It’s NanoWriMo! Yay! I know many people are excited for this time of year, not only because of the holidays but also because of the drive this time of year gives us. We are inspired to write, write, write, whether it be a novel, blog post, poems, or something on a scrap piece of paper that you throw away later. Writing is in the air.
With writing, however, comes uncertainty. Am I telling a good story? Am I showing or telling? I don’t want to fail.
Here’s the thing about failing. Even if you run with what you think is best only to find out later it wasn’t, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you’re still learning. I’ve been writing since I was little and in the publishing business for five years and still make mistakes. It happens to the best of us.
My biggest lesson was when I first published The Shadow World Trilogy. I made a mess of the story, of the cover, and my plan for build up until release day. It was horrible. But, I learned. Now, the trilogy is a successful boxed set and I’ve published six other titles since then. As the internet changes and new ideas are born, I continue to learn.
I wish I could break down a simple three step program as to how to publish with success and no mistakes, but unfortunately, I’m not sure that’s possible. So, for now, I will focus on the writing of it. It’s the biggest key factor after all.
I’ll address this question: How do you know if you are telling a good story?
Make readers feel emotions by expressing emotion!
Each one of us feels passionate about something, anger towards someone, and love toward something else. Use it. Let your emotions go and don’t hold back. Funnel them into your characters and make the readers feel that emotion too.
1. Write in scenes, showing rather than telling.
Remember that time you were home alone and something scared you? Remember the adrenaline rush and the trembling you felt afterwards? How about the racing of your heart, the sweat that built on your brow and even in the pits of your arms? The tremble in your stomach. Think back to those emotions you felt and push them into your characters.
2. Show the reactions and responses of characters to the actions of another character. Have you ever had a coworker tell you something that made you angry and you could no longer hold your tongue? Maybe it was a friend who had abused your relationship too much. Funnel the anger you felt in that moment and push it into your characters. The same can happen with anger, regret, bitterness, etc.
3. Don’t hold back.
Death. Accidents. Betrayals. Misunderstandings. Forced choices. They are things we go through in life and can funnel our emotions into our writing. It’s our chance to let go of the anxiety and depression we feel over situations. The joy and elation. If it crushes your characters emotions, make the reader feel it. If it lifts them up and takes their breath away, take the readers breath with them.
4. Know the power of word choice.
Getting caught up in our emotions is great, it pushes our writings and is cheap therapy in the end. We are killing two birds with one stone. Whoop! However, poor word choice can ruin even the best of scenes. Be strong and clear with your word choices.
Example: Don’t mix light and fluffy words into a dark scene (unless for effect or if it’s your writing style of course).
Don’t drown yourself with worry on your story development. That’s why a second draft is recommended. For the first draft, let it go.
If you’re still learning the ropes of the writing business, here are my Top 5 Books on Writing. There are several good books on writing and the publishing industry, but these are the five I have referred to throughout the last few years.
Keep on writing on.
November 21st Blog Topic: My experience with Audible.