Posts

story-outline

Story Outlines: Who Needs Them?

story-outlineUnless you’re writing your 10th book you might want to consider creating an outline of the story you are looking to write. Sitting down and writing by the seat of your pants may offer freedom to change directions in a story but it is more likely that a new writer will find themselves stuck or lost in a tangent.

The use of an outline provides structure and a useful framework for filling in the story. The planning involved in making an outline helps produce a well thought out plot. You will become more familiar with the story you want to write and this early involvement allows you to create a powerful plot. You will gain more organization when piecing the story together, ensuring details and ideas are less likely to be left out or badly arranged.

There are those who prefer more spontaneity in their writing process. I use everything from mind-maps to sticky notes when writing. In the end, the choice is yours to make when deciding a personal preference in writing styles.
If you would like to use an outline, I’ve listed four steps for turning an idea into a story.

goalDecide on the story’s goal. What do you want the most overall result of the story to be? Perhaps your character will find love or overcome loss. Whatever you choose, make sure you know this story goal before continuing with your outline. Some authors prefer to begin their outline by starting with the end of the story then back tracking the events that lead up to the ending. Knowing the result of an event ahead of time makes it easier to create the event.


PaintCreate conflict.
Every story I can think of has conflict. If it didn’t, once upon a time would be more like once upon a coma. Think about what is keeping the story’s goal from being achieved. This is most likely going to show itself in the first few pages. Is it a villain or a bad decision? Maybe the main character cannot make a decision? This is the meat and potatoes of the story so work on making this part exciting and believable.

 

sceneCreate subjects. Adding detailed settings and lifelike characters is your next big step. Writing a list of descriptions for many places and characters will give you more variety to choose from when introducing the subject in the story. Researching specific details that fit in the time and place of the story will add believability and a stronger mental picture in the readers mind. Make as many as you can and if you don’t use them now save them and someday they may be useful.


developmentBuild the plot.
Here you want to write down scenes that you envision of your characters in interacting the world of your story. Learn the purpose of each scene and the order they occur in. Remember, you are not writing the story now, just gaining some insight and reference points to guide the plot. After finishing a list of scenes, make sure the sequence of events can effectively convey the story.

 

At this point you will have outlined your story’s structure. You should be familiar with the workings of the story and your mind can focus on other details to add while understanding that events need to head in a certain direction. If you have taken these steps you should see your story unfolding and you can begin writing! When you’re discussing your best seller on a TV talk show be sure to tell them about story outlines and why you needed one.

About the Author

forgewrightRobert Hatfield hails from mid-western Ohio. Comedy and Adventure stories are his passion. Editing and Reviewing are the fields of work he enjoys. Writing has been an interest for the past 25 years and he now has the time to pursue it. As a Moderator on Thoughtsinc.net, he welcomes any questions or requests for help.

This article is for use by Thoughtsinc.net

speed-typing

How long does it take to write a novel?

speed-typingNaNoWriMo, which is thankfully still months away, is an increasingly popular way for aspiring writers to hone their novel writing skills. There are still those who sneer at the event though, and argue that it’s impossible to write a novel in 30 days.

That’s clearly nonsense if you look back through literary history. Some of the most important novels ever committed to paper have been written in a crazy rush. The most famous example is that of Jack Kerouac, who taped a ream of paper together to make a single, continuous sheet, then spent a weekend working without pause. “That’s not writing, it’s typing,” is how Truman Capote described this experiment, but the resulting novel –  On The Road –  remains one of the pillars of modern literature.

Just as amazing is Dostoevsky, who completed the first part of  The Idiot  in only 23 days. Hounded by gambling debts, Dostoevsky had a good reason to work as fast as he could, but the epic scope and splendor of  The Idiot  suggests a novel that was planned over many years.

Ultimately, the amount of time needed to write a novel is the amount of time required by that particular novel. It might take years. Or you might have some things burning inside you that need to escape as quickly as possible. Either way, don’t let anyone tell you that 30 days is too short.

About The Author

Robert Hatfield hails from mid-western Ohio. Comedy and Adventure stories are his passion. Editing and Reviewing are the fields of work he enjoys. Writing has been an interest for the past 25 years and he now has the time to pursue it. As a Moderator on Thoughtsinc.net, he welcomes any questions or requests for help.

This article is for use by Thoughtsinc.net

who-are-you

What’s In A Name?

who-are-youYou’ve worked a character to perfection. What he wants, what his strengths and vulnerabilities are, his secrets, even his blue eyes and broad sloping nose. He is honorable and brave. A hero living in medieval times and his name is…. Larry.

Ok, this could work. After all, Fred and Wilma lived in prehistoric times. This was a cartoon and was meant to be funny. If you’re going for a great adventure story with action and romance then perhaps a bit more research is necessary, but how do you start looking? Well, I’ll give you a hand. To make this clear to everyone we will create a name here and now.

