Sunday, May 31, 2009

4. Be Humble

Humility is something that a lot of people call a "weakness" in themselves.  Being humble isn't bad at all.  Being humble can get you a long way if you know how to be humble without it being prideful instead.

When in writing, be humble about your work.  Don't flaunt it like a diva but do show it to people who love you and care about you and want you to succeed with it.  Tell them thank you for reading it.  Back with the second "Be" with weaknesses, don't argue with people about what they think of your story.  Take it with a grain of salt and see if you can't do something while editing to really take some of their criticism and put it to good use.

The best way to succomb to the humility as a writer is to keep studying up what goes into your story.  Keep learning as a writer.

I saw something a long time ago that tells all the professions of a writer because of the studying and learning that goes on throughout this one career.

A writer is a doctor, a mother, a father, a drunk, a student, an airline pilot, a neurosurgeon, a lawyer, and you get the point.  

There are stories that I have where I have to learn about brain tumors, historical Italy, sky diving, the Civil War, horseback riding and the care of horses, emeralds, the political society and many more.  I have learned so much but to be humble, I don't go around acting like a "know-it-all".  Instead, I work it into my story.  That is where it will show my knowledge.  

Besides studying what is in your story to stay humble, you can also stay humble by attending workshops held by authors, seminars, and reading books on writing.  Keep learning your own craft.  See what others say about writing and take everything to heart. 

There is no shame in learning.  There isn't a measure on how much one person can learn in their lifetime.  There is no price on learning.  There is no price on the person who is humble.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

3. Be Innovative

One of my absolutely favorite television shows is Stargate: SG1. It ran for 10 seasons. Why do you ask did a science fiction show all on it's own, run for so long?

Well, because it had originality. The writer's were innovative, but also cliche on what would go on in the storylines. And a lot of the originality does come from the cast as well, but I have to say--they really do like to input into the show how cliche things are and how unoriginal some people are. Quite funny actually.

There is a moment in the show where the villains go on thier, "I'm your God and if you don't bow to me and worship me, I will destroy you." Well, Jack O'Neill (played by Richard Dean Anderson) would always come out and say, "Don't you have anything better to say? I mean, I've heard it from all you bad guys and it is so cliche." I believe the writer's really wanted to show how things are going unoriginal these days. Even Stargate gets cliche in some of it's storylines.

But lately, the newest fad in writing is vampire romance. How old is that going to get? How fast is it going to wear out? Just because we all are just regurgitating an idea. If you look at it, Stephenie Meyer has just regurgitated many other classics. She says that she was influenced by Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights and The Merchant of Venice. All classic tales of love, death, and deceit. Although I love Stephenie Meyer's "voice" in her writing, it is a cliche to have star-crossed lovers, love triangles, etc.

It doesn't mean that she wasn't original. Who could come up with the idea that vampires "sparkle" in the sunlight? There is originality in her story.

Writer's now are just regurgitating other stories. Even I notice how cliche some of my stories are and how I seem to be copying bits and pieces here and there into another story.

What I'm trying to get at here is "be original". Be innovative in your thoughts on your stories. Don't just look at your favorite book and decide you want to write something just like that--because you will basically hinder some copyright infringements when you do.

There are authors who really have been innovative and who really have sat down and let their subconcious take care of things for them. They let their stories twist and turn on their own. These authors have studied the backgrounds, they have learned of different things to do with their stories.

When I have been working on my stories, I always think to myself, "Am I being a copycat or have I been original in my thinking?" My first draft of a story I finished last May is, in my opinion, innovative. I have created a vampire race that can't be out in the sunlight without a certain jewel created by a witch in the 15th century. Why not have vampires who will vaporize but can be saved by something else? That story--I have other ideas in it that I believe are of itself, original. It doesn't mean the whole of the story is...I just have things to work on now to make it more "innovative."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2. Be Aware of Your Weaknesses and Do NOT Forgive Them

Sorry, I know I said I would write every couple days on these "Be's" but life got busy.

Anyway, moving on now.

Everyone has a weakness. It's in every person. There's no denying you have a weakness whether it be for caffeine, chocolate, great music that makes you swoon or even just a simple smell like fresh baked goods. It's in fighting the weaknesses that are bad that we want to focus on in writing. There are things that writer's do that don't want to accept and acknowledge they have a weakness in their writing but then wonder why no one wants to read their work because of their "God" complex in writing.

A lot of writer's actually will take a lot of criticism lightly. LISTEN! Take what you can from your critics. LEARN! Some beginning authors--and I do this--will write a story and then have someone critique and after a comment about some kind of grammar or such, will say, "Oh, I wanted it that way." or "It's no big deal."

