Bad Advice Leading to the Blind Leading the Blind

 

It gets more and more difficult for me to sit back and watch people get bad advice from pseudo-intellectuals with diarrhea of the fingers. They sit there, pretend they know it all, and then give people who are trying to learn how to be an author terrible advice.

One thing that the sexual intellectuals (polite way of calling someone a fucking moron-so it’s the term I’ll use from now on) do is to get the newbies hung up on the rules. Yes, rules are important and you need to know them for writing, but they’re not fixed in stone. These guys tell everyone they are and they couldn’t be more wrong.

Another false premise that gets thrown out is the three-act structure in fiction writing. That is something used in scriptwriting to not only control how long the actual script is, but the help with the filming of it by giving the director some structure. It does not have a place in writing a novel, which is a different beast.

The other big one pushed is the ‘show don’t tell’ mantra. I’m sorry but novels are not 100% showing or telling. They are a mix of the two, and it’s how the writer puts it together that matters.

Fourth, they keep trying to tell others that the artistic nature is far more important than trying to write something that will be commercially viable. While that might work if you don’t mind the manuscript never leaving your computer-or being self-published-but it won’t in the mainstream.

And last but not least, the need to show writing to others, to get multiple people’s opinions on things. This is a case of ‘too many cooks ruin the pudding.’ Writing in a solo endeavor. It’s just you and the computer/typewriter/piece of paper. The more people get involved, the more likely your idea will be stolen or you’ll get lead down a rabbit hole and end up having to back track to move forwards.

Best thing to do is to read successful novel-preferably to top 100 of the 20th century, and see how the authors put their story together. What were their word choices? How did they construct sentences and use descriptions. That will help you be a successful writer.

With this said, I wish you all good luck in your travels.

Advertisements

What I learned Today After Taking A Breather From Writing

Today I decided to take most of the day off from writing and allow my head to clear. As I did this, many things came to mind and I thought them over. First off writing isn’t for the faint of heart. Even the best-selling authors get piss poor reviews on works that end up being classics. Thus, a good writer needs to have a thick skin and not let every negative review get to them.

Second, write for the audience, not another writer. Another writer will always end up being more critical of your work than the average reader and sometimes it can do more harm than good. Same thing goes for writing on the forums and letting the amateur writer try to tell you what’s wrong with it. This definitely becomes the blind leading the blind.

Third, things are made overly complicated by many beginning writers. The trap they fall into is trying to write something that’ll be considered both a literary classic and have legendary workmanship. Instead of shooting for the stars and failing miserably, it’s sometimes better to shoot for Jupiter and write a good story and not worry about whether is the best written story. There’s plenty out there that suck ass and still sell good. Don’t get me started on that shit called Twilight.

Fourth, the mark of a mature writer, whether he or she has been published yet, is the ability to write stories and characters that are totally unlikeable. Mareth is one of them for me. There’s nothing good about her; in fact, she’s rotten to the core. But she’s still enjoyable to write. Who doesn’t like writing a bad boy or bad girl character?

I could go on for hours writing down my thoughts but I’m not going to bore you. Hopefully you can glean something from and be able to move forwards as a writer.



Why The Hell People Need To Write Than Live On Forums

nanowrimo-1

 

 

 

As I sit here and write this I find myself thinking about the state of writing and the people trying to start out in it. There are several forums out there, some are better known than others but it seems that there is a plethora of either the blind leading the blind, or just plain bad advice. And the one that is the worst? The self-described expert. Now they don’t have to come out and call themselves that, but their words do it for them.

 

This is a recipe for disaster on so many fronts and in some ways it’s become comedic to read. First off the threads alone are both sad and illogical. One I read lately: “How Do I Make My Emotionless Character More Likeable.” The poster then goes on to mention how his character loved a woman before she was killed and he sought out revenge. Ok, someone loved another person; that’s an emotion right as is seeking revenge. See the illogic of the post?

 

The list goes on and on especially in either characterization of general writing threads. Most time folks are always asking how to make x-character be x-way. Easy! You write them that way. I have 6 main characters I have created…and the sixth just popped into being based off the opening line to a short story. Each has a distinct personality.

 

Talia: Warrior, leader, arrogant at times, ill-tempered when dealing with fools, carries a sinister undertone beneath her honor and commitment ideals.

Methos: warrior, very loving and protective of her sisters, bombastic, bi-sexual, smart ass to the core. Always ragging the other three about having to save them.

