If you want to write a novel, there are basically two schools of thought on how you go about it. You either belong to Team Plotters or Team Pantsers. Those who identify themselves as "Plotters," like to plan out their novel before they ever write it. "Pantsers" on the other hand, tend to write by the seat of their pants. They go with the flow and hope one thing leads to another.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. As a Plotter you always know what is coming next, this might help eliminate the dreaded writer's block that so many writers fear. However, when you do change one thing it can set off a chain reaction where you have to change many things.
When you are a Pantser, you have few restrictions so if you add a character or kill a figure it doesn't slow you down. You open yourself up to spontaneous creativity. The problem is sometimes you write yourself into a corner. Which might cause writer's block, which can disrupt your creative juices, for days, weeks, or even months.
For a long time, I did not think of myself as a member of either team. I was just a writer. When I was inspired, I wrote. When I wasn't, I did something else, like research, or Facebook, or whatever. So, what changed? I was trying to find something I had bookmarked a while back. I had a folder that said Writing Stuff, but inside I had 154 links placed randomly over the last several years. Finding it was harder than I expected. After a while, I did get it sorted out. Now I open Write Stuff and see four folders - Book Reviews, Research, Scrivener, and Writing Websites. Each of those folders may have other folders but no more than 15 links in each one. So now if I want to find information on Virginia Dare, for example, I go Write Stuff >> Research >> Virginia Dare. Looking at 10 links is a lot easier than 154.
You might be saying what does that have to do with writing? You are right that is only a symptom of a much bigger problem. Let me give you a real-world example that you might relate to better.
You decide to write a Time Travel novel where students learn to become Time Travelers. You have two main characters, so you need a character sketch and background story for both. It is a school, so you know there must be other students. You create four to six more couples. Remember to write a character sketch and background story for each. So far, so good. Of course, they must learn from someone, so you create six instructors, same information required. You plan for four or five adventures over the length of the story. Now you have the people they meet, the settings for each mission, the physical description for each person, the overall plot, the subplots and more. THAT is a lot of information to keep in your head.
The last thing you want to do is describe your hero with blue eyes on one page, and two chapters later give them brown eyes. Who is it that has the sister with Tourette Syndrome? Who fell off a waterfall as a child? Who used to be a painter?
Don't get me wrong, it can be done. Just like I could have found that link I wanted, eventually. I used to think that using an outline was somehow cheating. I thought it would stifle my creativity. I thought it would be boring if I planned.
Those who defend being a Pantser will say, but I need to be able to go wherever the story takes me. I've got news for you, being a Plotter does not mean you plot out your character's daily wardrobe for six years. Knowing physical descriptions, background stories and the setting where specific events happen can make life so much easier. It's up to you how much you want to plan in advance.
Some will say that's all part of the research. I would argue if it's not written down, where you can find it, then it doesn't really help. I had tons of links, but the longer I took to see them, the more likely I would get distracted. I guess you could call me a "Tweener," because now I am somewhere between the traditional Plotter verses the hardcore Pantser.
Someday I might even break down and do a synopsis of each chapter, but not today. For the moment, I just want to write, but that doesn't mean I have to remember all those details all the time. Planning in advance (Plotting, if you will), is like goal setting. If you don't write it down, it doesn't count. Take some of the stress off your shoulders, and try Plotting for a change.
By Tedric Garrison | Submitted On November 12, 2017
Award-winning writer/photographer Tedric Garrison has 40 years experience in both areas of expertise. As a Graphic Art Major, he has a unique perspective on the Elements of Design and how they relate to photography. His photo eBook; Finding Your Creative Edge in Photography proves creativity CAN be taught. Tedric shares both his writing and photography skills at his new website: http://writephotos.weebly.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tedric_Garrison/88147
Sure, you like to read books--in fact at times you enjoy reading them more than living in the real world--but liking a good story, craving a world written of imagination is different from creating one, right? Surely a writer is born, calluses on fore and third fingers, and not made? Not necessarily. American master bard Walt Whitman didn't produce his masterpiece Leaves of Grass until age 35--and nobody has yet figured where his genius came from, near ready-made. Here are seven signs you might be harboring a fugitive author inside, a writer hidden and desperate for escapism.
1. You really like books. I mean really. You read under the covers as a child, not to mention in the car, on the bus, even heaven forbid at lunch while others played. More than just a borderline literary obsession, yours was the sad ennui that life in the real world could never reach the same heights as on the page. Maybe your true direction in life is to be found in perfectly kerned type. Maybe there you will reach your true heights.
2. As an adult you often avoid reading. Not because you've grown out of it, but because your standards in reading continue to grow, and frankly, you've been let down one time too many by a poorly written book; you're just too good a reader for writing that is below you. A writer stuck in the closet is guaranteed to have higher standards than most; perhaps it is time for you to wear the shirt that fits.
3. It's a cliché--but fiction is the home of clichés so read on--you can name the books that changed your life, whose well-crafted, compelling truths and hidden insights helped you to see the world in different ways, yourself as well. Maybe you have a written truth to offer the world of your own.
4. You often tell others of the faults in what you are reading, how you think a novel could be written better. You intuitively know what makes good writing, know whether an author has something to say before you've half-travailed the page. You would write books reviews if only you were a writer you sadly exclaim. Well maybe you should--pick up a pen and you are.
