Tag Archives: writing tips

Writers’ Week – what I learned

The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers

Writers festivals are always a treasure trove of information and inspiration, and last week, as you may recall, I spent my time immersing myself in the local version. And it was great – though the weather wasn’t always to my taste. Hot and muggy isn’t a combination that endures itself to me. That being said, though, I can’t fault the content, so I compiled a list of some of the things I picked up. Here it is, in no particular order …

Lessons from Writers’ Week, March 2013

  • Kerry Greenwood doesn’t write drafts. She just writes and sends off what comes out.
  • Isobelle Carmody, on the other hand, writes six drafts of each book she completes.
  • Writing is an organic process, so if your characters decide to take you on a merry dance, let them and see where it leads you.
  • I must read The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers. He is an incredibly inspiring speaker and it sounds absolutely fascinating.
  • You can never take too much water. And bring your own lunch.
  • When you send an article to a newspaper, magazine or website, try not to let them get away with telling you that “the exposure for your brand is more than enough payment”. People don’t value what they don’t pay for.
  • Charlotte Wood has started up a magazine about the creative lives of writers at http://charlottewood.com.au/writersroom.html, which is definitely worth checking out (and subscribing to).
  • The Millions is a really good online resource – and HOW did I not know about it earlier?
  • Also, how could I not have known about the Sydney Review of Books?
  • Get there early. Like, really early for who you want to see. You can find a spot in the shade, and the person/people on beforehand are likely to be much more interesting than you anticipated.
  • No one can describe the act of walking eight paces with a ball in your hand as eloquently as Gideon Haigh.
  • I need to read more books by Arthur Upfield. And Kerry Greenwood’s Tamam Shud, not least because it’s all so local to me. :)

There was more, of course, but those were the things that struck me the most. Now, just to keep you engaged, I’m turning it over to you. What’s one of the most interesting / striking / useful things you have ever learned at a writers’ festival?

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Assorted writing tips #8 – Characterisation

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

 

I’ve written about writing exercises before, but this time I just wanted to talk about one that has really helped me.

Last week, I started a five-week (or really, five-fortnight, but you know what I mean) novel-writing course at my local writers’ centre. I’ve been a member there for a while but haven’t actually been to much – with the kids, most of the things they’ve had on have been either at a bad time or took too much out of the day (say, 10 till 5 on a Saturday, which is really hard for me to do). I figured I could manage two hours a fortnight, though, so off I went.

The first session was about characterisation. Characterisation is something that I find a lot of fun – getting to know one’s characters is always an enjoyable process, and I love seeing where they take me. Often it’s places I don’t expect, but that’s half the fun of it, don’t you think? Anyway, I’ve been given (and used) different character sheets over the years, but there is something about them that seems, I don’t know, sterile. Filling in a form about someone, while it can be very instructive, doesn’t really give me a feel for them. Thing was, I didn’t know of any other way so I persevered.

Then along came Thursday night, and Lucy Clark, the author who is running the course, made the comment that they don’t really work for her either. Hurrah! I knew I couldn’t be alone, but it was great to see someone who has been really successful facing the same battles. What she did, she explained, was write a biography of each character. This is a page or two – or three or four, depending on how small you write and how far you get into the character – written in the first person, telling the story of that person’s life. It’s not really structured, and it’s not intended to be edited (much), just a jumbled narrative of one thought after another. We did a sample in the class, given just a name and an occupation, and it’s amazing how much I could turn out. (In fact, I’m considering using the character I came up with in that session in a future novel.) This is free writing at its best - rambling, unfocused and full of tangents, yet extraordinarily useful when it comes to characterisation and character development.

I’ve used this since on the characters I’ve been writing for the past couple of years, and I have learnt so much more about them by doing this that I have in two years worth of scene creation. Sure, a lot of it I already knew, but I found myself delving so much further into them, especially some of the secondary and tertiary characters, that finishing this manuscript is going to be a breeze. Instead of wondering how someone is going to react to a certain situation, I feel now that I’m at the stage of just putting them in the scene and stage managing – and some of my best writing has been doing just that.

So, there it is. My tip of the day for really getting into your characters’ heads, especially if character sheets don’t really work for you. Of course, not everyone is the same so this might really not appeal to some people. For me, though, it’s been amazing.

