January 21, 2009
I’m not sure where I got this information, I know it was from a workshop on the net.
I thought it might help you when you have to sit down and write that damn synopsis.
Before writing answer the following questions concisely.
1. Who is the hero? (Why is he interesting?)
2. What does the hero want? (External and internal goals)
3. The door opens. (The hero meets the problem)
4. The hero takes control. (After walking through the open door the protag takes control of the situation and experiences the illusion of early success.)
5. A monkey wrench is thrown. (A screw-up happens. A new threat arises. A new character enters. Complications develop.)
6. Things fall apart. (Bad things happen. Protag realizes that they are of his own making. Characters get a set of choices/decisions and try to find another way out without facing their fears and still getting it wrong.) List as many ways as you can think of for things to go wrong then condense into one sentence.
7. Hero hits bottom. (Moment of truth) Time is running out. Hero is at the end of the line. Hero must choose. Character’s black moment.
8. The hero risks all. (Finally gets it right)
9. What does the hero get? (Reward)
Writing the synopsis.
1. Open with hook. (High concept blurb.)
2. Tell who hero is, what they want and why they want it.
3. The door opens.
4. Hero takes control.
5. Monkey wrench.
6. Things fall apart.
7. Hero hits bottom.
8. Hero risks all.
9. What does the hero get?
December 7, 2008
I came across this in ‘The Writer’s Guide to Fiction’ and thought it interesting. These rules are by Erica Jong and I’m assuming published in ‘The Write’ Magazine in December 2003.
21 Rules For Writers
1. Have faith – not cynicism.
2. Dare to dream.
3. Take your mind off publication.
4. Write for joy.
5. Get the reader to turn the page.
6. Forget politics (let your real politics shine through).
7. Forget intellect.
8. Forget ego.
9. Be a beginner.
10. Accept change.
11. Don’t think your mind needs altering.
12. Don’t expect approval for telling the truth.
13. Use everything.
14. Remember that writing is dangerous if it’s any good.
15. Let sex (the body and the physical world) in!
16. Forget Critics.
17. Tell our truth, not the world’s.
18. Remember to be earth-bound.
19. Remember to be wild!
20. Write for the child (in yourself and in others).
21. There are no rules.
I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know who Erica Jong was or what she wrote until I checked out her website. Now I am going to make it my business to read some of her work. I love finding new authors to read, it is a great way to learn how to improve your own writing. You can visit Erica’s site HERE.
Until next week. Happy Writing.
December 3, 2008
How to Improve Your Writing Output.
Have you ever wondered what the key is to a successful writing career? Is it because our favorite authors have talent? Are they far more intelligent than the rest of us? Or, are they just creative geniuses? I read somewhere that it is none of these things. The one thing they do have in common is the fact that they write. Most of them write daily, they have routines and stick to it. So the answer seems simple enough WRITE more, WRITE each day and WRITE to a routine. If you are like me and have the advantage of being at home and able to write whenever it suits you, than use that advantage. (Note to self: Re-read this and make sure you stick to the plan.)Yes, I have to admit I am not using the advantage I have to its full potential. That is going to change, as of this week!
So how am I going to go about improving my writing out? I’ll let you know.
- Use calendars, charts and set goals: This is to help you stop meandering along with no set plan or goal as to what you want to achieve. Set a goal as to when you want to finish your novel. Have a yearly calendar hanging on your wall, give yourself a start date and end date. This is also a good way to prepare for when you are published and you have deadlines you HAVE to reach. There are many charts that you can use. From keeping track of, your daily word count to character, scene and plotting charts. A daily word count chart is a must, you have a record of what you are able to achieve each day and is a great boost to your mural.
- Set a word count or page goal per day not hours: I like to set a word goal each day, mainly because I write in short sessions and it is easier for me to keep a record of the number of words I’ve written. Some people like to set page goals, it is all up to you. The thing is if you work on hours, you could spend most of that time doing other thing connected to your writing but not writing. Think about it, if you say I’m going to write for two hours a day, but decide you need to do research or you have to edit yesterdays work first your two hours will be up before you start. Now if you say I’m writing xxx words than you have your target, work on that first then do the other things like research and editing.
- Don’t try to over extend yourself: If you are writing at a steady pace and getting 500 words on paper a day but want to do more, don’t push for a large increase too soon. Doing that can lead to disappointment. Try increasing your word count by 50 or 70 words a day to start with, each week increase it by 25 or 50 words you will be surprised how easy it is to achieve your goal that way. As I said pushing too high leads to disappointment, disappointment leads to discontent, discontent leads to lack of work. If you don’t work at you, writing you will never get that novel finished.
- Join a challenge group: Now this I think is the key to getting words on paper, having someone writing with you. I belong to a few different challenge groups and it is surprising just how much better I work if I do word sprints or A Book in a Week. To be honest I don’t write a book in a week, would never attempt it at this stage, but I do set goals to reach and post then to the group site. That way I’m accountable to these people to keep my end of the bargain up by reaching my goal. Plus I hate to lose. (Check out the group links at the side for help here I’ve listed a few that might help you out.)
- Give yourself some verity: If you are working on a long novel or find you get distracted easily, than work on a couple of projects. Many have a long novel going and work on a short story. It could even be about a minor character, or write a couple of poems, anything that will stop you from losing interest altogether. I have about 10 projects on the go at the moment so there is always something new to work on.
- Write query letters: This is a good way to hone your skills at writing query letters to agents or publishers. Even if you are not ready to send the letter of right away, work on it a little each day, or even write one to a different agent each day. When the time comes and you’re ready to send your baby out into the big wide world, it is one less thing you need to think about.
- Find an audience: Go out and find a few friends, editors or group members. If you join a critique group or have a few critique friends this is ready-made audience. You have to have your work ready to send out each week or month. You could also start a short story series on your blog or website, once you have a group of people following your story you need to write each day to keep them interested.
- Have faith in yourself: A lot of motivational speakers tell you to have faith in your own abilities. Visualize your future. Picture yourself with a book on the New York Times best sellers list. Write a blurb about yourself that will go on your book jacket. Then stick it to the wall and read it each day. Doing this will help you stay focused on the pot at the end of the rainbow.
These are the things I do in the hope to better my writing output and strive for publication. I hope you find some handy ideas to help you reach your goal.
November 30, 2008
I believe that I am fortunate in being able to do something I enjoy each and everyday. There are not a lot of people who can say they get up each morning and look forward to work. But than, writing is not work for me, it is my life! If I was not able to write each day I’d be lost, wandering in a sea of unhappiness.
Now I won’t lie and say that everything runs to plan, because it doesn’t. Characters decide to take roads I had not planned on taking, they turn plots upside down, in some ways they are a lot like children. If they can find mischief to get into they will and be damn with the plans. I can almost hear them laughing at me as I try to gather things back into some sort of order, only to have them pull the rug out from under me again.
This is my life, my life as a writer. A writer who is fighting to keep her work in some order. I tell you now, I’m losing.