5. When you read words you hear the voice of the author inside you--in fact yours is the long-held belief that somehow you know the authors whose work you have read, although you have never met. Maybe you do. Writing, like other forms of art, is a bridge between the author and reader, and poet, artist, and meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy writes that if we are aware of this bridge, we can not only enter the work of a writer, but also acquire their capacity:
"When you want to create something, you want to invoke beauty to inspire you. So, at that time, you must identify yourself with someone who is creating. You want to do something unique, but the type of thing that you want to do somebody has already done or is doing. Only you want to surpass him. So, try to identify yourself with the consciousness of the person who has already done the thing or with the person himself, and try to get inspiration, aspiration and capacity from him. If you want to write something spiritual, read my writings and identify with them. If you want to draw something, take your ideal artist and identify with his creation."
6. You long to discover the hidden meaning of things, the hidden motivations and depths in the hearts of others, the mystery of the world around you, also inside you. Most good writers do--it is why they write--their fascination for life equal if not greater than for writing itself. Follow the path of such writers to self-knowledge; pen in hand, start yourself to write.
7. You have always been a storehouse of facts, a walking library of information. You can remember everything that happens to you, often astound friends with precise recall of events and their sequence, without quite understanding why. Your mind itself is a narrator: reporting, observing and describing the events of your day, albeit unbidden usually--a tape recording whose reels are without end. Song-writer Kristin Hersh began writing songs because "If I don't turn ideas into songs they can get stuck in me and make me sick." Even if not to this extreme, if your mind is bursting its bounds, put it's excess creativity and energy to good use; start writing it all down. You might also want to try meditation, and acquire a much needed on and off switch.
According to Hersh, "songwriting is about shutting up instead of talking." Whether of songs or entire books, if you want to be a writer, now is the time to bite the apple rather than talk about it.
1. p.42, A Galaxy of Beauty's Stars, Sri Chinmoy, 1974
2. Kristin Hersh, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristin_Hersh
Written By John Paul Gillespie | Submitted On July 28, 2007
John-Paul Gillespie is a New Zealand based free-lance writer and designer with a love of words and, when occasionally silent, a practice of meditation. A member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, he credits meditation as the inspiration behind all his writing.
John contributes to a site on spiritual writing:
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/John_Paul_Gillespie/52578
You've been writing for ten years, and someone asks, "What's your niche?" Do you know what to say? If you respond, "I write articles," or "short stories," or "novels," you just answered wrong. These are all types of writing or categories that you write in. A writer's niche is usually defined as: "a distinct segment of the writing market." The key word being, "distinct."
So, with that definition in mind, if you say, "I write photography articles," while that is better, it's not great. If you say, "I write articles about taking photography portraits," that's actually pretty good. But if you say, "I write articles about taking baby portraits with your camera," you just hit the jackpot! Ding, ding, ding. Confetti falls from the sky. That's your niche.
So why does it need to be that specific? I can think of two reasons. First, (if taking baby portraits is what you do) nobody is likely to ask you to take underwater photos or skydiving photos. The second is much more important. Your neighbor or best friend has a new baby, and their first thought is, "I know the perfect person to take those pictures."
Now some may argue, but I don't want to limit myself, that's why I take pictures of everything, or why I write about everything. That's OK, but when someone asks you the question, "what is your niche?" you need to man up and say, I don't have one. I do a lot of different photography, or I do a lot of different writing. That's OK, you are not a bad person if you don't have a specific niche. But...
If you have a bleeding ulcer, do you go to a foot doctor or a surgeon? If you have a $150,000.00 Lamborghini, do you go to a general mechanic or a specialist? If you want to invest in stocks, do you go to a stockbroker or the janitor who works at Wall Street? Well, maybe, but you get a general idea.
As a writer, most of you are familiar with the idea of branding. Do you want to be known as a jack of all trades and master of none? Let's take Stephen King as an example. He is known as the master of suspense or the king of terror, and that's a good thing. That's his specialty. He also writes about writing, he may even write about gardening (don't quote me), but that's not the point, he is well known, mainly in part because of his niche.
Let's say you are a photographer and you want to get more business, so you build a website. After a few months, you notice no difference, so you think I need to get more traffic to my site. You start to write photography articles that link back to your site. After a few months, your site is doing great, but you still have no business. What went wrong?
You wrote articles about portraits, parts of the camera, sports photography, landscape photography, the Zone system and more. Therein lies your problem. You proved you know about photography, but you still have no niche. The people you attracted to your site were interested in photography, NOT what your photography could do for them.
Having an area of expertise gives them a reason to use you, as their photographer. Isn't that the real goal? Do you want to be known as just a writer? Or do you want to be known as the writer who writes romantic time travel adventure novels that have family values? Now, that's a niche. But you have to decide what your niche is before you can become famous for it. Don't be scared to commit. Give yourself a better chance to succeed. Find your niche.
Award-winning writer/photographer Tedric Garrison has 40 years experience in both areas of expertise. As a Graphic Art Major, he has a unique perspective on the Elements of Design and how they relate to photography. His photo eBook; Finding Your Creative Edge in Photography proves creativity CAN be taught. Tedric shares both his writing and photography skills at his new website: http://writephotos.weebly.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tedric_Garrison/88147
NaNo-What-o? No, NaNoWriMo!
That time of year has come upon us again. No, I'm not talking about Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or any of the holidays. No, no, I'm talking about something much more important - NaNoWriMo!
