Category: Thoughts (page 2 of 2)

13 Things I’ve Learnt in a Year of Writing.

Hello internet people,

I’m not exactly sure when I started seriously writing. A year ago I was probably in the midst of outlining Girl of the Rumours. I believe I started actually writing in the end of June. I had also been dabbling for over a year before that.

Anyway I’ve learnt quite a bit in that year. These are of course just my experience and you may find things work differently. But I also thought these little bits of knowledge could be quite useful. I thought I had a dozen, but I found I had miscounted and had an extra one. But I’m a baker so that’s okay.

  1. It’s important to know where the story is headed from the beginning
    1. I got stuck in a major way when I realized that the climax I had planned didn’t actually work as a climax. The story would have needed on the wrong note. So I tried adding other stuff on afterwards.

    2. I need my outline to be loose
    3. The further along in the story I was, the more the more it differed from what I had originally planned. I was still headed on roughly the same direction, but the details changed. When I actually get to a point in the story I can see clearer what the character would do. Also I discover things that don’t really make sense. My outline wasn’t very tight, and I don’t think I ever will outline tightly. I also found it can be good to outline roughly and then add more detail as I approach it.

    4. It’s okay to go back and rewrite before continuing
    5. I know it is recommended not to edit the first draft. I’m not talking about editing though. I’m talking about when you realize that what you just wrote was all wrong. Go back and write what the story needs. It will help keep the story on the right course.

    6. It’s also okay to just rewrite it in your head
    7. Sometimes I realized that some of the earlier event of the book happened differently. I even removed a character who did appear quite a bit in the beginning. But since it was back a long way and I knew where I was going, despite the changes. I just made few notes and didn’t actually rewrite it at the time. That means that my idea of the story and what I actually have written are different. Also I now know that I would have still had to make even more changes.

    8. It’s okay to summarize
    9. There were times when I was little bored with a bit, or just couldn’t quite figure it out. Instead trying to push through it I just put in some vague place holder test such as, “Aydel does something awesome to escape,” or “They got back safely.”

    10. Or write badly
    11. I did a lot of this. Sometimes I just let dialogue ramble on stupidly. Sometimes I left out dialogue tags, Sometimes there was no description or someone contradicted what they just said. And sometime I just plain didn’t like it. It kept me going. I’m just going to be rewriting the whole thing anyway, so it would have been a waste to make it beautiful

    12. Or write out of order
    13. I didn’t do a lot of this. But there where times when I was stuck but had an idea of what might happen later, or I realized that I had missed an important scene. Sometime I wasn’t even quite sure what order it should go in. I wrote it anyway.

    14. It’s possible to write when you don’t know what’s going to happen next
    15. I know I said I needed to know where the story was headed. Well one time id really had very little idea. I knew that Leisa had to warn the others about danger, but I didn’t know what the danger was. At the very last minute I figured it out. And then I still didn’t know what was really happening in my climax. But it was all right. I survived. It’s a dreadful mess, but I did finish it.

    16. Continuing to write is often the best way to sort things out
    17. This has really already been covered, but if you’re stuck keep trying to write. Even if you end up writing about your story instead, I t can help. You’re bungling along, and then suddenly you know the answer, or at least something that looks like an answer and will do for now.

    18. Ideas aren’t always brilliant as they first seem
    19. This is sad a but very true. I found the perfect answer that was going to solve my plot problems many times. Then I actually stated thinking about the plot again and realized things weren’t any better. It will happen and there’s not really anything you can do about it. But sometime an idea really will be good and sound. It may be one that come slowly, a little bit at a time.

    20. Main characters must have a consistent goal
    21. This was my biggest problem and the key to solving my story. Since I had added more onto the end, it didn’t all fit consistently together. Aydel’s actions were inconsistent or at times rather stupid. Just a couple of weeks ago I realized what goal would try everything together. And then all I had to do was figure out how everything else interacted with that. Insert a few other little ideas and her actions mostly make sense.

