Shortspark http://shortspark.com Spark.Ignite.Write. Tue, 16 May 2017 22:16:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 45 Top tips for new writers http://shortspark.com/45-top-tips-new-writers/ http://shortspark.com/45-top-tips-new-writers/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 22:03:33 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=483 Before I get going on tips for new writers, I’ll start with this quote, which pretty much sums up how I feel after delving deep into the advice dished out on the highways and byways of the internet. There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ― W. […]

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Before I get going on tips for new writers, I’ll start with this quote, which pretty much sums up how I feel after delving deep into the advice dished out on the highways and byways of the internet.

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ― W. Somerset Maugham

There is advice that appears common sense, advice that is truly great, and advice that no-one can agree on.

That being said, here are the tips for new writers that made it into my top 45:

  1. Write the first draft only for you, write subsequent drafts for your friend, the reader.
  2. Spend the time to make sure your book cover is as good as you can make it.
  3. Read voraciously in the genre you write in, write feverishly in the genre you read in. (Don’t use adverbs like I just did)
  4. Write every day.
  5. Read every day. Not just what you’ve written yourself.
  6. Write your first novel just for you, the book that you have always wanted to read. You can write to market later.
  7. When/if your first novel doesn’t sell, don’t be disheartened, write the next one.
  8. Know the rules before you break them.
  9. Find a local writer’s group that will help you hone your craft and inspire you.
  10. Finish your manuscript. Just finish it.
  11. Write with social media turned off.
  12. Keep your insides vulnerable, but grow a thick skin. As a writer, you’ll need both.
  13. Keep a journal. The journal that no-one but you must ever read. Talk to yourself in there.
  14. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Give yourself permission to be really bad on that first draft. Remember that this is as bad as it will get.
  15. Practice the telling, as well as the listening of stories.
  16. Trust in time – to sort things out, make you a better writer and get your novel done.
  17. The first chapter is crucial, not because of submissions to an editor, or an agent, but because of submission to your reader. Get the latter right and you’ve also succeeded at the former.
  18. Don’t overwrite – Every adjective has to be justified, every adverb thrown into the sea.
  19. Learn Point-of-view. Lean towards the third person unless your story demands the first person.
  20. Find a writer you admire and dissect their writing – dialogue, plot structure character arcs. Do this with Tv shows, movies etc.
  21. Be a people-watcher, but try not to be obvious. It’s creepy.
  22. Use visuals to inspire you. Commission your book cover before the first word is written.
  23. Keep the time and space you use to write sacred. Protect it with your life.
  24. Show don’t tell. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov
  25. When you get there, charge through the tricky middle. Come out the other side having completed two-thirds of your novel.
  26. Don’t use too many exclamation marks!!!
  27. Remember that even when you achieve success one day, that the sickening feeling you get when you realise your writing is not good enough will never leave you. Now relax and carry on writing.
  28. Once you know and understand what makes your characters comfortable, throw the opposite at them.
  29. Don’t give up.
  30. Write because you love to write. Though there will be times you don’t. Love it, I mean. Write then because once you’re away from writing, you’ll remember how much you do in fact, love it.
  31. Write down every idea, or use your phone’s voice memo recorder.
  32. Don’t compare and don’t despair, be single-minded in your focus.
  33. Don’t say ‘suddenly’, or ‘all hell broke loose’. Otherwise, suddenly, all hell will break loose.
  34. Read your writing out loud to yourself.
  35. Keep your writing safe, make copies. Backup your work.
  36. At a point, make sure you have others read your manuscript.
  37. With regards to character or plot, feel free to change your mind about anything.
  38. Go for long walks.The best authors go for long walks. Quite famous ones were alcoholics too. But definitely, go for long walks.
  39. Nurture your regrets. They make for impassioned writing.
  40. Avoid cliches of description and dialogue. And characters. Oh, and cliches of story. I think that about covers it.
  41. Marry someone who thinks you being a writer is a good idea.
  42. Don’t read the reviews.
  43. Try to think of other’s good fortune as encouragement to yourself.
  44. Don’t wait for inspiration, let discipline take you there.
  45. Ignore all tips for new writers

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” ― Dorothy Parker

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury

“To all the talented young men who wander about feeling that there is nothing in the world for them to do, I should say: ‘Give up trying to write, and, instead, try not to write. Go out into the world; become a pirate, a king in Borneo, a labourer in Soviet Russia; give yourself an existence in which the satisfaction of elementary physical needs will occupy almost all your energies.’ I do not recommend this course of action to everyone, but only to those who suffer from the disease which Mr Krutch diagnoses. I believe that, after some years of such an existence, the ex-intellectual will find that in spite of is efforts he can no longer refrain from writing, and when this time comes his writing will not seem to him futile.” ― Bertrand Russell

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Writing update #5 http://shortspark.com/writing-update-5/ http://shortspark.com/writing-update-5/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 21:14:46 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=478 To be honest, I am still finding my way around this writing malarky, even with a first draft under the belt. Not the craft of writing…that I imagine, no-one ever truly masters, but rather the somewhat regular effort that a novel demands. The momentous achievement of finishing has almost taken the wind out of my […]

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To be honest, I am still finding my way around this writing malarky, even with a first draft under the belt. Not the craft of writing…that I imagine, no-one ever truly masters, but rather the somewhat regular effort that a novel demands.

The momentous achievement of finishing has almost taken the wind out of my sails or at least slowed the sailboat down a few knots.

It’s not as if I didn’t know there would be hard work ahead, I am looking forward to polishing this turd so hard; the shiniest turd you’ve ever seen is my goal. It’s more to do with the fact that I am circling this beast warily, taking little shots at it, knowing I need to start hacking at it with a vengeance.

AT THE SAME TIME:

I am also likely to be a putter-inner, as I’ve mentioned before, so though there will be hacking in earnest, I will also be (hopefully) adding depth to the story. This latter point leads me to write and make notes away from the draft, thinking about characters and their motivation, often asking the question:

Why? Why did my protagonist decide to go left instead of right? (Answer: Satnav). Why did he choose to become an ultra-marathon runner instead of a professional wrestler? (Answer: Professional wrestling is not real.)

That kind of thing. And also other things.

