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Young Writers Society
Helpful (I hope) ideas to overcome problems when writing :D
Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:42 pm
I made this to help solve common problems when writing and to help my critiquees
It's inevitable. You're going to get stuck at some point, whether it's just on a name or that deadly, unspeakable writer's block
These are my tips on how to overcome being stuck. People liked them in the forums so I've decided to compile them
You're looking for the perfect name for your character, but nothing ever works. Ever. Never mind it being perfect, you just want a name! I have a rather creative way to overcome this problem:
Ok; we choose a language, for this example I'll choose French, plainly because it's the only language I know that's not English
I have one of those horrible,
mathematical[/u] (I dared to say such a horrible word in such a lovely place :lol) formula:
If you don't speak another language, worry not. The trusty (or not so trusty) skills of google translator or babel fish work perfectly well too
So far we've established that you choose a language, next we establish qualities. What are your characters qualities?
For this example we're going to use
Intelligent - Intelligente
Beautiful - Belle (fem) Beau (masc)
Next, and pay attention, I can see you falling asleep.
I shall bold this part to make you notice it!
Mess around with different parts of the words until you find one you like, eg:
N=French+intelligente belle et petite
so we choose some parts we like, from that I make:
Get it? Good.
Section 2 - Plot.
Argh. You hate it, you hate the plot. It's absolutely crap, it's not right, it's gone in the complete wrong direction. You've revised it so many times, your head's now hurting. You feel faint. All because of the stupid plot. Let's first establish what went wrong:
A: It became cliched.
-That word, that horrible horrible word. So common that it has now become a cliche in itself. How you despise it!
B: It's boring.
Face it. You now find it boring, so let's not ponder what others shall think of it! You want to give up on it. You so desperately want to ram the laptop into the wall, urging it to break. You want the piece of paper ripped up. All evidence that you ever tried destroyed. Grr you can't stand thinking about it, with every word this is making you more and more angry and you hate me now *calm down, please calm down, calm down, please calm down, I didn't mean to hurt you
C: There's too much going on
Woah! What exactly is happening? You've lost track because so much is happening. You can't stand it, you've so many ideas and they're blending together. No, no they're not, they're
D: You are unfairly critical of yourself and you're always going to find fault in it.
A: Why is it cliched? There's no such thing as cliched really. Is there? I ask thee? Let us take it upon ourselves to travel back , let's take ourselves to the 1800's. Take the Bronte's. My saviours. Just about every classic ever written is the same. Orphaned child, servant, falls in love with someone above them. High rated young lady, high expectations, falls in love with a rogue. We must question what really is a cliche. For there be no such thing. Whoever told you that:
We must work on a certain aspect. This certain aspect, if done correctly, creates a fantastic read. Even if a copy of a previous book was written, with this aspect changed, done well, it could be as good as the original. Caught on yet?
Section 3 is on characterization, so read on for more
Indifference is not always a bad quality. It is something we esteem to be a bad quality, but it is not always so. We must first understand that by indifference we are talking of boring-ness and not of low quality or unimportance. In most cases, yes, it is a bad thing, but yet, we as humans have created ideas of what is boring. Nothing really is, we simply esteem it so. (Philosophies out of mind for the moment)
If we’ve got a boring plot we must consider why:
It really comes down to that word again.
Yet there’s also more:
some writers, myself included, like to base ideas on particular philosophies, not ones that are already invented, perhaps some of your own. Non conformity perhaps, or other such interestlings
Here comes another activity
Explore the town that your characters inhabit
You’ve never really thought about it, have you? We’re all guilty of it. Try as we might we don’t know our characters properly. No one does, in creating a character, we create fragmented beings, real people. We can’t control them. They may keep things from us. So we’re going to delve into the unknown.
We’re going to develop one thing in particular, setting.
