What fits into the story?
When writing a story many ideas will come to you; sometimes the gates of inspiration will be open and a flood of characters, circumstances and themes will overtake you. You may be tempted to incorporate all in your story, after all, you may think – they came to you while writing that particular story. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Some things may not fit in the current chain of events, and may fit later – or not fit at all. However, write down these ideas as they will become fuel for other writing projects.
When editing your current story, mind how things fit together. Cut out what doesn’t fit right or what seems lengthy and does not contribute anything to it. Readers will devour a story with an easy flow . The Twilight Saga from Stephenie Meyer is a good example of mammoth books with excellent flow for the reader.
Between the lines … a Writer’s Heartbeat
While reading a fellow writer’s article on how much of a writer’s life and beliefs are reflected on a piece of writing (see link below) it dawn on me that the adage “we are open books” is not so far from a writer’s truth. I agreed with the premise and my comment to her was the following: “There is always some truth about the writer hidden in a piece. Even when the piece is written on a subject totally alien to the writer. I find poetry a good example of this. You can express anything on a poem, even something that does not agree with your values (such as a poem about betrayal) – but somehow a writer’s truth will emerge between the lines. Other times, the writer let’s it all out.”
Soon a question emerged – how much of yourself do you let others see in between the lines? And when is much too much? The answer is as unique as an individual’s privacy and disclosure preferences. And as a reader, how much do I want to know about that writer? And again, the answer is as unique as that particular reader.
There is also one thing to consider – with every heart beat amongst the lines, there is an image of a writer being born to the reader – growing, and developing. Mind those beats.
Here is her article.
Mind your ideas.
Ideas come from everywhere; from something you heard, saw, remembered, an object, a smell, or from something you read. Some writers avoid reading the genre in which they are writing their current piece. The reason, they are weary of borrowing any ideas, without intention.
The other day I read about the lawsuit going on between the estate of British author Adrian Jacobs and J.K. Rowling. It alleges plagiarism on Rowling’s part, but of course, not substantiated. It got me thinking on how many similar ideas float in a writer’s world, and how easy is to be influenced by a similar idea. I don’t consider this plagiarism, as many people can have the same idea and express it in a completely different way. This is not a copy. However, more than ever, we should mind our ideas, since writing has evolved in so many ways due to the internet and the many ways in which you can share your work these days. Ideas are free, and you are free to write what you want, as long as it does not land you in already claimed territory.
Character’s Point of View
When writing fiction it is important to consider your character’s point of view – where is he/she coming from? The life experience and the amount of detail of who he/she is, determines how the character moves throughout the story. A character that grew up and lives in the slums will know little about social etiquette or let’s say, playing golf (unless the character is learning that particular skill and of course it would part of the story). For example, you cannot write a chapter where this same character – with no previous golf experience – will beat a golf pro in a game (unless you are planning to include some special magical abilities in the story, or paranormal, such as re-incarnation or past lives) – you get the point.
Make your characters believable, alive and your readers will identify with them.
From Movie to Book
We have read the book, we loved it, and pray for it to become a movie. It seems that more and more books, especially for young adults, are making it to the big screen. I prefer to read a book first, then watch the movie. Some people become inspired by a movie to read the book. However it goes, one seems to complement the other – although some book lovers may disagree and say that a book stands for itself – and that is true. Let’s say that they enhance each other and this relationship between book and movie makes good commercialism.
I have heard best-selling authors being interviewed about their involvement in the process of their book being made into a movie and their opinion is very similar. Most love it, consider it an honor, and view it as a complete different process. Some don’t want to be involved much in it, but enjoy having a little bit of input. But most, if not all, agree that they want the integrity of the characters to remain true to the story – and I think that is what makes one to enhance the other in the relationship of book and movie.
We all enjoy to read a good story – in our heads we visualize it – but when the story becomes alive in the screen and special effects are added, our senses become alive – the icing on the cake.
