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?

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When Fiction Fails….Why Not Journal

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(Photo credit to: Bob, via Flickr)

Just like we all at times need an escape from reality, sometimes we need an escape from fiction.

I know it may be hard to believe that such a thing exists; the need to escape from the worlds within our heads. I know it was hard for me to realize such a thing but even on days like this we can still dream.

At times it’s not so much a need, its more as if we feel as if all our creative energies have been suck dry. Perhaps it was a hard week, or perhaps we’ve written non-stop and we have hit that famous Writer’s Wall. When this happens we can always turn to reality for a brief hiatus.

I have always been the kind of person to start a journal but never really stick to it.

Recently though I started an online diary and suddenly I’m writing more regularly.

On the off days during the week when I have just updated my stories on Wattpad, and my blog is current; its nice to have an outlet to place my stress.

Having an outlet for every day stress helps us to not burn out when we need to get our writing done.

& guess what? It counts towards your daily word count! Isn’t that great?

So on a day when you need to vent, so that you may return to your creative endeavors with renewed vigor, you can journal while still keeping to your daily writing schedule.

Have you journaled before? Or if not what sort of things do you do to vent away the stresses of every day life so that it doesn’t disrupt your writing schedule? 

Write Inspiration: Dreams

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(Photo credit to: Angela Marie Henriette, on Flickr)

Every story I’ve ever written started from a dream or at the very least a daydream.

When I was small, before I could read or write, I would sing tales as I spun them in my head. When I grew older those sung tales grew into real ones and I fell in love with storytelling.

Dreams are mysterious and hold meaning to our lives; often inspired by experiences of our day or week; thus they can be excellent fodder for the growth of a new story.

If you meld a dream and iron out the wrinkles and self-inserts; you can have a good novel on your hands.

Many an author I’ve spoken to keeps an account of their dreams, because they hold quite a bit of inspiration.

They can also can help solve plot holes in current novels.

Many a night I have gone to sleep thinking over and over about the last chapter of my story and when I woke up somehow I had a new idea to spark the next chapter.

Have your dreams inspired you to write? Have they ever solved a plot hole for you?

For more daily prompts, check out The Daily Post on wordpress.

What Makes Your Character’s Heart Sing?

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(Photo credit to: Fio, on Flickr)

When creating a character sometimes it can be very easy to get lost in just that, creating them. But sometimes the best characters are discovered in the littlest details that make them all the more human.

Today I’d like you to take a break from the research and instead think about the little things that makes our characters’ hearts sing.

Is it a look across a crowded room?

Or is it watching as a little bird perches upon surface and tilt its head up at the character?

Do they smile when music sweeps through the air?

Is their breath taken away when they step into a canopied forest?

Are they rendered speechless when someone smiles at them unexpectedly?

Have you ever thought about what makes your heart sing? If so why don’t you take a moment and find out what makes all your characters hearts lift high into the air like a kite.

For more daily prompts, check out The Daily Post on wordpress.

 

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? 

 

