As a writer, I am always learning. I think that’s what I love most about writing — the learning never stops. I am either learning something new about myself and writing as I write, or I stumble across new information as I am looking to learn more about writing. This time it was the latter. Recently on Twitter, I ran across a book recommendation for plotting that I loved so much I had to share it here.
And you know this book couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve become somewhat stalled on writing the first draft of my second novel. I think this technique will get things churning quite nicely. Thanks Bell. 🙂
This is a subject I haven’t talked about much lately, but it’s certainly been on my mind as I work through the third draft of Blood Feud. The twists and turns my story takes sometimes even baffles me. I then wonder if that’s a good thing. Maybe this story is getting too complicated, or maybe I just haven’t thought things through enough. So then I go back to the drawing board to see how to untangle the twisty plot strings, and hope I don’t make an even bigger mess. Sound familiar?
Continue reading “5 Ways to Untangle Plot”
I recently was told about Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Mass and decided to order a copy and give it a shot. Wow! What a difference it has made in the way I approach a story. This book is a wonderful way to help work out the character and plot kinks of a novel, but it is also very helpful with short stories as well.
This book is sectioned off into three parts Part 1: Character Development, Part 2: Plot Development, and Part 3: General Story Techniques. Each part then goes into great detail about each element within the categories. I love that Donal Mass has included a little “lesson” and follows up with exercises where I can input my own information, depending on the story I want to work on.
I highly recommend this book to anyone serious about writing a novel, or writing period. I, for one, give it huge points just for helping me figure out the tangled weave that is my novel Blood Feud. Thank you, Donald Mass.
Note: This Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook is NOT the same as the Writing the Breakout Novel. I have yet to read the latter, but from reviews, the Workbook is geared more to actively working on the plot of a story. The Writing Breakout Novel seems to take a more academic approach.
What is the most frustrating part about being a writer? I don’t know about other writers, but for me its discovering a fabulous idea that I start writing on, and then part way into the story the idea fizzles, or I lose interest- So much for that fabulous idea. It gets tossed on that dusty shelf where all stories usually never get a second glance. After awhile, looking at the cluttered shelf can get more than a little depressing and I wonder, “Why can’t I finish anything? Why can’t I find a story I really want to write?”
Answer… Because I haven’t spent enough time developing any idea to the point where I can really know it to feel it inside and out, up and down, and all the way through to the deepest core of the idea.
I’ve noticed as a writer that the stories I spend more time thinking on always come out clearer and more fully formed. In fact, as a rule now I don’t even put my story to paper unless I have spent a days, weeks, or even months pondering on characters, backstory, emotional motivations, and different possible plot lines. Once I feel like I have a strong connection to the idea, then I begin to write it down. The words flow and I can’t seem to write fast enough. The stories have complete structure beginning, middle, and end. The best part is I feel a much stronger connection to the characters than I ever did just plopping ideas down as soon as they are breathed life.
I recently heard a piece of advice Ray Bradury gave a fellow writer… “Writing is 99% thinking, and the rest is typing.” When I heard that quote I could only think, “Wow, if only someone had told me that years ago it would have saved me a lot of trouble.” But then I doubt I would have understood that as I do now.
Here are some Ways to Get the Mind Thinking.