 

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Assorted writing tips #7 – finding inspiration

A woman searches for inspiration, in this 1898...

A woman searches for inspiration, in this 1898 painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It’s not easy, is it? Finding inspiration on days when, quite simply, you’re just not inspired. After all, we are at the mercy of our muses, right?

Well, perhaps it’s not as simple as that. I’ve written before about dealing with writer’s block, and about just writing anyway when you have the time and opportunity to do so. And sure, that works, to an extent. It’s just not the same as doing it when you’re feeling inspired, though, is it?

So today I’m going to talk about ways you can find inspiration on days when it’s just eluding you. Ways you can perhaps pick up the threads and get going, rather than doing any number of writing exercises which, while they are generally beneficial, can also feel remarkably dull. Naturally these won’t work for everyone, but they will for some people so I figure that’s worth sharing.

  • Watch a movie. Or read a book, or watch a television show, or something like that. The important thing here is to subject yourself to someone else’s creativity, and it’s even better if it’s in the same genre as what you’re trying to write. You can see how other writers have crafted their plots, put in the twists and turns, dealt with what are very likely similar problems to what your manuscript has. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t in that story, and perhaps it will give you some ideas for your own.
  • Try something new. Do something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t have to be huge – something as minor as trying out a new recipe or going on a walk around your neighbourhood using a route you haven’t used before, but test your boundaries a little. Give yourself a new experience and see how you react to it – was it enjoyable? Did you learn anything from it? Was it worth it? The thing about this is, once you start thinking outside the square when it comes to your own activities, it becomes almost second nature to do it for your characters.
  • Watch / listen to / experience something that moves you. Whether it’s the cannons in the 1812 Overturethe World Cup final from 1990 or the end of Forrest Gump, there is bound to be something out there that moves you in a significant way. With the Internet, it’s also available at your fingertips. Subject yourself to something that tugs on your heartstrings, makes you irrationally proud or elicits some other major emotional reaction. Succumb to it. Enjoy it. Live it. Because if you’re moved to that extent, then that can set the creative juices flowing like nothing else.
  • Talk to a child. Children have a very different take on the world than adults do, and they make you look at things in different ways. For example, my five year old told me quite authoritatively yesterday that if a playground has bark chips underneath the equipment, it’s called a park, because the word “park” is a contraction of the words “playground” and “bark”. (Okay, the word contraction wasn’t used, but you get the idea.) It’s amazing how a conversation like that can make you re-think things.
  • Exercise.Sure, a lot of you are probably sedentary sorts who would rather sit in front of the computer or television than go for a run. Heck, I would too. But getting some exercise and raising a sweat works wonders for your mental activity. It reinvigorates you, wakes you up and gives you a real boost in your cognitive processes. More invigorated and more alert = more likely to find that inspiration that’s been eluding you.

Like I said above, these things won’t work for everyone. But, if you’re looking for inspiration and there’s something on this list that you haven’t tried, then why not give it a go? You never know what might happen.

Good luck!

 

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Genre bender

charlie

charlie (Photo credit: christyscherrer)

Know your genre.

This is advice given often to new writers, in the interests of making them define their work and therefore be more likely to be able to identify an audience. As advice goes, it’s solid and logical, to the extent that it makes you roll your eyes and say, “well duh.”

Except, is it really that simple? I can’t be the only one who is having trouble pigeonholing my novel into a particular genre. And it’s not that I’m writing something that crosses genres – it’s not a romantic thriller with a paranormal twist and a homicide, for instance. (Not that I have anything against such novels; I’m just using that as a random example.) No, I’m stuck within the sub-genres of romance. I tend to call it romantic comedy, but as far as I’m aware that genre belongs to film rather than books. It may be clearer when the novel is finished, of course, but at the moment I’m torn between labelling my story as chick lit or contemporary romance. Or maybe one of the many other sub-genres out there that I’m just not familiar with yet. You get the idea?

I’m aware of course that genre mis-labeling is nothing new. I remember when Twilight first came out and it was filed in the bookshops under “Horror“, because that was where vampire books went. Of course, it wasn’t a horror story, and before long there were whole shelves labelled “Teen Paranormal Romance“. I think it’s great that Twilight was able to challenge traditional genre labelling like that, but maybe now things are getting a little too specific. Wouldn’t “Paranormal” or even “Paranormal Romance” do the job? Otherwise we’re alienating all those paranormal romances out there which don’t have teenaged protagonists.

