Time to make a scene.

scene
Sorry for not posting a proper post last week I was sick. It seems to be a bug that is going around the area and I still cough on occasion but all in all I’m feeling much better. I might even try to convince my parents that I’m well enough to go on a Poke run (I’ve got Pokemon go and it’s great!)

Today I would like to give you the ultimate guide to planning and writing a scene.

A scene is one of the most basic things in writing and probably not something you need explained to you, but since I write my novels scene by scene I figured I might as well take a look at how I plan these.

A scene is not a chapter by the way, it is the smaller bits that a chapter is made out of. A scene is a single time and place in a story and a good way to see when a scene ends is when the character changes location.

A scene, like every other part of writing is made out of different elements but in this case we’ll look at the two main elements.

 
1. The first element to a scene is the sense of time and place.
In each scene you want to paint a picture to your reader so they can know where your character is. Even if your character is in pitch-black darkness you need to show this to your reader.
2. The second element is that something needs to happen.
The general idea is that if a scene does not further the story then it’s not worth having in the story and you might as well take it out. Have you ever read a story where they take nearly three pages just to describe grass and in the mean time the characters aren’t doing anything? These kind of books are boring and quickly makes the reader lose interest.

So those are the basic elements of a scene.
Setting and plot.

Now you can take it further when planning a scene and ask yourself a couple of questions before you start writing.
Questions such as what needs to happen? Where does this scene take place? Who is in this scene? What conflict is in this scene?

Here is a list of questions that I made.

5 scene questions

 

The thing I want to close off with is scene structure.
You get many different types of scene from 6000 word monstrosities to 500 words. (the rule of thumb is 1500)

All scenes have a sense of structure though which is something you probably learned in high school. Before writing a scene you are encouraged to structure it.

The most common structure looks like this.

  • Show character and their goal
  • Give them a problem.
  • Make your character get passed the problem for a resolution.
  • Repeat for the next scene.

 

If you do it right then something has changed for your character and your story has furthered.

This might not work for all scenes but is a good guideline to keep in mind.

 

This is not my longest writing post but I hope it helped anyway and that I won’t wait too long to write another one. If you have any specific topic you’d like me to write about feel free to mention it in the comments.

3 steps to creating character goals that won’t bore your readers

Character goals

I have recently decided to give you valuable content so you see, whenever I write a writing lesson post for you I feel it’s just not good enough. After all I actually want you to learn something not just get half built second hand information.

 

So it wasn’t once or even twice that I started a post and then shook my head and said to myself BUT THEY ALREADY KNOW THIS!

Nearly four times I wrote something and deleted it.

Luckily this is that fourth time and as you can probably tell I have not yet deleted my stupid ramblings instead I will continue to write this post and it will be about…. um…

3 steps to good goals.

YES! That’s it.

 

Step one.

Define your character’s goal.

So what is a character goal?

The easy answer is it’s the thing your character wants but a little more complicated. You see while it is something your character wants it needs to drive your character to do things. It needs to make them active.

A goal is also specific with a clear way of achieving it.

A good example of a goal is my wish to be a published writer. It makes me active, makes me write and blog and research agents and genres. My goal has a clear end point that states that if I get published then it’s achieved.

That’s what a goal is and what your character needs.

 

In my story that I’m working on my main character Felix has the goal of mastering his magic power. (cliché I know)

It drives him to practice and to train and even talk to people who can help.

It has a clear point where if it takes the commanded form he has it under control.

 

Step 2.

The next thing you need to make your goals important to your readers is something that has many names. Some call it a dreadful promise, or something to dread but I like to call it stakes.

This is what will happen if your character fails to achieve his goals.

You get two types of stakes, the kind that is fulfilled and the kind that your character evades. I prefer the kind that is fulfilled and plan on using it for my next story but I’ll give more on the details of making that work in a moment

First you need an effective stake.

Ask yourself why is your character going after this goal?

Then ask yourself what is he risking by doing this?

Lastly ask yourself who would want to see him fail? This is usually the antagonist or villain.

Now that you have all those questions answered ask one last question what is the worst thing that can happen to my character while he is attempting this goal?

Based off what you know now create your stakes.

 

If I continue on with my story as an example then Felix’s stakes are losing his position of power. If he doesn’t master his goal then he will lose his position in the ranks of his family’s army.

 

Just like the goal itself the stakes needs to be clear and precise.

