How to Write Short Stories – and Write Them Well

So, a short story was probably what you specialized in when you started writing. What you called a “book,” if you started as young as I did, was probably a ten-page (tops) short story written in huge font. Sound familiar? You might have started with a little more professionalism than I did, so hats off to you.

But I started between the age of four and eight, depending on what you actually consider “writing.” Hmm, I should do a post on the controversial “definition” of writing. 🙂 But now I’m going off on a tangent and we’ve barely started. You can tell what mood I’m in, right??? *stares distractedly out the window with a smile*

Okay, let’s get back to business. *puts hat back on*

What constitutes a short story?

It varies. I mean, I don’t think a definition is actually necessary, but you should know that anything below 1,000 words is considered flash fiction, or a super short story. However, personally, I feel that flash fiction should be defined as something closer to a few hundred words or less. So, the minimum word count for short story falls somewhere in the <1,000 category, and can be up to 10,000 words.

Why are short stories so important in fiction?

Not only are short stories an excellent building block for writing (see my Faithwriters’ short stories), but they are a fabulous tool to provide entertainment, inspiration, amusement, and even, if you’re really skilled, a powerful piece of writing that makes an impact that lasts! It’s a taller order than it sounds. Some people may not have time to read a novel. But anyone can make time to read a short story. See the potential there?

I wish I could share with you all the incredible short stories I’ve read. I can’t, but let me say, they have changed my view of “short” stories.

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And, I might add, so can the smallest stories. 🙂

Don’t you all just love LOTR quotes?

How to Write Them Well

No, not LOTR quotes, short stories. 😉

Okay, so, the only reason I can give you some advice on this, is because I’ve written so many of them. But if you’re really interested in writing short stories, do your research. I can only share the bit that I’ve learned along the way.

Depending on the length of your story, keep extra POVs to a minimum. In all likelihood, your short story is probably only focusing on one person. However, be very careful when including more than one POV. Try to have just one, if at all possible. It should help the story to flow more smoothly.

Stories are powerful. Words can change lives. So work on the flow of every sentence and paragraph, as you write and as you edit. Tightening sentences where you can will often help the story flow. Cut out unnecessary descriptions, but let the reader see the scene that is unfolding.

It is difficult to explain everything that can improve a short work of fiction. Your best bet is to read. Mine aren’t the best examples in the world, but you can check out the stories I’ve written for Faithwriters. If nothing else, you’ll be able to get an idea of a tight story with a message. My short stories page features many of the winning stories. But if you do some exploring on Faithwriters, you’ll find some really incredible winning stories.

First sentences and last sentences also count in short stories, mainly because they are the first and last impressions. But remember, quite often, the real fashioning of a story happens after the writing, during the editing.

So, read. Read a lot. If you want to perfect short stories, you can’t read enough of them. And you can’t write enough of them. My first many stories written for Faithwriters were, um . . . *coughs* embarrassing. But each one improved. And short stories are unique opportunities to inspire! Don’t discredit them because they’re short. Remember Lord of the Rings quotes!

Oh, and, before we go . . . a puppy update. Phoenix is doing awesome. Personality-wise, she’s bull-headed, but very sensitive. The other night, right at midnight, she heard two cats screaming outside, and started barking. Like. Crazy. I jolted awake, fumbled to turn the light on. She might have been noisy, but she was actually really freaked out and scared. So I petted her for a while, then turned off the light, and she went back to sleep. All thoughts of screeching cats forgotten. 🙂 Goodnight, Phoenix!

Your turn. What sort of short stories do you like to write? What is your advice for a newbie looking to start out with short stories? Have you ever had your dog wake you up in the middle of the night? Let’s chat!

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#CoverLove Tag = Awesomeness!

This is a new tag, invented by Anika Walkes and it is AWESOME. Just sayin’. It’s a tag for anybody who loves books. And, um, doesn’t that just about define us all?

There are RULES, people. Rules.

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog. (I kinda nominated myself.)
  • Create seven new #CoverLove questions for your nominees (or just copy and paste mine).
  • Answer the seven #CoverLove questions your nominator gave you.
  • Nominate 7+ other bloggers and let them know they’ve been tagged.

