So you want to be a writer? If it’s not going to plan, when do I give up on my writing dream?

Someone asked me the other day; when should I give up if things aren’t going to plan and I’m not getting anywhere with my writing?

Oh, you guys are killing me.

You really shouldn’t be asking me this kind of question at the moment. Don’t you know I’m an emotional wreck? That a trip to the fridge can see me in floods of tears quicker than you can say “chocolate.” I can’t cope with this kind of soul-destroying questioning at the moment.

Lol!

Only joking.

So, here’s what I said:

NEVER GIVE UP!

But, Angela, I’ve been writing for ten years now and nothing has happened.

Yes, and?

If you are a writer, it doesn’t matter what you tell yourself, you will still have to write. That’s just the way it is.

The number of times I’ve thrown a hissy fit and given up. And yet, I’m still here 🙂

You need to question why you’re writing and what you’re getting out of it. What do you want from it?

You want to make money from your writing but you’re not?

Did you know Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, was rejected thirty times by publishers? Or, that he rejected the novel himself but his wife saved the manuscript from the bin? (See, it’s not only me that has hissy fits :)) Look how much money he’s making now.

Now, I’m not saying you’re going to earn like Stephen King but, if you give up, you certainly aren’t going to be making money, are you?

And, to be fair, you’re not going to make money from writing if that’s the only reason you’re writing. It will show in your work. You have to have a love for your craft and not just the money.

Only the big boys make big money at traditional publishers. And they worked hard to get there.

Did you know the median income for a UK author is £10,500?

You can self-publish. I am such a big fan of self-publishing. There is money to be made there. Look at Mark Dawson. He’s earning big time.

BUT, he’s worked hard to get there.

My advice would be, if you’re only interested in churning out a book for the money, don’t do it. And that’s truthfully the only time I would tell you to give up.

But, if you are writing because you have to, because your soul aches to write, then write! Don’t ever give up.

Whether you’re 18 or 79.

Not one of us knows what is around the corner.

And, if writing makes your heart sing, then write.

Keep dreaming. Then dream bigger. Put in that hard work and maybe, just maybe, you’ll achieve it.

And, if you don’t achieve it?

Keep writing anyway, because a true writer can never give up.

That’s just the way it is.

 

 

So, you want to be a writer? Five things to avoid in your plot.

I do like my “Five Things” posts, don’t I?

Well, this one is focussing on five things to avoid in your plot. No shit Sherlock, I hear you say, it’s literally the title of the article 🙂

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s crack on!

One – Delaying the introduction of the main quest in your story.

This can make your story boring. And it can put readers off if they begin to read and they haven’t got a sense of what’s in store for them or what the book is about.

To avoid this, use a plot outline and make sure you introduce the quest by the end of the first chapter. Don’t fill that first chapter with lots of character introductions and description.

Sometimes, I like to get the quest in the reader’s mind right at the beginning, in the opening line. I love to open a book with a bang.

Two – The conflict and obstacles aren’t escalated.

To make a story interesting, the hero has to face greater and greater challenges and obstacles. What’s the point to a story where the hero overcomes everything thrown at him too easily?

There has to be an increase in the difficulty as the plot develops. When you’re plotting, start off with little challenges in the beginning and then start to develop them. For example, the first challenge could be finding a key, the second challenge could be to use that key in a door that’s guarded by a big three-headed dog. Then, as the story progresses you can have the hero momentarily hurt as he defeats the bad guy’s henchmen. The hero then rises up, and, after a huge battle, he overcomes the big villain.

Three – Avoid too much unnecessary stuff.

Don’t cram your story full of things that don’t matter and won’t move the story on.

Refine your plot and make sure everything has a purpose.

Don’t give the hero a magic artefact if he’s not going to use it. Don’t add a character if they’re not part of the plot. Get rid of all unnecessary crap. Everything should have a reason.

Why?

Because unnecessary crap will only bore and confuse the reader.

Four – Deus ex Machina.

Deus ex Machina means God from the machine and is something that has its origins in ancient Greek theatre. It’s a plot device where an unsolvable problem is suddenly solved by the help of God.

This worked in Greek theatre. It doesn’t work now.

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

If you’ve written yourself into a corner don’t use Deus ex Machina to get yourself out of it. It will turn readers off. If you find yourself in this situation, sorry, but you need to rethink that plot and write it again.

Five – Inconsistency.

Your writing – from writing style, tone, characterisation etc. – must stay consistent throughout the novel. There is nothing more off-putting than reading a story where someone changes their character inexplicably. Or their eyes change colour. Or the way they speak changes.

