Flyttedag/Moving day

!!! Vi flytter til nyt domæne, og denne side lukker. Sørg for at gå ind på den nye side og tilmeld dig nyhedsbrevet der, så du stadig får alle updates !!!

Ny side: Skriv for livet

!!!We’re moving to a new domain, and this site will close. Make sure you go to the new site and add your email adress to the news letter to get all the updates !!!

New site: Skriv for livet

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Anmeldelse af Michel Houellebecq – Underkastelse

Michel Houellebecq: Underkastelse

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At skrive dramatiske scener/Writing dramatic scenes

Et af de andre spørgsmål, jeg har fået, er spørgsmålet om, hvordan man skriver en dramatisk scene.

En dramatisk scene er opbygget ligesom i en film. Det kræver det rette sted, stemning, dialog, karakteropbygning, detaljer og handling. Alt afhængigt af, hvad det er, du skal have frem i scenen, skal du lægge mere eller mindre vægt på de forskellige elementer.

Det handler om at gøre scenen så levende for din læser som overhovedet muligt, altså gøre den sanselig og virkelig.

Du skal fastsætte tid og sted. Det kan være efterår, onsdag kl. 11:30 eller en dag i året 1815, bare det fremgår af scenen. Scenen kan foregå ethvert sted, men igen skal det specificeres. Dette er med til at gøre historien virkelig.

Detaljerne i scenen skal være sanselige og dybe og trække læseren ind i scenen. Det kan være lugt, lyd, følelse – karakterens smerte eller glæde. Dialog er som altid medvirkende til historiens liv, karakteropbygning og fremdriften i historien. Vær som altid grundig med dialogen. Er det sådan, din karakter virkelig taler? Er det realistisk?

Der skal selvfølgelig være dramatisk handling i scenen, men det kan ikke stå alene. Alt det andet skal også være med. Den dramatiske scene oppebærer som oftest noget, der er signifikant for historien. Det kan kaldes klimaks eller konflikten i historien. Det er denne konflikt, som skal få læseren til at læse videre.

Den dramatiske scene er skabt til at åbne op for karakteren, den omhandler, eller den situation, der har skabt konflikten. I Harry Potter-serien er det for eksempel scenen, hvor Hagrid ankommer til Familien Dursleys gemmested ude på havet og fortæller Harry, at han er en troldmand.

Du skal samtidigt passe på ikke at fylde for meget på en scene. Den kan ende med at virke forvirrende eller overfyldt, og så mister du din læser. Vær sikker på, at det, der er med, er vigtigt og vedkommende.

I en roman eller en novelle er der mange scener: alle de scener er opbygget på samme måde som den samlende historie: de har en begyndelse, en midte og en slutning. I en overordnet historie er scenernes struktur måske ikke så tydelig, men de skal stadig være gribende og oppebære det momentum, der skal give læseren lyst til at læse videre. Som forfatter skal du konstant være sikker på, at du har styr på dine karakterer og dit plot, og alt, der ikke giver noget til din historie skal slettes igen.

Jo tidligere du fylder handling på, jo mere handling skal der til for at holde momentum. På den anden side kan du også risikere at beskrive og fortælle læseren til døde, hvis du hele tiden udsætter selve handlingen. En handling bliver allerstærkest, hvis du kan starte den uden beskrivelse. Tænk på de bøger, du har læst, hvor handlingen starter i første linje uden nogen som helst form for introduktion, det kan være en ulykke, et selvmord, en slåskamp, en retssag, hvad som helst.

Du kan også bruge de dramatiske scener til at beskrive karakterer eller den del af deres historie, der går forud for bogens del.

Eksempel:

Kuglen hvislede forbi hans øre med en lyd som en tætpakket sværm af rasende hvepse. Det brændte i huden. Han kastede sig til siden efter, hvad der føltes som flere minutter, men det var i virkeligheden et splitsekund. Lugten af våd jord, pis og sved slog ham i møde. Lugten af angst. I skyttegraven rullede han henover Jesper og mumlede undskyld midt i kaos. Jesper sagde ikke en lyd …

En fantastisk scene starter stærkt, udvikler sig uden at tabe momentum, skaber både følelse og spænding og afsluttes uden skuffelse og uden at have tabt læseren. Sørg for, at hvert et ord er berettiget, og at det aldrig bliver kedeligt.

Drop alt, der er kedeligt. Skriv ikke en scene, der ikke bærer historien frem. Vi er ligeglad med, hvad karakteren spiser, hvornår de sover, om de har været på toilettet eller husket at betale husleje, medmindre det er vigtigt for historien.

Sørg for, at der sker en ændring, følelsesmæssigt, karaktermæssigt, plotmæssigt. Der skal være en forandring fra start til slut i scenen, ellers er scenen ikke vigtig.

Husk, du altid er velkommen til at sende mig idéer og spørgsmål i kommentarer eller på mail.

…………………………………………………….

Writing dramatic scenes

One of the other questions I’ve received is the question on how to write a dramatic scene.

A dramatic scene is constructed like in a movie. It takes the right place, mood, dialogue, character building, details and action. Depending on what you want the scene to do, you must emphasize one or the other.

It’s about making the scene as alive for your reader as possible, that means making it sensuous and real.

You must determine time and space. It can be fall, Wednesday at 11:30 or a day in the year 1815, as long as it’s shown in the scene. The scene can take place anywhere, but again you must specify this. This helps make the story real.

