Hello, fellow writers! My goodness, where has the time gone! It’s been far too long since I blogged, but I’m ready to really get back on track. Life has been crazy the last six months and continues to be quite a ride. I’ll give you all a quick update of what’s been going on, and the new endeavors I’ve embarked on. I’ve started a ton of new journeys in both my writing life and personal life, and I can’t wait to share them with you! (And maybe brag about them, just a little!)
Writers are notoriously introverted. Although there is no equation for what makes a writer, this stereotype is largely true. Many authors are self-proclaimed introverts, and this is not a coincidence. The characteristics of introverts are amazingly suited for the demands of a writing. Today I want to show you some the reasons that introverts make great writers.
In his short story collection Dead Dogs and Splintered Hearts, Tom Ward delivers a riveting composite of moments. He explores the consequences of seemingly trivial interactions and compels the reader to do the same. While reading this book, I was often aware of how these questions crawled off the page and penetrated my own happenings. Through the normalization of oddities, Ward forces the reader to confront disturbing experiences as well as challenge them to see past the bizarre and search for something familiar.
The narrative voice reads like a running train of thought that consists of clipped sentences and intricate observation. As a reader, this allowed me to enter the story at close proximity no matter what the narrative point of view is. Although there is minimal variety among the personalities of his characters, I found that this commonality added to the cohesion of the work as a whole. Furthermore, it was a type of character I found quite enjoyable to follow.
The idea of absence is important to this collection. As I am currently studying abroad, many of the stories featuring this theme struck a chord with me. Again, I was made to question. I wondered if my absence from home effected people as it did in his stories. I wondered how the passing of time would change my disposition. While reading this book, I wondered… and wondered… and wondered. I loved just how engaged I was with these characters and how they were presented.
Overall, Dead Dogs and Splintered Hearts was a quick read that challenged convention. It begs the reader to question what is normal and, in turn, normalize the act of questioning. It is not often that readers are given an easily digestible book, that presents and asks so much. If you are looking for daring stories that intrigue and entertain, this collection will do the trick!
My last post was all about the things you need to consider when figuring out when to stop planning and start writing. For this post, I want to discuss some reasons that writers get stuck in the planning phase. There are plenty of writers who have amazing ideas for novels, and they plan it in great detail, but it never gets written. It is time to stop letting great novels die so young. There are a lot of reasons that writers may give up on what could’ve been a great story. I’m going to give you a few that I have found to be common.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post detailing the different phases of the writing process. Today, I want to focus on the first two phases of the process. Primarily, I want to ask the question, when should you stop planning and start writing? Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule to answer this question. I can’t provide a fixed amount of time that is ideal and I can’t give you a formula to figure it out. Every writer will require a different amount of planning. Although there is no right or wrong answer to this question, there are some things you can take into account when deciding how much planning your writing project will take.
Hello! Happy July! (Get the picture? It’s a goal. Crafty, no?) Another quarter has come and gone, and it’s time to take a look at how I did. I’m also looking ahead and seeing what I plan to accomplish in the coming quarter. Last quarter was a bit rough. I ended up having a busier quarter than I had been expected with school, work, and my social life. With so much going on, I wasn’t as successful with last quarter as I had hoped. However, I did make some substantial progress, which I hope to surpass in the coming quarter.
After you finish your first draft, it’s time to polish and perfect your work. This part of the process takes just as much, if not more work than the actual writing, and consists of more than just a once-over. You need to scrutinize your work during both the revising and editing phases. Too often, I hear about young writers using these words interchangeably. The truth is, these are two separate and distinct phases of the writing process. Each accomplishes different things, and each deserves a serious amount of writerly attention.
I have a couple of posts planned that will look at the phases of the writing process. I want to look at how they interact with each other and dive deeper into what they really mean. Before asking the harder questions, I thought I’d do a quick post defining these phases. Having a common vocabulary will make it easier to discuss them further. Alright, I’m going to stop sounding like a professor now. Here is how I (and many other writers) divide the process up so that it is more easily digestible. There are five phases of the writing process between having an idea and the finished product in a reader’s hands. Breaking the writing process down into phases makes writing projects (especially large ones) more manageable. So, think about where you are on your current project and figure out what phase you’re in. Think about what you need to do to complete that phase and move on to the next.
Writing is hard for a lot of reasons. You need unique ideas, voice, and flow. With all of that to keep track of, the last thing you want to worry about is accidently typing the wrong letter. At this point, you’re possibly thinking, well that’s what my word processor’s spell check is for. To this, I say, “How wrong you are!” Ok, that’s a bit dramatic. You’re not entirely wrong. Spell check will catch some of the most basic spelling and grammar errors. But what if you’ve written “fat” when you really meant “fate”? For example, you may accidently write, “Death for the girl was coming. Seeing her fat was all she needed to know.” This differs drastically due to the typo and guess what, as I’m typing this, I see no squiggly red or green underlines. I run my writing through two different online editing tools to catch mistakes like this one. I use these tools before I do the most important edit, you know, the one with a real person. It is important to understand that no editing tool can replace editing done by a living, breathing human being. I also think that it’s important to mention that I am receiving no compensation for recommending these tools. I simply stumbled upon them and found them useful. Both are free to use and have made my editing a bit easier. I hope these online editing tools can help you too! Hover over the headings to give them a try.
With only a couple of weeks left in the quarter (where is the time going?!) I thought it’d be a good time to look at the goals I set in April and see what I’ve got left to do. The other week I wrote a post about some of the tactics I use to get back into writing when I’ve taken a leave of absence. One of the things I find helpful is doing a goal check-in. Reminding yourself of the goals you made back when the quarter seemed promising and bright is essential in making sure you achieve them. Here’s a link to my quarterly goals post if you’d like to take a look. I use the lovely Jenna Moreci’s goal-making method, using a slight variation. So, let’s see what I’ve got to do in the next three weeks to accomplish at least half of these goals.