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Be Who You Are: Writers
Dec 10th, 2014 by Coral

Being a writer isn’t just an occupation. At least not the way I’ve seen it done. Being a writer is a way of life, a method of living. Writers see the world through a different lens than everyone else. Poets, short story, and novel writers alike all have a literary viewpoint of the world. Every writer has their own personal perspective, and they can share some of their enlightenment through writing. That’s what makes us special.

My being a writer affects how I live my day to day life, believe it or not. I carry a notebook and pen with me everywhere, I ask people how to spell their names and where their names come from when I hear cool ones. I take pictures of cool stuff so I can remember it later. I will drop what I’m doing to write down an idea, even just for a cool sentence, at any time of day. I have woken up in a cold sweat with poems that needed to be written down and lost sleep for them.

Sometimes, people tell me I should “Take a break” from writing, they want me to “live my life, stop stressing over your work.” Those people clearly don’t understand who I am, not quite.  I can’t just “take a break,” from being a writer. That’s preposterous! I could no sooner take a break from breathing! I can’t stop looking at the world the way I do, because that’s who I am.

Yes, people will think it’s weird. People won’t understand, may even ridicule you for your ways as a writer. But you know what? Don’t let them scare you, don’t let them get you down. Writers change the world. Writers capture history, emotions, legends and myth. What a painter does with color, we do with words.

Writing is an art. We, writers, are artists. We can do things no one else can, NO ONE else can write your story, or the story of your character. Do not let people heckle you into trapping all that inside you, give it release. Let the world see what wonders you are capable of.

In the past, I have been extremely self conscious about my writing. It took a long time for me to let other people read what I write, and I still sometimes have anxiety that people won’t like my stories. I have to remind myself that’s not what’s important. If I like it and think it’s good, that’s good enough for now. Eventually, if I try hard enough, other people will see what I see, and they  will feel what I feel, and experience my stories. I can get other people to taste my worlds, but only if I keep writing and let people read what I write.

That’s the writing thought for today. Keep being a writer, in everything you do!

Chemical Reaction
Dec 4th, 2014 by Coral

One of the fun things about characters is they can be like volatile chemicals. Personalities, histories, emotions, all the components of a person, just waiting to be mixed with other characters and situations. Writers get to play mad scientist, throwing them into situations and seeing what fun explosions come out.

 

However, I have sometimes seen writers, myself included, forget this aspect of writing. The characters don’t react and things don’t happen the way they should. Not because it’s a plot twist, just an inattentive narrator. This is a very dangerous thing.  When this happens, it can create terrible anticlimaxes. Anticlimax is one of the most disappointing things a story can do, in my opinion.  It is a very irksome thing when a writer builds up to something, hinting at it’s importance, and making it something you think about, have anxiety about, and can’t WAIT to find out how it ends up and then, all the cards fall into place AND-

Nothing. It just….wasn’t that big a deal, nobody really noticed. And the reader is sitting there, very confused, thinking “Well, this book sucks.” Which is NOT what you want them to think! Your book may still be excellent, just with that flaw, but that kind of flaw sticks out like a sore thumb.

Character chemical reactions are fun, you can throw in a catalyst and turn the entire story on it’s head, going a new direction! Or, you can forget the power you hold and leave people wondering why they started reading this story at all.

Writers hold an immense power in their finger tips, do not forget. With great power comes great responsibility!

 

That’s all for now, see y’all later.

Writing Thought: POV
Nov 23rd, 2014 by Coral

Today’s writing thought is on the point of view of your story. It’s a serious aspect to consider for your writing. Different POV’s can be beneficial or detrimental to your story. Third person is more common, and in some ways easier. That way it’s more like you are narrating the story, where sometimes getting the character to tell their own story is hard. First person POV can be good when there are things the character doesn’t know that shouldn’t be revealed, while third person can be helpful for the same reason, if they do know something the reader shouldn’t.

When choosing a point of view, remember that in first person it is harder for the main character to have secrets from the reader. (Not impossible, just more complicated to manage.)  Both POV’s have pros and cons.

I typically prefer third person, though first person has proved useful at times.

That’s all for today, sorry for the shortness, I’m just busy. I’ll get some more stories and stuff up soon.

