I’d like to share a few things I learned from Ilima Todd’s “Writing the Unputdownable Story” lecture from WIFYR last month.
An unputdownable story will have a character you want to follow. He or she doesn’t have to be likeable, but s/he should be relatable, have a complex personality, have faults, and go through some kind of growth.
S/he needs to have a need. A concrete need. As the author you have to make sure s/he doesn’t get it and make it more and more difficult to get as the story progresses. At the end, s/he either gets it or learns that s/he doesn’t need it anymore.
Another element to keep readers reading is tension. Each scene should have conflict, internal or external or both. Let things go wrong for your character. Have characters with conflicting goals, where both can’t win. Or give your characters’ actions unintended consequences.
Stakes. This is an area I was falling short in with my recent drafts. What happens if your character doesn’t acheive his or her goals? There need to be stakes, which should rise throughout the story and series.
These were the big things I took from her lecture. I hope they’re helpful to you.
I’m putting my fingers where my mouth is (yum?) and doing another 10,000 word Camp Nanowrimo this month.
The sockalypse has come! My husband and I bought new socks to replace our pairs that are wearing out. He HATES sorting socks, so he insists that he own only one kind of white sock. What to do with all the socks that he no longer wants?
Yep. You didn’t think I really meant “all kinds of yarns,” did you?
Simply cut each cotton sock into one long strip. This could probably done in a spiral fashion, but I prefer to snip it into strips one direction, not cutting all the way to the end, then slit each strip in half from the opposite end, again not cutting all the way to the end. This results in a long zig-zag of sock. Give the thing a good stretch, and it’s ready to work with.
The possibilities of sock yarn are limited. After all, who wants something made out of old socks? But this would be great for something like a bathroom rug. It makes a cushy, absorbent fabric when crocheted.
I need to finish up a wedding present and my Hufflepuff scarf before I can invest any more time in this, but the upcycled sock yarn rug will be a thing. I assure you.
I picked up a new hobby! Freezer paper stenciling. All you need is an iron, some acrylic paint or fabric paint, some freezer paper, a knife, and an idea. There are dozens of great tutorials online.
I was surprised and delighted by the crisp lines I could achieve. However, I have learned that very thin parts of the stencil got muddled when I blotted on the paint too thickly, as you see with the orange text on the Faster Than Light onesie. Perhaps I can clear up the lettering with white paint and a thin brush.
Seriously though, if you ever want to decorate a t-shirt/bag/onesie/etc., try freezer paper stenciling!
I’m itching to start knitting a new baby blanket. This may or may not have something to do with Camp NaNoWriMo taking precedence above all other creative endeavors this month.
When the crafting itch got bad a few days ago, I snuck out of Scrivener and opened a web browser. I looked around until I spied a neat pattern with alternating knit and purl sections resulting in an almost twill texture, and I thought, I can handle knitting and purling. But I want it to look even more like a twill weave than that.
So after some time in MS Paint and trying things out with the nearest needles and yarn to hand, I developed this pattern:
Ta da! Twill weave texture.
Here’s how I did it. Well, actually, here’s a diagram of a slightly more developed version of the above.
Dark = knit; light = purl–on the front. (The reverse side is inverted, also backwards.)
Now imagine this repeated across a baby blanket in super soft, light green yarn!
I’ve decided I can’t even pick out the yarn until after April, lest I irrevocably sabotage my word count. ‘Till then, I’m sticking to a strict diet of griffins and magic.