http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/ has some blurbs for the previous books, which some readers might find useful.

Observation on the style: At times, one has the feeling that the author is well familiar with biographic or other nonfiction writing: the narrative provides background "in series" with the narrative , that is, along the way as many non-fiction genres will do, rather than leaving it all to flashbacks and other mechanisms of providing backstory. For those who spend a lot of time with lighter fiction, this may come across as heavy on narrative and slower paced as a result, but Mr. Lawhead is a good narrator and his writings are rich in vision and detail, providing the uninitiated a clear picture of the times, cultures, and scenes in his fictitious worlds.

Observation on the Christian elements, which are less obvious in the work of this offer than in other books I've reviwed: Some of my fellow bloggers noted that the story, and especially the previous books in the series, were rather lacking in biblical messages, but I have no problem with that. My view on fiction writing is that the story must come first or it won't get read, won't be accepted, no matter how valuable the intended message. For Christian science fiction and fantasy, I'm not looking for a biblical story, I'm looking for a science fiction and/or fantasy story that creates, ulimately, a Christian lesson, and in a multi-book series, it can sometimes be long in coming and subtle in development. I give the author a lot of leeway, so long as the author is consistent within his own world.

I invite you to take a look at the other blogger posts, listed on a post below, for a more complete look at Mr. Lawhead's book and his universe.

Writer's challenge: Pick a simple moral, lesson, or one-liner. List the key elements that would go into building a story for it: a central character with an associated flaw; an adversary, challenge, or forces that push in another or the opposite direction, a world/setting, supporting characters. Write.
23 oct 12 @ 9:37 pm

The Spirit Well by Stephan Lawhead - resource links
Book link - http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Well-Bright-Empires/dp/1595548068/ (or some other link of your choice)

Author Website - http://www.stephenlawhead.com/

Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/StephenRLawhead

23 oct 12 @ 8:00 pm

23 oct 12 @ 7:56 pm

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Catching up
Lots happening in my life but every night I do a little writing and I think I'm getting close to finishing my novella. I guess that's what it's called. It's not my longest "short story" - one of which became four books before I got done...but it is my shortest novel, so far, and will be even if it grows to it's anticipated 50,000 words. I've been adding background scenes including writing some from scratch because if I had the original version I recalled, it was far less substantial than I remembered or I lost it entirely (lost could include filed in "done" files before I decided a more complete back story had a place in the series, after all, and I've found previous versions of scenes that were hardly more than a sentence or two, but shich over time I had developed in my head.

I've drafted couple more blog posts meanwhile in my travel journal and will try to post them in the next few days since I'm home for awhile and even caught up on my travel laundry.

BTW, i got several e-mailed comments, which i always appreciate, however, the latest ones were in French or some other language that i don't speak. I know some systems will translate websites such as this blog into other languages, but my e-mail doesn't have that capability, so, thank you, but I can't respond as I don't know what the messages say.

Writer's challenge: Consider joining the November writing challenge, by considering what you want to write about, what story you are ready to tackle, and start limbering up those fingers.

Writer's prompt: I'd been going for thirty hours and was sue i was hallucinating when I saw...
18 oct 12 @ 10:19 pm

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Travel observations
We've been on the road and I've been taking travel notes though not my usual sort. This time we're considering areas where we might like to house hunt and it really causes looking at places in a different light. We weren't even sure quite what we were looking for, but quickly recognized the no ways from the maybe's. Didn't know it until we started looking, but every cluster of houses or major intersection between minor highways has a name on a map and often right on the road, so instead of eliminating places that had grown too big since we were there last, we were eliminating place names as representing too little, as having nothing to attract us, not even basics like fuel and food.

Like my other travel journals, it did make me think of story stuff, in this case setting and world building: people need stuff to live, and they won't live in places that don't have access to those things: if they are located and convenient, then the author will have achieved a believably complete setting for living and longer stays. If they are less convenient, then the author may have interesting bits of setting, travel, and challenge for the characters deal with: fetching food, fetching wood or rocket fuel, finding comfortable sleeping accommodations or dealing with the resulting aches in the morning. They can be small, but a few such small details can give depth and reality to a scene and remind the reader that characters are "real people" instead of cartoons that don't need food, air, bandages, etc.

The tricky bit is usually defining what they need (in order to have a reaction when it is taken away or provided or at risk...). Some of the basics are obvious for living characters: food, water, air, rest. More might depend on circumstances: heat, blankets, clothing, cooking utensils. If other things are involved, such as vehicles, machinery, the list expands to other kinds of fuel, power, oil, mechanical maintenance... Some can be assumed to be available as needed, but people on the move or in isolated locations must have changing sources for their needs, and timing to ensure believable duration for carry-along supply volume or replacements becomes an issue. Vehicles can bring along only so much of their own fuel and replacement parts, and anything limited becomes both an issue of story believability and potential for story element: the forces that cause or require change and present challenge on top of challenge for building story climax.

Writer's challenge: Make a list of character needs.
Writer's prompt: Take away a needed thing and write a scene of the character's attempt to get or replace it.
2 oct 12 @ 6:59 pm

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Be sure to get in touch so I know you're out there! See contacts page or e-mail wyverns(at)earthlink(dot)net.

Every word should be an experience