Editing!

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I am into the final editing of my second book in the Numerius Meridius Pulcher series, Numerius Meridius Pulcher and the Case of the Syrian Slaves and Slippery Slopes.

I really do hate editing!  Punctuation I hate most!  All those commas, semi-colons…and I use a lot of them in the Numerius stories…a style choice. Much easier with the New Orleans series, shorter sentences, shorter chapters.  Could I write the same way for the Numerius Series?  Certainly, but then it wouldn’t be Numerius.  So I muddle on.

From Delancey Place—always interesting tidbits…This is a post every writer should look at.

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Today’s selection — from Aristotle’s Poetics for Screenwriters by Michael Tierno.The Greek philosopher Aristotle’s book Poetics has given countless writers a guidepost for creating great fiction:

“One of the many things we can thank Aristotle for is his writings on how to create characters that seem both realistic and able to captivate an audience. First, make them good enough that we can root for them. Second, make them ‘appropriate,’ meaning give them characteristics that make sense for the type of person they are. Third, make them human — give them flaws or quirks that make us believe that they exist. Finally, whatever characteristics you do give them, make sure you keep them there throughout the length of the screenplay. As Aristotle says, make sure they are ‘con­sistently inconsistent.’…

“Additionally, he gives us five principles of life that we can use to create character in our stories:
Nutritive Life
Desiring Life
Sensitive Life
Locomotion
Capacity for Rational Thought
“Because these five principles all belong to the makeup of a real-life person’s ‘psychology,’ they can be used to create convincing three-dimensional characters. Let’s examine each one.

” 1. Nutritive Life. Do you wonder about your characters’ eating habits? Wouldn’t that tell you (and your audi­ence) a lot about them? Don’t your eating habits say a lot about you? You should brainstorm as much as you can to get a clear picture of what the eating habits of your characters might be, to gather clues about who they are. How do they eat, what do they eat? Do they think about food a lot? What do your characters’ refrigerators look like? Not that any of this ever has to make it to the page, but it’s a window into their character. I mean, when Rocky gets up at 4 a.m, and drinks four raw eggs, isn’t that worth a gazillion pages of psychological notes on him? That image is so powerful and evocative that you know without further elaboration that he is serious about this boxing match. Look at Lester Burnham [in the Oscar-winning American Beauty]. What does he eat? By the end of his transformation from mis­erable mid-life-crisis guy to seeker of eternal youth, he’s blending and drinking health drinks. What could tell us more about Lester’s new attitude toward life? What could make Lester seem more human?
Roman copy in marble of a Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by Lysippus, c. 330 BC

” 2. Desiring Life. At the heart of all action is the desire of the hero. Basic human desire is really what makes char­acters come alive on the screen. In The Godfather, when Michael Corleone goes to Italy and falls in love with an Italian woman from the mountains, doesn’t that make him seem truly alive? It’s a probable incident that flows with the action, reflecting his deep commitment to his Italian ‘roots.’ In Gladiator, Maximus yearns to go home to his family and, after they have been murdered, to join them in eternity. In The Blair Witch Project, the kids’ ambition to tape the Blair Witch and make a film leads them to their death. Desiring is at the heart of what it means to be a living, breathing human being.

” 3. Sensitive Life. It goes without saying that our five senses are a big part of being alive. If a human being faces the prospect of losing sight or hearing, it’s devas­tating. In fact, all of the five senses — sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste — define our lives at the most ba­sic level. Lester Burnham spends a lot of time mastur­bating, doesn’t he? In fact, it’s how we are first introduced to him. What more do we need to sense that Lester is real and to ‘know’ who he is? In cinema, perhaps the most important sense in regard to character development is visual perception. Great screenwriters know how to feed information to the audience through the eyes of characters, such as when Lester sees Angela at the pep rally and fantasizes about her. Showing how characters actually see things with their own eyes ena­bles the audience to experience ’causes’ of the action.
It also puts to use a powerful aspect of the cinematic medium, which is the hero’s literal point of view.

” 4. Locomotion. Carefully depicting movement is vital to a screenplay. For example, The Blair Witch Project is a tapestry of rest and locomotion, in which the characters’ use of their eyes and ears is also notably important. Heather, the lead character in the story, spends a lot of time running around, screaming, and trying to videotape the ground in front of her. The lifelike aspect of all the characters is transmitted largely by their physical move­ment, as they trudge through the woods.

“5. Capacity for Rational Thought. Thinking about the mind and thought processes of people can be a fun way to brainstorm characters into existence. In Annie Hall,
Alvie is a rational man who has bouts of irrationality. This surfaces when a cop pulls him over and he tears up his license. In Titanic Rose jumps from the lifeboat to return to Jack, a slightly more irrational than rational act — but hey, this is a love story, and romantic love is rooted as much in animal nature as it is in the higher mind. (Rose is also slightly larger than life, and she’s being consistent with what we’ve seen of her.)

“In summary, to create a real human being for an audi­ence you must have them do things that convince the au­dience that they are alive, really alive, giving details that even a scientist like Aristotle would appreciate.”

Aristotle’s Poetics for Screenwriters: Storytelling Secrets From the Greatest Mind in Western Civilization
Author: Michael Tierno
Publisher: Hachette Books
Copyright 2002 Michael Tierno
Pages: 123-128

 

Missed this last week as I was at a Conference.