The details in the scene must be sensuous and deep and pull the reader into the scene. It can be scent, sound, feeling – the pain or joy of the character. Dialogue, as always, helps bring the story to life, build character and move the story forward. Always be thorough with the dialogue. Is this how your character talks? Is it realistic?

Of course, there must be dramatic action in the scene, but it can’t stand alone. Everything else must be there, too. The dramatic scene usually holds something which is significant for the story. It can be called the climax or the conflict in the story. This conflict is what makes the reader continue reading.

The dramatic scene is created to open up for the character it is about or the situation that has created the conflict. In the Harry Potter-series for example you have the scene where Hagrid arrives at the Dursley Family’s hiding spot on the sea to tell Harry, that he is a wizard.

At the same time, you must be careful not to add too much to a scene. It can end up being confusing or too full, and then you lose your reader. Make sure that everything in the scene is important and relevant.

In a novel or a short-story there are many scenes: all those scenes have been built in the same way as the collective story: they have a beginning, a middle and an end. In the overall story the structure of the scenes may not seem so obvious, but they must still be gripping and carry on the momentum that makes the reader want to go on. As a writer you must constantly be sure that you are in control of your characters and your plot, and everything that doesn’t add something to your story must be deleted.

The sooner you add action, the more action you’ll need to keep momentum. On the other hand, you might also describe and tell the reader to death if you keep postponing the action. An action is the strongest if you can start without description. Think about the books you have read where the action begins in the very first line without any kind of introduction. It can be an accident, a suicide, a fight, a trial, anything.

You can also use the dramatic scenes to describe character or the part of their story, which goes before the book.

Example:

The bullet whistled past his ear with a sound like a tight-packed swarm of raging wasps. It burned his skin. He threw himself to the side after what felt like minutes, but it was really only a split-second. The smell of wet dirt, piss and sweat beat against him. The smell of fear. In the trench he rolled across Jesper and mumbled sorry amidst the chaos. Jesper didn’t make a sound …

A fantastic scene begins strong, develops without losing momentum, creates both emotion and excitement and ends without disappointment and without having lost the reader. Make sure that every word is needed and that it never gets boring.

Cut everything that’s boring. Do not write a scene that doesn’t carry the story forward. We don’t care about what the character eats, when they sleep, if they have been to the bathroom or remembered to pay rent, unless it’s important to the story.

Make sure a change happens, emotionally, with the characters, with the plot. There must be a change in every scene, otherwise it isn’t important.

Remember, you’re always welcome to send me ideas or questions in the comments or in a mail.

 

 

 

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Seksordsroman/6-word novel

For sale: baby shoes, never worn

Hvis du ikke allerede har regnet det ud, så er jeg lidt vild med Hemingway. Du kan argumentere for og imod hans forfatterskab, du kan argumentere, hvorfor andre er bedre, eller hvorfor han er den bedste, eller … Det er sådan set lige meget. Det vigtige, set fra mit perspektiv, er hans helt fantastiske skriveråd og teknikker. Hvis der er noget, der slår en god historie ihjel, så er det for mange ord, for meget fyld og for mange forklaringer. Og det er der rigtigt meget af i vor tids nye litteratur.

I dette indlæg vil jeg skrive om seksordromanen. De fleste, der interesserer sig for at skrive, kender til den og har sikkert også prøvet kræfter med den. Jeg er stødt på mange, som tror, det handler om at skrive seks smukke ord, en god sætning eller måske et godt livs-slogan på seks ord, hvilket jo sådan set ikke er så svært. Men hvis man lige sætter sig lidt ind i det, så handler det faktisk om, som titlen afslører, at skrive en roman på seks ord. Det vil sige en historie med hoved, mave og hale, ligesom den berømte fisk, som vi alle blev udsat for i gymnasiet.

Der er nogen diskussion om, hvorvidt det faktisk var Hemingway, der opfandt konceptet og skrev den berømte seksordroman. Den diskussion kan du læse mere om her: Var det Hemingway? For mig lyder det meget som et Hemingwaysk koncept, og derfor vil jeg fortsat kontribuere det til ham, indtil nogen beviser det modsatte.

Historien lyder, at Hemingway var på en bar sammen med en flok venner, som også var forfattere. Han udfordrede dem her til den mest ekstreme flash fiction-konkurrence nogensinde ved at påstå, at han kunne skrive en bedre roman på seks ord, end nogle af dem kunne på seks sider. Da de slog til, skrev han på en serviet: For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Hvorvidt det er sandt eller ej, må de fleste med lidt sans for skriveri indrømme, at det er den stærkeste flash fiction-roman til dato. Der er en formfuldendt fortalt tragedie i de seks ord, og den er hidtil uovertruffen.

Når jeg underviser i at skrive fiktion, kan jeg finde på at bede kursusdeltagerne om at give mig deres bud på en seksordroman. Nogle lykkes, men det er faktisk de færreste. Jeg har også Googlet gode bud, og her er nogle af dem:

The smallest coffins are the heaviest/De mindste kister er de tungeste

Goodbye, mission control. Thanks for trying./Farvel, kontroltårn. Tak, fordi I prøvede

 “Just Married” read the shattered windshield/Nygifte, stod der på den smadrede forrude

Ever seen chalk outlines that small?/Har du nogen set så lille en kridttegning

What’s your return policy on rings?/Hvad er jeres returregler for ringe?

Painfully, he changed ‘is’ to ‘was.'”/Smertefuldt ændrede han er til var

Margaret Atwoods forsøg: »Longed for him. Got him. Shit.« Længtes efter ham. Fik ham. Lort

Eileen Gunns »Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?« /Computer? Fik vi batterier med? Computer?

