Writing: The Basics

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Here are just a couple of writing tips (because you all know me, I love writing).

Section one: Write. 
That's all you have to do. Write. Write whatever you want. Write all the time. Write. Whenever you write something, you're writing. When you publish something, you're a writer. Journal entries is writing. Blog posts are writing. Novel writing is writing. Short story writing is writing. If you want to be a writer/want to write a book/novel/story, all you really just need to do is write often and whenever you can.
Fact about me: I have two hand writings, my fast writing (when I've got so much to write in so little time, or I'm at a very exciting part) and my normal writing, when I actually take the time to write nice. (I use the fast one much more often)


Section two: Journaling
Something that will really help you in your writing is Journaling. I find journaling very refreshing because there are no rules. No one else but you will ever see it (unless you want to show it to someone). You don't have to worry about your spelling or your grammar. You don't have to worry about what anyone will think of your writing. Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts down and embrace your writing abilities.
Yep. that's my journal. 

Section three: Ideas
For a lot of people, writing ideas do not come easily. For me, I'm kind of in between. It really just depends. Often times I get what I call 'Writer's high' (like how you can get sugar high from too much sugar), where I find myself writing like crazy and millions of ideas are all coming at me in a rush and all I can think about is writing. For times like this, I find my writing ideas notebook very handy for writing things down. I've always got my Ideas Notebook with me incase I get any ideas for new books or a book that I'm working on. I really encourage you all to keep a Ideas Notebook, because that way, you won't loose any of your ideas. And when you have those times when you can't think of anything to write, you can go back to your ideas notebook.

My ideas notebook is pretty and blue and was sent to me by one of my friends/penpals.


I like to put a number and date by my ideas, I started writing ideas on January 6th, and I now have 20 ideas. I also like using color (just for fun). A lot of my ideas a super stupid, but they are still ideas. Just make sure you write anything and everything down, you never know when it will come in handy! I've used my ideas notebook twice for writing class (my teacher was actually really happy that I kept an ideas notebook).

Section four: Tell People
You have no idea how just telling people about your stories/writing helps. I never even knew until this year (but then again, I was never so much into writing until November, thank the Lord for NaNoWriMo!) If you haven't told anyone about your latest story--Tell someone. Right now. I'm not kidding. Now. 
Now that you have experienced how much talking about your writings helps, you may or may not know why I think it's so important. When I tell my friends about my books (which I do very often) I always get at least one idea for it, just by talking about it. I'm also asked questions and have to find an answer for them about my story, which ultimately helps me in writing the book to make things more clear or view it from a different point. Don't be afraid of telling people, it's the best thing ever, and I'm not even kidding.
{If you don't have anyone to tell, you can feel free to tell me at metheblog[at]gmail[dot]com, or even if you do have someone to tell, you can still tell me, I'd love to hear it}

Section five: The Great Um... ?
I don't call it Writer's Block, I call it 'The Great um... ?" It's where you don't know what to write, and a blank page terrifies you. 

What should you do? It's different for every person, but here are just a couple of things to try to get over the dreaded 'um...'s' 
  • Write what ever pops into your head. I've heard that this works for some people. For me it's only really worked once. You just write everything that pops into your head, everything completely random, and eventually sometime might/will come to you.
  • Tell someone. Yep. If you're stuck, tell someone about your story. Sometimes you have so many ideas that are waiting, but they can't come because the ones that you've already written are still stuck there, and telling someone about it is one way to get them out. 
  • Your Idea Book. Check your idea book, some small treasure might be waiting there for you to rediscover. 
  • Take a walk. Take a walk. By your self. And think about your story. About what you've written, about what you want to happen, and how your going to go about getting there. There's a cute little kid's show called 'my friend rabbit' and the song goes 'It's not where we're goin', but how we're gonna get there', that's a good thing to think about, how are you going to get to the end?
  • Imagine. Try imagine your story as a movie. I know it sounds weird, but sometimes it helps. Just try it, It couldn't hurt.
Sometimes it just takes time to get over the great um...'s, so sometimes it takes a little break. But don't just decide that you'll just have to take a break until you've tried everything else.

Section six: Make it come to life. literally. 