 

1 . What are your 3 favorite covers of all time?

book1 Michael Vey – Fall of Hades. Because, can you honestly tell me that cover isn’t epic-ness?

book2 Fawkes because that’s equally epic. And that mask!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00020] This cover is just plain cool. I mean, the scroll, the ink, the pen, it’s just . . . really cool. And it’s an awesome book, so there.

2 . What is one cover that you could squeal over forever?

book2 Why could I squeal over this cover forever? I think the cover answers that question, if I’m not mistaken.

3 . A cover that’s sweet and innocent and cuter than a kitten in a bow?

bookc This was such a fun book, and that cover is terrific.

4 . An absolutely EPIC cover that just screams “I’M AWESOME”.

book1 Um, yeah. Seriously.

5 . A series that has amazing covers for ALL the books (a rare delicacy)?

book3 24466484 700463 Can you honestly disagree with me here?

6 . What’s a cover you loved, but then you ended up hating the book?

23200402 I almost didn’t do this one. It just felt mean. But let me be clear – didn’t like this book, but I also didn’t finish it. My opinion of the story was by far the minority. But anyway, it’s such a lovely cover!

7 . The cover of a book that hasn’t come out yet but you’re screaming about how AWESOME the cover makes the book look?

book2 Yes, I did this one already. So?

 

Now it’s your turn!

  1. Your two favorite book covers EVER.
  2. A book you haven’t read, but can’t live without because of the cover.
  3. A book you loved, but disliked the cover.
  4. A cover you loved, even though you disliked the book.
  5. A series in which every cover was AMAZING.
  6. A cover containing your favorite color(s).
  7. A to-be-published book with an epic cover.

Take these and just have fun with them! I’m supposed to tag seven people, but I don’t really have seven people I could properly tag. So I’m going to tag three, and if you want to do it on your blog, please do! And drop me a link in the comments, because I LOVE BOOK COVERS!

Officially tagged: Kate at the Inky Notebook and Hope Ann at Writing in the Light and Kinsey at Over the Withers. Have fun you guys!

Punctuation Pantry – Friend or Foe: Semicolons and Parentheses

“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
― Thomas Jefferson

Our second installment of the Punctuation Pantry talks about semicolons and parentheses. This may seem exceedingly dull (and I agree, suspended hyphens were more interesting);  but the fact remains, in this day and age, these two punctuation items need to be discussed. (See what I did there?)

A definition is not needed for parentheses. But you may have noticed that you really don’t see them anymore outside of emails (and blog posts, of course). 🙂 In books, you typically don’t see parentheses. Why?

Based on my observation, they’ve been replaced by dashes. Look at these sentences:

The characters in the movie were three-dimensional (and very entertaining).

Which can be written as,

The characters in the movie were three-dimensional – and very entertaining.

So, the general rule is, parentheses are fine for informal writing. But formal writing tends to avoid them.

SEMICOLONS

Semicolons basically join two independent clauses, which is very helpful in outlining or list-making. But until a couple years ago, I was strongly opposed to using them in formal writing, simply because they were used – heavily – in classics and older literature. They are more sparse in today’s work.

However, that does not mean they have no place in the literature of today. Do your research. But I would recommend not using them quite as frequently as the classics did, simply because they seem to be a little less popular today.

So, recap. Formal writing, avoid parentheses and sprinkle the semicolons. A lot of what I’ve learned about punctuation in writing comes from observing the writing of others. So if you want a stricter definition of what is accepted, do your research.

And NOW! Drum roll . . . I did not want to leave you all today with a few up-to-date pictures of our little Goldendoodle Phoenix. 🙂 She has grown so fast, it’s impossible to believe. She barely fits in my arms. Already! Today, she has her appointment with the vets, so she’s got a car ride to look forward to. She’s okay in the car, but we’ll see how it goes.

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Fast asleep . . .

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THAT FACE!!!

Her potty training is slow, but her training in basic commands is incredible. She’s even learning hand signals. And guess who wakes me up at five every morning? Without fail. That’s her “I’ve got to go to the bathroom” alert.

And good news, the cats are adjusting to her. And she knows she’s not supposed to chase them, but . . . oh, they’re so fast and fluffy she says!