The point is that as I flirt with my manuscript, I look forward to really getting stuck in. I’m just waiting for life to gift me a few precious hours every so often.

I’m hopeful, but right now very far away from the levels of productivity I was aiming for.

P.S. That’s me in the header image, training for an ultra-marathon.

P.P.S. That’s not me training for an ultra-marathon. Those guys are crazy.

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Plotting vs Pantsing | The Ultimate Guide http://shortspark.com/plotting-vs-pantsing/ http://shortspark.com/plotting-vs-pantsing/#respond Sat, 06 May 2017 21:04:08 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=438 If you’re a new writer, or even an old one, (or a new-old one, if you know what I mean!) you would have come across this debate in researching ways on how to write your novel: Plotting vs Pantsing. You will find articles all over the internet extolling the virtues of each, with each camp […]

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If you’re a new writer, or even an old one, (or a new-old one, if you know what I mean!) you would have come across this debate in researching ways on how to write your novel: Plotting vs Pantsing.

You will find articles all over the internet extolling the virtues of each, with each camp often looking at the other as a different (lesser) species of writer.

Now apart from the fact that pantsing is quite obviously a made-up word that makes me want to giggle like a schoolgirl, I don’t have a particularly strong opinion on the subject. This might surprise you, given that I am about to offer you the ultimate guide to plotting versus pantsing.

You will also discover that, as with most things in life, there exists a very healthy spectrum of grey in between this black and white simplification. This article will explore not just plotting and pantsing (I’m still giggling) but also that world that exists where you can utilise the strong points of both.

Firstly, let’s dive into definitions of each:

Pantsing

What is pantsing?

Pantsing is unsurprisingly, the act of sitting down and writing, quite literally, by the seat of your pants.

The cliched version of this will see you opening up your laptop, or sharpening your pencil in that decisive way that you do, and then start to write with no forward planning, no idea of where your characters or story will take you.

It’s the picture that is most often used in Hollywood; it also happens to be the one that serves up the most drama when illustrating writer’s block. You know, the one where the writer is sobbing over a blank page when the words don’t come.plotting vs pantsing writers blocks

Most pantsers concede that they will have SOME idea of what they’re going to write, whether that be one particular scene that starts everything off, or an idea for a character or two, but pantsers do NOT plan ahead. Instead, they let each sentence take them onto the next.

Stephen King, the most famous of pantsers, says he likes to put characters in a stressful situation and see what story emerges. I dare say it has worked out ok for him.

Plotting

What is plotting?

You can imagine that plotting is the complete opposite.

Also called outlining, it involves a process where you create a structure for your novel before you write it. You write headlines for the major plot points of your novel which provide a map by which you navigate your way through, filling in the detail as you go.

Of course plotters all plan and plot to a different extent. Some will start writing their novel having just the beginning, middle and end in mind, others have written outlined drafts of their novel that consists of up to ten thousand words.plotting vs pantsing James Patterson

One of the most famous plotters, who also happens to be the top selling author of our time, is James Patterson.

His outlines are quite extensive and read like little stories by themselves.

Quite accidentally, (maybe) my two examples of pantsing vs plotting have a bit of history between them, with Stephen King famously saying James Patterson is a terrible writer and the latter then writing a book called ‘The Murder of Stephen King”. (The book launch was cancelled)

If anyone cares, I happen to think they’re both brilliant.

Why the debate between Plotters and Pantsers?

I believe the debate arises for three reasons:

1. Humans like to belong to a group. This is yet another group they can belong to and create delicious division where there does not need to be any.

2. Humans like to think the art they create is a form of magic.

Pantsers = Magicians

Plotters = Mechanics

This comes from that feeling you get where a line of dialogue jumps into your head, or a particular turn of phrase comes from seemingly nowhere and you just have to put it into your story. Not to mention those times where you woke in the middle of the night with an idea, feverishly tapping away on your keyboard before the magic left you as quick as it appeared.

I happen to think there is nothing magical about it, even though it may feel like it, but I’ll reluctantly leave that debate for now. The point is that the somewhat more methodical way of plotting your novel is seen to be a threat to the magic, either getting in its way, or producing an inferior story.

Us writers are a funny bunch.

On the one hand, we can be extremely supportive of each other, giving advice whenever it’s asked for and generally being good guys. On the other, the ones with a few novels under their belt can suffer from delusions of grandeur, believing themselves to be above the afore-mentioned mechanics and scoffing at the idea that there can a be “process” for writing a good story.

3. There is money to be made.plotting vs pantsing dollar sign

Let’s face it. You can’t write a book, sell a course, or run workshops on the magical bit. If writing a novel was just about having an idea, sitting down and writing it, there would be a tonne of people not making money out of those keen for a manual on how to write the next bestseller.

Remember at this point I’m still not arguing for or against.

I’m just saying that the plotters have a financial incentive in this debate, as cynical as that may seem.

But hang on, before coming to a verdict, let’s discuss in more detail the various methods employed by plotters and pantsers.

Ways to pants your novel:

I have already mentioned that the most common version of pantsing involves no planning whatsoever. The writer sits down and away he goes, a novel emerging at the end.

But of course there are a variety of ways that pantsers approach writing, and very few of them write in quite the way you might expect.

1. Write with a few key scenes in mind:

Think of your potential story and try to imagine a few key scenes. These can give you a starting point, or a point you could aim towards.

Either way, a sense of the mood and genre should come to mind, as well as a hint of the characters that would take up the stage.

2. Write forwards, plan backwards:

The always excellent, and as it turns out pantser, Emma Darwin, writes that she feels there is nothing wrong with letting your dreams and imagination take flight on that first draft. Then having done so, you can ‘plan’ backwards, now having a better idea of what it is you’re creating.

She also rightly points out that there is a risk with this method that you could become too attached to your scenes and characters, making it very difficult to go back and get rid of things that don’t work.

That does not mean the method is not legitimate, but just that you would need to develop the cruel and necessary ability to ‘murder your darlings’.

3. Start with a character:

Plotters vs Pantsers Jack Nickolson voicesTake a character and start writing the story from that character’s point of view, letting their voice and actions guide you.

This method is often associated with those that say a character speaks to them. Yes, essentially, that they are hearing voices! (The magic is strong in these people:)

If this is you, I get where you are coming from. There are times when a character says and does something that surprises you (or are you just surprising yourself?) and can take the story in a whole new and unexpected direction.

