Posted in A.P. Roberts, On Writing, Reality in Fiction, Useful Sites

Reality in Fiction: Transplants Part Two

Warning: This post is the continuation of last week’s post. It was even more difficult for me to get through as some of these issues are still current in my SO’s health. If you have questions, please ask. As well, if you have opinions or information, please feel free to share in the comments.

POST-TRANSPLANT

Recovery is different for every transplant but in each instance recovery can take time. Most transplants require patients to be hospitalized for at least a few days post-transplant so that the doctors can closely monitor their recovery process.

Each patient reacts to recovery in a different way. Some patients may find they recover at a fairy quick pace without many incidents. Other patients may find they recovery quickly at the beginning but start to slow down the further into their recovery that they get. There are patients who find their recovery is a slow process which may require another transplant before they reach full health. And, sadly, there are patients who may never recover their health after transplant. All of these occurrences are normal.

Continue reading “Reality in Fiction: Transplants Part Two”

Posted in A.P. Roberts, On Writing, Reality in Fiction, Useful Sites

Reality in Fiction: Transplants Part One

Warning: This post was difficult for me to write due to the subject being so close to my heart. I apologize in advance if this is not edited to my normal quality as I had a difficult time reading it through. As well, if there is anything you feel I have missed, please let me know. I am planning a part 2 for transplants to include more information I gathered over the last few years.

The first thing to remember about transplants is that every transplant is different and every transplant patient has a different experience. Both transplant and recovery can vary greatly from patient to patient.

FINDING OUT

Patients who require transplants usually find out about their need because they become very ill. In fact, it can be obvious from looking at the patient that there is something wrong. They go to the doctor because of these symptoms and are given tests to find out the problem. Once the doctor figures out why the symptoms are present in the patient, they may refer the patient to a specialist. It may be the family doctor or the specialist who diagnoses the specific issue that requires transplant.

Continue reading “Reality in Fiction: Transplants Part One”

Posted in On Writing, Reality in Fiction, Useful Sites

Reality in Fiction: Absent Parents

There are an untold number of stories on the internet where teenagers have absent parents. While this can give the writer of the story more leeway into what their young characters can do, it is also very unrealistic.

This is not to say that there are no parents out there who leave their children alone for long periods of time. Nor am I saying that there are no parents who care as little for their children as they do for a stranger. What I am saying is that these scenarios are not the norm and constitute bad parenting.

If parents leave their under-aged children alone, there must be a reason. For instance, the parent may work away from home or during the evenings. Single parents may need to work several jobs. Other parents may be neglectful because they never wanted kids or they want to party.

Regardless of the reason for the under-aged children being left alone, there are consequences.

Continue reading “Reality in Fiction: Absent Parents”

Posted in On Writing, Reality in Fiction, Useful Sites

Reality in Fiction: Grief

There are many things which can be grieved and what connects them all is loss. People will grieve the loss of a job just as much as they will grieve the loss of a person. If it involves a loss, then it also involves grief.

Loss can be grieved in any number of ways. The grief may be express quickly which will also begin the healing process quickly or the grief may take years to be expressed in which case the healing may never come.

Unfortunately, there are many stories where the writer forgets that their character is grieving. When the writer forgets about the character’s loss, the character also forgets about their loss. This means that the character does not deal with their grief.

If grief is not dealt with, it can get worse. Grief can turn into depression or complicated grief which may require professional help.

The most well-known stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages can overlap, repeat, or skip; and there is no set timeline nor set order for the stages.

Continue reading “Reality in Fiction: Grief”

Posted in On Writing, Useful Sites, Writing Rants

Abuse in Fiction: Romance

It seems like every other romance story found on the internet has aspects of abuse throughout the story. Whether this abuse is from one of the main characters to the other or from a secondary character toward a main character, the abuse is usually written in a way that makes it seem alright. In some cases the abuse is glamorized and in other cases it is glossed over as unimportant information.

This bothers me as there are many people who are victims of abuse and this abuse is neither unimportant nor glamorous.

Continue reading “Abuse in Fiction: Romance”

Posted in On Writing, Useful Sites, Writing Rants

Abuse in Fiction: Backstories

Many lazy writers attempt to create reader sympathy by saying that their main character was abused. At times these writers will include a chapter or two which involves the abuse. Unfortunately, the abuse is rarely dealt with in a healthy manner and tends to be quickly forgotten by the writer.

Words cannot describe how much this angers me.

