Update II

Hey guys! First of all, I would like to apologize for not posting anything in a while. Life has gotten pretty hectic since I’m taking all senior-level classes. But here is a quick update on what’s been going on lately.

  • I’m learning how to write a memoir! It’s a part of one of my classes, which is where the extension of my Creating a Character series is coming from. Just FYI, I’m planning on dedicating it to non-fiction, so I’ll be changing the one that I posted earlier to focus more on creative non-fiction writing. You can still use it for fiction, but I feel that it works best in creative non. It just dawned on me that you don’t necessarily have to have the early memories and childhood stories in fiction writing; but it makes for some wonderfully detailed creative non-fiction!
  • I have teamed up with a friend of mine to co-write a book/series! His name is Garrett Andrews, and he’s a writing major, just like me. I’ve decided to put one of my earliest created universes (yes, I create universes for my stories [if you would like a post on that, shoot me a comment]) up for grabs, and we flipped it on it’s head and are in the process of building it from the ground up. We are working on it through Google Docs (which is amazing for writing buds teaming up [again, if you want a post about it, just comment me]), so it might take a while for us to get traction. But we have started!
  • I’ve registered for the GRE to take in November so I can try to get into grad school. I guess that’s something to mention.

So, overall, I’ve been busy, busy, busy. Once I finish fixing up the Creating a Character: Unique History post, I’ll probably begin a new series titled Creating Creative Non-Fiction. I’ll then put this post in the new series and go from there.

Thanks for reading!

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Categories: The Journey | Tags: , | 1 Comment

A Word of Encouragement

Hello, my lovelies!

A thought occurred to me as I ate my dinner: I’ve spent a whole lot of my time telling you how to write, what to write, and giving you tips and such, but I haven’t given very much encouragement regarding hardly ANYTHING I’ve been telling you about. It severely displeased me that I had so obviously fallen short on this important task–after all, encouragement can be incredibly beneficial to a writer who is either stuck or second guessing their journey. So, here goes…

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL AT WHAT YOU DO!

I’m not just saying that. You are doing what you are doing because you are good at it. Think back to the reason why you wanted to become a writer. It was probably because you felt at ease with writing. Or your friends and family gushed over how well you wrote. Or you had the determination to write about an idea from beginning to end because you wanted to.

I know every now and then things can get pretty tough for writers. We either hit writer’s block, the bane of our existence, or we are in some sort of financial distress be it big or small, or we just flat out don’t believe in ourselves. I know. There was a long time when I was sure that my writing skills would never get better from the cringe-worthy sappy mush I started out writing when I was younger. I was so convinced, I hid the stories I wrote from my family because I felt they were too stupid to see the light of day. And now I’m planning my wedding, and I’m a poor college student who recently thought that being a writer would never be able to be financially supporting. And don’t even get me started on writer’s block–I get that far too often.

But you know what I realized? I was writing not to prove my writing worth. Not to give me a steady income. Not to be an easy feat. I was writing because regardless of any of the three issues above, I could rise above it. And…I loved it. My fiancé pulled me aside when he noticed that my effort to create written art was getting pretty slack, and I confessed that I wasn’t sure that it was for me. He took my shoulders and looked me in the eye saying, “You know I don’t read hardly anything, but I love reading your stuff. You are so passionate about it that it just makes everything better. It doesn’t matter that you may not make the big bucks, it doesn’t matter that you may get writer’s block. You are good at what you do because you love doing it.”

YOU ARE ABLE TO DO WHATEVER YOU SET YOUR MIND TO

If you want to have your novel published, YOU CAN! That article you want to write for your favorite magazine? SEND THE QUERY! Not to sound pretentious, but take me for example. I was a closet writer for the vast majority of my writing career (like it ever was a career), and one day, I decided to sign up for the Professional Writing class the writing department that my college began to offer. After all, I had the wisp of a dream to be a published author, and that was professional, right? So, I attended to class, gladly soaking up all the knowledge that I could. After a semester of learning about all types of professional writing options, my wispy dream morphed into a more tangible dream to be a well known author through writing helpful articles for anyone who was looking for tips. That’s the same reason why I began this blog. Now, I’ve decided that I was to follow in my professor’s footsteps and not only write as a freelance writer and author, but I want to be a writing professor just like her.

