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I am at an important, although early, stage of the novel. It is still the hacking and slashing stage. But unfortunately, I am at the hacking and slashing moment where it is not safe for characters. I have out my machete. And for more refined slicing, I also have my samurai sword to do some much needed slicing, dicing, and splicing.
Now is the point where characters are being evaluated. I ask questions like:
Does this character add to the story?
Did this character saying that make sense?
Does this character’s actions and/or motivations make sense?
Are these two characters filling different roles?
If the answer is no, well, then it might be a time to slice, dice, or splice some characters. For my current novel, I have sliced one minor character so far. Slicing just means that one character was split into two different characters. Doing this makes more sense instead of having one minor character who occasionally acts ‘out of character.’
Although in the past I have completely removed characters from a story, I do not think I have ever diced a character. Dicing would be dividing a character into multiple parts… meaning instead of one minor character, I split that character into three or more.
For my current novel, I recently spliced four characters into “two” characters. This, again, made more sense for the story. Splicing feels really awkward at the beginning, but after a few edits all the rough spots are ironed out. But the first round of splicing can feel like I wrapped up three characters into one with duct tape.
I actually enjoy slicing, dicing, and splicing characters. It makes the story flow, it makes it tighter, and it makes the characters stronger. In addition, it’s a fun, creative challenge.
What about you? Do you enjoy slicing, dicing, and splicing characters?
Last Thursday, at approximately 11:36 a.m. Pacific Time, I received the news that my master’s paper passed. Many of you know that it has been a long, hard road to get to this point. Many revisions of the paper, many sleepless nights. At one point I actually got stress hives.
But now I can relax this summer. You know, as relaxing as one can have while studying for a comprehensive exam (a nasty exam for PhD students). But I will not be teaching or researching over the summer, which means I can fish, study for the exam, and travel to the coast. How cool do I feel after finishing the masters? As cool as Ferris Bueller in Chicago: that’s how cool!!
But I am taking a short break from writing my master’s thesis to blog because blogging relieves stress and unleashes some creative awesomeness. As part of today’s thesis writing marathon, I decided to change locations from where I normally write/study. I chose a coffee shop instead of my desk at home, and instead of my campus office.
According to a post by the Thesis Whisperer, there has been ample research to suggest that taking a thesis writing retreat will benefit the writing process. The change of location can be invigorating. So here I am at a coffee shop for a mini-retreat. However, for my dissertation… I might take a month somewhere. I have already floated the idea to my wife and she seems interested. For her the “no” factor is always money… which makes sense. But the “yes” factor for her is travel because travel is fun.
I am thinking Seattle, Portland, New York City or Chicago could all be great places for a month long retreat. Almost anywhere in Colorado could work.
Have you ever taken a retreat (or mini-retreat) to finish a major project? How did it work out for you?
When I surpassed 50 followers, I wrote a post thanking all my readers for listening, and got a lot of feedback. I got asked how I created a blog that 50 people thought was worth reading in just 2 months, so I decided to make this post. (Not that I think my blog is super great or anything. Cause I don’t. I just try to make something that I would want to read.) So here are some ideas that might help take your blog to the next level.
Actually, I liked that thing I just said. Let’s make that #1.
1. Make a blog you would want to read.
This is your space. You have freedom to make it something that is 100% uniquely you. So don’t be afraid to change things that aren’t working for you to make it better. I’ve redone my “About Me” page, which should be…