What is a writer? When can you call yourself one? And how do you get the world to?
We live in a world of titles, where the difference of a few words can offend or flatter–fire you or get you a job–make enemies or friends. Finding out who you are is a big part of accepting yourself, and telling others where your strengths lie or what your job is. But often, there’s a line between professional and unprofessional. If you took a summer course in first aid, you cannot call yourself a trauma surgeon–it wouldn’t make sense. But turn to creativity titles like youtuber or photographer, and the lines are very blurred. In many cases, I don’t think they even exist.
I call myself a writer. An author, even. Am I being presumptuous? Do I really “understand” what I’m talking about? Why am I not a bestseller? If I’m a writer, shouldn’t I at least learn how to write regularly scheduled blog posts?
Well… let’s discuss. What does it really mean to be a writer? Continue reading
2019 is right around the corner and the time for the obligatory New Year’s resolution has come. Did you make your’s last year, will you do so this year? Who knows–I hope you succeed–but regardless, life will go on.
This is not true in stories, where resolutions perpetuate everything. Resolutions are the fuel, the driving force–they are the plot. Without them, readers will lose interest. Continue reading
Early cover sketches
So it’s October, and I’m still slogging on, trying to keep up work on my writing. I thought I’d give an update on where I am at the moment and where I hope to go. This includes an entirely new novel, B Like You, which up until this spring, I was planning to keep hidden under my bed. But then I read it, and I liked it. I liked it a lot. So I decided to try and make it into something presentable. So here we go, my current projects: Continue reading
Dialogue is a powerful writing tool. It can help your writing in endless ways–build your characters, further the plot, spice up boring descriptions, develop empathy, draw in your reader. Honestly, if you aren’t writing dialogue, you should be.
That said, several people have told me they feel dialogue is their weak point–they can’t make it interesting, it doesn’t work, their characters sound stiff, it’s too much effort, etc. This isn’t how it should be! Dialogue isn’t that hard once you figure it out, and written well, it brings so many bonuses, you owe it to your writing to figure it out.
Here are my tips. Continue reading
With possibly the most cliched title ever, this post will discuss one of my favorite things about writing–naming characters.
A character’s name can speak volumes about who they are, or it can say nothing. Sometimes the fact that the name says nothing, says everything. But that’s getting too philosophical for a Thursday.
I believe there are two general types of names: ones that someone else made up years and years ago, or ones that you make up. Continue reading
There are a multitude of things that make up a character. Physicality, goals, fears, and looks are just a few, but there’s a big one that often gets ignored.
Sure, maybe it’s obvious when a character has a specific way of talking, but what about when the entire book is written in the main character’s voice? Sometime’s it’s really obvious, but other times it’s so subtle that the reader barely notices. Continue reading
The idea of keeping a journal or diary has been around since the invention of writing. Essentially, that’s why writing was invented–to catalogue information. Journaling just became a more private form of detail splurging; a place to connect with oneself on a deeper level, complain, and remember the good times.
The journal is exceptionally good at what it does. But it’s needy–it requires cultivation and it feeds off your time.
So the bullet journal (or BuJo) was invented.* Continue reading
“Well, I was dreaming until you woke me up…”
Dreams are weird.
On second thought, the above three words seem vague. I might as well make statements like, ‘life is weird’ (it is), so let me go into some more detail on the subject of dreams.
I would argue that our concept of fantasy, and our ability to imagine fantastical situations, comes from dreams. It’s an interesting idea–one’s database of sensual information is all that’s needed to create a myriad of bizarre situations. Perhaps that is the only difference between a creative person and someone who is ‘not creative’. The person with the greater imagination is just better able to re-combine their memories while in a lucid state; they don’t have to be unconscious to make stuff up. Continue reading
Politics are arguably the most annoying thing in existence (if one overlooks lukewarm coffee and knee-deep mud), yet they can make or break a novel.
As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of politics: personal opinions expressed by people in their everyday lives and all types of government.
Most books steer clear of government-driven politics, but they all take advantage of the other kind. After all, it’s emotion that ties us to stories. There is, however, a whole genre of books that wouldn’t exist without warped versions of government politics: dystopian. Continue reading
All stories must have character growth.
Growth can be subtle: the character realizes something they didn’t know before. Or profound: the character goes from ugly, wimpy nobody to strong, world-saving beauty.
Most novels go for somewhere in the middle. But whatever the case, the character in the last chapter must in some way be superior to the person we met on page one.
Basically, they must have fixed or improved upon their flaws. Continue reading