Friday, October 30

To be a writer you need to be able to change easily.
Not yourself, but your habits, your character's names, your book's title.
I recently learned that if I write a book before knowing the main problem, the book dies. Yet I've stubbornly persisted in ignoring that, hoping I'd become one of those instinctive writers that "never know where the story will take them."
So I had to change my preconceived notion of what type of writer I am.
The quicker I can let
go of things (the story I set out to write, the beginning that I thought was
good, the dumb bunny metaphor that I loved) the quicker I'm able to move on and
find something better.
~Todd Mitchell
You must be able to adapt. Don't latch onto that sentence that you're so proud of.
Writers need to have a thick skin, not only for critics, but for yourself.
Letting go is hard. But a lot of times, it's necessary.


The Irony of Blogging

Monday, October 26

While I was on this little break of mine, I got thinking about how much time I spend on Blogger, which, ironically, takes away from my writing time. (And, oh yes, my personal life.)

Therefore, I'm only gonna publish every MONDAY and FRIDAY.(I'll still respond to any comments you guys give.)

I hope you understand, and I'll check back with you Friday. :)



Monday, October 19

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There’s this marvelous navigation system that tells us if our plot is going in the right the direction or not; it’s enthusiasm

If I don’t feel excited to write a certain scene, then most likely that scene has no place in the story.

Today I attempted to write the scene that I felt no enthusiasm towards. I couldn’t write it. Yet the plot depends heavily on that scene occurring.
So I changed it. I tweaked the setting, how the events occur. I added a couple of conflicts, stirred up some secrecy.

I enjoyed writing it, which signaled to me that I was on the right track.

You should never dread writing something. Pay attention to how excited you are to write. Do your fingers itch to scribble it out or do you procrastinate?


Staying in Character Part 2: Writing in First Person

Saturday, October 17

For some writers (me, for example) it's difficult to have a different voice when writing in first-person.

One of my stories is from a boy's point of view, the other is from a girl's and they sound, if not exactly the same, very similar.
They both sound like me.

So I've been trying lately to create a character completely different from myself and then slip into their skin.

Beforehand, I started writing in first-person before even figuring out who they were. That only resulted in a duplicate of myself every time.
You are looking through their eyes.

What do they think about?
Are they slow and hesitant to make decisions or headstrong and reckless?
Are they optimistic or cynical?
How do they see the world?


Inspiration Part 3

Friday, October 16

Inspiration (stopmotion) from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.


Writing Out of Order

Tuesday, October 13

My preferred way to write lately has been to write out of chronological order. I’ve been jotting down whatever short scenes pop into my head.
It’s proved useful (if mildly confusing) because I tend to have blind spots when looking at how my plot will turn out. I may know what happens next, but I don't know how or why it happened. In other words, I'm missing a few stepping stones.

I’m now attempting to type up what I’ve got so far, trying to figure out how to fill the holes.
I couldn’t really gain any semblance of organization, so I filled out index cards with a short description of each scene and arranged them chronologically.
What resulted was a clear definition of what I need to type. But it also revealed that the skeletal structure of the plot is terribly frail. But that's alright, for a rough draft.

On several of them, I state the scene but then have scribbled how? underneath. I know what happens. But I can't figure HOW. For example, I know they escape from ______ but I don't know how they accomplish that.


Resolutions: Tying up the Loose Ends

Sunday, October 11

While trying to figure out a solution to my book, I remembered two "rules" about resolving conflicts.

1) The character's plan spins them deeper into trouble
2) The character's plan doesn't work out the way they expected, and is revised (usually on the spur of the moment)

I'm trying to get them OUT of trouble for good, so rule #2 is what I need to utilize.

And then BOOM. After a couple hours of brainstorming and recalling these rules, I realized what needed to be done. All that's left now is to write it.

So a tip for other writers out there: brainstorm.

A great way to find new ideas is by having a change of scenery. Seriously, moving away from that computer to a new place seems to open up your mind and let new ideas flow in.
In my case, a quick jaunt to Sonic was all I needed to get the creative juices flowing.



Friday, October 2

“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”
~Tom Clancy

A lot of readers look for a story they can connect to.
And it's hard to connect to a story if you don't believe it. I'm not talking about delusions, but the way the story makes sense.

The Character’s actions and reactions

I have always groaned in despair when the characters enter a magical world and go “Hey, this is cool.”
In Wings by E.D. Baker the character lives in present times, so it was horribly frustrating when she sees a goblin and says, “That’s creepy. They’re following me,” and doesn’t tell her parents.
Then she sprouts wings. “Oh great, now I’ll be an unpopular freak.”
By the time I got to the part where she enters the magical world going, “Oh no, this is weird. Cool, is that magic?” I slammed the book down and didn’t read another word.
To make it believable, the character’s first thoughts should be “This is a dream, it was a coincidence, they’re lying,” because in reality, people have a marvelous ability to ignore and rationalize for things they see and hear.
If they’re already in a magical world, it’s easy, they’re used to it.

I’ve stumbled upon countless books where people die. To name of few, here are annoyingly inaccurate descriptions of how other characters reacted to it;
“What will I tell his wife?”
“At least the death wasn’t painful.”
“(So-and-so) wouldn’t want us crying over her.”
“Poor (deceased character).”

You need weeping, hollow hearts, deadened senses, minds full of disbelief that they’re gone, anguish. Tug at the reader’s heartstrings.

The Setting
If it’s set in the city, and at night it’s perfectly quiet and you can see the stars, there’s something the matter with reality. If it’s set in a place you’ve lived or visited before it’s easy to make the setting believable. If you’ve never been to a place like that, you have to do (ugh) research.
Sadly enough, a good fraction of my rough drafts have the characters on the sea, on a boat, shouting nautical terms. (What the heck are a bow and a sprit?) I’ve been to the ocean maybe twice in my life, never actually riding in a boat. So it’s a little tough. Research, research, research your topic.

I once wrote a story set in Ancient Egypt. It’s supposedly night yet the character glances at the sundial to see the time. A family member kindly pointed out to me that a sundial shows time by a sun casting a shadow. And there’s no sun. (Don’t laugh at me.)
Another time, a character meets a beautiful girl…who wants to kill him (Before you think that’s sounds insane, she’s royalty and wants to execute him as an example.) A few paragraphs later I realized that I should probably stop him fawning over her, because you’d have to be pretty messed up to have a crush on the person who wants you dead.
Think about logic; if there’s a storm, how does that affect the surrounding countryside? Is there a river nearby? If so, it probably will flood the banks. How does that affect the characters?

Be logical; make the story seem real enough that the reader will be sucked in. Don’t push your reader away like Wings pushed me away.

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