I want to do something a bit different with this particular post. I want to address you on a personal level.
We all have very busy lives where we are pulled in several different directions. Sometimes in the madness, we lose ourselves in who we are and our own valued worth. Whether you are a husband, wife, father, mother, sister, brother, pet owner, or have bonds or interactions with those outside your family, you matter to someone. Take that thought and expand on it. You not only matter to someone, but you have personally influenced everyone you come in contact with. Without you, someone’s life would be very different. You are important and loved.
Everyone has low points in their lives that drag them down mentally and/or physically. Sometimes it can be the situations around us or it can be a personal battle. You are worth it, so keep pushing forward.
If you have made a New Year’s resolution this year – great for you. I wish you all the best. For every day or hurdle you pass is another one to show just how strong you are. For you are strong. Believe in yourself that you can do it and you will succeed.
Most of you who follow this blog are fellow authors. Your writing is your craft. Your very first draft of your story is not going to be perfect. Practice makes perfect or, better phrased, revisions make perfect. You will get rejections if you seek out publications, but it is not the end of the world. It does not mean that your writing is horrible or that no one will like all your hard work. It just means that either you haven’t found the right fit yet or its’ not that books time. Keep pushing. All artist struggle at first, but if you want it, you will get it.
Remember that you are loved, worth it, and strong. I wish you all the best in all you do.
Keep writing and keep learning.
I know everyone has their own methods of how they write their characters. I have written in previous posts of how to make your character’s more real by adding personalities, flaws, and importance to write of the characters age level in regards to the readability of your own writing.
I want to take it a bit further with a suggestion that actually has helped me in the past. Physically surround yourself with the character’s situation. I don’t mean the situation as in trying to mirror the drama in your own life or actually go sword fight on a ship somewhere. However, I do mean to physically get out of your writing area and to explore the world.
- If your novel is a period dated story, then some evening, turn off your lights and write by hand in candlelight. Describe what your thoughts and feelings are with what you are experiencing. Does it make the area seem more relaxed, does it enhance other senses, etc. Consider making a small list to try and focus on what you want your character to think or feel before you do the exercise.
- Also, go explore antique shops and ask the owners if they have any pieces for the specific era your novel occurs. Go to a library and talk to the librarians or county records buildings with the genealogy. The majority of the time, those places will be able to give you contact information of local historians. Those historians not only know the local history, but since they love history so much, they are almost a walking encyclopedia who has studied other eras.
- If your character is in school, again go to a library. Try to remember what it was like in your own school library while you’re there. You may even run into teachers or retire teachers. Go to a few of the local high school sports games and write what it feels like to be there.
- If it is a murder mystery, serious contact your local police. See if you can do a tour or talk to a retired or active police officer. Depending on the community and restrictions, they even may let you do a ride along.
- If your story is a western, go to the farmer’s market. There will be a farmer there who always knows someone they can direct you to that can answer your questions. Or the local feed mills are always the hot place to get information.
There was a story I wrote years ago that I wanted a more real life take from, so I took up archery. Trust me, I can tell you in detail how horrible a bruise someone will get if the string snaps back wrong. I can now proudly say that I have hit bull’s-eye several times.
Any of these examples and more should be considered. HOWEVER, you MUST take notes. You may remember the experience for several weeks down the road, but you will start forgetting the smaller things such as answers you may have received or even the meaning of certain lingo of the industry.
My motto: keep writing, keep learning.
This past season, many of us got to enjoy movies such as It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle On 34th Street. These movies are great. There’s no doubt in that fact. There is a charm to them that modern Hollywood can not replicate.
However, writing a story in black and white may sound appealing to a few authors and readers. It’s a challenge that a few writers wish to tackle to try setting their story apart from all the others trying to get published. From being too descriptive, this can be the exact opposite. The story comes off empty or lacking. Yes, we know that leaves in the summer are green and the sky is blue. I’m not saying that you have to detail every little detail. But throw in a few colors here and there for added appeal.
Amanda pulled out a clean sheet of paper. It had been a while since she wrote any of her stories. The blank page stared back at her, taunting her with every thought she was unable to put into words. Her hazel eyes centered on the wall, unseeing. Then slowly, the words flowed across the paper in small rivers of blue ink. Too soon was the paper full of her thoughts. Amanda sat back with a warm smile on her lips, proud of her accomplishment.
Yes, this could be classified as more of a tell rather than a show paragraph since I didn’t get into detail regarding what were her thoughts or the actual words she wrote, but I hope that you could clearly see the plain white paper in your mind with blue words filling it. I chose hazel eyes because I’m sure the majority of you pictured her with brown hair. There’s a subconscious connection that I’m not sure if most realize when they think of the relation between eye and hair color. Typically, I think of green eyes with someone with red hair. Blue eyes with blond hair. Hazel with brown hair. Dark brown or “chocolate” with black hair. I don’t know if there is a study for the relations between them, but they are the most common pairings.
I’m sure you noticed that I did not tell you the coloring of her clothes or the wall or even what room she was in. If there was more to the scene, then they would’ve been included. The main focus was for the character to start her writing. Nothing more was needed.
Be mindful of the balance between being too descriptive and not being descriptive enough. You can do the same with other areas such as setting up a scene, body language, dialogue, and the detail of the people.
I hope everyone had a good holiday and a happy New Year.
L. R. Mauck