Hello bloggers! As a fellow writer of many different substances, I decided I should give my two cents on some tips for new writers. I’ll mainly be speaking of novel writing, but I suppose I can categorize the different forms of writing just for you. Since I’m just so nice like that 😉 So novel writing will be at the bottom since it’ll be the longest, considering that’s my main forte.
So, I first say hooray!! Being a writer is A-mazing. Check out my other post about why being an author is so amazing if you’d like here
I’ll start with essays, get the most boring one out of here 😉 hey, people need tips there too! Skip ahead if you’d like, it won’t hurt my feelings, ha!
-Pick a good topic. Most essays you have a variety of what you can choose from. This may be bad to say, but I advise to choose the topic easiest for you. “Challenging yourself” isn’t really the best idea in essays. Why? When you write about something you’re more interested in, then it’ll show in your writing. If nothing interests you of the topics, choose the less of the evils.
-Prewrite. DO IT. Even if it’s just really small notes as to what topics you want where. It’ll keep it organized and keep you from drifting off topic.
-Write and write again. I know this part sucks more than cleaning out the drain in the bathroom, but it’s highly advised. First for proofreading. Microsoft Word confuses there and their sometimes, and you’ll look silly using the wrong one. You’re adults now, so use correct grammar. Adding quotes is nice too, and you have to explain them after they’re quoted correctly. You can’t just quote something and move on. What’s the purpose of it? What does it mean in relation to your essay?
That’s basically the end of that 🙂
Now for poetry
This one is the easiest, at least I think so. Poetry is like lyrics, or an extremely short story where you’re allowed to be more ambiguous. But remember: don’t be too vague. You don’t want people to think “wtf did I just read?” and instead think about what it means. It should speak to people, but you also gotta remember…
You mainly write for yourself. Poetry is a good way to express deep emotion in a short period of time. So sit down and just let it flow out. Don’t worry about rhyming or structure just yet, just let it burst from your soul. From there you can play with rhythm, rhyme, sound, structure, etc.
Tips for short stories now, yay!
-Think of a plot. It’s difficult to just let it flow as you go, considering you don’t want it to stretch too long. But if you like freelancing (like moi), then at least get a general idea as you go.
-Think substance. How many characters? How will it start? How will it end? What kind of tone do I want?
-The beginning is the most imperative. You’ve got to hook your audience in quick. Usually starting with a setting is nice, a really detailed one. Focus on scent too in this scene, so people get really engrossed. There’s also dialogue you can start with to suck the reader right in.
-Speaking of setting, short stories are a wonderful time to focus on detail. It can spice up a story really nicely. Dealing with the five senses is extra nice in short stories as well!
Okay so I’m too excited to hold this one back anymore, so here are tips for writing a novel
First I have to say this: every author is different in their styles, and I’m merely telling you mine. You’re free to go your own direction, and I highly suggest doing just that. I’ll just give you mine, and you can chart your own way with the basics in mind 🙂
-First is first: think of what to write about. I think that’s quite obvious. And this is one of the most interesting, because ideas can spark inside you at the weirdest of times. I got my inspiration for my current series from another series I started (and didn’t finish) in high school. In that series characters were able to phase into full on dragons–it was a love story along with fantasy. Since they can halfway phase, at one point in book three, one of my characters was climbing out of the pool with his wings still out. And that sparked an idea in me: “hey, why can’t I create a whole new series with characters with their dragon wings out all the time? They can be a new species.” And that’s exactly what I did. So don’t be surprised if your idea comes from nowhere, and from the weirdest things. Some authors write a novel based on one line of lyrics they heard. Let the inspiration shine on you!
-Once you get a basic idea, it’s time to think of characters. It’s advisable to make a character chart for each of your characters, and you should add onto it as you go along. I’ll show you my character chart for Hayden from my series. The notes are very choppy, so don’t be shy on doing the same thing.
“Gold dragon- Girl, sixteen, leader, champagne blonde hair, brown eyes, funny but serious since she’s the leader. Powers? Speed, move objects with mind, controls electricity. Fire? blue and purple. Wings? Gold with black spikes at the bottom. 12 feet. Name: Hayden Cressida.”
