|—||James N. Frey, author of How to write a damn good novel (via amandaonwriting)|
Be willing to wait. In the meantime, write when you don’t feel like it. If you can’t write, read.
Monica Wood, The Pocket Muse (masculine pronouns changed to feminine)
I needed to hear this today.
|—||Rudy Francisco (via likeafieldmouse)|
How to Make Write
Illustration for the 3/31 NYT Sunday Review and NYT Opinionator Draft essay “Those Irritating Verbs-as-Nouns.” Thanks to AD Matt Dorfman!
And I have a book or two to write.
|—||Elizabeth Haydon, from The Floating Island (via the-final-sentence)|
|—||Andrea Barrett (via amandaonwriting)|
Okay. Someone asked me how I feel about writing fiction in a world that still needs actual activism and hands-on work to make life better. They said something similar to, “I get pulled away from writing fiction because I feel guilty for not making tangible benefit to the world. Isn’t fiction just escapism?”
But I also got the following message, which I’m filing some of the serial numbers off of, as it were:
“I just wanted to tell you something. When I was 18 years old, my life was a fucking mess. I worked at a store that sold comic books and one day I stumbled upon Spider and the filthy assistants. Your comic kept me from killing myself. There is a character limit here so I can’t say everything I want to but thank you. From the very deepest part of my heart.”
I post this not to self-aggrandise. It is not a unique message, for good or ill. I get them surprisingly regularly. Frankly, messages like that scare the hell out of me, because I’m not very smart and not a very clever writer and I fuck up all the time.
But fiction speaks to people. Even fiction like mine acts to tell someone, somewhere, that they’re not alone.
You want tangible, social benefits to writing fiction? There are people walking around today because other people wrote words that spoke to them. That’ll do.
And thank you.
Performance-Enhancing Drugs for Writers
How to end your novel
The Dos and Don’ts By James V. Smith Jr.
- Don’t introduce any new characters or subplots. Any appearances within the last 50 pages should have been foreshadowed earlier, even if mysteriously.
- Don’t describe, muse, explain or philosophize. Keep description to a minimum, but maximize action and conflict. You have placed all your charges. Now, light the fuse and run.
- Don’t change voice, tone or attitude. An ending will feel tacked on if the voice of the narrator suddenly sounds alien to the voice that’s been consistent for the previous 80,000 words.
- Don’t resort to gimmicks. No quirky twists or trick endings. The final impression you want to create is a positive one. Don’t leave your reader feeling tricked or cheated.
- Do create that sense of Oh, wow! Your best novelties and biggest surprises should go here. Readers love it when some early, trivial detail plays a part in the finale.
- Do enmesh your reader deeply in the outcome. Get her so involved that she cannot put down your novel to go to bed, to work or even to the bathroom until she sees how it turns out.
- Do resolve the central conflict. You don’t have to provide a happily-ever-after ending, but do try to uplift. Readers want to be uplifted, and editors try to give readers what they want.
- Do afford redemption to your heroic character. No matter how many mistakes she has made along the way, allow the reader—and the character—to realize that, in the end, she has done the right thing.
- Do tie up loose ends of significance. Every question you planted in a reader’s mind should be addressed, even if the answer is to say that a character will address that issue later, after the book ends.
- Do mirror your final words to events in your opener. When you reach the ending, go back to ensure some element in each of your complications will point to the beginning. It’s the tie-back tactic. Merely create a feeling that the final words hearken to an earlier moment in the story.
By James V. Smith Jr.
|—||Coco J. Ginger (via amandaonwriting)|
10 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers
- Make time to write every day.
- Create an online presence as an author.
- Complete one piece of writing at a time.
- Read more.
- Find a place to write and make it your own.
- Set deadlines and submit your work.
- If you’re stuck, try a new genre
- Take a course to help you with your writing.
- Connect with other authors and find your community.
- Learn about ePublishing, learn how to market, and sell, your books and yourself as an author.
Six Types of Courageous Characters
by K.M. Weiland, author of Dreamlander
1. Heroic Bravery
When we think of heroes these days, we generally think of those who qualify for heroic bravery.
What is it? This is the kind of bravery that makes a character do crazy dangerous stuff, either to protect others or to advance a cause in which he passionately believes. He’s not a fool. He knows what he’s risking, but he believes the danger is worth it.
2. Steadfast Bravery
Steadfast bravery isn’t as flashy as heroic bravery (although it exhibits bursts of heroism), but its patient doggedness challenges fate every single day.
What is it? This is the kind of bravery we see from someone who is enduring a bad or dangerous situation day in and day out. A POW, a soldier in the trenches, or an informant in enemy territory will probably exhibit steadfast bravery.
3. Quiet Bravery
This one is perhaps the least flashy of any type of bravery. It can even occasionally be confused with cowardice.
What is it? Quiet bravery gives a character the courage needed to endure bad situations with grace and patience. It’s basically an offshoot of steadfast bravery, but it usually surfaces in situations that are less physically dangerous. Cancer patients, overworked single mothers, and trod-upon servants who maintain their sense of self-worth and hope all exhibit quiet bravery.
4. Personal Bravery
Not all brave characters are going to face death or save the world. Sometimes the bravest thing a person can do is take a chance to advance his own lot in life.
What is it? Personal bravery demands characters reach for the stars and chase their dreams. Instead of remaining in a bad situation and taking it and taking it, they risk everything for a chance at a better life. Personal bravery is perhaps the most common kind of bravery of all, since it’s something every single one of us chooses to exhibit at one point or another in our lives, whether it’s in dreaming of a better education, a better career, or just a life-changing trip around the world.
5. Devil-May-Care Bravery
Here we find the domain of the anti-hero and the fatalist.
What is it? Devil-may-care bravery isn’t bravery so much as a cynical realization that death (or whatever the worst-case scenario may be) will come no matter what we do, ergo let’s meet it with arms stretched wide. Characters who have nothing to live for can often exhibit insane courage, but they’re doing it from a place of negativity.
6. Frightened Bravery
Finally, we have the most dichotomous, and often the most compelling, bravery of all.
What is it? Frightened bravery finds the hero a knee-shaking, gut-churning, terrified mess. But he rises above it. He enters the fray in spite of his terror, and, in so doing, becomes the bravest of all characters. Frightened bravery can go hand in hand with any of the other types (save perhaps devil-may-care bravery), since the very act of overcoming fear is what makes a character brave.
None of these categories are exclusive. A character may well exhibit all six types of bravery during the course of your story, and often you’ll find the categories overlapping. In creating a strong character, it’s important not only that he qualify for at least one of these types of bravery, but also that you identify which is the strongest category, so you can further strengthen it on the page. Once you’ve done that, it’s almost a cinch readers will find your character fascinating.