So, what are your favorite uses of the three topics we’ve addressed in the Punctuation Pantry? Do you use semicolons or parentheses? Now, how about Phoenix – cutest puppy EVER? (I know, I’m horribly biased.) Let’s chat!

You Know You’re a Writer When . . .

We’ve all seen those little notes that begin with “You know you’re a writer when . . .” and the blank is filled, usually with something humorous that you can totally relate to. But what if we just simplified it and said,

You know you’re a writer . . . when something inspires you to write.

What inspires you? A sight or a smell? A sound, like laughter? An image or a quote?

The fact is, if you’re a writer, you were probably inspired to write long before you put pen to paper. Writing doesn’t begin with the pen and paper. It begins with a feeling. A sensation you can’t identify that sparks imagination, creativity, excitement. Even ambivalence.

Think about it.

Were you the ten-year-old riding your bike or sitting on the lawn while telling yourself stories? Were you hiding in your room with a good book while your friends were playing? Did you hoard all the notebooks you could find and say that even all those couldn’t fit the stories in your head . . . even if they remained blank? Did you write a story simply because you had to? There was no choice in the matter – there was just this burning imagination that had to be expressed?

That’s where inspiration started for me. An idea – five kids stranded on an island at high tide. An imagination – two siblings transported back through time to help defeat a giant (the humble beginnings of One Light Shining six years ago). Eventually, creativity and originality – the crash of the nation’s power grid drives a family from their home (Ashes Remain, currently a first draft).

You know you’re a writer when there’s a bit of inspiration that must be set loose to conquer that giant, slay that dragon, wield that sword . . . or, simply, tame that imagination, harness its power, until the hunger in you is satisfied.

You know you’re a writer when it’s not about the money, not about the fame, not about the praise – it’s just about feeling alive, and it’s between you and God.

I would ride my bike for hours, rain or shine, greedily whispering stories I would never write, as I peddled faster and faster under the excitement of what was unfolding. One day, even this wasn’t enough. So, I just started . . . writing. Yeah, it was pretty lousy. I would never show my first work to a single soul, and I cringe to think I had my mom and dad read it. 😉  But that’s okay. If I hadn’t started that way, I never would have started at all.

Is writing easy?

No. It’s difficult, often. Torturous, frequently.

Why do we do it?

Because we must. To quit would leave us empty. There’s something in every writer that is only satisfied by the expression of words, a thirst only quenched by the victory that is achieved by the wielding of their power. We can’t substitute it. I’ve tried.

You know you’re a writer when the imagination and inspiration is too strong to ignore.

You know you’re a writer when you can see the story in your head, not the words on the page.

You know you’re a writer . . .

Now, before I forget, let me advise you in advance that on Monday, I have a very exciting, slightly off-subject announcement to bring forward. It’s a post that will be a lot of fun. 🙂 You ready? Monday. Don’t forget.

What do you think? When did you first start crafting stories? How far have you come? And what inspires you? Let’s chat in the comments!

 

How to Silence Your Inner Editor – and an Update on Writing with a Chromebook

Now, I normally do not blog on Sundays, but because I’ve gotten a little behind in blogging, I felt today needed to be an exception. So, greetings!

Today we’re going to have two blog posts in one. How fun!

Silencing the Inner Editor

We all have to deal with this. That sneaky little voice that slithers about in our brain and tells us one of two things – 1, that our writing is horrible, or 2, that sentence you just wrote is something a three-year-old would write.

Number One has no place in your brain. Erase it. Number Two, well, it has its place. But that place is NOT while your writing your first draft, and maybe not even your second.

Our Inner Editor can be difficult to silence, in part because some people will believe they need to edit as they go along. MYTH! NO! Do not edit while you’re writing UNLESS it’s your second or third draft and you are rewriting. That said, let me clarify. When you are rewriting, you are, in a sense, editing. So edit the previous draft, don’t edit the one you’re currently writing.

That’s the responsibility of the next draft.

See how vicious that cycle is? Beware of writing too many drafts before you decide enough is good enough.

Anyway, I do have some advice on silencing the Inner Editor, and it’s a technique I discovered during NaNoWriMo last year. I think NaNo has a June or July edition coming up, so if you’re one of the people taking part, this might be just the right time for you to hear this.