    22. Characters need to have the right name
    23. I wasn’t completely happy with the name of one of my main characters. He also had very little personality. He wasn’t charming enough, or smart enough, or at all intriguing. His name made him sound stupid. Once I had the right name everything snapped into place. I’ve had the same experience with other characters on a smaller scale. Names do dictate our impressions, even when we make them up ourselves. So if you have trouble with a character consider changing at least part of his name.

    24. I need some kind of daily or monthly goal
    25. When I don’t have a goal, I don’t get as much done; it’s as simple as that. Even though I do love my story and am excited about it, there are so many other thing that take up my life. The goal give me something to work towards, and forces me to make time for writing. But I do find that high goals stress me, so I try to avoid that.

    Did any of you gain anything useful from that? Should I make more lists like this? Comment and let me know. My next post will probably be the Beautiful People link-up and I’m going to tell you about a sweet red-head girl named Mim.

    Beautiful People – Writers edition

    Well, after being away for over a week and basically spending the beginning of the year strangely, I feel a bit disoriented. Because conferences with full catering are nothing like normal life. It’s like being in another world that operates under completely different rules. Except that rain still makes you wet and it’s still hard to talk to strangers.

    Because of that, I can’t come up with anything wonderful and I’m just going to do the beautiful people linkup. I have already answered some of these questions partially, so I hope you won’t mind me repeating myself.

    What were your writing achievements last year?
    I actually started writing.  I proved to myself that I can meet goals sometimes.

    Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?
    Finishing my first book, which is going to involve a lot of work.

    List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.
    Dialogue. I have a tendency to let my character ramble all over the subject. I need to work on being more concise.
    Scene structure. I really don’t know much about that at all.
    Simplicity. My ideas always seem to become huge and complicated in order to support a whole plot. Writing faster. Everything is going really slowly at the moment. If I want to get three books drafted this years I need to speed up.
    Being more organized with my writing time.

    Are you participating in any writing challenges?
    I intend to do both Camp Nanowrimos and maybe even full NaNoWriMo.

    What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?
    I do have a writing partner. I haven’t actually sent her anything though. Soon I hope to be at a stage where I will want to do that.

    Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year?
    Yes. I have a stack of four on the floor near me and I actually am going to buy a couple.
    Or are there specific books you want to read for research? 
    The History of Venice is partly story research and I’m sure I’ll pick up a few more things.

    Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this? 
    The unnamed protagonist of my second story. I know next to nothing about her. I’ll have to start by fleshing the story idea out a bit more and figuring out what I need her to be like. Then I’ll have to be creative.

    Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack? 
    I will be either editing or completely rewriting. I’ll do the first edit when I type my hand written draft into the computer.

    Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world? 
    More books that actually teach you the truth about reality. Subtly and in fun ways of course.

    What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

    One book ready for beta readers and a couple more roughly drafted.

    What do you all think I should try to write this year? Even give me your crazy ideas.

    The light

    I thought I’d share one of my favourite passage for Christmas. I love it because it is so simple.

    John 1:1-14 (NKJV) 

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
    He was in the beginning with God. 
    All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 
    In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 
    And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 
    There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 
    This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 
    He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 
    That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 
    He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 
    He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 
     But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 
    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

    Reading Thoughtfully

    There, my final tagline post.

    I believe that as Christians it is not wise or right to just read a book without thinking about what it is trying to say. You may say, ‘it’s just a story’. But it isn’t. Ideas aren’t neutral. Either they line up with God’s truth or they don’t. It’s simple.

    So when I read I try to analyse what the author is trying to say. Or maybe not even trying. Many people are just trying to tell a enjoyable story. But still their view of the world is going to come through. So it’s probably a good idea to find out something of what the author believes before reading their book. I must admit that I often forget to do that. But I still try to figure it out. I don’t want to find that I am believing a lie.

    Of course this doesn’t I only read books that are written from a certain world view. This year I found out a series I was reading, was written by a LDS lady. I still kept reading and enjoyed them. There was still a lot of truth in them. Knowing where she was coming from helped me know what errors to look out for. I’ll do a full review sometime.

    I enjoy some older books that aren’t strictly classed as Christian. Especially accurate historical fiction. In the past the general culture was more Christian and this is reflected in some books. I wouldn’t read a contemporary secular book though because they have so much filth in them. And some Christian books aren’t  a lot better.

