Book Review (+Tips): On Writing by Stephen King

Read from July 6th, 2018 to July 30th, 2018.
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Wow, Stephen King is so enjoyable to read, even in his nonfiction, how-to book, On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft. This is a great read for any upcoming writer. He has advice for the beginners and the veterans, but mainly for people just starting out. I would say I’m somewhere in the middle, and I felt confident to agree or disagree with some things that King said regarding topics.
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It was just a lots of fun facts about him in the memoir portion and cool ways to look at writing. I’m giving Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft a 5/5. My rating system is at the bottom of this post.
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I also wanted to share some brief tips with you from On Writing that I personally believe and recommend. Here are those writing tips:
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  1. When you’re getting started, write for yourself. You’re telling yourself a story, not anyone else. A second draft is the edited version of the first. At that point, you’re writing for everyone else and therefore taking out things that don’t have anything to do with the story/plot. Those little subtle details that have nothing to do with the story but you love so much? Throw them out.
  2. Find people who get it. You want to have at least one person by your side who believes in what you’re doing. They are half your confidence from here on out.
  3. Use the first words that come to your head. “Why use an alternative word whose only cousin is the word you really meant?” It’s okay if you’re vocabulary is sparse, you don’t have to spruce your words to get the story going.
  4. You can be as vulgar as you need to, as long as you’re characters and narrator are being honest. “Language doesn’t always wear a tie and lace-up shoes.”
  5. You have to feel the beat of your words and paragraphs and chapters. When you feel like it’s time to end a paragraph, then it’s time. Sentences don’t have to be grammatically correct. A thought.
  6. “It’s not just a question of how-to [practice writing], it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how.” Read and write every day. This shouldn’t feel like work at all.
  7. This kind of goes with number 1. The first draft, you’re getting out the story. The second draft, you’re doing a lot of things, like looking to see if you can find theme throughout the book. If you don’t, that’s fine. But if you do, don’t miss the opportunity to expand on that idea.
Hope you guys found something useful! There’s a lot more tips in the book. I imagine that your favorites will be different from mine, so go read it!
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  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

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

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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

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

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

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

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!

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

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

WritingMime

Q & A! Publishing Edition!

Hi blog followers! Ready for a Q&A? So, as you already know, I’m publishing my book soon. I want to reach out to you and ask if you need me to go over anything with you. I’ve already covered a few topics and have linked the blogs beside them, but if you want more specific things answered or you’d like me to present the information in a new way, let me know!

I am going to be posting in the near future in the “Topics Coming” section. Ask me questions to answer now so I can address them then. Remember, I’m trying to teach people all about publishing, so even if it’s not a question, share with me your ideas so I can broadcast them to everyone!

Lastly, all the “Others” is topics I haven’t talked about. If you’d like to see a blog on the matter, let me know! Have any questions that are not on the list? Shout them out! All these bulletins are a template to guide you with your questions, not a list of commandments you must follow. Ask me anything relating to writing!

Topics Covered

Book Cover: https://writingmime.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/cover-design-for-self-published-books/

Editor: https://writingmime.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/how-to-find-proof-editors/

Acknowledgments: https://writingmime.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/the-acknowledgments-section/

eBook pricing: https://writingmime.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/another-traditional-vs-self-publishing-blog/

Book trailer: https://writingmime.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/what-makes-a-good-book-trailer/

Bio & Author page: https://writingmime.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/how-to-write-a-bioauthors-page/

Others

Synopsis

Title

Pre-order

Interior pictures

Author picture

Interior design

Formatting eBook

Writing advice

Translation

Printing draft

Post publishing specifics

Writing specifics

Q&A others

Thanks for your input!

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

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

Sexuality In Books

Many books have sex, physical signs of affection, and sexual tension. As a writer, I want to know why we do this, how can and how much can it help the book, and are there downsides.

The downsides:

  • As a writer, one should write what they love and express most comfortably. One does not write well in a genre they are not interested in. Figuring out if you’re a sexual writer is very simple. Do the movies, books, and shows you love so much have sexual innuendos and intimate scenes? Then you’ll probably do well. If not, I’m going to guess you’re not going to write very strong tension, if you are at all.
  • There are quite a lot of people out there that are prudent when it comes to sex as a topic of choice. They stay clear of it and might even disgrace your book if it contains that kind of imagery or dialogue. Write what you want, though. They don’t matter if that’s what you’re interested in writing about.

The upsides:

  • Especially if you are writing in teen fiction, you’ll want to have sexuality present in your books. Most publishing houses label young adult books as novels that explore the aspects of adulthood, breaking into topics like sex, drugs, bullying and pop culture. It’s what they’ve been forbidden to read, so teens read it the most. Most other adult genres have sexuality, as well.
  • It can make the book more relatable. Sexuality does exist in the real world, and, where appropriate, an author should address the subject as realistically and reliably as possible. It brings realism and a stronger emotion to the story you’re writing.

How should you write sexuality into your book?

Depending on how you look at sex, you could include physical contact in your book: kissing, caressing hands, intercourse, etc. You can be more or less descriptive, telling readers exactly what’s going on second by second, or hint to a scene that the readers never see. Then again, you can avoid the matter entirely.

You can use it as a detail instead of a plot movement. Maybe you just want the boy to kiss his girlfriend on the cheek. It doesn’t mean anything for the story, other than to show the boy continues to care for his girl. You could also, romance writers, use it as a plot or turning point. Ex: The princess loves her rescuer, but she better not kiss him before she gets back to her soon-to-be-husband prince, or there might not be a coming back.

If you want to write the best sexual tension, keep the suspense long and agonizing, make the main character’s love interest as mysterious as possible for as long as possible, and write the MC meeting the love interest in the same age bracket as your potential audience. It’s automatically more relatable, and not everyone has known their love interest their whole life.

But there have been books where the MC was dead, and it still got pretty steamy. So write what you want to write, bottom line. If you’re hearts in it, the writing will present exactly what you want your readers to receive.

That’s my intake on the whole sexuality-in-books thing. What’s yours?

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

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

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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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

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Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

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