I read an article recently about how specific some of the sub-genres out there are, and I have to agree that in some cases there is probably an argument for broadening things a little. Sure, some of the more specific sub-genres have very targeted readerships – gluten-free vegan food, for example – but maybe that should be reserved for non-fiction. I tend to think that fiction readers are rarely that specific in their tastes.

Then again, I’m just one person with very little practical experience in this industry, so what would I know? I’d love to hear what people think about this: are fiction sub-genres getting too specific, or should we be easily able to slot our work under a particular heading? And on that matter, what is the real difference between chick lit and contemporary romance? Any advice would be most welcome.

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Guest post: 4 Sure-fire Places to find Inspiration for Character Names, by Barbara Jolie

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Alyssandro, Jeezera, Pepper—these names and about 200 more can be found in a floral notebook I keep on by bedside table, a collection of names I’ve worked on since I was  in college.  At first glance, it may seem like a list of potential baby names, but in actuality it’s my character name book— something I refer to when I start a new piece and need to give my main character an identity. Some of these names belong to people I’ve met in real life, some were given to starlets, and some appear to me in dreams. Whatever the case, if I like a name, it goes in the book.

Establishing names for your characters can sometimes be the hardest part of the creative process; after all, the name needs to not only “fit” your character’s personality but  there are other factors that must also be considered too, like geographical relevance, spelling,  time period and age appropriateness. And since character names influence your reader’s first response to them, it’s important that you pick the “right” name.  While keeping a character name book like I do can make the process easier, there are other outlets you can turn to get some inspiration and come up with an appropriate list of character names too. That said, no matter if you’re crafting a novel for your advanced creative writing  program, or writing a novella or short story for fun,  continue reading below to help gear you in the right direction.

Phone Books

Most people use the online version, but scouring names in a traditional phone book can really help get the creative juices flowing. No matter if trying to pick a first name or last name, the phone book can really help. If you more or less know what you want the name to start with, then go about it that way and look under P’s or M’s. Or, you can be adventurous and open random pages—you may just get lucky.

Baby Books

Resorting to baby books can also be helpful. Not only do they help you come up with ideal names but they also share their meaning, so you can see if it really fits your character’s personality or not. There are plenty of baby name books that are accessible for free at your local library or for cheap at the local discount book store. There are also online resources you can use, like the Social Security Administration website. Here, you will be able to find the most popular baby names of the current year, or even search them by decade or territories if trying to create a historical piece.

Movie Credits

Another easy way to come up with appropriate character names is to simply stick around after a movie and check out the credits. There is a colorful and diverse group of people who work in the movie-making industry and you will most certainly come across a few gems if you pay enough attention.

TV Shows/ Soap Operas

Lastly, some writers are also inspired when watching TV shows or soap operas—and who’s to blame them? Some of the names are really creative and original, but be careful if you go this route, especially if the name is already too popular. You don’t want your audience to associate your character with the conniving woman from General Hospital. On the same note, stay clear from “loaded” names—those that when said can only be associated with one person like Oprah, Madonna, or Cher—unless it’s part of the story. Maybe your character’s mother was obsessed with watching Oprah.

Like mentioned before, these are only a few ways that you can come up with some character names for your story. It might take some time, but keep an open eye and you should be able to find a fitting name in no time.

———————–

Thanks Barbara! If you would like to know more about this week’s guest blogger, please go to her website at www.onlineclasses.org. Barbara enjoys writing about online college classes and other trends in the academic world. Even when she’s not blogging, she is always contemplating and considering issues concerning education and modern society. Barbara is from Texas and has completed her BA from Ashford University. If you’re interested in any of her work or want to check out her classes, you can reach her at barbara.jolie876[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Assorted writing tips #5 – juggling points of view

Point of View - IMG_7561

Point of View (Photo credit: Nicola since 1972)

 

POV is always a tricky thing to get right in a manuscript. You have to decide whether you’re going to write in first person, second person, third person limited or third person omniscient; you have to get voice right; and you have to ensure that you don’t do too much head-hopping. Quite frankly, it’s enough to do your head in.