4. Start with a scene:

Choose the most important scene, the scene that embodies the story and it’s conflict, and write that one first.

This will give you something to hang your hat on, a feeling as to where your story will be heading and an overarching conflict that can drive all other actions.

Plotting in disguise?

Even as I write this, I can hear the naysayers among you whisper, “Isn’t all of this just a little…erm…plotting?”

I’ll avoid eye contact with you as I answer, my eyes will dart up and to the left and I’ll say, “Of course not.”

We’ll get back to this, but for now, as there is almost by definition no specific way to pants, it might be helpful to think of pantsing in terms of helpful tips, so here are a few:

A few helpful tips for Pantsers:

 

  1. Whatever you do don’t stop. If you’re going to pants, go all in. Don’t worry about your adverbs and adjectives, your show or your tell. Just write. Put your wildest flights of fancy down on that paper or on that laptop screen and do. Not. Stop.

Imagine you are the modern day equivalent of Arturio Bandini, sweating and slaving over your manuscript, getting it all out until plotting vs pantsing Arturio bandiniyou’re spent.

Write as if your career depends on it, which might very well be true.

2. For that first draft, forget continuity, forget plot. Instead, use the narrative and dialogue to drive your story forward. This may very well mean you follow every rabbit trail that presents itself. Do it.

Down these rabbit trails is where you’ll find the magic.

3. Know your genre. This means that you will loosely know the conventions that your readers might expect. A hero or heroine. Action and tension. Twists and turns. Whatever your chosen genre is known for.

You’ll have them in the back of your mind as you write, and they will subtly help shape your story.

4. Do not edit. If it helps you get back in the flow, maybe. But your inner editor is not the same guy that brings the magic. You have to shut him up on that first draft, maybe even the second.

5. Don’t stop to find out if 19th-century monks had mobile phones, you can do the research later. Make a note of the sticking points if you have to, but pay them no heed. Later drafts are where you get technical if it’s needed.

6. A cool tip, and one quite a few famous writers employ, is to purposely stop mid-sentence or mid-paragraph, in order to save some precious flow for the next time you write.

Ernest Hemingway said, “Stop while there is still more to be said.”

Which, when you think about it, means there is more to that quote than we know!

7. When you get stuck, and you WILL get stuck, jump to a few scenes ahead, or if things are really bad, to a scene you’ve been keeping for rainy days (I.e this moment)

This elusive thing called “flow”, closely related to the other elusive thing called “magic”, can really leave you as quick as it arrived, so for those moments, you need to plough ahead with the knowledge that it will return.

Ok so having got that out of the way, let’s say goodbye to the magicians and talk about the mechanics.

The plotters, the planners, the ones with spreadsheets and spanners.


The plotters, the planners, the ones with spreadsheets and spanners.
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Ways to plot your novel:

1. Outlining vs Structure:

The first thing to note is that talking about outlining is not the same as talking about story structure, though hardcore plotters might plot with the story structure in mind.

I’ve already explained what plotting is, but a story or narrative structure is based on the belief that all stories (the ones worth telling anyway) follow a shared structure.

Some talk about a three act structure, others about the 5 key turning points in a novel, but basically it refers to key elements that are present and have been present in storytelling since mankind sat around the fire, drinking curdled milk and re-telling the action of the day’s hunt of a woolly mammoth.

2. The three-act structure:

plotting vs pantsing 3 act structureThe most common story structure that originates from the early theatre and is most often used in screenwriting, is called the 3-act structure.

Any story is divided into three relatively distinct parts, the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution.

The first act is used to set the scene and world in which the story will take place, establishing the characters and their relationships with each other and the environment they find themselves in.

This act will include what’s called the ‘inciting incident’ or ‘catalyst’. Something will happen towards the end of the first act that provides the drama and poses the question, “What will our main character/protagonist do to save the day?Restore things to the way they were?”

The second act contains what’s called ‘rising action’ and basically describes the protagonist’s attempts at fixing things, only to find the opposite happening. The main dude/dudette does not have the skills to overcome the forces of the antagonist and must acquire these skills, resulting in a kind of progression called the character arc.

The best stories have pretty cool arcs.

Act three is the resolution and contains the climax, where all tensions are brought to their highest point before being resolved. The main characters are left knowing themselves a bit better than they did in act one.

The sharpest among you will have realised I’ve just told you a story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Oh and that it needs a bit of drama. Duh.

But can you see that if you were to plot your story before you wrote it in earnest, it would be good to keep the above in mind?

3. Story Grid:

There are of course variations on the three-act structure, an interesting one being Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid. plotting vs pantsing storygrid

The Story Grid is both a diagnostic tool and a structure, based on the way that an editor would see your manuscript, with a

Beginning Hook, Middle Build and Ending Payoff. Find out more here.

4. The Snowflake method:

Unsurprisingly, the snowflake method is based on the principle of snowflake fractals.

You would start with writing one sentence (a short one) that sums up what your story is about.

For the next step, you’ll expand that sentence into a paragraph which will give you a kind of informal synopsis.

After having done this step you’ll do the same paragraph summary of each of your characters describing their motivations, goals and conflicts.

At this point the method asks you to expand on your original synopsis and then grab a spreadsheet, yes I said a spreadsheet! On this spreadsheet, you will enter single lines for each scene and then expand on those etc.

The idea now is that your novel keeps growing in size, with more and more detail being added until you have the finished draft.

Randy Ingermanson does a much better job of explaining it on his site, Advanced Fiction Writing.

5. The Hero’s Journey:

plotting vs pantsing Star Wars

Joseph Campbell thought that all world myths contained a similar narrative. Again, just like the three-act structure, we have in this case:

Departure or Separation, Initiation and Return.

In the Departure, the protagonist receives a call to go and do something epic. He refuses. He is then persuaded by a mentor or supernatural wise-guy. (Think wizard) and enters the second stage.

In Initiation, you guessed it, our hero goes through trials, temptations and tribulations, almost dying in the process but evolving into a bad-ass. The good kind of bad-ass.

Finally, in the Return, the protagonist returns to the problem at hand and though it’s close, emerges victorious.

One of the most popular examples of this is Star Wars, with George Lucas citing Joseph Campbell as an influence.