SET A DEADLINE

This might seem a little surprising if you’ve never experienced the stress and the relief of a deadline. Stress because it can be, well, stressful, and relief because I’ve found that my Inner Editor can’t rear its head when I know – completely know – that when writing on a deadline, the condition of the draft doesn’t matter much. What matters is the deadline. So, Inner Editor, relax.

Don’t set a random deadline. It should be challenging, but doable. And not too monstrous, unless you have some reliable people alongside to keep you going. 🙂

Like NaNoWriMo.

Still, I have found that a writing deadline/goal really helps me to focus on the task, NOT on my biased opinion of what poor writing looks like. We authors are the worst judges of our own work, believe me.

 

Writing on my Chromebook

So, on the subject of the Chromebook, some of you may remember I purchased one a couple months ago. It’s awesome. Not just for writing (like this blog post), but also for short Internet searches when I don’t want to fire up the computer.

But . . . one bit of my opinion has changed since I first announced the Chromebook.

I won’t use it for novel writing.

Editing? Yes. Short stories? Absolutely. But novels? No. Why?

Because I’ve used a Alphasmart Neo 2 word processor for so long, I completely adapted to the small, dim screen, and now I find myself incurably distracted by a large, bright screen. So, after juggling with this for a while, I switched back to the Neo. Now everyone’s happy. 🙂 It’s probably completely mental, but, hey, if I can get in the “zone” on a Neo, then on a Neo I shall write.

Isn’t that profound? 😉

 

And there y’all have it! But let’s chat. Have you used a simple word processor or a Chromebook? What are your techniques for silencing your inner editor? Let’s talk in the comments!

An Exciting Writing Update . . . at Last!

So, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re probably aware that it’s been MONTHS since my last personal writing update. Since November-ish, I think, since NaNoWriMo. And there’s a reason for that. But it’s not a good one.

I haven’t been writing.

*gulp* Yeah, no, I haven’t been. For the past several months, there has been so much going on around the farm, with planning, working the soil, trying to plan, and then there’s been me, trying to plan and trying to figure out life. You know, what we’d all like to figure out. 🙂

But if there’s one thing I haven’t been doing, it’s writing. Or reading. And I’m kind of ashamed, but sometimes it does help to back off and take a good look at what you’re doing. This spring has been so full of thrilling “ups” and discouraging “downs”, it made it too difficult for me to sit down and write. The words were empty.

*sighs*

Alas! Yes, this is a writing update, not a non-writing update, and not an excuse as to why I haven’t been writing.

A few days ago, my mom and I sat down and basically decided that I needed to start writing again. Now.

So, that just left the question of “what”. I had the option of Ashes Remain, the contemporary action novella that I’ve finished the first draft of. Then there was One Light Shining, my never-ending YA portal fantasy. And of course, something new.

As I mulled over that . . . I had a funny dream. I had a dream in which I’d written One Light Shining, published it, and it had been turned into a movie. 🙂  (I know, wouldn’t we all like those dreams, all the time? I NEVER get to dream about my books, ever!)

While thinking about that dream, I was reminded of the intended message of that book. A hard-hitting, powerful message of forgiveness, compassion, and grace. A story that timely encompasses the problems of today and combines them with struggles that have reached across the ages, set in a made-up world. Action, adventure, relationship, redemption . . .

There’s something there. I know there’s something in that.

So . . . yes. I chose One Light Shining.

My mom is going to read through the last draft that I wrote, for NaNo last year, and when she does, I’ll transmit her feedback to my outlining process. Then, write the next draft – what is this, the seventh? – and then find an editor. 🙂 I know, so simple, right?

And that is the sum of this long-belated writing update. But now I’m going to leave you all with one or two snippets from my beloved portal fantasy novel. Ready?

This one is from the new rewrite of the prologue:

He trod lightly upon the stairs, fully aware of which ones moaned when you stepped on them, avoiding those, and avoiding the windows where the moonlight peered in, uninvited. His foreknowledge of this home was critical. Trespassing was a serious business.

Okay, and so is this one:

But this was no time to lose his nerve. It was all he had left. He pushed on. There was a deadly earnestness in his steps, one that frightened him. Part of him still knew how wrong this was. No matter how hard he tried to silence those doubts, they turned his memories on him. Memories he’d spent the last year twisting, burying. They left his breath shallow and faltering.

