Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tropes

My blog poll has been up for a while and it seems like manual labor is the way to go for getting shirts off. This opens up a plethora of other options. What can my male lust-figure be doing? Mowing the lawn, building his little sister a treehouse, chopping wood for a fire...I could probably come up with a hundred things to get my male protag sweaty and bare-chested instead of using the trope of ripping it off to bind a wound.


Speaking of tropes, please tell me you've been to the site tvtropes.org. It's a place where you can find recognizable characters, stories and plot lines used by writers in television and fiction. As the site says, "Tropes are not inherently disruptive to a story; however, when the trope itself becomes intrusive, distracting the viewer rather than serving as shorthand, it has become a cliché."


Last night for girls' movie night we watched Burlesque. The songs, the costumes and the choreography were amazing. The plot was basically one hour and forty minutes of strung together cliches. We were calling out lines before they were spoken and had the plot figured after the first five minutes.


Tropes aren't bad to use, they're tools to help the reader or watcher connect with your story. The key is to piece them together in different ways or have your characters fit one trope and switch to another. I always think of it like writing a song. There are only so many notes, so many chords, and so many ways to piece them together, yet new, original music comes out every day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Take it off!

I've read quite a few YA books where the female protaganist cuts herself and the male protagonist doesn't hesitate to tear his shirt off to bind the wound. Talking with my husband I asked him, "If we were in the middle of nowhere and I cut my arm, what would you do?" He said he would tear a piece of his shirt off, a sleeve or the bottom, but not the whole thing.

So I think this is just a clever way to get the male love interest half-naked, but it's starting to become a little cliche, so how else can we get a guy's shirt off? What would you like to see? (Besides a little more fictional skin?)




Any other ideas? Post them in the comments. Whatever gets the most votes I'm using in my next manuscript.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Multi-Tasking

While I'm going back and forth with my agent on edits on a manuscript, I've started something new. Some people may call this obsessive compulsive disorder. I like to call it dedication to my craft. Of course as I'm going hot and strong on my new work, I get revisions back on the other.

Priority is the edits, so I had to abandon the new one and go back to the first. And they couldn't BE any more different.

First: YA Fantasy set in a fictional historic place. Written in limited 3rd, past tense.

Second: YA Sci-Fi set in contemporary fictional place with elements of time travel. Written in 1st present.

Oy. What have I gotten myself into? It's not so hard to get back into the head of the character, but what is difficult is getting back into a different style of writing. What to do?

Well first, I went through the edits and re-read chunks of my manuscript. Then I didn't do any writing for a couple of days. Instead I thought about how I would incorporate the changes, and re-directed my daydreaming to manuscript 1. During the respite time, I also re-read some of a book written in limited 3rd past tense, to get myself accustomed to the style. When I sat back down to the computer, I felt like I had a good handle on what I was doing. And reversing back to the other, I used the same strategy.

Have you ever done this? Worked on two different things simultaneously? What did you do when going back and forth?