What exactly is NaNoWriMo, you ask?
Well, I'm so glad you asked.
Here let me tell you...
NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth
NaNoWriMo, get it? Okay, according to the site, that is pronounced: NAN-no WRY-Mo. Most authors I know who are participating have come to just call it NaNo. It comes in the month of November, every year since 1999.
Every year in October, http://www.nanowrimo.org opens up for new subscriptions for eager novel writers to challenge themselves by writing a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November. There's a catch though - you can't start writing the actual novel until 12:01 your local time, November 1, and you must be finished with the novel by the end of the month. Now, the novel is not limited to 50K words, but to 'win' the NaNoWriMo Challenge, you must not only write at least 50K words, but you must also finish the novel.
There is a list of author's who have actually had their NaNoWriMo novel published, and many people who wrote novels for NaNo and went on to self publish.
So what's the point to it all?
Well, for someone who has never published an novel, NaNoWriMo provides a great motivation, in a fun environment, with lots of other aspiring authors to support an encourage one another and finally tap out that novel that we all think we have dwelling inside of us. For the experienced or published author, NaNoWriMo really gives the author a nice challenge, by adding a deadline environment, accountability and a means for checking progress. This can help an author who has been tossing around ideas for their next book really dig in and push the creativity out of them.
The first thing you do is visit the website at nanowrimo.org and register for an account and create your profile. This is completely and totally free. NaNo is supported mostly by donations. After you have created your account and profile you can join the user forums and discussion groups, also free, and get to meet other authors taking the challenge this year. Last year, NaNo boasted an impressive 59,000 participants, which means you potentially have 59,000 other writers all there to cheer you on.
In addition to the website, many areas in the US have local NaNo meetings with other participants in close physical proximity. The group in my area met regularly during October and November at the local Starbucks.
Now, after you have created your profile, have added all your writing buddies, joined a local group to track progress by your area, you are now ready to prepare to write your novel. Now, remember, the rules say you can't start until November 1, on the actual writing, but there are many things you can do to prepare.
Below is my self-help list for preparing for NaNoWriMo (btw, I was a NaNo 'winner' last year too):
1. Buy lots of coffee.
If coffee is not your caffeine of choice, then buy lots of whatever is. Fifty thousand words is much more than most realize. Think about this, most articles on sites like Associated Content are only about 600-1000 words long. That means you will be writing, on the upper end, the equivalent of about 84 articles in one month's time, but with a plot and story line, hopefully, that should be consistent and flow together well. That might just mean some late nights, and coffee is a staple!
2. Buy a plastic shower cap.
When it is 2am, two days before Thanksgiving, your entire family coming to visit, and you are only 30,000 word into your NaNo novel, you will need to place this shower cap on your head in order to remind you not to pull your hair out.
3. Lock up all firearms.
The temptation will be too great at 5am after no sleep, when one of your novel's character decides to take the storyline in a whole new direction, NOT to shoot your computer monitor. Be sure all firearms and baseball bats are securely locked away during the month of November.
4. Buy headphones.
This is not to listen to music. No, these will be what you put on your head to block out all the sounds of people in your house whining, "You're at the computer writing again?" Be sure not to buy headphones with a cord though. The temptation to strangle yourself or them will simply be too great.
5. At 11:59pm, October 31 - promptly disregard and temporarily forget anything and everything you have ever been taught about writing.
This is important. NaNo isn't about writing the perfect novel or the great American novel. NaNo is about writing A novel, crappy, good, in between... the point isn't to make it perfect, but to challenge yourself to do something different that you normally would not do if you were not participating in NaNoWriMo. In order to finish a novel in 30 days, you will have to let go of your preconceived notions about writing novels and just let your writing flow. Honestly, you may be surprised when you let go of all the 'rules' of writing just how easily writing can flow.
6. Learn how not to edit.
NaNoWriMo is about writing a novel in 30 days, not editing one. In fact, NaNo has March set aside, or maybe it's February, but nonetheless, there is a month set aside by NaNo to edit your crappy November novel. November is National Novel WRITING Month, and your goal is only to write it, not to edit it yet. Also, it's not National Novel RE-writing month, so save the rewrites for after you have actually WRITTEN the novel.
Now, let's get a bit more serious about NaNo. While you cannot start writing the actual novel until November 1, you can indeed start writing a plot outline and developing your characters right now. If you get a good outline prepared and learn and know your characters well, you will be able to really just sit down and pound out the story.
There's a couple of weeks left before the actual kick off, so you should have plenty of time to register on the site, set up your profile, and start working on your outline and character development so that you are ready to begin writing, writing, writing, during the month of November.
I have found this challenge to be a lot of fun, a little bit crazy, and highly motivating for me as a novelist. I completed a novel through NaNoWriMo last year called, "In Her Own Back Yard" and this year, my novel is titled, "Another Lifetime."
Don't forget to read the FAQs, because not only are they informative, but they are hilarious to read too. And be sure to sign up for the weekly prompts from Chris. He's funny, motivating, and a total hoot to read.
Feel free to add me as a writing buddy (michelleldevon) and let me know your NaNo name so I can add you and together, we'll see if we can't each crank out a crappy novel in the month of November.
Best of luck to all who participate.
