Tag Archives: explanation

The Cycle, an Explanation

There’s a method to the madness of becoming a well known author. To becoming an author. To be someone desired by publishing companies. Through the years, I’ve becoming increasingly more aware of the things that are needed to be done for exposure and to be recognized and sought after and have people like me.

My last post, Intimidated, was a reflection of my becoming overwhelmed by it all.

I feel like I’m sitting at the base of a cliff with only half of the supplies needed for my ascent in rock climbing, which I’ve only ever done indoors, in a controlled environment.

I see friends tackling things on their own in ways I have given up or gotten too shy for. Sharing my works on different blog sites hadn’t yielded much of anything by the time I realized it was a fruitless effort, but I’ve had this problem before.

There are many things I can say, I can write here, I can put it on Facebook or on Tumblr or even find a bigger platform, but who’s to say that it’s even going to get anywhere? On this blog, I’ve had stunted success with having an audience at all, which resonates everywhere else, and when I look at it, and look back at the cliff, my feelings are mixed.

Some days, I feel like conquering it with gritted teeth and a strong resolve. Other days I feel like I’m not going to get further than halfway up the cliff and fail.

Everyone is going to think that what they have to write and how they do it is interesting enough to be worth something. That their voice and style is perfect in a lot of ways and, of course, how could anyone not like it?

Even if I had finished my courses in creative writing, I doubt it would have mattered much. I’d have felt like I wasted money, and not even my money, on something I could have learned on my own in time.

I’m staring up at a cliff of trying to get myself out there more. I am ready to put my hand up on the first rock I can hold onto and hoist myself up, but whether my fingers slip or I keep pushing until the final pieces, to the very top, is dependent on people that I can’t control. I can write for a specific audience, but it’s difficult to tell who would like what, and simultaneously battling the thought that shouldn’t I be writing for myself anyway?

On top of it, my sister sent me a list of the different writing jobs I could get, and instead of making me feel like I could try  at something again, and maybe become better, it made me feel more like I wasn’t doing something right. Which is on me, of course, not on her.

But the only way to find out what will happen is for me to try, and I’ve been very happy keeping my writing between a few friends. Branching out is uncertain and sometimes painful, but I can do it. So many others have done it before, right?

That was the other part. So many others. You could get lost in all of the authors out there, and there are only a handful who are really well known, household names. It goes back to competing, but I need to remember, I think, that no matter how many others are out there, they don’t have a voice or style or ideas like mine.

We’re all unique, no matter how many in number we are. No matter how similar it might be, there’s always a difference.

So I guess it’s just time for me to swallow my pride and take the first step up the cliff. I have a decent support system, in the face of anything that may go wrong. I’ll be caught if I fall.

The Novice Wordsmith

New Year’s Quiet

I was going to write something long and profound but I couldn’t muster up the desire after I got home from work. It was coming along beautifully, but I may have it wait for Friday or so.

With that, it’s been very quiet around wordpress because of the holidays, so I figured that waiting for the lull to pass might be a better idea. A short prompt/dare will be up on Thursday, as per usual, though, and like I said, I might write something on Friday.

For now, I hope everyone enjoys their new year celebrations! Be safe and happy new year!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Flashback, a Prompt

Some of the best explanations can be done without a character talking at all. Going back in time, or forward to the conclusion your character may be jumping to in their head, can accomplish more than simple conversation would be able to. Not only does it allow you a chance to describe in detail certain important pieces of the puzzle, but it shows a side of the character the reader may not have seen before.

This works, as I’ve found, beautifully, for the characters who are intensely guarded.

Not to mention it can eat up wordcount like a beast when you need it (typically only done for nano, as far as I’ve seen).

Obviously, consider what you can do with it, but the flashback is a tool at your disposal for when everything else just doesn’t cut it. It can help to relate the character to the reader, to explain how they act or why they speak in a certain way(or not at all), and any number of things you can think of. The possibilities are endless!

They can be as deep as being a whole separate scene, or as light as being a random, drug up thought by the character, whatever the story calls for.

The Wordsmith pauses then, considering a time recently when she created something of the sort, but shakes her head of the thought and carries on, too embarrassed by the way it turned out to let her mind linger on it any longer.

Indulge, experiment, and consider. It can take up a few lines, or a few to several dozen pages. It can set up a scene, or the whole book. Though, that’s another thing entirely, going back and forth between times, to show off certain parts of a story and particular points, for the express purpose of telling it one specific way.

I am reminded of Friend’s Nano novel of last year, which roughly 1/4 to 1/2 of the story was a flashback, setting up the rest of the book and/or series. The year before, a flashback turned the tides of the story in a way he wasn’t expecting.

On the other hand, my flashbacks all tend to be small, thoughts, light ideas that flicker in and then out.