Abuse affects people’s emotions and thought processes. Different people react differently to abuse. Different types of abuse affect people in different ways. Whether the abused realizes that the abuse affects their life or not, there are lasting effects that need to be dealt with.

If you must have your character abused in their past, make sure you include some of the side effects in their characterization.

Don’t include abuse simply because you want readers to feel sorry for your characters. Victims of abuse deserve so much better than you making light of what they have gone through. They are so strong to have come out the other end despite the scars they may carry. Please, if you include abuse, do them justice by writing it well and doing your research.

I’m not an expert on the effects of abuse and I don’t claim to be. Everything I know comes from what I’ve witnessed and through research. The following links are to some of my favourite, trusted sites that I go to when I need more information about this particular topic.

Posted in Character Development, On Writing, Post a Day/Week, Useful Sites

Naming Your Babies

For those who don’t want to read a long, rantish post, there are links to helpful naming websites at the bottom.
Character
What would you name this character? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A name can make or break a character and, at times, a story. Names can set the expectation for that character at an unreachable high or unbearable low.

One of the main reasons for these expectations is that everyone has an idea of what type of person belongs to which names. This idea could be about the character’s personality or looks and is usually based on past experiences.

It is possible to break these stereotypes with strong characterization. However, as a writer, you need to be aware that these preconceived notions exist in order to overcome them. By knowing these stereotypes you can use them to highlight the differences in your character.  For instance, naming a character Mary may mean that your readers are shocked when she suddenly starts throwing punches and shooting up heroin. But, if you use the stereotypes, you can gradually ease the reader from Mary’s pristine name to her actual character.

Some writers try to get around name stereotypes by creating names or changing the spelling of common names. While this can work, the laws of language still need to be followed.(1)

One of these laws is in the use of symbols. Most symbols, outside of letters, have a name and not necessarily a sound. An example would be the “$” symbol which is not pronounced as “s” or any other letter. I recently read a few paragraphs of a story where one of the characters was named $tarr. I was left wondering if the $ was meant to replace the S in Starr or if the name was suppose to be pronounced Dollartarr. If there is a story behind the absurd spelling then it can be workable but, for the most part, it’s annoying.

Another law is in vowels and consonants. This law dictates that when letters are put together, they shall be pronounceable. If you name a character Zhtbnaeaapkw, I can guarantee that you will need a pronunciation guide to make your story readable. It is possible to fob it off by having the character part of an alien race that speaks a language human vocal cords can’t grasp, but that’s just pretentiousease (2) for “I’m too lazy to figure out how to pronounce this name”.

The last major language law dealing with character names, which is related to the first one, deals with the use of apostrophes. Anyone who has read science fiction in the last twenty years has probably had headaches from this one. Apostrophes do not take the place of much-needed vowels or consonants. In fact, they are generally used to join two words or to show possession. Names like Aa’euo and Ch’d just looks weird.

Edited to include a note from Deby Fredericks who let me know that apostrophes do actually have a slight sound. The pronunciation is somewhere between a gasp and a click.

If you’ve followed the stereotypes and you haven’t used any strange symbols, punctuation or letter combinations, you may still be setting your character up for failure. This is because names have to fit in with your society.

If you were to have a baby right now and name him Crawford (3), he would probably get teased by his classmates. This is because Crawford is an old-fashioned name that isn’t used much anymore. A simple way of getting around this hassle would be to check baby name sites and census details for the year your character was born in.

If you’ve already checked birth years or are sticking with modern times, it may also help to check the area where your story is set. Some countries (such as Iceland) have naming laws which would mean your character could not be named Apple.

By now you’re probably shaking your head at some of the ridiculous rules and laws I’ve created to help with naming. Unfortunately, these laws have all come about from stories I’ve read (or attempted to read) where the character names were a detriment to the story.

Luckily, I know my readers have a good grasp of their characters and how to name them. If you have any tips, pet peeves or links about names, feel free to share them in the comments. I would love to hear them.

Footnotes:

(1) I say language laws, but I really mean A.P. Roberts’ Laws of Language. These laws were created to help me write stories which are readable without coming off as a pretentious idiot. They are based on my research and I am welcome to learning what others have found in their searches.

(2) Pretentiousease is my little term for words intended to sound nice but are showing how much of a douche-bag you are. A prime example would be when people complain about not being allowed to break the rules even though they are “important” and “do you know who I am?”.

(3) My dad’s middle name is Crawford and I do think it is lovely and very distinguished. However, it is an old-fashioned name which would stick out in a classroom today.

