Writerly Update

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(Photo credit: me, K.A Werts)

I’m sorry for the late post today, I had a late shift at work.

The last couple of days have flown by, partly because I’ve been working and also because I’ve been editing.

On Thu 6/23 one of my favorite Twitter events occurred, the #SFFpit.

The #SFFpit is basically a pitch party. It is where writers have the opportunity to pitch their Sci-fi/Fantasy novels directly to agents and publishers.

Last year I got one like from an agent, but I was still writing my first draft of “A Victorian Tale” and I couldn’t finish it in time for submission.

This year though I was very fortunate to have a publishing company to like my pitch for “A Victorian Tale.” Now with a completed manuscript I’m a bit more prepared for submission; but I do want to make sure the first 3 chapters are in tip-top shape before submitting them. So that is what I’ve been up to since Thursday, editing my first 3 chapters for submission.

This submission will be my first, and it’s terrifying; but I’m determined to forge forward no matter what the outcome.

Have you ever participated in a pitch party? What was your experience like?

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?

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? 

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 Two: Climax

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(Photo credit to: Donnie Nunley, on Flickr)

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of “climax” is:

the most exciting and important part of a story, play, or movie that occurs usually at or near the end

: the most interesting and exciting part of something : the high point
To some the climax comes when the resolution or answer to a quest occurs; while to others it is when the apex of the action occurs.

I’ve learned that whichever it ends up being, everything else in the book has to prepare for that moment. Each chapter needs to be one step towards it. Each scene needs have to an importance to that climax. It is kind of like the compass of the book, the characters are on a journey but they still must stay on course.

The center of the tale is a perilous place where many writers can feel like they’ve lost their way. But if they remember the motivation behind their characters or their end goal, it can help them to get back on track.

When this happens to me I try to ask myself questions, for example:

~Has So&So gotten what they wanted in the beginning?

If not then I ask, what needs to happen before they do?

~Has their problem been resolved yet?

If not then I ask, what events need to occur before that happens?
What do you do to direct your characters towards the climax of their tale? 

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?

 

“The Land of Fear”

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Cover made by: xXArachnidXx

On March 27th of this year I took a leap that I had been debating upon seriously for a little less than a month, but had thought about for over a year.

I published my chapter of my current MS, “The Land of Fear.”

As my husband put nicely, “It’s a risk, but I think it’s worth it.”

The risk being my fear of someone stealing my story. But that’s the thing, they would not have my voice and they don’t have the world in their mind. I realized it wouldn’t be impossible for someone to steal it but I thought of something more important than that.

I want to know what readers around the world would think about my writing. Wattpad gives me the chance to find out. I’m willing to take the risk if that means I get people to read my work. Isn’t that why most of us write?

It’s not for the money…no that’s unrealistic…No it’s for the rush we get when our fingers speed across a paper our pen grasped tightly between our digits. We write to explore new worlds and new minds. We write so that other’s can see a different point of you. We write to make a change, even if its to the smallest degree.

Are you a writer on Wattpad? Have you ever given your writing out for free? What are your thoughts on this?