Category Archive: craft

Jan 18 2013

How I Will Use My Talent and Desire to Change My World

Back in late 2009 when I was very active on Hubpages, writing posts about the craft of writing, I met a wonderful person who went by the name Scott Life. He would leave comments on almost every post with encouraging words like,

“See you could have charged 50 dollars just for that consult. You’re onto something here I’m telling you. You’re building a career…Is it obvious that I’ve been on my computer for three days straight?”

He knew my potential before I even knew!
And this very touching comment.


“You should know that most of my books success and structure I will attribute to you and your advice in these Hubs.”


Looking back to where I was then and seeing where I am now, it seems fit that I attribute my successes to Scott Life and the other Hubpages followers and commenters.

It really didn’t hit me that my articles were truly helping and inspiring others. After all, that was my goal, what I set out to do. However, I used to think that I had to “become somebody” before my advice mattered. I was wrong. In fact, I wassomebody then. I was the expert those readers were looking for way back then in 2009. Since then I’ve grown tenfold because of their support.

Scott Life and I were thisclose to working on a project together when I submitted a short essay for inclusion in one of his projects which unfortunately fell through. Still, I should’ve known then that our meeting was fate, letting me know I was on the right path just by the title and content of the essay (below).

I lost touch with Scott a couple years ago, but I appreciate all of his encouragement even more now than ever. Thank you to all who encourage me and believe in me! If you’d like to include how you will use your talent and desire to change your world you’re more than welcome to.

How I Will Use My Talent and Desire to Change My World

My world is full of people from both ends of the writing spectrum who are in need of some inspiration. At one end, there is the aspiring writer. On the other end is the successful established author. Even though I place myself somewhere along the middle of this spectrum, I believe my writing talents can offer that inspiration and motivation to writers on all levels of the spectrum. 

Story telling alone is enough to transform an individual. Exploring the fantastic worlds of fiction is a magical experience that often inspires one to create their own fictional world to explore, as it did for me. Story telling is one way my talents will change my world.

Sharing useful knowledge about writing and publishing is easy for me. Like most writers, I have had my difficulties regarding writing and publishing, and I continue to learn new and exciting things regularly that I enjoy sharing with aspiring writers. I am confident that my words will put that adrenaline rush of creativity into those who read them. In my world, everyone needs a little push in the right direction. This world, mostly filled with dreamers, is also flourishing with an abundance of dedicated writers in need of inspiration every now and then from a fellow dreamer. I am that dreamer.

Inspiring, motivating and enlightening dreamers to improve creatively are ways my writing talents will change my world.

Mar 20 2012

Inside the Mind of a Self-Doubting Writer

  1. Wow. What a great idea! I can’t wait to start on this story. But, wait. How can I make it original without making it suck?

  2. I know! I’ll write a cast of diverse characters, no cookie cutter stereotypes. Plus, my voice and style of writing would lend to the story’s uniqueness.

  3. Wow, I impressed myself. Gotta tell my honey how many words I wrote today and update my Twitter and Facebook pages with the news.

  4. Gosh, I’m tearing through this story. I’ve written so many chapters and even added a few good twists. This is gonna be brilliant! Progress is going great! I can’t wait to share this story with the world. People are gonna love this.

  5. But what if they don’t? What if they don’t like the direction I took the main character? Gosh, maybe I should go back and further clarify why the character made that decision.

  6. While I’m rewriting the scene where the main character makes an important decision, I might as well reread the entire thing to make sure the story’s unfolding the way I envisioned.

  7. Okay, now I’ll continue writing where I left off … but later this evening, after I make dinner and put the kids to sleep.

  8. The kids are fed, full and asleep but I woke up pretty early today. I’ll go to sleep now so I can get up early and write more of the story tomorrow before work.

  9. I got about an hour before I get the kids off to school this morning. Might as well check my emails and see what I missed on Facebook and Twitter before I start on the story.

  10. Darn! Where did the time go? I’ll finish writing the chapter of my story by tonight, no excuses.

  11. Well, now it’s a little late but I have the time to look over the last few chapters I wrote to remember where I left off.

