I’ve always thought that a well laid out cliffhanger was the mark of a talented writer, and someone who had a decent handle on what she wanted to do with a story as a whole. I know I love to hate them, but it’s usually in a way that makes me want the next piece of the puzzle. I’ve employed cliffies in my own stories, much to some readers’ enthusiastic and frustrated delight – just like I’m sure you have as well.
While doing research for this article, I was surprised to find quite a few pages advising writers, especially newbies, to stay away from cliffies. The reasons for this were varied, all the way from editors don’t like non-stand alone books to newcomers just can’t begin to master it. One person who posted to a thread made a passionate argument that she pays good money to have the writer tell her a story and that includes an actual ending. Continue Reading »
Posted in Writing | Tagged bad writing techniques, cliffhangers, cliffy, good writing techniques, writing, writing cliffhangers, writing techniques | 2 Comments »
“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.” ― Steven Pressfield
How true is that? We writers are gluttons for punishment because not only do we willingly submit ourselves to an unbelievable amount of negatives, but we do it over and over again. If we’re truly dedicated, we’re doing it on a regular basis but if we’re still trying to run away from the written word it happens less often. But it does still happen. And it packs a punch. You know what’s worse than dealing with self-doubt, despair and humiliation? Doing it when you’re out of practice. And yet here we are – here I am – again.
I would like to say I have totally valid reasons, and as it happens, I do. But I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that if something is important to you, you will make the time, not excuses. Good mentality to try and live by, that. Hard, but good. So what are my reasons? Well, try this adorable young kitty for starters. She and her four brothers and sister all like to get in my workspace for various things, like all cats. I could also say that I’ve been sick, which I have been. The all-day nausea I dealt with for almost my entire pregnancy was awful. But I’d take it back in a heartbeat if it meant a do-over. Because you know what my most valid reason is for not writing? My baby died. Continue Reading »
Posted in Being a Writer, Writing | Tagged being a writer, writing, writing grief | 2 Comments »
You know you’re a writer at heart when your subconscious response to death is to immortalize your lost loved one in a story. Especially when you haven’t written substantially or consistently for more than seven months.
It’s during these times of great strife and grief that you realize – writing isn’t just the passion to put something entertaining on paper, though that’s rewarding too. It isn’t just a need to express yourself, though that’s usually what it is when everything is okay. Writing is a coping mechanism. Writing is how we deal with things that would otherwise crush us.
Several months ago, one of my old writing professors committed suicide. His loss is nothing compared to the one I’m struggling with now. At his memorial service though I reconnected with an old friend, and we talked about how neither of us really knew he was struggling so much.
“Well, there was one big indication,” she said to me. “He was a writer. We don’t come to writing because we’re happy.”
I didn’t understand how right she was until now.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
So today I wanted to look at some totally free, internet based tools that I’ve encountered and found useful. A lot of the writerly tools out there are apps that didn’t work on one or more of my gadgets and/or were things I had to pay for. I’ve paid for writing apps before and been disappointed, so unless there’s a free version that blows me away, I don’t spend money on those anymore. Or software for that matter. So it’s just this MS word file and me tonight.
WordCounter.com - This first page is one I’ve had for a while. You plug in an excerpt of your story, set a couple of simple preferences and it will tell you your most frequently used words. This is obviously a huge help in identifying words that you need to change up so that readers don’t get tired of the same word appearing over and over again. TIP: Don’t paste your whole manuscript in there… It doesn’t work, trust me. Continue Reading »
Posted in Fiction Writing, Writing | Tagged being a writer, cliche, cliche finder, readability calculator, role play, wordcounter, writing, writing collaboration, writing tools | 1 Comment »
Yeah, I know what your English professor tried to tell you. But if your English professor could make a living writing fiction, they would have been doing it. – Dean Wesley Smith
Writing fiction is hard, and in some ways is harder than writing non-fiction. At its core, non-fiction is based in finding a unique angle, doing adequate and accurate research and presenting information in an enlightening way. Fiction is all of these things as well, but requires imagination and a more out-of-the-box creative input because a large part of that base you have to make up yourself.
Yes, even if your world is a complete fabrication of your mind, you still need to research the mechanics of the things you wish to install, even if it’s just to see how a device’s real-world counterpart works. I usually begin researching about 1/4th of the way into a story, so that I can fact check my groundwork before I get too deep in, and then continue to write and research intermittently. Continue Reading »
Posted in Fiction Writing | Tagged adjectives, adverbs, being a writer, books, fantasy writing, fiction, fiction writing, research, steps to be a better writer, steps to write better fiction, word count, writing, writing a book, writing fiction, writing technique | 5 Comments »
We as a race have always had a use for weapons. At the most basic level, weapons were once used to hunt and to protect against threats. And of course to make war on others. I think the title kind of speaks for itself, so lets take a look at some of the killing devices from the past.
Yes, just like the one Xena used ( :D ) The chakram, which was also sometimes called a chalikar, was a weapon used by Indian warriors, and depending on their size they could be worn around the neck or wrist, or y’know on one’s belt like the warrior princess. Not all of the designs had the curved handle in the middle; some were just razor sharp circles. They was thrown vertically, with a fancier maneuver being to twirl one on the index finger before flicking the wrist sharply for the throw. A similar Chinese weapon, the wind and fire wheels, were actually designed for melee combat as well as throwing when wielded as a pair. Continue Reading »
Posted in Being a Writer, Fantasy Writing, Writing | Tagged chakram, emeici, future weapons, hook swords, katar, kpinga, macuahuitl, mancatcher, nest of bees, scifi weapons, tepiztopilli, unusual weapons, unusual weapons from the past, weapons from the past, Whitney Carter, writing freelance writing | 2 Comments »
I recently started reading a dragon anthology that’s been collecting dust on my shelf. I know, for shame – why would you not read straight through a good dragon book? Well for starters, as I started to read the first short story I remembered that I’d read it already, and it was as mediocre the second time around as the first. Then the second story failed to impress, and now it’s sitting on my stack of writing stuff, about to be neglected again for weeks on end.
The whole point of reading a dragon story is the dragon – yes, we want character development, an awesome plot and an epic setting, but we want to be in awe of the dragon. They’re such iconic creatures that writing them into a story changes the flavor of the entire thing. But it also brings inherent challenges. When dragon stories fail, they fail epicly and usually for simple reasons.
About a year ago, I did a post on tricks for writing dragon characters into a story. Continue Reading »
Posted in Fiction Writing, Writing | Tagged arctic dragon, dragons, fiction writing, forest dragon, how to write dragons, lake dragon, marine dragon, mountain dragon, plains dragon, river dragon, tips for writing dragons, writing, writing dragons | 14 Comments »