Crios: warrior, pragmatic, loves to follow Talia, the most level headed. Decent tactician.

Dannae: warrior, Doctor, scientist, tech wizard, quiet and low-key, doesn’t revel in taking another beings life, strong fighter when necessary

Micki: teen, serving her conscription period in military, tactical genius, hates military life, riddled with self-doubt, needs friends to keep her believing in herself.

Athol: teen, female, sexually abused by uncle, assassin, cold as ice, loves to kill, moody, obstinate, sarcastic, arrogant, always planning ahead, foul mouthed.

 

There you have it, six different characters, each different, all with their own personality. It’s not that difficult; all folks need to do is spend less time on forums and more time writing.

 

Which brings me to the self-described experts. It is obvious that it seems they don’t have any substantial writing of their own to do or they wouldn’t be on forums trying to tell others what to do.

 

I know what you’re going to ask: “If you’re seeing this, doesn’t that mean you’re posting and not writing?”

 

Actually, no, I’m not posting. The who’s who of morons can be entertaining to read when I need to get away from the final read through of my Talia novel and writing about Athol. So, in all honesty, that’s what I’m doing.

 

To make a long story short, if people want to succeed in writing, they need to be writing not constantly posting on forums where the blind lead the blind. If help is truly needed then look around on the Internet and find a mentor. If you’re story is non-violent, then I can recommend someone that could mentor people if she has space.

 

And as usual, keep writing people!

 

 

 

A Day In The Life Of A Writer

 

Today I’ll share the glorious world of a fiction writer. On the days that I don’t have to worry about anything but writing, this is how it goes.

11AM is when I’ll wake up and brew of cup of Starbucks’ Blonde Willow Blend and I sit down to play Scarlet Blade. This will take up a couple hours as I let the cobwebs clear from my wind. After that it’s moving on to a shower. Once finished, I then start to work on writing projects.

As I mentioned before, I finished the first Talia novel and have now moved onto a new project. However, with that said, I learned a valuable lesson. A couple days ago there was a thread going over at the Writing Forums that was enough to make me shake my head. ‘How Many Words Do You Write In A Day.’ Listening to the figures, it was unsurprising to see how merde comes out of a lot of amateur writers. I’ve learned that things are simple:

If you slow down, you stand a better chance of writing good stuff.

Why? Because it gives you an opportunity to sit back and construct your sentences, paragraphs and chapters better. You, as the writer, can pay close attention of every word you put onto paper that way, which will, in turn, cut down on the sheer amount of editing necessary when finished with the rough draft.

I learned this as I ended up hard copy editing this novel two times. After practicing since ’08, this shouldn’t be something I need to do, so I plan to help prevent that by slowing down.

If there is any piece of advice I can give is to do what it takes to make sure you pay attention to every word, sentence, paragraph and chapter.

Sometimes the turtle gets the prize.

Ok, once I’ve written between 1-1.5k words, I call it a day. Yes, there are times that I feel I could go on forever, but is the quality there?

Now it’s dinner time, which is the one meal I really eat each day. If I have 2 it’s normally a weird move…and three is very rare. So, I’ll have anything ranging from pizza to Chinese and then settle down for the evening.

Reality television, outside of Wipeout, has no appeal to me, so I’ll crank up the BBC and see if any good dramas are on. If not, I’ll plug the ear buds into the laptop and watch anime for a couple hours.

I end the day playing Scarlet Blade until bedtime. There you have it, the day in the life of a writer. Glorious isn’t it?

Novel Writing and Construction vs Short Stories

tumblr_inline_mgae6v1BDb1r0erp9

 

One question I see a lot from new writers is how to write a novel. Since Novels are totally different beasts from short stories, I figure it’s time to make a post on the subject matter.

First thing to remember is that events don’t necessarily have to be condensed down as they are in short stories. Most short stories have anywhere from 3-15k word count, while novels can be anything from 60k (in young adult) to hundreds of thousands of words (80-120k for new writers while established writers can go into 200-300k without too many complaints from their publisher.). This lends itself to exploring the issues of the story more in depth than in the short story.

Let’s start with the first major issue in novel writing: the beginning. Most new writers have heard the saying ‘grab the reader right away,’ which is true. However, what most do is start the book off with a car chase, an explosion, and fight or some other action. That’s not necessarily necessary to get a reader’s attention. What is important is to make the best use of the first 5-6 paragraphs of the novel, because that’s where most readers make their decision about going further from. So, make this count.

