Monday, July 10, 2017

What is something you've learned recently about writing?


Happy Monday, writers!

We have more panel questions this week, but starting next Monday (the 17th) we'll be hosting another word war! 

We know a lot of you are participating in Camp NaNo, or want to take advantage of extra free time of summer to get some writing done. I'm excited that this time I'll get to play along too! I'm writing the third act of my WWII era novel, so I'm motivated to get some words on the page.



What is something you've learned recently about writing?




I’ve learned that not every character needs a fully formed character arc in which they change for the better. Some characters don’t change. They might face situations that test them and cause them to question what they believe to be truth, but in the end, by staying true to who they are, they overcome. They realize that they were right all along and need to trust their instincts.  And some characters change for the worse. Like other characters, they will confront the lies, but rather than finding the truth, the lie is either reinforced or misinterpreted. This causes the character to destroy themselves or others. Kind of sad, really, and I wouldn’t want to write too many stories where my main character ended poorly, but in an epic tale with multiple characters, varying my character arcs is important.



That writing makes you better at writing. The more I write, the more this truth is pounded into my heart. There are so many fabulous resources outside ourselves, but it’s the time in the chair that refines what we write and how we do it.



That storytelling and writing are two different things. K.M. Weiland puts it like this, “Storytelling and writing are actually two entirely different skill sets. Too often, when we try to do them both at once in the first draft, they end up getting in each other’s way.” I’ve been mulling over that, along with her article about nearly perfect first drafts. I sense my process is about to shift!






How about you guys? What is something you've learned recently about writing?


21 comments:

  1. I've learned your process will vary by each book you write. For one book, you may do better at getting down the character details and the story world while another may just come from the heart easily and need less structure. You have to be ready to change your process for what each book requires. Maybe that's just me, but it is definitely something I didn't quite expect. I always thought once you found your process, it would stay the same.

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    1. Same here. I've wondered if it's because I still haven't refined my process enough, or if veteran writers deal with the same thing. Regardless, writing is never boring. :)

      -Ann

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    2. That's an interesting point, Ivie. Sometimes I can't tell if it's that the book necessitates a different process, or if some component of creating the book is coming easier/harder than normal.

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  2. Supporting characters in a book can be mirrors to compare or contrast the protagonist's strengths and weaknesses. Mirroring also helps me explore different facets of the theme. Love it. :O)

    -Ann

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    1. I never thought of it that way. I just try and focus on making my characters different from each other. I like your thinking. :)

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    2. Just saw a previous comment I made to you and you asked me why I was considering self-publishing. (Better late than never, LOL.) I'm considering self-publishing because I want more control over my content and how things are done. If a traditional publisher wanted me, that's cool and I would look into it, but I really want to be control of what happens. The other thing is I kind of have an entrepreneurial spirit. I want to be my own boss. :)

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    3. Beautiful, Ann. I never thought of it quite like that.

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    4. @ Ivie: Thanks!

      Having an entrepreneurial spirit is a great plus. The business side of writing isn't my favorite brand of tea. :p Anyway, all the best in your endeavors!

      -Ann

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    5. Thank you, Ms. Morrill. :)

      -Ann

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  3. Sometimes you really don't need that certain side character. I've been clinging to him, because he was in the book since the beginning, but after a number of edits, and the plot changed, he became more and more useless.

    After talking to my best friend (we often bounce story ideas off each other) she helped me make the decision to take him out completely.

    And the book is so much better now! So many new possibilities have opened up, and now I longer have this extra character hanging around!

    So sometimes you have to do something painful (letting Nahale go wasn't easy), but it'll make your story that much better!

    ~Julian

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    1. That sounds tough, but maybe you can use your side character to become the main character in his own story one day. :)

      iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    2. Actually, to be completely honest, he's wormed his way back into the story. A small role, just in the last few chapters of the last book, but one that I didn't really have a character set-up for yet. And because he so politely asked "Can I have that spot?" I couldn't help but let him have it...

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    3. Julian, I've had that happen too! Definitely a "kill your darlings" kind of moment.

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    4. @Julien: Well, there you go then. There's always that possibility that the character will ask to come back in and you just can't say no because even when they're a side character, they're your favorite.

      I've had to cut side characters out that just didn't move the story forward or in my case, I changed some of the layout of the story and that character didn't make sense anymore.

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  4. When the story evolves during the writing process, it's a pain in the butt, but it's better for the story. Even if you have to explain to your parents that they can't read the story because it doesn't even make sense to you anymore :P XD

    thefloridsword.blogspot.com

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    1. Been there. All the time. Except I'm just now okay with my parents reading it because I'm one of those people who freak out if someone sees it in the writing process.

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  5. I've learned how important and helpful other writers and books can be. Since finding this blog and numerous other blogs by fellow teen writers, I am feeling more confident to finish my stories and eventually send them in.
    Also, I've discovered how important reading other books can be. Classics help me to hone my writing skills, and through other YA books, I now know what not to write (haha) and techniques to use.

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  6. I'm learning everyone likes something different. Novels I think are amazing others say are poorly written - and vice versa. So, just because someone may not like my stories doesn't mean they are trash (doesn't mean they aren't, either, of course ;b). Also, I learned a new word: Defenestrate - it means to throw someone out a window.

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    1. I just pictured someone being thrown out of a window. I may use that word sometime to confuse people. :P

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    2. Writing is definitely a subjective art. It's a tough balance between taking criticism and using it to hone your writing, but also knowing when your book just might not be that person's thing.

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