Creative Writing: M. Arkiverede Tips

Ressourcer

Nedenfor er flere arkiverede tips fra den gamle kategori "Resources". Selvom nogle tips er blevet redigeret af den aktuelle guru, James Gapinski, de fleste er de originale værker af tidligere Life Tips guruer.

Forskning virksomheder i dit område

Opret en liste over virksomheder i dit område, der sandsynligvis ville ansætte forfattere. Brainstorm !! Send job forespørgsel breve til magasiner, aviser, online virksomheder, universitet kommunikation & udviklingsafdelinger mv

Generelle Online Resources

Denne side indeholder en udtømmende liste over steder, du kan gå online for at få rådgivning, job fører, og støtte til dit forfatterskab.

http://minerva.stkate.edu/offices/administrative/careerdev.nsf/pages/links4writing#gen

Større stil ressourcer til dagens skribent

Writers forsøger at offentliggøre i dag bør være bekendt med følgende style guides. Utvivlsomt du kender MLA fra din kollegium sigt papir dage, men Chicago stil er en lige så vigtig ting at vide - mange "ikke-litterære" markeder vil foretrække det.

Modern Language Association (Vejledning)

http://www.mla.org/

Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/cmosfaq/

Amerikansk tales English

http://www.spokenamericanenglish.com/

Online Workshops

Brug for en klasse, men har ikke tid? Overvej en online klasse. Gøre nogle grave på internettet. Vælg et kursus, der ledes af folk med MA eller MFA skrivning grader eller mindst en solid publikationsliste.

Din college karriere Services kontor

Du har måske glemt alt om dem munter folk i Career Services, fordi du er uddannet aldre siden. Men vidste du, at som en alun er du stadig berettiget til deres hjælp? Giv dem et opkald. Succesfulde kandidater liste ofte åbne positioner udelukkende med deres alma mater karrieremesse kontor. De looooooove påfyldning stillinger i deres virksomheder med folk fra deres gamle skole - endda år nede ad vejen.

Søgning efter et job online

Opsætning søgeagenter på websteder som JournalismJobs.com & MediaBistro.com. Skriften ressource site Sunoasis.com holder lister og funktioner detaljerede artikler om at søge online. Være proaktiv med oversigterne du finder - tusindvis af andre mennesker er også at trække dem op på deres computere, så du ønsker at handle hurtigt.

Online skriftligt fællesskaber

For Writers.com

http://www.forwriters.com/

Online Writery

http://www.missouri.edu/~writery/fun.html

Writing.com Online Fællesskab

(Jeg har en konto hos dem, det er et stort fællesskab.)

http://www.writing.com/?rfrc=stories.com&rfrt=www

Zuzu s Petals Litterære Resources

http://www.zuzu.com/index.htm

Writer Grupper

Forskning skriver grupper i dit område ved søgning på internettet. Jeg fandt flere i min by ved at søge under "stat / by og forfatter gruppen".

Du kan også læse denne liste, arrangeret af genre / publikum / emne.

http://www.writerswrite.com/groups.htm

Voksenuddannelse & fjernundervisning

Dette websted på Yahoo vil hjælpe dig med at finde en skrive kursus i dit område, som du kan deltage efter arbejde eller i din fritid. Tjek din lokale gule sider til Voksenundervisning institutter i dit område.

http://dir.yahoo.com/Education/Distance_Learning/Adult_and_Continuing_Education/

Netværk

Det får sagt en masse, men det er sandt. De bedste arbejdspladser haft fordi du tager dig tid til at lave en kontakt i den ønskede branche. Ring HR reps på virksomheder, du mener kan have plads til forfattere og få deres input på dine chancer. Chancerne er, at de vil være villige til at have du kommer ind til en snak. HR reps er dygtige til dimensionering mennesker op for at se, om de ville passe et job eller en virksomhed - så har din portefølje klar og være i stand til at sige i detaljer, hvad du leder efter i en position, og hvorfor du er interesseret i at selskab.

Seminarer

Tjek siden Arrangementer på hjemmesider af lokale gymnasier og universiteter til seminarer, weekend workshops mv, der kan være gratis eller meget økonomisk.

Fremme dit websted

Har dit websted sprængt til masser af søgemaskiner til at sikre masser af hits. Klik på knappen nedenfor for en hurtig, nem indsendelse.

Tilføj Me!

Publikationer, der vil hjælpe dig med at finde hjem til dit arbejde

1. Forfatteren marked (offentliggøres hvert år)

En bog, der viser markeder for tidsskrifter, magasiner, etc. Dette er tilgængelig i boghandlen, men da det er en årlig publikation, anbefaler jeg hørt en i et bibliotek.

2. POETS & WRITERS MAGAZINE--www.pw.org/index.html

En god generel ressource. Lister konkurrencer, deadlines mv, samt artikel nyttige for forfattere, der ønsker at udgive.

3. hjemmesider enkelte tidsskrifter - vil have en side for indsendelse retningslinjer.

4. jeres ydmyge GURU

Jeg holder lister over tidsskrifter & deres statistik på hånden & ville være glade for at foreslå en for dig. Eller hvis du ønsker en udtømmende liste, giver et skrig for det også.

University skrive programmer

Flere og flere skoler tilbyder undervisning og grader i kreativ skrivning. Disse er godt, hvis du ønsker at fordybe dig i en intensiv forfattere samfund, og derfor vil kræve betydelige investeringer af tid og økonomi.

Forskningsprogrammer på denne liste for at finde en, der passer til dig.

http://www.gradschools.com/listings/menus/creative_write_menu.html

Find Resources i CraigsList

Fra at finde en lokal forfatter gruppe, hvor du kan få læst dit arbejde og kritiseret, at finde skriftligt job, Craiglist er en stor ressource til at hjælpe dig med alle dine kreative skrivning bestræbelser. Bare vær forsigtig med scams- ikke sende penge over internettet og mødes skrivegrupper på offentlige steder!

http://www.craigslist.org

Generelle links

The Writers Market

http://www.writersmarket.com

Sunoasis

www.sunoasis.com

Karriere i Skrivning

http://minerva.stkate.edu/offices/administrative/careerdev.nsf/pages/links4writing#gen

PubList

www.publist.com

Bookwire

http://www.bookwire.com/bookwire/

BookTalk

http://www.booktalk.com/

Writers Digest

http://www.writersdigest.com/101sites/2002_index.asp

Litterære Marketplace

http://www.literarymarketplace.com/lmp/us/index_us.asp

Basic Web Design for Writers

Hvis du ønsker en skriftlig karriere i disse dage, gør ikke det ondt at være kultiveret i enten HTML eller Java. Heldigvis hverken er svært at lære, og du kan nemt samle dem op fra den dræbte af online tutorials til rådighed. EchoEcho.com har tonsvis af webdesign ressourcer til at få dig i gang. http://www.echoecho.com/

Opret en gratis Skrivning Website

For at få din skriftligt derude, kan du bygge en gratis hjemmeside på flere forskellige hjemmesider, herunder http://www.freewebs.com og http://www.wordpress.com. Derudover er der mange gratis ressourcer derude, der kan hjælpe dig med at oprette det websted, du ønsker. http://www.bravenet.com er en af ​​mine favoritter.

Fællesskaber og skriveprocessen Life

Nedenfor er flere arkiverede tips fra kategorien "Fællesskaber & Skrivning Life". Selvom nogle tips er blevet redigeret af den aktuelle guru, James Gapinski blev de fleste skabt af tidligere Life Tips guruer.

At vælge en konference

Tip redigeret af James Gapinski

At vælge en konference er lidt ligesom at beslutte, hvor at gå på college. Forskellige dem er gode til forskellige årsager. Der er store, ligesom Breadloaf og Sewanee-hvis du går til disse, vil du helt sikkert blandes med nogle kendte forfattere, men du kan finde dig selv fejet op i nogle alvorlige rump-smooching sessioner. Du kan få en masse ud af disse store virksomheder-lignende en agent eller en kritik fra en forfatter du respekterer. Men hvis du shoppe rundt, kan du finde små og mindre pebret weekender med gode forfattere kører workshops-uden megen hype. Disse konventioner kan være lige så værdifuldt, fordi du er der for at blive en bedre forfatter og foretage meningsfyldte kontakter for ikke at gnide albuer.

Links til litterære tidsskrifter

Listen fra digtere og forfattere er den mest komplette jeg har set online. Tjek det ud og linke direkte til hjemmesider af store tidsskrifter.

http://www.pw.org/links_pages/Literary_Magazines/

Kom klip

Grundlaget for en freelancer karriere er hendes portefølje. Altid koncentrere sig om at tilføje klip til det. Prøv at nærme din portefølje med en slags fokus - med andre ord, hvis dit mål er at skrive online, producerer stykker, der illustrerer dine evner på det. Og lad dem vise dine interesser så godt. Hvis du leder efter reklame / marketing typen arbejde, fokusere din energi der. Dette er ikke at sige, at en god portefølje ikke bør omfatte både boganmeldelser og produkt- annoncer. Lidt mangfoldighed viser din rækkevidde som forfatter. Men potentielle kunder gerne se, hvor dine forpligtelser og interesser ligger.

Hvis først det ikke virker ...

Litterære udgivelse er en hård verden for begyndere. Kom din brik i en respektabel tidsskrift kan være blot almindelig frustrerende. Der kan være noget galt med din brik, men det er simpelthen ikke til magasinet smag. Eller hvad. Det er derfor, du er nødt til at prøve. Dont 'stoppe indsende efter den første, tiende, eller hundrededel afvisning slip. Enhver forfatter, der får overalt går gennem denne ildprøve. Endelig får en publikation føler alle bedre for kampen. Giv ikke op.

Giv så godt som du får

Uanset arten af ​​dit valgte skrivning samfund, altid huske at bidrage så meget som, hvis ikke mere end, du modtage. Hvis du deltager forfattere gruppemøder, være generøs med dine kritikker og din tid. Hvis venner læser dine manuskripter, insistere på, at de sender dig noget af deres. Hvis du har meldt sig frivilligt til at distribuere reklamemateriale for en læsning, skal du følge op. Verden af ​​skrivning er en nærende samfund til dem, der giver sig selv.