Notice Stuff!!
Nov 20th, 2014 by Coral

Okay, so I’m a little crunched for time today, so my thought is short. Here it is.

Writers, when you are out and about in the world, you need to pay attention! All around you is material for your stories! We need to be the people that stop and smell the flowers, and notice the different ways the weather affects our surroundings, and how people treat each other and act, and, well, everything. We need to notice everything and think about it, it’s all part of the world, and that’s what you write about. A world, whether it’s this one or another, we, as writers, need to understand a worlds components.

 

Audience Appeal
Nov 19th, 2014 by Coral

Today I’m talking and thinking about my audience. And your audience, too. Audience is an important element to a writers success. You shouldn’t, however, tailor your story based off of what you think the audience wants. That will cause unnecessary grief on your part, with your characters being forced into situations un-befitting them and the story. No, see, your audience does not want you to predict their desire.

Typically, the audience wants to be surprised. They want you to throw out new ideas at them, new combinations and realizations and thought. Write for yourself, not the reader. You, the writer, are the most important part of the writing process. If you don’t like what you write, most likely no one else will, either. Treat it as though you are the only audience.

Up to a point, anyway. Don’t let the audience dictate what you write, instead, dictate what the audience feels. You will have to think about what the audience will be interested on occasion, and give thought to what they will understand, so that you don’t end up with a confusing mish-mash of ideas that only you take meaning from. Audience is the end result, so think about it as such. Take your writing in the present, focus on making it good, not making it “right.”

It’s something I think about when I see book reviews for series’ calling them “The next ‘Harry Potter'” or other such nonsense. Because there will never be “another” Harry Potter. That, my friends, would be plagiarism. There will be other books that become great and popular and are fantastic, but Harry Potter will always occupy it’s own niche. A very large niche, at that.  Do not write to become “The next such and such.” Write to be YOU.

Every writer has something unique to bring to the literary world, and the most tragic thing I can think for you to do is to smother that by solely imitating other writers. Imitation is well and dandy in moderation, use some techniques here and there that work for you, but do not drown yourself out of your own work.

When I read your work, it needs to be yours, and not what you think I want to be yours.

That’s my writing thought for today, folks.  I’ll talk to you later, in the meantime, keep writing.

The Character Brain
Nov 15th, 2014 by Coral

Alright, so today I’m going to talk about characters and their brains. Characters are fun, character’s are awesome, and more often than not they take on a life of their own once the story gets going. Without characters, there is no story.  But where do we get these characters?

I mean, after all, we are only one person inside our brains. We can only come up with so many variations of just ourselves. To get the numerous characters required to create a realistic world, writers are constantly pulling from other people around them.  “Stealing” isn’t the right word for it, no, don’t get confused with that.  I’ve met some writers, indeed, I used to worry about this myself, that worry that their characters will be recognized for “who they really are” if they use real people as inspiration.

Well, okay, this could be a valid concern. If you literally take the person and stick them in your story. This is, however, very hard to do. For one thing, you don’t know that person inside and out like you need to know your characters. For another, in most stories, circumstances will be different than their actual lives were, they literally CAN’T be the same person.

Using components of other peoples personalities is good, necessary, even. Copy and pasting people into books, is bad, if you can even pull it off. Like, seriously, use all that effort to make a new character.

“But that won’t be original!”

Stop right there. That’s the same argument as worrying about stealing. Yes, you can still be original, but you have to draw from your pool of knowledge.  Otherwise, you’re about to write something none of the rest of humanity will understand.

That’s all for this writing thought, have a great day!

What’s the point?!-Studies
Nov 12th, 2014 by Coral

Sorry for the two melancholy days in a row, there. Today, a happier topic. Let’s talk about studying. I know, not exactly rainbows and sunshine, but I promise, this post isn’t depressing.

Studying, what’s the point? Interestingly, I get this question from people, phrased in various way, all the time. See, I’m not an English major, nor am I a creative writing major. I’m a History major, yet my career path is as a writer. People wonder how that could possibly relate.

