Nov 15, 2009

Writing with Ease

Wouldn't it be so amazing to just write and write without any trouble at all? What if you were to write a brilliant manuscript the first time around? Only having to tweak this or that.But writing is harder work than it seems. There are so many different elements that must be put all together to make a piece uniquely your own. To make a piece beautiful. Writing has many difficulties, that's for sure. But here is a blog post dedicated to some tips and tricks.

What's writing when you're not sitting down to write? 
First tip: Keep your BIC. Butt in Chair. Sit down and write. For a specified amount of time each day at the same time. Heck, you don't need to write creatively, just as long as you're writing. I got this advice from Ridley Pearson, an author who spoke at my local Barnes and Noble a few years ago. Okay, maybe I don't listen to it all the time. I am, after all, a college student with lots to do at different hours of the day. I don't even write every day. But I am promising myself to work on it. If anything, set yourself a goal--3 days, 5 days, a week, or more--to keep your BIC for that amount of days. If it works out for you, then great job!

What if you can't find the right word to explain an idea you see clearly in your mind but can't translate into words? 
Second tip: Use a thesaurus if you have an idea of a word that is similar. Or get this, use a "reverse dictionary." Google it. Click the first link. Should be OneLook. Seriously, just describe the concept and voila! You get a list of words that could possibly have the word you are looking for. Sometimes I use it as my thesaurus lol

What is this darn thing called writer's block?
Third tip: In The Writer's Little Helper, the author, James V. Smith, Jr. says he believes it does not exist. That is is a "form of laziness" or "distraction." He says that it's a "lame excuse to not write." I have to agree wholeheartedly. He has some great advice in this little helper book, and I am going to quote.

"I've learned two things about creative writing. First is that creativity doesn't strike sparks in you like a bolt from the ionosphere. Yo can't expect much from wandering around idyllic settings waiting for an inspiration.
 The most effective aids to creativity continue to be a simple pen and a blank pad. You create sparks by striking one against the other. Write an idea down. develop that idea. Turn the idea inside out. That's where creativity comes from.
"The second thing I've learned is that writing does not occur by thinking about it. Writing only happens when you do it, so plant your butt in chair (YAY!) and get busy. Keep busy. After you create a million or so words, you will have established yourself as a serviceable writer simply from the experience. If you've worked hard at learning from your experiences along the way, you'll probably be a creative writer. That's how it works.
And by the time you've written those million words, you will have, like me, forgotten the condition of writer's block even exists, except in the minds of dilettantes." 
"My writing sucks...."
Fourth tip: Um, that is so not true! If you are being doubtful of your writing, have someone read it, if they are in love with it, problem solved.
"But I got negative comments on it...."
That is OK! If you work on those problem areas more, this will help make your writing even better, right?
And if you really think it is sucktastic, I will forward you to Parametric's post about this particular issue.

"I am new at this... what do I do?"
Fifth, sixth, and seventh tip:
  1. Know your market. Read books in your genre. And if it's literary read that. Seriously, if you read and get to know your market, it helps you know what sorts of things are available to you to write about in your genre. I am a contemporary romance writer. So I read those sorts of books. It helps. A lot. 
  2. Research the publishing process! I am not going to go into detail about the publishing process. Instead, I leave that up to you to explore. Check out books like Writer's Market or sign up online here. There are also other books to check out at your local bookstore or research stuff online. there are so many resources out there for you!
  3. Check out some self-help writnig books. There are some great ones out there. The Writer's Little Helper is my fave. Here is something I had posted on AW.
The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier: How to Solve the Mysteries of Weak Writing by Bonnie Trenga. Haven't sunk my teeth into this one yet but from the ToC we get passive voice, nominalizations, vague -ing words, weak verbs, misplaced modifiers, super long sentence, wordy writing and more!

The Writer's Little Helper by James V.Smith Jr. PHENOMENAL book I love it so much. Talks about pretty much everything you want to know about writing. Characters, scenes, POV, flashbacks, dialogue, pacing, some publishing tidbits and lots more!!!

The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. This one is more for revising/editing, but it could still help you avoid the mistakes that most writers make. Adjectives and adverbs, showing vs. telling, viewpoint and narration, characterization, hooks, subtlety, tone, setting. Really great book too! (also written by an agent) There is also another book by him.. The Plot Thickens which I need to get my hands on... That one is more for the writing of a novel me thinks. Must google it later...

Keys to Great Writing by Stephen Wilbers. Haven't sunk my teeth into this one yet either. But it talks about some things such as: economy, precision, action, music, personality, purpose, POV (but you've heard of that) organization, support, coherence, the writing process. If you want more info on some of those chapter titles, look into the book there's a lot of nice info in those chapters.

Between the Lines by Jessica Page Morrell. Really goes in depth into some subtle elements of writing, backstory, cliffhangers, thrusters, epilogues, epiphanies, flashbacks, foreshadowing, imagery, pacing, prologues, sense of place, sensory surround, subplots, subtlety, suspense, tension, theme and premise, transitions.

All of these are really great. Then of course get your hands on a grammar and syntax book! I have a pocket book from Random House Webster's that cost like 6 bucks.

Last WoW (no not World of Warcraft but Words of Wisdom =] )
  • Think of writing as something fun, something you love to do, something you are passionate about instead of a means to make money off it. Without using your love to write to put forth your best attempt, no money for you I am afraid. 
  • The writing process is a journey. Take the road less traveled.
  • Never give up! You can't fail if you don't give up! 
  • No matter what, keep your dreams in sight.
  • And lastly . . . go forth and WRITE!
Okay, well these are all the tips and tricks up my sleeve! Hope you have enjoyed them! 


Ami The Salami said...

Wow, that's some good advice, Karla! :)

Karla Calalang said...

Thanks Ami! :D

Stephanie Jenkins said...

Great post, Karla. :)

Karla Calalang said...

Thanks Steph! :)

Chris said...

Great advice! It's so important to research the market, if just to know what is expected of you as the writer. Attention to detail never had such great importance.