Write Help…When Introducing Characters

Something I recently learned was that introducing characters can be intimidating, especially for writers that are just starting out.

It can be hard to decide when is the proper moment to bring a new person into your tale, I’ve noticed a lot of new writers tend to rush it. They introduce everyone at once, sometimes even at the very start. 

The problem with this is it doesn’t give us time to step into the world of the novel. Instead it reads like a bad textbook or worst a bad list. It can end up being an immediate turn off for a reader.

The core of the issue is often that a writer will get so excited about the climax of the tale they will rush everything else, but the first pages of the novel are what tell a reader if they are going to continue reading or not. If they are not drawn into the story in the beginning then they will not care what happens in the middle of the story because they will have already moved on.

In the excitement of starting something new, we all can try to rush things because we want to get to the finished product. But when we do this we miss out on learning about our style, our own creativity and the project we are doing. 

The same can be applied when writing a novel if we rush things we will miss out on the important descriptive details, world-building and character building. If we rush things we can end up losing sight of why we started writing in the first place.

Has this ever happened to you?

If so maybe you need to step back from your project and ask yourself question:

Why do you write (or create)?

If it’s for fame and fortune such things often come to those who have put forth effort and time.

& if it’s for creating something that you wish for others to enjoy, then get to know your craft. When writing, spend time really getting to know the setting your story is in. Then imagine your characters in the normal day-to-day lives, think about what their habits are and their hopes & dreams.

In the end I think we all want to write (or create) something that we wish was already out there for ourselves…something we’ve yearned for.

If this is true of you, isn’t it worth the time to truly get to know your craft well?

Fanfiction: Good or Bad?

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(Photo credit to: Caitlin ‘Caity’ Tobias, on Flickr)

In the last couple of days original thought both fantastical and realistic have failed me. So instead of editing or continuing to work on WIP, I’ve began to write fanfiction again.

For a while I felt guilty and ashamed that I was writing fanfiction, because for quite some time there’s been a sort of stigma regarding that kind of writing.

But then something odd happened: I noticed how much my writing has improved over time.

Suddenly I had a realization:  who cares if I’m taking a mini-break from my WIP? The important thing is that I’m still writing.

I will get over this dry spell for WIP, and when I do I will be stronger; because I didn’t stop even when the writer’s wall slammed into me.

 

Have you ever had moments of self-doubt like this? Moments when you question what you are writing? What do you think of fanfiction? 

 

Of Horses & Manuscripts

(Photo credit to:
Picdrome Public Domain Pictures, on Flickr)

Owning a horse and writing a manuscript are more similar than one may think.

I used to have a horse, her name was Autumn.

We would play tag and I would read to her off the porch of my family’s 100+ year old farm house.

Autumn as a foal was like a mirror image of my 8 year old self back then. Stubborn, strong willed and could not be tamed.

She was the closest thing to a best friend back then and I think I was a little scared of her.

Our manuscripts take up so much of our life, they can become like that bestie that is ALWAYS there. We have a fondness for them but sometimes we need our time to ourselves. And sometimes they can even scare us when they stop eating our plot ideas or they maim our most
favorite and loved character.

They carry our hearts within them and our dreams. Our manuscript can often reflect back the turmoil we may be feeling in our lives at one point or another.

But one of my biggest regrets with Autumn was that I didn’t train her or groom her as well as I should have. When my family moved, we couldn’t take her with us. But because she wasn’t trained we couldn’t sell her either, not that I wanted to, so instead we gave her to our farmer neighbor who already had a dozen horses. I would visit her sometimes over the years. The first couple of visits she would remember me but would turn her nose up in anger before trotting back to me in order to nip my ear or eat my hair.

Over time she forgot me, but I never forgot her.

I still have fond memories of Autumn, but they are bittersweet.

(Photo credit to: Brandy, on Flickr)
The lesson that can be learned from such an experience is this:
Manuscripts hold so much life in them, but without being trained they will end up just grazing for the rest of their lives breeding other ideas.
 
Just like a living thing our stories need to be nurtured and trained.
  • Feed: The more we read and experience life the more we strengthen our stories.
  • Train: Editing is necessary. It helps our stories to flourish and grow.
  • Groom: Polishing our stories and making them sparkle is important. We need show why our manuscript’s tale needs to be told.
  • Love: Be proud of your manuscript. It is it’s own entity and can’t be compared to others. Show it respect and reward it with some TLC by using one of the above options.

 

 
Has this happened to you? Have you let a manuscript go to graze? If so why don’t you go out and give it some TLC.

The Write Kind of Perfection

I learned this week that I am imperfect.

(Photo Credit to Joanna Penn, on Flickr)

 Yes, I know, this might seem obvious. But it seems as though I don’t really realize this on a day-to-day basis. Instead I’ve had the tendency in the past to beat myself up for every little itsy-bitsy mistake I’ve made. So in turn I haven’t really been living to my fullest.

Similarly, when writing something that we deem “not good enough” we might scrap it immediately, because it’s not up to par to what the ideal of writing should be. 

In that way life and writing are similar. 

If we are too hard on ourselves, we can lose our motivation. Something we love doing can almost become like a chore that we put off till the last possible minute. 

How can we stop ourselves from stomping out our creativity?


A first draft is that a FIRST DRAFT. 

Google’s definition of a draft:

Draft
draft/
noun
noun: draft; plural noun: drafts; noun: the draft; noun: draught; plural noun: draughts

1.
a preliminary version of a piece of writing.
“the first draft of the party’s manifesto”

Just like back in school, we would write a first draft and then we refine it from there. 

Do you remember all the red marks, the comments and suggestions of your teachers?

All those points are to help us write the next draft, until we have a finished novel. This comes eventually, but there is much joy that can come from refinement and editing. 

Have you ever dealt with this in life or writing? What are some things that have helped you overcome the bad habit of over-criticism?