Stormrider!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Writers and Readers Websites Wednesday - Aerogramme Writers' Studio


They're offering Books and Writing and News and Resources.  Aerogramme also offers writing tips and even videos. 

Writer? It's definitely worth exploring. 

Reader? Hey you can see what helps, motivates, informs writers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Mistakes We Make While Writing



 
 Mistakes.

We all make ‘em and we’re all kind of weird about making them.
There isn’t a writers (or a person) in the world who doesn’t make mistakes at times. It’s who we are.

But, focusing on writers, what do we do about those mistakes? Some of us seem them as disasters, as the marks of amateurs as something to make you slink off and never think of writing again. The mistake can be minor or major, a silly one, a stupid one, or one caused by simple distraction.

Get over it.

Really.

Learn from your mistakes.

If someone finds it for you and points it out, be gracious, thank them and fix it! Hey, if they’re wrong (and it happens at times when an over eager reader points out mistakes that don’t exist) still be gracious and thank them for their input. 

And stop the idiotic thoughts that rumble through your brain when you make a mistake right out there in public. Thoughts like:

Who am I kidding? How can I be a writer when I make a mistake like that?
Who am I to write about anything if I make mistakes like that?
It’s embarrassing, I look like an idiot.
OMG what will this do to my reputation as a writer?

Ummm, really? Throttle back on that negative stream. Mistakes happen. In fact there inevitable, no matter what you’re doing and even more so I think when writing. You’re changing and growing. Heck, even language is changing and growing. And you can get away with all kinds of free-wheeling when writing fiction. Non-fiction is a bit stricter, but what the heck.

So let’s step back from all the self-incrimination and realize the solution is simple. Fix it. Learn from it. Try not to make the same mistake twice…or if you do it twice, let’s not go for three times.

Tell that inner critic (and we all have one) to shut up. You are not stupid, or worthless, or misguided just because you make a mistake. If you were a brain surgeon it could become a bigger issue, but you’re a writer. You’re not perfect. The world isn’t perfect. Yes, of course you have to master the language to be coherent and put together sentences that make sense, but give yourself a lot of leeway. Pros make mistakes and so do you. Pros find out about it, fix it and move on. So should you, now and when you become a for real Pro because you’ll still make mistakes.

Think about other professions. There are interns and apprentices, practically every career path requires a learning curve and then life-long learning. It’s because we writers spend so much time in our heads that we talk ourselves into believing we need to be perfect.

The truth is we need to make mistakes. That’s how we learn and improve. Don’t be afraid of making them because that fear will hold you back. Besides if you don't make 'em your editor will - amazing the mistakes we can catch in a book already published by a major house.

That inner critic that lurks at the back of your mind, the one who wants to edit your writing even before it hits the blank screen, the one who obsesses over every little detail, that little snot can be what fans the flames of your insecurities, build the fires beneath your introverted writing life. Not only does that little voice criticize almost everything you do, but it wants you to feel like an idiot, a fool before the world.

So I say to you writers out there. Take risks, make mistakes, be creative. Your writing will thrive and you’ll beat back the dark voice of your insecurities for the path you’ve chosen.

Write, writers – and drop a note below in the comments to tell us about the mistakes and inner critic you’ve overcome.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Writers and Readers Websites Wednesday - Dean Wesley Smith Writing Website




Dean Wesley Smith is another writer - and he gives tips and access to great info at his website in addition to offering workshops.  He runs a fun blog and offers a monthly magazine (you can subscribe to digitally or in print) in addition to updates on his own fictional offerings.

Generally a great site to kick around in for both readers and writers.  Go on - check it out, you know you want to. 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Writer's World - Characters and Skills






Writing is an interesting profession – you create people from scratch. Sort of build them from the ground up, or top down, whichever way you want to look at it. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s hard as hell.

In that quest to make characters real, unusual and fascinating to the reader writers look to imparting something special to that character. Something like a unique skill or an unusual talent, some ability that will set hero or heroine apart from the every day, and yet at the same time, keep that character identifiable, relatable. It could be as simple as being a chess master and using that talent in other ways or as high-profile as being a well-known newscaster, writer or movie star.

But it’s a fine line between giving that hero or heroine some special ability and going way over the top to the point where the audience (novel reader or film goer) disconnects. That can happen when the writer doesn’t match the personality of a character and that character’s past experiences and life lessons with the particular skill or unusual talent he or she’s been given. It becomes like a tag on instead of an integral part of the character.

Think about it. Some things are imparted simply by birth and who the parents are. A prodigy, perhaps with math, perhaps playing a piano, or something else, has received that particular gift through birth. On the other hand being a computer geek or maybe a martial arts master or a jewelry maker are all skills that are learned.

