What is it with new writers and fantasy?



That’s been a post covered on one of the writing forums for the past couple days. And this determines the price of tea in China?? Fantasy is what most of the people from 18-25 grew up on. Between Harry Potter and Twilight, that’s what they’ve been exposed to, which means that’s what they’re going to write about. Is this such a complex thing to understand?

Sometimes I think people spend more time on boards complaining about something and making a mountain out of a mole hill. If the dumb asses just sat down and WROTE then they might create the next Harry Potty, Hunger Games or be the next Rowling, King or Grisham.

The moral of the story? Quit wondering about things and just write. You’ll be better off for it.

Happy writing.


How to know your character is finished



Is another post I’ve read that is interesting. How do you know your character is done? While characterization is important, this question is rather irrelevant. And here’s why:

A character is never complete when a story is written. Is Talia a complete person? No, because she’s always growing. In the first book she’s very condescending towards humans and their immaturity. This comes from what’s happening during the story. Throw in the subplot about something in her past, and you see a character that’s grown.

Now, in the second novel she’s darker and bitter. This comes from something that happens in the first novel, and it carries over. Throw in three years to brood about it and you get a darker, grittier person.

At the start of the third, she’s more positive and somewhat happier because things in the second novel restore her faith in the universe.

And I’m not quite sure how the fourth novel will turn out because each story takes on a life of it’s own…I don’t plan them out.

What is she like? A warrior who has lived many lifetimes and seen things that most people never will. She still deals with the issues faced by an immortal also, which are many.

Now, how does this factor into my post? Here’s how: character’s need to be known by the writer, along with back story, but not all of it needs to be shown to a reader. In fact, everyone’s got a back story and most of its boring as Stephen King would say.

So, how do you work with your character? Well, he or she needs to be able to grow as a person in whatever direction their personality and life takes them. If the writer decides he or she needs to know every single thing about the character, and their life, then the character doesn’t have room to grow because the writer will control everything. This will stunt things completely.

The thing about characters is that they are like us. They need to be able to grow and react in the way that is natural to them, and if the writer takes that away, then they’ve killed the one thing that really makes a book special: who the story is about. Know what I mean?

Don’t try to know everything about your characters. Learn enough to know who they are where they’ve come from, but not enough to stunt their growth. That is when you know your character is complete enough to write.

Happy writing.


Suspension of Disbelief

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Another post that caught me eye, and shake my head, was ‘How to Make Suspension of Disbelief’ in a compex world? Huh?? Is it that difficult? Here’s the solution:

Suspension of Disbelief comes from the reader being immersed in the world of the book enough to feel like it’s real. How is this done? By the quality of your writing!!! So many of these questions have a simple answer: your writing is the key.

When it comes to creating a novel, nothing matters more then your ability to draw a reader into your world. That’s where the combination of description and characterization come from. A truly believable character can make up for a poorly described world. However, a beautifully described world can’t compensate for a poor, cardboard character.

The combination of the two, when done correctly, are what brings people into your world and then forget it isn’t real. See what I mean?

Instead of spending time on boards asking questions that have already been answered, my advice is to spend time telling a story! It’ll progress your career, if you want to be a professional, more then being a massive poster on various forums.

My challenge to everyone is: Do you want to be a serious writer or to be known as someone who posts under your screen name? Their not compatible in many ways.

I hope this has helped. Happy writing!

Comparing Oneself to Other Writers




I’m behind today because I cut our 5 acres of grass a couple hours ago, so I’ve just now started cruising the various boards. And, believe it or not, something’s already caught my eye. It was a thread titled ‘Who Do You Write Like?’

What the hell? Does an aspiring writer need to compare themselves against another? All that does is have a tendency to lead one down a rabbit hole as they try to copy the one they ‘compare to.’ Why would you want to do that to yourself? It’s insanity if you asked me.

Who does a writer compare to then?? Themselves! No one writes identically to another author no matter how hard they try. You could try to emulate, or even copy, Stephen King or Nabacov but you know what? It wouldn’t happen no matter what. Each persons word usage, and sentence structure, are different from another and that’s just how it is.

Furthermore, as I said before, it also leads a writer down a rabbit hole they don’t need to follow. By trying to copy another writer, you don’t learn anything on your own. I mean, how do you know the one you’re copying is a great writer or terrible writer? Without being able to create prose in your own style, then it’s impossible to make the determination.

And publishing success doesn’t translate to great writing either. Sounds crazy, but a lot of novels are best sellers because they are entertaining-and that’s a different world then pure wordsmanship.

So, try to be yourself and not copy someone else.

Happy writing.

Thoughts on Writing


I read a lot of posts on the writing forums about what to write, or how to write it, and it got me thinking. Is there truly a right way to write your book? And the answer has to be no! Here’s why:

Each person has their own style of writing (or what people like to call ‘voice’), which involves everything from sentence structure, complexity of vocabulary or thoughts. These are what separate lets’ say Stephen King from Clive Cussler or Hemingway from Faulkner.