By Michelle L Devon | Submitted On October 20, 2006
Michelle L Devon is a freelance writer and an editor, providing write for hire and editing services through her company, Accentuate Services. For more information, or if you need someone to edit your NaNoWriMo novel, please visit her website at http://www.accentuateservices.com
For help with your writing or to find paying writing gigs, you can join her free writer's forum at http://www.writersforum.info or http://www.accentuateservices.com/forum
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Michelle_L_Devon/36496
Whether fiction or non-fiction, books with strong dialog are more interesting and engaging to the reader. Dialog is a fantastic and necessary device to move a story and reveal character. As a writer, you are probably accustomed to using your internal VISION to describe a scene, event, or make a point. You see it in your mind and describe what you SEE. Dialog must be handled differently. Dialog is primarily a task for your AUDITORY processing. You must hear it internally and write what you HEAR. Most people process information visually, so this may be a significant shift for you.
Whether you are recalling an actual conversation or devising one from your imagination, you can try these practices to refine your 'ear' for dialog and add richness to your writing.
1) Eavesdrop: Next time you are sitting at a coffee shop, waiting in line, or dining solo at a restaurant, prick up your ears and listen in on nearby conversations. For this exercise to be most effective, take notes and try to record exactly what is said. Of course, be subtle.
2) Take notes while you are talking on the phone: Again, try to write down exactly what the other person says. I got a lot of practice at this when I was a journalist. You will start to notice subtleties in the way people speak; that we don't all sound alike, even if we are saying basically the same thing.
3) Know your 'characters': The better you 'know' your characters, the easier it will be to write outstanding dialog. For non-fiction, this is fairly easy. You are writing about real people, and, in most cases, you can talk to them and get a feel for who they are. In fiction, this is more of a challenge, but I promise you, the more deeply you 'know' your characters, the better your overall story will be.
4) Get inside the speaker: When you sit down to write dialog, get inside the speaker's skin. Do your best to 'become' that person while you are writing their part. What matters to them? What does it FEEL like to BE them? Move back and forth between speakers as the 'conversation' evolves.
5) Go for realism: People typically don't talk the same way they write. They utter incomplete thoughts, they hesitate; they interrupt. Dialog is affected by region, social standing, self-esteem, education, emotion, agenda, and the relationship between the characters. For a dialog to sound authentic, you must account for these idiosyncrasies and variables.
By Robin Hoffman | Submitted On January 01, 2010
Robin Hoffman, MA, The Author Alchemist, is a publishing strategist, book editor and writer's coach who helps aspiring authors transform their dreams into reality. Find out more at http://www.robin-hoffman.com Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Robin_Hoffman/465096
Is your writing as good as it possibly could be?
Would you like to make your writing easier, more efficient, and take it to the next level? Well, perhaps it's time to consider graduating from Microsoft Word, to software just for authors: Scrivener.So, have you heard of Scrivener? If you haven't, here's a very quick introduction: Scrivener is a writing, idea management, note management, research management, and text organization tool specifically designed for writers.
Here are the particular strengths of Scrivener, when it comes to your writing:
Here's a Crash Course Into Scrivener...
So now that you're convinced that Scrivener is a much more suitable (and productive) solution for you than Word, especially for longer documents, let's dive into some of its easier functionality that you can start benefiting from immediately... Let's run through some key features...
Organization of Chapters
Whatever you're writing, it will be broken up into chapters of course, or at the very least, sections.
Scrivener allows you to create an outline of all your chapters, and the sections that make up those chapters, and easily rearrange them however you choose and whenever you choose.
Now, at this point we're still at a level of functionality that's also available in Microsoft Word. But, that will very shortly start to change, as you'll see...
So not only do you get a clear outline of your book/document and can re-arrange it very easily, it allows you to set "flags" for your chapters/sections so you can clearly mark the current status of each.
For example, once you've written your first very rough draft, you may choose to change its color to yellow. Then once you've created the second draft that's ready to be sent to an editor (or for finalization if you're doing it all yourself), you may flag it as green.
As mentioned, a chapter can be made up of any number of sections. A section could be as big, or small, as you like, depending on you like to write and organize your content. And since each of those sections can be set up with flags too, with a simple glance you know the exact status of whatever it is you're working on.
Notes and Other References
Your research has its own section in Scrivener. Here you can write notes to yourself, include links to resources, or even copy and paste straight off the internet and into Scrivener, so you have the contents of a web page right there for you to refer back to at any time without having to click out of the application (since there lies the danger of being distracted).
Plus, just like every part of Scrivener, your notes section can be organized into categories, so however you like to structure and refer to your notes, the software will quite happily accommodate that.
And importantly you can have the research section of Scrivener and your writing window open at the same time. So no need to constantly click from one part of the software to another, you have your research directly in your eye line as you write, which makes referencing a lot easier and quicker.
When writing fiction, you need to have a very clear idea of your characters - their characteristics, their look, their history, and anything else you need to know to fully flesh them out in your writing.
Well, Scrivener offers a section for this too, so that as you write, you can have a reference right in front of you about who you're writing about. It helps you avoid getting details mixed up between characters! Plus, you can include photos (even just of celebrities who look like who you have in mind), so that you can see them clearly, which will help guide your writing.
The Main Export Formats
Scrivener offers many export formats including even Microsoft Word format, if you decide you'd prefer to temporarily work on your manuscript in Word for whatever reason.
The two formats that will save you a ton of effort, be used again and again (if you're a prolific writer), and that you'll find absolutely indispensable are exporting to ePub and also Kindle format.