Firstly, here’s a quick rundown of what the above terms mean.

First person is when one character narrates:  I said this, I did that, I didn’t know what to think. Some people swear by it, and some hate it. I’ve had some success writing in the first person, but it’s limiting in that you can only really be in one person’s head and therefore there can be a lot going on in the story that simply isn’t told because the narrator doesn’t know about it. (Sure, there are exceptions – Helen Smith’s Alison Wonderland, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago, has some chapters in the first person and some in the third, and Jodi Picoult has absolutely mastered telling stories in the first person, but from a different person’s POV each chapter. Generally, though, you are in one person’s head for the entire story, and that’s that.) This kind of limited narrative can be done really well because you’re always guessing at other characters’ motivations, and can be great for unexpected revelations, but it’s really a matter of personal taste.

Second person tells the reader the story: You said this, you did that, you didn’t know what to think. It’s not very common, possibly because a lot of people don’t like it due to the implication that it’s telling them what to think. I’ve seen it done very well, but I’ve also seen it done very badly and in general prefer not to read this kind of narrative. This is limiting in the same way that first person is – you’re only reading one person’s story.

Third person limited is like both the above in that you’re only in one character’s head, but it’s told from outside that character: John said this, John did that, John didn’t know what to think. This method is the most common, and while it’s limited to one character at a time, it lends itself better to POV changes. George RR Martin‘s Song of Ice and Fire series, for example, uses third person limited, but from the POV of a different character for each chapter. A lot of other authors use this technique – breaking up POVs by chapter or by in-chapter breaks (eg ****) and using that to delineate whose head they are inside.

Third person omniscient is when you’re inside everyone’s head, so to speak. The narrative isn’t limited by telling one character’s story at a time, and can reveal the thoughts of any character at any time. Believe it or not, this is the hardest to get right, because of the danger of head-hopping, which is when you tell us too many characters’ thoughts in a short space of time. This can just get overwhelming and confusing for the reader, and is apparently one of the main things that agents reject manuscripts on.

I know that a lot of people reading this are just shaking their heads, thinking, I know all this stuff; why is she spelling it out like that? Well, first, I know that a lot of people hear these terms but aren’t always totally sure what they mean, so I figured better safe than sorry. But it also helps me talk more about voice, and how that affects a story.

Voice is most important when you’re in the first person, because it’s that character telling the story. Having an individual voice for that character is very important since we’re stuck with them all the way through. It needs to be engaging, it needs to be consistent, and the thought processes and conclusions made within the narrative need be logical for that character’s opinions and experiences. This is why I’m so impressed with authors like Jodi Picoult, because she manages to have completely different voices for each character, so that a number of POVs within first person actually work. Too often, though, an author will try to do this, only to have each voice essentially sound the same.

Voice in third person limited is also important, though arguably not AS important as in first person. Again, we’re experiencing the story from the POV of one character (at a time, perhaps) so we need to understand their thoughts, their emotions, their motivations. Going back to George RR Martin (I’m currently reading that series, so it’s prominent in my mind right now), he delves into each character’s head very well, but the voice of each chapter isn’t necessarily very different from the last. Descriptions, dialogue tags and the like feel the same no matter whose story we are reading, which can be considered a flaw considering the ages of the characters involved range from seven to close to seventy. It doesn’t necessarily detract from the story in third person limited, but had he attempted to do it in first person it definitely would.

So, which one to choose? If you’re trying to work out how you want your story to read, POV is something you really need to get sorted. I’ve written in first person and in third person limited, mainly because I feel most comfortable staying in one person’s head at a time. If you’re really having trouble choosing, though, there are ways to help you decide. Usually there’s a key scene in the story that you’ve already got worked out – a battle, perhaps, a moment of high suspense, or maybe when your main pairing get together for the first time. In any case, it’s important to your story and it’s going to be in there, no matter what. Well, try writing it, even if you haven’t written anything else. Try it in first person, in third limited, in third omniscient, and see how you go. Normally one of them will feel more comfortable and will be easier to write than the other two. Then try it with another scene you’ve thought about. Is the same type of POV winning out? Then you’ve got your answer. If not, then you might need to work on a compromise. Either way, you’ve got something to base your decision on now.

