Posted in Theme

Digging Deep

How often have you read a book with great mean hidden deep within its story? I truly believe anyone can find meaning in just about anything they read. We don’t always look for it though. Why? Because we are so engrossed with what is going on in the story that we aren’t focused on what we can learn from it. In these instances I think anything learned goes straight to our unconscious mind. Now, I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist or anything, but to me it’s only common sense.

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As an author, I want my readers to gain meaning from what I write. As I mentioned above, not everyone will on the surface. This doesn’t mean we don’t create meaning in our stories. After all, the stories we write have to have some kind of meaning to them in order for there to be a story. Actually, we call it Theme. Finding a theme to center your story around can be daunting at times. Seriously, you can be sitting there in front of your computer wondering what theme to use. In the meantime your story is dying to be written.

The solution is simple. Just start writing your story. The theme will develop itself or will unfold in your mind, and you will have an “A-ha!” moment. This is how I write. I know that sounds backwards, but it works for me. Once you have your theme (a meaning your story centers around), put it down on paper. Yes, literally, write it down. Then go into more detail about it. For example, how can you develop your characters around your chosen theme? In which direction can you take your story now that you have your theme? Will your settings connect to it in any way? What about dialogue? How can you use your theme to increase tension?

Continue to ask yourself these questions. Then answer each of them. Again, do this on paper, not your computer. The act of writing helps it to stick in your brain better. At least it does for me. When you feel you’ve developed your theme enough, go back to your story and continue writing. All the while, you will be using what you wrote down about your theme in various parts of your story.

When I was half way finished with my second book, I realized I didn’t have a theme. As a result, it was becoming increasingly difficult to continue with the story. Then it dawned on me what the problem was. Lack of a theme. It didn’t take me long to figure out what it should be because I knew the direction I wanted my story to go. Plus I knew my main character well. All I had to do was go back and look at his character sketch. The answer was right there. It smacked me in the face, so to speak. Without that theme, the story fell flat.

Once I found it though, I had to go back to the beginning of what I had already written and insert story elements that developed that theme. It wasn’t hard to do. It was just time consuming. But I loved every minute.

Posted in Writing

Writing Growth

Your growth as a writer is important. After all, the better you get, the better your story/poem will be. When that happens, your reader response goes up. You also want to please others with your writing and getting better at it will accomplish that. Below are some ways to advance your writing skilks:

  • Write Everyday: You might not feel like writing everyday, but if you write something…anything for just 5 to 10 minutes, it’s still something. Oftentimes, that 5 to 10 minutes turns out to be longer without you realizing it. What writing everyday is doing is getting you into a habit. Great! That’s what you want.
  • Use Writing Prompts: These are particularly useful when you don’t know what to write about. Plus, if you don’t feel like writing, it’s a great way to get you writing something. Keep in mind, 1 prompt can be used for a number of different stories/poems. The internet is full of writing promt list. Just type that into Google Search
  • Get Feedback: I know, no one likes to be told they need improvement. We all enjoy hearing how good we are. BUT…hearing how you can improve will raise you to that next level.
  • Read from the Best: Read works from some of the best authors you enjoy reading. Do not copy them, but learn from their stylistic choices. Then use what you learn to improve YOUR style.
  • Take Classes/Courses: Talk about beneficial. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and sharpen your skills as a writer in a more in depth manner.
  • Read Books about Writing: There are so many books out there on the subject of writing. Whether you are writing fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, you can find books on the different aspects that go into each. From story structure to learning how to incorporate emotions into your characters. These books will help you. Some of them even have exercises so you can practice.

Have fun with your writing growth journey. I promise you it will be a great adventure in and of itself.

Posted in Social

Embrace the Stress

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve been in and out of my blog and posting. The reason? My husband and I found a new house. Our first. YAYYY!!! We’ve been moving much of everything ourselves. Stressful? Yup. Worth it? Oh Yeah. Much like the process of writing a novel. Yes, it can be stressful, but in the end it is so very much worth it, and the effort you put into it will give you a sense of huge accomplishment. Words of wisdom….Embrace the Stress.

Posted in Editing

The Write Review

Sometimes we’re asked to write a review of a book. At first you smile and agree to do it. You’re excited to finish it so you can write it, so you set out reading. You read it cover to cover and loved it. You loved it so much you couldn’t put it down. However, there were some parts you felt could have been improved upon. So you jump onto Amazon or some other book venue to leave your review. Once at the appropriate page to write your review, the cursor blinks back at you in rapid succession. Your brain goes blank. What do you write?

For starters, whenever you are critiquing someone’s writing, it’s best to start out with the positives first. What did you like about the book? What worked really well? What was your favorite part and why?

After you finish the positives, you get into the negative aspects of the writing. Now, when I say negatives, I DON’T mean rip it apart with nasty, rude comments. That won’t get anywhere with anyone and it isn’t mature or professional. A better way of putting this is BE HELPFUL. Tell the author what it needs more of. What did you not like about the book and why? Point out a few places in the text that didn’t quite work and why.

Lastly, sum up your critique with a conclusion. This doesn’t have to be lengthy. A few quick sentences that reiterates your overall impression, is fine.