To me, it’s rather obvious. Everything relates to writing. I don’t mean everything an English teacher says, or anything a writing class required.  I mean that everything in the universe is related to writing. Learning about anything can be beneficial to your writing! Anything in the universe! Read the rest of this entry »

Writing Thought: Perseverance
Nov 7th, 2014 by Coral

I didn’t get the chance to post yesterday, and for that I offer my most sincere apologies. When I finally got home from work, my laptop decided to do an update and reboot, and by the time that had finished, I had to go to bed so that I would be rested for my Latin Test this morning. Well, the Latin Test is over, the update is complete, and I am back.

So, the topic for today’s discussion is motivation. Two kinds of motivation, really, yours and your characters. We’ll start with character motivation.

Every character needs to have clear motivation. Even if it isn’t meant to be clear to the reader, it needs to be clear to you and to the character. If you don’t know why the heck the character is doing what they’re doing, it won’t feel real and won’t make any sense to the reader.  Strong motivation makes meaningful actions from your characters. Another thing to consider is that your characters are subject to change, just like regular people. They can change their minds, their perspectives can go through a metamorphosis, and this is a very good thing. Even if you have a principle that they stick to, they can still change how they approach it, adding in an understanding of other perspectives. This is an important part of character development and story texture.

 

Now for your motivation. Read the rest of this entry »

Friendly Feedback
Nov 5th, 2014 by Coral

Alright, today we’re talking about feedback. Feedback is wonderful, I love getting feedback, and it’s the only way to get your work ready for publishing. As a writer,  it’s easy to get caught up in the story, and what I mean to say, and forget how it looks to the reader. It’s impossible to truly read my own work with the eye of a reader. I know too much, sadly.

There are several things to consider when accepting feedback. First is that your readers have the perspective of the not all knowing spectator. You are all knowing in your story, and they are not. They can point out when things don’t make sense and need more explanation.   The majority of comments deserve fair consideration and thought, no first draft is perfect.  Editors and proofreaders are a wonderful gift to author-kind.

On the flip side, you must remember that it is YOUR story. YOU have all power and knowledge on what is supposed to happen and what your characters can and cannot do, what they will and will not do. YOU know your characters better than ANYONE else. Sometimes, it is necessary to completely disregard comments and suggestions from your proofreaders. Sometimes they make suggestions that have absolutely nothing to do with the story, or they have completely missed the point. Now, if they have completely missed the point, it may be necessary to embellish your story or expand on some points, for clarity. But in the event that they suggest you change something entirely, simply because they missed the point, you can ignore the suggestion to change.

You may also get contradictory opinions on how you should add to your story, in which case, use your own judgment as the all powerful author and do what you judge to be best for your story. You are the only one who understands the story in it’s entirety. While every comment deserves appreciation and consideration, part of the consideration must be the understanding that you have the right to completely ignore the comment.

Recently, while preparing a piece for the Helicon West competition, I have received all of these kinds of comments. I have taken some and used them to better my story, and I have completely ignored others.   To finish the thought, do not let negative feedback discourage you. If  someone doesn’t understand, or tries to impose rules that don’t exist on to your story, thank them for their time and move on with your life. Do not let it stop you, because that would be a tragedy, indeed.

That’s all for now, farewell readers, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Writing Thought: Isaac Asimov
Nov 1st, 2014 by Coral

Today, I would like to share my favorite quote by science fiction legend Isaac Asimov.  I found this quote in his introduction to  “Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Anthology-Volume 1” and it’s a very helpful quote for me as a writer.

 

“It’s just that in the great world around us, you can’t trust other people to sing your praises. They can be awfully short-sighted and incapable of appreciating talent. Therefore, you have to prime the pump, so to speak.  You have to do a little self-appreciating just to get them started. If, for any reason, they don’t get started right away, you have to keep it up for a while longer.” – Asimov

 

I love this because, I think, all of us as writers can relate. One of the most frustrating things I have encountered in my writing is when I have a brilliant idea, and I can’t find someone to tell about it who will appreciate it.  Those “short-sighted” people brush it off, or just give it a passing “cool” or “sounds fine, good luck with that.”  I’m the kind of person who gets really excited about things, especially ideas that have potential- whether they be mine or someone else’s.

 

Asimov comments later in his introduction that he was in the self-appreciating business for an incredibly long time, which also brings a measure of comfort. If such a renowned writer was once in the same position as I am now, then who’s to say I can’t be just as legendary?

 

That, my friends, is my writing thought of the day. Enjoy, have a good life, and welcome to November!

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