6. The Freytag method:

As no-one can agree on numbers, it’s no surprise that there exists yet another framework, this time one that has five parts. Inflicted upon the world by Gustav Freytag, these parts comprise exposition, rising action, climax, falling tension and conclusion.

Though existing of more parts than the three-act structure, the Freytag outline model weirdly allows for more freedom and only a loose sense of structure.

7. The James Patterson method (for want of a better term)

As I mentioned in one of my first posts on this blog, my writing journey started with a Masterclass with James Patterson. Whatever you may think of his writing, suffice to say I still watch those videos to feel inspired. The man loves writing and it’s infectious!

His method, though not as official as others, is to plot to great detail every scene of your novel. The plot will read like a complete story and should grip you as much as the actually completed draft will. His outlines will often span 10 000 words or more.

A few helpful tips for Plotters:

 

  1. Write a script  your very own film:

It might be useful for some to write the entire novel as a screenplay,  I.e. description – dialogue – repeat.

You can then go back and turn all of this into prose. I’m intrigued by this idea as it’s so character focussed yet allows for story to unfold, without being bogged down by the need to be poetic.

2. Index cards:

If you’re going to plot, go all in! (Have I said that before?) Write the bare bones of each scene on an index card to enable you to shift things around and get a great overview of how the plot could fit together. Of course, the digital version of this would be something like the corkboard in Scrivener, an absolutely invaluable tool in many a writer’s toolbox.

3. Mindmap:

Another cool thing to do is to map out plot ideas along with characters on a big piece of paper, a kind of stars and planets thing that will help you connect the different themes and players visually.

For this purpose I use Scapple. Actually, I use Scapple for a ton of things, it’s endlessly useful.

4. Spreadsheet:

I will write about this in detail at some point, but suffice to say that the good old spreadsheet has many, many uses! Especially for something like a thriller, plotting out your scenes and character arcs on a spreadsheet is absolutely brilliant in making sure you don’t lose the plot. (Sorry!)

5. Outline in reverse:

Start with the ending and plan how things would have had to progress to get there. Similar to the pantsing idea of choosing a scene and writing around that scene.

6. Structure each scene:

Anastasia Parkes says all scenes should read like sex, meaning they should include foreplay, action, climax and wind down.

Did I mention she writes erotic fiction? Still, can’t argue with her advice!

Additional Considerations:

Discipline:

My personal view is that if you’re someone who struggles with personal discipline or at least finds it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time, plotting might be the way forward.

Essentially you’ll have this framework that will survive periods of disruption and will give you a roadmap that you can use to find your way back into the novel when either, your mind wanders, or you can’t write for a decent amount of time in one sitting.

Mood:

Following on from the above, it seems that when inspiration strikes and the stars align perfectly, one can sit down and pants your way through a 100 000 word manuscript. This implies a certain state of mind, and for want of a better word, a certain ‘mood’.

The reality is that, for a lot of us, that mood is very difficult to cultivate or wait for. The normal stresses of life, work and kids mean that writing can be quite a fragmented exercise, to the extent that once you find precious time to sit down and do the business, you’re not in the mood.

So for those times, it helps to have a structure in place that leans heavily on previous moments of inspiration, where the mood WAS right and you plotted out your novel knowing times might get tough!

Genre:

When this discussion around plotting versus pantsing comes up, a point that is often made is that your chosen genre might play a role in deciding which method to use. As Russel Blake says, “It’s hard to write a whodunnit if you don’t know whodunnit.”

So for instance, genres of crime and thrillers, fantasy and science fiction might benefit from plotting, but certain styles of literary fiction and romance perhaps not.

Outliers:

Another important point to make is that defenders of either method often make an appeal to authority. E.g. James Patterson is a best-selling writer, he plots, so if you want to have your books sell, so should you.

Stephen King, a best-seller and a great writer that inspired some of the best films of our generation, is a pantser, so you should be one too.

Can you see how ridiculous this is? Especially when you consider that writing styles differ wildly from author to author, and that each has a measure of success that might not be yours.

Plotters vs Pantsers Stephen KingFurther, the concept of outliers plays a role here. Stephen King might scoff at the idea of plotting, but he might (and probably does) have the innate ability to write a story that has all the requisite plot points without having to think about it.

Most ‘normal’ writers might not. Don’t forget that Mr King spent years and years honing his craft, and STILL writes the odd flop…something to think about?

Conclusion:

So here is my personal take:

There is no debate, there is no conflict.Plotters va Pantsers writer typing

I’ve essentially just written a 3500+ word article to describe the differences between the two camps when really, I don’t believe there is a difference.

It’s all the same thing.

The difference, if there is one, lies not in the ‘how’, but in the ‘when’.

Plotters are pantsing, but they do the pantsing in advance and/or as they go.

Pantsers are plotting, but they do it as they go, or after.

BOTH methods arrive at a point, maybe midway through the first draft, at the end of that draft, or maybe even at the end of a second draft, where they have a big lump of a story that now needs refining and sharpening into a real story.

At this point, the pantsers will work on their plot, the plotters will re-plot or work on their character arcs, strengthening elements of theme and emotional engagement.

Could all of this be as simple as explaining the difference between those who like to go walking the woods with no map, but then have to find their way back, versus those who like to know where they’re going, but will veer off course if they feel like it?

Is the difference just one of personality? What do you think?

P.S. Guess how I wrote this article. Damn right, I plotted the hell out of this puppy!

P.P.S. If you found this post useful, entertaining, or it tickled your fancy in ways unimaginable, please consider sharing it via the very helpful buttons below!

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Writing update #4 http://shortspark.com/writing-update-4/ http://shortspark.com/writing-update-4/#respond Wed, 03 May 2017 11:36:55 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=419 The struggle is real people! The last two weeks has seen my day job take over to the extent that I got very little writing done. It is ironic that we were working on a pitch that if successful, would allow me MORE time for writing, so I felt the loss of the two weeks justified. […]

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The struggle is real people!

The last two weeks has seen my day job take over to the extent that I got very little writing done. It is ironic that we were working on a pitch that if successful, would allow me MORE time for writing, so I felt the loss of the two weeks justified.