 

Now as promised let’s talk about fulfilled stakes and why I prefer them.

You have been telling your reader that something bad can happen but if you don’t let it happen it means that at the end of the book these stakes appear void. After all they didn’t happen so there probably wasn’t any way that it was going to happen anyway. If none of your stakes for your goals big or small happen then it’s simply a character breaking his or her way through the opposition with nothing ever going wrong which means no real tension.

Let’s say these stakes are fulfilled and your character is thrown into some deep trouble, now your reader starts to worry and your character needs to be resourceful. Your reader gets to see so much more than just your character walking over everything that can go wrong and instead sees them handling the problems.

 

If you are going to go with fulfilled stakes then there is one thing I need to mention here.

Just fulfilling the stakes isn’t enough, you need to make things worse.

Everything is going bad but your reader already in part knew that this could happen so now you add on top of this something that they didn’t know. You make failing the goal even worse.

Let’s say your readers knew your characters where dangling over a pit and now you make your characters fall in. It’s bad but it’s also expected. What isn’t expected is the monster living in the pit and thus that monster makes falling in the pit even worse than your reader first anticipated.

 

Step three.

Now it’s time for the last thing that makes your reader care about the goals. It might just be the most important one in fact.

Suffering

For some writers it’s against our nature to hurt our beloved character who we sculpted out with so much love. You mustn’t fall for this though, if you want your readers to care your character needs to suffer.

Readers know a goal is important when a character goes to great length to get it. A goal is important when a character is willing to offer things and get hurt to achieve it.

 

There are different levels of suffering but first I want to cover physical vs. Emotional.

Physical is the level of suffering new writers tend to fall on and it’s a mistake I’ve made quite a few times myself but emotional suffering is stronger.

I’ll use lord of the rings for a reference here since I watched it just the other day.

Frodo got stabbed quite a few times in the movies and we cared but not for long. I mean he got hurt but the physical pain only kept our interest momentarily whereas when we lost Gandalf the blow was emotional and it kept our attention. We were reminded that the goal is so important that Gandalf was sacrificed.

It kept our attention longer, made us want the goal more, and it made us sympathise with the characters.

 

Now for the other methods of suffering.

It starts at inconvenience. A character wants something and is willing to inconvenience himself for the goal. This doesn’t really make the reader care about the goal but it works at the beginning of a story to just capture their interest.

 

Then it goes to discomfort. At some point the character starts taking the goal even more serious and is willing to discomfort himself. Perhaps it’s by doing something such as staying outside a store all night to be the first in line for a new toy.

 

The next one is real physical pain.This is when the character cuts off their own finger or jump in front of the cracking whip. It’s when they are willing to be hurt for their goal.

 

The last stage is loss.This one hurts the most because it means you are willing to give something that meant so much to you away for this goal.

It’s  Rupunzel’s hair being cut off to stop the witch in tangled or Anna running to Elsa instead of Christoff to catch Hans’s sword.

In Harry Potter it’s when he willingly goes to Voldamort.

All these heroes knew they were going to lose everything but still threw it away to achieve their goal.

 

Tip: when you make your character suffer it’s good to make the suffering grow worse and not less throughout the book.

 

I hope this helped and that you are at least a little excited to go planning out your character’s goals.

Let me know if you like this post and know that my next writing lesson will be next month somewhere. Until then you can go take a look at these other writing lessons.

Now go and make your stories the best you can and remember that striving toward goals will make readers love your character more than achieving it.

 

 

 

You need other writers.

Hey guys! Today I have something a bit different for you: a guest post! I reached out to my good friend, Enette Venter of Enette’s World, to see if she would like to write a post for you lovely people out there. (You know, all twelve of you.) I wrote a post for her blog,…

via Guest Post: Enette Thinks You Should Consider Writing Groups — Ayli’s Offerings

 

So the link you see above is for a guest post I wrote for Ayli from Ayli’s offerings and it’s basically about my writing group and why I think people need their own writing support. I really want you to check out this link because when I wrote it I could tell it was going to be epic and now that it’s published I still stand by that point.

So go read it… right now… enjoy!

Word of the day #3

word of the day

I’m certain it’s obvious that English is not my first language. I’ve been reading and speaking English from a young age and that has led me to writing in English. Now recently I have been taking my language usage a little more seriously and I’m currently trying to broaden my English vocabulary.
Part of this is not only learning new words but also learn to use the large amount of words I already know.

