Thursday, 29 September 2011

Writing tip summary

I have finally started university!

Or, well, I've had my first week, meaning we were only introduced to the subjects - but we're getting there!
So what can I teach from this first week?

You need a strong opening:
You must hold your reader from the very beginning and for this, you need a character, a place and action - not necessarily explosions and stuff; even if the character is just thinking, something is happening.

Always show, don't tell:
It's widely known, but still difficult for new writers. It tends to become like a summary of events in which the story gets completed too fast. So pace the story carefully so that the reader gets involved along with your central character. Provide details to slow the pace but also to set the scene and to invite your reader into the world you've created. Just remember - too much detail is not necessary. Readers like to use their own imagination. It is up to you where to draw that line.

Point of view:
You need to decide from whose point of view you'll tell the story - and then stick with it! Imagine that you are your central character, get inside the head of him/her and report from his/her point of view. Alternative viewpoints can be presented through dialogue with other characters.

Convincing characters:
The term Synecdoche means "a part to represent the whole", so when deciding on a character, come up with that person's special characteristic (maybe a whiny voice or filthy fingernails) and use that to develop the character. Characters are the essence of any story - the plot depends upon what your characters do and how they respond to the world around them. Build your characters; give them backgrounds, childhood memories, relatives, friends, interests, a birthday, education... anything to make you know your character better. You don't have to give these details in the story, but that YOU know them is important to create believable characters. Once you get deeper into the story, you'll find your characters have their own will, their own life, and that's where the story really begins.

Natural dialogue:
It all depends on what your characters say and how they say it. People don't speak to each other in complete, grammatical sentences. It will sound strange, stilted... Have one character interrupt another, or maybe even complete each other's sentences, if to create intimacy between them. There is no fixed rule. Read it aloud - if it sounds stilted, try to think of how you or someone else talks and write that down. Don't think grammatically when it comes to dialogue. If one character has a dialect, let that show. There's no right or wrong, whatever your computer spelling-system says.

Sense of place:
Your fictional world must seem real, and it needs to seem real quickly. You need details and imagery to make your descriptions credible, to really invite the reader into the world. Make use of a character's personal memories and attachments; maybe a yellow shoe, a postbox in a corner, a pot of lively flowers - anything to make you seem to know your world inside and out.

Organise your ideas into chapters, where you have one important event in each. It could be a good idea to leave a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter to make the reader want to come back for more. Revealing mysteries is a good way of keeping the reader interested; make subplots go along the main story and reveal secrets and twists to enrich the story before the climax. Write yourself a chapter-by-chapter synopsis to give focus, and even if it needs to be rewritten after your novel is done, it doesn't matter - you can write it again.

That was just a small summary of what we're doing. Whenever we get deeper into the subject, I'll reveal exercises and more detail to these things. It was more of a refresher. 

Keep updated for more tips!

I look forward to hearing from you! Any comment is welcome! ;)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Some more ranting

I've come up with something to help me write - a daily writing challenge. I have to write at least 500 words every day, or I'm forbidden to eat anything sugary! (So either I get the writing going or I'm going to lose some weight - it's a win-win situation!)
So this morning, I sat down to write and I got about 800 words before I managed to finish a very long chapter, and that's where I stopped. Thus, I've munched on some cookies to reward myself. ^^

Anyhoo, I read some blog posts today by one of the blogs I'm following. She's a Harry Potter-analysist. I just can't get enough of it. I've sat for two and a half hours just reading her blog posts. However, it makes me compare myself to Rowling and that's not good for my self-esteem... How can anyone write like that? How do you become such a genius? Every detail is plotted, every word is carefully planned, every character stands out... I have no idea how she does it. No one can ever compare to her!

I start my Creative Writing course on Tuesday, by the way. Or rather, we start induction week then.
But the week after that, I'm going to learn some writing! I'm so excited! :D I'll try to post the lessons I learn here on the blog, both for myself to never forget them and to share the knowledge. So hopefully I'll have some better posts than the constant rambling on how my novel is going. 

So keep reading! ;)

Monday, 5 September 2011

The perfect idea?

My writing goes slow again, so today I've just tried to do some character development and continued reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I must say, it's not in the same league as the Twilight-series. It took me more than half the novel to actually find it the least interesting, but when I did, I couldn't stop laughing.
 She's truly an amazing writer.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the greatest authors get that one perfect idea that has every reader in the whole world adore them, but what happens when that idea is finished? I haven't read anything new by my idol J.K. Rowling lately? And the novel that I'm reading now... it just doesn't grab me. So what is it exactly that makes their perfect idea so perfect, and the other ideas not? Is it just the idea? Or it is something else that doesn't really follow through to the next idea?
Don't get me wrong, I suppose that many authors have written series that are all phenomenal... I just can't think of anyone right now, and that slightly bothers me :S

Thursday, 1 September 2011

It's a good day

Today I woke up by 10am - and the first thing in my mind were new, fresh ideas for my book! Luckyy! :D I had no notebook by the bed, though, so I took my phone and pinned it down in there.

I had such a bad writing-day yesterday (a little bit of depressing thoughts, some tears, some "I'll never be good at this!" lines in my head, etc, etc) that I decided to read a new book while I ate my breakfast. I recently bought Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, so I read it from start to finish for a few hours (two or three). Then, just like that - boom! - my inspiration came back and I started my computer, and to applause (inside my head) I could finally write again, and I LIKED what I wrote! It's a miracle! I couldn't move from my computer for 6 hours straight (meaning that my planned solo-shopping trip had to be cancelled) and when rising, after having finished a 3500 word chapter, I had (still has) such neck pains that I could hardly move my head - yes, it was that bad. After dinner we were about to watch a movie, and I still couldn't move my head properly, but oh well, what don't you do for your little baby (the book)... ^^

Now I'm flowing with energy and inspiration, but I have to sleep too, so I'll continue tomorrow - and if the inspiration is gone when I wake up, I'll probably read a little more to get it back. :)

Keep reading, folks!