Just before the madness kicked off, I got to the end of my novel. This is the point where I would normally have jumped for joy and done the proverbial cartwheels, but I didn’t celebrate for the following reasons:

  • I was thrown into the all-consuming pitch and had no time to reflect on the fact that I wrote my way to the end of a novel.
  • I had left quite a number of TBW (To be written) sections in there, so it didn’t feel like a first draft.
  • Partly because of the above reason, and also because I concentrated mainly on action and dialogue, my word count stands at a paltry 67 000 words. This is not quite enough for the genre and arguably not enough for a novel to get your teeth into.

So I’ve spent this week going back over each scene in Scrivener, summarising the main beats of each using the synopsis section. This I plan to print out and read to get an overview of where I am at, as well as show some of the more glaring plot holes.

I am sure there are many.

Things I learned this week:

  • Life happens while you’re busy making other plans. Enough said.
  • My ambition for the amount of writing I’ll be able to do with business, kids etc. might be a touch unrealistic!
  • I learned that the work really starts at this point, where you’re kinda done, but you’re not. I have a feeling I’m either going to love the editing process or hate it. Marmite.
  • There are many many good writers everywhere, lurking just underneath the edge of true discovery. I’m constantly amazed at the quality of writing I come across in the writer’s meetings I attend. Case in point is this lady:

Chantell Atkins

Loved this freaky short story of hers:

Leaf

And Shirley Golden, an established author who’s already been a tremendous help to me in my fledgeling writing career.

Anyway, I have a mammoth post on plotting vs pantsing brewing on the stove, hoping to get that out this week.

Hope you’re rockin’ in your writing…

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Social Media for authors | A necessary evil? http://shortspark.com/social-media-for-authors-a-necessary-evil/ http://shortspark.com/social-media-for-authors-a-necessary-evil/#respond Fri, 07 Apr 2017 13:25:13 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=404 I get it. In the days before the internet exploded and took over our lives, a successful author attended a few book signings on a national tour, maybe a few radio interviews, and then he/she would go back to their own voluntary solitary confinement. Back then there was no social media for authors, simply no […]

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I get it.

In the days before the internet exploded and took over our lives, a successful author attended a few book signings on a national tour, maybe a few radio interviews, and then he/she would go back to their own voluntary solitary confinement.

Back then there was no social media for authors, simply no other way the author could interact with his audience, so the mystery of the writer was kept intact, for better or for worse.

The scenario I’ve just described will have some of you thinking those were the good old days, while the rest of you will be thanking your lucky stars you live in an age where social media exists and where you can interact directly with your no-doubt rabid fans.

The introverted writer:

The problem is that, as a cliched and very general rule, most authors are considered introverts, myself included. We would quite happily go days without interacting with another human.

We thrive on it, we wallow in it.

We secretly feel our creativity is sustained by leaving our tortured minds free to roam with no interruption.

Not only do we shy away from being social, it sometimes feels as if, like a newborn baby, we have only so much capacity for external input before our brains want to explode. At best, we feel uncomfortable in social situations, at worst, we experience it like a prison sentence, watching the clock until we can leave.

A social media world populated by salesmen:

Add to that the fact that the online experience these days consist of more “me-too” and sales type communication than actual conversation, it all serves to make us jaded in the extreme. Our integrity is at stake, we can’t possibly be seen as snake-oil salesmen, nor do we want to come across as egotistical and vain, with a desperate need for validation.

No time for actual writing:

It seems like the sheer amount of work and time involved to keep up with the marketing aspect of things, will leave very little time for the important bit, your writing!

Should you just throw your hands up in the air and close all your social media accounts? Should you leave social media for authors to those that love self-promotion?

Here is a fact:

Unless you are one of the outliers, where your book gets picked up by a big publisher and you become the next J. K. Rowling, there is a very real chance that you will have to do the marketing for your work all by your lonesome introverted self. Not only as a self-published author but increasingly, even as someone signed to a major traditional publishing deal.

The world is changing.

Just as it happened in the music industry, the public now discovers books and engage with their favourite authors in a very different way.

Don’t even get me started on the implications of Kindle unlimited.

You, therefore, have a choice: Adapt, or write your books and tell your stories to no-one, which kind of defeats the point.

social media for authors Quote from erik qualman

The right personality for social media:

You might feel that you don’t have the right personality to be bothering with all that modern stuff, (said in an old man’s voice) but the key is not to change your personality to suit engagement on social media for authors.

Instead, it’s to replicate your personality on social media.

So if you’re a miserable sod in the real world, by all means, be a miserable sod online. But be real first as this is what makes people engage. Just as in real life, no?


Replicate your personality on social media.
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The evil of the internet:

Further, a lot has been said about the evil’s of the internet and what a bad impact it has on our society.

Personally, I’ve not seen this effect at all. Sure, it’s annoying when we all have devices at the dinner table, but once they’re packed away, it’s not as if no-one wants to talk to anyone else!

To go even further….can interacting on social media be good for you?

I think it can.

I’ve already confessed my introverted nature, so being on social media has in the past been somewhat of a hurdle for me.

Instead, over time, and because much of my day job demands it, I’ve started enjoyed interacting with people, almost as if a part of me that loves other humans had been awakened. This is a good thing, right?

I suggest the same can happen to you.

The “social media for authors” strategy:

There is no denying that all of this takes time. Monitoring all social media platforms, engaging in conversation, keeping your profiles up to date, especially if you have a decent following, can leave little time for anything else.

Which is why it’s crucial to implement a specific strategy, one that is tailored to your personal capacity for all of the various activities that social media for authors demand.

Chris Syme in her excellent book Sell More Books with Less Social Media, makes a great point that an author should engage where he/she is selling.social media for authors fb logo

For 9/10 authors this will mean they can engage and concentrate on one, maybe two social media platforms at most.

For the others, use what’s referred to as the Outpost method. This involves setting up a presence on other platforms, keeping it updated, but shepherding your audience away from there, to the place where you engage. For most people, this is currently, and looks to remain for the near future, Facebook.

Achieve the right balance:

Hate selling? Or coming across as selling? Make sure the balance of your posts are in the 80/20 range, that’s 80% of posts that provide value and only around 20% that promote your own work.

Build trust, not disgust.