 

So here it is, the word of the day.

Candor: noun

Means genuine, straightforward, frankness, sincere expression.
The adjective of Candor is Candid.
A candid person expresses his thoughts frankly and without hesitation with sincerity and without deception.
(I like this word, you can build an entire character around it.)

Word of the day.

word of the dayI’m certain this is very obvious, English is not my first language. I’ve been reading and speaking English from a young age and that has led me to writing in English. Now recently I have been taking my language usage a little more seriously and I’m currently trying to broaden my English vocabulary.
Part of this is not only learning new words but also learn to use the large amount of words I already know.

I figured I can share this experience with you and who know perhaps you can pick up a few new words as well.

So here it is, the word of the day.

 

Paraphrase.

To restate what someone has already said in different words.
This isn’t to be confused with the word quote because to quote something is to say exactly what someone else has already said, word for word.
To paraphrase is to restate what someone else has said using different words to give the sense of the passage in fuller terms.

What you and I can do to not suck at writing beginnings.

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Today I want to talk about what makes the beginning of a book good and the elements that it should have.

This week’s topic is something that has really caught my attention these past few weeks because I’m editing my novel, Imaginary friends, and well… it’s not going great.
My editing was well on track, I had highlighted exactly what I needed to fix in my story but then just as I started putting in the changes I realized something. The beginning of my story is not in line with the rest of my story. I had opened it wrong and if someone were to read it they might read a line and put it down again because it’s just not gripping. So after I threw a tantrum in my room and ate some chocolate spread right out the jar I got back to work. I went right back to the basics of storytelling and that’s what I want to share with you now.

The beginning of the book is what sells the story, it introduces your character and genre to your reader so it really is important.

What make the beginning of a story interesting?

The basics that your beginning needs.

• Character – the who behind it all
• Setting- the where that is dependent on both place and time.
• Conflict- this is a must in any story.
• Style- understand, your whole story will look like this.

Now those are big things I can nearly write posts for on their own. I’m not planning to do that but hey if you want to know more just ask.

 

Let’s start with character.

Character

I’m going to assume you know your point of view character really well. If you don’t then you should go sit down and invite him or her to talk with you.
You get a lot of different stories but the one thing that normally has people continue reading a story is that they like the character. So in your first paragraph it is best to introduce your main character. Not an unimportant side character because that’s like lying to your readers. You need to show them what the story is about so open with your main character or a similarly interesting and important character that will be with them throughout the entire story. (that’s of course if you don’t kill them at the end of act two.)
When I say introduce though a lot of people might think I mean that they should launch into something that goes…Charles had red hair and blue eyes…
No don’t do that. That’s not interesting and it doesn’t show your readers what they should be expecting from the rest of the story.
Introduce your character as a person beyond how they look and really just make it interesting. Show your reader who your character is from line one.

Extra characters
Extra character that you should introduce in the beginning or first act really depend on what you are writing. Here is the general rating from importance.

  • Villain
  • love interest
  • sidekick

The next big thing your beginning needs to make clear is the setting.

Setting

There is nothing quite as confusing as when someone is on the phone one minute and driving in a carriage the next. I’m sure you can do this just make sure that your reader knows that this is something you will be doing. You want to pull your reader into the story and for that they need to know how the things around them look.
If you love world building like me then I have to warn you however not to overdo it. I have read stories where people push the reader out of the story because they have paragraphs and paragraphs of description for something that isn’t relevant right at that moment. I know you love this creation you had built but please you need your reader hooked before they will truly care.

Show your reader where they are but don’t show them only where they are but also what is happening in this place. Got it?

Conflict.

Conflict is one of those things that work side by side with good characters. If you have good character but there is no conflict your reader likes them but they don’t see why they should be concerned. They won’t keep reading because there is no answer to find out.
But…
Just because you have a big war going on doesn’t mean that it’s interesting either, you need to make your conflict personal to your character so it becomes personal to the reader. For the first scene in the story you might also want to make it a more immediate conflict such as an argument or new information that needs to be acted on now.
You need to grip onto your reader and pull them in. So do that. Pull them as close to the personal side of your story as you can.
The last thing you need to show your reader in a good beginning is style

