Writing · Writing Process

A Writing Update.

She’s baaack! Well, sort of. 😉

I have been absent for a few weeks and sadly, I have been neglecting my blog as well as all of you, but I have not been neglecting my current work in progress. In fact, I have become so engrossed with my current writing project, that it’s all I can think about. So, this is a quick post you keep you up to date with what’s been happening.

I’m still working on the novel I’ve been working on since earlier this year, but after writing the longest piece of writing I’ve ever done at around 80k, I was not happy with how it turned out. I went over my plot outline and reworked it so much, that I’ve basically had to start from scratch. I deleted an awful lot of words, and yes, it was painful to do, but it was completely necessary.

I began writing a paranormal and my original intention was for my protagonist’s love interest to be the antagonist (no happy ever after here, thank you very much). The thing was, that he was not happy about that at all – he wanted to be a good guy. The more I thought about it, the better my plot became, and I had a more suitable antagonist. So, okay, a paranormal romance it is then.

Now I know I wrote not that long ago, that I don’t like telling others what I’m writing; that I prefer to write with the door closed. And that’s where I will leave it; that I am still working on my work in progress and that it is a paranormal romance.

So lately I’ve been travelling in uncharted waters, but I’m having a lot of fun! And isn’t that what being a writer is all about? 😉

What have you been up to lately? How is your own writing going? Do you listen to what your characters tell you?

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Writing · Writing Process

Writing: Choosing the Right Project.

book-690763_1280After completing the first draft of my novella, I suddenly found myself stuck. I had plenty of ideas going through my head on what to write – ideas for new short stories, ideas for new novels, new ideas for existing drafts (taking some time away from the keyboard to clear the head is always beneficial). Trouble was I couldn’t come to a decision on what project to begin with.

Being faced with new ideas for writing projects makes me feel like a kid in a lolly shop being spoiled for choice. All those voices in your head clambering to be heard, shouting ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ It’s not always the loudest that gets heard; sometimes there are those that are quieter, but have been there waiting patiently, even for many years, for you to acknowledge them. It’s so easy to be lured by the new shiny idea (Janice Hardy has a helpful post on how to resist them), but new ideas need time to simmer.  Write the new idea down as soon as it comes to you, then let everything else, such as characters and plot come to you gradually. It is usually about this time when you may spend valuable minutes just staring out of the window! And yet, like those patient characters I mentioned, there are some stories that ‘speak’ to you more than others. It is said that everyone has a story in them; so if you have a story that needs to be told, that will not let you go no matter how hard you may try – write it.

At a recent writing workshop I attended, a story that has been with me for many years automatically appeared as the main character demanded being heard. Her story has been tucked away in a drawer for some years now, incomplete as she has been a shy, timid character; yet she continued to persist, revealing herself a little bit slowly, but surely. The time to write her story has come.

Perhaps choosing the next writing project should be as simple as playing ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ – just blindly go where your gut instincts tell you.

How do you go about choosing your next writing project? Do you struggle with too many ideas or too few? How do you go about keeping your writing ideas?

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Writing · Writing Treks

Writing Historical Fiction, Part 2.

Continuing on from last week’s post, this week I’m going to talk about characters within historical fiction.

The majority of people who attended the historical fiction course with me at the NSW Writers’ Centre, were writing about real characters from history and even stories about distant relations. I felt quite alone in creating a purely fictitious character!  Funnily enough, when discussing characters, our teacher mentioned Scarlett O’Hara, saying she was ‘a flawed character if ever there was one’.  When it comes to characters in works of fiction, Scarlett is one of my favourites – she is truly memorable because of her flaws, and as writers this is what we want from our characters.

  • Characters help drive the plot.
  • Readers want to go into a different world through your characters.
  • An interesting time in history can’t be interesting unless you have engaging characters.  Test their moral strength so that readers can identify with them today.
  • Fictionalise real characters.
  • When writing about real characters, it’s good to visit family to get more research, anecdotes, etc.
  • You need to have real characters in the right context – don’t make them do anything out of character.  Research the real character.
  • Characters can have weaknesses to keep them real so readers can identify with them.
  • Know the main things about your character before you write – the rest will evolve as your story progresses.  Characters need to ‘grow’ and not remain static.
  • Trust your subconscious – you don’t have to know everything that’s going to happen in your story before you write your book.
  • Characters have to indicate something about themselves; what they’re thinking.   There has to be a purpose in their dialogue.  Do not use modern speech or jargon.
  • If you’re not sure about details, ask yourself:- does it further the plot? set the scene? establish character? set the atmosphere?  Find a way to weave what you want into the story.

Above all, writing historical fiction needs to be historically accurate, well researched and have engaging characters.

Image copyright MGM

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