Well, I hope this has helped at least one person deal with the complexities of POV. For the record, I’m using third person limited (with POV changes) in my novel, because that was how I thought it would work the best. It’s important to do what feels most comfortable for you, but just be wary of the pitfalls, because no one is immune to mistakes.

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Author interview: Kathleen S. Allen

Today I’m interviewing Kathleen S. Allen, author of a number of books in genres including poetry, fantasy, zombie, historical fiction, and murder mysteries. Kathleen has a new fantasy novel coming out TODAY, called Lore of Fei, and she has very generously agreed to answer a few questions about it. Here is what she has to say.

Lore of Fei, by Kathleen S. Allen

Tell me about the book. What inspired you to write it?

Lore of Fei is about the race of faeries who are trying to hold onto their land of Fei where they have lived for generations. The warmongering humans know that the Veil of Enclosure, the boundary that separates Fei from Hege, is dissolving. This allows the humans to travel to Fei to steal faerie children in order to enslave them. Ariela is a mutant faerie, she has no wings. She is mistaken for a human child believed to be stolen by the faeries when she was a baby. The warlord, Kel, kills her faerie parents and takes her to Kel’s Lair, the village he governs. She escapes but the Faerie Council wants her to be a spy for them and pretend to be human. They also want her to fix the Veil of Enclosure, but only a silver winged faerie can repair it and no silver winged faerie has been born. But, because Ariela has no wings, she has no faerie magic (magos) – or does she?

It will be released on April 27th  -today – by Muse it Up Publishing. Check out the book trailer on You Tube here: http://youtu.be/V1GF3KP6gGI

I have a webpage at: www.loreoffei.weebly.com set up for the Lore of Fei series.  My other website,  http://www.gaelicfairie.webs.com, has information about each book and also features my Jane Eyre mash up, Thornfield Manor: Jane Eyre and Vampires for your enjoyment.

What is it about the fantasy genre that interests you? How did you enjoy the process of world creation?

I love the idea of a world close to our own but different. As a child I believed that if I could time it right, I would see a faerie. Alas, I never did. So I have to write about them instead! The process of world building is fascinating. I had to be careful and go over it to make sure I didn’t break my own rules. I included a glossary at the end of the book because I use “faerie” words for a lot of things. I don’t usually plot out my novels, I am more of a pantser—writing by the seat of my pants—but for this book I had to plot it using a timeline, characters, time frame etc. I even made a family tree for my two main characters.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How long had you been writing before you began to take it seriously?

I wrote my first book of poems at the age of eight. I remember writing as soon as I learned I could. My mother insisted it was when I was three but I think it was more like when I was five. I’ve always taken my writing seriously but didn’t always have the time to put into it. About a year ago I had an injury that caused me to be off work for a year (now resolved) and so I decided to write and publish some of my novels.  I had my first poem published when I was 15 and my first short story when I was 21. I published two of my novels, Witch Hunter and Please to See the King in 2006 with a publisher but I got the rights back and published them myself this past year.

You’re a veteran of both self-publishing and using traditional publishers.  What have these experiences been like?

I like the freedom of self publishing a lot. I like choosing my own book cover and making my own book trailers and choosing when I will publish it and to what formats. The issue I have with it is having to promote without much money. I’ve done all I can and hope the readers find me but it’s difficult with all the authors out there. I have gone with two smaller publishers and the experience with both has been positive. Of course with smaller publishers again, the promotion is not there as much. Would I like an agent who would send my stuff to “the big six”? Of course. I am actively seeking an agent and have four novels “out there.” An historical fiction, a Dystopian, a zombie book and a contemporary, all young adult. If I don’t get any interest in the next few months I will probably self-publish again.

One of my novels, Fitzroy: The Boy who Would be King is about Henry VIII illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and is my second best selling book. The first is Aine, which is about a girl who discovers she’s a banshee.

I just finished book 2 of the Lore of Fei series, called War of Fei. I am going to do a third book in the series (untitled as of yet).

What advice would you give to any aspiring authors out there?

