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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Revert Back to the Basics of Childhood

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(Photo credit to: Steve Wilson, on Flickr)

Do you remember when you were a kid and school seemed to drag on?

Do you remember allowing your mind to drift so soon you were flying high in the clouds?

Do you remember being able to close your eyes and re-watch your favorite movie beneath your eyelids?

Do you remember how your dreams once were?

No? Perhaps it was only me then.

My daydreams were my greatest friends as a child. They were what entertained me and made my heart giggle with joy.

They were also the very start of my storytelling.

I would weave tales in my mind and reenact them with myself as the only actor but I could see my story’s world around me, I could feel it and I could hear it. I immersed myself in the fantasy.

As writers we can use that same technique a child does freely, we can close our eyes and take a trip down the cobbled, packed dirt or grassy path that weaves its way through our tale’s world. By doing so we can find better ways of describing things because we are thinking about how it would seem to someone who was actually there.

In turn when our readers read our tale they will experience the tale not just read it; which isn’t that what we all want as readers?

Do you daydream your way through a story too? Have you discovered new ways to use this age-old method in storytelling? Perhaps next time you babysit or spend time with your own child see how they tell a story; and maybe you will be able to learn a thing or two from them.

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

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.

 

The 2 Cs in Storytelling, Part 1: Conflict

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(Photo credit to: Jack Fussell, on Flickr)
I’ve been reading a lot of Wattpad stories lately and while doing so I’ve been learning a lot of lessons as a writer.
I’ve learned about what certain audiences crave. Thus, I’ve come to think more about what kind of audience I’m hoping my book will have.
I’ve also learned more about conflict and climaxes. I’ve found that although a story might be cute or “fluffy” with no conflict, without a defining moment or climax I can quickly lose interest.
I’ve read several stories that seem to drag on, and never actually go anywhere.
Whereas there have been other tales that have had all their chapters and scenes leading up to one defining moment; and I find I tend to eat those stories up more than the other kind.
What is it about the element of conflict that makes a story more interesting?
For me it’s all about the characters, because its often in the face of conflict that a character’s development truly shines. Conflict will force a character to act and they will show what they are made of. In the face of conflict they will show both their weaknesses and strengths. Fiction often mimics life in this way and that’s why I think we draw strength from reading about characters battling their own conflicts.
What about the defining moment of the tale? Next week my blog post will cover the other “C” in storytelling, the Climax.
As a reader how do you feel about conflict? As a writer how do you incorporate conflict in your work?

Writer’s Wall: The Power of Music

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(Photo credit to: Petras Gagilas, on Flickr)

Today I’d like to talk about the nearly magical cure for a writer’s wall.

Music.

Sometimes nothing seems to work to absolve a writer’s block.

You’ve gone outside, experienced new things, soaked in nature, made awesome mood boards and even tried your hand at vignettes.

The one thing you haven’t tried is getting lost into some magnificent instrumentals.

The wonderful thing about music is that it takes you away. You will be one moment listening and the next you are WITHIN the music itself. You are soaked into the lines of melody. You become one with it.

Music has the power to transport you to a place between dreams and the corners of your imagination.

This can happen with really any kind of music, but when you are writing a fiction novel sometimes it is best to stick to a theme.

Here are a couple of examples:

For my novel “A Victorian Tale” I found that music from and inspired by the Victorian era was very helpful when writing. I also added some steam-punk music and some sprinkling of sci-fi.

  • My Youtube playlist had music from various soundtracks and orchestrations made from users that fit to different thematic plots within my story.
  • My itunes playlist holds music from the soundtracks of “Becoming Jane”, “Pride & Prejudice”, and even “Doctor Who”. One of favorite finds on itunes was an album called “Tales of Steampunk London” by composer Jason Cullimore. The album perfectly portrays so many of the different elements in my novel.

For my Wattpad novel “The Land of Fear” I found music that reminded me of arid desert lands, ancient kings and lost worlds.

  • One of my go-to places for story inspiration through  music for TLoF is Pandora, there I have a station called “Marco Polo” (song by: Loreena Mckennitt) that has a good mix of music that is quite inspiring for my story.
  • My other source is my itunes playlist that has a mixture of soundtracks from “The Mummy”, “Faith” (kdrama) and plenty of soundtracks composed by Two Steps From Hell.

 

Do you use music to cure your writer’s block/wall? What kind of music do you listen to?

 

How to Write When You Are Sick…

 

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(Photo credit: Melanie Hayes, on Flickr)

I’ve been dealing with various illnesses for quite some time now. I feel as if I’ve become pretty adept at finding ways to write even when the world feels like it is turning on its head. And when I say that I mean it literally; among other things something I suffer from regularly is vertigo.

It can be really hard to formulate thoughts, write them down or even type when it feels as if you are doing everything sideways.

Here’s the key though: I write whatever I can.

I write whatever comes to mind. I write a vignette of my day, or even sometimes whatever comes off the top of my head. I write about what I’m feeling, my symptoms and how my day has been.

It’s important that no matter what happens you don’t allow guilt overwhelm you. As a writer you will feel as if you should be writing something else; your MS, your poetry, ect. But sometimes all you can do is eke out those few sentences, and THAT IS OK.

The important thing is for you to keep writing.

Have you ever felt this way? How do you keep writing even when you are “under the weather”?

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? 

 

Write Experience: "The Mountain"

There is a challenge I face every day, and I believe there are other creatives who suffer from it as well. The tendency to isolate ourselves. As writers we get so lost in the worlds inside our minds.

I know for myself, after working a full time job, I crave to just curl up in bed with a good story and show. But by doing so I end up starving myself of something that is vital for any creative.

Experience.

Every experience we have fuels the realism behind our characters, our worlds, and our plots. The more we learn about the world, the better we can describe it. Our voices grow along with our experience, and our stories ripen.

So I’ve decided to introduce another series for the blog, called: “Write Experience”. Each post will include a poem or vignette that will be based on an adventure of my own. I hope that this series will prove to be something that helps others and encourages them to go out and explore.

(Photo credit to: Jonathan R. Werts, my husband)

Without further ado, here’s “The Mountain”:

“They call it the Serpentine Trail, perhaps because of the sprinkling of emerald stones that weave up the path of the mountain. 
There is so much green, it looks like the grass is laughing and the thistles are chortling with glee.
The wind caresses them, tickling their sides.
If I close my eyes I can feel the joy too.
Goosebumps grace my arms and the rock that has bestowed me a seat slightly digs into me…
and yet I find myself succumbing to the quiet serenity, the peace of these hills where I walked as a child.
Suddenly I remember all the times I ran up these hills, my breaths coming out in gasps, as I tried to reach the highest destination before my family did. 
I remember seeing sly coyotes’ ears disappear in the brush. 
I remember how this place always took my breath away,
How it always made my heart soar. 
My dreams would later be inspired by this place.
Worlds would be created in its honor.”
 
The next time you have a chance to go on an adventure, take it. You never know what you may get in return.