Build trust, not disgust.
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Conclusion:

I maintain that social interaction online can be good for the reclusive author, but try, as much as possible, to replicate your real-world communication in the online world.

What do you think? Is social media only for specific types of people?

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Writing update #3 http://shortspark.com/writing-update-3/ http://shortspark.com/writing-update-3/#respond Wed, 05 Apr 2017 11:05:49 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=387 This (writing) week, was one of discovery and discipline. I always find those two things go together, as when I discover new techniques, new software, or come up with new ideas, I have to apply discipline to reign it in a bit and focus on what I’m doing now. The more I learn about the […]

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This (writing) week, was one of discovery and discipline.

I always find those two things go together, as when I discover new techniques, new software, or come up with new ideas, I have to apply discipline to reign it in a bit and focus on what I’m doing now.

The more I learn about the author business, and specifically the indie publishing business, the more I realise that for the business model to work, there needs to be a good amount of assets.

In other words, write more books! (Yes, not a particularly clever conclusion)

This represents a challenge for me, as my output is very much dependant on 1-2 hrs of bleary-eyed time early in the morning, before the day job starts and before the responsibilities of parenthood starts. (Have I mentioned I have three of the buggers?)

I occasionally write at night, but nights are usually reserved for client work since the days can be a bit of a productivity write-off. If I decide to write even later than that…let’s just say, you can’t write with your eyes closed.

Things I learned this week:

I discovered an author called Monica Leonelle who wrote a few particularly thought-provoking articles on increasing your word count. They involve, among other things, using the Pomodoro technique, as well as dictating your first draft. Especially the latter idea tickled my curiosity as, given my limited time for writing, I could really do with creating work faster!

She goes as far as saying that she was able to increase her word count from around 1600/hr to 4000/hr! This is obviously a very attractive prospect so I will investigate and report back. I think two main things that would hold me back from using this are:

  1. I seem to write in a way that suggests I self-correct as I write, using previous sentences to check my flow and timing. It’s difficult to explain, but I suspect I might struggle to dictate as well as I write.
  2. Like many writers, I often write in coffee shops. I like it there. I don’t want to be kicked out for making a noise, or worse, be kicked out for appearing to be unhinged as I talk to myself.

One other interesting thing I read on Monica’s blog was that her first novel was written as mostly dialogue, as she found internal dialogue difficult at first. Which meant her first draft read almost like a screenplay. This is very much my experience too. I find myself at around 65k words, almost at the end of my novel, with a lot of description and other bits still to add.

I found it encouraging because:

  1. Someone else, who now has tons of books under her belt, started off in a similar way.
  2. I think I would really like to try my hand at a screenplay!  (This is where the discipline has to kick in…)

On screenplays, I recently met a UK freelance writer and editor called Nick Daws who has a blog called Entrepreneur Writer [www.entrepreneurwriter.net] In it Nick shares tips, advice, reviews and market information for writers and aspiring writers. On his site, I found a free course on screenwriting, a fantastic opportunity for anyone considering the idea of writing screenplays.

That’s my update for this week!

Hope you’re rockin’ in your writing…

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The secret to writing compelling characters. http://shortspark.com/secret-writing-compelling-characters/ http://shortspark.com/secret-writing-compelling-characters/#respond Fri, 31 Mar 2017 13:09:02 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=317 The secret to writing compelling characters is both incredibly complex and stupidly simple. It’s complex because real people are complex, and it’s simple, because real people are when it comes down to it…simple. I believe that the reason we find some characters in novels interesting and compelling is the same reason we find people in our own […]

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The secret to writing compelling characters is both incredibly complex and stupidly simple. It’s complex because real people are complex, and it’s simple, because real people are when it comes down to it…simple.

I believe that the reason we find some characters in novels interesting and compelling is the same reason we find people in our own lives magnetic or charismatic.

Have you ever wondered why that is?

And have you heard how people refer to others as “characters”? As in, “That guy is such a character!”

We don’t necessarily have to be drawn to them in a good way, it’s just that they are memorable in some way or another.

It may be that the secret to writing compelling characters lies in understanding the way we perceive those around us in real life.

That being said, here are some key factors to include in your writing:


It may be that the secret to writing compelling characters lies in understanding the way we perceive those around us in real life.
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Give your characters motive:

Your characters, and especially your protagonist, need to be motivated by something, just like you are.

This could be the quest for love, fame, acceptance, affirmation or validation, the Holy Grail…whatever.

The point is that a character with no drive is as flat as a pancake and your readers simply won’t care. Remember how no press is bad press? Make your readers love or hate your characters but don’t leave them somewhere in the middle.

Middle equals bad.

Make sure your readers can identify with a character:

The point of all this is that, at least on some level, we need to care.Kate and Leo writing compelling characters Writing compelling characters asks the reader to see themselves in the book, to become the protagonist, or at least wish they could hook up with his love-interest.

It’s the reason we root for Frodo when he has that damn ring under control, or cry into our couch cushions when Kate lets Leo sink in the Titanic. (Personally, I think there was plenty space on that drifting door.)

Make your characters do human better than you do:

Make sure your characters have something they’re really good at, so we can admire them. Anything from superhuman eyesight to exceptional fortitude, or cooking 2-minute noodles in one minute.

superman and kryptonite writing compelling charactersMake your readers wish they were just as cool. There is not a person in this world that does not wish to be really good at something.

Equally, they’ll have a weakness, something in their past that causes them to go all Superman-Kryptonite on us at the worst moment in the book.

We’ll tear our hair out in frustration, crying, ”nooooo!” while at the same understanding, because we have weaknesses too. (Who knew?)

Make your readers remember:

One way to ensure your readers are not ambivalent about a character, is to make sure that character is memorable in some way or another.

This can, and probably should, be in their tone of voice, the character that surfaces in the language they use and the things they do.

I don’t just mean, one guy swears a lot, and another doesn’t. Use their background, their culture, their created personality to infuse the use of language in such a way that speech tags would become almost redundant. The reader will always recognise who’s doing the talking,

It can be a good idea to give your characters a quirk or two that sticks in the mind, whether this be an exaggerated limp or a propensity for lemon-coffee.

Give them something to hide:

Have I mentioned how compelling characters mirror the way we are drawn to people in real life? Yes? I’ll mention this again just to make sure:

“Writing compelling characters is all to do with understanding why it is we find certain people interesting and others not so.”