Valg af Writing Program

Tip redigeret af James Gapinski

Fordelene ved at studere skrivning på kandidatniveau er mange. Du kan bare ikke slå en støttende workshop ledet af en succesfuld forfatter dedikeret til undervisning. Lille forfatters grupper tendens til opløbet off klasser, og før du ved af det du er nedsænket i en frisk, ung writerly samfund, at drage fordel af aflæsninger og de åh-så-værdifulde mentor relationer. Nogle af disse forbindelser vil vare hele din karriere. Du skal behandle spørgsmål som udgift, uanset om du har råd til at blive låst til en høj-vedligeholdelse skrivning afdeling i tre år, og om du i virkeligheden har brug for tre års undervisning.

Hvis kandidatoverbygningen er for dig, tage hensyn til, hvad finansiel støtte et bestemt program er sandsynligt at tilbyde dig. Hvem er de forfattere-in-residence? Hvad er skolens fysiske omgivelser, og vil du nyde bor der?

Finde en skriftlig gig

Landing en loppetjans skriftligt job er hver bladsmører drøm. Men du er usandsynligt at få en god en uden klip og publikationer, og det er ekstra svært uden forudgående erfaring. Lidt ligesom at få din første kreditkort. Og nej, du vil ikke få en med posten! Heldigvis er der freelancing. En hårdtarbejdende freelancer med et ry for at få tingene gjort vil tjene seriøse striber-og med tiden, et interview til at undvigende copywriting job.

Online ressourcer til freelancere

Business of Writing: Pasning Detaljer
www.writersdigest.com/newsletter/business2.html
(Finansiel og juridisk rådgivning om freelancing)

Tips til en bedre work-for-hire Kontrakt
www.nwu.org/bite/tipswfh.htm

www.freeagent.com
www.workingsolo.com
www.soho.org

Freelancer's Portefølje

Mens du venter på de højt betalte opgaver at rulle i, smide dig selv på potentielle kunder. Hold en portefølje af dit bedste og seneste arbejde handy, sammen med en up-to-date genoptage eller CV. Send dem til ad virksomheder, non profit, forlag mv Disse organisationer ofte indgå kontrakt ud og betale godt for det. Vær specifik når fortæller dem, hvad du kan gøre for dem. Sørg din portefølje indeholder eksempler på den form for at skrive du tilbyder at gøre. Hvis du skal oprette nogle "overgangs" stykker, som du har skrevet til at bevise du kender mediet (men pas på ikke at videregive disse ud som offentliggjorte stykker). Kunder elsker at se den slags initiativ.

Konference Links

Tip redigeret af James Gapinski

Klik på følgende link for en detaljeret liste over aktuelle konferencer og residencies (fra Poets & Writers). http://www.pw.org/links_pages/Conferences_and_Residencies/

Freelance Writer Foreninger

Det er godt at associere.

Forfatterens Guild
www.authorsguild.org

(Bestil forfattere primært, men vil udvide medlemskab til forfattere af kronikker. De har en forsikring.)

National Writers Union
www.nwu.org

(Åben for alle freelancing i USA. God kontrakt rådgivning på webstedet.)

Mentorer

Din MFA erfaring vil blive beriget, hvis du forfølge et forhold til en ældre, mere erfaren forfatter. Denne person skal være nogen, der du får sammen med godt, og som har vist en interesse i dit arbejde. En mentor kan give opmuntring, råd, og vil ofte er enige om at læse arbejde uden for værkstedet indstillingen. Grab på disse muligheder, når de kommer sammen! Du har brug for rådgivning af en erfaren forfatter, når det kommer til udgivelse, få en agent, etc.

Markedsføring dig selv

Freelance skribenter kan ikke råd til at være beskeden eller genert om deres tjenester. Fremme dig selv-arbejde kommer ikke til at falde i dit skød. Byg en hjemmeside reklame dine tjenester; tegne en annonce i de gule sider; deltage i en forfatters samfund som Sunoasis Job og drage fordel af deres billige klassificeret annonce udstationering. Brainstorm! Med hjælp af internettet, kan du finde utallige steder at annoncere dig selv. Et godt sted at hage plummy opgaver er www.elance.com. Du skal betale for at registrere, men opgaverne, der kan opnås, vil højst sandsynligt være det værd.

Kan jeg arbejde, mens du arbejder på min MFA?

Tip redigeret af James Gapinski

Mens forfølge en MFA grad skriftligt, så sørg for du har bestilt dit liv, så du kan give nok tid til at skrive og forberede dine workshops.

Du har brug for en garanteret tid hver dag til at skrive. Du skal også være frisk, når du læser det arbejde, klassekammerater, så du kan bidrage. Generelt job-stressede mennesker gør dårlige forfattere og læsere.

Alligevel kan de fleste af os ikke har råd til grad skole uden arbejde; gøre dit bedste for at finde en balance, også selvom det betyder at skære ned på luksus, så du ikke behøver at bruge så meget tid på at arbejde for at støtte din livsstil.

At finde den writerly element i det ikke-så-writerly position

Hvis den lykkelige eksistens 9-5 forfatter er ikke at blive din bare endnu, skal du ikke fortvivle. Husk på, at mange, mange job kræver polerede skrivefærdigheder på deres kerner. Må ikke udelukke disse ud! Marketing og kommunikation afdelinger ofte kværne bunker af kopi smart forklædt som nyhedsbreve, produktbeskrivelser, etc-som gør udviklings- kontorer på universiteterne (tilskud, pressemeddelelser ...) Har nogle grave!

Publicering for New Writers

Tidsskrifter Begunstige Nye Writers

Absolut underkaste sig tidsskrifter reklame ny-writer venlighed. De kan få din fod i døren til fremtidige udgivelser, og mange af dem er fine tidsskrifter selv. Tjek:

Kvartalsvis West
Nye Letters
Glimmer Train

Skrivning Konkurrencer

Et godt sted at sparke fra din udgivelse karriere er gennem konkurrencer, hvoraf mange udelukkende accepterer arbejde fra upublicerede forfattere eller forfattere, der har endnu ikke offentliggjort en fuld-længde bog. De bedste konkurrencer tilbyder pengepræmier og første offentliggørelse rettigheder til flere forfattere, så selvom du skal betale en læsning gebyr, er det ofte en god indsats!

Aktuel information om konferencer

Tip redigeret af James Gapinski

Besøg Shaw Guides for aktuel info om konferencer over hele verden. Søg efter staten til at finde den mest tilgængelige (eller sjovt).

Uafhængige Boghandlere

Hvis du er heldig nok til at have adgang til en god uafhængig boghandel, drage fordel af det. Det litterære elite en by vil være centreret omkring disse butikker, der giver oplæsninger og foredrag, som du ikke finder på kæderne (yuck!). Du kan endda gnide albuer med nogle af dem ved Bargain Books bordet. Formynder disse virksomheder med din virksomhed, drage fordel af de programmer, de tilbyder, og din egen personlige writerly erfaring vil blive beriget.

For en liste af Uafhængige i dit område, så prøv www.booksense.com.

Writers Grupper

Writer grupper kan fyre dine kreative ild som intet andet, de holder dig motiveret, og endnu vigtigere, de giver objektive par øjne og ører. Du vil møde ugentligt eller månedligt, dele arbejde med hinanden og tilbyder kritikker. Writers grupper kan være brutalt ærlige, og vidunderligt støttende. De bedste af dem vil bo sammen i årevis.

Workshops

Den grundlæggende form af en skriftlig program er værksted. Du har 6-12 mennesker, der arbejder på lignende projekter, som du, ledet af en ældre, mere erfaren forfatter. Du indsender 2-3 historier hvert semester, og hver uge vil læse og kritik arbejde dine klassekammerater. Du skal give en ordentlig tid og energi til at læse og kritisere dine klassekammerater arbejde. De gør det samme for dig.

Hver workshop møde vil en diskussion center omkring enkelte stykker indsendte arbejde. Du forventes at deltage i denne diskussion, der tilbyder dine ideer om hvordan man kan forbedre stykket. Det er en god idé at skrive en sammenfattende 1-2 side af dine tanker på det stykke, så du kan henvise til det under drøftelserne. Resuméer er også nyttige til forfatteren, når de reviderer deres arbejde.

Når din egen brik bliver workshopped, vil du lytte, men deltager kun minimalt. Workshoppen vil diskutere din historie som et stykke litteratur, analyse plot, karakter, billedsprog osv Så de vil henvende sig til kritik - hvad du kan gøre for at forbedre det stykke. Kom workshopped kan være stressende til tider, men husk: dine kolleger forfattere forsøger at hjælpe. Prøv ikke at tage kommentarer for personligt.

Brug Childhood Memories til "skrive" Gennem en Creative Rough Patch

Jeg troede aldrig, jeg ønsker at revidere min barndom igen. Der var en stor følelsesmæssig smerte og skuffelse lurer og jeg mener ikke, det ville have en positiv effekt på min skrivning. Dreng var jeg forkert! År siden jeg havde arbejdet på et kapitel, og jeg var midt i en scene, der nægtede at arbejde for mig. Jeg ønskede at skrive det på én måde, men det ville ikke rokke. Jeg objektivt analyseret, hvorfor dette var. Hvem holdt mig fra min kreativitet! Jeg var. Min grund til at nærme sig den "min måde" stammede fra mine naturlige instinkter bliver undertrykt som barn. Jeg husker, at der sker meget tydeligt. Det var smertefuldt. Men huske disse smertefulde episoder, begyndte andre minder at presse igennem. Ting jeg ikke havde "husket" i meget lang tid. Disse erindringer kæmpede for deres ret til at blive anerkendt, giver mig mod til at indrømme, at "det var ikke alle dårlige. Jeg skrev dem ned hurtigt, opfange, hvad jeg kunne; følelser, vejr, og handling. Og så jeg dannede et digt omkring det, og jeg skriver ikke digte ofte, men denne excersize hjalp mig til at værne, at hukommelsen i en 'kreativ kontekst «. Den skuffende hukommelse mindre, og da jeg gav over til det positive, det var ligesom en dæmning havde åbnet inde min sjæl. Jeg gik tilbage til kapitlet med en helt anden tilgang, fordi jeg »tilladt« mig til. Og det har givet mig den fortsatte styrke til at kæmpe imod, at barndommen undertrykkelse, da det ikke har nogen virksomhed at påvirke, hvad der er dybt i mit hjerte. Jeg har læst, at digtet meget ofte!

