Thursday, September 21, 2017

Define your story with an effiicient outline, So that readers have aclear understanding of your story.

Hello, Readers
My topic this week is outlining. Again you may scoff at the idea. I have found several wonderful reference books that can help. Today I am highlighting two indie authors that are so helpful to writers like me. K.M.Weiland of Outlining your Novel workbook, Katherine King of The Love Plot workbook. I chose to purchase the workbooks from each of these so that I could write all over them. Each have separate novels about this topic available as well. Both authors have blogs themselves, and websites where you can email them with questions. Both women have been very helpful for me.

Many think that outlining takes away from the creative process of writing. It does if you allow it too. If all you are focusing on is how many chapters, how long, if its exactly like the outline you created no variations, etc. Then you deviate from the whole point of your story, and what an outline is supposed to be. An outline in my opinion is just a rough sketch of what you are hoping to accomplish with your story. It is a guideline of sorts that helps you keep on track, pace, and plot. Both of these books are excellent examples of how an outline can be helpful.  (Example from; The love plot workbook page 16)

This is the basic set up outline:
  •    Act 1~Setup
  • Part One~Set up    
1. Opening image
2. Hook
3. Inciting incident
4. Plot point One
In each of these parts both books go into detail about how each part needs to work to complete the whole.                              

For me and my logical brain I love the outline process, it gives me a clear direction of where I am  in my story, where I am going, what I am moving the plot towards.  I can periodically check to make sure if I am on the right track and then I am back to the creative center of my writing.

My point of these blogs is not to claim these are the right ways to write. I am sharing with you all valuable information that I have learned, and products I have used to simplify the process. With hundreds of books on the market today specifically for writer reference I hope I have helped narrow your search in which books to chose, or try, or check out from the library (which honestly is what I do the most.) In conclusion this is just another example of a process I use to create my fiction. I hope this information has been helpful to you all.
See you again soon readers.
As I always say; "Writing like life is a work in progress."
=) Jess

Monday, August 14, 2017

Redefine how your Characters feel, So that readers emphatically can relate to them.

Originally I was going to try to write a blog each week. I have come to realize that with all I do on a daily basis that is going to prove impossible. So I will do my best to write these at least twice a month.

 For my second blog in the series,  I am continuing with character creation but taking it to the next level. I discovered the most amazing book. It is called; "Breathing Life into your Characters." by Rachel Ballon, Ph.D. this book is intense as a writer because it takes you into yourself, the deepest emotions and teaches you how to translate that to your fiction. Each chapter ends with a free-write for fifteen minutes, this takes you into your sensory memories, and those emotions. I can honestly say this has been the most crying, I have done in a long time. The character I am working on currently lost her grandmother at young age. I also lost my grandma at a young age. Until I read this book I didn't understand how much that one major event had effected my life as a child, and now as an adult. This book is a valuable tool to use to give your character that extra edge. That something that no one else has. "The secret to having your characters stand out from the rest is to put your heart and soul into them, you cannot write effectively until you are able to experience your inner self in the process of creating characters" as quoted from Chapter one.
I could spend many more hours on how valuable this resource has been to me. I am serious when I say this is a therapeutic session that only costs the price of the book! That has been the most powerful thing about this book all those memories were inside me already, I just used my sensory memories to recall them and add them to my two dimensional fictional character. This is something that I appreciate as a reader. To care about a character, to want them to succeed, and strive for there happy ending.
Above is an example of how great writing can get you to care about a character even an animated one. Stitch is created by an evil scientist bent on world destruction. Stitch in essence is a weapon sent to destroy, he has no other function. Yet, as his friendship with Lilo proceeds he begins to be a lonely guy with no family, he is lost, he learns, and he is accepted and loved by a girl who lost her parents.
It is a beautiful story. In the end when he says "This is my family, they may be small, they make be broken, but still good." Tears, you have experienced empathy with this alien aka Stitch, this weapon. Who is not longer either of those things he is just a dog that is loved by his family.

Good writing is creating something that is fiction, yet it doesn't feel like its fake. While you are immersed in that world you are part of it, you are all in all the way to the end. That does not come from a good plot, or good setting, that comes from a character, you can relate to and emphasize with emotionally with. So readers we must look inside ourselves, dig into those memories, feelings, smells, sights so that our fictional world is real. So that those characters become real to those readers.

See you again soon readers.
As I always say; "Writing like life is a work in progress."
=) Jess

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Redifine how you create your characters, So that readers can relate to them.

As a avid reader I have noticed several things in great novels; One there is always something I can relate too in each Character, and Second that character must have a realistic personality. Otherwise I cannot root for that character or want them to succeed. As a reader I must have this. I am starting a new series of blogs highlighting my favorite reference books that I have used over and over to complete my short stories and novels. Each week I will use to as an example. This gives each of you a starting point in the creation of your novel. That way it can become a full length story verses just a great idea!

