Inspirational Writing Story

When I had finally hit rock bottom was when I realized I wanted to be a writer. Many people start writing, and the reasons they start are very different, I think. For me, I had decided to pick up writing one early morning, and by early I mean middle-of-the-night early, before I clicked the next episode on Netflix. I was sitting in the dark in my childhood bedroom, alone, a college dropout, living with my parents, jobless, and even though I was only nineteen, it felt like I had wasted away a perfectly good life.

I needed help. Right then and there, I decided to write a long essay summarizing the previous years that led up to that morning. But after I was done, I felt something that I hadn’t in a long time: hunger.

You see, I had written one chapter after another, unaware that night had given away to morning, and that morning had given away to afternoon. I was unaware of how tired I should’ve been, but I didn’t feel tired at all. I was starving, literally and metaphorically.

I broke away from my computer twenty document pages later, realizing I’d been starving myself of something for some time now. What was this feeling? I had not felt anything since the day I graduated high school. On graduation day, I drew with chalk a wild cat on the sidewalk leading into the school building. I’ll miss you, NU! I captioned it. That day, I coined the phrase ‘to make a difference, you have to be a little different’ as my Words of Wisdom. I’d worked so hard leading up to that day, to keep my grades up and graduate in the top percentile. But until this early morning, I had not logged one memorable accomplishment in the past long year.

I never came close to writing this much in one sitting before, however. This was an internal discovery.

At first, I didn’t think I was a writer. I was simply writing a stress-relieving prose to myself. It wasn’t good at all. I didn’t know what proper grammar was. My spelling was atrocious. I’d gotten through every language arts class by using of Sparknotes. And in the back of my mind, I was sure that none of the twenty pages I had conjured were coherent enough to follow, unless I was the one reading it. But at least this had given me an idea – a task – to finish the story. To edit the thing if only to improve it so someone else could read it and understand what I was going through.

The lingering hunger was real, though. I typed “how to write a book” in YouTube’s search engine and found lots of resources. Scrolling through grammar videos, I stumbled across publishing sites and critique circles. I kept my involvement on my first critique circle low-key, only leaving feedback on partial manuscripts and never submitting chapters of my own. Eventually, after learning what good and bad writing was and many revisions of my work later, I posted my essay to these same websites and got lots of criticism, occasionally feeling dumb for spelling something horrifically incorrect.

I was enthralled. Any feedback, good or bad, made me so much hungrier. I resubmitted works after works until, finally, I felt like I could do something with my twenty-page thing. Twenty pages turned into fifty. Fifty turned into a hundred.

A few months later, on 2014’s New Year’s Eve, I made a decision to start documenting my writing progress on YouTube, like so many before me had done. In my first vlog (video blog), I publicly announced that I was going to publish a book within the next year. On top of that, I was going to read more. I thought reading books would help me know what was worth publishing. I was going to start a written blog, too. I was even going to attempt something called NaNoWriMo. During National Novel Writing Month, I would have to write 50,000 words, 1,666 words each day for a month. I was going to wait until November, the normal time to do it, but that was almost a year away and so I jumped the gun, finishing a total of two or three seasons before May.

Somehow, I felt like I’d joined a bigger conversation that had been going on since the beginning of time. With these new skills, I connected with some amazing people, gained more than a thousand subscribers, guest-spoke on NaNoWriMo’s YouTube channel, was featured on a podcast, annually read roughly twelve books, and most importantly I published my first of hopefully many books. Since that lonely morning three years ago, I can say that I’ve grown so much as an artist and as an individual. It never occurred to me that I’d one day be humbled by reading or writing.

And now with my full and purposeful life, I’m constantly craving for more, and I hope that hunger is never filled.

Thanks for reading,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

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Pretending to Be A Writer Makes You A Better Writer


You can tell what good writing is. I can tell what good writing is. We get drawn into good writing, which is how we know. But how does the writer know it’s good writing?

So a while back, I was writing a story. It had a decent outline and a reasonably cliché plot behind it. I thought I could put some of my own twists on this plot so that it’s unique. I figured the way I told the story would be different from how anyone else could tell the story.