Gregory Maguire, der blot skriver »In the beginning was the word« /I begyndelsen var Ordet

At skrive seksordromaner er god træning i at få sagt tingene uden at sige for meget, forklare for meget og fylde for mange ord på. Det er en god øvelse at skrive sine ideer ned på denne måde. Giv mig din roman i seks ord, dit digt, dine memoirs. Få sagt alt, du vil, på seks ord. Hvis du skriver en, der er bedre end Hemingways, så send den til mig.

………………..

For sale: baby shoes, never worn

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m quite taken with Hemingway. You can argue for or against his works, you can argue why others are better or why he is the best, or … It doesn’t really matter. The important thing, seen from my point of view, is his amazing writing tips and techniques. If anything kills a good story it’s too many words, too much filling and too many explanations. And there’s a lot of that in the new literature in our time.

In this post I will write about the six-word novel. Most people who are interested in writing, know about it and probably have tried it on. I have come across many people who think it’s about writing six beautiful words, a good sentence or perhaps a nice life slogan in six words, which after all isn’t that hard. If you take a moment to look into it, it’s actually about, as the title suggest, writing a novel in six words. That means a story with head, stomach and tail, just like the famous fish we were all subjected to in high-school.

There is some discussion whether it was actually Hemingway who invented the concept and wrote the famous six-word novel. You can read more about that discussion here:  Was it Hemingway? To me it sounds like a very Hemingway-ish concept, and therefore, I’ll continue to contribute it to him until someone proves it wrong.

The story goes that Hemingway was at a bar with some friends, who were also writers. He challenged them to the most extreme flash fiction-contest ever by claiming that he could write a better novel in six words than they could in six pages. When they jumped on-board the bet, he wrote on a napkin: For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Whether it’s true or not, most people with some sense of writing must admit that this is the strongest flash fiction-novel to date. It’s a perfect completely told tragedy in those six words, and it’s so far unbeaten.

When I teach fiction writing I might ask the students to give me their version of the six-word novel. Some manage, but it’s actually only a few. I have also Googled suggestions, and here some of them:

 

 

The smallest coffins are the heaviest/De mindste kister er de tungeste

Goodbye, mission control. Thanks for trying./Farvel, kontroltårn. Tak, fordi I prøvede

 “Just Married” read the shattered windshield/Nygifte, stod der på den smadrede forrude

Ever seen chalk outlines that small?/Har du nogen set så lille en kridttegning

What’s your return policy on rings?/Hvad er jeres returregler for ringe?

Painfully, he changed ‘is’ to ‘was.'”/Smertefuldt ændrede han er til var

Margaret Atwoods forsøg: »Longed for him. Got him. Shit.« Længtes efter ham. Fik ham. Lort

Eileen Gunns »Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?« /Computer? Fik vi batterier med? Computer?

Gregory Maguire, der blot skriver »In the beginning was the word« /I begyndelsen var Ordet

Writing six-word novel is good exercise in saying thing without saying too much, explaining too much or adding too many words. It’s good practice in writing down your ideas in this manner. Give me your novel in six words, your poem, your memoirs. Say everything you want to say in six words. If you write one better than Hemingway’s, then send it to me.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Hemingway, Literature, writer's guide, writing | Leave a comment

We will speak up!

Do you feel better now, having spent the better part of half an hour trying to convince me of your hateful racist opinions being true? Would you feel better if you succeeded?

And why the need? Why does it matter to you how I feel? It doesn’t change you when I say I believe every person is the same, that I don’t look to color or religion when I judge. 

You get so busy; googling statistics, raising your voice, cheeks red with excitement, not the good kind, though. They are less intelligent, you state. You read that article once. Because they haven’t been educated for generations, these people. But of course, you’re not a racist. It’s just a question about what culture you’re raised in. This makes it okay, you obviously think. 

These statistics, the articles, you’re exchanging religion with culture makes it okay for you to think less of other people, to judge them, to view yourself as superior. This matters to you, obviously, the feeling superior. It matters a lot.

Your words and arguments start feeling physical, suffocating me with their hatred. The room feels smaller and smaller. I feel like screaming.
In this moment, you’re everything that’s wrong with this world.

The right wing hate, the bigotry and the wars. The self-righteous self-serving bullshit …

And you call me blind to the facts. You call us blind to the facts. 

Us. The ones who want peace, the ones who don’t judge people by the color of their skin, the aim of their prayers or the land they came from. I’m blind, you scream, waving around your statistics.

I have long since shut up. You won’t let me talk in anyway, and if you did, you wouldn’t listen. You will never be able to hear me.

You scream so loud trying to convince me with your hate, I believe you’re trying to drown out how much your voice resonates with the memories of Holocaust. How it all began once before … 
I will speak up, but not to you. I will speak up to the world. To us. Those like me. I know you’re out there. We will speak up.

The hate will never win. 

Posted in Ideas, jesuishumanity, politics, thedanishrevolution | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Den onde/The bad guy

Jeg har bedt om inspiration til emner her på bloggen i forhold til skrivekurser. Jeg er blevet belønnet med lang række, så nu er det bare om at gå i gang. Jeg har valgt: ”Hvordan skriver man en ond person?”

Det lyder måske umiddelbart som en nem opgave, men selvom man har evnen til at skabe en dyb, spændende og facetteret karakter, så er der stor forskel på at skabe en god (normal) person og en ond. For de flestes tilfælde er det nemt at relatere til en normal og god person. Det kan være langt sværere at relatere til en, der er ond; og når det er svært at relatere, så er det, vi mange gange kommer til at lave stereotyper.