Style

Style is basically a mix of smaller elements that form how you write. First person or third? Past or present tense? What kind of words do you use? Those are all part of style.
Style isn’t something I can tell you how to do because no two writers have the same style and that’s okay. Writing styles tend to grow with the writer and the characters but it’s still important to establish at the beginning of the story.
I don’t know about you but when I read a book that’s written in third person and it suddenly switches to first it really throw me off. Or if the book is written really funny at first and then by the second act it stops having any humour and goes all serial killer on you, I will stop reading.
I have stopped reading a book specifically for that reason. Not because the dark parts where bad but because that harsh change made me feel like I lost the story. If you promise your reader that your story is going to be a horror then keep it a horror. If it’s a romance in act one keep it a romance in act two.
If you want it to be both then make sure that when the horror comes you don’t stop having a romance thread and better yet show your readers that it will be both from act one.
Before I close this post off I figured that I should show you what my first line is currently settled on.

Charles’s breath came in ragged and his legs were starting to ace. Shouldn’t he be fit from all these years of running away from flesh eating monsters? His burning lungs answered no.
So  what do you think? If you read that first line would you maybe take a look at the rest of it?

I hope you manage to nail your story’s start, if you’ve already got a great start feel free to share your first line. If you’re not happy with your start at the moment tell me why.
What do you think makes a good start for a story?

1st person POV vs 3rd person POV.

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Last week I told you why Point Of View (POV) is essential in good writing and the effects it can have on your story.
Now I want us to delve a little deeper into it and take a look at the difference between 1st, 3rd, and 2nd person POV.

I’m sure we’ve all read books that are written in the way that the narrator is the main character telling you what happened. It generally looks like this.

I wasn’t sure what they planned on doing to me but I knew it was nothing good. I glanced up to meet her seemingly innocent eyes. She grinned at me.
“Well goodbye,” I said launching into a run. She called after me but I didn’t even look back.

This is called first person POV. It is when the story goes, I did this, I did that.
In the more experienced group of writers 3rd person is really popular. It’s when the narrator isn’t a character and the story is told as if simply observing everything. It normally goes like this.

Charles wasn’t sure what they planned on doing to him but he knew it was nothing good. He glanced up to meet Sarah’s seemingly innocent eyes. She grinned at him.
“Well goodbye,” Charles said launching into a run. Sarah called after him but he didn’t even look back.

Third person is all about he did this, she did that.

The last point of view is hardly ever used because really it’s weird. 2nd person POV is when you tell the reader what they did. As if they are a character in the story. Normally a book is only written like this if it’s a multiple choice book.
It looks like this.
You weren’t sure what Sarah planned on doing to you but you knew it was nothing good. You glanced up to meet her seemingly innocent eyes. She grinned at you.
“Well goodbye,” You said launching into a run. Sarah called after you but you didn’t even look back.
As you can see this is a confusing way of writing because you are telling your reader what they did to which they will shake their head and say… No I did not do this.
I still thought it was worth sharing because in truth there are no one way to write and when I was little I had read a book exactly like this.
It told me what I did and at the end of each chapter I got to make a choice. Each decision I made would lead me to a different chapter, a different way for the story to pan out.
So while I can’t share with you all the tips and tricks of writing 2nd person POV there really are people who use this and if you feel like you want to give it a go who am I to stop you?

 

Now I want us to take a closer look at the first two POV’s, 1st and 3rd, and compare them.

Telling and showing.
One of the most shared piece of writing advice out there is show don’t tell and a lot of people take it close to hart. While I do agree that showing is a writing skill every writer should learn I think that to what degree you use it is your choice.
A first person POV is based on a lot of telling while 3rd person POV is based on showing. If you want to work mainly with showing then try 3rd person. If you want to add that little more voice to your story try 1st.

Multiple POV.
This is a rather simple rule in writing. When you write in first person you can only have one POV character while if you write in 3rd you get to have as much as your story needs.
This is because if you write ‘I did this, I did that’ you have chosen your narrator for your story and it get’s confusing when you keep switching between narrators so the best advice I can give you here is stick to 1 POV if you write in 1st. If you write in 3rd you are given more leeway.
Character.
This is where 1st gets a lot of good words because you get to give your reader an easy access to your character. You get to show them how your character thinks. You get to add funny monologue without trouble. 1st person really is the best for getting your reader close to your character.
If you plan to write in 3rd POV though you can still add a lot of your character’s personality to your writing through deep POV which is a topic on its own for a next week.
Secrets.
This is something I like to play with for no better reason than I’m secretly evil.
You can use the limitations of both 1st and 3rd POV to add secrets to your writing.
If you’re writing 1st then it’s easy because you can’t share anything with your readers that your POV character doesn’t know. That way you can hide something in plain sight but make your POV character look straight past this leading to a big surprise for your reader when they find out.