When I started writing this story, there were parts that my heart beat escalated and my words moved across the page in rapid motions. Then there were other times I was simply writing to fill the gaps. These fillers I thought long and hard about, but the only thing I could come up with were basic ideas I’ve seen a million times in other stories like this one. I figured it wouldn’t matter if this one scene was similar since a lot of the book was unique. I wasn’t able to judge the work. I heard so many people say “just write the story, don’t care was others think.” So I didn’t. But after reading a few other books, I had an epiphany.

Those moments I kept it basic were my book’s weakest points. After reading a story that at some moments I was like, “wow, this is a really good writer. They really know how to write a ____ and ____,” and others I was like, “wait, are they good? This seems too cliché,” I realized that the cliché parts were fillers, like what I did when I was writing. It wasn’t that the parts I liked weren’t reused ideas – in fact, they kind of were, but the parts were told passionately and with the author’s own flare. The parts I didn’t like were cliché, rushed, not passionate, simple connect-the-dots parts.

My advice would be to always feel passionate about what you’re writing. If you do this from start to finish, you will tell a unique story, using interesting chapters, words, and sentence structures.

Another tip would be to pretend to be a writer, always. Even if you write, you might not be the ideal “writer.” How does a horror writer talk and act while explaining their story to the press? How do they write their stories? What is the voice that resonates with the readers in the genre you’re writing? I always copycat a writer in my genre, thinking hard about how they would write a sentence in my book. It’s one of my greatest inspirations!

I hope that helped spark some writing in all of you!

Thanks for reading,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Pen Names: What Are They and How To Use Them


This blog was written by me, but inspired by my fans’ comments on my YouTube video, NaNoWriMo Publishing Edition: Day 24.

So what is a pen name? If you’re curious what a pen name is, or sometimes referred to as a pseudonym, they’re names on works that hide identities, organize works into groups, used as a marketing strategy – they’re used for all sorts of things!

Maybe your genre doesn’t match with what name you’re writing under. Rainbow Rowell wouldn’t be found on a horror novel. Maybe R. Rowell would be preferred. This is a marketing strategy. The author still wants to put their books under the same name, but they switch around how they spell out or initial their name on the cover to better fit the genre.

Some people want privacy. Maybe Rainbow Rowell isn’t her name at all. Maybe she’s writing horrors and romances under this fake name so her family doesn’t know her secret fascination with fictional characters. This is still a nice strategy, even when matching names with genres – because you can still change from using initials to full names. It’s just not your real name.

There’s something about being unable to sign your real name on the book cover that is so heartbreaking for some. But deciding on your name is something I would consider at the beginning of your career, before you release anything. Once you start on a path, like using your real name, it’s hard to use anything else. You can, but it’s like starting over, because you’re basically being labeled as a new author.

One of my published fans told me he wrote in pen names. He used totally different names for different genres and got less revenue from that because fans didn’t know the books were written by the same person, so there was a marketing rift.

One fan said she could never use her real name, afraid her family might find out. But from what I can gather, she is still publishing under that name and has made a decent amount of success from it. She was consistent in using the same name, even if it wasn’t her real one.

A few other reasons you might want to use a pen name is because your name is too long, or your name is hard to pronounce, or it reads wrong in translation. I met a waiter once who called himself Erin, because people couldn’t pronounce his real name, Eran with a squiggle over the “a.”

So consider your situation, what you’re writing, and what you’re comfortable with. You never have to use your real name. You don’t have to use your real name or always use your fake name. But you can if that is what you’d rather do. You can use abbreviations or initials.

What I can gather from the comments is that “your name is your brand,” and to build your brand, you should try to keep your name(s) as consistent as possible. The route I’m going to take with my books is to use my real name and mess around with initials when I write a completely different genre. Mainly, I’m going to look at the cover and ask, “Will they take my book seriously with that name on there?” If I think it’s fine, I’ll leave it. It all comes down to the cover for me.

Thanks for reading guys!

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

How To Plot Out A Thriller/Mystery

A year ago, I plotted out my own little mystery thriller and hope to make it into a book one day. I enjoyed the scheming and implanting surprises. So here’s how I did it.