Som beskrevet i et tidligere indlæg på bloggen handler personkreationen om at skabe virkelige mennesker. Og virkelige mennesker har mål i livet. De har noget, der motiverer dem, noget, de drømmer om, noget, de frygter og noget, der driver dem frem. Det samme er gældende for den onde person. Han eller hun har mange facetter, og hovedmålet, eller motivationen, er måske ikke i sig selv noget, der er ondt. For eksempel er en massemorders egentlige ønske måske at blive beundret, hvilket dækker over et helt grundlæggende behov for kærlighed … Og så er det så din opgave at beskrive, hvorfor han vælger at slå mennesker ihjel i stedet for at stille op i X-Factor eller blive dygtig til at spille fodbold.

Der er mange grader af ondskab. Der er mange motiver, der kan drive en person til onde handlinger. Har vi at gøre med en, der virkelig er gennemsyret af ondskab, en rendyrket psykopat uden den mindste grad af medfølelse, eller er det den misforståede, egentligt gode, person, som blot er kommet på afveje, en, som kan angre og gøre det godt igen? I begge tilfælde: hvad driver så personen, og i hvilke dialoger og situationer får vi som læsere deres ondskab at se?

En ond person kan godt være elskelig. Hvordan hænger det sammen? Jo, vi kender dem alle sammen. ”Jeg falder for skurken”-syndromet. Den charmerende, vittige og selvsikre skurk, som man ikke kan lade være med at holde med, selvom han eller hun hele tiden spænder ben for helten. Dette handler om, at skurken er blevet skrevet som en interessant, charmerende og tiltrækkende person til trods for de ”onde” tendenser. Tænk på Hannibal Lecter! Jeg tænker stadig, at han må være uhyre interessant at tale med over en flaske Amarone.

De rigtigt onde, de gennemsyrede onde, som vi nok mest vil betegne som psykopater, er ofte enspændere, som ikke gider eller kan det sociale. De kan også være typen med undersåtter, der følger dem blindt i tykt og tyndt. Psykopaterne evner dog ikke at have nogen form for kærlighed til deres følge, og derfor bliver følgerne også tit betragtet som værende ret uintelligente.

Igen handler det om at have gjort karakteren levende, dyb og virkelig. Få beskrevet, hvad der driver dem, hvad deres mål er, hvad deres frygt og drømme er. Når blot personen er gjort nuanceret og dyb, kan han eller hun beskrives som ond eller god, hvad man end lyster. Opbygningen af karakteren ligger i beskrivelsen af deres historie: Hvem svigtede dem? Hvem gjorde dem ondt? Hvorfor evner de ikke kærlighed? Har de mistet nogen? Eller er det en, der selv som barn var den rene ondskab? Druknede de lillesøster eller hundehvalpen? Skubbe de deres bedste ven ud foran et tog? Lad læseren se dem igennem andres øjne, igennem baggrundshistorien, igennem deres ønsker og drømme. Har de altid været onde, eller var der et vendepunkt?

Undgå nu for alt i verden de stereotype beskrivelser og dialoger! Undgå den onde, kolde latter, det iskolde blik, den hævnlystne dialog lige før mordet og alt det der: ”Jeg har ventet på dette øjeblik hele mit liv …. Yada, yada”. Det er fladt og kedeligt, uinspireret. Skab noget fantastisk i stedet.

Brug nu al den gode litteratur, der allerede eksisterer. LÆS, LÆS, LÆS. Hvordan er det, de dygtige forfattere får beskrevet de fabelagtige, onde karakterer, som vi kender (og elsker). Find jeres yndlingsromaner frem, genlæs dialogerne, miljøet, historien. Find de linjer og paragraffer, der har givet historien og karaktererne liv. Læs Stephen King! Han er fantastisk til de onde karakterer … næsten alt for uhyggeligt god til dem, faktisk …

Uden at nævne navne er jeg netop blevet færdig med en roman (nummer to i en serie, faktisk, hvor jeg fortryder, at jeg fortsatte efter etteren), hvor forfatteren åbenbart kun er i stand til at beskrive én slags ond karakter. Karakteren er så stereotyp og ensidig, at jeg et langt stykke hen i historien troede, at det var den samme onde person, som var med i etteren, hvilket forvirrede mig grundigt, da historien skulle forestille at foregå med århundreder imellem. Det var det jo netop ikke! Det var en ny karakter, to hundrede år senere i historien, men han var beskrevet nøjagtigt ligesom den første med samme historie, samme karaktertræk, samme måde at tale og tænke på. (Dette går i øvrigt igen med samtlige hovedpersoner i bogen: samme helt, samme stærke kvinde, samme barn, samme leder, samme katastrofe, etc.) Jeg må indrømme, at dette er den sidste bog af denne forfatter, som jeg gider læse. Så nummer tre må forblive et mysterium for mig. Jeg tænker så også, at jeg nok allerede kender både personer og plot uden at have læst den … Og hvem gider være sådan en forfatter?

