Winter has finally arrived here in Australia and the frosts have become heavier. Within the first week of June, the water around our water tank formed a stalagmite and the grass was literally ice underneath my feet. This month I’ve found some blog posts that I hope you find helpful with your current writing projects. Happy reading!
Because writing is such a solitary pursuit and can involve a great deal of silence, listening to music can help break that monotony. There is a quote that I find seems to sum up music pretty well – When Words Fail, Music Speaks. Of-course, as writers, we don’t want our words to fail; however, there are times when music can help us find exactly what it is we are looking for. Here are some ways in which music can help us as writers.
I find listening to music can be a great motivator. In order to help with a positive start to the day and even get some writing done, listening to certain music can help. Find the music that cheers you up and/or songs with lyrics that get you motivated. My ‘go to’ motivator at the moment is Butterflies and Hurricanes by Muse (preferably the live version) – brilliant song and the lyrics are well suited to start writing.
Song titles are a great source of inspiration. After reading Anne R Allen’s post regarding book titles, I googled the discography of one particular artist and wrote down song titles that appealed to me. As a result, I came up with 55 song titles that could be used for ideas for short stories, novellas or novels. Through various other song titles, I have also come up with an idea that can be explored within a genre I generally don’t write in.
Watching video clips can often spark an idea for a story. They can also help envisage setting and/or a particular mood. One video clip that has always captured my imagination is The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails. It has a wonderful gothic look and, combined with the lyrics, it helps conjure up ideas for one of my WIPs.
Some people write while listening to music, but I find it distracting; however some music can be of benefit to setting a scene or a mood within our stories. Movie soundtracks, or music from video games or television shows can really fire up the imagination or bring a tear to the eye (The Death of Jane Seymour – A Howling Wilderness from Season 3 of The Tudors gets me every time). Feeling such emotions from the music we listen to can help transform that emotion into the scenes we write.
Can you think of any other ways in which music can help writers?Do you use music to help you get motivated? Have you turned to music for story inspiration? Do you listen to music as you write or do you prefer to write in silence?
Winter is almost upon us here in Australia; the last of the autumn leaves are still falling and light frosts have arrived. This month I’ve found some blog posts to help keep you motivated with your writing projects as we approach mid year. Happy reading!
Recently, I have been coming up with new ideas for stories, which has been great. At one point, I was unsure about how to approach one particular idea and was thinking of asking a question about it on an on-line writing group. I became hesitant simply because I was uncertain of the whole idea myself.
When we come up with new story ideas, it can sometimes be difficult to contain our excitement. We want others to be excited about it too. Many years ago, I would let my friends read the stories I was writing at the time. My friends were always interested in what I was writing and were eager to read more, but I would eventually reach the point where I had lost interest. I had no idea where the stories were going; there was no real plot and I only had the basic knowledge of my characters. It therefore came as no surprise to me that I never finished these stories, thus leaving my friends disappointed and I had many incomplete stories lying around.
Since that time, I have gone the other extreme and now think too long about my stories and characters, that I am lucky to send anything off (I really do need to learn when enough is enough). Whenever I am asked what it is I am currently working on these days, I only give the very basics away.
It may be different for other creatives, such as artists and musicians to describe a new project – people may have to see it or hear it in order to understand it better. For writers, however, we are perfectly able to give people the basics of what it is we are trying to create as these things are easier to put in words, which is our art form. Talking to others about our projects, before we fully understand them ourselves can destroy an idea before it really gets started.
So when you come up with a new idea for a story or working on something new, keep a lid on it; enjoy the process. You need to work it all out for yourself without having to let others either confuse you or discourage you. As Stephen King said: ‘Write with the door closed. Re-write with the door open’.
Do you tell others what you’re working on? Do you find it to be a help or a hindrance? Do you prefer to keep quiet about your work in progress? Do you find yourself thinking too much about a project before sending it off?
April has seen some big storms throughout the state of New South Wales. Temperatures have dropped so low, it’s feeling more like we’ve moved straight into winter rather than the middle of autumn. Here is a list of blog posts to help keep you inspired during the cooler months. Happy reading!
The last days of summer have begun to fade away this month and a chill is in the air. With the cooler weather, it’s a great time to get outdoors to do some reading. I’ve found some great blog posts this month for those of you testing the waters with a new writing project, taking the plunge into publication or drowning in social media. Happy reading!