I knew I could complete a story in as many chapters as I needed. However, I didn’t have a story yet. So I thought I’d see what I could come up with in 27 chapters (3x3x3). I didn’t end up using all of them, but it did get the ball rolling

I came up with my ending first. What did I want to accomplish? What emotional state was each character going to be in?

I worked backward. I felt like my beginning should be the exact opposite. I wanted a story where my characters were heroic and loving at the end and lame and hateful at the beginning. I wanted there to be two main characters who grow closer throughout the book.

I had a beginning, a middle, and an end: boring and strangers, action and comrades, heroes and friends.

Then I decided what kind of action: do I want it to be a crime? A jungle adventure? A spy undercover operation? The list goes on. I thought a crime would be interesting. Multiple crimes, in fact.

So, I split my beginning into three parts, my middle into three parts, and my ending into three parts. I already knew that I had to find out about the crime, investigate the crime, and then solve the crime, but how could I split finding out about a crime into three parts? Investigating a crime into three parts? Solving a crime into three parts? Well that’s where my creative side came in. Each third became it’s own beginning, middle, and end.

I added character development, conflicts, and plot twists to fill the gaps, otherwise it’d be a three-chapter book. Maybe it takes three problems and two solutions to fully discover that a crime was committed. Maybe it takes a leap of faith, three lucky tip-offs, and two steps backward to get through the investigation. Maybe because of a new friendship and two minds working on the case, with a few cafe scenes here and there, the crime was finally solved. But the case is not closed until the criminal is caught, so there’s a few more scenes for ya’.

There are so many options that I had to split the thirds of the three into three parts themselves, resulting in 27 or so chapters. It allowed me to explore the characters with back stories, have intimate as well as action scenes, and really build a secret over time, which I had planted at the beginning of my plotting process. It sprouted into a drawn out sequence of events that became my book outline.

I hope that helped some with plotting your next mystery thriller!

Keep writing,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Avoiding Writer’s Block

Is improbable, but not impossible. What is writer’s block, first off?

If you’ve ever been clueless as to what to write, after you’ve started a project or began a different project, you’ve probably had writer’s block.

So to come up with a theory, I analyzed what happened before each time I had writer’s block. To start, whenever I couldn’t start a writing project because I didn’t know what to write about, my mind had been on other things. Secondly, right before I hit the writer’s block wall in my stories I had just finished writing the perfect sentence, paragraph, or chapter.

Here’s my theory: In order to make a book better, one has to edit. But why? Can’t you make it good the first time? No. You have to think about what’s good and what’s bad. Now, when I wrote the good stuff, it came from the heart. I was going by instinct as to what should be written. I was word drunk. Then, as you know, I’d hit a wall.

But that’s just it: I wasn’t thinking. I was rolling the words off my tongue. I wasn’t thinking ahead. It caused the next chapter’s quick finish, words thrown together to continue the story. It wasn’t good.

If you are a mastermind, thinking about every sentence, paragraph, chapter – planning way ahead – maybe you could skip editing your book and writer’s block all together.

However, for most people, we can’t predict how a chapter will turn out and we let our emotions run wild when we feel the passion. That can be dangerous, but it’s also why we write. We wouldn’t have any fun doing what we love if we had to think deeply about it all the time. Besides, editing could be a fun function of the whole bit, too.

Keep writing!

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

 

Writing Readers Will Enjoy

 

When you first start writing a novel, you’re writing a story that follows a character or multiple characters; generally, you’re writing from your own head in expressing immediate ideas and observations that you see your characters experiencing. You try to be detailed as possible. Even though it’s told behind the eyes of characters in your book, it’s still considered your diary, because only you understand it’s depth.

Because this isn’t “The Diary of Anne Frank,” a nonfiction written by a girl for herself, you should consider your reader’s perspective on the story. To do this, you take your raw “diary” format of your story and revise it and take it to an editor. The goal is to avoid “Why did this happen?” Or “why did they do that?” Or even “this relationship is fake.”

You can add and change things for the readers so they can understand what you mean. Writers take many years to perfect their novels, gearing them toward their audience. However, when authors go under contract and are asked to kick out a book every year, this sometimes takes away from the process. The “diary” format within the year-old story is more raw than it should be, and it irritates the reader when not clarified.