Further Benefits of Scrivener
Let's dive a little further into some of the more advanced functionality Scrivener offers and how it helps you be a more productive and efficient writer, whatever type of content you may be creating...
Distraction Free Writing
It's so easy when writing at a computer to get distracted. Emails coming in, Skype messages appearing, and Facebook just needs to be checked that second, right?
Well, what if you could hide all that, and only have the text you're writing visible on the screen? Scrivener offers exactly that. Everything disappears except what you're working on, until you're ready to return back to your regular working environment.
Now, this doesn't guarantee that you won't be tempted to check your email and see what's happening on Facebook, but it certainly helps hide all that away from you, to help minimize distractions as much as possible. Speaking of which...
Setting and Meeting Project Targets
Do you have an idea of how long your book is going to be?
Well, let's say 50,000 words, give or take.
When must the first (rough) draft of your book be written? Well, let's say April 29th, and let's imagine that's 20 days away from now.
Okay, so how many days a week would you like to work? Monday through to Friday, or perhaps the weekend too?
So let's say in this instance you're going to go flat out with this and have decided on writing seven days a week. Okay, so what does that work out as? It's 2,500 words a day.
Or how about if you choose to take one day off a week?
That roughly increases your required daily word count to 3,000.
Scrivener helps you stay on track with your writing goals by keeping you accountable to meeting your daily writing target. This is called the Target Tracker.
And it's been said that Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, day in, day out. And it works for him, right? So perhaps there's something to writing consistently rather than the feast or famine approach of waiting around for inspiration.
And remember, this is your first draft. You can't improve what doesn't exist, so get something written, and then your review, editing, and finalization cycles are where "okay" even "terrible" writing becomes great. But it has to exist in the first place, so don't get hung up on the first draft.
Scrivener Always Remembers Where You Are
Each time you open up Word, you're back at the top of the document, right? Well, Scrivener takes a different, and more helpful approach. Wherever you were when you closed the software last time is where it opens up next time. This makes carrying on where you left off, from one day to the next so much easier.
The corkboard in Scrivener is another way of viewing and affecting the outline of your document. Instead of just being presented with a long list of chapters and sections, you can see each chapter, and each section, as a (virtual) piece of paper pinned onto a corkboard.
Plus in this screen, you don't just see chapter/section titles but also brief overviews. This is great for planning, and great for rearranging your content visually.
Using Scrivener for Blogging... Too Much?
Scrivener doesn't just have to be for books and long documents, it can work for blog posts too.
Of course, if you tend to write and publish 500 word blog posts, using Scrivener might be like using a sledgehammer to pound in a nail. But if you tend to write in depth blog posts of 2,000 words and up, and you find you're not as productive or effective a writer as you believe you can be working in Word, then perhaps it's time to make the move to Scrivener.
You can in fact use the software to map out your writing for weeks ahead. For example, you could outline all of the blog posts you're planning to publish in April. Within Scrivener, each chapter can be a separate blog post, and then of course within each post there's multiple sections.
Then the same tips as above apply - it's easy to structure and re-arrange your posts, you can easily keep notes and research in front of you, and you can make clear at a glance the status of each post, or even of each section.
Or you could of course if you prefer create a new Scrivener project for each blog post, or for each batch of related projects. If you're working on a series of related blog posts, or blog posts all on a similar topic, then each of these batches of posts, even if they're not published in sequence, could be bundled together into a single project.
So since Scrivener does have a free trial, and if you're a prolific blogger (or would like to be), try out the software and see if it helps you write more effectively and productively.
Scrivener - Beyond the Basics
This article has been a quick dive into Scrivener and how you can start getting productive with it very quickly. However, really we've just touched the surface here, and once using the software becomes a habit that's working for you, you'll want to explore functionality beyond the basics to help really make your writing time as effective as possible.
Check out my blog for more publishing tips. Amy Harrop Blog
Article Source: By: Amy Harrop | Submitted On July 09, 2016
Have you ever created a character who was blah, maybe even boring? I mean obviously, at some point he or she must have served some purpose, or you wouldn’t have created them. Right? But now what do you do with them? Write them off? Some writers just love to kill off characters in their stories. Do you mention them in passing, back in chapter 3, and never see them again? Are they *Gasp* nameless, faceless, and homeless?
You passed an old man, with white hair, dressed in old baggy jeans and wearing a baseball cap and thought “Man, that person sure didn’t amount to much.” They may even have been driving an old beat up truck with a dog named “Old Roy,” riding in the back. If this happened in 1990, you might never have realized you passed a Billionaire named, “Sam Walton.”
Strangely enough, he did not have a heavenly aura around him, and he did not wear a neon sign on his back that said, “Owner and Founder of Wal-Mart, Inc.” He was not overly tall, he did not have big broad shoulders, in fact, it would be quite accurate to say he was average looking.
Let’s face it, not all characters are heroes, leading ladies, or supervillains. We don’t always pay as much attention to someone we consider to be a background character. (Unless your name happens to be Sir Author Conan Doyle.) Doyle had the gift to recognize that even the most boring, seemingly insignificant detail could solve the entire mystery. I would like to suggest you can do the same with your characters as well.
The key is not to give it all away at one time. Consider this example: Chapter one – girl does not like her father, Chapter ten – reader discovers girls father beat her, Chapter 18 – girl grows up to be martial arts instructor, Chapter 24 – girl finds father doing same to little sister, Chapter 30 – girl beats father within an inch of his life.