The Writer’s Tag

Today I found an amazing new blog by Stef Gonzaga. She has written 3 e-books, and her poetry is beautiful. She’s a very sincere human being, and I have fallen for her blog. It’s definitely worth a look.
Today I’m am going to follow in her suit and do “The Writer’s Tag.”
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(Photo credit to THOR, on Flickr)
So without any further ado, here’s the questions:
1) What type of writing do you do?
I write poetry, vignettes, and fiction.
2) What genres or topics do you write about?
I love writing in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Creating new worlds is exciting to me. I also love delving into the minds of my characters and finding out what makes them tick.
3) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I could write. Before I could write, I made up songs about stories. & before I could speak I dreamed of worlds never seen before.
4) Are you published?
Not yet, but it is one of goals for the 2017.
5) What was the first story you ever wrote?
This is a hard one for me. I know when I was 4 or 5, I wrote about the time I “flew” off a swing. I’m not sure if that was the first though, but I’m pretty sure it was one of the first ones I wrote in book format. I would have a title page and then I would draw pictures above the words. My mom would staple the pages together with 3 staples so it would open and turn like a book.
6) Why do you write?
I write because I need to. If I don’t write, stories haunt me. The characters beat down the doors of my mind and beg me to be written. My dreams become plagued with stories on loop. And so I write. I write because I love to write. I write because storytelling is a part of me.
7) How do you find time to write?
I usually write after work. I work various shifts each week, so basically I write whenever I find time to.
8) When & where are the best times to write?
I tend to write at night mostly. But I’m not sure if that’s technically the best time for me to write or not. It depends. I’m still learning about my internal time-clock.
I tend to write in bed, since we have a very small apartment. Our bedroom seems to be the quietest room of the house, especially when my husband is gaming.
9) Favorite food/drinks while writing?
I tend to crave salty and sweet things in a loop. So either I’ll have some Cheetos or parsnip chips; or on the sweet side a chocolate bar or some semi-sweet chocolate chips. Tea tends to be the tonic I favor during writing, but it often is lukewarm by the time I get to drinking it.
10) Your writing playlist?
It depends on what I’m writing.
If I’m writing a blog post, I favor silence.
If I’m writing my current WIP, “The Land of Fear”, I tend to have my “Marco Polo” Pandora station on.
& if I’m editing “A Victorian Tale” I have a playlist via iTunes of various Victorian and Steam-punk soundtracks.
11) What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing?
At first most thought of it as a hobby, but after the last year of me writing every single day they have come to see how important it is to me.
12) Parts of writing you enjoy the most?
I love grand reveals, awkward moments and witty dialogue.
13) Parts of writing you find challenging?
Beginnings and middles.
14) What do you use to write with and on?
I use whatever that is on hand. If I’m out and about, I will write on a notepad or enter it into Notepad on my iPhone. At home I tend to write on my laptop, or if I’m really tired on my phone. At work, pen and paper or occasionally I’ll email myself a thought or two.
15) How do you overcome writer’s block?
I just keep writing. If my fingers won’t move for my stories then I write about reality.
I remind myself that the first draft is always going to be bad, that I can edit later.
I listen to thematic music, watch a movie in the genre of my writing, or browse Pinterest for art that will inspire a scene.
I put my head down, pull through and write.
16) How do you motivate yourself to write?
“You can do this Kaitlin!” “You’ve written when you had a migraine, when you had vertigo and when things were at their worst; you are capable!” “You are capable for greatness…or just typing out at least 150 words. Who knows where that will take you!”
17) Authors who inspire you as a writer?
Hmm…I’ve been thinking about this one all day today and yet I don’t have an answer for this one yet.
18) Books that inspire you as a writer?
I’m sorry drawing a blank on this one as well.
19) Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?
Just keep writing!
You write, therefore you ARE a writer!
20) Writing goals this year?
Finish editing my first draft of “A Victorian Tale”.
Finish my first draft of “The Land of Fear”.
Keep to my regular schedule of blogging.
I tag: Rachael Ritchey & anyone else who wishes to do the “Writer’s Tag” next.

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?

Writer’s Wall: Inspiration

(Photo credit to Tom Byrne, on Flickr)

I’d like to talk about a problem that faces all creatives at one point or another. The block, the wall, and the dead-end. The bane of writer’s everywhere, known as: “Writer’s Block”.

I have faced this terrible enemy many a time, won some battles and lost others. But over the last couple of years I have refined several war tactics to take down this fearsome opponent.
Today starts the first in a series, “Writer’s Wall”. I will offer up a tactic per segment.
Today’s tactic is inspiration.
I have found that inspiration comes in many forms.
Often an attack will come when we least expect it; thus we must counter with similar measures.
  • We need to surprise our minds. Try something new, maybe change your routine a tad. Perhaps change location of where you normally write, or go on a walk and soak in nature.
    • Our minds are like sponges; soaking in everything around us. Our settings and characters will take those memories and thoughts within our minds and convert them into actions and situations. When we change things up, it gives our minds a chance to breathe and soak in new things.
    • Additionally we gain more experiences that help us create ink splots upon our pages.
    • Another wonderful sort of inspiration comes in the form of an inspiration board.
      • Either created manually in collage format or by using a pin-board on pinterest, we can begin to gather more details for our works.
      • If you would like an example of a pinterest inspiration board, here is the one for my current WIP:
  • The final but no less important inspiration tactic I use are music playlists.
    • You can pick a certain genre of music to fit the setting of your story.
    • Many a musical playlist has helped me keep to a setting or theme of a story.
    • They are marvelous tools that can also be truly enjoyable, as well.
How do you inspire yourself? What kind of inspiration helps you when writing?