Actions speak louder than words. Everything your character says in dialogue will be trumped by your character’s actions. The only thing that can trump actions is a character’s thoughts:

Be brutally honest. If you can’t think of what your characters are thinking at that moment, try to relate to them on an emotional level. If they’re feeling confused, write something like, “I have no clue why that happened,” after the character has happy dialogue with someone else. Maybe the character is feeling nervous, but their actions are jumpy and vibrant. Directly after you say, “They raced to the pole to see who could get there quicker,” write a thought like,” I should be at home taking care of Jesse.” Even if your actions, dialogue, and thoughts all have the same feeling, your readers will still appreciate your character, relating to them more then that they’re confident in what they’d suspected was true. Even if your readers can’t relate to the actions or dialogue your characters make, there will still be some sympathy toward their thoughts.

Tip: If you want an even more realistic story, think about how your other characters are feeling as your main character is off observing and feeling by themselves. If one character is away being stressed, how will they react to your character that is happy when they come together in the next chapter?

 

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

How to Find Proof Editors

Your manuscript is completely done. You’ve spent every waking moment for the last month writing you’re first draft and now you want to edit. Do you do it yourself first? Try to? I would say don’t. You’ll never get past the first chapter.

Let other’s give you advice before you do. And here are some ways to do that.

1. Search editors and proof readers through Google, Twitter, or anywhere else that allows you to see a portfolio of their past work, their ratings, and their occupation.

One of my favorite occupations to look for is another novelist, not only because they can relate, but because on Amazon.com, you can read their first chapters from their novels and judge their writing style. Professional proof-readers and teachers are common to see, too. Double-check their portfolio to make sure they’re what they say they are. If they say they can edit your work, but have grammatical errors throughout their work history and profile description, they’re lying. That, or they haven’t bothered to double-check their own profile, so why would they double-check yours? You’re smarter than that, which is why you must do some double-checking of your own.

To know exactly what you’re paying for, make sure to ask your critiquers if they have a program where they can leave in-line remarks next to words or paragraphs without changing the original text. Their comments will instead sit to the side.

They’ll ask for a synopsis, an excerpt from your work, a word count, and they’ll quote a price for editing your manuscript. You may then choose whether or not to hand it over. They can have it back within the week, most of the time. Prices vary, but usually it’ll add up to $500-$1000.

2. Use free and newer ways to get opinions on your book.

Wattpad is a site that is designed for readers to view stories chapter by chapter, from stories authors publish on the site for free. This is not saying you can’t take it down and republish it somewhere else. This site is usually used to get a fan base. I include it in this list because it has an in-line feature where all readers can leave comments every paragraph throughout the story if they choose. They usually won’t correct grammar or spelling, but they are swell beta readers.

3. Using Elance.com or PeoplePerHour.com (I prefer PeoplePerHour), you can find inexperienced editors and use them to your advantage.

Since most of these people on these sites are trying to build a reputation so to have their own websites, like editors you see in #1 above, they’ll edit manuscripts at dirt cheap prices. Elance editors usually edit an entire manuscript at once, like the ones above except for a lower price. On PersonPerHour, it’s per every number of words they can usually do in an hour. They’re lenient when it comes to going over word count to finish a paragraph. I buy at least three to start out.

To clarify, I purchase someone’s 5000 words edit for $18 (277wpd), 1000 words for $10 (100wpd), and 2500 words for $13 (192wpd), totaling in at $41 for the first two or three chapters of my book. This is a spectacular way to justify exactly what I’m getting for their $18 or $10, even if one of them is one fifth as many words as the other.

I can see how my manuscript could be critiqued in many different ways. Whichever one does the best job, I believe is worth the most loyalty, even if theirs is the highest rate (remember, those rates are still pretty low anyway). I continue with them for the rest of the book. Surprisingly, I’ve had better revisions with lower priced editors more often than I have with higher priced ones. All I had to do was waste $10 with that other guy. It was worth it.

If I didn’t fall in love with an editor, I finish editing those few thousands of words the three of them helped me with and then move on to the next thousands of words with different editors. The prices never go up, so I often rotate through the circle of endless editors.

