Disclaimer: I'm surrounded by doctors and medical books, but have no official schooling in the subject myself. The medical knowledge discussed below is the result of personal research with the attempt to improve fiction writing, not to cure and/or diagnosis people.
I get it, your main character Tiffany just broke things off with her fiance and instead of drowning her pain in booze or chocolate she decided to do something useful – knit a blanket while crying and watching chick flicks. Sadly, she knits herself into a splint and it doesn’t bring the man back.
I’ve already talked about the secret dangers of the violin, but the truth is any character’s job or hobby can result in repetitive motion injuries. That is, strain from performing the same activity over and over for a long time. It’s a usefully little injury that can be used as either a device to get your character to stop working for the day, or if severe enough switch jobs/take a vacation. Or provide a reason for a bit of pampering from a significant other ^_~.
Results vary from eyestrain (such as looking at a screen for too long – be it a movie marathon, a computer work binge, or a video game obsession) to backaches (due to posture) to tendinitis. Tendinitis is where joint tendons develop tiny tears and so they swell and cause pain. Think tennis elbow. And don’t forget carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition in the wrist were tissues enlarge and pinch the nerves around it causing great pain.
Everything form typing to hammering to pushing around desks can result in a repetitive motion injury, meaning pretty much everyone in your story can develop something. Not that you want them all to, but the option is there.
Real life examples: what have you guys strained yourself doing?
Me - stretching, and hunching to look at my laptop.
May 17, 2013
May 9, 2013
I came upon a wonderful article on transmedia storytelling, the idea of connecting a narrative universe through a variety of channels. Like how the universe of Tron was started in a movie (way back in '84), but then expanded to games, another movie, and a TV show. All which share the same world but different stories.
And then you have the .hack series. In order to follow the chronological story you have to play video games, read comics, and watch the TV shows.
But a main part of transmedia storytelling is opening up the world to the fans, think fanfictionand parody YouTube videos and @ItstheDoctor and homemade butterbeer recipes.
So I was thinking, some time in the future on my way to become a common name author I'd like to incorporate this. Getting my story out to many people and encouraging fan participation.
Easy for George Lucas and Star Wars, not so much for self-published authors. Or even indie published authors. Or probably most first time authors.
Dark, crushing cloud of impossibility aside (I've been get rather good at ignoring it and walking through) what do you guys think small time authors could do to include transmedia in our self-run marketing schemes? Do you even think it's a good idea?
May 8, 2013
April was crazy thanks to the A-Z Challenge. So many visitors and places to visit! I swear, my feedly exploded. But in the insanity I ended up getting the Liebster Award from Heidi at The Enchanted Pen back in mid April. Thank Heidi!
As it goes, I have announce my nomination for the award and thank/link back to who I got it from and then post 11 random facts about myself. This is to be followed by 11 questions the presenter asked, and then I get to nominate another 11 bloggers (with under 200 followers) and ask 11 questions of my own.
So, be prepared for a slightly long post.
11 Random facts about yours truly:
- I never was a coffee drinker until I moved to Ethiopia.
- Caffeine doesn't seem to effect me. I can have three cups of coffee (okay, they're small here) before bed and still fall asleep no problem. I can also drink a monster and get the same effect as from a single Jolly Rancher.
- I used to live in Chicago.
- I thought about a major in bioinformatics, but then Chem 130 killed me and communications it was!
- I love to dance.
- I speak, in various skills levels, four languages: English, Spanish, Greek, and Amharic.
- My favorite Transformer is Prowl, which is why I'm so upset at Michael Bay for not putting him in the new movies.
- I think Peter Burke should be free! aka I'm a White Collar fan.
- I'm super lazy. I do dishes maybe twice a week.
- I'm a first generation Greek.
- I like to write to Daft Punk once in awhile. The Tron soundtrack is awesome.
11 Questions to answer:
- Who is your biggest inspiration? I can't really say, there are so many inspiring people out there, blazing trails for the rest of us to follow.
- What is/was your relationship like with your mother? Awesome. I like to think that if we were of a same age, we would have been friends. We're super close.
- Do you have pets? I have a stuffed bear name Flare, a fuzzy uniasus called Fantasia, a fruby called Lulu, and toy called Arcee. I talk to them, so I kinda consider them pets? There's also a cat in the area I call Belle that I like to talk to.
- What is your guilty pleasure? Cop shows and fanfiction
- Do you outline or are you a seat-of-your-pants writer? Discovery writer, all the way. I always set up an outline first, but it usually changes as I write and get further into a character.
