A funny thing happens when you move.
You start out carefully. Each glass is conscientiously wrapped in six pages of newspaper. Each collectible is cushioned and boxed as if interred, and each box Sharpied with item, location, and name. Then a few days into this, something strange happens: you realize it doesn’t matter.
To put it another way, when you’re running out of time, you no longer have the luxury of faffing around. That’s when you really get down to business.
People are complicated. I know, that’s like saying, “Hey, fire is hot!” but when it comes to characterization, this needs to be said. Our tendency as authors is to stick imaginary people into tiny two-dimensional categories, forgetting that no human being fits into tiny two-dimensional categories.
One of the things that makes humans so confounded complicated is we are not logical.
Music is awesome. It’s evocative. But you know this already; after all, there’s a reason movies and inspirational/religious services use it so carefully.
Music can help you become a better writer. You don’t have to listen while you write; I know many of you need silence to spin words. However, I believe it’s important to have a soundtrack for your stories, your books, your worlds. It makes them feel richer; it helps you, the writer, to create the mood effectively.
See if these sound familiar:
A hand passed through my hair.
A foot slid past the puddle.
Her eyes flew across the kitchen.
Each of these shares the same problem: a severed body part stole the lead.
I’ve tackled why we write before. Having an answer to that question is crucial, but it’s only the first question. The second is just as important: why should you keep writing?
On those days when we lose writing contests and can’t finish our stories and forget why we were writing the darn things in the first place, we need more than the reason why we chose to write. We need straight-up cussed orneriness.