FROM ONE GREENHORN TO THE NEXT
So many times as I sit to write for WOW, I feel blessed that I have a chance to share some of my ideas about and for writing with you.
I have a secret to share, I am not as accomplished as so many of our WOW readers are, but, I do continue on a daily basis to strive for my dream and do the best that I can. It isn’t easy, but like all of you know, the best thing to do is to continue on. Push yourself as much as you can.
I have to admit there are days, that I want to pull my hair out because I have gotten stuck in a rut with my writing, this has happened so many times, that I have lost count. But, I always try to find something that I can do that ties in with my writing. There are several things that I might do that aren’t strictly writing, but it is all a part of writing. The following is a list of ideas that might help you along your path to becoming a stronger, better writer. They might also help you to reach your goals.
Research: If I have come up with a story idea about a distant place, I check out different websites, books, maps, etc, on the particular place. I will make notes on the information that I was able to find. You can even go to some of the weather sites and check out what the temperatures are like to give your readers more of a feel for the climate in that area.
You can also research information for an article for idea, for example maybe you are interested in daisies. You could find out how many different varieties of this particular flower there are, the best way to plant them, etc.
Character development: This doesn’t even have to be for a character in a story that you are working on. For example, say you see an older woman sitting on a bench in a park, she might make a good character for a story some time. Write down information about her, what color are her eyes, is her hair curly, short, long, is it white, gray? How is she dressed? What does her body shape look like? Does she resemble a pear or a big round grapefruit? Next begin to build her on the inside, how old is she, what religion does she practice, does she like chocolate, is she political.
Here is a website that I found quite useful, from this site, I was able to create a spreadsheet for myself that I could fill out with all the necessary information about my new character. http://users.wirefire.com/tritt/tip8.html
Another useful template that I found is the following:
http://www.pgtelco.com/~slmiller/charactertemplate.htm This template gives you the basic characteristics for your new characters.
Stemming on this idea of developing new characters, you can also check out some writing workshops on character development or building here are a couple of sites that offer classes on the subject. http://www.writeronline.com this site offers lots of information on ways to develop your characters. It breaks it down into different parts for you.
Go to a Book Signing: You probably looked at this and went, how does this tie into writing? Quite simply, talking to a published writer, gives you more connections. You will be amazed, especially during some of the slower times for the writer at the signing, they are happy to just talk to you about their work, how they got started, even how they themselves got published. Make sure you take a small pad of paper and a pen with you when you go, you might end up walking out of the signing, with an agent’s number, publisher’s number, heck, you might have just met a collaborator. I admit I always get excited when I can meet and chat with other writers, who have literally walked in my shoes.
Mini-work shops: Sometimes, you will come across writers, who have developed their own techniques. They might tie them in with a book signing and the location may require that you call ahead to sign up. These mini-work shops are usually free of charge. Free is always good in the world of the beginning writer. Make sure you have a notebook with you, you will walk out of there with tons of information and a new look at your personal writing perspective.
One author comes to mind that does a wonderful job with mini-workshops, her name is Natalie Goldberg. http://www.nataliegoldberg.com Recently, her new book was introduced.
One mini-workshop that I went to of hers was tied in with her recent book at the time “The Essential Writer’s Notebook” A step-by step guide to better writing. This book and the workshop were great for me, it showed me, that even though you don’t seem to have anything to write about, there is still a ton out there that you can write about. In the first sentences of her book, she states: “The Essential Writers Notebook is a place where you keep your hand moving, even if you think you have nothing to say. Stop your daydreaming; put pen to paper. Trust yourself. Write whatever is on your mind.”
It is amazing how much I have actually written and how many ideas have developed from her technique.
Store and Library Search: Depending on what genre you are writing for, it is good to check out what is on the shelves. This can be a plus and a negative. If you check out the new books, you might want to read through a few pages of the particular genre that you are interested in. This may give you some in-sight to the style of writing that the publishers may be looking for.
Read: I have found it useful to read books in particular genres that I am interested in writing. Not only to relax and enjoy personally, but it also helps give me a chance to see the different styles. For example; if I am interested in mystery, I might read some of Agatha Christie’s work, which gives me some nostalgia, then jump to one of the more modern day writer’s like James Patterson or Mary Higgins-Clark. This will give me an understanding of different styles that are interesting readers today.
Even though I have been writing for many years and the writings that I have gotten published have been very limited, I still consider myself a “Green Horn” in the writing world. I personally have not found my niche and will continue to reach for my dreams. I will hold tight to those dreams and continue to perfect my writing style and my knowledge of writing skills as much as possible.
I hope that this helps all of you in some small way. Happy Writing to each and every one of you!