- Do you write aspects of your personality into your characters? I try not too, but I'm sure it happens. I don't know if it really happens, or if it's just a personal writing paranoia thing, but I feel as if the longer I write a story the character shifts to be more similar tp me. To prevent that, I try to prevent bringing aspects of me into my characters.
- Last time you lost your temper, what caused it? Students. Or more specifically, that they weren't paying attention and participating. If I'm trying to do something for your benefit, I want some response from you. Even if it's 'I don't understand'.
- What would your dream vacation be? Hiking through beautiful country and spending each night in a different lodge that transports my luggage to the next one. And having a wallet that refills with cash every time I empty it so that I can eat well.
- Do you think you're weird? Why or why not? Well, I prefer the word crazy. It's a running joke here that only crazy people join the Peace Corps. But every one is weird in their own special way. It makes the world interesting to live in.
- What do you think your purpose is? Writing and sharing my stories. Because it's the one thing I keep coming back to time and time again and getting hit with a plot bunny can make the rest of the world seem unimportant.
- If you were going to a deserted island and could only take three things, what would they be? Satellite phone, I'd want to talk to people, a solar charger, and my kindle. I'm becoming rather attached to the thing, and if I fill it up before I go to the island it would save me from boredom.
Right, being away from the Internet makes it hard to choose people, so consider yourselves all nominated! Fell free to answer any questions you like.
11 Questions for the next round:
- What's currently on your bookshelf that you've been meaning to read but other works get in the way?
If you could visit another country, what would it be and why?
What's your favorite oatmeal flavor?
As a kid, what was your favorite playground equipment?
What's the story of your first scar?
What's something you keep trying to do, but can't do as well as you want?
What's your favorite memory of your grandmother's house?
What is your work out of choice?
Mac or PC, and why?
What language do you wish you knew?
What's your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
May 4, 2013
Right, I had three books tied for favorite read this past month (Anvil of Tears – crazy intense characters, The All-Pro – football and space battles, and The MVP – love on the battle(football) field and stealing spaceships) so I couldn't pick one to review this month.
Instead, I'm gonna talk about the book I found the most useful – The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander.
I read this book when I was a child, and while I usually remember what I read pretty well I was surprised at how much of the story I didn't remember.
It's about Taran, the Assistant Pig Keeper, whose job it is to take care of Hen Wen, the oracle pig. The only problem is, Arawn is planning on taking over Prydain and when Hen senses his soldiers she takes off into the woods. Taran scrambles to find her, and meets Prince Gwydion in the woods who had been hoping to speak to Hen Wen. Together they search for the pig, but when they learn that Arawn's strength is greater than expected, and Gwydion is captured by a witch, Taran forces himself to forget his quest for Hen Wig and take up Gwydion's – save the Prydain.
Alexender's writing is, while not something I want to emulate is a example of many good things to me as a writer. Prydain is a land richly built around traditional Welsh figures and legends, with original characters and folk names interacting seamlessly together. The story could be Welsh myth itself; it's not a story based on Welsh culture but one that takes on the feel of it.
I love his characters. Princess Eilonwy is a smart girl, talking circles around Taran, and the dialog between them is so reminiscent of a young couple. He makes comments that set her off and she disses him for being so ignorant. I could just see him rolling his eyes and muttering 'girls'. The Bard/King Fflewddur Fflam has a problem with lying, his hard strings snapping every time he does. Doli the Dwarf complains about everything he's asked to do, he has the special talent of making himself invisible, but you can tell he secretly likes it. And Gurgi's dialog is as distinctive as Gollum's, though he's a lot more friendly. If you feed him.
The plot is full of adventure and mishaps, the companions are always in some type of trouble. Getting captured by a fairy king, chased by the undead Cauldron born. But what got to me the most was that Taran, despite being the protagonist, isn't actually responsible for getting them out of most of their troubles.
He's a perfect flawed character, making mistakes due to pride and inflated self-knowledge, and gets himself into lot of of trouble. It's his friends who have sword skills and magic at their fingertips, Taran just knows how to ride a horse. His role is not to save the world, but rather to act as a glue keeping people together. His decisions, while not always correct and ear him a tongue lashing from Eilonwy, are usually followed.
The Book of Three shows that not everyone is a hero, but that doesn't mean they aren't significant.
It was a refreshing thing to see – lots of plot points happen outside of Taran's awareness and his story is not the most important in the history of the land. But it's important to him and to read a story where the hero doesn't have to save the day, but just try, is something so new to me. So many stories involve the main characters being heroes – Harry Potter, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Avengers. When do you hear about someone's roll in saving the world when they didn't really have one?
And that's what Alexander taught me. All characters are important. They all have a story worth telling not just in side stories and back story, but in their own novels. And that there is more to being a hero than taking down the bad guy.