Realistic Characters

I stumbled across the following article today. Check it out if you like writing but need help understanding your characters so that your story makes more sense.

http://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/172764338136/51-questions-youve-probably-never-asked-about#_=_

I thought i was well acquainted with my characters in my current novel project until i read these questions.

The fact of the matter is this: the better you know your characters, the more believable they will be. And the more believable they are, the better your story will be. And the better your story is, the more people will support it.

Get to know your characters!

Enjoy!

Also, comment below if you’re interested in Chapter 1 of my NaNoWriMO novel. I’d be more than willing to post the rough draft of it here.

 

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Toss a Frag

I am a video game junkie. Don’t let it cloud your perception of me–like maybe the reason why I so rarely blog here–but it’s true. (I rarely blog here because I’m writing pretty regularly here at lilfytr.com instead.) And as far as non-PC games (not politically correct mind you, but personal computer) games go, the first one I ever got into was Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

When you throw a frag grenade in that game, a voice will call out, “Tossing a frag,” and we all know what happens when a grenade goes off. Things get shook up.

In writing we can do a similar thing. I’ll never forget the English teacher that pointed this out to me my first year of college. “Fragments are frowned upon in K-12 because students need to know what constitutes a complete sentence. As writers though, fragments can be powerful.”

As readers it can get monotonous reading, “Subject, verb, direct object. Subject, verb. Adjective, subject, verb, prepositional phrase.” Instead, switch it up sometime. In the midst of the monotony, drop a one-word sentence. It will greatly shake up your writing and make it more interesting.

Really.

Comment some of your examples of using less than “proper” grammar below.

Happy writing!

Progress Happens Over Time

Today I was browsing Facebook and i came across the following advertisement. I’m wondering if you can see the problem with it?

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The problem is not the company doing the advertising. I would be very happy if someday i could be published by them.

The problem is that they scare off many potential writers by the to-do list they show on the computer screen.

  • Finish the book
  • Get it published

This makes it seem as though the key is to finish the book (as if that could happen in a day or two). In reality, there are more like three steps prior to finishing a book (their first step in the advertisement).

  • Write the rough draft of the book
  • Edit the crap out of it
  • Make sure that there are no plot holes (if it is fiction)

And it is the first of these steps that typically kills off many writers. Getting that first draft down on paper is no easy task. Often it feels like, “Well, I’d better do it all in one sitting, or else it is going to join the pile of ‘unfinished writing projects’ that is growing on my computer.”

It doesn’t have to join that group though. The photo heading this post shows rocks in a stream. And this is because even the Hebrew Scriptures speak to a scientific truth: “water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil from the land” (Job 14:19, HCSB, emphasis added).

Just like over the course of time running water will break down rocks, so also if you gradually chip away at your writing goal, it will most certainly get finished. The first step to “finish your book” is to chip away at it day-by-day.

In this struggle with you.

–Josh

No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

Have you ever been reading a sentence, gotten to the end, and said, “What in the world did that even mean?”?

Do you then go back and read it again? And maybe again? And maybe even a fourth time?

I know I have. One of the primary reasons for this is that we can make our sentences too complex. There is no substitute for a short, punchy sentence, with “no ifs, ands, or buts.”

I realize that this statement doesn’t normally refer to writing. It typically refers to making excuses for yourself in “crisis” moments. But it still works.

I know for a fact I am guilty of lengthy sentences filled with parentheticals, several independent clauses, multiple dependent clauses, and other complicating factors. I am working on changing these habits.

But my encouragement to you today is this: simplify your writing. Try taking out as many ifs, ands, and buts as you can. Keep your sentences short. Occasionally add a more complicated sentence to break up the staccato feeling of your writing. But for the most part, be simple! I’m trying to practice this myself. I think it could do wonders for making writing more engaging.

Have a great day!

Just Start Writing

In the past week I picked up a new book (even though I had told myself not to buy any books until I finished the ones I already had).

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you can pick it up here, and if you aspire to be a writer, I highly recommend it.

I admit, by no means am I a full-time writer, but I would like to be, and the things Goins shares here are extremely helpful.

If you’re interested in more by him, check out his site.

 

 

Something he wrote in his book really struck me. “Soreness is the result of untrained muscle. If you practice everyday, you don’t get fatigued. All muscles are built this way, even creative ones. If you do anything long enough, it becomes habitual” (pg. 28).

Too often I have told myself, “I just don’t feel like writing today. Work was hard, and now I just want to relax.”

When I take that attitude, I accomplish nothing. It’s the same way we typically go about our New Years Resolutions. We say, “I’m going to do xy, and z this year,” but then we quickly find ourselves saying, “I’m too busy” or “I’m too tired,” and before we know it the year is over and our goals have not been realized.

I want to accomplish my writing dreams. Do you? If so, discipline yourself to write, even after a hard day at work, so you can know that you are actively pursuing your goals.

For the average person, fulfilled dreams don’t typically fall in your lap. Pick up a pen and start writing today!

Excuses

The life of a writer is never dull, even if you’re too broke to participate in activities that actually have a point.

For our protagonist today, he finds himself blogging, apologizing repeatedly for not having posted for his handful of followers in well over a month. He knows they deserve more, but he really can’t help the fact that life has started demanding more from him than he would like to admit.

“There’s always people to talk to, places to go, games to play, books to read, and oftentimes for me, the lists of these things just keeps growing and never shrinks. It’s like I can’t ever get anything accomplished.”

And thus he tries to escape the fact that he hasn’t posted here in over 5 weeks.

(And yes, the protagonist [who feels more like an antagonist] is me. I know I said it a few weeks ago, but there are new posts coming. I’m planning a series of them as I pen this individual post.)

“Lonely” intro (a prompt)

Another lonely night. It seemed ever since Kathy had dumped him a few months earlier, Kevin couldn’t make himself do anything. As usual he sat in front of his keyboard with the blank document open before him. If only i had something to write about, he told himself.

It had been this way for several weeks now. The weeks prior had been spent trying to bury memories of Kathy by trash can, shredder, or cigarette lighter. The way he figured it, she isn’t coming back, so why bury it where i can dig it up again? But now his trash can was full of ripped up papers with single sentences, sometimes single words, on them; and his recycle bin on his computer had as its contents, “Document 1” through “Document 64.”

If i’m ever going to be a writer, he thought, then i’ve got to write something. But the more he sat there, staring at his computer screen, the more he felt like a failure. But if all i ever do is sit at my computer, stay cooped up in my apartment, then how will i find something to write about?

So an idea was born. Kevin stood up, grabbed his jacket out of the closet, opened his studio apartment door, and stepped into the hallway.

. . . to be continued . . . maybe by you?

 

What happens next?? Answer for yourself by writing Kevin’s tale, and if you’re feeling so generous, post your response in the comment line below. I may come back to this in a few days, unless someone else decides to run with it 🙂