Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: Different Mediums

You can’t tell every story using the same medium. A story suited for a comic may not be suited to become a movie without some changes. Cartoons tend to be awful when they are translated to live action. A good example of this is Pixar. Animated movies such Toy Story, Up, or Finding Nemo would lose most of what they are if they were translated to live action or even into novels. Because of this it is a good idea to think of the strengths and weaknesses of each medium.

Written stories such as novels can show you what a character is thinking, something that is most often lost when such a story is adapted into other mediums such as animation, live action, or comics. On the other hand these more visual mediums allow the writer to better describe what something or someone looks like to them. This is mainly because there is no description in such mediums unless there is an info dump using dialogue. Think of what you can do with your favoured medium so that you can better tell the story you want to tell.

Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: Use Writing Prompts

If you don’t know what to write or you have a bad case of writer’s block you can use writing prompts. Prompts give you something to write about and depending on the prompt they can even help you become a better writer by forcing you to write about something you wouldn’t normally write about. They come in word, picture, and video form, though they are most often written out. You can Google search writing prompts and you will get a lot of prompts to choose from. You can also get books filled with them. One of the best ways to get writing prompts is by participating in weekly challenges because then the decision of which prompt to use is made for you.

You could also come up with writing prompts on your own. You can put them all in a notebook, a computer folder, or in a duotang. To make it fun and random put all your prompts on small pieces of paper and put them all in a jar. When you need a prompt all you have to do is reach into the jar and take one piece of paper out and use the prompt on that piece of paper.

Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: The Elevator Pitch

Your elevator pitch is what you tell people when you want to quickly sell them on your story. It should be as short as possible while also explaining the main plot of the story. It should be possible for you to to say it in its entirety within the time span of an elevator ride, so it should be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes long. You should also use proper English and make the summary clear so that there are no misunderstandings. Don’t use references to pop culture, history, sports teams, or politics in your pitch because while many people may understand what you are saying, there is always a chance that the person you are giving it to may not get your references and become confused.

Selling your story isn’t the only thing you can use an elevator pitch for. You can make one to help you start outlining your story. The first step of the snowflake method of writing is writing a short sentence under 15 words in length which explains your major plot. The second step is expanding that sentence into a paragraph. Both the sentence and the paragraph can be used in your elevator pitch. By doing this you can become more familiar with your story and you can continue outlining from there.

Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: Conflict

Conflict is something you always need in a story. Without conflict your story will have no reason to go forward and your characters will not grow. Any problem can act as your conflict. It doesn’t matter how big the problem actually is. Your characters could be stressing out over something small and insignificant like a test, or they could be fighting against a villain to save their own lives. Your conflict is the only thing that keeps the plot moving so don’t forget it.

In many television series there will be two conflicts in any given episode which correspond to the larger plot for the entire series/season and a self-contained plot in an individual episode. This is done because though the main conflict of the series is usually something massive, it cannot keep the plot running for 12-24 45 minute episodes which is the average run time of a season of a television series. Having a smaller conflict and plot for an episode in a season and having the larger seasonal conflict making a brief appearance prevents the show from losing steam after a few episodes (at least most of the time).

Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: When is it Okay to Kill Off a Character

There are several instances where you can kill a character off in your story. This doesn’t mean that you should. A character should only die if their death has a meaning to the plot of the story or their death has a meaning that extends outside of the story, rather than just for simple shock value. Of course there are some exceptions to this such as crime procedurals and monster hunter type series where characters die and then are just forgotten about all the time, but these tend to be flat characters with simple backstories who you aren’t meant to care about after the part of the story they’re in.

A character dying suddenly in your story should be written with such care as not to be offensive, and the other characters should react to such an event in a believable way. Do your research if an illness, injury, or disease is a part of it. Do your best to make the death believable and nonoffensive, but remember that there will always be readers angry or offended at the fact that you killed off a character.

 

Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: Show, Don’t Tell

This is one of the most common pieces of advice given to newer writers. When you tell the story all you are doing is stating what happens and nothing else. You don’t write about the deeper feelings of the characters, the minor details of the setting and characters which may be useful to you later, or anything that the writer may take interest in other than the blatant events of the plot. When all you do is tell story it will be boring, this is why the common piece of advice is to show and not tell. You want to show your reader what is going on so they have a deeper connection to the story and so that they won’t read one page, shrug, and say “well that happened” before putting your story down and moving on.

Now what this piece of advice outright ignores is the fact that there are some moments where telling the story is better than showing it. In an action packed, stressful scene you don’t want to give any extra details at all even if they have a strong connection to the plot. I don’t know about you, but when I’m extra stressed out I start overlooking details and paying attention to only the basic ideas of what is going on. Characters should be the same. In this situation it is best to tell instead of show. As long as you don’t tell your story before your reader is introduced to the world and characters, telling a few scenes here and there can actually add to the emotional impact of your story.

Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: Keeping a Writer’s Journal

A writer’s journal can be a notebook or a folder on the computer. Basically a writer’s journal is a place where you can put all your unused ideas, inspirational photos, videos, and documents, and things you have observed in your writing. My writer’s journal is a notebook where I write all my story ideas. It is set up like a normal journal. I date each entry so that I have a good idea of how old the idea is and how that idea has changed over time. I also use stream of consciousness in it a lot to help me develop ideas into larger ideas and to help me get a good idea of how my writing is doing at that moment.

A writer’s journal can be helpful when you are lacking inspiration or are suffering from writer’s block. It can be in any format. Each format has its own pros and cons so you will have to figure those out to find the format best for you. For example files on a USB stick have a chance of corrupting which increases every time you access them, but a USB stick also allows you to keep a lot of files in one spot and allows you to carry them all around easily. A notebook allows you add to your writer’s journal even if you don’t have a computer or a decent internet connection, but it’s more difficult to add things to a notebook which will inspire you such as pictures and videos to the point where it is impossible to put an entire video into a notebook.