Fine, I said it a bit differently that time.

One thing we find super interesting are…SECRETS.

Give your protagonist a secret, heck, give secrets to all your characters. Do you have something you’ve kept secret all these years? Or at least something you don’t generally blurt out after the first drink at the office party?

Does that secret shape and influence your view on certain things?

Make your reader turn the page so they can find out why Kate let Leo sink even though there was blatantly room on the drifting door. (HINT: she had a secret!)

Give your characters a bigger baggage allowance:

It’s important to understand that no character arrives in your story as a newborn.

(Unless your story contains the arrival of a newborn child, in which case this may not apply….or unless you believe in reincarnation, in which case it WILL apply.)

Every character, your compelling protagonist included, begins the story having lived a life. That means they join this story full of preconceived loves, hates and interesting thoughts on Obamacare.

It also means they arrive in this tale with BAGGAGE.

Again. Just like real people.

So, in order for your story to have a point, it would be a good idea for your main character to go through some form of change as the story unfolds. This is called the character arc, and is the only high-brow writer’s word I will allow in today’s article.

Yes, writers and those who teach writing, have used extravagant language in the past to describe this arc. Everything from The NEXUS, to the inner journey, but it is really a simple case of the protagonist starting in one place, emotionally and physically, then ending in another.

This progression isn’t always for the good either. Cough..Anakin Skywalker..Cough


Give your characters a bigger baggage allowance.
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Write your characters into the story’s theme:

Your story, whether you want to know it or not, will have an overall theme of some kind. This might be clear, or open to interpretation, but what can be a good idea is to make each character an embodiment of that theme in one way or another.

Every character will interact with this theme and represent either a supporting or opposing force.

E.g. If your theme is about a man’s quest for redemption after a bad past, each character can bring out an element of that past, or can be a force for good in helping him overcome his past and work towards redemption.

Describe with restraint:

“She embodied the qualities of a raving swan.” crazy swan writing compelling characters

In describing your character’s physical characteristics, remember that we’re going for memorable rather than a crime watch identikit.

Pick one or two defining things about your character and highlight those. Even better is to put in the mind of your reader an image of your character that they themselves have created with your description, an image that clearly differentiates them from another character.

A jarring metaphor will always win over a bland description of eye-colour, but don’t get too abstract.


She embodied the qualities of a raving swan.
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Stay consistent:

Most importantly, stay consistent in the way your character is portrayed. In real life, people may surprise you with the things they do every now and then, but on careful reflection, you’ll often find they were actually acting consistently with their true nature.

In other words, your characters should surprise you… but not really. Clear as mud?

Nothing is as confusing to the reader as a character that acts out of character. Hah!

If your characters end up doing something that seems out of character, let it be because of the transformation brought on by their personal journey.

Watch more TV:

Lastly, if creating compelling characters in your writing is all about understanding the intricacies of charisma and the size of airplane doors, what can you do to improve this understanding?

You could go and people-watch at a train station like a serial killer, but I dare say that could get you arrested. Striking up random conversations might work if you’re friendly, but will be hit and miss, as well as not give you the depth of relationship you need.netflix logo writing compelling characters

No, for inspiration, you will have to look inwards and examine your own interactions with your life-long, as well as newer, friends and enemies.

Or watch a lot of Netflix…that could work too.

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Writing update #2 http://shortspark.com/writing-update-2/ http://shortspark.com/writing-update-2/#comments Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:17:17 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=284 This week finds me facing the harsh reality that my objectives might be somewhat unrealistic.   In theory, 1000 words per day should be easy, especially since I’ve allowed myself the luxury of saying those 1000 don’t HAVE to be the best I’ve ever written. In theory, writing one short story every weekend should be […]

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This week finds me facing the harsh reality that my objectives might be somewhat unrealistic.

 

In theory, 1000 words per day should be easy, especially since I’ve allowed myself the luxury of saying those 1000 don’t HAVE to be the best I’ve ever written.

In theory, writing one short story every weekend should be easy, but in reality, it well…isn’t.

Well, of course, all you experienced writers say, while shaking your head sadly at the folly of the youth.

Ok, the folly of a new writer.

The fact is my novel HAS progressed. By about 4000 words or so. Something about reaching for the stars and you’ll touch the ceiling, that kind of thing.

In my post on ways you can ensure you’ll finish your novel, I said that you should set realistic goals. Very much a case of do as I say, not as I do!

Things I learned this week:

I am currently reading Into the Woods, How stories work by John Yorke.

A really interesting take on why it is we actually enjoy a story, whether it’s one we read, watch or hear from a mate in the pub.

Take aways are:

  • Your readers need to identify with your protagonist on some level.
  • They need to CARE about your protagonist.
  • Your protagonist arrives in the story with a past, and with specific desires.

I’ve just started, so might do a review on the book, but so far an enjoyable read.

 

 

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11 ways you can finish writing your novel. http://shortspark.com/11-ways-you-can-finish-writing-your-novel/ http://shortspark.com/11-ways-you-can-finish-writing-your-novel/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:12:03 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=271 There is a relatively scary statistic floating around the internet that says 97% of people who start writing a novel will never finish it. Encouraging right? I’ve not seen this backed up by hard statistics, but I can believe it to be true. The amount of times I’ve had to give myself a kick up […]

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There is a relatively scary statistic floating around the internet that says 97% of people who start writing a novel will never finish it.

Encouraging right?

I’ve not seen this backed up by hard statistics, but I can believe it to be true. The amount of times I’ve had to give myself a kick up the butt (very difficult to physically achieve this by the way) just to get going again, even though I LOVE writing, tells me there will be a lot of quitters.

Yup I used the word ‘quitters’.

A book has this mysterious romantic quality to it, but it’s essentially just a project like any other project. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Ok, sometimes it has a very difficult middle.

But really, it’s no different to mowing the lawn, albeit a very big lawn, and it helps to think of it as not a mountain, but rather a series of smaller hills.


97% of people who start writing a novel will never finish it.
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Here are my 11 tips that will show you how to finish writing your novel:

1. Write about a shitty bird.

As you can tell, I’ve not actually read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, but her phrase “Write a shitty first draft,” is becoming the stuff of legends.