En ond karakter ser højest sandsynligt ikke sig selv som ond. Han ligner andre mennesker på de fleste punkter. Han er stærk, intelligent, motiveret. De fleste ville respektere ham, og de fleste respekterer ham sandsynligvis, da de ikke ved, han er ond (tænk: American Psycho). Han er helten, bare med et mål, der er ondt. Han har måske en familie, børn, som han er god imod, en gammel mor, han tager sig af, en enlig nabo, han hjælper. Han kan forekomme ekstremt elskelig. Han har noget, der driver ham mod det onde: jalousi, vrede, bitterhed, hævnsyge. Eller som beskrevet ovenover er han rendyrket psykopat, der faktisk ikke behøver motivationen, men bare er ond, fordi han synes, det er sjovt eller det driver ham på en måde.

Start med en beskrivelse af deres fysik, alder, miljø. Så gå videre med motivation og historie: hvad driver dem, og hvad skete der, der fik det til at opstå? Hvad er en nutidig hændelse, der viser dette, og hvordan ser man det udspillet i plottet her og nu. Sørg for, at alle detaljer er troværdige, at de funderet i noget, som en læser kan forstå og følge, om end det er ondt. Hvis den onde karakter skal ende med at blive god, så sørg for, at der er noget tidligt i karakterens historie, der gør, at man som læser kan tro på, at de faktisk kan omvendes. Det må gerne være komplekst, det er i mine øjne det mest læseværdige, men det skal stadig være sådan, at læseren føler, at karakteren er troværdig. Det skal være motiveret. Det skal være nuanceret. Det skal være velskrevet.

Hvis du har andre spørgsmål, er du altid velkommen til at skrive en kommentar. Så skal jeg nok svare.

………….

I have asked for inspiration concerning new subjects for this blog regarding writing courses. I have been gifted with a whole bunch of ideas, and now all I have to do is get to work. I have chosen: ”How to write a bad guy.”

It may sound like an easy matter at first, but even though you have the ability to create a deep, interesting and facetted character, there is a big difference between creating a good (normal) person and a bad one. For most people it’s easy to relate to a normal and good person. It can be quite harder relating to one, who is evil; and when it is hard to relate, we tend to swerve towards creating stereotypes.

As described in an earlier blog post creating character is about creating real people. And real people have goals in life. They have something that motivates them, something they dream about, something they fear and something that drives them. The same is the case with an evil person. He or she has many facets, and the main goal, or the motivation, might not in itself be something evil. For example, a mass murderer’s true wish might be to be admired which shelters a completely basic need to be loved … And then it’s your job to describe why he chooses to kill a bunch of people instead of signing up for X-Factor or become good at playing soccer.

There are many degrees of evil. There are many motives that can drive a person to do evil deeds. Are we dealing with someone who is truly infused with evil, a sheer psychopath without even a glimmer of compassion, or the misunderstood, originally good, person, who’s just strayed off the road, someone, who can repent and make good? In both cases: what drives the person, and in what dialogue and situation can we, as readers, see their evil?

An evil person can be lovable. How does that fit? Well, we all know them. The ”I fall for the bad guy”- syndrome. The charming, witty and self-assured bad guy who you can’t help but root for even though he or she constantly gets in the way of the hero. This happens when the bad guy has been described as an interesting, charming and attractive person despite the evil tendencies. Think Hannibal Lecter! I can’t help but think he would be truly interesting to talk to while sharing a bottle of Amarone.

The truly evil, those permeated with evil, whom we most likely would call psychopaths are most often loners who doesn’t want to or can’t do the social thing. They can also be the kind with minions who follow them blindly. The psychopaths however can’t feel any kind of love for their followers and therefor, the followers often come off as unintelligent.

Again, this is about making the character real, deep and alive. Describe what drives them, what their goals are, what their fears and dreams are. When only the character has been made nuanced and deep, he or she can be described as evil or good, whatever you like. The building of the character lies in the description of their story: Who failed them? Who made them evil? Why aren’t they capable of love? Did they lose someone? Or is it someone who even as a child was pure evil? Did they drown their little sister or the puppy? Did they push their best friend in front of a train? Let the reader see them through other people’s eyes, through the background story, through their wishes and dreams. Were they always evil, or was there a turning-point?

No matter what do avoid those stereotype descriptions and dialogues! Avoid the evil, cold laughter, the ice-cold stare, the vengeful dialogue just before the murder and all that: “I have been waiting for this moment my entire life … yada, yada”. It’s flat and it’s boring, uninspired. Create something amazing instead.

Do use all the good literature that already exists. READ, READ, READ. How do the skilled writers describe those fabulous, evil characters that we know (and love). Find your favorite novels, reread the dialogues, the environments, the stories. Find those lines and paragraphs that gave the story and the characters life. Read Stephen King! He is fantastic at describing those evil characters … almost too scarily good at it, actually …

 

Without mentioning any names, I just finished a novel (the second one in a series, actually, where I regret continuing after the first one), wherein the author apparently isn’t capable of describing more than one kind of evil character. The character is so stereotype and one-sided that I far into the story believed that it was the same evil character from the first book, which confused me profoundly seeing that this story was supposed to continue centuries apart. This wasn’t the same at all. This was a new character, two centuries later into the story, but he was described in the exact same way as the first one with the same story, same traits, same way of talking and thinking. (This by the way also happened with every other main character in the book: same hero, same strong woman, same kid, same leader, same disaster, etc). I have to admit this is the last book by this author I am ever going to read. Number three will remain a mystery to me. However, I believe I already know both characters and plot without having read it … And who wants to be such a writer?

