Saturday, October 19, 2019

More on Humorous Interludes

Real-life observations are a source of material for those times a touch of mirth is called for. With satire or comedy, it's just a matter of plug and play. For other genres, these brief detours can serve as ongoing subplots. Think Seinfeld: Kramer lucks into money; George is insecure and dishonest; Jerry has quirks and phobias. Might the writers have drawn on their own observations?

This example is a straight recount of some backyard bird follies, waiting for use somewhere in a story. A large ceramic plate served as a ground-level bird bath. A grackle--those large black bullies of the bird world--had commandeered it all to himself. Enter a starling, sternus vulgaris in the lexicon. These are scrappy, hard-eating little jokers better called munchibus scrappio horribilis.

The starling hopped into the water. Instantly the grackle lunged to that side and drove him out. The starling ran around to the opposite side and jumped back in, obliging the grackle to chase him out again. You can see where it's going. After a frustrating game of whack-a-mole, the grackle flew away in a huff. I can sense his thoughts: This place has become skid row. Maybe he's right. The plate was quickly full of happily splashing starlings.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Moving Along

Good evening fellow writers and artists.  We hope you are having a great week and I want to thank all the commenters and our contributor Mick Williams.  It seems everyone has survived the loss of Disqus channels and we are persevering.
We want you to feel welcome here.  If there is anything you want to contribute on art, writing, on a style, or seeking advice please feel free.  Let it be at your pace as this blog is going to be open for a long time.  All it takes is click on my name and you'll come to my email and send me one.  THen I send you an invite.   If you prefer, I can add you on to our other blogs just in case you feel an urge to contribute.   Again, no pressure but variety is a beautiful thing here on our blog that brings unity when we talk about artists, authors and so on. Writing and art compliment each other.  My goal here is to take everyone away and use this as a resource or just to hang out like it's our own club.   Keep on your projects.  You will get there.   

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Art: Gonna Be A Hot One

This is another 8x10 acrylic done with the rapid thin wash method, with more solid clouds overlaid above the horizon. Yellow and orange create a warm atmosphere, tilted toward hot by outlining the tree line in red. The cottage features a blue light for cool contrast, suggesting the owner has the AC going on a hot summer dawn.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

When Secondary Characters Get Too Big

Your protagonist lives in a world populated, usually, by many millions of others. A few of these will be special acquaintances that either help or hinder his quest. A short list demonstrates what roles they play.

1) They reveal key details without the need for the dreaded data dump. Dialog is always more interesting, because it brings characters to life, and readers simply listen in on a conversation.

2) They motivate the hero and serve as his conscience, depending on how close they are. Drama and conflict result if they strongly disagree with the hero's course of action.

3)They help define the story world and setting. Your world will be full of different tongues and cultures. A supporting character can bring this to life, again, without the need for exposition.

4) They progress the story in some way. That means they should only be on stage when there's a reason for it. Readers are anxious to know what happens next, not the details of Bert's son's birthday party.

5)Friends or enemies contribute to the hero's own backstory. This means they'll need their own history, broadly painted in. Close friends reveal key details of the hero's early history, maybe something he's in denial about, and is causing him problems.

6)Limit their movement, unless he's a close companion vital to reaching a destination or who serves as a bodyguard, etc. That helps readers remember who they are.

If you find yourself unduly interested in a secondary, consider spinning him off to a series of his own. The illustrations show an example of this. In keeping with our Halloween theme, the second view shows a mage called Wicca in an early scene as a villain. The dwarf at upper left later becomes her sidekick, so it's fortunate her spell missed hitting him. The first illustration shows Wicca on modern Earth, where she's the hostess of a Saturday horror show.