Do you ask yourself “Why I write?” Does writing cause you to question your motives?
A few years ago when I was beginning out I suddenly had this sudden bout of concern. That I was kidding myself. I kept telling myself that writing was for the creative arts graduate, that despite my ambition to write I couldn’t see it through. As a result I put my word processor down and didn’t go back for two years! I bet there were a number of reasons why I did that. Perhaps I quit writing because of an ever changing role in my relationship to my wife and family. Perhaps it was because up until then I hadn’t published anything. Whatever the reason it caused me to seriously doubt my writing ability and as a result I said “Screw it!”
Today I write each and every day. I have three published books and I’m working on a new novel which I believe is going to be the best thing since “Catcher in the Rye”!! Okay maybe I’m fooling myself but know this that if you say to yourself “I am a writer” or “I am NOT a writer” in both cases you are correct! You are what you believe.
I don’t want to make this to be a religious thing since that wouldn’t be politically correct for this blog but I truly believe with all my heart that God instills innate qualities in all of us. My calling was to be writer. I seriously don’t know why this is for instance I hated reading books growing up. Except of course for a good dozen or so which left me saying “wow!” Subconsciously, reading these books churned my subconscious engine to internalize all the reasons why I wanted to be a writer. To the point where I couldn’t ignore my calling any longer! It took more years for me than it does for many writers but today I am glad I have set my goals to be a writer.
If you have that burning desire, RUN WITH IT!! Keep at it day to day. You will be successful. You will be successful. You will be successful….keep telling yourself, please.
admin @ January 13, 2014
You call yourself a writer but you can’t find the time to write. You got to take the kids to swimming lessons or dancing class. You’re putting in twelve hour workdays and most nights all you want to do is sleep! Hey, you’re singing to the choir! We’re all there, trust me. What distinguishes a real writer form the rest is that despite all other obstacles we take the initiative to put writing right up there high on our life’s priorities. My own priorities include family (comes first), my health and my writing ….in that order. Once I take care of the first two I make sure I take the time to write. If even for a short time.
Seriously, you should make an attempt to write each day. There were times when I would be depressed or was preoccupied with a serious matter so much so that it would take precedent over my writing. What I’ve found out over the years is that writing is somewhat therapeutic. If we are not feeling emotionally well writing can help. That’s probably a topic for another day! But in short writing has a magical way of firmly planting your feet into reality by allowing you to take control. As a result in works to diminish thoughts that would otherwise make us worried.
The most important reason to write everyday – as I’ve stated numerous times before – is that it helps boost our abilities as writers AND most importantly it makes us prolific. If we’re going to call ourselves “writers” then we need to live up to the name!
admin @ January 9, 2014
Similes and Metaphors should be consistently fed into your pros to add extra dimension to point you are trying to make. Comparisons allow the reader to easily/smoothly relate. If you say that “Mr. Jones 5 o’clock shadow was as rough as sandpaper.” You allow the reader not simply to know that Mr. Jones had a 5 o’clock shadow but you also introduce the element of touch. They can almost feel the rough beard on the man.
Before we introduce ways to create wonderful analogies we should make the distinction between the two.
Simile: uses “like” or “as” as the comparison. EXAMPLE: “Mr. Jones 5 o’clock shadow was as rough as sandpaper.”
Metaphor: doesn’t use “like” or “as” it attributes the word or phrase to an object that is not literally applicable. EXAMPLE: “Mr. Jones 5 o’clock shadow was a rough sheet of sandpaper.”
- Don’t use a cliché! If you state it in a way that was is known to the reader (i.e. in another work or one which is utilized in day to day speech) you will look amateurish to an editor.
- Based on #1 above you should therefore be original
- Try to make it simple and clear. The analogy should be to something that is generally known. If you say “She slurped up the soup like an industrial vacuum pump.” Some readers will have to pause to figure out what an industrial vacuum pump looks like. Say instead “She slurped up the soup like her vacuum cleaner.”
