Tag Archive | how to write

five things all writers must learn…

….to create very good stories.

Many of these things come from my own personal observations and experience and much of what I say is probably repeats of previous posts.

1.) Editing. Editing is the basis of all good books. in fact, I think it is the backbone of good writing. It’s all fine and good if you can write something down on paper. It’s better if you do the extra step (or two, or three, or ten, depending on how you edit) and edit what you write.

2.) Listening to characters: This is an art, and a challenge. You know those stories where the characters (without mental disorders) suddenly start acting strange and awkward? It kinda hits you like, “What on EArth?” Well… that’s because the author didn’t really listen to the character.

In all honesty, I don’t know how to give you a step-by-step instructions as to how to listen to your characters. This (like everything else all my list) takes practice. Once you learn how to do it well, you might find all sorts of information, like, say, one character had a crush on another character but didn’t want to propose to court her because of three certain reasons. It adds depth to the character. But most important, it keeps the reader from looking at you strange.

3.) The good plot: As a new writer, everything that pops into your head sounds awesome. In all honesty, I would never have the time to write down EVERYTHING that I come up with as plots, even if I wrote constantly. One thing that a writer must learn is how to take a plot and decided whether to a) write it, b) save it for something else (meaning it’s okay but not really that good) or C) discard it completely. This again takes practice because you need to know partly what you can write well and what you really kinda stink at.

4.) Observing: Observe everything. As both an author and an artist, I do that. Observe how people interact. Observe character differences. Observe what makes people tick, motivations,  fears. How things look, smell, feel, sound. Everything. YOu need it for later character development and description.

Besides observing people and things, observe how people write. I’m not saying to copy one author’s particular style (although, in honesty, I can’t see style differences much.). I’m just saying to notice how the author writes what he/she wants to say. How do they describe things? How do they stick in information? How do they reveal characters?

5.) Avoiding the Infodump: Infordumps = Badbadbad. Infodumps are when you explain everything all at once and are very common in fantasy stories actually. You might spend six pages about the war or five pages on the transportation system or two pages on this guy’s past. Avoid these like the plague.

If you must use them, give small, bite size pieces infrequently. Maybe you can explain on page three why she rides a bike everywhere and then on page 13 about why she doesn’t like any of the clothes at Wal*mart and why she wears dresses all the time. Then maybe on page 16 about how she became enlisted in the secret spy agency. Who knows? But small pieces.

And one more bit of advice: edit. I know I said it before but I’m saying it again. Every single other thing you can improve in your story if you edit the story. Everything you write can be undone. But it will not be undone if you do not edit.

the unknown problem of writing in college

Basically, the problem with being in college is it takes a lot of time. I’m currently taking 17 hours, but that manages to add up to thirteen hours of sitting in class plus another nine hours of nursing clinical and two hours of lab for a total of twenty four hours of class room time, Then, I work for about an hour each week, but I’m trying for more just because I don’t want to have to survive on 28 dollars a month and I just finished training for my job, which took up another two hours of my day. And… I keep thinking I’m doing something that I’m missing but I don’t remember what, besides eight hours of sleep a night.

What it comes down to is that I am busy. Busybusybusy. Why does this matter with writing? Because when I’m this busy, I think I just can’t find the plots.

Reason why? See, you know about school’s writing contest that I’ve mentioned before. When I first saw it, I thought about what I would write for that whole first semester. Nothing came besides a few silly ideas. School stopped, I’m free and I get the idea to write short stories so I can get everything out. I come up with my Robin Hood rewrite, my when-to-fight story, my Dragon Slayers story, Kontyo and finish with starting mindskill, plus I think a few others. It was awesome after a month of no plots.

i also started a diet at about this time so I thought that it was the diet letting my mind think some more. Now… now I’m not sure. Because I’m two months into the semester and I’m having a hard time plotting. It’s like all my mental energy is focused on school that I can’t come up with anything to write.

This is, obviously, very bad, because I use writing to relax. If I have no plots, how can I relax while doing something productive (not playing stupid facebook games)?

This whole concept that school zaps my plotting skills is foreign to me. Last year, while at another school, I managed to write a whole novel (Shad) in a matter of months. It was a blast. But now… I’m lucky if I can come up with something to even write about.

Last semester at Thanksgiving break, I was sick the whole time, so I’m hoping now that things will clear up mentally for me over spring break so I can restock my plots.  I guess it’s just a side effect of going to college that we never think of.

My other thought is that I’d rather write more of a suspense type book, that’s quick and fast. Writing fights are hard to begin with that the last thing someone wants to read about is some kind of fight I would think every single scene (more or less). So I’m thinking that maybe what I should do is read a suspense book to get a better idea about how to do action. I am about to start a chaotic two weeks (from test 2 in nursing until test 3), so I obviously can’t start that until after those two weeks at least. Then we’ll see how much reading we have at that time to determine if I can or not.  I also want to read this book I started earlier this semester but never finished over spring break. Oi, looks like I’ll be busy.

(Oh, and on that love story idea, I LOVE that idea the more I think about it. The stupid plot won’t get out of my head. I am so frustrated, but convince now that he divorces the other girl at her request and marries someone else.)