There Are Exceptions To The Rule

exception-e1487183955248I read a comment I received on a post yesterday and I have to admit it really rattled me. The individual who posted the comment was brash and unpleasant, however, I understood where he was coming from and chose to give him the benefit of the doubt. The post was on rules for writing a successful piece of work.

I didn’t actually write the post, but I agreed with the person who wrote it. He is a successful author and many of his statements I have read numerous times over the years from other successful authors.

So what was the problem? The person who read my post took everything literal. He saw everything black and white. There were no shades of gray.

That got me thinking about my posts and new writers. When you research and step out to learn a new skill, you are going to find a lot of good advice, but you have to look at how it applies to what you are writing.

There are exceptions to the rule. For example: If you’re writing a Sci-fi novel or Fantasy, you are going to have parts of your novel that are bogged down in description. You are creating a new world for goodness sake. Just try to make it interesting and give us a few spoonfuls at a time when possible 🙂

Something to think about.

-Jan R

There Are Exceptions To The Rule

Keep Writing!

writingJust recently I received a ‘like’ on this blog and I reread it. I needed a reminder myself to keep writing.

You would think with the coronavirus and shelter in place order, I would have plenty of time to write. Fact is, as many of you probably know, the news and everything else going on is consuming my waking hours. I need to recalibrate.

Maybe all those tips about writing every day and setting quotas was right. Not to say that you can’t take time off to enjoy a special evening or life, but you have to stay motivated or you will lose the desire, momentum, will to write.untitled

  • So I find myself going through articles on how to motivate yourself to write. Not sure why.  I already know most of the tips by heart. I guess I’m hoping to find something new, a magic pill maybe.  Well If there is one, I haven’t found it. So I guess I just have to fall back on the tried and true. Make a date with yourself to show up and write on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be great. You just need to write.
  • Choose the time of day that works best for you. In the morning after that first cup of coffee works best for me.
  • Share your goals and dreams with family and friends. They will ask how it’s going and keep you in line.
  • Cut off all electronics. This one is a given and to be honest, I have allowed myself to get sucked back into Facebook and other social media outlets over the last month. They are mind-numbing and can take precious time away from what is important. If you use them to communicate with family in other states, like myself, you need to schedule in time and watch the clock.
  • Set a daily quota. To be honest I’ve never done that one. I do set a weekly quota. It allows me time for life to happen and is more realistic. Point is you need a goal, something to work towards to keep you moving.
  • Record and keep up with your word count. It will serve as a timesheet and a reward system to praise yourself.
  • Allow yourself to write badly. At least for early drafts be gentle on yourself. If you stop to judge, edit, delete and rewrite, you will be spending all your time playing reader or critic, not writer.

Something to think about

-Jan R

Keep Writing!

Settings Are More Than A Place (Revisited)

4f7a9b905a1bc2d6c97e5c8f0157ee9d_fullWhen you hear the word setting, you think of a time period and place, but settings do so much more than that.

With sci-fi and historical novels, the setting becomes an important part of the story. The setting doesn’t have to be real but it does have to be believable.

Writing historical novels, do your research and throw in some things that you would expect to see during the time period.

Writing Sci-Fi, you’re creating a world. Your setting needs to be detailed. Help your reader to visualize it. Draw them in.

Settings should be visceral and vivid and allow us to experience the world the author is building as if we are one of the characters within the narrative.

Settings evoke a mood. In horror stories, your description of a haunted house should evoke fear in your readers.  In a mystery, your setting should evoke suspense and curiosity. In a comedy, your setting should evoke laughter or an anticipated thrill.

Settings provide information about your characters. How does their home look? Is it messy, neat, compulsively organized? Do they surround themselves with darkness or light?

Settings can also be used to evoke the passage of time and movement. The saplings we had planted in our youth towered above the two-story house. This was home, at least the house that I remembered.

Who knew there was so much to writing. I hope this evoked thought and helped you better understand the use of settings in your novel.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Settings Are More Than A Place (Revisited)

It’s Your Story – Revisited

3aefcc38a20542bd3ee999eca594de5eI’ve shared this blog before, but it’s been a while, and a message I think needs to be heard. As new writers, we sometimes listen to everybody but ourselves. Friends and critique partners mean well, but if you let them, some will try to take over your novel and mold it into what they think it should be.

I was sitting on my couch reworking a scene in the novel I’m writing and stopped right in the middle of it. What am I doing? I asked myself. The purpose of the rewrite was to make some changes based on a critique I received from a critique partner.

The person that critiqued my book is very good at the craft, and I respect her opinion. There were others who critiqued the piece and loved it, offering a few comments here and there to correct grammar or replace a word. So who was right? The three people who loved it, or the one who thought I needed to go back and make some significant changes.

The more I looked at the changes this person suggested, the more I realized she had her own idea of the way the story needed to go, and I had mine.

With this being said, she’s made some great suggestions. Because of her, my story is more believable, my dialogue more natural, and my POV more consistent. Her critiques have been invaluable.

However, I had to remind myself that this is my story. Nobody has a better understanding of the dynamics than I do. Nobody knows it from beginning to end but me. Nobody can tell it better than me.

Weigh comments and suggestions you receive from others and ask this question. Is it making my story better or changing it into something it is not?

Remember: It’s your story.

-Jan R

 

It’s Your Story – Revisited