Friday, May 29, 2015

Why overly structured writing doesn't work

One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time was Boyhood – a movie centered on a young boy’s life, from age 6 to 18. You’ve probably heard of it because it won a few awards, including an Oscar.


Boyhood, unlike most movies we are used to watching, isn’t full of intense drama, shocking surprises lurking at each corner or insane tragedies. In other words, it is kind of like real life. There are ups and downs, mistakes made, lessons learned and generally, it is simply a coming of age movie that focuses on a boy named Mason and filmed over a series of years.

What I love about this movie is how it was put together.  My understanding is that it started with basic plot points, but essentially the director/writer (Richard Linklater) wrote it from year to year. You can tell too because the movie has a very natural flow; nothing is forced or uncomfortable.

As a writer, I was always brought up to believe that you had to have a well constructed plan created before you even thought of writing the first page of a book. You needed to create characters and have them all figured out well in advance. You needed to know all the details before writing the first chapter. You needed to know the ending before you started.

Of course, I’ve since learned that this is completely wrong. Overly structured writing – just as with an overly structured life – doesn’t really work. It’s awkward, it is uncomfortable, and it’s not fun. The characters create themselves, regardless of how hard you may try to force them in a specific direction, as do their storylines and really, that’s what makes the entire process magical and exciting.

Another lesson we learn from Boyhood is that life sometimes isn’t full of horrifying surprises and insane twists and turns. Many movies and television shows lead us to believe that every alcohol induced evening leads to a tragic or regrettable action or that teenagers who participate in ‘reckless behavior’ will suffer the consequences.  This is one of the few movies that consists of surprisingly little drama and I got to tell you, it’s kind of refreshing. I think sometimes we believe that every ‘good’ story should be over the top, thrilling and dangerous (hey, I’m guilty as much as the next writer) but why is that and realistically, don’t we see enough of that in the real world without having it in all our entertainment as well? Sometimes simple is best.It’s something to consider.





Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here


Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing


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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blame it on the Music

Each book that I write has its own unique theme music. They are the songs that I listen to throughout the entire writing process for each book, the music that I am drawn to and can’t get out of my head.

Don’t be mistaken, I don’t choose these songs – just like my characters and their stories – they choose me.


Needless to say, I was anxious to see what songs would speak to me with my latest project. As it turns out, the first song popped up in a dance remix that I listened to as I got ready one morning: I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since that day. 

The second actually came to me while I was dreaming and I believe both songs indicate that my next book will have more of an electronic/house soundtrack.







As I said, each book has its own, unique soundtrack. It doesn't always make sense and sometimes, people are surprised by the diversity of the songs that inspire me, but I believe that speaks to my writing as well. People are often just as surprised by my characters, their actions of how each book ends - and sometimes, so am I:-) 

My most recent book (2015) - Her Name is Mariahhad a mixture of old and new music, including everything from Metallica to Shania Twain. Check out the complete list here.

Last year, I released a book called The Rock Star of Vampires, which had inspirations that included Marilyn Manson, Smashing Pumpkins and Platinum Blonde. Check out the entire list here.


In 2011, I published A Spark before the Firethis book was set in the late 80s, early 90s and was about a troubled teen who headed down a dark path. Here is the list. 

My first book, Fire, published in 2010 and centered on the 90s music industry, so of course included grunge and rock from that time period. I remembered watching Nirvana concerts and bios on The Doors during this particular time. Check out the list here.

In my mind, life has a soundtrack. Every phase we go through has a meaning and every song that reminds us of those days, often does too. What is your soundtrack and what music inspires you? Please share your comments below.



Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here  
 

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing


Don’t let the fun stop here - sign up for the newsletter!