I found this question to be one that a lot of writers blog or ask one another. I found it annoying when I saw it or heard it, a pet peeve if you will. I mean, I get it, a writer always wants to talk about their origins and what inspired them to begin. But, as one of old English teachers used to say, So What?
While working my job during the day and trying to craft/create art at night, ( and by art I’m including writing and art ) it’s hard to think about trying to merge the two things together. One earns me money and the other brings me pleasure. One is boring and necessary. The other is fun and fulfilling.
Obviously, these things are black and white, sun and moon, Earth and Pluto. Okay, maybe the last one is pushing it, but you get the point. They are two different things, different aspects that are essential, even required, to live the life of an artist. They are point A and point Z, things that can’t be combined or the world would spontaneously combust and everyone would forever be space zombies.
But what if you could combine the two? Continue reading
I’ve been feeling this need to write on a constant basis. I look at what other writers are doing, and I think “Wow, I feel like writing now.” But then I click on another blog post and read some more about writing. I’ve read books, blogs, twitter feeds, and still I think “I will definitely do that in the next piece I write.”
Then I read yet another blog post, find someone else to follow on twitter, re-tweet some advice on how writing is the process of doing, and then I look up writing prompts.
This insanity is known well by the writer community as Writer’s Block. He’s a common villain in many how-to books, and the disease that he infects you with is one that has no cure. Well, none other than just writing. Continue reading
As I mentioned earlier, you have to select details to carry your story along and that won’t overwhelm your reader. In this same essence, you must also choose an Intro worthy of your reader’s interest. Though I will go over making an interesting Intro later, I would like to first point out this very ESSENTIAL fact that will help your writing greatly.
If your begging to your story is a summary with lots of telling, you are doing yourself a disservice. You do not need a prologue to start your story, you just need a story. Chapter Ones are very fine starts. I, like many readers, enjoy the mystery of what’s going to happen. But if you have a beginning like this:
It was terrible what they did to me those years. I needed an escape. No one was there to help me then. They will pay. They are called Emperor Meng’s Sorcerers. For the last year they have tormented me. This is my story.
Unless you have a journal thing going on, which I do not suggest for it is not as easy as you would be led to believe, this intro is unneeded. Everything that is said is not only distracting by its telling, but it is all the details that your readers will find out later through story. Just jump into a scene and stop trying to summarize what will happen or has happened. Keep your readers in suspense and they will follow your story. If you simply mention the name of Emperor Meng’s Sorcerers with some connotation that they are not good guys and have caused some sort of conflict, that will be enough to draw your reader into reading more. But you cannot do this with a summary for an intro. It would work best if the name was say, mentioned in a piece of dialogue between your main character and his fellow conspirator.
Selecting details can be vital to whether a reader may continue reading or not. Some have more patience than others, but with overwhelming details, or just summary of details to come, you may lose many of your readers.
So, let’s say that in your planning of your story, whether it be on paper, electronic, or in your brain, and you have several details about your character. Actually, you have a list. I’ll give you one of my lists as an example to use throughout this post.
Name: Annabel Winston
Hair: Burnt red/auburn
The Physical: Generally wears torn blue jeans / raggy shorts to show off long legs. Likes to wear violet or navy colored clothing. Has some breasts, but not big enough in her opinion. Wears little to no make-up. Has freckles on nose, under eyes, on arms.
Likes: The sun, her boyfriend who’s obviously not human, hands, painting, her mother’s studio, and chocolate
Dislikes: Black cats with yellow eyes, running, when there’s no A/C, vegetables.
I don’t usually do personality because, well, if you couldn’t tell already, I believe the physical and likes/dislikes do enough to give a general idea about who this girl may be. Plus, this keeps me from trying to put an adjective to a Feeling or Inward part of my character. In other words, it keeps me from telling her personality instead of showing it. Doing this may or may not help you if you plan, but that’s for you to discover, not for me to tell you.
So now you have this list of things that you know that you want your readers to see or know about this character. But, of all these details which do you really need? Continue reading