This isn’t just a story of how I effortlessly jumped into an actual career of writing. It took 2 months for me to build up the courage to send my first query letter. I put it off, put it off, put it off because I was so unsure if I was ready for it. Was my idea good enough? Are my skills high enough? What should my name be?! (Yes, this was a serious issue for me.) Finally, when my professor asked if I had sent my query, I had to guiltily say no and give the reason why I hadn’t. Her answer was eye opening. She looked at me and said, “The worst they can do is say no. That’s it.” And that’s the truth for ANY WRITING. The worst anyone can say is that they won’t publish your work or that it isn’t what they were looking for. They aren’t going to whisper to other companies that your ideas were dumb. They aren’t going to sabotage your goals. They aren’t going to make a spectacle. All they can say is no.

Yes, many times your work WILL be rejected, and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, it’s pretty normal. My professor once told me of how a fellow writer wall papered the walls of his office with his rejection letters. That’s right. The rejection letters. If it means anything to you, the same query that took me 2 months to send was rejected. I saved the letter and resubmit my query to a different magazine who also rejected it. BUT, the second company agreed to send me early notification when they were opening up their submissions for the next issue they would publish.

The point of this kind of long example is that you CAN do it. You have the ability and the integrity for it. All you have to do is try. If your idea is accepted on the first go, that’s great! If not, it’s ok. Save that rejection letter and try again. That way, when your idea is finally accepted (because it will be), you can show the world how many times you got back up and tried again.

Don’t cheat yourself because you are discouraged. Do what you love with the knowledge that you are able to do it.

I honestly hope this is inspiring to you. Some of you may not need it, and some of you may feel that this came at just the right time. Either way, thank you so much for taking the time to read my words. Believe it or not, you guys encourage me every day. Every time I see that someone has viewed my page, or liked my post, or followed my blog, it helps me believe that this is what I can do. Because I love writing just like you do. So, thank you so much.

 

Categories: Fiction/Non-Fiction Writing, For Your Journey, Freelancing | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Update 1

Hey guys!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted something; life for me kind of shot forward a pace that was hard to keep up with since I came home for the summer. So many things have happened–I’m sad to say that my blog fell through the cracks. So, I figured that it would be beneficial to give you guys official updates about myself and my writing every so often, so, without further ado, Update 1.

  1. I’ve officially begun planning my wedding! I know it isn’t really writing related, but I just wanted to give you guys a heads up that I may have to sacrifice some of my writing time to the nuptial plotting.
  2. I’ve also decided to begin freelancing for some steady form of income (as my Taking the Plunge post said). Right now, I’m looking into freelancing sites that will give me work for sure. It’s very intimidating to say the least. I’ve begun to do this time and time again, but now that the fiancee and I are looking into buying a house to live in after the I Do’s, it’s become apparent that a stream of income–however small–will help.
  3. I will be returning to college in 2 weeks, so I’ll have tons more time to devote to writing (and wedding planning). In fact, my last day at my full-time job is next friday, so I’ll be able to be online more and write.

Well, there’s the update. I promise to post more often within the next 2 weeks and for the rest of the year.

How has your life been recently?

Thanks for reading!

Categories: The Journey | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

Tips on Tone

Tone can be a bit tricky. Since it’s the product of several different things, it’s one of the more allusive tools that a writer can use. The trick is to figure out how to manipulate these different factors so that you wind up with type of tone you’re going for.

The main questions you want to ask yourself before you begin is: What tone do I want my story to give off/What tone do I want this scene to give off?

Once you’ve decided, you can begin manipulating the three key factors.

Imagery and Setting

Imagery and setting will lend themselves to the tone more than any of the other factors. Depending on how you describe what is being seen in your story, the readers will pick up on the tone you’re trying to convey. Where are they? An abandoned house? A field of blooming daisies? What’s the weather like? All of these and more will build to show the reader tone.

For example, Alexander peered out of the dust-caked window, and a chill slithered down his spine. Cobwebs floated in the corners and on the door frames, dancing in the draft of the old house. He jumped at a sudden flash of light and cowered at the resounding boom shook the panes, sounding like old bones.

Now, Sammy flung her arms out as she spun, her dress swirling like a ballerina’s tutu. The sunlight warmed the ground under her bare feet, and the bright flowers gave the sweetest smell. Her woven crown slipped over her eyes and she giggled.

See how imagery and setting lend themselves to the overall tone? Both examples were only three sentences, and you can clearly tell that the first has a creepy tone and the second has a childish joy.

Narrator

How you use the narrator will add to the tone as well. What is he like? Is he happy? Is he sad? Is he angry? What’s the POV (point of view) that you show him in? All of these things add to the tone. If the narrator is happy, he wouldn’t describe the setting to be dark and gloomy; if the narrator is sad, he wouldn’t describe the setting to be peppy and cheerful. Is the reader seeing through the narrator’s eyes, or is the reader looking over his shoulder? How you narrate the story will effect the tone. It may be small, and it may be huge; it’s all up to you.