Så hvis du befinder dig i en lignende situation, lave en kort tur til din barndom, strække ud i det lange græs igen, opbygge din 'fort' i baghaven igen og huske, hvordan helligt din kreativitet er!

Disciplin og Distraktion

Jeg har hørt mange wanna-be forfattere udbryde "der er bare alt for mange distraktioner! Og de giver op, før de nogensinde begynder. Enten er der en flue summer rundt i lokalet, eller opvaskemaskinen skal tømmes, partneren kræver opmærksomhed, den afstøvning skal gøres ... Vi smider hindringer i vejen for at give os en undskyldning for ikke at arbejde på vores drømme, som om de ikke er så værdig som støvning eller retter. Disciplinere dine distraktioner som du ville disciplinere et barn. Kommuniker til din partner eller børn, som du kommer til at være tilgængelig for 30 minutter. Få en spand med din rengøring hjælpemidler og sæt den uden for din dør, indlæse opvaskemaskinen, men ikke køre det, før du har brugt 30 minutter brainstorming en historie idé. Du behøver ikke at "skrive" det hele, bare give dig selv chancen for at finde ud af det i dit hoved for den pågældende periode.

Indstil timeren! Når 30 minutter er gået, gør dit aftørring og opvaskemaskinen og husk at takke dine børn / partner for så du kan få den private tid. Når du begynder at sætte dette eksempel, vil det snart blive normen og dine distraktioner vil blive tæmmet.

Genoplive Disse Skrivning Fingers

Får du dine ideer fast mellem tasterne? Eller markøren blinker, men fingrene er ikke bevæger sig? Først og fremmest, skal du ikke gå i panik. Din muse har ikke forladt dig. Den bedste måde jeg har fundet til at genoplive min inspiration har været at træde væk fra den "mentale pres" og gå læse noget helt andet, selv om det kun er et kapitel. Eller lave en søgning på noget, der virkelig kigger din fantasi som de seneste opdagelser i arkæologi, en online tur til Yellowstone, eller de gamle mysterier pyramiderne! Det betyder ikke noget, så længe du tvinger dig selv til at tage en mental pause og dagdrømme om noget andet end at skrive. Mens på en mental pause mig selv, fandt jeg en hjemmeside om græsk mytologi og meget til min overraskelse blev jeg læser voldsomt om Dionysos og fundet inspiration til et skuespil! Jeg var ikke på udkig efter det, efter at have taget mig ud af at skrive 'Mode', men det helt sikkert fundet mig. Denne bølge af inspiration derefter hjalp mig til at afslutte, hvad jeg arbejdede på tidligere.

Jeg nærmer skriveblokering ved hjælp af en velkendt 'motto ": Hvis du elsker din inspiration så lad det gå! Lad det plads til at ånde, lad det svæve gennem dimensioner af tid og rum og velkommen dets tilbagevenden med en kærlig omfavnelse!

P's & Q's af Indsendelse Work

Du kan være heldig at finde et tidsskrift, der tilbyder online eller email indsendelse muligheder. For de fleste tidsskrifter dog You'LL nødt til at gøre det på den gammeldags måde. * Du må omfatte en kopi af historien / digt / essay, samt en SASE at magasinet kan bruge til din accept / afvisning slip. * Lad magasinet, om Du kan samtidig lade offentliggøre andetsteds - dette undertiden ups dine chancer. * Lad være at fortælle dem, hvis Du kan samtidig lade sendte brik til andre tidsskrifter ("samtidig indgivelse"). Mange forbyder det og vil sende din indsendelse lige til papirkurven. * Lad være ringe magasinet for at finde ud af status for din indsendelse.

At finde det rigtige hjem til dit arbejde

Hvis du ønsker at placere din fiktion, poesi, eller essay, starte med at lave en liste over litterære magasiner og tidsskrifter med smag ligner din. Hvis du skriver det 19. århundrede-stil kærlighed poesi, du absolut ikke ønsker at sende dit arbejde til et tidsskrift, der begunstiger horror og fantasy. Gør dit hjemmearbejde, finde ud af, hvem er på udkig efter hvad, kan du spare masser af tid og penge. Det vil tage nogle grave, og nogle læsning. Udnyt de web-søgemaskiner kan tage dig ret til lister over litterære tidsskrifter med fungerende hjemmesider. Disse websites vil ofte have detaljerede beskrivelser af, hvad tidsskriftet publicerer, når de accepterer manuskripter, og hvor de skal sende dem. Du SKAL følge de retningslinjer redaktionen giver dig. Ellers vil dit arbejde blive returneret eller bare ignoreret.

Gør skrivning kontakter

Making kontakt med kolleger forfattere er afgørende for din vækst og udvikling. Ikke-writer venner kan ofte give værdifulde og oprigtige svar på dit arbejde, men "kollega" feedback er afgørende. Tilmeld dig workshops på bogen festivaler. Deltage i eller starte en forfatters gruppe. Søg skrivning message boards online og indlede korrespondance med plakater, du kan klikke med. Uanset hvad du vælger, skal du huske, at du aldrig kan få for mange forfatter venner og kontakter. Selv i en lille by som jeg voksede op i, litterære samfund har en tendens til satellit større dem i byerne. Ord i munden og kæder af kontakter kan sætte dig foran en person, der kan give din karriere et reelt skub.

Word Magick

Nedenfor er flere arkiverede tips fra den tidligere kategori "Word Magick". Selvom nogle tips er blevet redigeret af den aktuelle guru, James Gapinski, de fleste er de originale værker af tidligere Life Tips guruer.

Krystallisere dine adjektiver

Modifikatorer bør kun anvendes, når navneordet de beskriver kan ikke stå alene. Formålet med gode skrive er at få sætninger destilleret til deres simpleste, mest resonant former. Når du skal bruge et adjektiv eller et adverbium, gør det til en skarp en, der gør substantiv stærkere. Redigere forsigtigt din skriftligt for modifikatorer, der ikke tilføjer noget.

Slut med ord, skabe bedre fiktion

Ord er elektronerne og protonerne af fiktion. Derfor er det vigtigt at forbinde med dem, udforske dem, udnytter de subtile betydninger. Næste gang du redigerer en historie, fokuserer tæt på hver eneste individuelle ord. Er de så specifik som du kan få dem? Har de ruller rundt på tungen, eller fremkalder sensoriske reaktioner? Har de bidrager til punch og strømmen af ​​din skrivning? Hvis svaret på nogen af ​​disse er ikke nogen, begynde at gøre lister over "federe" ord, der kan erstatte de svagere.

Thought, energi, og skrivning

Ord er tanker i konkret form. Og hvad er tanker, men energi stiger i dit sind til at producere en idé og en ledsagende følelser? Tænk over dette, når du vælger ord. Du er ikke bare at sige noget. Du giver energien af ​​dine unikke tanker en form og en form, som kun du kan give det. Det er derfor, magi og religiøse chants / sange har en sådan betydning for deres skabere og deres modtagere, og hvorfor de er stærke. Skrivning er en hellig handling, og derfor hvert ord du lægger på papir skal være den bedste, mest beskrivende, mest konkrete du kan vælge. Hvis du ikke passer på, kan du ende med at sige noget, du ikke mener eller ønsker at sige!

Hold styr på interessante ord

Som forfatter, skal du udvikle en nysgerrighed om oprindelsen, betydninger og forskellige konnotationer af et givet ord. Prøv at afsætte en side eller to i bagsiden af ​​din journal til interessante ord, du kører på tværs i din læsning. At skrive dem ned, vil gøre det mere sandsynligt, at du indarbejde dem i din skriftligt.

Kortfattede, simple ord

Ord skal fungere som en switch, klikke på et billede eller idé. De skal være specifikke og kortfattede. Sætninger som "han var hendes alt" er simpelthen for vag, gør det muligt for læseren at indsætte sine egne fortolkninger af, hvad du vil sige.

Ordforråd Enrichment Resources

Herunder er en liste over bøger, som vil hjælpe dig med at forbedre din writerly ordforråd.

Den meget selektive Ordbog over Golden adjektiver til Ekstraordinært Literate, af Eugene Ehrlich.

Poetry

Nedenfor er flere arkiverede tips fra kategorien "Poetry". Selvom nogle tips er blevet redigeret af den aktuelle guru, James Gapinski, de fleste er de originale værker af tidligere Life Tips guruer.

Enkle ord siger mest

Den tommelfingerregel for at skrive rent og præcist vers er dette: den simpleste ord, der stadig formidler dit mening er bedst. Alt fluffier er bare i vejen.

Lad være skrive som Du kan samtidig lade alle svarene

En god digt vil undgå at blive et redskab for forfatterens forhånd nogen om livet. Skrivning er om opdagelsen proces, ikke om at slå læserne i hovedet med din egen guddommelige visdom. Ligeledes undgå hifalutin, bombastiske klingende snak, der er flere ord end mening.

At rime eller ikke at rime?

Rhyming er et personligt valg bedst foretages i lyset af stykket behov. Nogle mennesker simpelthen afskyr poesi, der rimer, mens andre ikke kan genkende fri vers. De fleste af os sandsynligvis bosat et sted i midten, respekt vers, er simpelthen godt. For mig selv, et digt er godt, hvis dens billeder er stemningsfulde, dets sprog stærk, og dens betydning klar. Uanset om det rimer eller ikke er snarere en mindre overvejelse.

Hvis du vælger at rime, holde det lys og bruge det, når du ikke behøver at tvinge ord til rim. Hvis du nødt til at ofre rene linjer i vers at gøre det rimer, bedre at holde sig til gratis vers.

Tight, ren vers

Da et digt er en * meget komprimeret * form af at skrive, skal alle ord være relevant, velvalgte, og stemningsfulde. Arbejde ord, med andre ord. Rediger dine vers efter ord som, stående alene, sige eller tilføje noget. Scan efter kliché s og banalt klingende sprog. Verber skal være aktive, adjektiver beskrivende, og adverbier næsten altid fraværende.

Den tommelfingerregel for at redigere din vers er dette: den simpleste ord, der stadig formidler dit mening er bedst. Alt fluffier er bare i vejen.