Useful Sites:

Posted in Challenges, Post a Day/Week, Useful Sites

A Forgiving Writing Challenge

250words-150w 500words-150w 1000words_150w

Who doesn’t like a good writing challenge?

But, as much as I love writing challenges, I don’t always get the urge to write every day. And, unfortunately, I tend not to have the discipline to force myself to write when I don’t have the urge. In fact, most days of the week I tend to procrastinate rather than write. That is why I love this challenge. It is very forgiving.

A lot of challenges give a specific target and a specific time frame. This challenge does not deal in specifics. The aim is to write 250, 500, or 1000 words for about 6 days a week.

Confused yet? Don’t be. With this challenge you choose your daily word count goal but if you find yourself struggling or overachieving you can change it. So, if you aim for 500 words but find yourself writing over 1000, you can up your word count goal. Likewise, if you find yourself writing less than 500 words you can lower your word count goal.

The challenge is also to write 6 days a week but makes allowances for life. If you miss a day or a week, all you have to do is get back to writing. The aim isn’t to stress you out about writing every single day but rather to get you to write as many days as you can.

I am trying for the 250 words a day on my personal blog and I am also going to try for 250 words a day on my writing blog.

So, if you’re looking for a cool challenge that forgives mistakes (and procrastination), join me with Inkygirl’s Word Count Challenge. 🙂

Posted in A.P. Roberts, Useful Sites

Istanbul: A New Revolution?

Earlier today I came across several reblogs of a post titled “What Is Happening In Istanbul” and it piqued my interest. But, as usual, I was wary about the fact that what I was reading was only one person’s view. So, I looked deeper into the issue.

First I looked up Taksim Square on Google Maps. I wanted to see the park that was going to be demolished for a mall. I wanted to see the area that the protestors wanted to protect. Basically, I wanted a visual representation of where this was happening.

Then I searched the WordPress reader. I found a lot of posts by searching for Istanbul in the tags. I found a “Letter from a Young Turkish Demonstrator” and a sign about the revolution being tweeted.

I found posts about the Turkish media airing cooking shows and penguin documentaries rather than showing the protests.

I found posts about how the protestors are becoming the people and how the protesters had begun as many different groups but were uniting over one cause.

I found a lot of WordPress posts from many different sources and I even found a blog dedicated to what is happening. In fact, while I only speak English, I was still able to find a lot of posts to let me in on the events. If I spoke (or at least could read) Turkish, I could probably add a lot more to that list.

But there is a difference between searching WordPress blogs and gathering multiple views from multiple sources. Blogs are one thing but media is something else entirely and I wanted to see what the media had to say about what was going on.

Based on the blog posts, I knew that there wasn’t going to be much from the Turkish media. However, I am acutely aware that there are news agencies across the world that like to cover world news. I was very hopeful that at least some of these news agencies were covering what I was now calling the “Turkish Revolution”. And this hope lead me to Google News where I found “Istanbul” as one of the top news makers.

After clicking on “Istanbul”, I read articles from News Max World, the Daily Beast, and the Star. But then, when I stopped clicking random links and looked where I was going, I found articles from the Guardian, BBC, CNN, and other world news sources that I am familiar with.

At the moment, I don’t know what is currently happening or what is going to happen. I don’t know if the government will back down and allow the people to have control of the country. I don’t know if the government will manage to beat the people back far enough that they no longer pose a threat. What I do know is that this is something that should not be hidden by censors.

This is the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press at work. And it is our freedom as people to read, learn and educate others as to what is happening.

Planner or Pantser?

I was recently going through Limyaael’s Rants (which I highly suggest to anyone who is interested in writing) and came across one about writing without an outline. Which, of course, made me think about planning versus pantsing when writing.

For anyone who knows me, I am a planner. When I try to write without a plan, I write maybe a paragraph before I start making an outline.

I’m not saying that all of my outlines are complex with no room for derivation. Some of my outlines consist of three lines or a beginning, middle and end. But they always give me a sense of where I am going.

Some of my outlines are for a complete work while others are only good for a scene or two. In fact, the majority of my outlines are only good for a few scenes at best.

I suppose that, by creating outlines for only a few scenes, I am trying to be a pantser. However, it is ingrained into my being that lists and plans are required for life. So, by making smaller outlines, my story can retain the spontaneity that pantser stories have while keeping the structure of an outline.

For this month’s Camp Nano, I am trying to fly by the seat of my pants. I am trying to completely avoid writing out any sort of outline. It’s not going as well as I would like but I’m hoping that I can at least get through the month.

So what about you? Are you a planner or a pantser when it comes to your writing?