How to Make Your Editing Experience Better

Let’s say you do go the amateur editor route. Giving your amateur editor some advice makes all the difference, even if it’s more to their benefit. Let’s say you contact them first telling them you want to work with them.

“Where can I pay you?,” you ask.

And they say, “Well thanks, just click the blank and I’ll accept it soon.”

Stop them right there. Politely point out the right thing to do would be to make sure they appear protective of their client’s best interest. They must always ask for a synopsis and word count before accepting anything and try to get to know the piece they’re going to be working with.

Explain to them exactly what you want to see them trying to do with their comments. I tell them I have problems with run-on sentences and I have a way with making paragraphs read too proper, with my ‘they will’s and ‘I could’s. I ask them to point these out so I can change them to ‘they’ll’s and ‘I’d’s. I ask them to offer me advice on how to shorten my sentences where the need be. I teach them everything I know about critiquing, because I’m helping myself in the end. They’ll thank you for your advice, too.

How to Pick Your Two Editors

If you’re one of those people who need two critiquers during the entire process, here’s how to do it. Choose your favorite editor and then that one annoying person who points every little detail out. The favorite editor is self-explanatory. The annoying one is there to pick needles from a hay stack. Though their rambling sounds unsupportive, they’re usually the ones who notice unobvious mistakes and are the ones who will make a sentence better. Whereas the good editor provides the work with space to speak for itself, avoiding nitpicky situations. (That’s probably why they’re your favorite.)

In the end, if any of your editors did a bad job, just give them a bad review. As long as you did all you could to help them help you, they couldn’t have done any better with the background they said they had, clearly. They’re not professionally ready for this line of work and shouldn’t be advertised as such using your outstanding reviews.

One reminder: If you pay for any kind of proof-editing, always ask if they’re currently working on a project. Are they going to have time to read your work? If they don’t get back to you in a timely fashion, which is a couple hours to a day, they’re probably too busy for your liking.

Thanks for reading,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Pulling Readers Into Your Chapters

There are too many chapters that start with the same thing. Names. Person doing something.

Every time I open up Critique Circle, I’m looking through the list and seeing the first sentence of each story that I could potentially leave feedback for. They all start like this:

  • LUCY and Melinda promenaded onto the dance floor, a high paced song was on and they started doing the Charleston, the latest dance craze.”
  • ” “It’s Mrs. Douglas. She’s in the hospital.” Anita wiped her eyes and whispered. “They don’t know what’s wrong.” “
  • “Released from the hospital on Sunday, seven days after she entered, Betty Jane’s life returned to normal. She was back at work on Tuesday, tired, but glad to see her coworkers.”

To be clear, these aren’t first chapters. This is how people start their second, third, fourth, and every chapter after that.. which is disappointing.

I get excited when I know my chapters are written well. I believe people put their separate chapters on the internet when they know they could do better. Sometimes, I read chapters that talk about what a character felt when something was happening, not what they’re feeling as it’s happening. Look at your fifth chapter. The beginning is like: A few weeks later, everything was back to normal. This happened, and this happened. These are the concepts that hold true to me, which is why it happened. But anyway, now.. ..Memoirs are fun, but done wrong can be boring.

To fix this, ask yourself, are you telling like it’s happening, or like it already happened? (It doesn’t matter if it DID happen in the past. How are you TELLING it?)

Does the chapter start with an immediate thing: how you’re feeling physically or what you’re seeing at that moment? Ex: It was cold on the bus, and the trees flew by the window. New paragraph. I was on a school trip heading to

Always speak in immediacy of what’s happening when starting a chapter.

People aren’t treating their chapters like wonderful, beautiful things. An exception to this is the book’s first chapter. If every chapter was treated like it was the first, the book would be more successful. You know for a fact that your editor might cut a few chapters out and a different chapter might end up as your first anyway, so why not save yourself the trouble? If someone started reading your book from the first paragraph of chapter five, would they continue reading.

Unsuccessful books have too many chapters that start with people doing stuff. One single sentence of a tiny bit of world building would be preferred. Switch it up. If your chapter will eventually describe a beautiful atmosphere, (after you talk about what the people are doing, right?) why not just skip over the people for a paragraph and start with a little hint of what that atmosphere is, if that’s the best part of the chapter. Give us a gripping image to pressure us to read on. You can go in depth on the imagery later.

