Inspiration isn’t what gets your book written. Discipline is.
Inspiration is fickle: it shows up when you least expect it, all sexy and exhilarating and reminding you why you put your butt in that chair and turned off Tumblr and forced yourself to trudge through the valley of no-good, very-bad first drafts. Enjoy that inspiration while it’s there. Enjoy it thoroughly because it is rare and precious.
Just don’t expect it to show up every day. The only thing that needs to show up every day is yourself—and your determination to see this through to the end.
Tips by K.M. Weiland.
Originally posted on helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com
1. Enjoy what you do.Which means, if you don’t love spending hours at the typewriter,
computer, or whatever your medium is, don’t even start. You have to be willing
and ready to spend untold hours writing, rewriting, and writing some more.
2. Be patient.No book has ever been written overnight. You’re in for a long
haul. This may take a year, or more. Oh, and since we’re on it: prepare to write
more than one book. Publishers want authors, not single books.
3. Allow your story to end.This may sound trivial, but in fact it’s crucial, and a
stumbling block for many writers. You need to find an ending to your story, and
let go of it. You need to decide to end the writing and declare your novel
finished at some point.
4. Edit.You know what I said in Tip #3? Well, your novel is not finished just because you have an ending. When you’ve written a first
draft, it’s just that: a draft. Now the real writing begins. Edit until your
eyes bleed and your fingers break off. And by this I mean: step away from your
finished draft, let it sit for a couple of weeks, and come back with a rested
mind and fresh eyes. You will see what needs to be changed.
My NaNoWriMo Checklist is freaking everyone out, so I figured I’d reblog this. It’s not too late to get ready you guys!
So, it’s Sunday and NaNoWriMo starts on Friday and you are not ready! Don’t worry! Here are some tips that I picked up last year that will hopefully help.
1. Where and How?
Where are you going to write? At your bedroom desk? The library? Local coffee shop? Neil Gaiman’s gazebo? (yes, I heard he has a gazebo in the woods and if I ever get the resources I will have a gazebo on a beach, because how awesome!)
Pick a spot where you can focus. A place that you can comfortably spend a few hours every day for a month without wanting to pull your hair out.
And how are you going to compose your story? Long hand? Word document? Scrivener? This is extremely important. I wrote my first 4 drafts of my current manuscript in Word, but a friend recommended Scrivener and I am using it for my rewrites and I LOVE it. You can go full screen, organize your manuscript by acts, scenes, etc. And when you’re done, Scrivener will do all the work to make sure that your finished work is formatted to industry standards.
2. Write a Synopsis
Could be a sentence or it can be a page, but make sure you know what your story is about. This includes genre, main character and what it is that they want/need to achieve. This is your log line, your “elevator pitch,” something to get your idea on paper. Don’t get bogged down in details or specifics. Just the basics. What is your story about?
3. What’s Do You Hope Happens?
On my computer and iphone you will find notes about all the things I want to happen in my book. I’m writing an Urban Horror Supernatural tale. Which is a genre that i just created, because it will be part urban fantasy and part supernatural horror. My notes read, “cabin in the woods with graves,” “girl covered in blood,” “do you know what your name is?”
You’re probably like, huh? But, I know what these notes mean and this week I will spend some time compiling my notes into a check list. These are scenes, events and dialogue that I want in my book.
Do the same. Write your self a dream list of all the cool scenes and actions you would love to include. Don’t worry, it’s not written in stone. It’s just ideas of things that will hopefully fit.
4. Is Your story “All is Lost?” Starring Robert Redford?
All is Lost is a film about Robert Redford getting stuck at sea. He is the only character in the movie. Is this your story?
Probably not. At this point you probably know who your main character is. Maybe not everything, but an idea. Before Friday, it will be a very good idea to start to flush out your characters. Who is the villain? Why do they hate your protagonist? Whose the love interest? Why is their mother bugging them now? Get an idea of your team. You are going to be in their heads for at least four weeks. Get to know them a little, before jumping into bed with them!
After figuring out what’s going to happen and who it’s going to happen to…double check that there is some conflict. One of the worst things to happen to me was when an Emmy award nominated professor turned to me and said “I almost worried that you didn’t understand conflict. Nothing happens in your script.”
Make sure your characters butt heads. How do your characters connect? What is the major problem? What are the smaller disputes, feuds and contentions? Conflict is the most important aspect of storytelling. If your character’s back is never up against the wall, what is the point of us reading about them?
6. Where Is This Taking Place?
The Streets of Paris? The Mountains of Ireland? The deserts of Abu Dhabi? Time to figure this out and do some research. A 16 year old New Yorker is a lot different from a young Irish lad. The way they speak and dress, what they eat, etc will all be different.
Anonymous asked: *Rolls around the floor* I feel like my writing sucks and no matter how much I write and edit it doesn’t get better. Do you have any tips on how to be confident in your writing?
*Throws around pillows so you don’t bang into the furniture*
Here are my steps.
- Stop comparing your writing to that of other people’s.
- Seriously, stop. It’s not doing you any favors and it’s a surefire way to make yourself miserable.
- Even published, successful authors have times when they’re convinced that they suck. (Except for Nicholas Sparks, but, well…)
- Focus on what you do well in your writing, and don’t be humble. For this exercise, you are Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove. What is it about your writing that you’re most proud of? Are your verbs spot-on? Do your descriptive passages put Romantic-era writers to shame? Breathe humanity into your villains? Hell yeah! Think about what you’re good at, put them into list form, and pin it to the wall above your desk. See? You’re not nearly as bad as you think you are.
- Make another list of what you believe are your weak points. Approach this step with courage. Brave heart, Tegan. The only catch is that you’re not allowed to make this list any longer than the list of good things. Let me repeat that: You are not allowed to make this list longer than the Good Things List. Got it? Okay.
- Pin it up next to the list of good things. Compare the two. Squint at them and make a photographer’s square with your fingers. These two lists represent the base of your writing.
- Now take the bad list down. Look at it again. Rank the items in order of Not-So-bad to Must-Fix-Immediately. That’s the order in which you’re going to work on improving them.
- Work on improving them. Hit up the Internet for ways to combat your specific weaknesses. Write short pieces strictly for dissection purposes - use prompts to help you think of ideas. Write. Write. Write. Write like it’s keeping your electricity on.
- Whenever you get discouraged, look at the list of Good Things you’ve kept pinned to the wall. Hey! You’re good at this! Really, you are good at this - and even better, you’re working on getting better.
- Remember: there are no real benchmarks. There’s no core standard for writers. Everyone comes at this thing in their own way, and that’s what makes writing such a cool art form: it truly is individualistic.
I really hope this helps.