Poetry ressourcer online

The Poetry Page (Cornell Univ.)

http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/lit/poetry.html

Journal Skrivning som en hjælp

Journal-skrivning kan være en hjælp til at isolere din stemme. Vær opmærksom på de spørgsmål, du finder dig selv tiltrækkes mod. De måder, hvorpå du lukke tankerækker. Hvilken slags sensorisk information du medtager i dine beskrivelser. Arbejde i overdrive disse ting. Lad som om du er en karakter taler i første person om hans eller hendes erfaringer. Du vil finde siderne i din dagbog fyldt op. Og du kan få en ny digt ud af det.

Isoler og Target problemområder

Periodisk gøre status over områder i din skrivning, der giver dig problemer. Billeder? Opbygning nok spænding i stykket? Sprog frisk nok? Gøre øvelser, der er målrettet disse områder og hjælpe dig med at forbedre. Denne "spot træning" vil gøre underværker for din skriftligt.

Byg på Concrete Detail

God skrivning, uanset formen og genre, afhænger af dens brug af konkrete detaljer og billeder. Et digt vil kun genlyd med læseren, hvis den findes i realm af de fem sanser. Medbring dit digt ned fra det abstrakte. Når man taler om kærlighed, tilbyder detaljer og billeder fra sanserne, der angiver, hvorfor din mening om emnet er unik.

Efterligne, men Do not Imitere

Det er fint at være påvirket af den stil af forfattere du beundrer. Men pas på, at du ikke blot efterligne, hvad de gør. Du skal skrive i din egen stemme, med din egen diktion, og om de ting, der betyder noget for dig.

Find din stil

Må ikke bekymre dig om at gøre dit mærke, eller finde din individuelle "flair" endnu. Bestemt eksperimentere med former for skrivning, men i begyndelsen, blot fokusere på de følelser og sprog er involveret i produktion af fast vers. Din individuelle flair - allerede i dig, jeg lover - vil udvikle sig, når du har lært nogle grundlæggende.

Ordliste poetiske Betingelser

Denne ordliste er en god genopfriskningskurser og en stor ressource, hvis du lige er startet ud og ønsker at vide, hvilke teknikker og enheder er tilgængelige for dig.

http://www.poeticbyway.com/glossary.html

Fællesskaber og Organisationer

Academy of American Poets

http://www.poets.org/

Hold en Mål Log

Det hjælper til at sætte mål skriftligt. Før du går i seng om aftenen, notere ned, hvad du håber at opnå i den næste dags arbejde session. Bemærk, om du lever op til disse mål. Dette er nyttigt, især hvis du arbejder på flere projekter.

Skrivning at omskrive

Når you're arbejder på et første udkast til noget, bare skrive. Få følelserne, tegnet motivationer mv på papir. Spar tidskrævende redigeringer til senere. Vi skriver at omskrive!

En notebook af Senses

Medbring en lille notesbog med dig, hvor du kan skrive ting, du observerer i verden omkring dig. En kicky linje af dialog i metroen, en usædvanlig dyr, en lugt i en café, en tvist mellem to elskende. Den bærbare computer kan være din database for sensorisk materiale. Du kan bladre gennem den, når du er blokeret, og kickstarte din kreative safter.

En Writer's Rutinemæssig

If you're going to fully tap your creativity, you need to write within a predictable routine each session. Go with what works and feels natural for YOU. Your friend might work well at 6am, but that's not true of everybody.

*Try to write at the same time every day

*Minimize distractions--take the phone off the hook, don't work in site of the fridge or TV.

*Take meal and stretch breaks at pre-set times, if possible.

Sprog

How is your language? Is it fresh and snappy? Do you make good use of sensory material? Are there any sentences which contain vague, unclear, or unhelpful wording? Are there any inappropriately abstract phrases? Are there any word packages which convey unearned emotion or lack freshness? (Ex., "Something broke inside me," "one thing led to another," "once upon a time," etc.)

Be an observer

Good poetry resides in its author´s observations. Always remember when trying to get an idea across that you are the reader´s eyes and ears on the subject you´re writing about.

Characterization in poetry

Poetry doesn't always mean you just vent your own pain and suffering on the page. Think also in terms of characterization. Like in fiction, you can write from any point of view you want, and about situations you haven't experienced. That's the beauty of writing, you can go where life itself doesn't even take you.

The Idea's the Thing

Below are several archived tips from the former “The Idea's the Thing” category. Though some tips have been edited by the current guru, James Gapinski, most are the original creations of past Life Tips gurus.

Stories from life experience

Tip edited by James Gapinski

The Tip:

Fiction doesn´t have to mean you make everything up. You can pull stories from your own life

experience or borrow them from other people. Don´t be afraid to write your own life story.

A Note from the Guru:

The former Life Tips Guru that posted this tip suggested "Just be sure you have had sufficient time to gain perspective on your own trials and tribulations. Only in hindsight do we see the whole picture." While this is partially true, I'd also suggest that you can gain perspective through the writing process itself. Creative writing can be a mechanism for working through complex emotions and issues in your life, fleshing out your true thoughts on paper.

Beauty and the Beast: The magic of character pairs

Sometimes you can create fictional magic just by placing two opposing characters in the same room. Consider opposites or "incompatibles" from real life that might make sparks on the page:

*Spunky waitress and self-absorbed tycoon
*Priest and drug addict
*Hippie chick and JCrew guy
*Southern belle and biker dude

Try making your own pairs--it doesn't have to be about romance. It's about personalities that breed conflict and thus readability.

People watching

Tip edited by James Gapinski

If you´re looking for a fresh story element, try eavesdropping in the park or while riding the subway. Carry a notebook around with you. Jot down the wacky things people say and do. Describe an unusual looking person you see on the street, and try to imagine what his life might be like. Our best story ideas sometimes come from strangers we never get to meet.

Situations

The seeds for stories are often in situation. On a piece of paper, make a list of common situations in which conflict might arise. Let your imagination take over, and experiment with varying degrees of magnitude. Mine forslag er:

*Getting a root canal
*An anniversary dinner
*A cross-country flight
*Getting called into Human Resources

Now make your own list. Vær kreativ!

Small moments of time

Stories often come out of small moments, in which there is only time enough to perform a brief task or action. Think of things that happen in your life that, while taking only a moment our of your day, can nonetheless become important.

My examples:

*Reading a letter addressed to someone else
*Kissing someone
*Speeding through a red light
*Stealing a wallet

Any one of these could combine with character elements to create a readable story. Now make your own list. Vær kreativ!

Character´s struggle with himself

Faulkner said that the only thing worth writing about was the struggle characters had with themselves. Generate story ideas along this line.

Writing Exercises

Below are several archived tips from the former “Writing Exercises” category. Though the following tips have all been edited by the current guru, James Gapinski, most are the original creations of past Life Tips gurus.

Writing Prompt: The Telephone Call

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Write a brief story which begins "in medias res" with a telephone call. Have one of the callers inform the other of some event that has taken place. Begin writing

after the call has begun and end it before the characters hang up. In other words, just focus on the dialogue and building tension within the scene. No more than 500 words.

A Word on Creativity Exercises

Tip edited by James Gapinski

These exercises are designed to boost your creativity and show you that the possibilities for story ideas are endless. For exercise purposes, try to keep them to 500 words or less. You may choose to develop them into full stories later, but for now just focus on the task described.

Non-Human Narrators

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Write a story from the point of view of a non-human. This can mean an alien, an animal, or a chest of drawers. The unconventional source of narration frees your creativity and allows you to have some fun with the story. It gives you an excuse to play with dialogue or try your hand at being funny.

What are you most ashamed of?

Tip edited by James Gapinski

The superlatives in our lives--the most frightening, most hilarious, etc.--are the seeds for our stories. Try writing a story about something from your past that you are ashamed of. Don´t write about something that happened within the last year--it must be something you have gained perspective on.

Beauty and the Beast: The Magic of Character Pairs

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Sometimes you can create fictional magic just by placing two opposing characters in the same room. Consider opposites or "incompatibles" from real life that might make sparks on the page.

Personalities that breed conflict create increased readability.

Characterization

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Take a few moments and answer the following questions about the protagonist in your story. This will help you generate ideas about where the story will go and how it will develop during revision. Keep in mind that there may and can be multiple answers for each.

* What does my character want?

* What does he or she fear?

* How does he or she deal with his emotions?

* What are his or her social and intimate relationships like?

* What are his or her past experiences, and how does he or she regard them?

* What does he or her view (or not view) as personal responsibilities?

* What elements of the spiritual does he or she exhibit, and how does he or she deal with them?

* What does he or she do for a living?

* What does he or she do for leisure?

* What failures does he or she secretly feel accountable for?

* What biases or prejudices motivate his or her behavior?

* Are there any "catch phrases" or verbal quips that are unique to him or her?

* Does he or she dream at night? If so, of what?

* Where does he or she go in daydreams?

* What strikes him or her as humorous/non-humorous?

* What does he or she take seriously or fail to take seriously?

Other Resources:

The University of Iowa Writing Center: "Writing Exercises for Creative Fiction Writers - Characertization."

Point of View

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Write a story that employs more than one point of view. The exercise focuses your attention on point of narration, so that you are conscious of things like physical observations, language, and personal biases unique to each individual character.

Other Resources:

Writer's Digest: "Fiction: Point of View," by Steve Almond.

Dialogue

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Write a story in which one character tries to "sell an idea" to another. Focus on the verbal exchange as one character attempts to persuade the other, and on heightening the tension throughout the scene. Begin in medias res, don´t worry about getting us in to the scene.

Other Resources:

Poe War Writer's Resource Center: "12 Exercises for Improving Dialogue," by JC Hewitt.

Writer's Write: "Screenwriting Writing Exercises - Dialogue," by Stephen J. Cannell.

Barnes & Noble: Write Great Fiction: Dialogue, by Gloria Kempton; 2004 (book).

The Liar

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Write a story in which one character is clearly lying. This can be either the narrator or another character. You´ll want to focus on peeling away the layers of truth and untruth--the non-liar(s) will inwardly and outwardly wrestle this out.

