Friday, February 28, 2014

Save the Questions for Later

The continuation of "How Do You Write Novels"...  

#6.      Barf first, ask questions later

Essentially, the point is to get something down onto the paper. Maybe you’re the type who needs to handwrite your work, maybe you’re a typist like me—it doesn’t matter, as long as you get something down on paper.

There are a lot of different ways to get going when it comes to novels. Some people outline, others make a file of random things they need to remember and things they’d like to include, and others (like me) just sit down and start writing, and see where the story goes. I like to take it one chapter at a time.

This is some of the best advice that I can give you, no matter how you write:

Barf first.

No, I don’t mean puking your guts out. I just mean word vomit, whatever you can think of, whatever might make a good story.

When you’re done, go back and read it, ask questions, cut sentences (or paragraphs, or pages…) that don’t make any sense.

Once you get used to getting your ideas down on paper, the asking questions part will come naturally to you. But when you’re starting out, it’s better to barf than to pose so many hypotheticals that the story never gets going.

Take it from me, when you’ve done this enough times your brain will automatically combine the two, and you’ll get used to questioning while you’re writing (instead of questioning before or after).

Have a good weekend everyone!

{Rani D.}

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Lesson in Speakery

            Good morning, everyone! Today I'm writing on speakery, also known as dialogue. 

            Pretty much every writer will tell you: dialogue is a pain in the butt. The thing is, normal, actual, conversations don’t sound anything like dialogue. They sound crazy. Everyone sounds ADD. No one knows what they really want to be talking about. Everyone has to get their two cents in about everything.

            Writers try to avoid sounding like that, but we still want our characters to sound real.

            How is that even possible? I have no idea. I think everyone is so used to the way dialogue “normally” flows in television and novels that they’re accustomed to it not sounding like we do. Or maybe we’re all glad it doesn’t sound like us, because we sound crazy…

            In any case, dialogue is something we all have to work on.

            First thing’s first (because I know how difficult it is), formatting. Yeah, yeah, I know. That’s the boring part. But you need to know it.

Now we can talk about the fun stuff.

Dialogue, essentially, needs to be written like a play. And no, not a Shakespeare play. Unless you’re writing for that era. In which case, I would recommend brushing up on your Shakespearian.

The easiest way to think about it is to remember that someone is actually saying the words aloud. If you would never be caught dead saying that sentence, and you can’t think of anyone you know who would be caught dead saying it, don’t have your character say it. The only exception to this rule is when it’s character related. For example, I have one character that never uses contractions. Ever. They don’t know how. Other characters comment on it. It’s amusing (at least to me).

In short, this is how I do it:

Just for funsies, here’s a sample of some of the first dialogue I ever wrote: 
(I'm slightly angered that I didn't catch the line under "like" before I took the screenshot...)

And here’s what it should look like, proper formatting and all:
(please note, I'm not saying that this is an awesome example of dialogue. It's just better than it was before)

Essentially, it’s best to avoid overdoing it. Don’t have someone speak when a nod would suffice. Don’t overdescribe their actions: if you say something simple, your reader will often elevate it to the level you intended. They’re smarter than you take them for.

I hope this was helpful. Dialogue was one of the things that took me the longest to master—but once you get there, it sticks with you.

Stay tuned for Friday’s novel-writing post!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Why Write?

            I started this blog as a place where I could answer questions, where I could get to know people who’ve liked my Facebook page, or people who just thought that I sounded like a fun person. So far, it’s been a great experience.
I hope that you’ve all enjoyed it as well.

            “Why write?” is a question that I get a lot, from a lot of different people—and now seemed like a good time to answer it.

            In essence, I write because I love it. But to make it a little more fun, I’ve made a list of ten reasons why I write, and why I never want to stop.

  • It’s a release, a way to get out emotions and feelings. If ever I’m feeling down about anything, writing can always bring me back up.
  • It’s fun to create new worlds and people, and see how everything interacts.
  • I was called to write.
  • I’ve been writing since I was a wee lass, and it’s always been the thing that I keep coming back to, no matter what.
  • Exploration. Not only of worlds, but of people and things. I know more about people than I ever would’ve known if I hadn’t started writing. I understand people, and why they do the things they do. At least, better than I did before.
  • It’s like making my own movie, with an ending that I know I’m going to like. (I know a lot of writers don’t like the endings they’ve written, but I genuinely enjoy all of mine).
  • Writing broke me out of my shell. I used to be a shy child. People don’t generally call me shy anymore. My laugh echoes.
  • Me talks more gooder now.
  • As the meme says, I now know how to describe anything using all five senses.
  • I don’t really have a choice in the matter. If I don’t write, I generally become angry and no one wants to spend any time with me. Essentially, not writing has the same affect on me as not spending my time with God.

Of course, there are more than ten reasons… These are just the biggest, or the most fun to talk about.

As always, thanks for reading, and don't forget to stay tuned for Wednesday's post!

{RA Divine}

Friday, February 21, 2014

Issues of Trust

Continuation of the series "How Do You Write Novels?"... 

#5.      Trust yourself.

Again, this is something a lot of writers struggle with. We know where we want the story to go, and we really want to force it—but that’s never a good idea. Don’t force the story to go where you want it to go. Trust that the story knows where it wants to go, and that somewhere deep down, you know it too.

Trust your words; trust your mind to know where you want the story to go. Don’t force the story away from where it wants to go. Immerse yourself within it, become the characters, live within your world, and let the creative juices flow.

Take it from me: getting to this point takes some time and effort, but once you get to where you can trust your subconscious over your conscious mind, your writing will benefit. Everything starts to flow more smoothly, things make sense without you even trying, and the plot simply starts to fall into place.

Okay, maybe not so simply. But you know what I mean.

Trust is a big issue for a lot of people. I’ve been there. It’s not fun to always second guess yourself, and it usually ends with the story suffering.

So trust me: trusting yourself is a good thing. Just let go. Don’t try to be in control, because really, you never were. The story’s going to go where it wants to go, whether you’re the vessel to get it there or not.

If you don’t write it the way it wants to be written, it’ll find someone who will.

I hope you all are enjoying this series! It’s been a lot of fun for me to write, and it’s even been eye-opening for me. Some of the things I’m telling you to do are things I didn’t even realize I was doing until I sat down and really thought about it.

Stay tuned for Monday's post, which I promise I will actually do this time!

{Rani Amber}