    The hall turned dark as the windows disappeared behind him. An occasional candle in a wall sconce cast enough light – not that he didn’t know this hall by heart.

    Two doors to go.

 

There you go! A sneak peak into the rewriting process. I’ll have more updates coming later on. Who knows – someday I might even be publishing this book and I’ll be calling all you faithful followers together for a blog tour. 🙂

What are you working on right now? What is your writing-rewriting style? And please let me know if either of those snippets encourage you to read on. Feedback is everything while I’m revising! Let’s chat in the comments!

Ladies and Gentlemen . . . it’s a Blog Tour

Yes, indeed. Today is the day we celebrate the release of Tricia Mingerink’s and Sarah Addison-Fox’s newest books. My participation is going to focus on Tricia’s book, but I’ll have the schedule for the tour posted at the end, so you can take a look around!

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Cool titles, right? And two seriously enchanting covers. Wow.

So, to celebrate the release of Dagger’s Sleep on the 28th, I have had the privilege to host an author interview with Tricia. But first, the synopsis of her newest book.

A prince cursed to sleep.

A princess destined to wake him.

A kingdom determined to stop them.

High Prince Alexander has been cursed to a sleep like unto death, a curse that will end the line of the high kings and send the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia into chaos. With his manservant to carry his luggage and his own superior intelligence to aid him, Alex sets off to find one of the Fae and end his curse one way or another.

A hundred years later, Princess Rosanna learns she is the princess destined by the Highest King to wake the legendary sleeping prince. With the help of the mysterious Daemyn Rand, can she find the courage to finish the quest as Tallahatchia wavers on the edge of war?

One curse connects them. A hundred years separate them. From the rushing rivers of Tallahatchia’s mountains to the hall of the Highest king himself, their quests will demand greater sacrifice than either of them could imagine.

And the interview with Tricia – which can also be translated as the first author interview I’ve ever done. 🙂

1. Welcome! What was it like to publish your first book?
It was really cool. I decided to be a published author when I was 6 years old and it was my dream ever since. 
That’s great that you knew so early on. 2. Would you say your writing/publishing experience has changed since your first book?
Yes, definitely. Things are different once you are published. There is a lot more pressure on your writing once you have fans waiting for the next one and you don’t want to disappoint them. 
3. What are your hopes for this new series?
I really hope it connects with readers just as much as The Blades of Acktar did and perhaps find an even wider audience. 
4. Would you say there is one author who has most influenced your writing? If so, who?
C.S. Lewis did much to shape my writing. The Chronicles of Narnia was one of the first fantasy books I read, and the way Lewis used fantasy to convey Christian themes still blows my mind each time i read the books. 
Agreed! Narnia was truly inspired! 5. Which do you prefer: Cats or dogs?
Dogs all the way. 
What??? How about daytime writing vs. nighttime writing?
Daytime, but since I work full time I usually end up writing at night. 
C.S. Lewis or J.R.R Tolkien?
If you hadn’t guessed already, C.S. Lewis. I re-read The Chronicles of Narnia at least once a year. I think I’ve only actually read The Lord of the Rings all the way through once. The writing is well done, but C.S. Lewis holds my heart. 
Thanks a lot, Tricia!
 ~ ~ ~ ~
About the Author:
Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.
You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, and her blog.
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 And there’s a party to celebrate.
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To celebrate the release of Dissociate and Dagger’s Sleep, Sarah Addison-Fox and Tricia Mingerink are hosting a day-long Facebook Festival. There will be plenty of games and giveaways, not to mention Serena Chase, author of the Eyes of E’veria series, will be the guest of honor. It’s a party you won’t want to miss! You’ll be able to stop by any time during the day to join the fun, no matter what time zone you live in!
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Giveaways!
Sarah Addison-Fox and Tricia Mingerink are each hosting a giveaway for their books for the blog tour. Sarah Addison-Fox is giving away a paperback set of the first three books in the Allegiance Series. The giveaway is open internationally where such giveaways are permitted and where Createspace ships. The books may or may not be signed depending on where the winner lives. To enter this giveaway, follow this Rafflecopter link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/624234b712/? 
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And that about does it for the blog tour here! But you can find a lot more info about these two exciting books by checking out the blog tour schedule below. Enjoy . . . oh, and happy reading!  🙂

