Wednesday, September 25, 2013
This one is for pretty much everyone - writers, readers, students, anybody who plays with the language frequently and at times gets a bit puzzled about punctuation usage. How To Use Punctuation Correctly is there to help.
Seriously, check it out!
And while you're at it here are a couple of blogs worth visiting as well:
Marcy Kennedy Science Fiction & Fantasy Author
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
“Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure. Emotion is easily transferred from the writer to the reader.” ~ Joseph Joubert
As a writer have you ever thought about that? Do you believe it?
Personally I do.
Over the years as a writer I’ve discovered the more emotion I put into the writing the more it connects on a very deep level with readers. Thus my general agreement with the statement above, though I’m not quite sure ‘pleasure’ is the right word for it unless referencing to the actual act of writing itself. Getting caught in the thrall of a story, fingers racing along the keyboard as it spills out onto the screen (knowing all the while there’ll be some heavy editing later).
As to the rest, the roiling, spitting, balled-up, pacifistic, loving, hateful emotions, I wouldn’t call them pleasure, but more like the intensity scale. Different emotions evoke different feelings, obviously. You aren’t going to write a gentle love scene with a backdrop of hateful and cruel emotions (at least not in most circumstances). You probably won’t have a murder backed up by the equivalent of violins and roses.
What we have to consider as writers is our life’s experiences (no doubt where the ‘write what you know’ phrase came from). From birth we experience the whole human range of emotion. As we grow we experience illness, injury, loss, love, physical and emotional pain. We absorb it and express it in a great variety of ways. The trick for the writer is to draw on that life experience that fits with the scene being written and inject it into your story for your reader to be drawn into the world you’ve created because he or she has ‘been there’.
And in that Joseph Jourbert is correct. When you dig deep, when you strike the right vein, you know it. And when a reader tells you “it was just like being there” or it was ‘stirring’ or your writing made them cry, or laugh, you’ve hit paydirt.
So from all of this we garner today’s writing tip and it’s nothing so straight forward or simple like how to edit or grammar or how to use your spell check properly. Nope, this one is a lot more heavily on you, the writer. This time I’m suggesting the need to take the time with a story; to sit back and consider what parts of yourself you can inject into the writing. What experiences you’ve had that you can pass on to your characters and breath real life into your writing. And how it needs to be written so all of those feelings, all of that experience, comes across through the written page to touch the reader’s heart and soul.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
It appears we need to be able to type even more than we need to be able to put pen to paper.
Fortunately for me, I learned to touch type many years ago and type at a comfortable 100 words per minute. That speeds things up when writing ~ and did so greatly during the years I had to work in an office to support my writing habit. Now I can just burn up the keyboard at my home office.
Take my advice, go see about the online typing tutors (free) at Tumblemoose.com
Get that speed up, it can help you in a whole lot of ways.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
|Question: what is it?|
What are you writing about, who are you writing about, when are you writing about?
Straight forward questions, but ones an ambitious writer needs to take into account when preparing to write a novel or in the midst of spinning a tale.
I’ve been a writer for some years now and published frequently and I can remember clearly writing entire scenes and describing little or nothing, not pinning down a character’s character and more distracting missteps.
Questions create a story and if you, as a writer, don’t answer those questions you’ll lose your readers. “What if…” is a big question. So is “What would someone do if”… or “if the world was a much different place in these ways, what would happen...”
Questions, so many questions, but isn’t that our nature, to want to unravel ‘mysteries’?
There are many questions big and small that arise when the writer is writing. And writing (any story, whether screen script, novel, or short story) is a tricky business.
So, here are some of the “big” questions.
Where is your scene taking place? Right, should be a ‘duh’ question, but so many times the writer knows very well where the scene is taking place, he or she can see it clearly in mind’s eye, but surprise, your reader can’t read your mind. How about a hint; just a touch of where things are happening, maybe from the protagonist’s point of view. And just because you tell us it’s a subway platform, don’t leave out the other senses. What does it smell and sound like? Is it day or night? Busy or not so much? Are we in present time, or another time altogether?
Another question – are you making it plain how much time is passing in your story? Is it minutes? Hours? Days? Years? Don’t confuse the hapless reader.
What’s going on with your character? This relates a bit to the guest post I did for TV Writer on Writing Action recently. Seriously, your characters need to react. Whether in novel or in screen script. If somebody gets a ‘dear John’ letter she needs to react. If another somebody gets in a car wreck he doesn’t ‘think about his situation’ he feels pain or confusion or both or more. The character may have to force himself to think logically after such an incident, but there’ll be ‘stuff’ going on along with it. Reactions are how you explore character and let the reader in on the character’s idiosyncrasies.
Sometimes, when you’re hot, writing fast, you don’t really focus on this one, but it needs to be addressed. What is the point of your scene? Sometimes an author is wrapped up in a really cool scene idea, perhaps something he or she has experienced and wants to get that scene down on paper to the point that a scene is written that really has no point relating to the story at hand. Many times this isn’t even caught until editing, but caught it must be. A scene needs to have a point whether it relates to character or plot. Don’t just stick something in, or leave it in, because it’s some of our coolest writing. If you love it, save it, it may actually work in another book or script, but don’t leave it where it doesn’t belong.
Now here’s a biggie I’ve seen get lost in the shuffle. What is the goal of the story’s main character? From there is where your story hangs. Your reader is breezing through those first sentences looking for exactly that – the character’s goal. Said reader might not be aware that’s what’s happening, but it is. Whether that goal is attainable…or not…it needs to be there. Without said goal you don’t have a story, you just have a bunch of people running around doing things.
Questions, always questions. Keep asking them and your stories will bloom.