Type of Story

The type of story that you are creating has a large part in the type of tone you will wind up with. Horror stories usually have eerie tones, Mystery stories usually have suspense tones, Science Fiction stories usually have either naive or knowledgable tones, etc. Once you decide what kind of tone you want your story to have, you can fashion your story into the style of story that would best suit it. If you’re writing a story that winds up having more suspense in it than what you were originally going for, you could refashion it into a thriller. If it winds up making you glance into dark corners as you go to bed, you may want to refashion it into a horror novel if it isn’t already.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Categories: Fiction/Non-Fiction Writing, For Your Journey | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

3 Things You Should Be Doing (Are YOU?)

There are many things that we, as writers, can do to improve our writing. Unlike many professions, ours is one that changes in dynamic and criterion. So, in order to be a top-notch writer, we need to actively be improving. There are many things you can do to improve including going to lectures, taking classes, attending conventions, etc., but these three things, you can (and should) do every day.

Write Every Day

It is imperative to write every day. Why? Because it stimulates your brain and gets your creative juices flowing. It is always a good habit to have. I’ve found that when I devote some of my time to writing, I hit writer’s block less often. If you’re at a loss at how you can write every day, there are several things you can do:

  • Blog–blogging is a great way to write every day. You can make a blog about virtually anything. A good tip is to make a blog about something that you’re passionate about so that you don’t get bored with it. 
  • Journal–I keep a journal for all of the adventures I go on. Whenever I travel, whenever I eat new foods, and whenever I do something I’ve never done before, I jot it down in my journal so that I can use my experiences in my writing.
  • Work on a project–I always keep a project open to work on be it a manuscript or a new idea or an outline.

You can do any of the above, just as long as you make sure that you write every day. It also helps to set aside a time to write in which you will not be disturbed. The amount of time that you write is up to you. Some writers suggest 2 hours, some say increments of 10 minutes at a time–I honestly prefer setting aside at least 2 hours that are devoted to writing. And, no, Facebook conversations don’t count.

Read Every Day

In order to stay on top of your writing, it’s a good idea to read every day. Not only is it fun, but reading expands your mental horizons and can give you an idea of where to begin. For example, if you’re thinking about writing a science fiction piece, pick up a science fiction novel or short story. Are you trying to figure out how to write a mystery novel? Grab one and read it. Wondering how characters would react to a certain character? Examine how other writers have written the interactions in their works.

Just be sure that you aren’t taking ideas from others. That’s a literary no-no. The purpose of writing every day isn’t to rip off other’s works but only to keep ideas flowing through your minds that you can adapt to fit into your own writing.

Connect

An easy way for people to follow along with your writing journey is to connect with the cyber world. Now-a-days, nearly everyone has a Facebook or Twitter. Posts, ideas, stories, and much more are shared all across social networks. Here are some examples that you can do to utilize these opportunities and stay with the times:

  • Set up a Facebook page for your writing. Be it a page of you as an author or a page dedicated to your blog; it’s up to you. I have a Facebook page for my blog, and my blog only, but I know a lot of writers who have set up pages for themselves to promote their writings. 
  • Set up a Twitter account. As many of you know, Twitter is a nice way to connect to other writers and to share your latest writings.
  • Sign up with Google+. Since Google+ is one of the newest social media sites, not many people really understand it. I like to think of it like this: You use Facebook to connect with people you know and use Google+ to connect with those you don’t know but would like to. It’s pretty useful to add people to different circles, and you can join communities that share the same interests as you. I’ve heard from many writers that they’ve actually been given freelance jobs because they contacted other writers and publications that were on Google+ (and trust me–there are a lot).
  • Get a LinkedIn account. It’s free, and it’s professional. This is where you can make connections with others in your profession. It can help you get connected with those that you need to such as publishers and agents. Think of it like a modern-day Rolodex. You can keep the contact information of job sources and agents on one nice, professional site.

There are many other options to connect to the cyber world, but these are a few of the most popular. The purpose of having them, however, isn’t to spam your followers with just your works and inquiries. This is how you connect with others and make bonds with them. Make friendships. Get connected. They will help you with your writing if you just ask, but you have to get to know them first.

Since social media tends to have an addictive quality to it, I suggest limiting your time on the sites. Give yourself no more than 30 minutes updating your statuses and connecting with others, because it’s easy to stay connected all day and neglect the other two things you should be doing: reading and writing.

(See my About the Author page if you’re interested in connecting with me.)

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Fiction/Non-Fiction Writing, For Your Journey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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