In third it is just as fun because you can torture your readers by giving them only pieces of information. You can warn your readers that bad things will happen by writing from the villain’s POV in one scene so they’ll sit on the edges of their chairs during the next when they helplessly wait for your MC to step into danger. (Evil Laughter!)
This is something you have to be careful with though because if you surprise your readers to much with 1st you might actually hurt their feelings so much they will stop reading. They will stomp their feet and ask why you didn’t warn them who was going to die. When hiding secrets in 1st remember to hint at what’s to come just a little. This way your reader will be mentally prepared for hart brake.
The danger of 3rd person is that you can’t keep showing your reader what the villain is doing. This is a trick that should only be used one in a story. Maybe twice if you’re this generations JK. Rowling and can pull it off. The reason you can’t keep showing your reader this is because it works on their nerves and it makes them angry.
I know the general rule of writing is to toy with your reader’s emotions but you want them to be angry and sad with your MC. The minute the anger is no longer attached to a character the anger becomes directed at you and they’ll put the book down. So remember you want to add suspense using secrets but you also want your reader to keep reading.
Now the last point between 1st and 3rd is…
Difficulty level.
The fact is that 1st is easier than 3rd to pull off.
If you are completely new to this and considering writing for the first time I will suggest to you what was suggested to me when I started… Write in 1st.
It’s really easier than third. It is good way to simply get into the writing swing.
If you are more experienced and you haven’t tried 3rd yet then I really suggest you do. It might be hard and suck at first but it’s worth the practice and a good skill to have even if you don’t plan on ever using it.
So that’s basically the difference between 1st and 3rd. For the record while I had started with 1st I now prefer writing in 3rd person. Having written in both I really suggest you keep practicing both.

Here is a little exercise to go with the post. If you normally write in 1st person then write something in 3rd today and vice versa.

So what do you think? How do you write and do you have any tips? Have you ever read or written something in 2nd POV?

Why POV is essential in good writing.

POV or Point Of View is from who’s perspective a story is told. There are a lot of fine points that go into deciding on how your POV isIMG_6137 written. It’s all about the nature of your story, who your POV character is and how are you going to put this on paper.
In the next few weeks we will take a look at the different aspects of POV.
Things such as who’s your POV character? Will you tell the story in 1st, 3rd or the odd 2nd person? What is deep POV?
For now though I just want to cover the importance of deciding on POV and give you a few basic principles.

When you are in an argument the words ‘point of view’ means someone share with you their perspective on something. They don’t simply share with you what happened, they share what they thought happened, what thoughts followed the action and how they felt about it.
This is what you should do in your writing. Your POV character shouldn’t just show what happened. They should show what they think happened, the thoughts that ran through their head and the feelings that they felt.

I’m going to make up a scenario her to show you what I mean. A man and a woman have an argument. The man insults the woman and she slaps him.

Let’s start with the thoughts your POV character had.
When one character slaps the other, each one will think something different. The man being slapped would be surprised. He would realize he had just crossed some sort of line. His head might rerun what just happened.
The character giving the slap would have different line of thought. It will probably go like this.
To far now buddy. You deserved that. O my what had I just done? It doesn’t matter, he had it coming.

So you see when you put different characters in a situation their personality’s means that they won’t be thinking exactly the same thing. In writing you only show what your POV character is thinking which means showing a situation in a certain light for your readers.

If we move on to how characters ‘feel’ in the same situation, then again they won’t match.
The man who receives the slap might start out confidant. Followed by surprise. Followed by shame.

The woman who gives the slap would probably have a little more mixed up set of emotions. They might start out angry. Then slap the person and feel relieved. Then they might feel a little guilty but would shake it off and be angry again.
Now you’re no longer simply showing a situation in a certain light you are pulling at a reader’s emotions.

Now we get to the really fun part of different POV’s. You get to hide things from your reader.
Your POV character only show the reader what they think happened. This is fun because this means you can hide things from your reader simply by hiding it from the POV character.