  12. Ugh! I wrote that?! I must’ve been tired or something. This is not going the way I thought it would. It’s nothing but chapters and chapters of crap. No one’s gonna want to read this mess! Why am I wasting my time? The characters are obviously stereotypes and my voice and style seem too sophomoric.

  13. Ooh. I got another cool idea. But this idea will be great as a different book with different characters.

  14. Now how can I put my twist on it and make it truly my own? Well, before I get into this new story maybe I should finish writing the other story first.

  15. *opens story and stare blankly at the screen*

  16. I’ll start the new story now and work on the other story tomorrow. *closes story and opens blank document*

  17. But what if no one likes the premise of the new story? The characters seem kind of blah, the setting is overused … this will never work.

  18. Oh, wait! Honey read over the few chapters of my other story and liked it. Maybe I should put all my attention into that story again. But Honey isn’t familiar with book publishing or the market. What if Honey was just being nice and the story really sucks?

  19. I’ll have one of my author friends look over it and give me their feedback. They understand the book world and will be honest with me.

  20. They liked it and even gave me some useful feedback on how to make it even better. I can’t wait to start working on this story again. This is brilliant! People are gonna love it!

Feb 27 2012

Read More to Write Better

Sure we read fiction to escape reality or to be entertained. We read nonfiction to learn or to be inspired. We read for various reasons. However, did you know to be a better writer you have to read? Not just read, but read analytically.

 

Reading often and with an analytical eye will help you do the following:

Understand the three-act structure of storytelling

This one’s fairly easy and something that does not necessarily have to be taught to you if you read fiction regularly. The more you read the more you absorb the three-act structure of storytelling. I wouldn’t be surprised to know a four year old could tell an adequate story in less than five sentences just by having someone read him a bedtime story every night.


The dinosaur lost his blanket. He travels the land for days in search of the blanket and spots it near the top of a volcano. He climbs up the mountainside, fighting lava monsters until he finally makes it to the blanket and takes it back. He safely returns to his mommy and daddy, and lives happily ever after.

 

 

As dull as that story is, it’s still a complete story that contains the three act structure with Setup, Confrontation and Resolution. We understand this structure early and easily in stories just by reading and reading often.

Helps to study the market

Compare your books to other books by reading similar books in your genre with similar themes. It allows you to see how popular or appealing that genre and theme is, how your story compares to it in terms of uniqueness, and helps you discover overdone plots and overused characters and other clichés.
With that information you can write a book that stands out from the competition and produces buzz. You can also see the commonalities of your genre and understand why readers gravitate (or not) to those types of books so you can better provide reader satisfaction.

 

Helps to find your voice

When reading stories with similar themes as your own you  can analyze how other authors tell their stories and why you think their voice worked or didn’t work for that book. Is it too dark? Fast paced with choppy sentences? Does it lack tone or emotion?
Finding out how the narrative voice fits with the book or not will help you see which style is best for your own story.

 

Helps to broaden your vocabulary and improve your grammar

We read many words while reading some of our favorite books and some are words we’re not familiar with. We learn and memorize those words and add them to our vocabulary. With every story we read our vocabulary grows. The more words you know, the easier it is to write and be more descriptive.
We can be our own teachers at times and improve our grammar just by reading regularly. Seeing a word spelled a certain way, or with an apostrophe here or there becomes second nature to mimic that in our own writing.
Plus, more people should easily understand the difference between the words then and than if they read those words in a few sentences often. (A tiny peeve of mine).

Bad excuses NOT to read as a writer

  • Afraid of stealing ideas from another book or author.
This is a poor excuse, in my opinion. True, there are few original ideas left (if any) but there are limitless ways of telling a story. You have a unique voice, style and creativity that it’s nearly impossible for two people with the same idea to tell the exact same story.
  • It takes away writing time.

If you’re on a deadline, sure writing time is few.  However, plenty writers benefit when they read almost as much (if not more) than they write, for reasons stated above.

 

So continue to write but remember to read and read often for entertainment, inspiration or whatever the reason, but especially if you want to improve as a writer.

Do you agree with my points? Do you have something to add that I may have missed?