Saturday, July 3, 2010

What's in your toolbox?

The Hudson Athen's Lighthouse. The Hudson River, between Hudson and Athens, NY.

How many times have you heard about getting the right tools for the job? A phillips head doesn't work very well on a straight head screw. You want to make that wood cabinet look like it was made by a professional with all the ornate shapes? Well, you need a router for that with all the proper blades.

It's the same with your writing. You need the proper tools to get the job done. What tools you ask? Well, the kind you can dig through to get some proper research information about something you know little about. For instance: You may be writing a court scene and get stuck on some legal term(s). You may also want to know if you can legally do something or say something in the courtroom. Order in the Court. This is a book put out by Writer’s Digest Books. It even gives you some ideas for a story.

What if you are writing a scene where a person has been in a terrible accident? You may want to elaborate a bit on the type of injury. Body Trauma. What if that person dies? Causes of Death. What if that person was actually poisoned? Deadly Doses. These are all Writer’s Digest Books. They’re a great buy and well worth the money. Remember: A lot of professionals read books. You want to get as close to ‘believable’ as you can, even in a fictional novel.

You may want to look up some information on publishing in general. I find Kirsch’s Handbook on Publishing Law very helpful. There is of course one of the great masters of horror who has one heck of a book out that will give you plenty of insight on the craft. On Writing by none other than Stephen King. A fantastic reference book.

I see a lot of questions on Yahoo Answers about character names. I have a really great system that I use for some really unique names. Get one of your DVD’s and go directly to the credits. Don’t bother with the cast; look to the people behind the scenes. The Best Boy, The Photographers, The Sound Crew, The lighting Crew, Gaffers, etc… There are literally hundreds of names to look through here. What? You’re afraid to use a real name of someone living or dead? Not a problem. What I do is take the first name of one person and marry it up with the last name of another. You can really come up with some fantastic names this way. It’s great, especially for horror novels where you want a really unique name for a werewolf or vampire.

If you’re really serious about getting your work politically or any other ‘correct,’ don’t be afraid to talk to the experts. You may have a darn good chatty relationship with your doctor, lawyer, nurse, tax consultant, electrician, plumber, etc… Get the information right from the horse’s mouth. Get it right.