Mine is extremely short compared to what character charts usually are. They can include character traits, background, and even the more detailed things such as: their favorite movie, favorite food, objects they carry with them, etc. I merely made mine so short because I wanted my characters to develop on their own. That’s something I actually advise: don’t plan your character too much. Let them live in your stories, and they’ll build their own past; you’ll be surprised what kind of things will pop up.
Another point of advice on characters: do not, I repeat do not, name one of your main characters the same as someone close to you, or yourself. If you give a character your best friend’s name, then that character will become them. Let your characters choose their own personality and lifestyle. If you’re going to use your friend’s name, then make it a secondary character that’s not of much importance.
Get more of an in-depth understanding in my other post “how to do a character chart,” which you can read here
-Starting scene! Yay! Now keep in mind you can change it sooooo many times. I didn’t write the prologue of the first book until I was done writing the third. Take some time to know your characters and your plot, and go back to the beginning and spice it up. But in the meantime, start with something compelling. The most addicting scenes to start with: detailed setting, the beginning of dialogue, or an action/suspense scene.
“Three bodies were on the floor, bodies sunken inward and skin torn free from their innocent bodies.
The blood on my lips tasted wonderful.”
Like…holy crap! What’s going on?!
Try to give your reader that 🙂
Dialogue, baby!! I think this is one of the most difficult things to handle at first, but it’s my favorite thing to write. I suggest going on and eavesdropping on conversation. Yes, be bad 😉 You’ll come to notice how people really talk. How we say “gonna” or “got’cha” and things of that matter. But you’ll also notice something funny: movies and books cut out half of natural conversation. We tend to go into tangents and rants about random things. If we were to go through a whole day, the reader will be so bored from reading about useless conversation and every day acts that mean nothing in the bigger picture. But that’s also a cool thing to keep in mind: have your characters get slightly distracted in conversation or go in short tangents. It’ll make them more realistic.
Once you get a hang on dialogue (trust me, it takes a while), then you can start to play more with how they speak individually as a person. Some people put more emphasis in words, or say similar things all the time.
-Plot. Now this one I’ll give you my personal preference, but feel free to do what you please!
I started my story with this in mind: “okay, there are these six main characters, and they get into a lot of trouble.” That’s it. No main conflict or an idea of an ending. All I knew was the beginning scene, and from there I just wrote. For my case I really loved it this way: I let the plot figure itself. It went from that general idea to this complicated plot with twists and turns everywhere. It can go a long way if you just let your characters live.
However, a lot of people like structure, and I don’t blame them. A lot of authors tell you to have a “game plan” or an exact layout; like you can’t go in blind. I call bull on that. I’ll tell you why I don’t like structure when it comes to creative writing. If you already know what’s coming next, then you’ll rush to get to that main point; it’s just a part of our nature. I see a planned story as something sort of disastrous, since it can become rushed for beginning authors. It’s a mentality like “have to get to point A to point B.” Kind of like a car ride, we focus on going from a cow town like mine to Disneyland. We focus on that Disneyland, that hoorah, but even the “boring” fillers like the dreadful highway five need to transpire before you get there. Small scenes are important to the big picture, and at least for me, it’s easier to do that when I just let my characters naturally live and make their own choices.
-When do you write? In other words: should you set a specific time?
This is also a debate. A lot of authors sit themselves down like any other job so they can focus on their work. I can see how that works for some authors, and it may very well work for you.
But personally, I only write when I’m inspired. Figures, this gets a bit difficult when I’m in writer’s block, but I can’t just sit down and force it. It’s like trying to force me to like a piece of food I already know I hate. Stepping back is good sometimes, actually healthy. Being inspired while writing feels wonderful! But this one I think is up to you; write when it feels comfortable for you.
-How long should it be?
You’re going to hate me for this: however long it needs to be.
There is a point you’ll reach when you’ll think: “okay…this is getting close to an ending here” Which is easier to do when writing a series, but when writing one novel, that can be more difficult. Don’t worry about it being “too long” at first just to get the thoughts and scenes out. When you go back and edit, it’s a good time to snip what you need or add what you need. Don’t be nervous to write 800 pages or more!
That’s the basics 🙂 Don’t make it too complicated for yourself, and don’t be nervous to make mistakes. We all make them! Worry about sentence structure and grammar when you edit, not while you write. Just let the creative juices flow!
Happy reading, and happy writing 🙂