This month sees the end of summer here in Australia, and some of you may already be struggling with your new writing resolutions. Starting this month, I have compiled a list of blog articles that you might find helpful with your writing projects. Happy reading!
A few years ago I began writing short stories and eventually took the plunge in submitting some of them into competitions. After having little success, I became disheartened, especially after paying entry fees and receiving no feedback. Eventually I gave up my short stories and began wondering if they were becoming a lost art.
Last year, however, I attended a Short Story Workshop and posted on my blog advice on Writing the Short Story. Now I am delighted to see that lately there has been a bit of discussion about the short story form. Due to people’s hectic lifestyles, shorter attention spans and indie publishing, there is renewed interest – May was unofficially short story month.
So for new, unpublished writers, I’ve come up with three reasons why you should try writing the short story:
1. Short stories help you get to the point quickly.
Short stories don’t need a lot of build-up on setting and character development, so you need to get to the action right away. This enables you to help hook your reader in, which is a great help when you want to write longer pieces. Also, getting to the point quicker can assist with writing your resolution – an added bonus if you struggle with endings.
2. Short stories tighten your writing.
With a much shorter word count than the novel, short story writing can help you with the editing process. You need to use fewer words in order to get your message across, so you need to make every word count. Entering competitions is a great way to help reach that all important quota (just because the form is shorter, it doesn’t mean they’re any easier to write).
3. Writing short stories helps build up a body of work.
Short stories are a lot less time consuming. Novels can take months and even years to write – however, depending on the length, the first draft of some short stories can be written within a week, even within a day. You receive quicker feedback from your beta readers, so you have a better understanding on how your writing is progressing. A larger body of work can tell publishers that you are taking your writing seriously.
Feeling inspired by this resurgence, lately I’ve been bringing new life into some of my short stories – how about you?
What are your thoughts on the renewed interest in the short story? Do you write them? Have you ever entered any into competitions? Were you successful? Have you given up on competitions and submitted them to publications instead?
Being a writer these days can be difficult; expectations are high. As well as writing great books, we’re also required to be marketing gurus. We can become so bogged down with too much noise that our muse can sometimes get lost.
When we’re new to writing and begin writing our stories, it’s exciting. We’re so full of enthusiasm that we’re likely to try our hands at just about anything – even the latest trends, or the more popular genres. I know; I’ve been there myself. I used to see certain genres as my way of ‘making it’ as a writer. But is all of this really to do with pleasing ourselves or with pleasing others? We can spend our whole lives pleasing other people, but here’s the rub – pleasing other people all the time can become draining, physically as well as emotionally. When we write, we need to please ourselves first and foremost; otherwise, where is the pleasure in it?
When it comes to writing we need to be true to ourselves. Rather than imitate other authors, we need to dare to be different. It will help our work stand apart from those other books upon the shelves and one sure way to make our name memorable. Kristen Lamb has a great blog post on Steve Jobs and 5 Tips for Being a Successful Author which I highly recommend.
I had been writing for many years and the only pieces of writing I ever had published were either non-fiction pieces or poetry. The problem was I had read so many different genres, I therefore wrote in such a wide variety of them that I didn’t have any real focus. Yet, despite all of this, over the years the fiction writing I did not only helped me in my craft, but helped steer me towards my chosen genres. I experimented with what worked for me and what didn’t; I stretched myself as a writer until eventually I was writing for me – I had lost all interest in trends and writing in genres I wasn’t comfortable with. I had finally found my voice.
While watching The Book Club a few months back, guest author China Mieville said something that caught my attention and I just had to write it down. He said: ‘The job of a writer is not to give the readers what they want; the job of a writer is to make readers want what we give’. It’s a valid point and one that he has apparently been saying for years. He believes this might make the writers’ job harder, but it also makes it much more interesting.
Yes, our writing needs to be something that both readers and publishers will like, but it also needs to be something that we ourselves will like. Forget the latest trend; instead concentrate on your craft in order to find your own unique voice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your writing, but write with passion. If you don’t feel that, neither will your readers.
Are you struggling to find your writer’s voice? Are you experimenting with your writing? Do you agree with China Mieville? Do you have difficulties with focusing on one task at a time?