EVERYONE! IT IS A BIG DEAL! We all have a weakness whether it be something big in writing like regurgitated plots, dialogue, or descriptions. It could be as small as using punctuation incorrectly or adding things that people can't really "say". Such as, "I need to get that from my brother's room although he's sleeping," she tiptoed quietly. These are little mistakes that can really mess up getting accepted by an agent or even a publisher.

Everyone thinks these days that whatever they start to do, any hobby they get into they don't have to learn from mistakes to get better and that they already are the best at what they do.

For example:
I've been trying to learn to sew for years. I actually was almost finished with making this dress for a costume and the day before I was supposed to wear it--I did a fitting and ALL the seams ripped! I cried and cried. I seriously was depressed for a LONG time. I'm barely getting over the fact that I know I did something wrong from the beginning--I measured myself. That's a no-no because you always seem to make yourself smaller than you actually are. I blamed the pattern for not being correct when all along I knew what I did wrong and didn't want to acknowledge that I needed to learn from it. I hadn't sewn anything but blankets since then.

Now though, I have picked up a slew of clothing patterns. Some I have high expectations for and know that I need to practice before making the pieces but I am willing to learn and try things the right way and ask for help when I need it.

That's how it should be for writing. Acknowledge your faults. Don't keep shrugging them over your shoulder like it's nothing to worry about. Things will work out if you listen to your critics and actually use their suggestions.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1. Be Courageous

A lot of beginning writer's don't like to have their worked judged or to even tell people they are writing a story.

This is a big deal people! You are writing a novel, short story or poetry! Not a lot of people have the guts to say that they are writing a story. Stand up there. Be proud that you're trying something new or doing this to achieve a goal you set one, two, or even ten years ago.

I for one, do not like to show most of my work to anyone. I will show it to people I feel I can trust and give me good feedback. I have not shown most of my work to friends or even family.

I am really preaching this all for myself--we all usually talk about things to help others but realize that we need it for ourselves. (Sorry for that sidenote).

Tell your family you are writing a story. Some may think you're strange or crazy. Some will think it's magnificent that you are trying something that is very difficult: time wise and emotional wise. Share your work when you need feedback with someone close to you.

Quit hiding that manuscript under the mattress or diving at the keyboard when someone enters the room (I need to stop this too).

Another thing for beginning writers that we don't realize is that if we do become published--we're going to have to stand up in front of people to promote the story. We are going to be doing readings. Get into a speech class. Learn to wiggle away those stage fright jitters. Sometimes just an acting class may even help with this because it is more interactive.

Join writing groups. Talk about your story with them. Get the feedback needed. Take the criticism gracefully and then do what you want with it.

Writers are no cowardly lions. We are brave to even let our emotions flow inside a story that becomes so close to our hearts that we don't want to let it all go. Let it go. It's like when a parent watches their child going to a full day of school the first time. It's hard. Tears flow, sniffles start and that child is growing up. At some point even later, they will go to college or get married. You have to let that child go. They have to become their own person and it is the same with the novel. If you don't let it go at some point, it will never grow up to be it's own story.

Be courageous. Stand up to show off your stuff. Don't get cocky, just be proud of what you are doing. Ask for advice. Ask for feedback from close family. One thing I have noticed with fellow writer friends is that those who show loved ones their stories--write more stories. They are getting that support system in tow at an early stage. Unlike me and other writers who have the fear of criticism and aren't that brave to show off work at an early stage. I have noticed that I write less and less the more I don't show anyone my work. I, too, will have to become courageous.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Things to Learn as a Writer

Okay, so I receive regular emails from the author David Wolverton/Farland. He's a science fiction author and does workshops and such. He also does what I guess you could call it an "email blog".

Anyway, he's been writing on what he likes to call the "Beatitudes of Writers"

I am going to do a spin-off of this and use some things I've noticed that really help as a beginning writer.

So, over the next little while I will be doing the "Things to Learn as a Writer" instead of calling it the "Beatitudes of Writing".

Here is what I will focus on:
1. Be Courageous
2. Be Aware of your Weaknesses and Do Not Forgive Them
3. Be Innovative
4. Be Humble
5. Be Persistant
6. Be Convicted in Your Writing
7. Be in Charge of Your Writing
8. Be Studious

I'll actually just change the title of these items on the "8 Be's of Writing".

There are many more things you can do with writing and need to focus on but these are the ones I noticed from David's email blog and from other sites and books that really need to be focused on.

This will all begin shortly--I will work on one a day or so. Ciao!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Updates All Around

Okay--I've updated my blog! Ain't it so pretty?

Well, a couple changes--first, my music player is now on the bottom of the page and automatically starts--well it should do that.

Second background--it is just more me.

Thirdly--I finally am posting something! YAY!

I will seriously try to update again sooner!