Don’t stop writing, no matter what and never give up on your dreams. You have to make it happen, you can’t just hope it will. Learn all you can about your craft and write every day. Get beta readers who will help you write to your best ability, join a writing group (even online is good). Don’t be “married” to your words, listen to your betas, listen to your editor and take what they say and use it to make your book better. If you decide to self-publish, get a professional book cover designer, make sure it’s formatted properly for each venue (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords), and this one is important, hire a professional editor to go over you manuscript. This can be pricey but it’s worth it to give your readers the best possible reading experience. Build up your fan base so readers will expect a quality book from you every time.

————–

Thanks, Kathleen! If this has whetted your appetite to read Lore of Fei, you can find it, along with Kathleen’s numerous other works, at Amazon.

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Assorted writing tips #2 – don’t wait for inspiration

Image: Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I know what you’re thinking. I can’t write if I’m not inspired! What would I write about??

This is, of course, an excellent point. But the problem is, if you only write when you’re inspired, you’ll hardly ever do it. Besides, inspiration often comes at the most inconvenient times – in the shower, at 3am, when you’re making dinner, when you jump into the car to do the errands or whatever. In any case, it’s often when you are simply not able to make the most of it. But what of writing when you’re uninspired? Well yes, it can be difficult … but it can also be done.

Take my case – and I’m sure I’m not alone here. With young children, my writing time is limited to when they are either being educated or, mostly in the case of the baby, asleep. I rarely get more than an hour or two at a time to write, and even then I have no idea how long it will be before the baby monitor starts lighting up again, signalling that my attention is needed elsewhere. As such, I have arranged my time to have a Writing Day each week. (See? I’ve even capitalised it. That’s how important it is to me.) This is my day when I don’t do anything else – no extra-curricular activities for the kids, no shopping, no running down to the post office, nothing. For as long as I can (ie, when the baby isn’t complaining), I sit at my computer and I write.

The thing is, naturally, that I’m not always feeling particularly inspired on my Writing Day. Maybe the baby got me up at 4.30am and I’m crying out for a nap. Maybe the house needs cleaning. Maybe there’s something that I want to watch on television. Maybe I’m just not feeling creative. And I’m sure you’ve all been there.

However, I make myself do it. I have a look over what I’ve already written, and I can generally find something to do. Maybe it’s just the odd paragraph here or there. Maybe it’s editing – which I know I shouldn’t do till the first draft is finished, but I feel that any progress on a Writing Day is good. Maybe it’s a scene that I’ve been playing with in my mind, when I have been inspired (generally at 3am or when I’m doing the grocery shopping, I find), that I remember enough of to get a start on.

The thing is, just the act of writing is beneficial. I find it’s easier to edit and re-write a scene than it is to start it from scratch, even when there are a lot of changes to be made. After all, if you’ve already done it and you think it doesn’t work, then at least you know now what not to do with it. And of course, the more you write, the better at it you get.

Besides, who hasn’t had a day when they start out writing what they think is rubbish, only to look at it at the end and realise it’s actually quite good? I know I can’t be the only one.

So, if you have a time set aside to write, then make the most of it. Don’t wait to be inspired. Don’t spend that time surfing Facebook or Twitter or anything else that the net might throw at you. Just do it. You never know what might come out.

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Assorted writing tips #1 – don’t use your delete button

 

This, believe it or not, is actually some of the best advice I’ve ever received, and I’m afraid to say that I received it so long ago that I have no idea who initially suggested it to me. It’s exactly as it sounds, though – you don’t actually delete anything you’ve written.

By this, I don’t mean that every word must be kept, and certainly not in the initial manuscript it was written for. What I do mean, though, is that when you are editing your work, it’s a good idea to have a separate document open as a personal slush file. Whenever you cut a significant bit of writing from your story – say, more than a couple of sentences – try cutting and pasting it into that slush file instead of getting rid of it altogether. That way, when the time and inspiration is right, you can use it for another story, or as inspiration for another scene or character.

I guess this is a long-winded way of trying to stress that our creative juices should be valued. Just because a particular scene or piece of dialogue doesn’t fit one story or a particular place in that story doesn’t mean it’s not going to be good – albeit slightly edited – somewhere else. And, speaking from experience, it’s well worth it. I’ve adapted countless thoughts, conversation snippets and whole scenes from old stories to fit new ones, and usually they’re a much better fit the second or third time around, possibly because I’ve had that extra time to get them right.

Well, that’s it from me.  What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever received about your writing? I’d love to hear it. :)

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