At the beginning of this story, a girl who does not like her father is nothing new. By itself, the reader might even think, “So?” When you discover the father beat her, you might think, “oh, that makes sense.” When you get to the part about her becoming a martial art instructor, you may find yourself wondering, “did that have anything to do with the father?” By the time you get to the section that shows he did it again, most would think, “Oh he’s evil, somebody needs to teach him a lesson.” Towards the end when she beats him, one might think, “YES, you go, girl!” or “I’m so glad she stood up to him.” Did you see what we did there? She went from victim to hero over the length of the story.
I once created a character who had this mental link with another character. I already had my main characters, and NONE of them had unusual gifts of any kind. At the time I was typing the description, I remember thinking, “Why am I doing this? She’s nobody. She’s not even important to the story.” Boy, was I wrong? She gradually became a main character and took me in a whole different direction.
If you’re a writer, there are no accidents (or there shouldn’t be.) If you get to a point in your mystery, romance, or crime novel that you need to introduce a new antagonist or protagonist; might I suggest, giving your nameless, faceless, homeless character another chance at fulfilling their destiny. Sometimes you might have to work backward and create scenes or even just lines here and there, to show the reader he was there all along. Help your reader discover nobody is as unimportant as others might think. Background characters won’t all become Billionaires that can change the world . . . But on the other hand, you never know.
This article was written by Tedric Garrison on 10-08-17. Tedric has been a writer and photographer for over 40 years. He is the author of the Time Travel University series now available on Amazon.com and is the creator of the website www.writephotos.weebly.com
Short stories and novels are similar in that they both tell stories. However, there are some fundamental differences between the two types of fiction writing.
The most obvious difference is the length or word count. Whilst novels can range from 80,000 words and upwards in length, the short story can be 500 words long although 800 to 1000 words is more common. There are also short stories that can be as brief as 200 words sometimes referred to as flash fiction.
Another way in which short stories and novels differ is the number of characters and background story you can include. For example, with short stories four characters is usually the maximum number that will be acceptable. More than this would make the story too involved and would probably make it more suitable for longer fiction, such as a novella.
On the other hand, a novel can have any number of characters starting with the main protagonist together with minor characters. With longer fiction you have the opportunity to tell an elaborate story that will feature the main components such as plot, subplot, setting and point of view. In a novel you can expand the story to include all five senses; sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. Thus, engaging your readers in fiction that will be more descriptive and interesting.
In the short story none of this is possible. You have to gain the attention of your reader immediately and give your main protagonist a problem to overcome. This problem or obstacle will have to be resolved by the end of the story. It is important however to leave your readers feeling satisfied with the outcome. This can make short story writing seem more difficult than writing a novel and again highlights the difference between the two.
Point of view is another difference. In a short story the story is told through the eyes of the main character regardless of how many characters that are present. With a novel however there is more flexibility. The narration can be told in the first person which creates more intimacy, but it can be restrictive experiencing the entire story from the protagonist's point of view.
It is more common for novels to be written in the third person narration point of view. This is a very useful technique in novel writing as you are able to experience the story from the viewpoint of multiple characters, thus creating rich and diverse fiction.
By Sharon P Wilson | Submitted On January 12, 2017
Sharon Wilson has been studying and researching the art of creative writing for many years. She has a particular leaning towards novel and short story writing. Sharon is keen to help budding writers like herself develop their art and achieve their goals. For more information visit > https://sharonswriterstidbits.wordpress.com/
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Sharon_P_Wilson/2111024
The 7 elements of creative writing are character, plot, setting, point of view, style, theme and literary devices. Just about everyone agrees on what the elements are though not about how much or how often they should be used. Even if you don't plan to use any or all of these elements in your writing, you will write better if you know what these tools are and how they are used.
At the least, characters carry out the work of the plot in a story. At the most, characters fuel and drive the entire story. Characters may be human or not, animate or not. Readers identify with characters, becoming involved enough with their fictional worlds to cheer on the luckless underdogs and hate the nasty villains.
A special kind of suspension of disbelief occurs in readers' minds when they are reading and enjoying stories. This suspension can only be achieved when the writing has verisimilitude, which means believably. A reader who constantly has reason to question the validity of a character as it is written, cannot enter the state of suspension of disbelief. Thus characters must be authentic to attract and bond with readers.
Our connection to characters can run deep. Think of the many memorable characters you have read that still seem more real than some people you know. Who doesn't carry a bit of Holden Caulfield's alienation and confusion with them forever after reading, The Catcher in the Rye?
Note that you may find inspiration for a character anywhere. You may make a character out of anything. An inanimate character, such as the hat from Miller's Crossing, may say a good many things while having no mouth.
No Plodding Plots, Please
Simply put, plot is what happens in the story. Generally, plots follow a simple arc. By the time most writers begin to write, they have already been exposed to many plots via popular culture. Every book, movie, and song has a plot--something happens. Even game shows have plots. Develop the habit of looking through the surface and perceiving the underlying skeleton of plot in almost everything.
It has been alleged that only 7 plots exist in English literature. Reading any good collection of Shakespeare's plays will teach you those 7 plots. As an alternative, several good books on plot are available.
Pithy Old Saw
An oversimplified but pithy old saw about plot says that there is only one plot and to write it you find a character and set him looking for something. Another old saw goes that if your plot is lagging in pace or sagging in tension, kill off someone (a character, of course) to jazz things up a bit. Old saws, as a rule, should be viewed with deep suspicion and used whenever handy.