Not many people have mastered setting. Myself included. We must take setting very seriously, it plays a huge part in our story . Lest we forget Wuthering Heights is a huge example of this. The moors; they provide the perfect landscape for Heathcliff and Cathy’s tale. Let us take a second to stop and think of what was running through Emily’s mind, they did play a huge role. They were almost a character in themselves. We’re going to the past, but not the past in this world. For what is the world but a mere way to connect with our own worlds? Your world, is yours. So no one shall know this but you.:
For your town, you’re going to draw a map. Yep! No matter how good or bad you are at drawing, no matter if it’s a total mess. You’re going to draw it, and now.
Once you’ve done that, you’re going to choose one of the parts of your town. Perhaps the church. With this part you are going to write about it. Its history, how it was built, who built it. Why. You’re going to describe it in detail, such intricate detail, down to the very cracks on the back wall. The length of the grass that grows outside. The amount of sunshine it gets each year. Need I go on? Don’t worry how long it is, it could be over five pages long. You’re going to do this for every single place in your town. Everywhere. Don’t ask how much room it takes up, for one town it took me three hundred pages
Well; you don’t have to do the whole town, but you get the picture
Maybe you could just choose one part, but I’m so sad that I do describe the whole town, which tends to take a long time and a lot of room
Activity over for now
Too much going on I hear you say. Those characters, they can be so troublesome
What I’m about to tell you is of the utmost importance. I demand that you do this. Demand it!
Write your ideas down. Go on, now. Next time, when that horrible, turbulent writer’s block strikes out you come with your old ideas, your saviour! No but seriously, do write them down. They can be a huge help in the future. Another idea:
Write out both versions. Never leave an empty plot. There’s so many voices in there, dying to be heard, write them. Don’t let them go. Writing isn’t about finishing fast, or getting lots done. It’s not about making money or even having fun (although it obviously is fun!) it’s about creating a world of your own. Creating a retreat for yourself.
The dreaded Characterization.
You’re petrified. I know you are. You are absolutely terrified of making them too one sided. You hate the thought, they
real. They are. So make them real. Anyway, me and my pile of tips are here to help you chase those nightmares away:
Dialogue - if they don’t interact with each other properly, then they’re not going to be good characters.
An activity is on its way
Create a list of situations, make sure they vary in content and at some points perhaps even completely oppose one another:
I do so hope that you are well
Your character: -----------------------------------------------
How will your character respond? If it takes up sheets and sheets and sheets of paper, it doesn’t matter. What does is that you are getting to know your character. Everyday you are becoming more acquainted with them. Even if you spend months developing characters in a story that you haven’t even started. Even if you spend years developing a single scene, at least you’ll know your characters. Fear not for deadlines, they can be worked around, but fear not knowing your story. If you don’t know your world you’re less likely to wish to retreat to it, and so you must develop it. Without this development stories would suck.
To be honest, I have a very controversial opinion when it comes to description. A very controversial one. I believe that an individual story has its own rules. If you want your character to over describe things then I believe it is not our place to interfere. We should leave it alone. If your character under-describes things then so be it. But never, ever completely remove description from stories altogether, this makes them boring.
Describe something. Anything. But it’s got to be through your character’s eyes. Let their mind leak into your’s. Your muse won’t be able to do anything but watch.
Quirks. Make sure your characters have them.
Do not overdo them!
I have the perfect example.
Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight
An atrocity that I care not to call a book. (no offence to twilight lovers
Note the author’s repetition of how: Edward ‘sparkled’ His ‘flawlessly’ smooth skin …. …. Blablablabla
All the same, they are important.
Do them. Do not overdo them.
Anyway; I’ve got to go now, so if anyone actually found these of use leave me a comment, and I’ll create another one ;D
for what are we without words and stories?
Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:45 pm
Sorry for double posting
for what are we without words and stories?
Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:39 pm
This was very helpful! It was interesting to read as well, and I might try writing about my character's town (but maybe not three hundred pages like yourself XD)
I'd like more tips
Meet me in Montauk.
— Charlie Kaufman
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