August222014

Anonymous said: Hello! I used to read a lot (really, a lot), and to start writing a lot of stories. Nowadays, I'm stuck. It became really difficult for me to finish the books I started and I abandoned every story I had in my mind. It makes me really unhappy, because I really need stories in my life, I need my mind to keep active and it's like my head is dry. Can you help me? Thank you so much, really.

thewritershelpers:

Blocks and periods of time where we just fall off the reading and writing wagon happen sometimes. The first key is not to beat yourself up about it. Know that it is natural and sometimes happens for concrete reasons, and sometimes no reason at all.

Getting yourself out of these funks can take some work, but if you’re dedicated to getting things done, you can do it. It sometimes may seem like you’re sucking the joy out of it when you’re just starting to get back into it, but eventually you’ll find your groove again.

For writing, try these suggestions:

  • Use writing prompts. Take characters you have in unfinished stories and use the prompts to put them in different scenarios. Don’t worry about writing a complete story, just exercise your brain to get used to your characters again and the story should follow.
  • Do some world building exercises. Explore a part of your story you haven’t yet. Write about a different location in your world, or a different character in the same setting who is unrelated to the rest of your characters.
  • Set aside fifteen minutes a day to work on a story. No matter how much of a slog it seems at first, just do it. Write. It could all be crap at first, but you’ll soon fall back into the story just by sticking with it, and you can always fix the crap parts in editing. Sometimes you just need to finish something to get you working on stories again.

For reading, try these tips:

  • Audiobooks. Sometimes listening to a story rather than reading it can help you get back into things.
  • Read in a new place. Find a park or a library or a cafe somewhere new to read. If people noise distracts you, try a library to start or use your headphones and a white noise app or music.
  • Set aside fifteen minutes a day to read. Start with short stories and/or an anthology, so you complete stories in 1-2 sittings. Again, sometimes just pushing yourself for a few minutes a day can help get you back into the habit more naturally over time.

Also, in both cases, don’t be afraid to give a story a chance for a few days and move on to something else if it’s not working. Explore something new and different that you wouldn’t usually read or write. Give it a week. Even if you don’t like it, the exercise of it may lead you to new ideas for your current projects or lead you back to the kind of stories you do like reading.

Hope these help!

- O

4PM
August152014

Top Tips to Polish Your Writing Skills

prproofread:

Powerful and impeccable writing skills are necessary for professionals across all industries to convey their messages to their audiences/customers. Even the most established writers constantly fine-tune and brush-up their writing skills to ensure that they communicate effectively. Whether you are writer, a lawyer, or an entrepreneur, some great tips will surely help you to produce high-end quality documents:

Practice is the Key to Perfection
If you are not sure how to bush-up your writing skills, know that practice is the most important component to master this art. You will find significant improvement just by keeping some time aside for writing regularly and sticking to this schedule.

Mix it up
The use of repetitive words and phrases can cause your readers to lose interest in your written document. Variety attracts interest; using a wide span of descriptive words and incorporating a number of various sentence structures can keep your reader focused and can produce a more interesting and persuasive final piece.

Less is More
Avoid unnecessary terms or vague verbiage. When a simple word can serve the purpose, do not make it complicated by using long words or phrases. Readers are more interested in getting to the point and do not want to waste their time on understanding unclear metaphors. This simple step can create a significant difference in your finished product.

Avoid Grammatical Errors
It is advisable to comply with the accepted rules of grammar in your piece of work. Grammatical rules are meant to enhance the clarity of your writing; avoiding these rules may create a negative impression of your language competence on your readers.

Consult the Experts
Even the most accomplished writers often need professional Proofreading advice on their work. It is advisable to consult an editor, or you can also attend a class in writing, to improve your writing skills.

Read More
Reading other materials occasionally and more often for pleasure can help you write fresh and relevant literature. Take some time out to read a novel, newspaper or magazine. These can provide exposure and can add new ideas and new phrases to your vocabulary that you can incorporate into your writing projects.

Do not be Afraid of Failure
Fear of failure is the biggest obstacle most writers face. Muster the courage to write and submit your finished work to an editor or proofreader. It will help you achieve success in your chosen field.

Be Patient
The best advice to improve your writing skills is to simply write more often. Most accomplished authors set aside a few hours from their schedule each day to practice their expertise. If you can inculcate this level of commitment in yourself, no doubt, you can improve your writing skills over time.

Proofread Many Times
Even the veteran writers can sometimes miss subtle grammatical errors. Academic Proofreading is the only way out to identify and rectify these errors. Do it as many times as you can to create a perfect piece, free from any grammar or spelling mistakes.

Well-read people are mostly great writers too, but the art of writing can also be mastered by following the above-mentioned tips. Doing so is a must for anyone who really wants to improve their writing skills.