And evil character most likely doesn’t see himself as evil. For the most, he looks like other people in every way. He is strong, intelligent, motivated. Most people would respect him, and most do respect him since they don’t know that he is evil (think: American Psycho). He is the hero, only with a goal that is evil. He might have a family, children, whom he is kind to, an elderly mother, he takes care of, a lonely neighbor he helps. He can seem extremely likable. He has something that drives him towards evil: jealousy, bitterness, revenge. Or as described above he is a pure psychopath who actually doesn’t need the motivation but just is evil because he thinks it’s funny or it somehow drives him.

Start with a description of their physique, age, environment. Continue with their motivation and story: what drives them, and what happened that made it so? What is a current even that shows this, and how do you see it in the plot happening now? Make sure all details are believable, that they are funded in something that a reader can understand and follow even if it’s evil. If the evil character is bound to end up good make sure there is something early in the character’s story that makes it believable for the reader that they can actually change. It’s okay for it to be complex, to me that’s actually what’s more read-worthy, but it still has to be so that the reader feels the character is believable. It must be motivated. It must be nuanced. It must be well-written.

If you have other questions, you are always welcome to write a comment. I will answer.

 

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Show, don’t tell

Show, don’t tell

Vis det, fortæl det ikke

Show, don’t tell er en meget vigtig teknik. Det er den, der gør din historie virkelig, sanselig og dyb. Der er mange, der begår den fejl at beskrive og fortælle i stedet for at vise – og det gør en historie flad og kedelig. I al mit arbejde med forfattere, både kendte og hidtil ukendte, har det været en hjertesag at hjælpe dem med at skabe liv med denne teknik. Se for eksempel her:

1: Han var en stor, tyk mand.

2: Jakken sad så stramt om den store mave, at man frygtede knapperne ville flyve af og tage flugten gennem lokalet som små dødbringende sølvmissiler.

1: Han var professor på universitet og meget klog.

2: Der var et intelligent blik i hans blå øjne. Når han talte, strøg han en hånd over sit grå, tilbageredte hår. Han fortabte sig i at tale om emnet, og det var nemt at forestille sig, hvordan han kunne fortrylle og henføre sine elever på universitet, når han forelæste.

1: Det var iskoldt, og de frøs alle sammen.

2:Frosten lå hvidt over træer og buske. Ånden stod dem alle ud af munden som små skyer. De trak kapperne tættere om sig og missede mod den skarpe refleksion af sol i hvidt.

1: Manden i midten af dem var tydeligvis håndværker.

2: Manden i midten bar et værktøjsbælte om livet. Han gned sine fingre mod hinanden. Hans tommelfingernegl var blå, og huden på hans hænder var slidt og ru.

1: Han gav hende et langt, romantisk knus. Han kunne mærke, at hun havde været udenfor. Hendes hår og tøj var koldt.

2: Hendes krop var bløde og levende mod hans. Der var en kulde i hendes tøj, i hendes hår og på hendes hud, som fordampede, da han trak hende tættere ind til sig.

…………………………………………

Show, don’t tell

Show, don’t tell is a very important technique. It’s what makes your story real, sensuous and deep. Many people make the error of describing and telling instead of showing – and that makes a story flat and boring. During all my work with writers, both known and so-far unknown, it has been near to my heart to help them create life with this technique. Take a look at this:

 

1: He was a large, fat man.

2: The coat was so tight around the big stomach that you feared the buttons would fly off and take flight through the room like tiny, deadly silver missiles.

 

1:He was a professor at the university and very smart.

2: There was an intelligent look in his blue eyes. When he spoke, he ran a hand over his gray, combed-back hair. He lost himself in talking about the subject, and it was easy to imagine how he could spellbind and seduce his students at the university when he lectured.

 

1: It was ice-cold and they were all freezing.

2: The frost was white on trees and bushes. Breath came out of their mouths like tiny clouds. They pulled their cloaks tighter and squinted at the sharp reflection of sun on white.

 

1: The man in the middle of the was clearly a workman.

2: The man in the middle carried a tool belt on his hips. He rubbed his fingers together. His thumb nail was blue, and the skin on his hands was worn and rough.

 

1: He gave her a long, romantic hug. He could feel that she had been outside. Her hair and clothes were cold.

2: Her body was soft and alive against his. There was a cold in her clothes, in her hair and on her skin, which evaporated when he pulled her closer to him.

 

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Redigering: Sanser og isbjerge/Editing: Senses and icebergs

Min elskede Hemingway sagde:
”Hvis en prosaist ved tilstrækkeligt om det emne, han skriver om, kan han udelade visse ting, som han meget vel ved, og læserne vil alligevel, hvis skribenten er sanddru nok, få den samme stærke følelse af disse ting, som hvis forfatteren havde indført dem i sin bog. Den værdighed og majestæt der præger et isbjerg, skyldes at kun en ottendedel af det løfter sig over vandet. En forfatter derimod der udelader bestemte ting, fordi han simpelt hen ingenting ved om sit arbejde, afstedkommer hulheder i sit arbejde.” 

Antyd, hentyd, lad være med at undervurdere dine læsere, anerkend dem, vær ærlig, gør det tydeligt og kort, men gør det ægte. Er det ikke nogenlunde sådan?

Hemingway skrev, at læseren vil få samme stærke følelse, og det er jo netop det, det handler om: at overføre følelser fra en selv, som forfatter, til læseren, der sidder et sted derude i verden og læser ens bog.

I mit kandidatspeciale skrev jeg om relationen mellem kunstværk, kunstner og publikum; om, hvordan et kunstværk er i stand til at skabe en revolution. Se mere om det her: What I talk about when I talk about literature

Det handler om at være ægte i sin kunst, om at skrive den ægte følelse, den ægte sans, den ægte sætning, selv når det er fiktion. Fiktion er blot en historie digtet over ægte følelser, ægte oplevelser og ægte sanser. Hvis du ikke “lyver” i din genfortælling, kan følelsen overføres direkte, og dermed skabes den store litteratur, der kan flytte tro, bjerge og mennesker.