A truly good story is one that writes it's self. I'm not kidding. If you've thought everything through, you understand your setting and your characters, your story will sometimes write it's self. If you've ever said 'I didn't even know I could write that!', what you've just written probably just wrote it's self. I know it sounds really weird to think about your story/characters to be alive, but it really is true. When you begin to fight your story (like you want something else to happen, but your story is going in a completely different direction), it's alive. When you're actually writing from your heart, this is when it's alive. This has happened a couple of times in The Warrior (the book I'm currently writing). I took a lot of time to think everything through, before starting and during writing. I really knew my characters and my setting and I everything just fell into place. My characters were saying things on their own and things where happening that I hadn't really intended to happen, but it fit with the story because it was supposed to happen. The story was playing out right in front of me. So take time to get to know your characters and your setting, and your entire story, and what's supposed to happen will happen. 

Section Seven: Know your characters
You're never going to write a good story if you don't know who your character(s) are. I mean really know them. What I do is I write a couple pages of my story, then I go and write a character profile, answering the following questions, one list of questions for each of my characters (found in Spilling Ink by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter):
Happiest memory: 
Laugh hard:
What you don't want anyone to know:
Best part of your personality:
Clothes do you usually wear:
Some things you’re not very good at:
How would your best friend describe how you look:
What irritates you:
What are you afraid of:
About your family:
What does your bedroom look like:
What do your think of yourself when you look in the mirror:
Most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you:
What do you really, REALLY want more than anything else I the world:
Heart’s Desire:
 These questions have really helped me understand my characters a lot better. I feel like I know them. Like they are real. 

After answering the questions, I usually do a few sketches of the main characters and choose one that I really like. Here is my favorite of Courtney from The Warrior:


Section Eight: Don't follow the rules
I know, I know, you've always been told to follow the rules, but now, I'm telling you not to. You don't have to plan your story. You don't have to know what's going to happen before you start writing. You don't have to have a plot. All you need is one idea. You have to learn in writing that you don't have to follow the rules. Some people think that you should, but I'm telling you right now, you don't have to do anything anyone tells you you have to do in writing. Do what you want, and the story will come through.

-Megan
{I spent a lot of time on this post, and I really hope it helps you. This has probably got to be my all time favorite post that I've done}

8 comments:

  1. This was super helpful! :) Thank you sooooo much.

    xx,
    Bleah

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  2. That really did help!! Great post, and I love your picture :))
    -Jocee <3

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  3. Awesome post! I love writing and this is very helpful to me!! =)

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  4. I have two ways I write as well...fast and not so fast. haha. I write so much that I normally don't take time to make it pretty. Great tips girlie!

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  5. Wow, this is helpful! I really like your tips on "The Great ummm...." ;)

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  6. Hi Megan! I love your blog, and I'll definitely be following. :) This post is really helpful! I always appreciate writing tips. I'm a fiction writer too, and if I didn't write, I wouldn't be the same person.

    I have a 'fast' handwriting and a 'slow' handwriting too. I know it sounds weird, but I bought some gel pens to write with. They help me write quickly - since the ink comes out fairly easily. Then again, I don't really care - I can make my writing look neat when I type it up. :P

    I had an idea notebook, but I don't know where it's at. I probably ended up using it for a story. Haha. I would like to have another one. Great idea!

    The great Um! I love it! Haha! When that happens, I try writing the first thing that comes to mind. Whether it works with the story or not, it gets me writing - and sometimes it works itself into a plot. One of my favorite novels was started by just writing what first came to mind! :)

    Thanks for these tips! I especially like "Don't follow the rules." That's one thing I have to remind myself of often. :P

    -Kylie

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  7. Megan! This is so awesome! :) And what's crazy is that we're probably even more alike then we previously thought! xD
    I have a fast and normal handwriting too, I love journaling (Wowza! I use the same kind of notebooks!!), and I also draw pictures of my characters! :D hahaha. :)

    Great writing tips! I (sadly) haven't been writing any fiction lately, but just reading your post gets me excited to start doing it again. :)

    In Christ,
    Tessa

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  8. Glad I found your blog. This post is beautiful. =)

    Also, I just wanted to let you know that I'm holding a giveaway on my blog to help promote DevoFest, a youth conference for ages 7 - 17 which will offer classes in novel-writing, screenwriting, acting, etc. The winner of the giveaway will receive the YA Christian Fiction novel "Me, Just Different" by Stephanie Morrill - the first book in the Skylar Hoyt series. I just thought you might be interested. =)

    God bless,

    Tessa

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