Writing Prompt: The Dinner Party

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Write a story centered entirely around a dinner party. One of the characters should be mysterious in some way, inspiring the other guests to ponder and discuss him or her.

Character Driven Plot

Tip edited by James Gapinski

A good plot always traces back to character elements. Characters find themselves in situations and must act and react to those situations as best they can. Consider this as you construct the plot of your story.

As a pre-writing exercise, make a list of situations your character might find him or herself in. Then, in a separate column, try and predict what might happen based on what you know about the character.

Writing Prompt: Given First Line

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Write a story beginning with this line: "I didn´t hear you come in last night."

Other Resources:

Short Story Ideas: "First Lines"

Reading Lists

Below are several archived tips from the former “Reading Lists” category. Though some tips have been edited by the current guru, James Gapinski, most are the original creations of past Life Tips gurus.

Fiction Reading List--Novels

Caramelo--Sandra Cisneros

Winter Range--Claire Davis

Love Medicine--Louise Erdrich

Plainsong--Kent Haruf

Beloved--Toni Morrison

Sweet Hearts--Melanie Rae Thon

Books on Writing Reading List

What If: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers--Anne Bernays & Pamela Painter

Fiction Reading List--Short Stories

Trash--Dorothy Allison

A Relative Stranger--Charles Baxter

Among the Missing--Dan Chaon

Woman Hollering Creek--Sandra Cisneros

The Cage Keeper--Andre Dubus III

The Stories of Breece DJ Pancake--Breece DJ Pancake

Out of the Girls Room, Into the Night--Thisbe Nissen

Nonfiction

Below are several archived tips from the “Non-Fiction” category. Though some tips have been edited by the current guru, James Gapinski, most are the original creations of past Life Tips gurus.

Before you sit down to write

Make a list of what you have and don't have to write this article. Are you working

purely off personal experience? Are you embarking on new territory and need background info and interviews? This pre-writing housekeeping will help you focus your research and may save you time and painful rewrites.

Keep an articles journal

Clip out articles that speak to you or seem examples of good writing. Place them in an articles journal. If you have time, jot down a few thoughts on your entries. When it comes time to write and revise your own articles, you can consult the pieces in your journal for inspiration and direction.

List your experiences and curiosities

Create columns on a piece of paper, with headings HIGHS, LOWS, EPIPHANIES, PASSIONS, and THINGS I'D LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT. Go as far back as memory will allow and fill each column with as many entries as you can. Highs and lows should be self-explanatory--those moments that made you sail or brought you down. For epiphanies, you will want to focus on turning-points--those events that caused a major change in thinking or lifestyle. Obviously there will be some overlap across these three categories.

When you've got five or six for each column, take a look. These are your stories. Pick one that grabs you at the moment and set to work.

Online resources for magazine publishing

Magazine Publishers of America

www.magazine.org

Writer's Market

A comprehensive resource that will point you to editors, agents, and will help you find homes for your work. Available online and in print.

http://www.writersmarket.com/index_ns.asp

Get a magazine collection

Start collecting issues of magazines you would like to publish in. You can buy them individually at bookstores, or get a subscription (saves you $$ if you consult the mag often.)Read cover-to-cover for a good sense of what the publication is looking for.

Interviewing options

The best way to interview is in person. You can audiotape, get a sense of the person in their natural environment, and interact with them on a more relaxed level. However, for the shy or time-pressed, phone interviews are often a good answer. You'll need to prepare just as if you were meeting your source in person, even though you don't have to change out of your pajamas.

Email sources can be an option as well, if you're having trouble landing a meeting with the source. I personally like to save it for follow up questions, but if you don't need extensive information it can be a quick way to get some questions answered.

Do I need one?

Unless you're writing from personal experience (using your own voice), a good interview or two can be the difference between a skimpy article and one that punches (and sells!) To be on the safe side, set up a one-on-one with a reliable source and meet with them. You can always cut their info in the final draft if you don't end up needing them.

Freelance Writing Sources

Occasionally freelance writing sites will post jobs for fiction writers. However, creative writers are luckily enough to find work in all sorts of areas, from marketing to blogging. Below are some links to a few popular freelance writing sites.

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com

http://www.odesk.com

http://www.freelancewriting.com

http://www.guru.com

http://www.craigslist.org

Prepare and consult an articles journal

Clip out articles that speak to you or seem examples of good writing. Place them in an articles journal. If you have time, jot down a few thoughts on your entries. When it comes time to write and revise your own articles, you can consult the pieces in your journal for inspiration and direction.

Prepare & consult an articles journal

Clip out articles that speak to you or seem examples of good writing. Place them in an articles journal. If you have time, jot down a few thoughts on your entries. When it comes time to write and revise your own articles, you can consult the pieces in your journal for inspiration and direction.

Diverse

Below are several archived tips from the “Miscellaneous” category. Though some tips have been edited by the current guru, James Gapinski, most are the original creations of past Life Tips gurus.

Online Diaries

Scribbling on paper isn't the only way to record your thoughts these days. There are plenty of online journal services that will give you space to vent and philosophize. Most are free!

Tjek:

Diaryland

www.diaryland.com

Diarist.com

www.diarist.com

SFWA Nebula Award

Given annually by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Search winners and finalists for great writers to learn from.

http://dpsinfo.com/awardweb/nebulas/

Haiku

Haiku's ideally include some element of season or nature in them & are a clever form on their own.

The Basics:

_______________

Haiku has 3 lines and 17 syllabes distributed in 5, 7 and 5. The haiku conveys a "snapshot" impression of a moment, feeling, or observation from nature.

You can find more detailed resources & even submit your haikus on A Haiku Homepage.

http://home.clara.net/pka/haiku/haiku.htm

Links for Crime Writers

Officer.com. Click here for info on just about anything police related.

http://www.officer.com

Romance Writers links

http://www.geocities.com/charlottedillon2000/

Journal Writing Links

Journal For You--a vastly informative site for those wanting to develop their journaling experience.

http://www.journalforyou.com/

Writers Workshops

The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop is a hub for humor writers and features articles & general info on the business. There is also an annual writing contest and a conference.

http://www.humorwriters.org/

Online Resources

HumorLinks provides an astounding wealth of humor related resources. It's worth flipping through, even though it also includes a fair amount of joke sites and such.

http://www.humorlinks.com/cgi-bin/sites/page.cgi?d=1&g=index.html

Science writing links

http://www.research.att.com/~andreas/sci.html

Online Workshops

If you're looking for a journaling workshop, but are low on spare time, consider going online.

http://www.writingthejourney.com/

Nature Writing links

http://www.connix.com/~fmusante/nature/nature.htm

Memoir writing links

Memoir Writing community at Suite 101

http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/memoir_writing

Places that might consider your screenwriting manuscript

StudioNotes.com

http://www.studionotes.com/StudioNotes/index.html

ScriptPimp.com

http://www.scriptpimp.com/home/

Dave Barry´s Miami Herald Column

Dave Barry is a humor writer who manages to be naturally funny (hilarious, even) without ever really going over the top.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/columnists/dave_barry/

How to be funny on demand (link)

http://www.wsws.ca/humor.shtml

Good Writers to Learn From

Contemporary Writers

________________________

Rick Bass

Annie Dillard

Gretel Erlich

Barry Lopez

Farley Mowatt

Terry Tempest Williams

Classical Writers

________________________

Henry David Thoreau

Reading List

Deadly Pleasures is a site that stays up-to-the-minute on crime writing publications. This page provides a good list of crime novels that have received acclaim.

http://www.deadlypleasures.com/dplist2001.htm#US Novels

Writers to Learn From

Isaac Asimov

Ursula K. Leguin

Ideas for entries

Journaling can often be a place to lazily record your thoughts as they meander. But sometimes you will want to experiment with focused writing exercises on a specific topic. Here are some random ideas--add your own to the list.

*My earliest memory

*The sounds of nature

*A terrifying experience

*Being single/involved/married/divorced/widowed

Handmaking a Journal Book

You might enjoy the physical craft of building a journal from scratch. Many cultural centers and craft stores offer workshops on how to put one together. For a reasonable fee, you'll get materials, fabric, instruction and a place to work. Absolut værd at undersøge.

Finding an agent

The best place to research agents is with the Writer's Guild. They keep a log of agents who are active and, most importantly, legit.

http://www.wga.org/agency.html

Independent Mystery Booksellers

The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association is a good resource if you want to find quality crime fiction. You can search for books on the site. Check out their Top 100 list!

http://www.mysterybooksellers.com/favorites.html

Reading List

Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal

by Alexandra Johnson

The best book resource I have come across for journaling. It emphasizes the importance of journaling to creative development and touches on many personal aspects of the genre. Includes great exercises to get you started and stoke your creativity.

Screenwriting links

The Mad Screenwriter

(Download scripts from your favorite movies!!)

http://www.madscreenwriter.com/

Screenwriting Directories & Resources

http://www.dvshop.ca/dvcafe/writing/screenres.html

Sci Fi Writing Associations

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

Be sure to check out the page for "Craft." It gives great resources on the basics of Sci Fi Writing.

http://www.sfwa.org/

Links for FanFic writers

Fan Fiction on Force.Net. A community of fan fic writers, with a huge archive and mailing lists.

http://fanfic.theforce.net/

Just for Fun

Below are several archived tips from the former “Just for Fun” category. Though some tips were edited by the current guru, James Gapinski, most are the original creations of past Life Tips gurus.

Write a Story in Pictures

Instead of a writing a story, create one using pictures you've found on the internet or in old catalogs or magazines. Then, ask a friend to guess the plot of the story! This is a fun game to do with close friends, family, or loved ones.

Haiku for Two

Grab a buddy and head to the park. Jot down a few haikus about the scenery and take turns reading aloud to each other.

Fun with Magnetic Poetry

Grab a Magnetic Poetry box at the bookstore and go wild. Suspend what you know about good poetry and try for the funniest, most absurd, or just plain awful. Get a gang together and have a tournament.

The Dinner Party

Throw a dinner party or other casual gathering for a few friends. Play the kiddie game where one person tells the first few lines of a story, going around the table until each person has gotten to contribute a piece. Let the story wind and meander. Be creative and adventurous. Go around the table until the story is complete. Be sure to video/audio-tape it so that you can make a written transcription later. Put the typed-up version into an attractively decorated booklet and send to your guests as souveneirs of the fun!

