What colour are your characters’ eyes?

I tweeted the other day to ask writers if anyone else had no idea the colour of their characters’ eyes. Responses were enthusiastic.

A few days ago when I was playing on Twitter*, I made the mistake of tweeting this:

* I know it’s not called Twitter any more, and I probably shouldn’t be there. But I call it that and I’m there, so… hedgehogs.

A tweet by A.S. Akkalon that reads:
Please tell me there are some other writers who don't know the colours of their characters' eyes.
It’s not kidding. I am editing.

I expected one or two chirps from the void and then silence.

Instead I spent a good portion of the next day responding to a plethora of writers who felt this was an important point. (Is 147 a plethora? I think it is.)

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The solution to having to eat every day

If you resent the fact you have to prepare and eat food every single day, this might be the recipe for you. It even tastes okay.

The human body is high maintenance. We need to breathe air, drink water, not get too hot, not get too cold, not get hit by a truck, and eat food every single day.

I wouldn’t mind eating once a week for enjoyment, but every day–multiple times a day–is too much. Who has the time for this, especially once you add in food prep time?

Hubby used to tell me if I ever found a brown goo that fulfilled all my dietary requirements I would live on it.

Well, good news!

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Fantasy novel trends not to follow

I read two years’ worth of Publishers Weekly fantasy novel reviews and noticed some trends. I also picked up some querying advice.

If you’ve ever queried a novel (tried to find a literary agent who’s excited enough about it to represent you), you’ve probably agonised over comp titles.

Now I can say “me too”.

What are comp titles?

Comp titles are books that are similar to your book in some way and are either supposed to tell agents the vibe of your book or tell editors how many copies they’ll be able to sell.

Depending on who you ask, comp titles should be books–or movies or TV series (or definitely not movies or TV series)–that:

* are less than five years old, less than two years old, less than ten years old, or not so new no one knows them

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Recapturing the joy of writing as a kid

Many adults have lost the joy they felt writing as children. Here are some suggestions on how to bring it back.

A lot of writers started writing as kids. We loved to read, so we decided to make our own stories.

Some of our stories were written and illustrated in crayon in stapled-together booklets. Some were written in stiffly adult cursive in pink lockable diaries. And some were typed in obsolete word processing programs in which documents could never be longer than 13 pages.

Writing when you’re six or ten or thirteen is a joyous activity. Characters and their magnificent struggles swirl through your head and every word that comes out is a diamond.

But at some point the magic fades.

You agonise, you doubt yourself. You pack away the crayons.

Grown-ups aren’t better at everything. So get your crayons back out and remember the fun you had writing (or might have had writing) as a kid.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

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How important is the first paragraph of a novel?

I took four fantasy novels and predicted what each was about based on its first paragraph. Yes, the first paragraph of a novel is important.

Writers are told they have to grab their readers by the throat in their first sentence. Attention spans have gone the way of the megalodon, and if you don’t grab a reader straight away you’ve lost them.

A first sentence should do everything. Be a microcosm of the entire story. Introduce a fascinating character. Be surprising. Set reader expectations. Foreshadow the story problem. Raise a question. Wash the dishes. Hang out the laundry. Pick the kids up from school.

Okay, maybe not all those.

I agree first sentences are important, but how much can they really do?

I decided to find out.

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