The two reference books I am using this week to start off this series is; "A Writers guide to Characterization." By Victoria Lynn Schmidt, and "Creating Characters; How to build story people." By Dwight V. Swain.

"A writers guide to Characterization." shows how, Characterization has a direct line to proven mythological Archetypes, and heroic journeys. She uses wonderful examples from Greek mythology.
 A lot of people turn against archetypes they do not want there character classified in such a way. I understand the parts were you don't sound cliche. This book does not do that however it shows you many different ways a character reacts, interacts, and emotionally responds to others based on a model or a particular archetype. She even has animal archetypes in this book which are in my opinion fascinating. I learned a lot about interaction in the book. I also learned that due to certain personalities if I do not have my character categorized in any way,  I cannot get him or her to function correctly. I found out this the hard way half way through my first novel! I had changed my girls personality so much she almost sounded crazy.

This however is a fantastic book in so many ways, it gives you a skeleton of personality straits, it shows you how this archetype will relate to another, it even gives you specific examples. Its great when you are trying to concoct a recipe that includes many different types of people. It shows you specifically based on your archetype how they will react to others. It is a great tool for character writing. I defiantly recommend it. Especially if your a beginner like I was an still trying to figure out how to present your character realistically.

 Lets face it we all have to do a little stereotyping when describing story people we are the ones that give them color, personality and a literal face.
This brings me to my second book of reference in this blog. "Creating Characters; How to build story people."
This book has so much information in it. I had read it twice now. I love the quotes, the humor and the insight the author gives. He breaks down each chapter as a intricate part of each character. He does not use archetype models, he uses characters from other books he has read, or real life examples. This book has 17 chapters of information and every bit of it necessary to understand all the small details that go into a seemingly simple character. Your character must be more then just words on paper, they must live, breathe, and thrive on your pages or people will not continue reading. So if you want to learn about creating story people from start to finish read this book! It is a must have for any writer in my opinion.

In conclusion to this blog. I believe that writing is a process one we need to study and learn about everyday to grow as a writer. No one wakes up one day and says "I'm going to be an author." It takes a lot of hard work to finish a novel.One quote I read "Its' easy to write a novel, all you need to do is sit at the keyboard and bleed!" I agree with this statement completely. I am still bleeding as I write my second novel, two more short stories, and complete chapter three of my children's fantasy series. Even though it makes me bleed, it also make me proud creating something memorable and entirely fictional!
"As I always say writing is a work in progress; as is life."
Until next time readers! Jessica =)
Next blog in this series; Outlining your novel

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The writer who reads needs tools, The reader needs facts and tips to improve!

Hello all, it has been a busy time for me. Several new stories published in Amazon.  I have returned to college, to advance my career day job... So I decided to start a series of blogs about great writer reference books I have found, ones that have been recommended etc. I am re-reading my favorite writers reference books. I have so many, I admit it!! 

Being the reader that I am, I have course have to read good books again. 
I also want to give accolades to all the authors who have written theses wonderful books, and it's helped me become a better writer.

The current book I'm reading is called Creating Characters; How to build story is written by Dwight  V. Swan

This is a fantastic read, I am enjoying it thoroughly..for the second time. This time however I'm going through each chapter and highlighting things I love, quotes etc. 

I may be a bit highlighter crazy because I'm back in college, but it's necessary on different levels I think. By using the different colors you categorize items according to what's important to you..for example Quotes, yellow. Important points, pink. Green writer prompts, blue humorous tales about writing dilemmas. 

Here is another awesome quote: How do you adapt the characters you zero in on to your story? Alfred Hitchcock put it well: "first you decide what the characters are going to do, and then you provide them with enough characteristics to make it plausible that they should do it." This is such a fantastic point. I have read so many stories with fantastical themes, and other worlds... But unless I can believe that character should be there, unless that author gives me concrete plausible facts, I have no interest in reading further!

I start this series of blogs this week after my extended hiatus. Thank you for your readership. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

The writer who creates villains, the reader who fears them, yet understands them...

When creating a villain one has to understand how an evil mind works. It is strange when writing a character who kills; how we become attached to them. We create the motivation that causes them to kill. Yet we have to foil his plan. It is a slippery slope for an an author. It's  strange how we become fond of them. How twisted their mind. Becomes our mind as the reader. I am a huge fan of a good villain. Disney is a one company that creates great Villains. The evil queen, Frollo from hunchback of Notre Dame, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty; to name a few. They do such a good job of creating a story that is plausible we understand the villains and their motivations. As a writer we must follow the same guidelines, and reasons for the bad guys to do the things they do. We must create fear for the life of our main character. Fear can be created through emotional conflict, family conflict, or physical conflict caused by villain. 

In that fear the villain must be a very good at his evil deeds. Blackmail, threats,  physical harm to increase the fear.   