Sketch in your journal

Sketching while you think can be a relaxing and fun activity. Forget words today. Just sit on your front stoop and sketch the world as it goes by.

Write under a pseudonym

Write a provocative letter-to-the-editor and submit it to your local newsletter under a pseudonym. If you live in a small town, you're likely to hear gossip about this mysterious firebrand no one's ever heard of.

Write from an unconventional POV

Write a short-short or poem from an unconventional POV, such as a space-alien or a hammer. Submit the final piece to a humor journal like the Funny Times (http://www.funnytimes.com)or post it on your personal website.

Join an online writer´s community

Writing communities like Writing.com are great outlets for your creativity when you want to relax and have some fun. You can create and post haikus, write a column about telemarketers, and offer feedback on what other registered authors are doing. You can be as silly or serious as you want.

Inspiration

Below are several archived tips from the former “Inspiration” category. Though some tips were created and edited by the current guru, James Gapinski, most are the original creations of past Life Tips gurus.

An unquiet mind

When you feel your thoughts racing due to stress or excitement in your life, it can be difficult to sit still and get work done. Writers must find ways of focusing on their tasks, because creativity cannot flower in chaos. Experiment with various meditation and relaxation techniques to relax your mind. Simply sitting on a cushion and attempting to gain some control over your thoughts is a good exercise. When you can willingly empty your head of thoughts, you can choose which ones to allow in.

Guy de Maupassant

"Whether we are describing a king, an assassin, a thief, an honest man, a prostitute, a nun, a young girl, or a stallholder in a market, it is always ourselves that we are describing."

"But I Have Nothing To Write About!"

You have nothing to write about? Sludder! Your life is an exciting mix of conflict, pain, joy, thrills, achievements, disappointments, humor, and terror. Any one anecdote from your experience is the seed for a story. Start a journal. Write down those peaks and lows that make life worth living. Soon you'll see a thread to tug at and you'll be on your way.

John Steinbeck

"When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's works is all I can permit myself to contemplate."

Barbara Kingsolver

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."

9 to 5

If you're like most people, you need a job during the day in order to live. How to make time for writing? If you're serious about pursuing writing, you'll need to make adjustments elsewhere in your life so that your best hours aren't used up commuting and sleeping through staff meetings. Look for work that offers flexible hours, days off, and generous personal time. Try to finagle a day or two a week working from home, so you can set your own hours. Get up early. Make your weekends sacred for writing time. Get a cheaper apartment or a roommate to share the rent and decrease your work-week hours. Whatever you decide, write during the same time of day and for the same period of time each session. You will train your creativity to flow then, and in time you'll start getting a lot done. You don't need to carve out 40 extra hours a week. Flannery O'Connor wrote everyday from 9 am-12p.m. and published plenty. You will too!

Writer´s Block

Everybody gets blocked at one time or another. Sometimes it lasts a few hours, sometimes weeks or months. And the factors that lead to it are limitless: stress, poor health, mental or physical exhaustion, difficulties in personal relationships, or JUST PLAIN RESTLESSNESS. (In which case, do you really need another trip to the refrigerator?)

When you find yourself blocked, try and figure out why. If you're just feeling rundown, take some time to get your mind and body back into working order. Pounding the keyboard when you're knackered is a losing battle. If it's something more, like a creative standstill, there are exercises you can do to get your juices flowing again. And there's no shame in taking breaks.

Writer's block is NOT, however, something we claim when we'd just rather be sleeping or playing whiffle-ball. Don't blame the muse because you have ants in your pants. Get a routine and try to stick to it, even if it hurts.

William Faulkner

"Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window."

Your unique story

Always remember when you are writing that the thing you are trying to create is valuable because it is coming from you. Your life story is unlike anyone else's that has ever lived. Your point of view, your impressions are all unique, and so your words are priceless. Remember that in the face of rejection, exhaustion, writer's block, and frustration.

Eudora Welty

"To imagine yourself inside another person...is what a story writer does in every piece of work; it is his first step, and his last too, I suppose."

Write it down!

Everybody has something unique to say, because they have unique experiences, thoughts, and feelings. There are a million stories floating around your memory banks right now, and probably more in your imagination. Don't be afraid to write them down!!

Keeping a Writer´s Journal

A writer's journal is a good place to keep track of your goals in general and for a specific piece. Scribble ideas, possible plotlines, work out the structure of your novel. You can also treat your journal like a diary—write about what frustrates you, excites you, makes you laugh. Write about your characters as if they were real people—yet another way to fill them out. When you hear a kicky line of dialogue on the subway, write it down! You might use it in your next story.

Kate Braverman

"Writing is like hunting. There are brutally cold afternoons with nothing in sight, only the wind and your breaking heart. Then the moment when you bag something big. The entire process is beyond intoxicating."

Earnest Hemingway

"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."

Giving yourself grief

You need to give yourself a talking-to every now and then. Discipline is, after all, how we find and stick to productive routines. But don't give yourself such a hard time if you're having trouble getting a flow going one day. And don't guilt yourself for turning off your laptop one night and going out for drinks with the girls. You need breaks, time away from the novel to regroup. The guilt-tripping writer is an exhausted writer is an unhappy, unproductive writer.

Albert Einstein

(Ok, he's not so much a writer, but he did have some wonderful ideas...)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

Let your imagination go

When writing in your private journal, let your imagination guide you and don't hold back. Some of our best ideas, some of our best lines come when we're being honest with ourselves in private.

Finding Inspiration

Inspiration for the budding writer is everywhere.

*Reread those books that first got you interested in writing as a youngster--for me it was JANE EYRE. I thought the story was great, and that Charlotte Bronte was extremely cool for her determination to write what was in her heart. This is where the writerly ambition begins.

*Attend readings and booksignings with writers you admire (and some you've never heard of!). Ask questions during the Q&A session--find out how the writer works and what makes him or her set pen to paper.

*Scan the headlines for events worthy of fiction. "Man found dead in home with 300 chickens," etc.

*Make lists of your peak experiences, low points, and moments of epiphane. You will return to these again and again.

Mark Twain

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

A little help from the greats

Not only do established writers have great work to learn from, they also have words of wisdom that may inspire you in your writing journey. If you come across a gem that you'd like to share with the rest of us, feel free to email it to me.

Attend a workshop or seminar

If you think you might like to put some of your thoughts and experiences to paper, consider a workshop or seminar on writing, or sign up for a class at your local university. Many cities have Adult Education institutes which offer affordable instruction in a supportive atmosphere, so you can take multiple classes. Getting feedback from a group is great for helping you grow and gain confidence. You might even end up with new friends!

An infinity of possibilities

As a beginning writer, you have the world at your feet in the sense that you can go in any direction with the stories you want to tell. Essay? Haiku? Short story? Prose poem? Newspaper article? The sky is indeed the limit as long as you are willing to experiment, focus, and not give up.

Keeping a Reader´s Journal

Keep track of what you read each week. It will enhance your growth as a writer by forcing you to think critically about the genre/medium you're trying to master. If you're reading a particularly good short story collection, or a nature essay that speaks to you, take a few minutes and jot down why—see where it inspires you to go.

So much work...How will I ever...?

Michaelangelo said of his art: "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

Think of your writing this way. Don't worry about how much work you have to do or how hard it's going to be to complete that novel, screenplay, memoir. Just chip away in little chunks until you discover you've gotten somewhere--until you find the angel at the end.

You´re one of the lucky!

Pat yourself on the back for being a sensitive person who wants to do something with those stories, dreams, memories, and moments that make your life your own. If you get discouraged, just remember. Not everybody feels the need to write, and even fewer carry through on that need. You're incredibly lucky!!

Keep a Little Black Book

Buy a small hardcover journal that can fit in your purse, back pocket, or car. This way, every time you see something that catches your attention that might fit into one of your stories, write it down. Sometimes something that is seen or overheard can help you create the perfect character for your next story!

Visual Inspiration

If you are experiencing writer's block and are unable to think of the right word, situation, character, or story line, one of the easiest ways to get ideas is to browse through photography websites.

Some great websites that have several categories of photos include:

photos.com

Flickr: Explore!

photo.net

Picasa Web Albums: Explore

Freewrite Daily

Freewriting daily in a journal or a blog helps keep the 'juices flowing' even if you are not currently working on a creative writing piece. This makes it a lot easier to come up with ideas when you do start a short story, poem, or novella.

Bonus: A journal or blog may also become a source of your own story ideas if you have writer's block.

Margaret Atwood

"A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason."

Use Your Bad Memories

Think of the most terrible moment of your life. Maybe it was the death of someone close to you, or a very bad breakup or divorce. Even though these moments are in the past, they can still invoke intense emotions. Use your feelings and emotions to create a character or play up a scene in your current writing project. Using your own emotions makes a major difference in the honesty of the story.

Getting to the Story

Below are several archived tips from the former “Getting to the Story” category. Though some tips were created or edited by the current guru, James Gapinski, most are the original creations of past Life Tips gurus.

Establish Regular Writing Time

Tip created and edited by James Gapinski

Writer's block happens to everybody at some point, but you can help avoid unnecessary bouts of frustration and unproductiveness by establishing a proactive writing routine.

Dedicate certain times during the day to writing. Eventually you'll get in tune with the schedule, and when the writing hour dawns, your mind will instinctively slip into author-mode.

What Makes You Happy?

Think of objects, people, or animals that make you the happiest. Using these in stories will help you create positive and engaging energy in your stories or other creative writing pieces. Because happiness is such a strong emotion, it's important to use it whenever possible.

Write the Story Backwards

Tip edited by James Gapinski

If you have a great story idea, but don't know how to start it, start at the ending. Write the ending first and work your way backwards. You'll have a great story in no time.

Drawing on basic emotional experiences

A story can, on one level, be "about" something in the abstract emotional sense. Shame, fear, regret, disappointment, the sense of having failed...These are the emotional elements that cause us to act in life. So consider crafting stories inspired by these emotions.

Examples:
*My most shameful act
*My most painful betrayal
*My most profound regret about someone no longer living.