Chapter Construction:

This is something that is asked a lot, and here’s a basic idea. Each Chapter should convey a scene or a part of a scene. If you look at a lot of the bestselling books on the shelves, this is something that happens a lot of the time. The reasoning behind it is that not only does it push the story forwards, but it gives the reader a place to put the book down to either go to sleep or anything else they need to do.

However, this doesn’t mean one needs to cram a massively big scene into one chapter either. My two big battle scenes in my first Talia novel are split into two or three chapters. Why is this? Because I do a lot of point of view changes during the battle, thus allowing the reader to be immersed in the story and be able to see how things are progressing are or viewed from both sides of the conflict.

Remember: the word count in a novel allows you to go into greater depth than the short story does, and it can show itself in how your chapters are written.

Point of View:

    Short stories, by their very nature, limit the amount of POVs (point of views) that are able to be shown. This is not true with a novel. New characters (either another villain or ‘good guy’) can be added without much trouble. Switches in POV during a scene, with the appropriate line break, are not uncommon in a novel. This allows the writer to be able to show (like I mentioned above) things from multiple angles.

    For Example: Talia and her sisters are in a battle on a planet. During the chapters assigned to it, you get to see her POV, each of her sisters, and that of the two main villains at that point. Why so much? Because it brings the scene to life. Here’s a real life example. During the Battle of the Bulge, were there not two stories to the events? One from the American troops at Bastogne and the German troops surrounding it. Both sides saw the battle differently than the other, which would be their point of view. The same happens here. I allow the reader to learn how the characters are on the ‘villain’s’ side and their thoughts, feelings and motivations. Make sense?

Narration:

Novels, by their very nature, allow for more narration than in a short. This gives the author a chance to explore the world (setting) of the characters that isn’t given in a short story. What makes the setting special? What are the days like? The cities? Planets? Each of these can be explored in depth.

Characters:

    Each of these can be explored more in a novel. What makes him or her tick? The advantage of a novel is that you the author have the time to show the reader a lot about the character. Now this doesn’t mean go into their backstory in minute detail. Everyone has one and it’s boring, so don’t nail them with it.

Plot:

    A lot of things in the plot can take place in a novel. More events can take place due to the additional word count. How many different events would’ve happened in ‘A Most Dangerous Game’ if the author wrote is as a novel. Scenes that took place in the short story could’ve been fleshed out more, and the interactions between Rainsford and Zaroff could’ve been built upon. Think of how much more dialogue could’ve taken place between the two, given additional information on the events between the two. How much more action could’ve been shown? What about the final fight between Rainsford and Zaroff? That could’ve be shown to the reader if it were a novel (depending on what the author wanted).

Word Count:

    This is the final thing I want to mention. 80-120k is the number for brand new authors to strive for when trying to get commercially published. It is the number the Big 6 like. So, keep that in mind. However, with that said, there’s plenty of space to build upon the things you would write in your short story.

Hopefully this’ll help.

Number One Writing Tip

writers-block

 

 

I saw a post this morning asking what was our number one writing tip. In all honesty, it’s hard to boil things down to one tip. So, here’s mine:

Get your story finished first and foremost.

Let it sit and ‘rest’ while you get the emotional connection to it out of your system.

Rewrite it completely.

Hard Copy edit: print it out on paper and read through each chapter.  I recommend doing it 2-3 times.

Make sure you print yourself one hard copy version of the completed manuscript.

When it comes to actually writing the story, my one tip is to let it grow on it’s own. I never outline my stories, I just create a first chapter through trial and error (it often times takes me 3-4 attempts to get one that makes sense and I like) and then it let it grow own it’s own.

Also remember, there will be times where you do feel like you’re shoveling sit from a sitting position. It’s when you feel this way that you need to keep pushing yourself forwards. I think you’ll be surprised at how well you’re writing really was.

What is it with new writers and fantasy?

female-ninja-warrior_576792482

 

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.

 

A Reason Why Serious Writers Avoid Posting on Forums

nanowrimo-1

 

And I have to say a big “whoops” for being half asleep when writing this post. Here’s the actual link:

I’m going to put a link here and hopefully people can read the thread. This became totally ridiculous rather quickly and I’m glad I ignored it like the plague. Nothing like artistes arguing among themselves like this. I made my views clear on my blog, without having to attack anyone by the way, where an absurd amount of back and forth and fighting couldn’t happen.

This is just sad…

http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=62752

Thoughts on Writing

writing-fiction

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

writing-fiction

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.