Sunday, February 7, 2016

Guest Post: Keeping the Creative Flow

Hey guys! How are those romance stories coming? In case you're a little stuck (or even if you're not), here's a wonderful guest post by my friend Grace Weiser. Enjoy!



Keeping the Creative Flow

I have a friend who is an amazing artist.  She can draw people that look like photographs, right out of her head.  One of the ways she stays that way is because she is constantly doodling.  She draws on her homework, she draws in multiple sketchbooks, and she draws on pieces of paper.  She may not be drawing her best pictures ever, but she’s drawing.  

The same goes for writing.  I even use the same terms.  I don’t always write on my homework (that’s not a firm statement, though.  my teachers have gotten bits of stories on the backs of tests and quizzes), but I have notebooks scattered in various places, and I’m usually writing.  Unless I’m on Pinterest.  Or hiding in my room trying to avoid responsibilities.  

There are a lot of things that people say to me when I tell them that constant writing helps them improve.  Here are the three most common:
“What if I don’t like what I’m writing?”
“What if I don’t have time?”
“What if I can’t think of anything to write about?”

First of all, I believe that while you could be writing the worst thing ever, you are writing, which is more important.  I don’t plan on re-reading most of my “sketches”, and I certainly don’t plan on showing them to anyone unless I have a rare moment and write something glorious and life-changing.  The point is not to write well, it is simply to write.  Using your brain to come up with something and put it on paper is the entire point, even if the characters do nothing but make sandwiches and complain about life.  

Secondly, not having time is what mini notebooks were made for.  I keep one in my purse, and I have another that I carry around to random places.  You can get writing apps, and if all else fails, there are always napkins.  This takes us back to the first question.  Not only does your writing not have to be good, it can be so temporary that it is thrown away with the fast food container.  Heck, write the story on the fast food container.  Constantly writing does not mean sitting down with a large notebook or a laptop.  It means “sketching” in the waiting room, and “doodling” while you wait for food.  

Last of all comes the inspiration.  Trust me, it never comes easily.  Going back to the first question again, I mentioned that your characters could do nothing but make sandwiches.  Describing the process in detail is not a writing sin.  If you can take three pages (or one cardboard fries container) to describe the making of a grilled ham and cheese melt, more power to you.  Believe me, you don’t have to have an entire plot, and if you do, it can have more holes than Swiss cheese.  No one will kill you if the dumbest, cheesiest thing ever in existance happens ten times in your story, because, again, no one has to read it.  You can burn it, if it’s really that bad.  The most important thing is writing it down.

There is one last benefit to constant doodling, and that is the storing of ideas.  Have you ever thought of a potentially genius twist or event?  You tuck it away in the “I promise to remember” part of your brain, but when you sit down to write it, you find that it has sprouted wings and become a fleeting fancy.  If you are constantly doodling and sketching your ideas in the form of stupid (or occasionally very good) stories and scenes, you might have it to find later.  Unless of course you wrote it on that fast food container.  You don’t generally want to do that with momentous and career-changing ideas.  I’ve found that writing things down also helps me keep them in my head, unless I decide that because I have written it, I can proceed to forget it, which occasionally happens.  

All that to say this:  Keep writing.  Keep writing dumb things that will never be shown to the public or even your closest friend.  Keep writing pretty decent things that might show up later in a story, or that you can pull up for inspiration.  And most importantly, keep describing in detail the way to make a grilled ham and cheese melt.  

~Grace Weiser


Monday, February 1, 2016

February's Challenge: Romance

I did indeed complete the January challenge. Made it by the skin of my teeth. It’s posted on Wattpad. Now that I know that I can in fact complete a short story, I think I’m ready to add some limitations and challenges. Which brings us to…


Romance.

Flower shot from www.torange.us


I’m going to be honest: I’ve never written straight romance before. Mushy gushy is not really my thing. That being said, mushy gushy is probably not what I’m going to go for. Romance doesn’t have to have a happily ever ending. If that’s what you want to write, go ahead. I admire your ability.


My biggest problem with romance is that I’ve never actually experienced it. I observe, of course (being a writer is an awesome excuse for being a spy), but it’s such a close, personal thing that it’s hard to get right. Even so, I’ll try to come up with some tips for everyone involved in this, including myself.

1. Watch out for cliches. 
Holy moly, there are so many romantic cliches out there. Try to avoid hyper-sexualization -- you know, the perfect abs, the flawless skin, etc. etc. Very few people actually have those, and how likely do you think it is that two of those mythical creatures will actually meet each other? I mean, maybe at a convention for unnaturally beautiful people…

2. Romance isn’t built in a day.
I’m getting kind of tired of stories where people meet and fall in love over a week. I guess that happens. Sometimes. Maybe. But it sure hasn’t happened to me, and I haven’t seen it happening to most of the people I know. (Granted, I know one person it happened to. They are extraordinarily lucky and no I am not jealous at all, why did you ask?)

3. Leave advice in the comments. 
This is a legit tip. I need help, people.


Well, there you have it. I cannot stress enough the importance of leaving tips in the comments. Really. Even if you’ve never been in a romantic relationship before, any and all tips are helpful. Maybe I’ll compile them and put them in the next blog post.


Happy writing, and make sure to share your work with me on Wattpad if you so wish!