The unavoidable heart of the matter

Dig deep into the heart of situations you have found yourself in in the past. A story lies not in the infinite mix of details that beget a scene, but in the one unavoidable fact that alone necessitates action from the character. A bank teller is robbed by the kid she used to babysit. A man believes his wife has secretly terminated her pregnancy. Etc. When deciding to recreate a story on paper, you must distill it to the one element that keeps it from going in any other direction and work outward from there. If there's no *one* element, it may not be the story you want to tell.

Stories about Shame

What are you most ashamed of? The subject of shame is simply fascinating. You can be ashamed of just about anything for just about any reason. Cheated on your girlfriend? Didn't visit your aunt in the hospital? Made a bad showing at the reunion? You could probably write shame stories for years on end. It is that pervasive to the human experience. We all have things that we wish we had or hadn't done, and it's not simple regret. Explore the various shames of your life, and extrapolate from the life stories of others. Shame will get characters moving in some amazing ways!

Fiktion

Below are several archived tips from the “Fiction” category. Though some tips have been edited by the current guru, James Gapinski, most are the original creations of past Life Tips gurus.

Sprog

How is your language? Is it fresh and snappy? Do you make good use of sensory material? Are there any sentences which contain vague, unclear, or unhelpful wording? Are there any inappropriately abstract phrases? Are there any word packages which convey unearned emotion or lack freshness? (Ex., "Something broke inside me," "one thing led to another," "once upon a time," etc.)

Show vs. Tell

There are two ways of getting an idea across in fiction--SHOWING and TELLING. Descriptive language which paints a picture of what you want to convey is always the better way--it's simply more interesting to read. Telling the reader what to think is flat and boring, and does not inspire him or her to read the prose carefully and thoughtfully. Her er nogle eksempler.

TELLING: "They held the gala in the big ball room, and the decor was beautiful."

SHOWING: "They held the gala in the big ball room, the one in which the Christmas tree stretched to the ceiling, and gold silk bunting draped the walls. A buffet of fruits, nuts and chocolates stood in the corner."

Clearly, the "Showing" example tells us exactly what the room looked like and why it was beautiful in the narrator's opinion.

Plot or character?

Good fiction is always character-driven, as opposed to plot-driven. Plot is necessary, in the sense that without things happening, there is very little for the characters to do and consider and react to. But you should be pulling stories from within your characters. What are they afraid of? Hvad vil de? What prejudices or biases do they possess that will motivate them to act? Finding out these things about your characters will give you a wealth of directions for your story to take.

Taking stock of your scenes

List your scenes(or cut out with scissors), so that you can get a sense of what weight they have in the story, whether they belong, are working individually, and are working with the whole. Analyze each carefully. Read them aloud so that you can hear how they would sound if spoken. Make a list of scenes you need to include in the next draft.

Dramatic cliches to avoid

*Beginning with predictable imagery: "It was a dark and stormy night," etc.

*Too much dialogue exchanged over the telephone.

*Killing off characters as a means of resolving their issues quickly

*Allowing "fate," "fortune," or "chance" to be the saving grace at the end.

*Coma-related drama

Let your work get cold

One final note on editing: let your piece get cold for at least an hour before beginning serious edits. A day if you can afford it. Your most objective analysis will occur when your writing has “gotten cold.”

Further Reading on Plot

This page features a concise article on the Top 10 plot hangups for beginning writers.

http://www.sff.net/people/alicia/10prob.htm

A wealth of imagery

Make sure you are injecting your story with plenty of imagery from the characters' environment. The characters' senses will take note of things throughout the story, so be sure to include the smell of bread baking, the lap of ocean waves, the grit of beach sand on someone's toes.

Whose story are you telling?

It's important to consider whom you want to TELL your story before you begin writing. Point of view means everything. The person narrating your story will tell it in his own peculiar way, due to his vantage point, experiences, biases, etc. Even if the narrator is an omniscient force outside the action, you must be conscious of this so that the narration will be consistent.

What does the narrator know or not know? What are his biases? What attitudes might make his account suspect? What do you hope to accomplish in the story, and would this particular person enable you to do so?

Am I ready to write a novel?

A novel is a complicated thing. Multiply the frustrations you've felt with trying to perfect a short story by about 10, and that is the level of focus and maturity required to produce a novel. Use your beginning years to hone craft and gain a mastery of language. A novel will likely flow from some idea one of your mature stories generated. So don't be in a hurry or pressured to produce the Great American Novel.

Isolate and target problem areas

Periodically take stock of areas in your writing that are giving you trouble. Dialogue? Building enough tension in scenes? Language fresh enough? Do exercises that target these areas and help you improve. This "spot training" will do wonders for your writing.

Inner Life vs. Page Action

In addition to the behaviors and speech we see on the page, your characters must also have an "inner life" that comes through in narrative. You must account for their thoughts, because this is where the real meat of an individual resides. People often do and say things contrary to their real selves and emotions, and they frequently leave things unsaid. Clue us in to the characters' internal workings so that we can understand them better.

Situation and Character

Plots should unfold because something within a character has caused him to act. Think about real life: your life story unfolds as it does because it is a combination of the situations you find yourself in and the choices you make within these situations. The same is true, or SHOULD be true, of your characters. Don't lock them into a pre-determined plot. It won't work out. Be flexible with the chain of events in your story or novel. There are a million directions your character can take it!!

A Story´s Innate Intelligence

At some point in revision, your story will begin to assert its own ideas for how it should develop. Though you are the creator and ultimately in charge of the direction your story takes, you should be sensitive to the "voice" of your story. You are like a sculptor, chipping away at the rock. Something beautiful and perfect lies beneath, and how close to it you get depends on how good you are at using your writerly ears. It takes focus and extreme quiet. You must think. What should the finished product of this story look like? You will no doubt experience the frustration of trying something in your story that just flat refuses to work. This is the story's way of directing you toward what DOES work. Eventually you have to let go a little, let the story write itself. You MUST be able to admit when something isn't working--even if it is an idea you love intellectually.

Finding your style

Don't worry about making your mark, or finding your individual "flair" just yet. Certainly experiment with types of writing, but in the beginning, just focus on how to tell a story and how to produce solid prose. Your individual flair will emerge when you have mastered certain basics.

Starting with conflict

Begin with whatever is eating at your character. Relationship failing? House burned down? Get to the point as quickly as you can. In the first line if possible. The faster you engage your reader in the heart of your story, the more likely they'll be to finish it. Boring, over-intellectualized beginnings that leave the reader asking "What's the story here?" are simply doomed.

The trap of "plotiness"

Be careful to avoid stories where outcomes/resolutions depend on an intricately connected chain of external (ie, non-character-related!) events. Tolkein's LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy is an example of what you don't want happening in your stories. While we love the characters, the real movement of those books depends on surprise events a few pages down the road.

Read it back to me

Take the time to read finished scenes aloud, possibly into a tape recorder, so that you can hear their rhythms as a reader would. Note as you listen to yourself:

*Does the dialogue sound like something real people would say?

*Is the pace of the scene too fast or two slow?

*Do I provide enough narration between lines of speech so that the reader understands the conversation?

What life is this?

When you write a story, you will no doubt choose to center it around a specific situation, into which you will introduce a character. Before he can react to the conflict you throw at him, there must already be a fully constructed life, full of disappointments, joys, pain, etc. The character will meet the new conflict WITH the baggage of his past experiences. Take care to develop this properly. It will help your reader interpret the characters' behaviors in the "present time" action.

Keep a goals log

It helps to put goals in writing. Before you go to bed at night, jot down what you hope to accomplish in the next day's work session. Note whether or not you are meeting these goals. This is helpful, especially if you are working on multiple projects.

Editing Yourself

At some point, you have to step outside your role as creator of a piece and start editing it. You have to think objectively and critically about what you've written. What sounds clunky? What language sounds trite or not specific enough? What trains of thought within characters' heads aren't carried through fully enough? Where do you need more or less narration, and more or less scene to balance? These are workpoints you need to consider over and over as you revise a piece. You can always make something better. Try to think of your piece as though you were an editor looking at it for the first time. Pay especially close attention to what Faulkner called “your darlings—“ those little phrases you love & expect the whole world will too. They may need to be cut more than anything!

Journal Writing as an aid

Journal-writing can be a help to isolating your voice. Take note of the issues you find yourself gravitating toward. The ways in which you close off trains of thought. What kind of sensory information you include in your descriptions. Work at exaggerating these things. Pretend that you are a character speaking in the first person about his or her experiences. You will find the pages of your journal filling up. And you might get a new story out of it.

Basic Character Elements

Strong characters in fiction come about by answering the following questions:

*What does my character want?
*What does he fear?
*How does he deal with his emotions?
*What are his social & intimate relationships like?
*What are his past experiences, and how does he regard them?

*What does he view (or not view) as responsibilities to himself and others?

*What elements of the spiritual does he exhibit, and how does he deal with them?

This is just a start. Like real people, characters will be complex and do things that aren't readily explainable. Dig. Stil spørgsmål.

Breaks in time

You do not need to always feed scenes directly into one another. It is fine to insert a "break" into the text, indicating that some time has passed but that nothing occurred in the interim worth reporting. Breaks can also precede changes in point of view.

Author vs. Narrator

Most of the time you want your narrator to do the talking instead of yourself, the writer. You are merely pulling the strings. Give the POV character his own ideas, biases, vantage point, etc.

Forward Movement

A piece of fiction must move forward in some way. Characters must act, react, choose. In other words, keep a line of "things" happening. A plot can neither climax nor resolve if characters are not making decisions and acting. Keep them in the path of other characters, who will force them to make choices and carve out their own destinies.

Notebook of the senses

Carry a small notebook around with you, in which you can write things you observe in the world around you. A kicky line of dialogue on the subway, an unusual animal, a smell in a coffee shop, a dispute between two lovers. The notebook can be your database for sensory material. You can thumb through it when you're blocked and jump-start your creative juices.

Balancing Scene with Narration

Take care to strike a balance between dramatic scene and narration. If you're not sure which of the two you need to develop more, take a pair of scissors. Cut out all your dramatic scenes and compare them to the remaining passages of narrative summary/commentary. Is there drastically more of one than the other? You may need to work in the area you're coming up short in. The odds are, you're cutting scenes short. In that case, it's simply a matter of analyzing the individual scenes for places where you can extend the dialogue or be more detailed in the non-speech passages.