 

Tuesday – May 22

Laura Grace – Author Interview

Reading Anyone – Book Review

Jaye L Knight – Book Spotlight

Quirky Faith – Book Reviews and Author Interview

Wednesday – May 23

Allyson Kennedy – Author Interview

Sam H. – Book Review

Addyson Huneke – Book Review and Author Interview

Ivie Brooks – Book Reviews

Thursday – May 24

Shantelle Mary – Book Review and Book Spotlight

Brie Donning – Book Review and Multi-Character Interview

Blooming with Books – Book Review and Author Interview

Julian Daventry – Book Review and Author Interview

Friday – May 25

Faith Thompson – Book Reviews and Author Interview

Hannah Gaudette – Author Interview

CM Williams – Book Review

Chloe Parker – Book Reviews

Saturday – May 26

JM Christian – Book Review and Multi-Character Interview

Abigail McKenna – Book Reviews

Liv Fisher – Author Interview

Book Wolf – Book Reviews and Author Interview

Liz Koetsier – Book Spotlight

Monday – May 28

Jessica Dowell – Book Review and Author Interview

Lila Kims – Book Reviews

Marie Elrich – Book Reviews

Faith Potts – Book Review and Book Spotlight

Does Your MC Have a Soul? – and some character-crafting advice

If you have spent any time at all researching the art of writing, or, for that matter, if you’ve spent time actually writing, you’re probably aware of what might, arguably, be the single most important factor in the crafting of your story. Simply, it’s called character development or character arcs, but we’re delving a little deeper than that.

Does your MC have a soul? It might sound like a funny question, but it essentially refers to the bend-ability of your characters. Or, their ability to grow and change, for better or worse, and thus engage your reader’s heart and attention. If your characters do not engage the reader, your story is very likely . . . drowning.

A while back, I read a novel that was very much based on the typical plot line of “time travel brings the prophesied hero into a world that they are destined to save.” You know that kind of story. And there’s nothing wrong with that kind of story, aside from its cliche-ness. However, because the plot of that book relied so heavily on a used-and-abused cliche, it did not feel to me as the reader to be a very well developed story.

But then there were the characters. And those characters were so well-developed and had so much room to grow – in other words, they had souls – I kept reading and ultimately enjoyed the story. Because of the characters.

Then there are the stories with plots and worldbuilding so thorough and well thought-out we are blown away. But many times, if those stories do not have believable characters, they cannot really stand up to the stories that do.

However, please note that you may write a very believable, real MC, with an excellent arc, that a particular reader can’t relate to. Thus, they may not enjoy the story as much as they could. I’ve read books like that – but just because can’t relate to the protagonist, doesn’t mean it isn’t a character with a soul.

1. GIVE YOUR PROTAGONIST FAULTS

Let him/her make mistakes. This is one of the easiest first steps in reaching the reader. If your MC is “perfect,” well, who can relate to that? Yes, of course, you can make your character a hero in his own way, but a hero without fault is unlikely to inspire the avid reader or garner their support. And besides that, I think even the author will find that a hero with his own weaknesses or misled beliefs or shadowed past is much more interesting to write. 🙂

2. DON’T LET YOUR ANTAGONIST BE STAGNANT

This is far trickier, it doesn’t work for every story, and honestly, I don’t recommend you tackle this until you’ve reached a certain level of confidence in your writing, especially the writing of your protagonist. That said, there may come a time when you’re ready to do more with the antagonist.

Be creative. Ask questions. Was he/she always evil? What carried him/her down that path? Make your antagonist someone we might even be able to feel a little story for. An example, at least for me, would be the antagonist Shinzon in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that he was not only given a unique launch point – he was more or less a clone of our protagonist who took a different road in life – and because of the things that encouraged him to make the choices he did in his life, it is easy to come to feel sorry for him, making that character an excellent antagonist.

To clarify, that antagonist just went from someone we cheer against to someone we want to see become a better person. And that is good writing.

🙂

There are many more points I could talk about here, but I’ve run out of time. So let’s chat. Who is your favorite antagonist/protagonist? What do you do in your writing to give your characters a soul?

