Wednesday, October 31, 2012

5 Things to Stop Doing (If You Really Want to Finish Writing You Novel)

This article originates from Writer's Digest and the original can be found here. Enjoy!

5 Things to Stop Doing (If You Really Want to Finish Writing You Novel)  
October 26, 2012 | Kevin Kaiser

Your novel isn’t going to write itself (I mean, if it were, it probably would have finished itself a long time ago!). Here are the five things you need to stop doing immediately if you want turn yourself into someone who stops asking questions about how to write a manuscript and starts bragging to friends about how you completed your manuscript.

1. Nix the excuses.
We get it, life is busy and writing is hard work sometimes. Still, excuses never changed anything, never inspired anybody, and never made any dreams a reality. Goals like writing a novel don’t die on their own. We suffocate them with our excuses.

2. Stop trying.
Your novel needs less “trying” and more “doing” from you. Like Yoda said, Do or do not. There is no try.

3. Stop the Inner Critic’s crazy rants.
Shut it down. Duct tape its mouth. Stand on its neck. Whatever you do, don’t let the Inner Critic make you doubt yourself. There’s no reason to. This is open range and there are no rules, no right and wrong. You can do Whatever. You. Want.

4. Don’t overdose on caffeine.
Seriously. I’m sorry, but it has to be said. Call it tough love if you want, but more writers go stark raving mad in espresso-fueled rages than any other artists (with the exception of polka musicians, for obvious reasons).

Trust me on this. You don’t want your neighbors finding you crawling through their pet door at 3am in search of more coffee because you ran out at your house two hours earlier. Not that that’s happened to me. I’ve just heard stories.

5. Stop thinking it should be easier.
That’s like hoping gravity will get less gravity … er … ish. Less gravity like. OK, poor choice of words. You know what I mean. Bottom line: writing is what it is. Sometimes it’s easier than at other times. Expect it to be work and you’ll be thrilled when it doesn’t feel that way.

Guest column by Kevin Kaiser, who is the author of @WriMo: A 30-Day Survival Guide for Writers, the profits of which go to support the future of NaNoWriMo. He blogs about how to write for a living without losing your soul. Follow @KevinSKaiser on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nano Mascot!

Thanks to the wonderful and talented Gillian (you can find her as "Koneku" here on the Nano website), we have a mascot this year! Check out her crocheted ninja plot bunnies - aren't they awesome?!

I'll be giving two of them away as special prizes this year - if you want one, be sure to watch for hints just when on our Twitter feed @evalwriters!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Seven-Point Story Structure

At the Q&A Panel I mentioned the Seven-Point Story Structure by Dan Wells. Below are the seven points (aka my notes from the Writing Excuses Podcast), as well as a link to the podcast and the five-part video for the structure.

  • Hook: Set up who the characters are and what their starting state is; this should be the opposite state of the Resolution.
  • Plot Turn I: The call to adventure; kicks off the story.
  • Pinch I: Put pressure on the characters; exert pressure to force action.
  • Midpoint: The characters move from reaction to action; the characters are sick of running and make a plan.
  • Pinch II: Really put the pressure on the characters; make the situation as dire as possible.
  • Plot Turn II: Where the characters get the last piece of info they need to save the day.
  • Resolution: The characters go and do, resolving the story (either with a win or loss).

These won't be the only key points in your story, but it's a start to help you get down your major plot points.

You can find the 19-minute Writing Excuses Podcast here, and below is the first of the five-part videos on YouTube. Enjoy and happy plotting!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Writing the Male Point of View

I rediscovered this article today (the original is from Writer's Digest and can be found here). These are some great tips for females struggling to write realistic male characters (and it wouldn't hurt you males to read it either. ;) Enjoy!

Writing the Male Point of View by Lynn Rush (September 13, 2011)

I’ve got a release coming out in September called Wasteland. It’s written in first person, male point of view.
You might be thinking, But you’re a chick, how can you write male point of view? I guess we’ll find out if you think I can write the male point of view effectively after my book releases, won’t we? ☺

But seriously, I didn’t go into it blindly. The key is research. That can come from daily living, reading, internet, people watching, etc. For me, it came from all of those and more.

I have a Master’s Degree in mental health therapy, and while I’m no longer using it in a clinical setting, what I learned through six years of school comes in handy when writing characters. I’ve taken classes on how to understand men—specifically marital classes, too. I love the concept of men looking through blue glasses whereas girls look through pink glasses. (Love and Respect)

But how do you write that? Here are a few things I kept in mind while writing Wasteland:

– I’ve read stats that women say 20,000 words per day compared to men speaking only 7,000 per day. Just because they’re not talking out loud, doesn’t mean things are silent inside. So, there’s a bit more introspection with male leads. Though, you need to make sure it comes in short bursts, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.

– Men are more sight driven. Yep, what they see sticks in their minds. So, when writing a male POV, you’re going to be seeing a lot more. Come on, though, there are still feelings and thoughts going on, too, but most are stimulated by the sight of something.

– Details are not a male’s best friend. For the most part, men are not detail oriented. They tend to think big picture. That’s important to keep in mind when writing a male character. They aren’t going to detail how many inches above the girl’s knees her skirt is or what brand it is, only that he sees miles of sexy, long legs. It can help create some interesting situations, right?

– If you’re a female reading this, has there ever been a time when you were sharing a heartache or hardship with the male in your life, and he just wanted to fix it when all you wanted was a hug and to be told how special you are? Instead he started giving suggestions on how to remedy the situation … Did that just bug you to no end? Well, that’s part of how men tick. They’re more logically driven. Want to fix things.

– Then there’s the whole sex thing—You know I had to bring it up since I write romance novels, right? *grin* Men connect more with physical touch whereas woman connect better emotionally. That opens the door to a plethora of interesting situations throughout a story.

I could go on, but those are a few things to keep in mind when writing a male character. 

What suggestions do you have that might help write a stronger, more accurate male character?