(via writersyoga)

12PM

THE WRITER’S TECHNIQUE IN THIRTEEN THESES - Walter Benjamin

platitudeurn:

  1. Anyone intending to embark on a major work should be lenient with himself and, having completed a stint, deny himself nothing that will not prejudice the next.
  2. Talk about what you have written, by all means, but do not read from it while the work is in progress. Every gratification procured in this way will slacken your tempo. If this regime is followed, the growing desire to communicate will become in the end a motor for completion.
  3. In your working conditions avoid everyday mediocrity. Semi-relaxation, to a background of insipid sounds, is degrading. On the other hand, accompaniment by an etude or a cacophony of voices can become as significant for work as the perceptible silence of the night. If the latter sharpens the inner ear, the former acts as a touchstone for a diction ample enough to bury even the most wayward sounds.
  4. Avoid haphazard writing materials. A pedantic adherence to certain papers, pens, inks is beneficial. No luxury, but an abundance of these utensils is indispensable.
  5. Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.
  6. Keep your pen aloof from inspiration, which it will then attract with magnetic power. The more circumspectly you delay writing down an idea, the more maturely developed it will be on surrendering itself. Speech conquers thought, but writing commands it.
  7. Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas. Literary honour requires that one break off only at an appointed moment (a mealtime, a meeting) or at the end of the work.
  8. Fill the lacunae of inspiration by tidily copying out what is already written. Intuition will awaken in the process.
  9. Nulla dies sine linea [‘No day without a line’] — but there may well be weeks.
  10. Consider no work perfect over which you have not once sat from evening to broad daylight.
  11. Do not write the conclusion of a work in your familiar study. You would not find the necessary courage there.
  12. Stages of composition: idea — style — writing. The value of the fair copy is that in producing it you confine attention to calligraphy. The idea kills inspiration, style fetters the idea, writing pays off style.
  13. The work is the death mask of its conception.

(via writersyoga)

12PM
11AM
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” Terry Pratchett (via cleverhelp)

(via teachingliteracy)

11AM
August72014

bookgeekconfessions:

I wanted to double check that “The Cherry on Top” was a short novel or novella and I found this on uphillwriting.org. I think it’s very informative and hopefully you guys will find it useful!

(Source: uphillwriting.org, via writersyoga)

8PM

FightWrite: Your Killers Need to Kill

howtofightwrite:

Killers need to kill. It’s surprising how many writers ignore this very specific and important piece of the ones they claim are killers, heartless or not. Sometimes, there’s a difference between the character we describe in the text and the actions the character takes. An author can tell me over and over that a character is a deadly and dangerous person who strikes ruthlessly without mercy, but if they don’t behave that way in the actual story then I’m not going to buy it.

Show versus tell: the difference between who the author says the character is and the actions the character takes in the story. Especially if the actions counteract the description. Now, you do have characters who lie, characters who misrepresent themselves, characters who say one thing and do another, but these are not the characters we’re talking about. This is about ensuring that you, the author, know the character you are writing. Unless you’re hiding their habits, let us glimpse the worst they’re capable of.

Monster. I could tell Jackson I was a monster, but he wouldn’t believe me. He saw a strawberry blonde, five feet eleven inches. A waitress, a Pilates nut, not a murderer. The nasty scar across my slim waist that I’d earned when I was ten? He thought I’d gotten it from a mugging at twenty one. Just as a natural layer of womanly fat hid away years of physical conditioning, I hid myself behind long hair, perky makeup, and a closet full of costumes bought from Macy’s and Forever 21. To him, I was Grace Johnson. The woman who cuddled beside him in bed, the woman who hogged the sheets, who screamed during horror movie jump scares, the woman who forgot to change the toilet paper, who baked cookies every Saturday morning, the woman who sometimes wore the same underwear three days in a row. The woman he loved.

No, I thought as I studied his eyes. Even with a useless arm hanging at my side, elbow crushed; my nose smashed, blood coursing down from the open gash in my forehead, a bullet wound in my shoulder, Sixteen’s gun in my hand, the dining room table shattered, and his grandmother’s China scattered across the floor. He’d never believe Grace Johnson was a lie. Not until I showed him, possibly not even then. Not for many more years to come. Probably, I caught my mental shrug, if he lives.

“Grace,” Jackson said. “Please…” The phone clattered the floor, his blue eyes wide, color draining from his lips. “This isn’t you.”

Gaze locking his, I levered Sixteen’s pistol at her knee.

“Don’t,” she whispered. “Morrison will take you in, he’ll fix this.” Her voice cracked, almost a sob. For us, a destroyed limb was a death sentence. Once, we swore we’d die together. Now, she can mean it. “Thirteen, if you run then there’s no going back.”

My upper lip curled. “You don’t know me.” I had no idea which one I was talking to. “You never did.”

My finger squeezed the trigger.

Sixteen grunted, blood slipping down her lip. In the doorway, Jackson screamed.

Do it and mean it. Let it be part of their character development, regardless of if which way you intend to go. In the above example, there’s a dichotomy present between the character of Thirteen and her cover Grace Johnson. There’s some question, even for the character, about which of them they are. It sets up a beginning of growth for the character as she runs, but it also fails to answer what will be the central question in the story: who am I? Which way will I jump?

If Thirteen doesn’t kill Sixteen, if the scene answers the question at the beginning then why would you need to read the story?

Below the cut, we’ll talk about some ways to show their struggles.

-Michi

Read More

(via writersyoga)

8PM
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