Otherwise our attention is lost. We lose interest in the strength of our hero or heroine. They must overcome this obstacle, this villain. Sometimes emotional conflict is more difficult then physical harm. Sometimes a character can be there own worst critic, villain. 
 As I am creating a villain that will carry through in four novels. I'm finding different elements to carry him through all four stories. It is challenging especially in a series, to find a way for the good guys not to find him. But there must; be a good reason why. It must; make sense otherwise we lose the reader. If you the reader do not believe that this villain can truly succeed, or that our hero can overcome him there is no point to the story. Without our twisted villains, are antagonists; that create all of this conflict, suspense, our story is nothing. Even without a serial killer, or some action to cause our character to fail before they reach their happy ending there is no story. That my friends is the key to a great story, internal conflict, emotional conflict, physical conflict, these are all things that propel our hero forward. These are also things that propel our villain forward. If these are not in the story there is no story. So in conclusion, make sure your Villains are as developed, with backstory, motivations, conflicts, as your Heroes it will make the story more interesting, and you as readers will enjoy the story more. 

~Writing as in everything is a work in progress...Until next time readers! 😃 Jess~

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Writer who creates enduring love, The reader who follows the love story, believing in that happy ending."

I don't know about you; I personally love a good love story. It's the stories that have complications, conflicts, emotional and or physical that make the best stories. And I personally love seeing the happy ending. This happens in classic fairytales as well as in real life or 
In the books we read. The books be read if the characters are created correctly are the ones that we remember for a long time. One of my favorite stories of all time is the notebook by Nicholas Sparks this book travels through time and follows a love story all the way to the end of this couples life. If you have dry eyes at the end of this movie that's impressive. 

A good author creates a character that we love. In that love we will follow that character all the way to the end of their story. It may not be the romantic love. But it's definitely any emotional love, to see that character succeed and get their conclusion hopefully happy is what authors strive for.

So the question is how do you do this as a writer. Well in my experience I used to love stories from my past, with my grandparents, or my parents and take from them a story and then create my own from that. Every good story stems from something in our lives. Emotional love is usually involved in those decisions  or stories we tell, the pages that make up our life.

This goes back to your character description, the background story you create. The setting, any historical elements add details needed to enhance your tapestry, your story. That idea may seem romantic to you, its the truth. 

Everyone in their life has experienced some kind of love whether it be maternal, paternal, from grandparents or your very first love. So you take these aspects from your life, romantic, even sad. These become the basis of your love story. And that love story can be one of an animal that you adore, a parent that is no longer with you, a grandparent who is in heaven watching from above. All of those things are love stories. And we are the ones that make them.

Writing as in everything is a work in progress. 

Until next time readers. 😄 Jess

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Writer that uses Culture and Historical Elements to add more, The Reader who Demands Accuracy when using them...

 When I began reading romance all the books I read were historical. At one time I was a history major, so it was a favorite niche of mine. I even wrote a Civil War christian romance in the 5th grade! In one of those 80 page notebooks! I still have it, is has since evolved in to a quartet of books with my girl character and her brothers. It is still a work in process though. It is not the finished draft I have been chronicling here. I only am using the historical pictures to state a fact, when you are writing a historical piece it is so important to be accurate. I have read so many that are not, and it ruins the story for me as a reader. I am a fan of plausible reality in fictional settings, such as my current series set within all four seasons. Like when I spoke of settings in a earlier blog it touched on this. If my story is set in fall the setting should reflect that weather, and that clothing the character wearing, food they are eating, holidays too. I have actually read books that I shall not name that say they are holiday story and they forget the holiday all together! As a reader this is very frustrating. For this blog, I am using this culture reference because my characters even though set in modern day are from different backgrounds and ethnicity and it is important to me if they are Italian, like my guy character, to be able to speak Italian. I spent hours on you tube learning Italian phrases so I can be accurate with my guy in the Italian Rivera.

Why are these details important, to some this may be silly,to me it is a matter of being authentic in  what you are writing. If I have not done my research so that I give you the correct info, I have not done my job. Someone will notice. I want my readers to be transported and captivated. I am striving for the accuracy. So I may be a perfectionist when it comes to this but so be it. Its who I am as a reader and as a writer. Being true to yourself it absolute when writing. It is also important to remember this when you are being critiqued, you must be true to yourself and your story. The contributions are just that someones opinion.In the case of historical fiction, historical facts must be accurate, and the timelines exact otherwise its not a historical work. So it requires more attention to detail and more research.This is the same with vehicles, homes, clothing, accents, hairstyles etc. all of these details when accurate make more depth, it gives the reader that much more to be enveloped into the world you create for them.
So I'll end with this, Historical accuracy is a must. Instead of looking at it like its a bad thing, think of it as enhancing your story that much more, in most cases you can find visual reference for historical events so it helps to visually see what you are describing. History can be very fascinating and filled with wonderful drama, intrigue, and mystery. it can also give you something else for your character to feel more passionate about, and propel the story further, maybe even give you a new story idea all together! This is just another in a long list of details, another element to make your story that much better and more interesting.

~Life is a work in progress as writing is...Until next time readers, and hopeful writers. Jess =)