Friday, February 12, 2010

Character Thoughts

Today's Mood: Relieved (it is the weekend after all.) Today's Music: Maroon 5. Today's Writing: IFFY. Today's Quote:
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury
On Monday I met with my small writing group. I read part of a chapter from IFFY that I'd written several days earlier. A couple things came up in the feedback that got me thinking--scary, I know.

The dilemma: do you or do you not italicize a character's thoughts? I had one person in the group (and I have to say, I've had another writer tell me the same thing) say that if writing in first person, you don't italicize at all because technically everything is in the character's head.

My feeling has always been that it is helpful to readers to italicize DIRECT THOUGHTS. For example, at the start of this scene, Jane comes in the house humming a tune.
The tune was one off the new CD Eva had given me a while back. I'll call her, straighten things out. I took off my boots and lined them along the wall.

The sentence I italicized (put in bold since blogspot italicizes all blockquotes) is a direct thought. I suppose I could have written something like-- I thought about calling her and straightening things out. Then I wouldn't italicize it.

Others in the group felt I should have italicized more than I did. At the end of the scene (after the mother clips off the thread) I didn't italicize and several people in the group thought I should. (**Remember: blockquotes are italicized on Blogspot--my original didn't italicize any of it.)

"What are you saying? That you're getting a divorce?"
Had there been a hesitation?

To me, last line wasn't direct internal dialog. Otherwise she would have said something like- Did she hesitate?

It all got me thinking, and so I did some digging. I found some helpful posts on the matter. Overall it seems like italics should be reserved for IMPORTANT direct thoughts. They should be written in first person present tense because it is the character talking to him/herself. People talk in first person, present tense.

This blog post, Points on Style, deals with the difference between direct and indirect thoughts.

I liked how this talked about how italics weren't necessary if you were writing "deep viewpoint" --as in, writing from inside one person's head. Point of View writing, I guess you could say.

There was another great post I read and bookmarked, but it was on a different computer. I'll link it in the comments when I find out the address.

What do YOU like to see when reading a book? What do YOU do when writing character thoughts?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Workspace inspiration

Today's Mood: Sort of blah. Today's Music: Nothing at the moment. Today's Writing: This blog post. Today's Quote:
"We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same." -Anne Frank

I'm a firm believer that people can write anywhere. There is no magic writing place, nor is there any sense in waiting to be inspired before I sit down to write. Now mind you, I didn't always believe this. For a number of years I believed I had to be sad or depressed in order to write (which didn't bode well for getting over depression). And then for a while I bought into the idea that I could only write in my office at school. Not worth bothering trying to write at home during summer vacation--too many distractions and interruptions.

But maybe if I had an "office" at home, maybe that would help.

So I purchased an awesome little desk with all sorts of wonderful cubbies to put things in. I created a space between the cat litter boxes and the washer and dryer. I put up shelves, lined them with my writing books, and even put a white board on the wall. My office. But the magical inspiration didn't happen. Writing was still hard work. Writing still involved sitting my butt down and laboring over the keyboard, giving birth to words and sentences with agonizing labor.

Funny thing happened though; once I accepted that writing was going to be hard work for me, I learned I could write anywhere and at any time. After all, hard work was hard work no matter where I was situated.

So when I titled this post workspace inspiration, I meant the kind of inspiration that feeds me as a person, not the magic inspiration that makes writing easy--although if you have some of that, feel free to pass it my way.

So what inspires me. Well, music for one. I keep my ipod handy, and I have quite a few Cd's loaded on my laptop as well. I have a collection of shells, sea glass, and rocks on my desk. All things I've picked up over the years. Cards from friends (often my writing friends), pictures of moments I like to remember, quotes that make me think (or remind me of what is important in life), even stupid things like cardboard coasters that I've taken from various different restaurants.

I like to write seated on the floor in my bedroom. On top of my bedside table, I have the book I'm currently reading, The Wild Trees by Richard Preston, a card from a friend of mine, two journals, an idea log, the book, How to Heal with Color by Ted Andrews (research for my WIP), and a book of poetry- Questions about Angels by Billy Collins.

On the bottom shelf I have Energy Medicine, The Subtle Body, How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too (bought in sheer self-defense--or desperation) and two books with the art of Amy Brown. And over in a bag by the dresser, I have the caramel shortcake mini-bites my sister gave me for my birthday, and a pack of supermint gum.

Downstairs is my "office" if you want to call it that. I have shelves lined with my favorite writing and drawing books. I have racks of Cd's, a jar of paintbrushes, candles, and a sign urging me to Simplify.

Now maybe it all sounds like clutter to you, but I find meaning and inspiration in these items. And feeding the me, ends out feeding the writing.

What's in your workspace that feeds your soul?