I Just Got a Chromebook . . . and I LOVE It!

So, some of you may recall a post I did about the different avenues available to us today for writing – computer, word processor, pen and paper, etc. However, I failed to list another option, because it was one I knew nothing about and had never tried. So here it is.

I JUST GOT A CHROMEBOOK. And my opinion on it is: “Where have you been all my life?”

My mom and I decided that the Neo Alphasmart word processors we were using were not going to cut it long term, especially since mine was the only one that actually worked. (She purchased several after I did, and they all malfunctioned.)

Despite the fact that we liked the Neo when it worked, we looked into Chromebooks. And we bought two of them.

Since a Chromebook is not a real computer or laptop in that sense, everything you write on Google Docs is stored in the cloud . . . which is a little weird, but it is handy.

 

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Chromebook vs. Notebook. You tell me. 🙂

 

And get this – I can be on one Chromebook while my mom is writing something on hers, and I can “edit” her work as she is going along, and vice versa. Because you are actually on the internet, and you can invite somebody via email to edit your work.

So that is . . . awesome.

Set-up when we first got the Chromebooks was pretty easy, and there was virtually no learning curve – so far. I still do most of my internet and blog work on our real computer, but the Chromebook is a very likable and efficient tool for writing. And the keyboard! I LOVE the keyboard!

That is my official experience with Chromebooks. My mom loves hers, too. Plus, when you’re just logging on to check email or something like that, it’s much less of a hassle to turn this little thing on than it is to fire up the whole computer.

So, Chromebook is the new Notebook. But don’t misunderstand – there are times when nothing in the world will do but to pick up those beloved blank lined pages, crawl onto the couch, and write the way they did back in simpler times. 🙂

Do you agree?

Tell me your opinion! Have you ever used a Chromebook? Do you like writing in a notebook? Let’s chat in the comments!

How to Choose the Best POV For Your Story

Here it is – the follow-up on my last POV post.  I brushed over this topic in that post, but I felt I should go into more detail about the actual process of selecting which POV is best for your story.

First, there are questions to ask yourself.

HOW MANY CHARACTERS DO YOU NEED TO COVER?

This is one of the most important factors in deciding the POV fate of your book, and in some cases, it may be the only question you ask.

If your story centers around one character and that character essentially carries the whole story, consider first-person POV. Because it will enable you to come across with a depth of emotion and voice you may or may not achieve in third person. In my writing, I prefer first person over any other POV, simply because I do not write as well in third. In this POV, I can get deep into my character’s head and convey that character much more clearly than I can otherwise, and clarity is critical in writing.

An example from one of my WIPs is Ashes Remain. I finished the first draft of this story in first person/present tense. This story contains many characters, but it is told solely from the perspective of a teenage girl, Wren, because I found her to be a strong enough protagonist to carry the story.

However, if you have many important characters, several different main or secondary people who will carry the story, your best choice is likely third-person multiple. Keep in mind, you don’t want to enter too many characters’ heads in the course of one book. Keep it to as few as you can manage and still tell the story.

Another WIP example is my back-burner book, One Light Shining. This is written in third-person multiple so I can allow several different main characters to carry the story throughout.

WHAT VOICE ARE YOU SPEAKING THROUGH?

This is another important question. If you’re telling the story of a young woman living through WW1, you may, in fact, find third-person limited or first person to be your best options, simply because, in a story like this, you are probably trying to portray the emotion of the time, and remaining in one character’s head throughout is a possible way to accomplish this. That said, if you have two crucial MCs, the girl waiting at home and her brother (or father, or fiance) on the battlefield, obviously first person – unless you use first-person multiple – is not going to work.

Your story/character voice is another deciding factor in what POV you will use.

WHAT POV DO YOU LIKE BEST?

This is actually a more important question than it seems. Whatever POV you are most comfortable writing in, that’s probably what you’ll write the best. You may or may not be able to make the rest of your story conform to your preference. Keep in mind, you may simply need to stretch your abilities in writing, but this is a good start-up question to ask yourself.

 

There are so many ways to choose the best POV for your story, but asking these questions can get you started.

What POVs do you like the best in books you’ve read? First? Third? How about second?? Let’s chat!