Monday, June 29, 2015

3 Writing Questions Answered!

     "What tips would you have for someone who has a bazillion (slight exaggeration hehe) ideas going at once and has a number of stories being written at once? I tend to find myself starting new stories before actually finishing others and now it has gotten to the point where I am wondering if I will ever finish a story!" -Monique

     I would never want to tell an author to suppress inspiration, especially when you're young. If inspiration hits, write it--whether it be a few sentences or a few pages. In fact, it might actually help you finish your main story if you take small breaks to work on other stories to get those ideas out of your head so you can focus on your main story once again! If you still have trouble, you can always just set a certain time to write a story and refuse to work on anything else during that time until the story is done. Perhaps start with short stories or novellas that you know you will be able to finish if you just have a bit of self-control!

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     "My name is Arianna and I’ve been wanting to write a book for years now. I’m only in the 8th grade, but I love writing so much! I’ve been having some trouble coming up with a good beginning. If you have any advice about writing a good beginning, I would really appreciate getting some." -Arianna

     My advice is to just WRITE and not freak out if it's a not a masterpiece because if you just keep doing it you'll grow in leaps and bounds!
     I actually have two articles on this:
     Basically: good openings avoid extreme cliches or at least do something creative with them, introduce the most important elements of the story, and grab the reader's attention. Think of picking up a random book from the bookstore and flipping to the first page: what would make you want to keep reading?
     Sometimes it helps to get a few chapters into your story before deciding on the best place to actually start. Just start SOMEWHERE and go from there, even if later you find out the middle of the story should be the beginning!
     Another note: often stories are started too early with too much exposition. It's best to start close to the catalyst of main events. This article might help too:

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     "I have a question, I am trying to break a horrible spell of writer's block, a creative stifle. I am actually an aspiring filmmaker but I want to make a small film that involves simple human conflicts...a story that I could tell visually without too many words. I want to draw the viewer in with imagery that causes the audience to ask the question what's going to happen next. Any advice on where to find these conflicts or a way to observe them in real life?" -Marty
     I once went to this filmmaking conference thing and one of the speakers said that one of the most important things a director can do is simply observe life, people, and their interactions. So, to you I'd recommend observing people's conflicts, from small ones in public to potentially big ones happening with your friends and family. Conflict is constant in the real world, so the key is to reflect that in writing because conflict drives a story!
     Getting people to ask "what happens next" often arises from wondering how a character is going to solve a conflict. Example: John wants to win back Betty's affection and he knows the usual flowers and box of chocolate won't work, but he is determined to come up with a scheme that will win her heart. That's sort of cliche, but if done well it still might make the audience wonder what John will do.
     Observing conflict in the real world is the best way to get realistic and original ideas, but if you're feeling some writer's block it might also be useful to watch some movies or read some books in a different genre than you normally do and be on the lookout for types of conflict.

Note: These are sections from emails I have received, not the entire communications. Also, I have made corrections typos.