Flashback

Flashback is a good method of presenting a character's past to us. However, you must use it carefully. Never transition into a flashback by saying, "I flashed back to the summer I was sixteen," or "It took me straight back to the night I was robbed." This is clunky, awkward writing. Transition into flashback subtly, without fully disengaging from present time action. Characters are allowed to "remember," but the memory trigger must stay in sight. Return to present time action as quickly as possible.

Middles

In stories and novels, it is often true that the beginnings and ends are strong, while the middle sections tend to sag--long passages leading up to the piece's climax that don't seem to have a lot of action or else the action is strung too far apart to be engaging. The middle is a good place to tease out some of the threads you have planted in the beginning chapters. In fact, the middle is what links the beginning to the end, so concentrate heavily on whether or not you are accomplishing this. Make a list of the major threads you want to carry through, and work on tugging at them in, say, pages 100-175. This will keep the piece moving and the reader engaged through the end.

Logistical Bores

Leave out the logistical elements of initiating tasks and general "getting around." In other words, don't take time to explain in detail how a character gets into a car, drives somewhere (unless critical action takes place ON the drive!), puts on a bathing suit, answers a telephone, or enters a room. We all know how this basic stuff works, and it isn't worth reporting in real life OR fiction. So leave it out.

Motivation & Conflict

Characters clash because their motivations are incompatible. Think about how this happens in real life. You must isolate those inner qualities that spur a character's behavior before you put him in a room with a potential sparring partner. Vær konsekvent. The arc of a story eventually traces back to motivation.

What does my story arc look like?

Draw a "time line" on a piece of paper and insert the major plot points from your story. This will help you see where you left things after your first draft. You will see places where you can add or cut a scene. You will see your climax and resolution phases in relation to each other. Then you can ask: does my character need more of a kick in the pants this time around? do I throw him too many curves? does he need to be more/less of a bastard/romantic/worrywart/sycophant/etc.?

Make your characters do the work

One way of fattening up your characters is to have them write letters and diary entries. Let your character "tell" you about himself. You won't necessarily paste what you write directly into the story, but it will at least give you a broader framework from which to view them. Don't be surprised if your story takes off in a brand new (improved) direction.

Just another dull conversation?

I keep beating this drum. Dialogue in fiction is NOT what it is in real life. Think of all the conversations you've overheard on the subway, in line at the DMV. Most are boring to your ears, right?

As a fiction writer, you get to pick and choose what words and information you put into dialogue. You compress, you edit out the uncompelling elements until you have something succinct that builds in tension and moves the story along.

Sculpting your characters

Good characters in literature stay with us because of the detail with which their creators have written them. Be sure your characters have their own mannerisms, speech patterns, catch phrases, habits, fashion sense, etc., so that they leap off the page.

Finding your voice

Each (good) writer writes with his or her own peculiar way of saying things. Oddly, though, it is often difficult to reach the point where you are writing as “you” and no one else. It is hard to break free of our influences. It is hard to resist mimicking a particularly inventive style in another writer. But finding your writer's voice is perhaps the most important roadblock to conquer in your development. Everything you write will be colored by your outlook and sense of phrasing. Style will grow from it once the voice is found. So let's find it!

How do we do that? Take a look at what you've written so far. Compare one of your stories or poems to those of known writers, and to those of your unpublished peers. What about your work is different from theirs? Is it just a matter of different plots and different names? If so, you have work to do. But if your characters and narration sparkle with even a flicker of freshness, you must work to bring this out in the rest of your work. You want people to read one of your poems and say, “That has GOT to be a Sophie Snarfblatt!”

Emulate, but don´t imitate

It's fine to be influenced by the style of writers you admire. But be careful that you are not simply imitating what they do. You must write in your own voice, with your own diction, and about the things that matter to you. Simply changing the title and "modernizing" a Chekov story is not authentic writing. The story and the way of telling must be your own.

Beginning vs. End Protagonist

Consider your protagonist at the beginning of the story and again at the end. Do you see changes in his character as a result of what he has experienced? You should be able to.

Writing to Rewrite

When you're working on a first draft of something, just WRITE. Get the emotions, the character motivations, the general story on paper. Save time-consuming edits for later. We write to rewrite!

Using your senses

Writing is about the five senses. Language that does not work off sight, sound, taste, touch or smell in some way is flat and boring to read. (Can you say stereo instructions?) So bring your descriptions of your fictional world down from the abstract. Put us in the moment so precisely that we don't confuse it with another moment, or worse, a “generic” moment.

Forward movement

A piece of fiction must move forward in some way. Characters must act, react, choose. In other words, keep a line of "things" happening. A plot can neither climax nor resolve if characters are not making decisions and acting. Keep them in the path of other characters, who will force them to make choices and carve out their own destinies.

A Dramatic Push

Tip edited by James Gapinski

Dialogue can often revive a story that has "written itself into a corner" or is otherwise feeling flat. If your story needs livening up, try putting two people in a room together. Give them something provocative to talk about. Let the tension grow as the characters´ agitation grows. This will provide instant plot movement.

The Natural World in Fiction

Some of us are more intuned to nature than others, and will simply notice trees, plants, etc. in their own observations. If you are one of these people, play it up--it's a great gift. Any physical imagery you provide will only help put the reader further into the moment.

Climax/Turning Point

Whatever situation you place your character in, at some moment in the story he will be forced to start moving, thinking, choosing differently. The action will rise to a point at which it can go no further, only reverse, with great internal changes to the characters. This is most easily seen in novels, but it also works in stories. After the climax, your protagonist will be different. He's learned something, he's lost something, he's figured out why he does certain things. Choose your climaxing action carefully, so that it does justice to the internal struggle the character is undergoing.

What´s not being said

Like narration, good dialogue is about revealing more than it tells. Your dialogue must be subtle enough to suggest those things beneath the surface of literal speech. In other words, to catch what's NOT being said.

Dialogue Abuse

Read over the rules for dialogue in the "Dialogue" section, and see if you have broken any. You'll probably want to compress dialogue in the second draft, cutting out um's and well's, eliminating rhetorical questions, and packing each line with a little more punch. Look for places where you can bury instead of quote.

Novels vs. Short Stories

Short stories are not baby novels, nor are novels necessarily expanded short stories. A particular story is told in novel form because the short story is neither roomy nor flexible enough to deal with it. Novels go into vastly greater depth, and they can accomadate more POV variation. In the end, novels must come to a point of closure that short stories are allowed to avoid.

Tone

Be conscious of the tone with which you are writing. Are you sarcastic? Serious? Simply poking fun? Make sure this is appropriate to your subject matter. Irony during a funeral scene must be handled just right, for example.

Tight, clean prose

Edit your prose--the individual words and sentences--so that each line is tight and clean. ALL words must be relevant, well-chosen, and evocative. Working words, in other words. Comb your story for words which, standing alone, say or add nothing. Scan for cliche's and trite-sounding language. Verbs should be active, adjectives descriptive, and adverbs nearly always absent.

The rule of thumb for line-editing is this: the simplest word that still conveys your meaning is best. Anything fluffier is just getting in the way

What is prose texture?

Prose texture is literally the "feel" of your writing. Every writer has a unique combination of diction, rhythm, and images that sets the sound and feel of a passage apart from another writer's. Pay attention to how your writing sounds when read aloud. Often the difference between and good and amazing story is in the texture of the writing.

Body Language

Pepper your passages of dialogue with beats of body language. A character nervously tugs his ear, sips a beverage, coughs and covers his mouth, etc. This keeps the reader visualizing the scene and contributes to its rhythm.

Concrete Detail

Good writing, whatever the form or genre, depends on its use of concrete details and images. Your prose texture should be a weaving of minute detail that puts the reader in the EXACT moment you have in your own mind. These details will set your moment apart from others that might occur in fiction. For example, when speaking of love, offer details and images from the senses that indicate why your take on the subject is unique. Tell how you love your lover's blue hair, or the way the birthmark on her hand resembles Richard Nixon in profile. Anything to create a real, original scene.

Keeping track of characterization

Since novels are large, it is helpful to keep a written account of the specifics of each character´s inner self. Likes, dislikes, catch phrases, experiences, favorite possessions, etc. This will help you stay consistent through to the end and probably save you some revision time.

Focusing on an image

Many wonderful stories center around a single image that carries thematic weight. Experiment with some free-writing on an image that speaks to you and see if a story could surround it. If you've already got an image that grabs you, see what happens when you place it in the first line of the story. Make sure you build up some tension around it--in other words, it will need to have some meaning for each character in order to carry meaning throughout the story.

Dialogue--Tread Lightly

Dialogue must be carefully written, paced, and chosen. Speech in fiction is NOT the same as speech in real life. Dialogue should only be used when narrative summary won't suffice. It exists to give flavor to a character's speech and to illuminate his or her motivations--try to avoid using it to simply convey information.

Burying your dialogue

Sometimes it´s better not to use quoted speech in a story. This is true if what a character is saying can easily be summarized by the narrator. This is what we call "burying" the dialogue. Alternating passages of buried speech with quoted speech often improves the scene´s rhythm. Here is an example of a line of speech we could easily bury, because its info can be summarized without sacrificing flavor: "The shopgirl put the bracelet into a paper bag and rang him up. ´I´ll just put your receipt in the bag.´ she said." We don´t need to "hear" the clerk say she´s going to put the receipt in the bag.

A writer´s routine

If you're going to fully tap your creativity, you need to write within a predictable routine each session.

*Try to write at the same time every day

*Minimize distractions--take the phone off the hook, don't work in site of the fridge or TV.

*Take meal and stretch breaks at pre-set times, if possible.

Using dialogue to flesh out characters

One simple way of providing information about characters, particularly the POV character, is to drop it subtly into a line of speech from another character.

This example, from Shirley Jackson's story "ELIZABETH", shows us how another character views the narrator:

"When {Elizabeth} came to her stop...and when she reached the door, the woman was near it, staring at her as though wanting to remember her face. "Dried-up old maid," the woman said loudly, and the people around her in the bus laughed." p.154

In this way, the author reveals information about Elizabeth that she could not reveal for herself--that she has gotten old before her time and, as the rest of the story bears out, has moments of extreme pretension.

Experiment with injecting character detail into dialogue.