Keep it consistent.

I find plotting on paper helps me to keep inconsistencies to a minimum. As for character and world-building, I suggest putting together a “bible” of character sheets. I have these for each character where I write on their eye colour, for example or a few words that they like to use a lot. It’s a handy reference for when I forget. And, I do. Especially as I’m getting older!

Ohh, today’s post was very naggy wasn’t it? I’m sorry, it’s probably to do with the full moon or something 🙂

There are other things that you could add to a list of things to avoid in your story writing but I thought five items was probably enough for this post.

So, the question is. do you agree with what I’ve put on the list and is there anything you would add?

 

 

So, you want to be a writer? Five things you need to be a writer.

So, you want to be a writer?

Well, you can if you put your mind to it and put in the hard work. However, there are certain things you need to be or do, to be a writer.

One – You need to put in the time. 

Many of us dream about writing, but, to be an actual writer you need to WRITE.

Don’t just talk about it. WRITE.

Make time in your schedule. I know it’s hard. We’re all super busy people BUT you must set aside time to write. Work out a time and/ or, a number of words you want to write in a day or a week and STICK TO IT!

round silver colored wall clock
Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

I know I’m being naggy, but you will thank me in the end.

500 words a day for four days a week is 2000 words. 2000 words over forty weeks is 80,000 words. And that my friends is a novel!

Two – Don’t be afraid of a blank page.

Write! If that blank page scares the hell out of you, write on it anyway. Sometimes, we haven’t got a clue about what we want to write. Write anyway. Often, once we start writing – even if it’s complete drivel – ideas and words begin to flow.

It doesn’t matter if it’s rubbish. You can’t edit a blank page. Get your head down and get writing!

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Three – Don’t be scared of hard work.

I hate to tell you but, this writing game is hard. I think it was Hemingway who said, ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’

It’s true.

Writing is heavy shit. It’s hard and it takes time. Time to write and time to learn your craft.

It really pisses me off when I watch movies and they have a writer who sits there tapping away on the keyboard and they’ve produced a full-blown novel in about half an hour, and in one sitting. What a lot of tosh.

Or what about the debut novelist who’s overnight success actually took ten years to develop?

If you don’t want to put in the hard work, don’t bother being a writer. It ain’t gonna happen.

Four – Don’t be afraid to fail.

Failure means you’re learning and you’re growing. That shit, my friend, is important. It will make you a better writer. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, just make sure every time you fall you get back up and straighten your crown.

woman wearing teal dress in reclining position
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And anyway, is it really a fail?

Put what’s happening to you into perspective.

So, your new novel has just been rejected by another agent. Allow yourself time to be sad, have a drink, a walk or whatever you need to feel better, but don’t wallow in it. There are other agents.

I could bore you with tales of how many times very popular and successful authors were rejected but I won’t. Google it.

Failure is par for the course. Suck it up.

It’s not the end of the world.

Five – You need to be open to criticism but have faith in yourself.

This is a tricky line to walk. You have to develop the skill of being open to criticism but also have faith in yourself and your own writing.

This is not easy.

In fact, this is very hard shit.

You will get there but it will take time.

It’s important to be open to suggestions and criticism but be mindful that not every suggestion is going to be right. Sometimes, you need to rely on your own judgement.

This is a very hard skill to master. Only time and experience will develop this skill. And, even then, you can get it wrong. This is okay because mistakes happen. Mistakes are part of life.

Will it get any easier?

Nah.

But you will become more confident the more you write.

And please, please, please, for the love of God, don’t be one of those authors who go after those who leave bad reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I’ve seen some really bad behaviour from authors who have commented on bad reviews calling people names and generally being a sucky person. That shit isn’t cool.

Grow a thicker skin and suck it up. Bad reviews are not only inevitable but also necessary to grow. You’re not going to be everybody’s cup of tea and that’s okay 🙂

Okay, nag over!

What do you think of these points?

Would you add anything to the list?

 

 

So, You want to be a writer? Short writing Prompt.

It’s a new year so let’s try something new and extreme!

No, it doesn’t require you to strap yourself to a bridge and fling yourself off because I’m not talking about bungee jumping. I’m talking about Flash Fiction.

HURRAH!

And not just flash fiction.

I’m talking extreme flash fiction.

Ernest Hemingway apparently wrote this six-word story:

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

Pretty awesome, huh?

First time I heard that I was blown away. A whole story in six words!

So, your task, if you wish to accept it, is to write a story in six words.

Go on, give it a go!

