Writing through Adversities…

Is it possible to write when your emotions are in a whirlwind? To write when you cannot concentrate? Can writing through turbulent emotional upheavals be a balm to your frayed nerves?

For some of you, the answer to these questions is a resounding YES! For others, when the pain is new and still raw…the absolute last thing on your mind is sorting through the maze enough to talk in intelligent sentences much less write anything intelligible.

I seem to be in the second of the two options. Even now, over a month after my dad’s massive stroke, I find it difficult to gather my thoughts. I most probably would not be writing this particular entry, but for a friend asking if I’d posted anything on my blog lately.

At times like these, I feel most like a fraud. A very sad fraud. I feel like a painting of a once beautiful meadow filled with the excitement of rampant color; vivid yellows, blues, and greens blended from a perfect palate until they seem to pop off the canvas. Then… before the blending of hues can be fully appreciated, the meadow in a blink of an eye, becomes completely devoid of color. I look inward and see nothing but shades of grey. I see a heavy heart that beats under protest, emotions worn to nothing just as the artist’s charcoal wears under the constant friction of creating art. I am tired, lost and I don’t quite know how to let go…

Something about Helium

I still think Helium is a great place to showcase writing, however, there is one drawback to posting on the site that I didn’t realize BEFORE I posted two of my short stories. You will never be allowed to remove posts from the site. Most magazines will not accept stories unless they can buy first rights. And, they don’t want simultaneous publications. So, I guess you might say that I’m s…o…l…where publishing those particular short stories are concerned.

On a lighter note, I was able to write today. WOOT!!! Some good stuff, If I say so myself.

Writing is bliss…

…well, its bliss when you’re in the “zone”, when the words flow from the mind to the page effortlessly. When the words flow, it is nirvana to the starving writer’s soul. Today, I tasted of that nirvana. For fifteen wonderful, nearly error free pages, I feasted at the alter of “the flow” until “the flow” became a trickle, then …nothing. But hey, I’m happy and for the first time in a long time, I’m excited and looking forward to  the block of time set aside tomorrow for working on my novel.

Freeing the writer within…

Hello WordPress Land of Writers,

The writer within me is a timid creature, easily silenced by my inner critic-as in, my evil and needs to be destroyed, inner critic. In all fairness, I can not blame everything on her, because, I have all kinds of nasty habits, all conspiring to keep me from doing what I’m driven to do; be a successful writer. My Good writing day begins like this…I wake up.

Seriously though, I do wake up and I’m usually babbling some line of dialogue, describing scenery or setting just as if I were reading from some work already published. Am I a “freak of nature” or does this happen with anyone else? Anyway, I never get it all written down because one of my more irritating habits kicks in. I inevitably stop to correct a misspelled word or maybe my sentence sounded awkward, so I revised the offending line of misplaced words. This interrupts my flow, my train of thought, it flits and flutters away like a beautiful butterfly emerging from its cocoon never to be seen again; it gets lost in the sea of other butterflies also doing the emerging thing.

I’ve read many-too many-books on writing and I know not to give in to these aberrations, I know to just keep writing and correct everything during the re-write. I KNOW THIS! And yet…Yes, I’m doing it now. How embarrassing for me. I can feel the heat in my face.

Start A Journal

I will soon be 51 years old and I’ve played at writing most of my life. It has taken me this long to discover the benefits of keeping a journal. Everyday, morning  noon or night, whenever I find a free moment, I try to write 3 pages in my journal. Sometimes it’s what happened the day before, other times, I vent. I’ve found venting on the page most beneficial. My journal does not run back and tell  what I said. This is a good thing.

Character vs. Plot

I want to write a series of small articles dealing with the craft of writing. More specifically, my take on the different elements of the craft. If anyone stumbles upon my blog and disagrees with me, or would like to correct my assumptions, or add any comments, please feel free to do so.

Today, I am going to make a few statements about building the story around a character or building a story through plot points. Some would term this character driven stories or plot driven stories.

Let’s say you have a great character bumping around in your mind, but that’s all. Logically, you need to ask yourself lots of questions about this character. You need to know what this character wants, his/her goals. Once you figure that out, you need to place as many obstacles in his/her path as you can think of with each obstacle increasingly more difficult to overcome. With a character driven story, the character makes decisions about the story events that forces the plot forward.

On the other hand, let’s assume you have a great story to tell, but you don’t have any characters to populate your masterpiece. First, you will need to think about what kind of character can best tell the story you want told. Again, you need to ask yourself a lot of questions about this character. But remember, your plot points will force the character to react to them.

In summary, remember that with character driven stories, the character’s decisions or actions creates the events that drives the plot forward. In a plot driven story, the plot (events in the story) force the character to react and make decisions based on the events. The plot is more important than the character.
I have intentionally stripped this blog about character vs. plot down to the basics. There are more things to consider and in order to create the best story possible, but you will need to either do some online research or buy a book on the subject.

My Personal Writing Struggles

Story Structure…What does this mean?

Put simply, all this means is plotting the story before it is written. It involves asking yourself many questions about your main character, impact character and their goals. Asking questions about what kind of story you want to tell , what you want to happen in the story, and obstacles you want your characters to overcome (the more the better). Once you know as much about these elements as possible, then you arrange them into plot points that will best describe the story you want to tell.

However, there are many writers that feel this method of plotting the story beforehand inhibits their creativity. And so they proceed straight to the writing and trust that their muse will lead them in the right direction. I recommend trying both to decide what works best for you.

I’m reading a book now that I know will be very helpful in my journey to become a better writer.
“Story Structure Architect” by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.

I purchased my copy by way of Barnes & Noble.

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