Magically Mundane


In my professional life, I have to focus on message and concision and visuals while usually constrained to 30 seconds.  Yes, I produce those dreaded commercials:)

However, it does lend resources to my writing life.  I’ve learned there is only one best word for each use and it has to be active, visual and interesting. It has to help move my message–my story–forward.

The process takes me back to a high school art class where we were instructed to create art that makes the ordinary interesting and makes the viewer see the content in a new way, guiding their eye to what you want them to notice.

Writing is the same.  We want our readers to see what’s special about our characters and care.  They don’t want a caricature of the same people they see everyday.  They want details and new angles.

When I’m shooting video, I look for unusual ways to frame the shot or change the height from how we would normally see the scene. In my current novel, I have multiple viewpoints looking at the same subject: art theft. Each character is developed not only by their words and actions in their perspective viewpoints, but also by the observations and opinions of other characters.

I like to give my characters limitations either physical or mental which they have to overcome.  I love characters who are clever and notice the details in an ordinary scene that gives them the advantage.  I love love love characters that surprise me.

Case in point: as I’m re-writing the last chapters of WIRED, my sister, and first beta reader guessed who I planned to kill off.  Guess what?  Now he lives!  hahahaha.  Seriously, I’m changing the entire ending to keep the reader guessing until the very last word.  The first rule in making the mundane magical is to do the unexpected.

Happy writing.

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About Judith Gaines

I enjoy the following (in no specific order): Harney & Sons ParisTea A stack of good books Slow walks through art galleries Hiking in areas with no cell phone reception Discovering new cities Playing Reversie and Mancala with my daughter Watching college football with my husband- Go Pack! Baking anything that has lots of sugar and butter ........ and writing View all posts by Judith Gaines

2 responses to “Magically Mundane

  • Cynthia Robertson

    I like characters that surprise me too, Judith. In his Writing the Breakout Novel workbook, Maass suggests always looking at our characters, thinking of what they would do, then possibly having them do the opposite.
    Good luck with those rewrites. :-)

  • Judith Gaines

    Maass has great advice. I was lucky to attend his workshop at a conference years ago and also enjoyed his book. Thanks for stopping by:)

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