You see the guy who receives the slap thinks he is confronting the girl about cheating on his friend, based on the fact that he saw her kissing some other guy earlier. He tells her off not expecting her to do anything but then she slaps him.
You tell the story like this, your reader won’t like the woman. They would cheer for the guy, then gasp as the woman slaps him.

Now the thing is she never did cheat on his friend. What he saw was some drunk force a kiss on her. Luckily afore mentioned friend had come to her rescue but as you can imagine she is still pretty shaken. So now she is told that first off, this guy had seen the drunk kissing her but actually thought she was cheating. She feels offended, embarrassed and of course angry so she slaps him.

If you tell the story like this then the man is the one giving a bad impression. The readers will be angry side by side with the woman because they were shown the situation the way she saw it.

Now all of this means that you can throw a situation or a character in a certain light and have the reader think what you want them too, then if you feel like it surprise them later on.
A good example of this is Snape in Harry Potter. Harry was the POV character, we saw everything the same way he saw it, and because of it we all hated Snape. Then in the end we see what had really happened. We see the behind the scenes and we learn that Snape wasn’t so bad after all. (Personally, still not really a fan of Snape but that’s for another day.)
Some well known tips on picking a POV character.

A POV Character doesn’t always have to be only the main character. A lot of stories have multiple POV characters. If you’re new to balancing multiple POV characters then a good limit is under three.
Even if you are experienced than keep it beneath let’s say 9. Readers actually want to spend time getting to know your characters so if you keep jumping from head to head then the readers won’t really have time for that.

When picking your POV characters you should keep in mind who plays the biggest roles in the story. These are the character’s who’s POV you want to writer because your readers want to be right in the middle of what is happening not simply watching from the sidelines.

When you have more than one of you POV character’s in a scene and you need to decide from whose POV to write then ask yourself who can tell this in the most interesting way. Or ask yourself who has the most at stake in the scene? Who will lose the most?

A mistake a lot of new writers make is thinking that each POV character should get the same amount of scenes. This is wrong. Only write a scene if it’s necessary, and tell it from the perspective that is the most interesting. Don’t let the point of your story go because you feel bad leaving character’s out. It doesn’t work like that.

So there you have it, my most random advice on picking a POV character.
I have a little challenge to go with this and it’s a challenge I give on this blog a lot.
Choose two characters completely different from each other. Now put them in a place and circumstance and write a scene for each of them. Each character will notice something different, describe thing different. So pick a scene and simply make them observe it and make sure that each character’s POV is different.

So what do you guys think? What else is important about picking a POV character?

Guest post: 8 steps to destroying writer’s block

This is post was originally posted over at wandering soul, a great blog for travelling and good stories all around.
I know we all struggle with writer’s block (especially after the holidays) and the web is full of articles on how to get past it. (including my own) Today we will take a look at how wandering soul handles it when she gets stuck on writing an article.


 
All of us face a blank wall sooner or later. Even experienced writers and successful authors face it. But for new writers, it is even more IMG_6798difficult to start off. A blank page or screen stares back and us, as we struggle to fill it with something interesting.
We start to write something, then think again. We delete it, only to rephrase it differently. We may reach half way, across the page and still not be happy with it. Start again, we think, but somehow, just can’t seem to get it right.
Here, are some tips to get over that initial roadblock.
• Step 1 – Use the prompts given as part of assignments in Blogging U. to come up with something interesting. It doesn’t have to be Booker Prize worthy. It just has to have your original take on it. Not registered on the course – use random phrases, idioms, words, quotes, song lyrics, photos, dialogues, tweets, facebook comments etc as an inspiration. You can learn more about prompts and how to use them here.

• Step 2 – Read recommended articles or posts that are mentioned by the Happiness Engineers. These usually are very insightful on how to approach the process of writing and also very helpful in giving tips on how to pick up ideas from around you.
• Step 3 – Read other people’s blogs, posts, comments. It usually does trigger off something – the memory of a similar incident, the death of a loved one, your own take on life, your opinions regarding a social evil, love for a shared interest. All of these can be developed into a post.

