Ten Spoons of Spinach

Hey weberverse. How have you been? I haven’t been doing well lately. I haven’t been managing well. It has been a hard fall-now-into-winter. My heart longs for spring.

I do have some cool news about writing. I have a new plan on getting published. I am going to self-publish (yes, like every other Joe Schmo) The Novel That Will Get Me Published and I have several ideas on how to market it/myself. I am hoping a pub. company will get wind of it and then I’ll get offered a contract from that point. Hey, it could happen.

I also have a new sci-fi short story I am working on. The idea came from a co-worker, so I’ll be sure to credit her, but her idea is too good not to write down. I’m going to work on that and add it to my sci-fi collection. I’ll probably self-publish that, too. That way, I’ll have a couple different things for people (soon to be fans, I hope) to read.

I have several new ideas for novels, too. I think I mentioned one of them already, but now I’ve come up with another one. So I hope to be starting work on those, too…

M and my psych have been encouraging me to write more. I haven’t actually sat down and written anything in many, many moons. I suppose I can say half of it is because you never want to do anything when you have depression, but then I guess the other half, is I don’t feel I’m good enough so why bother. I think I talked about that before, too. But right now I just want to finish some stories to read them and make myself feel better. That’s the whole idea, right there.

So that’s where I am right now. I hope I can start to manage my illnesses better this year and I hope to write and read a lot more. I guess those are my “resolutions.”

Stay classy, San Diego.

Madness

I’ve dropped the ball on updating this. That’s not very professional. Though, I don’t suppose I really want to fake being some stuffy, “professional” writer; I’d rather just be myself. That’s a can of worms.

Anyway. 

Despite a multitude of other shite going on, I am amped and thoroughly stoked in the writing department. I edited and revamped The Novel That Will Get Me Published. I am really excited about it. I’m sending it off to a new indie pub that I really like. I’m hoping for good things. 

I’ve also begun work on a couple other novels that had been sitting at the wayside. Yeah, boiii. Really excited about that, too. 

Also, I’m revisiting my sci-fi short story collection. I’ve decided to drop a couple of stories from it. I’m not happy with them and I’d rather not force the whole thing. I want to be pleased and ready with the collection. So, if that means I have to wait a little longer until I write a few better stories, let it be so. 

Still waiting to hear back from some mags regarding prose I sent off. I suppose if I haven’t heard by now…. HA. 

And, uh, I’ll try to get back into the swing of things here. Though I’m not promising anything this month because it’s the NCAA tourney and well, March Madness… you know.

Wr.Tu.Th.: Beginnings

Welcome to the first installment of Writing Tutorial Thursdays. With these tutorials, I hope to help answer some of your most nagging writing questions; from how to write a great main character to what makes a great setting. (If you have any requests, let me know and I’ll be happy to come up with a tutorial just for you.) Today’s tutorial is all about beginnings.

 

Writing Tutorial: How Do I Begin?

Disclaimer: The information presented herein is based on what I, personally, have learned in my educational and professional careers. This tutorial is simply meant to offer some helpful tips.

INTRODUCTION: So you have the raddest idea for a novel. Sweet. Okay, how do you start writing one? Have no fear; I’m here to help you get started.

1) There are many ways (and none of them is the “right way”) to begin a novel. Many authors will tell you that a story just “comes to them.” (It does for me.) If that seems insane to you, a good way to start the creative juices flowing is to brainstorm. Create a mind map. Throw all your ideas about your story onto paper. This way you can get everything out into the open.

2) Be sure you have all elements needed for your novel. I am talking about fiction novels, so that means, specifically, character, plot and setting. You can also add in other details such as, genre, theme, point of view, length, etc. Get out your mind map and organize your thoughts into categories:

  • Characters
    1. secondary characters
  • Plot
    1. subplots
  • Setting

3) Create a killer opening line. The biggest, most important sentence you will write in your novel is the first one. It is what needs to hook your reader and keep them holding on. To write a great opener, here are some things to remember. I’ve used all of these in past stories.

  • Jump in. Start in the middle of action or dialogue. This creates a sense of urgency and creates excitement for your reader.
  • Be eccentric. Nobody says you have to write exactly like everyone else. You just have to get peoples’ attention. If that means opening with a 10-line sentence, then so be it. Just make sure it’s AMAZING…and not a run-on.
  • State it. Nothing grabs someone’s attention like stating a fact. It “slaps you in the face,” so to speak. Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a great example: “It was a pleasure to burn.” Genius.

4) Let it flow. In the beginning, you have so many ideas you just can’t stop writing… So, don’t! Seriously, just keep writing. Let your ideas flow, no matter how weird they sound. Even if everything is jumbled on paper, write it down. You should see the scrawled handwriting in my notebooks when I first start working on something. But that’s part of the idea! The editing process comes later. The point in the beginning is to get it all down.

5) Don’t stop. Sometimes the dreaded writer’s block sneaks in. Don’t be discouraged. The best advice I can give you (that I’ve been given countless times) is to keep writing! It might seem like there’s “nothing in the tank,” but you mustn’t give up. Force yourself to sit at your computer, or open up that journal, and write. Even if it’s just to jot down a few ideas, write!

These are some ways that help me get started writing a novel, or even a short story. Hopefully they’ll help you, too. Do you have any other suggestions? Questions? Let me know!

Don’t forget: the way to better writing is by practicing!

Happy writing!