- The analogy should add the extra dimension of touch, smell, sound or visual cue. EXAMPLE: “Elderly American ladies leaning on their canes listed toward me like towers of Pisa.” — Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. Nabokov instills the visual image of the women
How to create them?
This is the exciting part and isn’t as difficult as you would expect. First, here is a tip I use during my writing. This process works for me but may not for you so integrate it into your own style as you see fit. Essentially when I write I try to maintain the momentum of writing without thinking too much! If you recall from earlier articles I’ve posted you do your most prolific writing but utilizing the part of your brain that isn’t critical. When you stop to think of a good metaphor you effectively turn the part of your brain that allows you to smoothly dish out the story. If you do this (i.e. stop to think of a metaphor or simile) you will have a difficult time reverting back…which may result in writer’s block. So what I do is add something like this. “The car stalled like a xxx.” Then when I’m done and into editing mode I do a search for “xxx” and then I take the time to come up with the analogy.
An alternate way is to compile a list of colorful analogies before hand and insert them deliberately as I write.
This latter method works best if you compile a list of analogies. You do this by specifically sitting down to think of analogies. Set aside an hour or two a week to do this. Jot down the metaphors or similes into a notebook. Eventually when you write you will have the ability to call up the analogy during your writing session.
The second benefit of setting aside time to think of metaphors/similes is that you get better at it!
admin @ January 8, 2014
If you are new to fiction writing or if you have been a fiction writer for some time but have not really delved into the technique of writing then there is a good chance you may be missing a crucial understanding of a basic writing concept. The concept is that of the limited Plot Types that you can use in your fiction. For those of you who are familiar with this you may want to read through as a refresher.
Now it’s true that there are millions of stories out there and they are very different from one another. After all once does not equate (at least not on the conscious level) an immediate connection between Tale of Two Cities and Cassablanca…but in reality there is a very distinct connection! Likewise you would probably thumb your nose at the idea that Cinderella and Rocky have more in common than Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast - but that is exactly the case.
The concept is that of Plot Types and the notion that ALL stories fall into one of a few dozen plots. Now I happen to preach 18 to 20 different types you may find some authors stick with about ten. I don’t believe its much of a significant point except to make the clear distinction that there are a relatively few plot structures in which all fiction can be categorized.
Before continuing here are the ones I like to stick to….
- ASCENSION AND DESCENSION
- COMING OF AGE (also known as the maturation plot)
- FORBIDDEN LOVE
- THE RIDDLE
- The UNDERDOG
- WRETCHED EXCESS
Each plot type consists of a particular series of events that must happen during the course of your story. For instance Rocky and Cinderella are both considered “Underdog” plots. If you story plot follows this structure then you would have to have your protagonist pitted against an adversary of superior strength, abilities, etc. It wouldn’t be much of a story if Rocky went into the fight as the sure bet to win. It only becomes interesting because he is expected not to win!
In the coming months I hope to touch on each of these separately to give you a feel for what each type entails. Knowing your plot type is critical in understanding what the audience expects based on existing stories. Now I know you’re probably thinking that sticking to a plot type makes for lack of creativity. That somehow we’re turning writing into some formula. I don’t think of it that way. I like to believe that given the storyline – the plot type naturally develops. For instance, if you knew nothing of the various plot types you and you wrote a story which was considered good, then there is a very good chance you followed a plot type if by any means you certainly would do it subconsciously.
admin @ January 7, 2014
Before you get started I would recommend that you pick up a number of your favorite adventure stories and read them. When you do, make sure you jot down:
a) Character traits
b) Story locations
c) Plot point locations: when the story turns in a new direction based on a problem or story situation
d) Main Character motivation
e) Whether the story involves some form of romance
Study these side by side with all the stories to gain insight into the adventure plot structure. For instance, many adventure stories include romance. They also have the main character going from location to location – moving around a lot.
Your story should begin with a motivating incident that propels him or her to go in search of some “fortune” which cannot be attained at home.
Typically, the character doesn’t change much at the end of the story. It’s the same person who began the adventure at the beginning. What is important is the motivation imparted on the character to begin the adventure.
admin @ January 6, 2014