The story that I love …
Who do you write for? Although books are categorized or targeted for sale to particular groups of readers, such as young adults … I keep hearing best-selling authors saying during interviews that they sat down to write a story that they would love. Some of them say that they wrote the story for themselves. This is a very important point since it determines how you approach the writing of a piece.
If you sit down to write the story that you love, you will be connected with that piece much more that if you think that you are writing for such and such group of readers – a bit of pressure there. Of course some authors will take advantage of a trend, such as the trend of vampires. It seems that since Stephenie Meyer wrote Twilight and the sequels and it was a hit with young readers as well as adults, everyone is writing about vampires and werewolves now. The vampire has been awakened again. And that is fine.
So next time you sit down to write, ask yourself this question: “Am I writing the story that I love?”
Writers are entrepreneurs
According to a simple definition of the word, an entrepreneur is a person who is willing to take upon herself or himself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome and is looking to make a profit (from Wikipedia). Although most of the time we define it in the traditional business sense, this definition can be applied to writers. Aside from their love of writing, writers take chances, are willing to put the long hours that it takes, and go from rejection to rejection learning and adjusting their venture, until they make it. Writers also want to make money in the end. They look for their own clients, present their own projects and work, and even do the legwork in promoting their work. Most dream of the day that they publish “the book,” and will endure anything for the love of the craft.
When we think of an entrepreneur we hardly think of writers. The image that comes to mind is of the traditional business man or woman starting a venture. But if you are a serious writer you well know that you have the entrepreneurial spirit deep in you.
Free Style Poetry
Poetry can take many shapes. I am not a poet, but sometimes I feel inspired and have to write it down. The poem does not follow any rules, it just comes out – it just is. However, many think that you have to be in a certain mood or inspired in a particular way to write a poem. I disagree. I find that when I feel a “certain inspiration” – not sure how to describe it – I tend to write just poems. They don’t follow a specific feeling, they could be as far to one another in that sense, but they do follow a theme – usually. That is the way it is for me. Other times, I could write about a love affair and next about taxes. That is why I don’t call myself a poet – I don’t follow the rules of poetry. If there would be such a thing, mine would be called “free style poetry.”
Check the Poetry section on this blog – Totally Inspired.
If you have never written a poem and sometimes feel the urge but think that you can’t write poetry, write it down anyway. Let the inspiration flow, don’t think about it, write free style – embrace your Muse and let it out.
Befriending Uncle Sam: A Writer’s Responsibility
It is the beginning of February and tax season is almost here- in the USA (April). I have started to prepare my documents and crossing my fingers. As a freelance writer you might get many assignments and jobs here and there. Being used to the odd flow of things, record keeping may be a bit relaxed sometimes. It is important that you keep track of your paid work and develop a system to track your income and the documentation you need for your taxes. If you come up with a system that you have easy access to while you are working, you can log on any items daily and avoid last-minute rush.
Think of all the benefits that an organized system will get you. Number one is having more time to dedicate to your writing and a clear mind to tend to your muse.
There are little ways in which you can contribute everyday to reduce waste and care for the environment. Think twice before crumbling that piece of paper. If the back is blank, cut it in half or four pieces and use it as scrap or doodle paper. Staple a couple and use it as a small note pad that you can carry in your bag, for when ideas come to you. There are many other uses that you can think of. Use it as packaging material, shredded or crumbled. Or as paper to test your pens before you write.
How about that ink cartridge? Take it to your supply store when it is empty, sometimes you get discounts for recycling them. Print in fast or economy mode to save ink. Print in black and white if you don’t need the color; why waste color ink if you don’t need it? You can reuse the small plastic container where the ink cartridge comes and use it to plant seeds. Keep your PC in energy-saving mode if you are going to be away from it for a while.
There are many things that you can do to contribute to a greener environment as a writer. I am sure you can come up with some according to your daily writing routine. Be a green writer!