Setting is where your story takes place. You may have one or many, depending on the needs of your story. Setting may be large, such as John Irving's use of place in Until I Find You, which is so pronounced that one or two European cities just may be actual characters. Conversely, your setting may be the living room or kitchen. Just think of the plays you have seen that unfold in only a few settings, such as in Arsenic and Old Lace.
The best advice about using this element is to ask yourself how a specific setting will underscore the themes in your work. Are you using a quest plot that would be supported best by the changing locations of the journey? If your story is about an initiation, a personal growth tale, then setting will seem less important because that type of quest unfolds primarily inside the character's mind.
I Want to Believe!
The only way to do setting wrong is to use a setting for no reason other than you like it. A superficially selected setting will ring false to readers, so don't do it. If you write in the Romance genre, wildly romantic settings are appropriate. If you write Science Fiction, make sure you write as a scientist first so that your settings are believable even though your world is obviously imaginary. For several a fine bits of believable SciFi world read anything by Robert L Heinlein.
In general, we know that the tale grows taller with the telling, so reliability, or the lack of it, in point-of-view quickly becomes an essential tool. Many liars' points-of-view have been skillfully used to tell a story, such as Tom Sawyer in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, with notable effectiveness (Tom's many explanations to adults).
In determining whose point-of-view to use, determine first whose story you are telling. Is your narrator the best character to tell the story? Imagine Lolita written from any but Humbert's perspective! Do you need your narrator to lie or tell the truth?
There are several choices of types of point-of-view: first person, I and me; second person, you; more commonly third person, he, she, Jeanne, Richard; third person omniscient which includes seeing all characters' minds; and lastly third person limited which tells the whole story through one character.
Choose the point-of-view that will best present the story you want to tell in the way you want to tell it. Don't be afraid to try writing your story from a few different viewpoints until you find the right one. Just don't be afraid of trying anything in your writing because no matter how long you have been writing or how much you have written, it is intended to be a lifelong journey on which you constantly discover new things about yourself as a writer and about this big old world you write about (or from, in the case of the SciFi's).
Style is slippery to take hold of because it is made up of thin, smokey ephemeral things which are clearly extant but also difficult to grasp. It is a signature inside your writing and drawn from your vocabulary, syntax, rhythm, voice, and mood. It may be imitated but is mostly a natural byproduct of you. It defies most efforts to manipulate it. It is also as individual as DNA. Read anything by Kurt Vonnegut, and then follow that with some Ernest Hemingway and you will readily see that each writer is brilliant and crazy-gifted and just as different from the other as possible.
Changing your style, if you wish to, can be achieved with contrivances such as elevated diction and specific themes. It is even possible to mimic authors with more pronounced styles, but no one has suggested it makes you a better writer. Some freelancers claim they can control their styles, changing from one style to another as their assignments demand, but again, it is contrivance for a certain purpose, not an actual modification of personal style. Be yourself. It's easier and makes for better writing.
Theme in fiction is not limited to any specific set of ideas. Your theme(s) refers to the 'moral of the story" or the bigger ideas in your story such as murder, betrayal, honesty, and compassion. Theme is like setting in that if you deliberately use a certain theme with the intent of making a given point rather than because it naturally fits into your story, that piece of writing will probably fail.
Show Me, Don't Tell Me
The problem with premeditated pedantic use of theme is that you invariably sound preachy. Art doesn't preach because art teaches from the inside out, changing people in meaningful ways via the internal experience of learning, not shouting at them until they agree because they are tired of listening.
Readers like to decide for themselves what your story means or says about the larger world. Readers don't like to be preached at nor obviously told how to interpret events in your writing. Don't do it. Show without telling. Lead, if you must consciously lead at all, by example. Tell your story with as little of your own prejudices and interference as you can manage. Trash story lines that include heavy-handed themes. You will know when you are heavy-handed by the exaggerated need to keep on explaining why.
Ironically enough, no matter what theme you believe you have written, your readers will decide for themselves what you meant anyway. And that is the miracle and majesty of art.
No deus ex machina
The first literary device was called deus ex machina and was used in ancient Greek drama. It was, literally, a god character who was lowered down with ropes onto the stage when the hero needed rescuing or immediate godly intervention was needed to resolve the plot of the story. Even the Greeks who invented it knew it was cheesy. We use the phrase, deus ex machina, now to include all manner of cheesy, contrived plot resolutions.
Other types of literary devices include but are not limited to allusion, diction, epigraph euphemism, foreshadowing, imagery, metaphor/simile, and personification. You may not plan to use any of these, but do recall that everything written, ever, contains these devices, and they are exceedingly useful to writers. As with all tools, use the appropriate one at the appropriate time but do not use a device in place of good writing or else you too will be cheesy.
How well were you paying attention
We know our readers are always paying attention, but some of you like to be tested, so here is a quiz over this article. The answers are not hidden just below the questions, so on your honor, no cheating.