What did you come up with?

Oh, and this post won’t self-destruct, even if you don’t accept the mission. YAY!

 

 

So, You Want to be a writer? Six tips to get you on your way.

So, you want to be a writer?

Here are six tips to help you on your way!

  1. Read. A lot!! I love reading so this isn’t a major issue for me. Reading will make you a better writer. You need to learn somewhere, right? So why not learn from those who came before you? It’s amazing what you can get from other writers. You’ll pick up writing techniques, grammar tips and vocabulary as you go. Learning by osmosis – what’s not to love? And, reading can mean comic books, newspapers, and online articles (like this one :)) so there’s no excuse!! Except, if you have no time, but everyone can make five minutes a day to read, can’t they?

    person holding book
    Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com
  2. Get yourself a notebook and a pen, go somewhere quiet and write! You don’t need any expensive gadgets to start. Just time, inspiration, and a notebook and pen (there are some gorgeous notebooks out there. And, have you seen some of the beautiful pens you can buy? My personal faves are the coloured biros by Bic, especially the purple ones). It doesn’t even matter if you think it’s bad. Write anyway!

    pencil on spiral notebook
    Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com
  3. Practice. And Practice. And practice… Once you begin writing, keep going. The only way to get better at anything is practice. Maybe take a writing course to hone your skills. Writing courses come in many shapes and sizes. Some are free and some are run by fabulous, well-established writers (Neil Gaiman, I’m looking at you!).
  4. Get feedback. This gives you an outsider’s perspective of your writing. People can tell you where your weak points are, but also when you’re doing something right. You could join a local writing group for this. I did and it improved my writing considerably.

    “Remember, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s okay!”

  5. Get a thick skin. You’re not always going to write fabulous prose. Sometimes your work will be utter crap. Don’t be afraid to face that fact. And even when your work is absolutely amazing and fabulous, people will tear it apart and make you feel like dirt. Unfortunately, this is something we, as writers, have to live with. Not everyone is going to love what you write and you need to learn to live with that. Write anyway! Remember, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s okay!
  6. Write! Make sure you write, even if it’s just a few words every day. Don’t just talk about it. Write! Write your first draft even if it’s utter rubbish. Don’t worry, everyone’s first draft is crap (I mean, have you read my first draft of Death’s Apprentice, written here on my blog as I go? Try reading it, you’ll see what I mean :)). But as they say, you can’t edit a blank page! You can edit your writing though. And edit. And edit. Rewrites will make your writing shine!

    wood light creative space
    Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

As Charles Buckowski said:

“There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with death. You will die a fighter, you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it.”

 

So, you want to be a writer?

So, you want to be a writer?

Here are six tips to help you on your way!

I make jewellery but I also write too. I have four books out as I’m writing this and, as you know from previous posts (see A Writing Experiment? and New Year, New Projects) I have more in the works. Here are my top six tips to get you writing:

  1. Read. A lot!! I love reading so this isn’t a major issue for me. Reading will make you a better writer. You need to learn somewhere, right? So why not learn from those who came before you? It’s amazing what you can get from other writers. You’ll pick up writing techniques, grammar tips and vocabulary as you go. Learning by osmosis – what’s not to love?
  2. Get yourself a notebook and a pen, go somewhere quiet and write! You don’t need any expensive gadgets to start. Just time, inspiration, and a notebook and pen.
  3. Practice. And Practice. And practice… Once you begin writing, keep going. The only way to get better at anything is practice. Maybe take a writing course to hone your skills. Writing courses come in many shapes and sizes. Some are free and some are run by fabulous, well-established writers (Neil Gaiman, I’m looking at you!).
  4. Get feedback. This gives you an outsider’s perspective of your writing. People can tell you where your weak points are and when you’re doing something right. You could join a local writing group for this. I did and it improved my writing considerably.
  5. Get a thick skin. You’re not always going to write fabulous prose. Sometimes your work will be utter crap. Don’t be afraid to face that fact. And even when your work is absolutely amazing and fabulous, people will tear it apart and make you feel like dirt. Unfortunately, this is something we, as writers, have to live with. Not everyone is going to love what you write and you need to learn to live with that. Write anyway!
  6. Write! Make sure you write, even if it’s just a few words every day. Don’t just talk about it. Write it! Write your first draft even if it’s utter rubbish. Don’t worry, everyone’s first draft is crap. But as they say, you can’t edit a blank page! You can edit your writing though. And edit. And edit. Rewrites will make your writing shine!

As Charles Buckowski said:

“There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with death. You will die a fighter, you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it.”