So, my best advice to give is to pick the most enjoyable paragraph that you wrote in the chapter (it doesn’t have to be the most exciting or involving plot. Describing the forest was the most enjoyable, so make a reference to the forest. Remember, if you’re feeling the writing, the readers are feeling the reading.) Place a common image related to it at the beginning of the chapter. A location or image will do. I’m not saying to use foreshadow or anything like that to predict an outcome. Do that as you please. Finally, ask yourself the questions highlighted above that are related to immediacy. These sort of questions get your brain moving and can get you unstuck in the most stickiest brainfarts.

Thanks for reading,

WritingMime

 

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

 

Writing Tools: Foreshadow and Creative Recap

Lately, I’ve been studying the ends and beginnings of novel chapters. To begin a study session, I first must be inspired by something I like, and then notice what I dislike in comparison. I formulate a generic do’s and don’ts list from there, and then I proceed to write about it. This week, I really, really want to point out how authors flow from one chapter to the next.

For starters, I’ll begin with a literary tool called foreshadowing. By definition, the verb foreshadow means to signal that something is going to happen. When used as a writing tool, the author is either using it to progress the plot or to creating anticipation. Quite literally, foreshadowing can be stating that something is going to happen in the next chapter, without hinting to what that is. For example, the end of a chapter can say, “But Billy could not have been prepared for what was coming next.” If the author did not tell us the readers what is coming, then we are just as clueless as Billy. This is exactly a signal that something is going to happen, or a promise that the plot is going to be moving in the next chapter. Total cluelessness can get the heart thumping, for those who love writing suspense novels (hint hint).

Less literally, the author could say, “But Billy could never have guessed what he’d find in the closet.” This is a signal that something is going to happen, but it also hints to what that is, which in this case is Billy opening the closet and then reacting to what he finds. This gets the brain moving, and depending on the circumstance, can also get the heart racing. But usually the reader is, or trying to, deduct what is in the closet, adding their own emotions besides suspense caused by what they think is going to happen, such as fright, sadness, excitement; it’s like a reader’s DIY emotional roller coaster.

Foreshadowing always comes before something in which the reader does not know yet. If the book jumps back and forth between times, one cannot use foreshadowing to speak of a future, when in the previous chapter the event already happened and the reader is all-knowing, the characters are not. You’re explains in a foreshadow way what the reader already knows. That’s a form of creative recap, but we’ll get back to that later.

Mostly, foreshadowing is placed before something happens. It could be seconds before, or years before the event. Foreshadowing chapter-wise, the event it’s referring to could be placed directly at the start of the next chapter, which would be considered a fast-paced novel, or it could be put aside until later chapters, letting readers either forget about it or pick up pieces in the meanwhile.

A book doesn’t need heavy foreshadowing if the book is written for a day-to-day, contemporary premise. It’s not meant to be suspenseful. Creative recap, however, is necessary.

Creative recap is reconditioning/rewriting an event in past tense for repetitive emphasis. The importance of repeating yourself, reminding the reader who did what and what happened when, is like playing with flashcards, allowing the readers quick and easy assess to the past when you want them to remember something. Repeating names at the beginning of novels so they start to stick is an example. Though, we do it in a creative way that the reader will enjoy instead of just saying it. Hence why we call it creative recap. Another plus is that it helps connect the chapters through reference, and a general understanding of why each chapter is there builds over time.

An example of creative recap: “While that was happening, this was happening here,” or, “Only five years after this happened, this was happening here.” A simple statement of relationship in the first sentence of each chapter will fill in those holes. As a result, the readers won’t need to think too hard about the distance and time between them. Even if the chapters are almost completely unrelated to one another, it’s still easier for the readers with that connection.

When I mentioned before about some books going out of order, you cannot foreshadow if the reader already knows what’s going to happen. In this situation, “But Billy could never have guessed what he’d find in the closet,” turns into recap since nothing is hidden from the reader anymore. It’s there to repeat the knowledge, for emphasis. For the readers, it’s an instruction to start feeling a certain way, reminding them of what they already felt. It’s creative, because you’re not outwardly saying, “Remember this?” It’s more of a reference, a nudge-nudge, inside joke sort of thing.