Now I can’t help but think about the show/movie version of these things, which trips you into a different part in time with a wavy layover or a dreamy, misty coloring at the edges. Which happens either while a character thinks, or when they’re telling someone about an event. Think of the majority of Phantom of the Opera, if you’ve seen the one with Gerard Butler, at least.

Let your mind run wild, and then somehow get it into writing.

-The Novice Wordsmith

Writing Software: Pick Your Poison

This comes as inspiration from a coupon in my goodie bag from winning Camp NaNoWriMo this month, which offers 50% off from Scrivener with a code that you’ll receive on August 1.

Of course, upon further inspection, I see that this offer is something you also received from winning NaNoWriMo proper, which makes sense. That’s a story for another day: all of the coupons and goodies and free stuff and offers you can get simply from finishing that’s actually rather neat. I’d only really looked at the front page of the goodies instead of getting into it before, but now I’m definitely excited for November, considering some offers expire quickly.

Scrivener isn’t the only one that you get discounts on. There’s Aeon Timeline as well, and Storyist (for Mac only).

I had started to look into Scrivener to check out just what it was about and got pretty excited. A lot of what it has to offer seems extremely helpful, the outliner, the text editing, snapshots, name generator, corkboard for notes, being able to pile a whole novel together but separate it by chapter.

Then, I started to wonder how much of those features I would actually use.

At the moment, I use Roughdraft. Google docs is a close second because it’s a cloud based system I can get into through my e-mail, and it counts wordcount, but nothing feels as light and as fluent with my style as Roughdraft does. Which, that alone is a little funny because I was so resistant to getting it and dragging all of my files over, but none of that was a pain.

Roughdraft is lightweight, runs on RTF format, it doesn’t take much to boot up, it’s very minimalistic, you have a notepad on the side you can type in (great for when I was doing NaNo and could tell myself what needed to be changed in revisions, or clips I needed for later inspiration), a tab for inserts, a tab for lists, and a whole lotta shortcuts. This was the first program other than what I saw in Google docs that counted words, and that was nifty as hell to me in the beginning.

I am very pleased with it now, but I can’t help but wonder if Scrivener’s extra tools and features might be nice or helpful to me.

There are, of course, others who could do without it all. People like George RR Martin who still write in DOS on WordStar 4.0, who don’t need anything but to type. Then there are people who need the extra help, or who appreciate it.

Three things I do need, absolutely, is something capable of telling me my wordcount, something I can tag notes on, and the ability to turn off live spellcheck so I can ignore the squigglies when I come up with names like Sonas Barrin or Vitenia Bruch. I can live on that. Though the auto-save function is also super.

For the longest time, Wordpad and Notepad were enough for me. I used them primarily until my friend introduced me to Roughdraft, and I’d call my life changed from then on. I can handle simple, basic, but when is bare-bones too bare?

I enjoy having extra to play with, too, but what cost does it come with other than monetary? Am I going to end up using what I have at my fingertips, or will it go mostly ignored?

It is good to get outside of your comfort zone a little, I’ll be the first to say, but everyone has their limits on how much they can handle or want to handle. What the bandwidth in their head is for fancy frills that they need to keep track of. It’s all about finding your groove and what program fits it best, whether it’s DOS or the latest writing software to date.

-The Novice Wordsmith

It Begins, but Where?

When I was younger, I had a bad habit of just writing up something that was in my head and claiming it was part of something bigger, but it never was. I had more or less skipped through the nonsense of traditional beginnings and just cut to the chase where my head was. It took me years to figure out that I didn’t need to try and build up to that point just to write what I wanted.

That was a big lesson for me: start where you feel like you should start.

If it’s a sex scene that enters when each partner has their hands all over naked bodies of the other, do it. If it’s an action scene that starts when an explosion happens, don’t hesitate. Or if it’s something like a garden scene that begins when the character is contemplating something, about to enter a maze or the walkway that leads to the house, show it happening. Do what feels right, is the best advice for this.

Though, with that comes that you should be mindful of how much context you give the reader. This is where the story starts for them, but where did it start for the characters, and what brought them to that place? Be vague, or be detailed, but try to remove confusion. Remember that the reader doesn’t know as much about this as you do, and try to think that the reader in question is someone who hasn’t picked up any of your work before, especially if that story belongs to a series.

There are exceptions to that, of course, with novels and the like, individual chapters, but that’s what pulls people in; when they flip to a random page and start reading. Who is Jack? What’s this panther he’s talking about? Or Anna, why is she so stubborn, is there an explanation?

Whatever it is, don’t let buildup intimidate you. Write where you feel comfortable, and write whatever’s in that chaotically creative brain of yours, no matter how small or how large (hehehe…).

-The Novice Wordsmith