    When I read I’m always looking for a godly theme or message in it. This may be because my family has a general stance against reading a lot of fiction and I feel that I need to justify having spent time on that book. When I haven’t learnt anything from a book it feels like a waste of time.

    I also read as a writer. Since I started writing, I’ve never looked a story the same way again. I notice the plot, I notice little things like alliteration, I notice little mistakes, like using the same word too many times. That may be because I’m reading aloud to my brothers though. But when I read to them I keep making little comments.

    I also think about movies and music. With movies I even have a pen and note pad. Often I don’t write anything down, but we talk about things still. And with music I usually  think about what it is saying. That is why I like songs from scripture. I don’t have to analyse it. God’s word is the one thing we are safe not to filter. and even then I think about it.

    Thinking about stories hasn’t lessened my enjoyment though. I think it has made it greater. I will follow these same standards when I do book reviews. That probably won’t be very often as I’m not a great reviewer, but it’ll happen occasionally.

    Living Joyfully

    Hello readers,

    I decided to do my posts out of order. I had planned to talk about reading, but sometimes, you just want to talk about life. (There I go talking about myself in the second person again)

    Even when life is hard, we should still be able to find some joy. Christ has rescued us from death and sin and that ought to be enough. And then there are so many simples joys in life. Things like lovely weather, cooking, or gardening.

    A little while ago I harvested the first garlic for the year. I like growing garlic. It’s so simple. Just stick the cloves in the ground and seven or eight months later you pull out whole heads. One on them was a little early and there’s lots more coming. I harvested another head today in fact. I am very glad I planted as much as I did, because we probably aren’t going to get much else this season. We have a problem. Our plants are being eaten.

    By mice we thought. Because we knew we had mice. But we weren’t catching any. Even with a get-the-peanut-butter-and-fall-into-a-bucket-of-water trap. something was getting the peanut butter though. And now we know what it is. Rats. So we got the rabbit trap set up and we are waiting for night to come. But at least rats don’t like garlic.

    The same day I harvested the garlic I was also making bread, and I took some photos. So here they are. I make bread because then I can know exactly what’s in it. Or not in it. It doesn’t have a lot of things in it. But it’s really good.

    Anyway this post doesn’t seem to have a great point to it, but life is like that sometimes. Not everything seems to be hugely important. But we do it anyway and we find joy in it. Not because of what we are doing, but because of who we are, children of the living God. May you find joy in him.

    It’s Ilyon Day!

    Hey there,
    This is the day when I get to talk about some of my favourite books, the Ilyon Chronicles, by Jaye L. Knight.

    First I want to thank Rachael Steele over at The Art of Writing for Him for suggesting this. And Jaye for writing the books, and anyone else involved in their production.

    Short Review:
    The books are amazing stories of faith in the midst of persecution. They caused me to consider my faith deeper. They made me laugh and almost cry. (I don’t cry easily when reading.)
    Jaye is a very skilled writer. her books are very deep emotionally. They are not for the faint of heart though as she does not gloss over violence. They have no more violence than there is in the real world, but some people might find it too much. Apart from that they are clean though.
    She has very relate-able characters and a stunning world. I can hardly wait to see where she will take us in the next book. I would recommend them for about 16+.

    Character Spotlight:
    Kyrin Altair is one of my favourite characters. I relate very well to her as we have much in common: two older and two younger brothers(no twin brother though), brown hair, similar personalities. We are both shy, both love our family. My family is closer than hers, (in the beginning at least), but that is mostly a result of circumstance.
    I greatly look up to Kyrin and I am inspired by her. Her faith is phenomenal. I hope, I trust and pray, that I would be as brave as her under persecution. However I am afraid that I, in her situation, would not have befriended Jace. I may have pitied him, perhaps even defended him a bit, but I would have just stayed in my safe little shell. The fear of being hurt or rejected, the fear of what others might think, the fear of opening my self up would have kept me from truly showing God’s love to one who badly needed it. It did not stop Kyrin. She stepped out in faith and did what God wanted her to. She did not give up. She was brave and became a friend. That is what I admire most about her.