The idea is not that you purposefully write really badly, no that will come naturally.

I kid.

The real idea is that you bulldoze your way through that first draft without the constraint of self-censoring and with serious blinkers on, with the aim of FINISHING.

This is the key.

The enemy is the blank piece of paper/screen, not a shitty first draft.

2. Put the yucky bits on the side of your plate.

As you storm through your novel, achieving the grand ambitions of a finished first draft and Repetitive Strain Injury, you’ll inevitable hit scenes where you just can’t get the words out.

You stop, unsure of whether Johnny got to 1st base or 2nd while making out with Mary-Jane in his dad’s pickup truck.

James Patterson says, write ‘TBW’ on the top of that scene and move on, while trying not to think of how Mary-Jane has lost her innocence.

Be ok with leaving some problems as little nuggets of dilemma that you will sort out later.

You can see where this is going, as you’ll soon end up with something resembling a novel, perhaps with a few holes in the plot.


Be ok with leaving some problems as little nuggets of dilemma that you will sort out later.
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3. You can’t lose the plot if you never had it.

Which brings me neatly to plotting.

I have my own ideas on the debate raging between plotters, those who plan out their novel, and pantsers, those who write by the seat of their pants. (More on that in a later post.)

What is a fact, is that an outline can bail you out when you get stuck. It really is a roadmap that tells you where to go next, especially if you end up skipping sections as we spoke about earlier.

4. Keep a scene or several in your back pocket.

If you have planned somewhat, or if you have a few key scenes that you’re excited about, keep these in your back pocket to pull out in times where you’re stuck. They’re like a pick-me-up on days where you can’t be asked.

They’re like a pick-me-up on days where you can’t be asked.

They can also have unintended and surprising consequences, where the scene might solve an earlier one, or give you a new perspective.

There is further advice that says write your novel’s ending first, but I don’t agree.

The ending is the dessert after the main meal, the carrot stick in front of the donkey. (You’re the donkey in case that isn’t clear.)

My 7-year old has just cottoned onto the idea that he should keep his dessert as a ‘reward’ after making his way through the veg. It really works.

Keep your ending as a reward that gets you through the mushrooms and broccoli of your manuscript.


Keep your ending as a reward that gets you through the mushrooms and broccoli of your manuscript.
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5. Make sure you have a safe place to write OR, learn to write WITH distractions.

On a practical note, the common advice is to find your happy place. Somewhere quiet where you routinely sit down and write.

Then when you are writing, guard yourself from distraction.

Though controversially, would it not be great if you could learn to write WITH distractions? I know a few writers who have managed this. They grab a few hundred words wherever they can, be it with a laptop while the kids are next to them watching telly, or dictating into their phone as they wash dishes.

This little-and-often approach means you then end up with extra words where there would otherwise have been none.

Sure the quality of these words might be dodgy, but that’s what editing is for!

6. Be accountable.

This is where something like Nanowrimo can help, because you’re part of a community of people encouraging each other and comparing word count. I find my local writers circle to serve this purpose for the rest of the year.

Shout out to the Bournemouth Writer’s circle!

7. Write or die.

Not literally. Use this nifty little app. It might spur you on to greatness. I can’t stand it, but I’ve heard it works for some!

8. Walk away.

When you really can’t stand the sight of your manuscript and you feel that tears are close.

Stop.

This is maybe the time to walk away, do something else, go mow the lawn because I know you didn’t finish that job either.

Seriously, you do need to guard your psyche and if things aren’t working, the best thing you can do is to leave it alone for a bit. Perhaps even long enough that you forget some parts of your story. You’ll be amazed that as you return to it afresh sometime later, your muse has returned and you can go on with your very shitty draft.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder right?

9. Keep reading, wait… writing, no wait…reading…

Mr. King said it so it must be true. You can’t write if you don’t read.

I think this is especially true when you’re banging out that first manuscript. Not so that you can compare your writing to that of the books you are reading, but in order to give you fresh perspective and inspiration as you go.

10. Set realistic goals for yourself.

If you set out to write 3000 words a day, but mostly manage 500, you have to adjust your expectations. This will result in you feeling like you’re moving forward and accomplishing something.

Tony Robbins says that:

“People overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in ten.”


“People overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in ten.”
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11. Words of encouragement.

Finally, it’s just a book.

There I said it.

Your worth as a human being is not depended on the quality of the sentence you’re currently agonising over.

This book is also just one of many if you’d like to make a career out of it, so don’t be so damn precious about a first draft.

Write it.

Finish it.

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Writing update #1 http://shortspark.com/writing-update-1/ http://shortspark.com/writing-update-1/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:02:48 +0000 http://shortspark.com/?p=267 So this, the first of my personal updates on writing and my quest for the meaning life, finds me at around 55 000 words into my first novel. I remember well when I started writing. It was around Christmas 2015 and for some reason, I got it into my head that I was going to […]

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So this, the first of my personal updates on writing and my quest for the meaning life, finds me at around 55 000 words into my first novel.

I remember well when I started writing. It was around Christmas 2015 and for some reason, I got it into my head that I was going to write a book. I’d seen adverts for James Patterson’s Masterclass on writing and the idea appealed to me, so off I went, writing the first scene in this book of mine and reading it out proudly to my friends and family who happened to be staying with us.

A familiar start for many, and what follows was just as much a cliche, as I spent the next 12 months writing, plotting, outlining, second-guessing my story, re-outlining and writing some more. I’ve learned tons about writing since then, and have learned even more about myself as a creative being. The way that inspiration struck, how that inspiration provided the fuel for motivation, and then how discipline needed to take over and finish the race.

It’s that last part that has seen me battle my distracted self, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, but always up for being a writer.

All writers suffer from doubt, but I think I’ve seen enough of the world to know how it works and to know that I can be successful, even if I’m not a Stephen King.

What stands in my way, is finishing.

What stands in my way, is lack of follow-through.

What stands in my way, is me.

But because I know this fact, and know it intimately, and because I’ve studied it with a curious nature, you could say…I am up for the fight.

You might also say that in this aspect, I am self-aware, as pretentious as that sounds.

I’ll say what my book is about in a later post, but for now, I feel inspired and on fire. I am going to finish this thing, and what’s more, it is going to be the first of many.

 

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