M. B. Weston’s Writing Diary: on Muses, Weapons & Continuity – 02/23/15

Amazing things have happened in last night’s writing session.

First, the muse has finally decided to actually feed me ideas while I’m seated at my computer instead of throwing me random bits here in there when I can’t jot any notes down.

Second, Michael is finally showing his personality! This guy has been wrapped so tight I couldn’t get him to crack a smile. He’s snarky, and I can finally hear his thoughts instead of just seeing his facial expressions.

Also, I learned a few things about writing weapons in action and adventure. (Well, it’s stuff I already knew, but I needed a reminder.):

Don’t forget about your villain’s weapons. Yeah. It turns out my villain has excellent signal jamming capabilities, which I had already demonstrated in the novella’s opening sequence. In a much later scene that I was working on last night, I had Michael don a nifty GPS tracker, which was supposed to help his friend, JT, find him later. And of course, my next thought was: Crap. They’re going to jam his signal. This means he’s going to have to rescue his partner, Claire, and get out of jamming range before JT can even come get them.

If I hadn’t remembered the naming power I had given my villain, someone else would have pointed it out and the book would lose credibility. The good thing: it means a whole chapter of adventures on the bayou, so it should be fun.

Make sure your hero can afford his weapons. If Billy Bob lives in a trailer and has a tank hidden in his underground garage, someone’s going to ask you where he got the money to buy a tank. (And if he lives in Florida or Louisiana, they are going to ask you how he fit the tank inside the well you keep calling a garage.) Michael Lodestone has been around for over 500 years. He’s covered, but I had to remind myself to point it out to the audience earlier in the book than at the point where he starts using state-of-the-art equipment.

Make sure your hero has the ability to use the weapons you give him. I’m not saying you need to do an entire chapter on Officer Flossie’s training. Readers assume cops know how to use weapons. But if your average joe picks up a sword for the first time and bests Inigo Montoya in a duel, you’re going to get some negative feedback. Michael spent at least 100 years in Asia learning ninjutsu. I realized I needed to make sure to mention this in conversation earlier in the story, and I will have him pull up a memory from that time before he starts using some of his awesome weapons.

How about you? Is your muse talking or are you struggling with a story the way I was for the first half? And have you found any continuity issues you’ve needed to correct?


About M. B. Weston

M. B. Weston is an award-winning fantasy, pulp, young adult, steampunk, and paranormal author. Her attention to procedure and detail gives her works an authentic gritty, military feel that takes an adventure tale to the level of a true page-turner. Weston’s writing attracts both fantasy and non-fantasy readers, and her audience ranges from upper-elementary students to adults. A gifted orator, Weston has been invited as a guest speaker to numerous writing and science fiction/fantasy panels at conventions across the US, including DragonCon, BabelCon, NecronomiCon, and Alabama Phoenix Festival. She has served on panels with such authors as Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. F. Lewis, Todd McCaffrey, and Jonathan Maberry. Weston has spoken to thousands of students and adults about the craft of writing and has been invited as the keynote speaker at youth camps and at several schools throughout the US.
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