I remember reading about Hemingway and Faulkner having their famous feud over various issues, with writing style being one of the biggest issues.

Faulkner made the comment:

He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.

Now I take umbrage with that because I don’t care to send a reader to the dictionary either. Why do so when there’s plenty of words to get your point across that are simpler? Plus, in this age of dumbing down of people, a lot of readers may or may not even understand what you’re saying in the first place. So, why do so? You know what I mean? I, like King, think that writing is about enriching another persons life, not trying to show how much knowledge of Mirriam-Webster you have.

If you as a writer think that creating a novel is all about you and stroking your ego, then you’ve got the entire process of art wrong. Art is not done for the attention but for creative release and the enjoyment of others. Once again, I have to agree with this King quote:

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

Getting yourself, and the reader happy, is the most important part of artistry-and that’s just how it is.

As for the Faulkner-Hemingway battle, I’m not through talking about that. Ernest had a shot to fire back over the comment about the dictionary:

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.

I’m personally on the side of Hemingway in this battle. I write simply and to the point. Long, complex sentences allow me more opportunity to screw something up or have to do a major editing to carry out to get it correct. With that said, I chose to use the simple words and simple sentences.

Sometimes the KISS formula is the best one.

Happy writing!


Silly questions


I was cruising the forums and someone was commenting about how a lot of beginning writers like to ask “what do you think about b’ab blah, blah?” What a ridiculous question to continually ask! The only one who knows if something is good or not is you the writer and any agent it’s sent off to.

What I really find silly are the ones who are worried about whether or not their writing is politically correct. Huh?? I have to agree with Stephen King’s quote:

“if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

Writing, like any art, has a tendency to shake society with its impact, so why worry about what others think? Unless you’re in a country that limits your ability to have free speech, write how you feel and be happy with it. Remember:

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

Happy Writing.

Novel Openings


I cruised the various boards today and another familiar question has come back up. “How do I start my novel?”

There’s two school of thoughts about this and I’ll share them both. The first believes in the ‘wham bam’ type opening. Something BIG happens, either an explosion or car chase or something, right off the bat. This viewpoint says that the reader will instantly be hooked by the rapid-fire action. The second feels that a slower, more cerebral entrance will draw the reader in. While there’s merits in both, whether or or the other is best to use depends on what genre you’re writing.

In novel writing you have two types of openings: 1. Action  2. Active. Let me break them down.

A “action opening” is exactly what it says. Something big is happening, whether it’s a foot chase, a battle, or something that involves some sort of physical action. This, when used correctly, can draw a reader in to the story off the bat. In my opinion it’s a bit of a gimmick, but I’ll explain that later.

An ‘active opening’ is a different type of beast. There’s not overwhelming ‘action’ even happening but it’s more cerebral in how it gets the reader’s attention. A typical opening of this type presents a problem, or a situation, that makes a reader start to wonder what’s happening and will compel them to read on to see the answer.

My personal opinion is that the ‘action’ opening is overused. It’s become a gimmick, similar to those things done in Hollywood, to get the attention of a person. Any person can write a pure action scene, but what happens after that scene’s over?

Active openings take more skill from the writer to pull off but have the higher reward. When done correctly, they completely engross the reader with the world and they keep turning the pages. The trick, though, is how to pull it off. And there’s only one sure fire way to learn this skill, and that is to continually practice on it.

Here’s a blog post on the matter by a literary agent named Kristin on her blog on blogspot about this subject.


I hope this helps out in understanding the difference.

Description in a Novel




Another post I see a lot when cruising the various boards is “What is too much description?” While description is necessary to a novel, it also slows down you pace. So, when you’re writing your novel and you go ahead and write two pages of description, ask yourself: Is this necessary?

The key is to give them just enough description to be drawn into the story, but not enough to keep them from using their imagination. Now, I can hear what you’re saying. “But..but..what about showing versus telling?” While you want to mix showing AND telling into your novel, there’s no point in taking a page to describe a room. It get’s boring to a reader and also slows your story down to a crawl. There’s a quote, believe it or not given his writing, from King on this:

“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing

A big problem, and one I too had to overcome, is being in love with your own words. Too many writers don’t want to cut down their description “because it won’t show the world to the reader.” If you feel that you need to give them every little tidbit then you’re insulting your reader!!! They aren’t so stupid that they can’t piece together the information you left out! Have a little faith in them. Second, when I hear folks say: “I just finished my first novel and it’s 300k words long,” I know they’re in love with their words. Unless you’re trying to write War and Peace, no novel needs to be that long-especially if you’re a new writer.

Also, and you can’t skip this step, description isn’t something that you just learn how to do. Only by reading great novels, learning from them, and writing your own work will you improve in the situation. I’ll leave you with one last quote from King:

“Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how-to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing

Happy writing and good luck!