This gives the writer a wide range of possibilities – but also just as wide a range of things that won’t work well. A character who’s never had training or so much as seen a martial arts movie can’t suddenly become Jett Lei.

But, the fun of all this is choosing a talent or skill that fits with the character and the story. The kid raised on a farm working with farm machinery who can fix anything who, as an adult working in the city as an investor calls on those past skills to get a bus running before the train hits it. The chess master, so skilled at anticipating moves thwarts a terrorist attack by being one step ahead. The computer geek so geeky he figures out computer code from beyond the planet is actually a countdown to invasion and he figures it out before anyone else. The magician who commits the perfect crime via his prestidigitation.

The creativity behind these kinds of things is wonderfully exhilarating. Let yourself go and explore different possibilities. When you find something that strikes a chord unleash your muse, embrace the creative, go back and change other elements in the story to make sure it all fits and the special talent you’ve discovered for your character fits with the rest of your story.

There are few things more fun!

Comment below and let others know the kinds of ideas you’ve come up with and how it all came together.




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Movie In My head - Writers Advice






I’ve been a writer, have been for a very long time and I write a variety of things, novels, articles, blogs, screen scripts. I just plain like writing.  

I find it interesting that folks are always giving advice on how to punch up writing.  So, I can’t resist a bit of my own advice today.

Always, when I write novels it’s like a movie running in my head. I don’t know how other writers see it (well some I've chatted with have given me their general gist), but that’s the way it is with me. So I’m amused when I hear writers are now using ‘cinematic technique’ to bring their writing to life. 

Amused since I’ve always seen things that way, but also fascinated that it’s coming to light. Especially now in a world of computers, movies, iPhones, tablets and whatever. Needless to say people are used to a visually rich experience. So writers have to step it up to get that movie playing in their readers heads.

So, in film there are camera shots and close-ups, but novelists can pretty much do the same with their writing.

Look, I mean a close-up is what we novelists use to keep things tight but give some detail to the story. It’s when we focus in on just a couple of people or just one and maybe allow in a bit of detail. Lots of times we write a scene that’s between two people with  dialog (hopefully dialog that pops). That’s basically a close-up. The little movie playing in my head focuses in on the pair and things in the immediate background that could be pertinent. The point here is what’s pertinent? That is up to the writer. A lot has to be left out or the description would go on on page after page after page. So focus on the details that give life like smells, sounds, faces (and their expressions) that make the moment more real, give insight into character and touch the reader’s emotions and that all important – move the plot forward. It’s not a chat fest – everything must be geared to moving the plot forward, in a novel as much as in a screen script. 

Your novel close-up is all about details. The scene shot is a broader view. 

You can begin with a scene and pull into close-up.  You can change the angle, reveal details not seen earlier. You  might think of running a movie in your head if you don’t already do so. Move your characters closer to each other or to something of interest. Revel what’s in the background that moves the story forward. Start with a woman on horse-back and bring her to the stable. Start with a guy lounging in a doorway and bring him into the room. Start with an object of little interest at a distance then bring the reader close up to see some detail that is pertinent to the story. A quilt at a distance, a quilt with a stain close up. A beautiful woman at a distance, a beautiful woman with an amazing broach close up. 

Run the movie; take your readers into the story like they’re seeing it on the screen. That’s what it’s all about. 

Give us some feedback – comment below how you create your stories if writers. If readers let us know what really grabs you about a book you really get immersed in.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Writers And Readers Websites Wednesday - The website of Writer M Pax

Blame Oregon! It brings us writer of fantastic realms, M Pax. Her website brings us updates on her writing endeavors, offers a blog and is gearing up now for the annual Realms Faire. This prolific writer offers a newsletter and yes, I've been hooked by her two novel series, The Backworlds,





http://amzn.to/1p2W36E


 . First book in each series is free on Amazon. But don't stop there! The series will hook you with the imaginative and creative writing of the author. She writes of fascinating worlds and other realities. I'm on to The Initiate in the Rifter series and looking forward to the third.

Take a little time, check it all out!  Visit her site today and don't forget to come back and tell everyone here how much you enjoyed the venture into other realms...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Characters We Create – A Writer’s World




Writers take us to many places from far off lands, to city streets, to other dimensions to outter space. And it’s interesting and entertaining and fun.
http://amzn.to/Zxk5vo

They also take us other places with their development of character. The inner world can be as entertaining, chilling, exciting and gripping as the outer world.

Whether we writers realize it or not, we have to cultivate a basic understanding of what it is people really want and need. There’s a sort of a basic five.

