Guys, you will not find me endorsing many things on this
blog. Not since those disastrous stock tips I gave you back in 2007 when you lost your shirt on alpaca futures.
I know you're still angry about that, and once again, all I can say is I'm very sorry.I had no idea that the market would be flooded with cheap, foreign alpacas.
But verily I tell you this, if you’re in a need of a professional editor for your
novel, go and visit this site.
Denise Logsdon is a good friend of mine. She has read
and copy edited just about everything I’ve written in the last fiveyears. She
gets several dozen thumbs up from me, and now, lucky you, she’s hung out her shingle for
She's fantastic and ... hey, actually ... you know, it hadn’t occurred to me until now, but I wonder
if this will create a problem insofar as I won’t be able to monopolize her time
That would make me sad.
And possibly very aggressive.
I may have to request special treatment or make Denise create one of those FASTPASS systems like they have at Disney. That way I can jump ahead of you in line on the grammar coaster.
Yeah, that might work.
OK, so I may regret this endorsement for my own selfish reasons, but
you will not. If you need someone to unsplit your infinitives and unmuddle your plotlines, Denise is your girl.
Tell her Kristen sent you. Hopefully she won't hold that against you.
And it’s not going to be some informational “Hi, I’m
Kristen, and my book is called blah, blah, blah….”
My hair is not unlike this most days.
I have to make a silly video.
most definitely in my wheelhouse but the video part … NO. Well outside my comfort
But I must do it. Because humiliation disguised as marketing? It’s a
So I just did a test run and watched it and let me tell you, it was simply horrifying.
HORRIFYING. Horror show horrifying.
You know how you hate the sound of your own voice when you hear it
on a recording? Yeah, well, I watched this video
clip and it was so bad, I wanted to punch myself in the face for ever being
But OK, I HAVE to do it. So I watched a bunch of “good” author videos. Good in the sense that they
seem to have a lot of views on YouTube and I’m trying to learn from them. Then I'll do a few more test runs. I’m
hoping that repetition will help me get over my knee-jerk mortification at the
sight of my own talking face on a screen.
This vlogging thing is extremely painful, but I know it won’t
be the last time I'll have to do something that makes me want to retreat into my kangaroo pouch and breathe into a paper bag. So I reminded myself that writing used to be
outside my comfort zone, too. Then I ate some Cheetos. Because that's how I calm myself down when I'm inside my kangaroo pouch.
And just what have you done to stretch YOUR comfort zone
*Yes, I’ll let you know when the video goes live over at the YA
Valentines site. And you will go there and say reassuring things about it.
Because you’re nice like that.
(**Reminder: Click the post title to get the comment box to come up.**)
I’ve determined that the maximum
number of characters in any given scene cannot exceed eleven.
And by “in a scene,” I mean
participating in conversation in a real way, not merely hanging about to create
Yes, of course, you might have a
scene taking place where lots of people are congregating in the background, say
in an epic battle scene.
But characters with names who are more than potted plants
That’s the limit.
Beyond eleven, things get dodgy. Time and space begin to warp. And even at eight or nine characters
in a scene, you’ve got to be like one of those plate spinning guys, who I
imagine must all die of heart attacks before turning thirty.
I arrived at this number—we’ll call it the Maximum Scene
Occupancy rule—based on J.K. Rowling’s work. Because here’s the thing, if
J.K. Rowling won’t use more than eleven characters in any one scene then you
shouldn’t either. She has enough Imagination BTUs to
heat the entire Milky Way. She knows her character histories back several
generations. She knows that the bus driver who took one of her minor characters
to school was wearing mismatched socks last Wednesday during bowling practice,
which is a scene she cut out of the book six months earlier.
We’re talking HUGE,
But even she has her limits.
I once counted up the number of characters in one scene from
HP5. I think it was the scene when Harry arrives at Grimmauld Place for the
first time. There are, at one point, six or seven Weasleys, Harry, Hermione,
Sirius, Lupin, and Tonks discussing matters. (Yes, yes. I know you HP people
will point out that there are a few other characters come and go as well but they
don’t say or do much.) I checked a few other scenes and this seems to hold
true. Every ensemble scene maxes out at around eleven characters.
I don't know about you, but I start getting a little wobbly when I have more than five
people in one place all interacting. Sometimes I forget characters are even in
a scene and that makes me feel terribly guilty. Especially when they call to tell
me I forgot to pick them up from soccer practice.
What’s the biggest group of characters you’ve ever juggled in any
one scene you’ve written?