Solace

Standard

When all reality is confused
When colours run and blur,
I throw myself into my writing.

When I fail at everything else
And indeed fail in this too
I throw myself into my writing.

When others turn against me
(The trustworthy sharpening their knives)
I throw myself into my writing.

When my heart is full
And I cannot empty it on anyone
I throw myself into my writing.

When I am lonely for no reason at all,
And must say goodbye to companions,
I throw myself into my writing.

This my comfort,
This my creed,
This my God-given solace
In need:
I throw myself into my writing.

#NaNoWriMo: Why We Torture Ourselves

Standard

It’s the month of November, and writers all over the world are sitting at their laptops typing frantically – or surfing the internet and saying all over social media how they have writer’s block, and how all they can do right now is drink coffee.
NaNoWriMo: it’s the month during which people everywhere commit to writing a novel of 50,000 words. It’s looks like an exaggerated form of self-flagellation from the outside. And from the inside, it feels frantic.
And why is it that year after year, writers do this to themselves? What is the appeal about a month like this?
The below article makes a number of points about how NaNoWriMo is an effective way of writing a novel – and how all of us can experience NaNoWriMo success any time of the year! The deadline, of course, is key to why NaNoWriMo works. But there are other more subtle points that are also invaluable.
Check it out.

http://www.writersanctuary.net/blog/nanowrimo-how-a-month-of-torture-can-become-a-forecast-of-the-future

How Characters Can Save Your #Writing (Part 4)

Standard

And here’s the fourth and final instalment regarding character development.

Dialogue.

How would you feel if you were at a get together or party, and everyone was exchanging paragraphs of prose on written paper, instead of conversing? To put it another way, how would you feel if your interactions with friends were restricted to info dumps on Facebook? Does this excite you? Does this let you get to know the other person? Do you get see how they think and feel, how they move, how their eyes light up when they get onto a particular topic, how their mouth falls when you mention a sore point?

You readers are at a party that you are hosting. And they’re there to have a good time. They really don’t care about you. They’re like the stereotypical gate-crashers that come for a free feed and their own amusement. And it’s your responsibility to keep them there as long as possible.

Dialogue does a number of things, but I want to just point out three for you to think about.

1. Dialogue makes your characters real. It’s like inviting readers’ into their heads. It’s the important ingredient in a successful soap opera.

2. Dialogue differentiates them from each other. They just seem like a lot of names until we hear them talk. Then we know about their passions, their quirks, their backgrounds, their mannerisms, and so on.

3. Dialogue makes the story happen. Dialogues carry information, sure. But they also should carry the characters’ opinions on that information. This is what colours the story and helps lead to action.

Here’s the fourth and final episode of this topic on writersanctuary.net .

And here’s a link to the article itself. http://www.writersanctuary.net/blog/how-to-avoid-the-flames-the-importance-of-dialogue-in-character-development-part-4-writing

Thanks for reading, and happy NaNoWriMo.

I Know I’m a Writer

Standard

I know I’m a writer because
I make jokes that make no sense;
I drink way too much coffee;
Every single song reminds me of
A particular scene in my book;
I look at people and think:
“Yes, you could be a villain in my story”;
I get lost in conversations because
A plot idea just overran my mind;
Half the time I don’t hear what people say,
And the other half, I’m incorporating it
Into my book;
I flinch at the sight of sunshine;
I do push-ups in my room to get psyched up
For the next thousand words I write;
I read dictionaries and Shakespeare;
I understand grammar so well
I’m boring and incomprehensible;
Typos make me unbelievably angry;
Spelling mistakes make me laugh my head off
(At someone else);
I don’t know any actors or sports teams;
I drive very unpredictably
(“Oh, look, there’s a minotaur!”);
I turn into a war machine
When people attack fantasy fiction;
I forget to eat and drink;
I mutter under my breath
Whenever people aren’t looking,
And sometimes yell for no reason at all;
I wear multi-coloured socks
And multi-coloured everything
And look like I got dressed in the dark
Because all I was thinking about was
“Ooh, colours!” and “bookbookbookbook” …

And most importantly,
I love what I do
Even though sometimes it’s torture.

How Characters Can Save Your #Writing (Part 3)

Standard

Readers won’t care about your writing if they don’t care about your characters. So now is the time to double check your characters in your novel, to see how they measure up to some necessities in character development.

In the past two weeks, I’ve discussed the importance of physical description and history. In this post, I want to bring to your attention your characters’ motivations. Why do your characters do what they do? Why is it that the villain is a killing machine – or that he is somehow driven to embezzle everyone’s funds? What makes your protagonist desire to pursue that particular woman? Why do some of your most important characters enlist for the army? Didn’t they want to do anything else?

A plot does not make sense unless we understand the characters. In fact, the characters are the reason the plot should exist. It is their motivations that must drive the story – not yours. You shouldn’t be sitting there going: “How can I make this bit exciting? Oh, yes, so-and-so will attack the protagonist.” Instead, you should be thinking: “What does my villain want? What does my protagonist want? What are their deepest desires?”
It is these that will unfold a compelling story.

Here’s a link to help you get started.

http://www.writersanctuary.net/blog/how-to-avoid-the-flames-a-word-on-your-characters-motivations-part-3-writing

The Unveiling

Standard

In silence like rain,
I turn to You again.

The clouds above billow;
They are tumultuous and grey.
They have turned my feelings;
They have ruined my day.
I was in control,
An author of my fate.
Now I know my Guide
Stands near the Wicket Gate.

I was in control,
Nothing shook my hold.
Now I see the truth;
It tore off my blindfold.
My desires were unruly,
Like wet hands of the sea.
Now God is my Goal,
The Story and Song in me.

In stillness like light,
You ended my plight.

How Characters Can Save Your #Writing (Part 2)

Standard

The most exciting book ever can quickly became aggravating, and even incredibly boring, without well-developed characters. Last week, I wrote about the importance of a physical description of characters. This week, I want to highlight something that a lot of authors overlook: history.

How many of you know the histories of your characters? How many of you know their birth dates, their habits, their deepest desires, quirks, and obscure family members? How many of you are aware of their eating habits, the types of plants they like, and their world views? The reader doesn’t have to know everything – sure, I’ll admit it.

But you do.

The reader needs to feel like you know. And there need to be hints. Some of the literary characters that are hardest to get into are those that do not have a well-developed history. The reasons are pretty clear. The reader can’t get into their heads. Also, it seems like there’s very few logical motivations for the characters’ actions.

Overall, it’s not about the reader knowing every little detail, because that makes a book boring as well. It’s about the aura that your characters have. Do they feel like they began before the book did? Do they feel like they go on after the book closes? If they don’t, you have some work ahead of you. Go to it! Every drop of sweat is worth it – take it from someone who is still doing a lot of sweating.

Here’s a link to help you get started:

http://www.writersanctuary.net/blog/how-to-avoid-the-flames-developing-your-characters-histories-part-2-writing