Whenever you catch yourself thinking, “How can I make sure the reader picks this detail up,” or, “I haven’t mentioned this in a while, so how should I mention it again,” you’re probably using creative recap. You don’t want to outwardly say it, but you’re thinking hard about a creative way to do it. What ever you wrote as a solution is your prime example of creative recap.

There are many ways to go about creating creative recap, and there are just as many for foreshadowing. Both can be used to your advantage when it comes to repetition, repetition being the key to success. Because both are references technically, using either one will act as a second mentioning besides the actual telling of what will or what has happened. Use them as tools to improve your writing. In particular, use them to help your reader understand what’s going on in your book, unlike the metaphors and detail outfit descriptions in which build the pretty of your novel.

(P.S. Did you see what I did there with the colors? That’s a creative way of reminding you what I was referring to earlier, connecting the paragraphs, and making it easier to follow what I wanted to explain. c; I love creative recap.)

Thanks for reading,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

The Down-Low On Interesting Characters

Most of the time, writers don’t know how to go about making the fan-favorite character(s) readers remember for years. Don’t you worry because I’m here telling you today how to achieve just that by fixing one of the most obvious mistakes. Write active characters.

Here’s what you’ll want to do to make your character more involved with the plot. For starters, give your character(s) reason behind their actions. And a good reason. You can make a list of reasons and pull one from the hat, but the best reason, for your book will be the one that can impact the most readers, justify the action with great understanding, and portray a human’s impulsiveness (and if not human, a less human-y reason).

Also, ask yourself the question: is my character(s) acting or reacting? When your antagonist is more interesting to read about than your protagonist, you know there is something wrong. If you look very closely, you’ll notice that the bad guy is acting, doing evil because that’s the person they are, and moving about the story, while your good guy is just reacting, going after them, the defensive, protecting from what came and will go. This idea is more for middle school and elementary school grade readers.

Superman is not the hero he is today because he’s a man who wakes up and fights crime. He is the alien man who came from a faraway land, saddened by his grief, deserted on a planet which he has grown to love with people he’s grown to care about and he must save his new home from the terrible beings that have realistic motives to destroy the world. He looks for evil, using his news career (active), but most of the time he just stumbles across it (not active, and kind of cartoony-middle schoolish). Truthfully, if Superman didn’t have his bad guys, he’d be watching TV in his apartment.

Build the character. Use his actions at the beginning to demonstrate his strength, his weaknesses, and use them to foreshadow what he will be able to do and cannot do. Don’t tell but show us what he’s fond of and what he holds dear and what he has lost. It’s impressive to see the more creative parts of actions that tell a past. Try to expose what has happened using present actions.

Have more people reacting to them versus them reacting to others. Give them an audience and show how others treat them. If they are a normal run-of-the-mill person, describe the audience as people not looking at him, holding the door open for him out of courtesy, etc – after he walks up to the door and smiles at them. If he is a freak, the more instances where a person shuns him, flinching, calling him names, etc., will broaden the reaction to him acting weird. Do these reactions directly after his actions for the best effect. If he is just walking and people are “reacting to him” without visual reason, they are the one’s acting.

Make internal struggles strong. Discuss what’s going on inside in depth. Make sure the reader sees the pain this person is going through and their actions reflect their feelings. If they make a mistake because they over-thought something, or they didn’t think enough about and acted out of impulse, this is good. This shows the reader human-like flaws that they can relate to and feel bad for or excited for and etc. Mistakes are fine, but unexplainable, unreasoned actions are not.

Finally, this is a subliminal trick that will make your characters strong. Somewhere else in the book, have a polar opposite for each character so that the reader can subconsciously see the contrast that’s there. Even if they never meet, it still deepens the characters’ traits, and when they do meet, this opens many opportunities for actions and reactions between the two. That’s always an interesting thing to see.

I really enjoyed this one lecture from Brandon Sanderson’s vlog, hoping you all go check him out after this. He’s a college professor who films his class on a daily basis, so if you’re ever looking for more advice, there’s a bulk of it sitting around on his channel.

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime