Full Moons Can’t Rise at Midnight

Great article. The Bad Astronomy link is especially helpful if you happen to be writing a sci-fi series for kids …

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Marianne Knowles

I was reading a YA romance novel set on the coast of Maine. The teen girl woke up at 5am on July 4 to sneak out and meet the guy at a dock. She described the diamond-like stars sparkling in an inky-dark sky.

BANG-THUNK-KLUNK (Sounds of a reader tripping over a detail.)

MaineNight This is how the character described 5am in Maine on July 4.

This is what 5am on July 4 on the coast of Maine really looks like. This is what 5am in Maine on July 4 really looks like.

Clearly the writer or the editor or both had never been awake at 5 o’clock on a July morning on the coast of Maine. But that’s no excuse for an error that jolts a reader out of the story, especially when astronomy mistakes are SO EASY TO AVOID.

And this isn’t the only astronomy mistake I’ve read in the past couple of years. Here are a few more:[1]

  • The full…

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You Are Writing the Future

An inspiriting post for writers, especially of children’s fiction.

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Marianne Knowles

Tomorrow’s do-ers are reading kidlit today. Keep writing!

You may have missed it, but this past Friday a rocket returned to Earth and landed on a floating platform bobbing on the waves in the Atlantic Ocean. And this time, it didn’t explode.

The event was a testament to the power of imagination. The Falcon rocket (named for Star Wars’ Millenium Falcon) had just launched the Dragon capsule (named for Puff the Magic Dragon) to rendezvous with the International Space Station. It landed on the barge Of Course I Still Love You (named for a ship in the science fiction novel The Player of Games).

The founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, loves to read. He spent much of his childhood reading. He continually vacuumed up fiction, science fiction, nonfiction, comic books and, when he ran out of books, the Encyclopedia Britannica

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Mapping Character

Excellent post on writing and developing convincing characters.

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Almitra Clay

I’ve been on a personal journey for the past few months, doing something that I’ve needed to do for a long time: therapy. Therapy includes a whole lot of introspection. It’s a journey of self-discovery that involves picking apart my own life to understand what was broken, as well as what makes me tick generally. Why do I do things the way that I do them? In the process, I’ve discovered that there is a great deal to be learned about creating realistic characters by looking into yourself, whether you’re broken or not.

Try this exercise: make a list of your own most extreme and noteworthy character traits. Be as honest as possible. Don’t worry, you aren’t required to share. Here’s my short list:

  • I have successfully fooled people into thinking that I am outgoing.
  • Left turns scare me. Social situations scare me. Making phone calls scares…

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On Car Repair and Rewrites

This is one of the best analogies of editing / re-writing that I’ve seen. It perfectly captures the hard work that has to go into writing a novel, the necessity of it, the pain but also (hopefully) the joy of the final result … eventually.

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Almitra Clay

As I have rewritten the manuscript of my novel, I’ve had a mental picture of myself: I’m a mechanic leaning so deep into a car’s innards that just my legs stick out. I’m pounding on something that probably shouldn’t be hit with a wrench. Every so often I yank out some part gross with rust and grease, which I toss over my shoulder onto the lawn.

Illustration by Almitra Clay Car repair, novel repair, it’s all the same. Right?

There are quite a lot of those parts lying around. Discarded chapters. Plot arcs. Characters.

So yeah, that first car was my NaNoWriMo draft. It was my first novel ever. I was ever so proud that I’d made a proper car-shaped thing that did what a car is supposed to do. It rolled! The horn honked! Never mind the duct tape, or the missing exhaust system, or that the whole thing would…

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Amber Glasses: Write Late, Sleep Well

Interesting article! I may try these, especially after my next late-night writing session. Generally I sleep OK but not quite as well as I used to, and that may partly be because I spend so much time staring at screens of one sort or another now. Also might help with my upcoming trip to India – got terrible jet-lag last time …

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Marianne Knowles

Call it writer’s insomnia: You’re on a roll, writing for hours, late into the night. Finally, exhausted but accomplished, you save your work, back it up, switch off the computer, and fall into bed.

And then you stare at the darkness for an hour or more before finally nodding off. It’s so frustrating! You’re exhausted, so why can’t you go to sleep? Is your story too exciting? Are your characters too insistent?

Maybe. Or maybe it’s the blue light shining out of your computer screen and straight into your eyes.

Several recent scientific studies have demonstrated a connection between blue artificial light and insomnia. Early forms of artificial light — candles, campfires, and oil lamps — emit wavelengths only in the red, orange, and yellow parts of the spectrum. Sunlight contains the full range of visible wavelengths, from the longest (red) through the shortest (violet). Until…

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Moon Zoom: Danny Chaucer’s Flying Saucer #2

Moon Zoom cover Amazon 1dec15

The saucer’s back – and it’s about to whisk Danny and Natalie off on another awesome adventure!

BOB – the super-computer with a personality as big as its brain – needs more Moon Zoom, the mineral that powers the saucer’s anti-grav drive.

The only problem is, it’s locked away in the top-secret Ganymede Institute. To get at it, Danny and his friend Nat will have to deal with flying scooters, obnoxious classmates and a big bad missile. Not to mention the sinister Captain Frost in hot pursuit.

And there’s only one place to get even more Moon Zoom (no prizes for guessing where). But when the saucer’s crew find themselves stranded, Danny realises that only an incredible act of bravery can save them …

Kindle edition now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk – and FREE this weekend (5/6 December). Reviews / comments very welcome.