Create a Write Pattern

(Photo credit to Bob, on Flickr)

I’ve been making up stories since I was small.

Before I could write, I would make up songs with stories within them and daydream my way through far off lands.
When I got into school I discovered my love of reading and naturally over time this transformed my way of storytelling onto paper.

I tended to write in bursts during my schooling experience. I would write whenever inspiration struck, in wonderful moments where the pen held in my hand seemed to zip across my lined pages.  Those sort of writing habits fared me well in the school environment; writing between classes and scribbling down notes beside onto a notepad on my bedside table when I awoke from fantastical dreams. I wrote every chance that I got. It felt special, exciting and sometimes forbidden (when I’d write during class).

When I left school things changed. Life happened, as they say. 
I suddenly had to make decisions, I had to grow up.
My writing became stagnant for a year.
I tried some college, but it didn’t seem to stick.

It wasn’t until I started working full time, that I began to write again.
I wrote fanfiction and worked on a trilogy, neither of which I finished completely.
I never got past the 10 chapter mark, instead I was re-writer.
I wrote like that for a couple of years.

After I got married, I was fortunate to have the complete unconditional support of a like minded creative who encourage me to begin writing again. 
My method of writing that I had during my schooling years picked up once more. 

I took what I thought was to be just a breather from my series, and started a brand new idea for the wonderful time of year that is called NANOWRIMO.

I wrote nearly every day that November and had at the end of it 18k words of chronological chapters and words.

Finally I felt an achievement in my bones, and I wanted desperately to finish the story.
I had the ending crisp in my mind, and the characters had taken me on an adventure that I hadn’t ever truly experienced so accurately before.
I had also found like minded individuals on Twitter, who had cheered me on through the whole process.

Then I discovered the “Don’t Break the Chain” calendar through YouTube, and found #writechain on Twitter.

Finally it felt like all the puzzle pieces had fallen into place.

I needed to create a regular writing schedule and what better way than having a minimum word count for each and every day.

The idea was daunting at first, but  I picked a word number that I felt I could get in on even my worst day. And it worked, rest is history.

The lesson I have learned from writing every day has changed my life.

So here’s the kicker, I will not tell you that you have to write every day to be a writer.

Firstly, because that’s simply not true.

 
You write, therefore you ARE a writer.
 

But I do believe it is important to either set aside a time to write or create your own sort of writing schedule.

The main point of a writing schedule is to get you to write.
So often we can get stuck.
When you have goals, you are able to gather momentum towards fulfilling your dreams.

So what have you done to make time for writing? Do you have a writing schedule? Do you have any experiences to share. Please feel free to post below.

Rules Change

 (Photo credit to caren litherland on Flickr)

I’ve been reading about writing for several years now.

I’ve read loads of advice, tips and opinions about how someone should write.
Rules like: always start with conflict, start with characterization, repetition is a bad, repetition can be good sometimes, details are important, dialogue is more important and ect.
Do you see the pattern?

The rules of writing are always changing.

There have even been some authors who have become recognized when they have decided to bend the rules of grammar within their writing.
Other books like “The Thirteenth Tale” have set away the guidelines and instead have brought us an experience full of imagery and mystery within the many details on their pages.
I have found that no matter what the genre, be it in YA, NA, or Adult, there will always be books that change the rules. 
But you might wonder, “Where is a constant? A rule or guideline that should not be broken?”
I believe there is only one true rule in writing, one that will never change.
 
Just keep writing.
 
The story that needs to be told will only tell itself if you first take the first step.
Each writer must find their own path.
The tips and advice given by other writers out in the world is there to help guide those of us who might feel stuck in one way or another. Ultimately the decision is ours and we need to find the best way of writing that suits ourselves along the way.
 
Here on this blog, I hope I can offer my experiences with writing and the various lessons I’ve learned. I hope that I may be able to help similar writers find their way around the word path until they find their own way.
The rules may always be changing in writing, but so are its authors. We seek always to be better.