On Writing

How To Rid Thyself of Writer’s Block

I didn’t want to write. In fact, the mere thought of writing caused my brain to become violent in its objections. An iron wall was slammed across the realm of creativity, and I stared at it, perplexed.

As I clearly am now an expert on the matter *cough* I thought I’d better share my discoveries with you.

notebookinforestPut It Down, Step Away From the Bomb

Sometimes you can push through a block, other times you can’t. DON’T DESPAIR. Leave your desk and writing implements and do something else.

If your pen is plastered to your finger, then write someone a letter. If it isn’t, go for a walk, wash up, put your books in alphabetical order, go for a trip, or save the world from murderous pandas.

Don’t Read Your Genre

Seriously. Don’t. Pick up a completely different genre and read that. Your objective is to distract your brain; to fool it into relaxing. Because then … then we spring, my brothers. Then we fall upon these pitiful blocks with our battle cries and war pens and- ahem. Sorry.

Recall This Truth:readingincar

A first draft is allowed to be messy. A first draft is not a finished novel.

Vanquish Stage Fright

If you’ve built up your story in your mind as the story to end all stories, don’t. Push all pressure, awe and aspirations away. Cast ’em into the sea, chuck ’em in the dust bin or burn ’em with dragon fire.

These things can freeze your pen and hinder your creativity under the crushing weight of certain future greatness.

… and lastly

Don’t panic, for this too shall pass.

I managed to conquer my block the next day, the short story is now complete and is awaiting my butchering pen. Huzzah!

Other How To’s, because I am a Very Helpful Hedgehog: How To Write Five Thousand Words in One Evening // How to Acquire Books Without Becoming Penniless // How to Design a Front Cover For Your Book //

On Writing

(Possibly) Productive Hints and Tips

Writing is a fluid thing; what may suit you one day may aggravate you the next, but this is what I’ve found, on the whole, to be a Useful Way to organise and write my various projects:

Distraction Free

via Pinterest

As I compose this blog post I am using the ‘Distraction Free Writing’ option. I do the same on MS Word by going to the bottom right hand corner and selecting ‘Web Layout’. That way, I am not counting the pages I am writing but simply getting the story out onto the white screen.

Master Folder and Document

When I begin a story, I open a new folder. This is my master file, where everything to do with that story is saved. Then a new document is saved to the folder as the master document of the story. Here I pop the name of the project on the first page, followed by my name and the date the story was started and an empty place for the date of its completion.

Every time a chapter is finished I put the date on that first page. This is quite motivating as you can see how much time has passed between chapters (cough cough), or how quickly they are being finished.

New Chapter – New Document

Every time I start a new chapter, I start a new document. Sounds a bit weird? No, not really. You see, often all the chapters previous to the new one can feel like they are weighing it down; as if the sheer volume of words are presenting themselves with every new paragraph you create.

So I begin anew, like this:

How Ness [quite often] Begins A New Chapter:

  1. create a new document, save it as chapter such and such and book title to master folder (like: Chapter 3 – TMTOAB, I put the abbreviated form of the project name after it. This saves confusion with other chapter threes)
  2. pop the chapter number on top of the brand new white document
  3. write the chapter
  4. name chapter (the name may stick or it may be changed at a later date)
  5. save chapter to master folder
  6. copy and paste chapter to master document
  7. be pleasently surprised how much the word count has grown

OneNote

I use MS OneNote to heap any plot ideas, scraps of writing I didn’t need, scraps of future scenes that I may want. This saves hunting down that elusive thought in the hallways of my mind: what was that really great expression again, the one that I thought of days ago but didn’t write down?

So – a question (if I may): how do you organise your writing projects?

On Writing, The Many Trials of a Blacksmith

Patience, Young Grasshopper

 

iforgotsomething

 

I was impatient –  I wanted to finish The Many Trials; to get it done. Over with. Complete. Move on to something else. And it seemed such a chore to do so.

I’m sure that you can see the error in my thinking – I didn’t though, and it took me awhile untill it ‘clicked’.

Why on earth was I worrying about getting it done? Why did it feel so hard to plonk one word in front of the other? Why was I beginning to loathe it?

I’d forgotten, you see.

I’d forgotten that writing isn’t about finishing it. Sure – doing so is, you know, just a teeny bit important. But there is no use in finishing a novel which drops like a dead weight around the neck at the very thought of completing it. It was like one of those awful dreams where you want to run, but are stuck in an invisible pool of glue and cannot move.

I’d forgotten to enjoy it – to love telling my tale. Forgotten the thrill of a funny piece of dialogue, a humourous description or an emotional scene.

And that is a rather big thing to forget.

So have patience, Young Grasshopper – you’ll reach the End. But what use is there in reaching the ending when the journey there has been dry and devoid of any enjoyment? Enjoy it. Put heart in every scene. Give colour to the voyage, and those who reach the End will be left with the longing to read just one page more.

Books, Characters, On Writing

Snapshots of a Future Novel

Often I do little planning for a writing project; I set out what needs to happen and then simply plop myself down and write. I’ve never really gotten very far with giving detailed background to characters – the background comes as they are written; as they take a personality.

But, with the help of OneNote, I’ve been experimenting. Planning and plotting. I’ve found simply writing snippets of dialogue helpful.

For instance:

“I’m going to kill him,” announced the woman.

 She was met with disbelieving stares.

 “I am.” she insisted, voice trembling.

 “You couldn’t harm a worm,” said Robyn.

 “I stabbed you didn’t I?”

 It gives more flavour than the dry lines of “character A wants to kill character Z” … but it also gives me questions – why has she stabbed Robyn? Does she consider him a threat? Why does Robyn think her weak? Who are the people giving her ‘disbelieving stares’?

Robyn glared at him.

 “You know,” said Will, “the ballads are wrong about you – they say you are merry.”

 “Nay,” countered Robyn, “they say that my men are merry.”

 “To make up for their leader’s failings, no doubt.”

So I’m writing potential pieces of dialogue which may or may not be included in the actual novel. Yes, it may change – these things often do – but it gives me an idea, a tone. A snippet of a character, a setting, a plot. It tells me that maybe this character needs to be like this or avoid that; that this is an exciting twist or that is simply bonkers.

And as these little snapshots come – erratically, from the beginning, the middle and the end – the ideas flow. And the story grows.

from the Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

Happy Christmas!