The longlist for the Man Booker International Prize 2017 was announced today. The 13 books are: Compass by Mathias Énard (translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell) Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg (translated from the Polish by Eliza Marciniak) A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman (translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen) War and Turpentine […]

via The Man Booker International Prize Longlist 2017 — A Little Blog of Books

Hellenistic Coinage—Book Review: always a fascinating topic for me!

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The Hellenistic World. Using Coins as Sources. By Peter Thonemann. Guides to the Coinage of the Ancient World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Pp. xxxii + 232. Paper, $34.99. ISBN 978-1-107-45175-9. Reviewed by Philip Kiernan, Kennesaw State University The first in a new series on ancient coinage organized by the American Numismatic Society, this book […]

via CJ-Online Review ~ The Hellenistic World. Using Coins as Sources — rogueclassicism

one of the most remarkable revolts in world history

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— from The Rise of Rome by Anthony Everitt. In 494 BCE, the people of Rome staged one of the most remarkable and imaginative protests in world history. Though this protest brought some reform, it underscored the seemingly never-ending struggle of the plebs against the major landowners and ruling elite:

“It was the strangest spectacle seen since the foundation of Rome. A long stream of families could be observed leaving the city in what looked like a general evacuation. They walked southward and climbed a sparsely populated hill, the Aventine, which stands across a valley from the Palatine, the site of Romulus’s first settlement. They were, broadly speaking, the poor and the disadvantaged — artisans and farmers, peasants and urban workers. They carried with them a few days’ worth of food. On arrival they set up camp, building a stockade and a trench. There they stayed quietly, like a weaponless army, offering no provocation or violence. They waited, doing nothing.

Read more at:

Source: one of the most remarkable revolts in world history — 3/16/17

Buy  Everitt’s book, The Rise of Rome  at Amazon

 

Writers learning from Writers

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                        Novelists Leonardo Wild and George Wier having a conversation during the writer’s conference in Cuenca Ecuador

This week I’m attending  the Cuenca Internation Writers Conference in Cuenca Ecuador!  It’s always incredible to me how much I learn from other writers, sometimes when I least expect it.  Wandered into a session on Horror Fiction today, a genre I rarely consider reading let alone have any urge to write…and yet the presenter, Ricardo  Segreda, blew me away talking about Greek Tragedy and the elements of which are moved into the writing of Horror…He went far beyond my rather parochial idea of what Horror is about and gave me a new appreciation of what good horror is about.  I’m not fighting an urge to try my hand at it, but I certainly came away with a different view of it.

Top of the list is George Wier, author of the Bill Travis series.  Wier writes more than mysteries, and I have taken a particular interest in his work Neptune’s Forge which takes place in the late 19th century (There’s my historicals love again)  He also writes sci fi and even steampunk.  Check out his blog.  It has been a treat to be able to chat with this warm, helpful, and down to earth writer.  Meeting George Wier alone would have been worth attending the conference, but there has been so much more and still two days to go!

What is it about Historicals?

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I have loved Historicals since reading The Calico Captive (Elizabeth George Speare) in the third grade. What was your first?

I love sinking into a past world lovingly created around a good story…the ancient world, Rennaisance, Elizabethan, Victorian, Edwardian…all can take me into hours of otherworldly delight.

Old favorites:  Mary Renault, Georgette Hyer, Robert Graves, Marguertie Youcenar, Lawrence Schoonover

New favorites:  Stephen Saylor, Charles Finch, Robert Harris, Lindsey Davis

My biggest surprise:  Norman Mailer’s Ancient Evenings.  Not a fan of the man or his work, but I fell in love with this book.

Historicals  are magical transport into the past.

What are your favorites?  Why do you read Historicals?

 

One Down, One in Progress, One on the Back Burner!

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I have been very noticeably absent of late.  I have, however been very busy.  Finally finished the second Numerius Meridius Pulcher novel and am currently trying to get the final editing done.  Any Beta Readers out there that care to help?  Shoot me an email.  It took a while for me to get this one down, had to go back and rewrite it more than once.

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Currently I am working on the first installment of a new series:  Dime a Dozen: A Denys and Dixie Delacroix Mystery of Old New Orleans.  The first mystery takes place in 1913.  It was the time of Storyville, Emma Johnson, Countess Willie, Tom Anderson and Jazz.  Camel cigarettes had just introduced the first 20 pack of pre-mades;  it became the industry standard.

On the back burner:  the next Numerius adventure, tentatively call Numerius Meridius Pulcher and the case of the Prodigious Prefect.  This romp will take Numerius back on a retreat to his Pompeii home and his good friend Julia Felix.  It will take place in 62-63 CE.

Geometric Mosaics of Ancient Rome — Timeless Italy

I have to say I love Roman Mosaics.  This is a nice little introductory blog I found on wordpress.  (See below for more info.)

One of my Italian passions is the study of the ancient Romans. I especially love the artwork, like the excavated wall frescoes in Pompeii and Ostia, sculptures from the Roman forum, and mosaics, which were used as decor in public buildings and the homes of the wealthy. While much is now in museums, many of […]

via Geometric Mosaics of Ancient Rome — Timeless Italy

Have to use this!

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Bronze Bacchic Mask-  First Century (CE)

I keep a Pininterest file on art works that I might use in My NMP series as well as a separate art collection for an upcoming series and character costume and setting images for various potential works.

When I saw this mask  I knew it was one  I would use.  Can’t wait to get to the Case it will be in!