Følelser, den levende tekst, skabes med sanser og billeder, der er skrevet, så læseren berøres af dem.

Mennesker mærker, smager, dufter, hører og ser, og det er sådan, de lever i verdenen. Skab sproglige billeder med sanser:

Det stille vand er gråt, flydende metal – det lugter af råddent æg – det smager salt på læberne – uglen tuder i bevoksningen tæt derpå – det våde græs klæber koldt til mine bare ben.

Få læseren til at mærke det på egen krop. Giv dem gåsehud, kildren i maven, tårer eller smil. Gør dit sprog levende. Undgå gamle klicheer, der på stedet afliver din tekst: Gå gennem ild og vand. Hun er en usleben diamant. Han smedede, mens jernet var varmt.

Find dine egne sprogbilleder. Puds dem til, skær al unødvendigt fra og lad dem leve, så de gør sproget friskt og bærer din historie frem.

…………………………………………….

My beloved Hemingway said:

“If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.”

Hint, suggest, don’t underestimate your readers, acknowledge them, be honest, make it clear and brief, but make it real. Isn’t this just about it?

Hemingway wrote, that the reader will have a feeling of those things as strongly as the writer had stated them, and this is exactly what it’s about: transfering emotion from yourself, as a writer, to the reader sitting somewhere out there in the world reading your book.

In my Master Thesis I wrote about the relation between the object of art, the artist and the audience; about how a piece of art is capable of causing a revolution. Read more about that here: What I talk about when I talk about literature

 

It’s about being real in your art, about writing the true emotion, the true sense, the true sentence, even when it’s fiction. Fiction is merely a story made from real emotion, real experience and real senses. If you don’t “lie” in your recreation the emotion can be transferred directly, and thereby the great literature is created, which moves belief, mountains and people.

Emotion, the living text, is created with senses and images written so that the reader is moved by them.

People feel, taste, smell, hear and see, and this is how they are alive in the world. Create linguistic images with senses:

The quiet water is grey, liquid metal – it smells like rotten eggs – it tastes salty on my lips – the owl hoots in the trees nearby – the wet grass sticks coolly to my naked legs.

Make the reader feel it on their own body. Give them goose bumps, make their stomach tickle, tears or smile. Make your language come alive. Avoid old cliches which instantly kills your text: Go through fire and water. She is an uncut diamond. He beats around the bush.

 

Create your own images. Polish them, cut off anything unnecessary and let them live to freshen your language and carry your story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Om at redigere/On editing

Det nemmeste ved at skrive er faktisk at skrive. Historien er planlagt, fingrene danser over tastaturet, karaktererne bliver levende, plottet udfolder sig, og alt er skønt. Inden du ser dig om, har du skrevet en hel roman, og så … Så kommer det svære.

Det sværeste i en skriveproces er nemlig at redigere. Der er mange tips og tricks til processen. Det er en god idé at øve disse teknikker så tit, du kan, og ikke kun benytte dem, når du gennemgår din historie, når den er færdig.

Kill your darlings, den kender alle skribenter, og den er så vanvittigt svær. Du har netop skrevet firehundrede sider, og du elsker hvert et bogstav og hvert et punktum. Hvordan skal du nu kunne nænne at slette noget af det, og så endda det af det, du elsker mest?

Men sandheden er nu altså, at less is more. Altså mindre er mere.

Det betyder, at du altid skal tænke på din læser, når du skriver. Gør det enkelt. Udtryk dig tydeligt. Kom hurtigt med dine pointer, og sørg for, at du hele tiden giver det bedste, du har. Det betyder ikke, at du ikke kan være kunstnerisk og have et smukt sprog. Tværtimod.

  • Lad det være simpelt
  • Skriv korte sætninger
  • Skriv aktivt: (Subjekt, verbum, objekt. Altså Hun skrev et brev i stedet for Brevet blev skrevet af hende.)

Brug sjældent eller aldrig forstærkninger som ordet meget eller lignende. For eksempel Hun havde en meget god dag. Skriv i stedet: Hun havde en skøn dag.

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

Mark Twain

Forfatteren Mark Twain foreslog, at du bytter ethvert meget ud med damn, og så vil redaktøren slette dem alle, når du er færdig med historien. Så kan du se, at det ord ingen forskel gør.

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Mark Twain

Mark Twain sagde også engang: ”Jeg havde ikke tid til at skrive et kort brev, så jeg skrev et langt.” Med det mente han, at det er redigeringen efter endt skrivning, der tager mest tid. Det er redigeringen, der er det største arbejde, men også det, der gør skrivningen til kunst.

 

………………….

The easiest part of writing is writing. The story is planned, the fingers dance across the keyboard, the characters come alive, the plot unfolds, and all is well. Before you know it, you have written an entire novel, and then … Then comes the hard part.

The hardest part in the writing process is actually editing. There are many tips and tricks on the process. Practicing these techniques as often as you can is a good idea, and don’t just use them as you go through your story once it’s done.

Kill your darlings, all writers know this one, and it’s so horribly difficult. You finally wrote four-hundred pages, and you love every letter and every full stop. How can you possibly delete any of it, and even the parts you love the most?

But truth is that less is more.