• Step 4 – Take a moment’s pause and reflect on your life – important milestones, incidents and/or experiences, lessons learnt or even setbacks – you may want to write about them and share them with others.
• Step 5 – Disconnect from your writing and take a break. Connect with the real world. There’s life beyond the virtual world, also. (I really need to take my own advice) Watch a movie. Listen to music. Take a walk and observe and absorb the sights around you. Real Life and Nature, both are very good sources of inspiration. Use it as a setting for a story or post – a fictional account of a seemingly happy married couple fighting while on holiday, an interaction between two strangers who are stuck at a bus-stop in the rain, a philosophical take on failed relationships, a poem about the starry night sky. Anything from the real world could be developed into something on paper. Taking a break is very important as it helps declutter your mind. Pick up that half-written draft that you tossed aside yesterday. Revisit a previously written draft after a short break. Stuck in the middle of an article? Leave it alone for now. Sometimes, the time away from your desk helps to see your writing with a fresh mind and perspective. This would not only improve the quality of writing but also help you avoid glaring mistakes that may distract and take away from the message in your post.

• Step 6 – Talk. Read. Ask. Just involve yourself in the stories of other people. Talk to your neighbors and ask the couple how they met. Chat up with that suave, confident office-goer about his experiences in college. You will get to know a lot more than what you initially did. Not only does it make you a better people’s person but also gives an insight about people and how certain incidents shaped their lives and made them who they are. These discussions can become the basis of yet another post – fictional, or real-life account or even a self-help article.
• Step 7 – Write. However obvious this point may seem, I can’t emphasize on it enough. You may not have a clear idea of how to express, so just ramble on. You may not even know what to talk about and how to go about it. So, just write about the first thought that comes to mind. Burnt the chicken casserole, frustrated with your pathetic painting skills, couldn’t find that important appointment letter? Write about it. Pour out your feelings. It doesn’t matter whether it makes sense or not. You can always edit and re-edit it later. You don’t have to even publish it or share with anyone at all. But developing the habit of writing down is important and a step in the right direction.

• Step 8 – Read up about the experiences and advice that the pros share. It may not give you ideas but will give you comfort and solace in knowing that you are not the only one experiencing “writer’s block”. Give yourself space and time. Usually, sooner or later, something or the other from the above points sparks off something and an idea germinates in your head. Go back to Step 7.
And soon you would see that have already finished with writing your article 🙂


 

Back to Enette now, if you feel like guest blogging for me go look at the rules here. Then contact me.

How to write the end of your Novel.

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This is the last day of NaNoWriMo and while I have already finished I know there are lots of you out there still typing as fast as you can. This post is being dedicated to those of you still writing, still trying to finish that novel of yours. Me and probably dozens of others are behind you today, don’t worry about how much words you have left just keep writing.
This will probably not be my best post since there is quite the difference between writing a story and writing a blog post. (I’m sure you can guess which one I’m better practices in right now.)

So now let’s talk about bringing your story to a close.
Things you want your story ending to do.
• First things first, you will need to close up any loose plot threads such as your character arch and your love thread. If anything is going to be closed after your main plot then make sure it is interesting enough that your readers will want to read it.
• The next thing to understand is that as our English teachers say the last part of the story sums up the whole story. Ok so maybe the last part is not this really weird synopsis but what it does do is remind your reader where the story started and how far it has come. You might do this by mentioning the character that died and the plans your characters have for the future. This is kind of just to insure that readers think back on the story after they’re done reading it.
• Now the last thing you want your end to do is remind your readers of your story theme.
I don’t know what your theme is but my theme was that you get to choose who you are and it became one of the most important parts of my ending. Your theme is the thing your story was trying to tell the reader so the ending is he perfect place to remind your readers of it.

Things you don’t want to do in your story ending.
• One good thing to avoid is to bring in new information that wasn’t even hinted at earlier, because if you surprise a reader completely out of the blue they will most likely just get upset. If you want to drop one last minute surprise such as, oh you’re adopted or, ps. she’s been unfaithful then make sure you have hinted at it earlier. (Well maybe just put in a note to do so when you edit. This is NaNoWriMo after all.)
• Don’t suddenly go from showing to telling. I understand that you have something you need to explain but you should please do this either through action or dialog. The big problem I have noticed is that in the end people start info dumping. Perhaps the Villain has a grandiose speech or your MC uses internal monologue to explain his entire plan. Let me ask you something. If you have been avoiding telling your entire story long why should you stop now? Find another way to explain it.
• Stop the flashback. People want to stay focused on the story at this point and how it ends so flash backs will nothing but a distraction at this point.