Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy solstice!

Whether the summer solstice has deep spiritual significance for you or simply marks that happy time of year when longer days give you more time for outdoor fun, today once again marks the point in the year where the earth's axial tilt points the planet's northern most directly at the sun, making the sun appear furthest north and for the longest day-period of the year. And even all that technical detail can't offset the wonder of full day from 7 am to 7 pm, with dark falling after 8:30 even around Chicago,and closer to 10 in points further north, like UP Michigan or Nova Scotia.

I've been thinking about technical details in relation to writing recently, which just resulted in a post on the subject on my about-writing blog, Starting Your Story. The gist of this post, "The importance of being accurate," is that even details utterly unimportant to your story or argument can distract and annoy readers when you get them wrong.

This explains, in large part, why I've not yet done anything with some delicious story ideas I came up with on my trip to England and Wales nearly 5 years ago. I could flesh out stories, but I don't have the background to be sure I wouldn't get an everyday detail absurdly wrong. Even if I made the point-of-view character an American like me, I'd worry.

However, I do know a couple of people who've spent time in England, grew up in England [including a fellow writers group member] and/or live there now, so perhaps I need to just rough something out and run it by one or more of these folks for a plausibility check.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I just posted an essay on using conflict in writing on my "StartingYourStory" blog. At the end, I challenged readers to take a look at their most recent writing and identify the conflicts they included. So, just for fun, here's something I wrote at a recent meeting of our Write Time writers group (from the prompt, " I didn't know that brown cheese burned so well." ... and it turns out to have all sorts of conflict ... but see for yourself:

 I didn't know that brown cheese burned so well. Of course, I’d planned on serving it cold, sliced, with crackers and fruit.  God, the fates or the heat-death of the universe had other plans for my cheese, it seemed.

“Cal, you gotta come see this.” My roommate, Jess, can never be bothered coming to me—I always have to go to her. “It’s brilliant. We gotta do this at the party.”

“Jess, it’s just a few people coming over for drinks before we see a movie. It’s not a Hollywood premiere or anything.

“But look at this recipe—I love that flamed Greek cheese. “

“Don’t have time to shop—I’ve got gouda and Swiss and that Norwegian stuff your boyfriend loves.”

“Well, use that then, Callista. What could go wrong?”

What indeed…