    Martyr Spotlight:
    I recently hear the story of an early Christian martyr in Carthage. Perpetua was a young married noblewoman with a nursing baby. She had her child with her in prison and her father pleading with her to recant her faith. She stood firm though and and was martyred along with her companions. Her story is quite fascinating. Look her up.

    Prayer Points:
    There are so many Christians being persecuted right now. I ma just going to list a few of them. There are many more who need prayer.
    Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, Meriam Ibrahim, Pastor Farshid Fathi, Pastor Behnam Irani, Asia Bibi.
    Here is a good list of what to pray:

    I may or may not be posting again this week. ‘Til next time,
    God be with you all.

    Writing Intentionally

    Welcome to my blog. I hope you will enjoy and be encouraged by what I write here.

    Let me introduce myself. I am a writer. I go by Anna, but some people might know me as Bria. I’m fairly new to writing. I was the girl who never enjoyed writing assignment very much. My parents were very surprised when I started writing. I was slightly less surprised, I’d given myself more time to get used to it. I honestly didn’t tell them until after I’d been planning for several months.

    The beautiful pen my little brother made me, sitting right on top of my writing.

    It really started when I had a good idea. Before that I’d only thought of mixing up fairy-tales and a few other stories. Those ideas were not original at all. I did make up other stories in my head and play act them with my brothers, but I never thought of writing any of them down. They probably weren’t that good anyway.

    I thought I should start by explaining my motto/tagline. I’m going to do it one part at a time, probably posting once a week. I might have some extra posts occasionally though.
    So writing intentionally, what do I mean by that? I don’t mean that I always write exactly what I meant to, or that I write whenever I intend to. (I wish that was the case though) I mean that I write with an intention, a purpose.
    I don’t want to just be entertaining, I want to make people think deeper at the same time. I want to to show truth. By showing, not telling. I don’t want to write another preachy story or an overdone allegory.
    I’m going to share a quote from one of my favourite writing books, Story Trumps Structure by Steven James. This is a great book even if you outline your stories in detail. It has great insights in to many parts of writing. Chapter 20: Meaning, is simply amazing. The quote is from there.

    “Propaganda is when a viewpoint is promoted regardless of truth. Art is when truth is rendered regardless of agenda. Art rips the veil away, revealing reality in a way we cannot ignore. It forces us to see the world as it is, to see ourselves as we truly are, and to embrace once again the deep actualities of human nature that we know but so easily forget. Within art, truth touches time, debate becomes irrelevant, and thematic summaries are unnecessary.
    Every story happens within a distinctly moral universal. There may be immoral stories, but there are no amoral stories. They’re all told from a certain world view, from a specific perspective. Every story is based on perceptions of right and wrong, good and evil, life and death. They all come from a set of beliefs and assumptions about the world and about what matters.
    Or, perhaps that nothing ultimately matters.
    That God doesn’t exist.
    That he does.
    That he’s in control.
    That he’s not.
    That he cares about you.
    That he doesn’t.
    Do our choices really make a difference, or, at the end of the day, are our lives inconsequential in the big scheme of things? Will justice prevail, or is it an illusion? All of these questions and issues matter, and the views of the author will affect how they are approached.
    There’s a difference between a story’s moral fabric and your own moral agenda. Strive to let your fiction depict the truth of the world as it really is, rather than how you wish it were.”

    James, Steven. Story Trumps Structure (Pages 239-240). Writer’s Digest Books.

    That is my goal. To present the moral truths of the world. Not necessarily the historical or physical facts. I am writing fantasy, but I’m not going to distort God’s reality. At least that is my prayer. I know I’m not perfect. There is no way I could write a perfect book. But I will do my best. I certainly intend for it to be fun though. And or it to be different. I hope to make other people’s live a least a little bit better in some way by my writing.

    Also Matthew 12:36 says that we will have to give an account for every idle word spoken. I think that applies to written words too. They are much more permanent and spread far wider. So with God’s help I will write well.

    I’ll be back here next Tuesday for a special post. and I may just have something else in between.

    There you made it to the bottom of my first post. That wasn’t too hard was it?

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