 

 

This means you must always consider your reader when you write. Make it simple. Express yourself clearly. Bring out those points quickly and make sure you always give the best you have. This doesn’t mean you cannot be creative and have a beautiful language. Quite the opposite.

  • Let it be simple
  • Write short sentences
  • Write actively (Subject, verb, object. That is She wrote a letter in stead of The letter was written by her.)

Never or rarely use amplifications like the word very or others like it. For example She had a very good day. Instead write: She had a wonderful day.

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

Mark Twain

The writer Mark Twin suggested that you trade every very with damn, then your editor will delete every one of them. Then you can see that this word doesn’t do anything.

 

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Mark Twain

Mark Twain also once said “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” By that he meant that editing after writing takes more time than the writing itself. Editing is the hardest part, but this is also what makes writing art.

 

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At skrive dialog/Writing dialogue

Dialog er noget, der kræver øvelse. Når man kan skrive det, så er det et fantastisk redskab til karakteropbygning, konfliktoptrapning og levendegørelse i teksten.

Det er vigtigt, at dialogen er tilpasset personernes karakter og tekstens tid og at den er ”virkelig”, det vil sige, at det er sådan, personer virkelig taler sammen.

Du kan bruge enten gåseøjne ”” til at indramme dialogen med eller – i starten af hver talesætning. Det mest brugte, og oftest det, forlagene foretrækker, er gåseøjne.

”Okay, hvad laver du så her?”

Jeg svarede ikke umiddelbart. Efter et par sekunders tung tavshed sagde jeg: ”Jeg kom bare forbi.”

 

– Skal du med ud at løbe?

Han joggede lidt på stedet som for vise, hvad han mente.

– Jamen, så vent her, sagde jeg og gik ind for at skifte tøj.

 

  • Tænk over din brug af ”sagde han, sagde hun”. Oftest behøves de slet ikke. Det giver sig selv, hvem der taler, eller det vises med handlingen. Hvis det er nødvendigt at markere, hvem der taler, så brug andre ord: hviskede, sukkede, udbrød, råbte, hvæsede.
  • Dialog er ikke fyld. Fyld er aldrig godt. Gør det kort og præcist som med resten. Brug dialog til at fortælle historien: vigtige oplysninger, karaktertræk, opbygning af klimaks.
  • Lyt til rigtige dialoger. Det er afbrydelser, gestikuleren, øjekast, trippen, mimik. Der er så meget mere end ord. Ingen taler uafbrudt eller når at give lange monologer.
  • Skriv mellem sætninger: beskrivelser, tanker, minder. Lad ikke karaktererne tale uafbrudt.
  • Lad være med at sige alt direkte. Hentyd og antyd.
  • Undgå adverbier! Eksempel: sagde hun vredt, sagde han leende, hviskede hun rædselsslagen. Læseren skal gerne selv fornemme følelsen i situationen.

Her er et eksempel:

“No, I am not sick”, he said with a sudden strength that also allowed him to turn his head and smile at her. So easy this lie was suddenly.

“I am not sick, nothing is wrong. I was up most of the night writing, but it wouldn’t work out, and I am rather frustrated. Let’s have a glass of wine; I am sure it will help.”

Now she laughed, no more worry in her eyes. She believed his words, believed his smile.

“It’s 10 am. We just had breakfast, and now you want to drink wine?”

He was laughing with her even though he did not understand how he could produce laughter in the middle of this emptiness.

“We shall drink until we fall over. From now on …”

……………………………

Dialogue takes practice. When you master it, it’s an amazing tool that helps you build characters, create conflict, and liven up the text.

It’s important that the dialogue is adapted to the character of the person and the time of the text and that it’s “real”, which means it’s how people really talk.

You can either use quotation marks for framing the dialogue or begin each sentence with a -. The most used is the quotation marks and this is most often what the publishers prefer.

“Okay, so what are you doing here?”

I didn’t answer right away. After a few seconds of heavy silence, I said: “I just came by.”

 

– Are you gonna come with me for a run?

He jogged on the spot a little as if to show what he meant.

– Well, wait here then, I said and went in to change clothes.

 

  • Consider how you use ”he said, she said.” Most often you don’t need it at all. It’s obvious who’s talking or it’s shown in the actions. If it’s necessary to say it then use other words such as: whispered, sighed, exclaimed, yelled or hissed.
  • Dialogue isn’t filling. Filling is never good. Make it short and precise like the rest. Use dialogue to tell the story: important information, character traits, building conflict.
  • Listen to real dialogues. No one talks without end or has the time to give extensive monologues. Real dialogue is clipped by interruptions, gestures, sounds.
  • Write descriptions, thoughts and memories in between the sentences. Don’t let them talk for pages on end.
  • Don’t say everything directly. Make hints and suggestions.
  • Avoid adverbs! Example: she said angrily, he said laughing, she whispered terrified. The reader must be able to know this through the story alone.

 

Her er et eksempel:

“No, I am not sick”, he said with a sudden strength that also allowed him to turn his head and smile at her. So easy this lie was suddenly. A rush.

“I am not sick, nothing is wrong. I was up most of the night writing, but it wouldn’t work out, and I am rather frustrated. Let’s have a glass of wine; I am sure it will help.”

Now she laughed, and there was no more worry in her eyes. She believed his words, believed his smile.

“It’s 10 am. We just had breakfast, and now you want to drink wine?”

He was laughing with her even though he did not understand how he could produce laughter in the middle of this emptiness.

“We shall drink until we fall over. From now on… ”

 

 

 

 

 

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