Thursday, August 9, 2012

Keep It Moving

What are you working on right now? Anything you care to share? I find it interesting how I always have some sort of project in action. This past week I worked on a short story. It wasn't because I was bored (though that would have been nice because I would have had a lot of time on hand). I worked on a short story because I needed to for school. I was allowed to write a story of no more than 1,000 words and in any genre. Particularly I find it difficult to write stories of no more than 1,000 words. It's not enough words for me. I like the 1,500-2,000 word kind of stories. The ones that stretch into 6-8 pages. With this short story I didn't have much of  a plan. I don't recommend this actually. If you can write from the top of your head and still make sense by ending up at the end with a good punch, go for it. Some of us can't do that and that's okay. It doesn't mean you have less experience or aren't nearly as good. Your mind processes in a very special and unique way. You're the type who needs a plan, a guide and map in order to know where to go. There are many writers out there and all of us are different. No two writers will be the same, even if they are novelists, they will not write the same. We all have our techniques, our strengths and the weaknesses. For me I find it difficult to show, not tell and avoid to be verbs. It's extremely difficult for me to put those verbs away and write in a different text. I'm not sure what your weakness is, but don't focus on the weakness. Concentrate on the strengths and what you can do. I think it's more important to know what you can do instead of paying attention to the areas you lack.

Well back to that short story I worked on. I completed it in two days and funny thing is, it ended up with a different twist than I expected. I had this vision, this plan with this story and kind of knew where I wanted it to end up. On the first day I ended with 500 words and then on the second day that's where my twist came in. All of a sudden I had this desire to cause something terrible happen to my main character. I didn't see that coming from the start but when I started thinking about it I liked it. And sure enough I allowed it to happen. In my opinion I say follow the flow. Writing a plan down or an outline is not a bad idea. In fact, it's probably the wisest and safest thing to do. It keeps you accountable and on track, but if a change arises and you happen to like it, go for it. Don't stop just because you have something different written down, another intention. Sometimes the best stories come from a spur of a moment, an epiphany. Don't block that sensation. My advice: always keep an open mind when writing. You don't know where your characters might take you. Sometimes they decide to do this major turn but it can end up being the best.

So word of advice for the rest of your writing week: KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

And as always, write. Write what comes to mind. Here are a few tips for you to put to practice and remember:

  • Where are you going with this?
  • Who are the characters?
  • Did you establish a hook that pulls your readers? 
  • Can your readers relate to your characters/setting/images? 
  • How intense and realistic is the conflict? 
  • Remember, you're in show business--show, don't tell!
  • Are you moved emotionally?--if you're moved, most likely your readers will relate 

Tell me what you're working on this week!