1. It's a great idea to use deus ex machina to solve plot dilemmas.
2. Imagery is only used in animated stories.
3. It's a surefire good idea to use a strong preachy theme in your stories.
4. Ancient Greek playwrights invented diction.
5. Foreshadowing is a very good brand of eye shadow.
6. Fire is one of the 7 elements of fiction.
7. You must use each of the 7 elements of fiction at least one time per story.
8. Your author had far too much fun making up this quiz.
Answers: F, F, F, F, F, F, F, T
By Jeanne D Green | Co-Author: Richard Green | Submitted On March 29, 2017 To read about these and other tribulations that keep the writing mind awake nights, come read us at http://www.greenswriting.com. We'll leave the site on for ya.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeanne_D_Green/2352604
Think about the last time you started a physical activity, one using muscles you had not used much before. You started out feeling fine, but the next day, you were sore. Those muscles were protesting their initial use. But you enjoyed the activity, so you continued to use those muscles. And gradually or quickly, the strain decreased, the muscles grew stronger, and you were able to do more.
Writing is like a muscle because writing involves many developing many skills -- from understanding grammar to understanding purpose and audience -- skills that need practice in order for you, the writer, to become proficient. When you start writing, your writing muscles are unaccustomed to that activity, so you ache afterwards. This ache could translate into over critical evaluations of the work produced (probably valid), unfulfilled expectations that the writing would be easier than it actually was, or frustration that the activity took so much more time than expected with much less produced than hoped for.
IN THE BEGINNING, YOUR RESULTS ARE AWFUL
Lew Hunter talks of "training-wheel screenplays": those first four or five screenplays that are truly awful but that you need to write in order to learn enough to write a fairly good script. These first scripts should never be shown to anyone because they are embarrassing.
Every writer has a time of producing training-wheel material, whether short stories or novels, articles or books, or short stories or novels; however, we are so proud of our accomplishment -- we actually finished something -- that we show it to everyone. Most readers are polite, perhaps even encouraging (mothers can be like that); some will say, "It needs work." That is all part of building the writing muscles.
Realize that practice is essential to building muscle. That practice takes time and effort, focus and concentration, and much patience on your part. You must allow yourself time to grow those skills and confidence to the next level. Proficiency only comes with much dedicated practice and focused effort.
Refrain from too much self-criticism at the beginning stages of your development. Do not become discouraged at your first feeble attempts at your craft. We all start out as poor writers; with practice, we become better writers. Eventually, we can become professional writers, if that desire is strong enough.
Do not make the mistake I did. In my early writing career, when I was trying to decide the genres to focus on, I would write something and send it out. The rejection came back with boomerang swiftness. With each rejection, I would jump to another type of writing, figuring that rejection indicated my talent for the genre. The result was that I never stayed with any one kind of writing long enough to become proficient in it.
I finally realized that all this jumping around was not the best course of action, so I chose a few types of writing that I had enjoyed (writing books, writing about travel and writing, writing screenplays) and focused on developing those muscles (skills) specific to each type of writing. Eventually I became good enough to be published or to win awards, but I worked hard, spending a lot of time and effort to reach that point of proficiency.
One benefit of all that jumping around was that I learned about many types of writing, and I learned to write better out of sheer practice of writing. Writing is always good practice for better writing, no matter the genre you write.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
The more you exercise that writing muscle, the stronger it becomes. The more writing practice you put in, the better writer you will become. The stronger the muscle becomes, the more you will be able to perform more complicated, challenging tasks. You will feel confident at tackling larger and more complicated projects. So you can move from writing short blog posts to short 10 page e-books and eventually to writing 100 to 200 page book manuscripts.
The old adage is true: "practice makes perfect." For writing, since no writing is ever perfect (a topic for another article), we will amend the adage to "practice makes improvement."
Exercising the writing muscles is hard work, at least at first, but the whole process does become easier -- with practice. The key to success is constant, daily (or as often as possible) writing. And write projects that really spark your interest, so you can sustain your writing efforts through the frustrating times.
Granted, some people do hit success with their first attempt at a genre, but most of us need that practice before we are good enough to be recognized for our accomplishments.
EVENTUALLY, YOU BECOME A PROFICIENT WRITER
As you become a better writer, you will find other writers who agree to read and critique your efforts (I am not talking about your mother or close friends or relatives, unless they are truly qualified). You may join a writing group, or you may just find friends who are also good writers.
As your writing is critiqued by these qualified readers, you will learn even more, especially about those issues particular to your writing -- your "favorite" grammar errors or lazy ways you put words and sentences together. You will learn to tighten your writing. You will learn techniques to create better ideas and better ways to express those ideas.
Regardless of the pain and frustration of building up your writing muscle, trudge on. Continue to write; play with different types of writing; play with writing for different audiences and age groups; eventually, you will stumble upon your best fit for your writing. Actually writing is the only way you will achieve that level of proficiency so that your writing is taken seriously.
To get to that level, practice writing-- stretching the writing muscle is essential. Write in a journal or write a blog about your hobby or passion. Write novels and stories and screenplays for you alone as the audience. But write. And then write some more.
By Katherine Ploeger | Submitted On May 10, 2010 Katherine Ploeger, MA, MFA, is a writer, editor, writing coach and consultant, and screenwriter. She writes and publishes practical, process-oriented information products for writers (nonfiction, children's, screenwriters, and others), sold through Quilliful Publications at [http://quillifulpublications.com]. Her latest book is titled Write That Nonfiction Book: The Whole Process. She has also recently published Common Writing Errors Workbook, a workbook to enhance a writer's editing skills. You can also find valuable and free information on her blog, Katie's Writing Notes, at [http://katieploeger.com].
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Katherine_Ploeger/233601