Human beings are a predictable lot and it makes sense that we are. We need things in life  to keep things running smoothly, things like:
Safety and security- ever had your house broken into? Yeah, like that. It’s a basic need that we feel secure and safe in our lives, that those around us we love like friends, family, even pets are in that same safe space. 

We’re always looking for love – sometimes in the wrong places, right? We need love from spouses, family, close friends and even, again, those pets we take into our homes. People need to feel they belong somewhere to someone or something. Thus, families, organizations, churches, whatever.

People also need to secure basic biological needs. We need to eat. And that ties into safety and love. We need to not be in pain, to be physically mobile, all the things we barely give a thought to throughout our day if we’re basically sound and healthy.

Folks crave recognition from the simplest pat on the head from an employer to the full blown power mad dictator.  I’d classify that as a need. Along with that comes the need to reach our potential and strive for and reach some sort of personal fulfillment.

But sometimes, as authors, a drastic shift in morality is exactly what we want for our characters. This kind of change doesn’t occur easily, but it can happen under the right circumstances. This is where basic needs come into play.

Take any one of the above things away from a person or hold it just out of reach and there’s going to be created a seismic shift in the  personality of a character to get that need back.

Just staying alive is the most crucial need – Life in danger, loved ones in danger always strikes a chord.

But it goes deeper. What if the main character is a moral stand-up kind of guy trying to protect his (or her) family? What if there’s no cooperation from authorities and suddenly that person has to consider and do things that normally wouldn’t be considered? What changes happen? What if a city slicker is thrown into a wilderness survival situation – and there’s a person intent on murder hot on his heels? You’re removing his safety and security and just staying alive doesn’t seem so simple any more.

We writers are constantly throwing curves at our characters. It’s our job. It’s through adversity of some kind that the inner workings of our characters are revealed.

So know what the needs of your characters are. Know their moral compasses. Then pick one or more of the above needs, take them away or jeopardize them and play with your characters heads. How many times have we all thought, “I would do….” Whatever in that circumstance? Put your characters to the test and take your readers along for the nail-biting ride. You can chortle heh, heh, heh if you like while your characters flounder for their new equilibrium.
Think about it and give us a few examples of need removal you’ve experimented with.



Writers take us to many places from far off lands, to city streets, to other dimensions to out space. And it’s interesting and entertaining and fun.

They also take us other places with their development of character. The inner world can be as entertaining, chilling, exciting and gripping as the outer world.

Whether we writers realize it or not, we have to cultivate a basic understanding of what it is people really want and need. There’s a sort of a basic five.

Human beings are a predictable lot and it makes sense that we are. We need things in life  to keep things running smoothly, things like:
Safety and security- ever had your house broken into? Yeah, like that. It’s a basic need that we feel secure and safe in our lives, that those around us we love like friends, family, even pets are in that same safe space. 

We’re always looking for love – sometimes in the wrong places, right? We need love from spouses, family, close friends and even, again, those pets we take into our homes. People need to feel they belong somewhere to someone or something. Thus, families, organizations, churches, whatever.

People also need to secure basic biological needs. We need to eat. And that ties into safety and love. We need to not be in pain, to be physically mobile, all the things we barely give a thought to throughout our day if we’re basically sound and healthy.

Folks crave recognition from the simplest pat on the head from an employer to the full blown power mad dictator.  I’d classify that as a need. Along with that comes the need to reach our potential and strive for and reach some sort of personal fulfillment.

But sometimes, as authors, a drastic shift in morality is exactly what we want for our characters. This kind of change doesn’t occur easily, but it can happen under the right circumstances. This is where basic needs come into play.

Take any one of the above things away from a person or hold it just out of reach and there’s going to be created a seismic shift in the  personality of a character to get that need back.

Just staying alive is the most crucial need – Life in danger, loved ones in danger always strikes a chord.

But it goes deeper. What if the main character is a moral stand-up kind of guy trying to protect his (or her) family? What if there’s no cooperation from authorities and suddenly that person has to consider and do things that normally wouldn’t be considered? What changes happen? What if a city slicker is thrown into a wilderness survival situation – and there’s a person intent on murder hot on his heels? You’re removing his safety and security and just staying alive doesn’t seem so simple any more.

We writers are constantly throwing curves at our characters. It’s our job. It’s through adversity of some kind that the inner workings of our characters are revealed.

So know what the needs of your characters are. Know their moral compasses. Then pick one or more of the above needs, take them away or jeopardize them and play with your characters heads. How many times have we all thought, “I would do….” Whatever in that circumstance? Put your characters to the test and take your readers along for the nail-biting ride. You can chortle heh, heh, heh if you like while your characters flounder for their new equilibrium.
Think about it and give us a few examples of need removal you’ve experimented with.

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