Find names from the era of the story. Medieval… Ok. I Googled, “Medieval names” and picked a site called, http://medieval.stormthecastle.com/medieval-names.htm. This shows a list of male and female names that were popular in this era. I like many but for now I’ll go with Cedric.

Research the root of a name to help match it to the personality of the character. My character is a good man and will at some point become king. I researched the meaning of Cedric and discover it means “kind” or “loved. Hmmm…. Not bad for a king. It’s of Saxon or German origin and ties well into my story. Further research uncovers the name “Cedrych”, meaning “Bounty”. This sounds good too. We can play with the spelling later to get it just right.

Need a last name now? What type of work does this character do? Our good Cedrych was the son of a farmer known for growing hay. English, Hay or French, Heah meaning “tall” or “high” then there’s Haye meaning “hedge” but this has a more Spanish origin.

Also, I like the standby way of choosing names. The Latin translator. I tried many characteristics of hay and found that ‘Golden” is “Aureous” . Now I am thinking that our hero Cedrych comes from the town of Aureous which was named after his great-great-grandfather, Jaren Aureous.

Say it out loud. How does it sound? Does it roll smoothly? We can add a” vin” or “wyn” meaning friend. I’ll shorten the last name and get, Aureowyn. Play with the letters till you feel good about the sound and flow. I worked out…… Cedrick Areowyn. “A golden bounty of kindness.” Hey, it is a fictional fantasy character.

Your targeted audience will recognize the “feel” of the name from being familiar with names and meanings of the era. If the name flows well, those unfamiliar will like the sound of it and play along.

On a side note, I’d like to tell you a bit about my Avatar name here at Thoughts Inc. In the early 1980’s I found a nerdy little game called “Dungeons and Dragons.” Then, it was played on table tops with paper and dice and imagination. I developed the name” Forgewright” from a character I had made named “Nathaniel Forge” He was a blacksmithing dwarf that made weapons.

I have used Forgewright as character names in many online games since the beginning of online games. Now if you look up Forgewright online it belongs to World of Warcraft for a long dead dwarven blacksmith that can still be visited if you are dead. His legendary weapons are also discoverable to use.

Is there a connection? Conspiracy theorists like to think so….. Well, I do anyway.

Thanks for reading,

The one, The only, Forgewright.

About The Author

Robert Hatfield hails from mid-western Ohio. Comedy and Adventure stories are his passion. Editing and Reviewing are the fields of work he enjoys. Writing has been an interest for the past 25 years and he now has the time to pursue it. As a Moderator on Thoughtsinc.net, he welcomes any questions or requests for help.

This article is for use by Thoughtsinc.net

i-can

Persistence writes a book

So many great authors give us incredible stories of every kind of genre. Famous writers with abilities we can only dream of developing. A writer must want something enough to maintain the motivation to put a story together. Life just seems to get in the way.

We all have doubts and reasons why we cannot write a book and become published. You may have a small child and have been in an abusive marriage and recently divorced. You may have suffered a loss of a loved one and then find yourself without a job. Now you might find yourself depressed and contemplating an unspeakable act upon yourself to end such a terrible plight.

These are all good reasons to convince yourself that you are incapable of writing anything worth writing. Right?

 I know of a single mom who suffered all of these frustrations and as luck would seem to have it was sitting on a delayed train. While waiting for the rest of another miserable scenario to pay out she suddenly had an idea. A vision really, one so vivid and complete she began to write it down.

That was the day when she began to climb from the rubble that was her life. With nothing more to hold her back, availing her freedom that came from so much loss, she wrote. Every day she spent 3 or as many as 11 hours typing on a typewriter, Many of the stories and characters were inspired by her life.

“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”

When she finished, she sent the story to publishers and each rejected it. She persisted.

“My breakthrough with the first book came through persistence, because a lot of publishers turned it down!”

When a young girl, who was the daughter of the first publisher who accepted the book, was given a copy and demanded the next one after reading it, money was given to the author to continue her work.

Her books began to sell over ten million copies on the day of release. They have brought in billions of dollars.

This is the story about J.K. Rawling. The author of “Harry Potter”

“I’ve been writing since I was six. It is a compulsion, so I can’t really say where the desire came from; I’ve always had it.”

Write because you enjoy it. Write because you have something to tell. Find out who you are and what your plans are as a writer. Persist in your goals however big or small and motivate yourself accordingly. Whatever life brings, be yourself; A writer. Persistence writes a book.

I was brought back to reality when writing this article because J.K. Rawling and I were born on the same day, July 31, 1965. I gotta start taking the train!

*Quotes by J.K. Rawling (For more about her visit- http://www.jkrowling.com/ )

About The Author

Robert Hatfield hails from mid-western Ohio. Comedy and Adventure stories are his passion. Editing and Reviewing are the fields of work he enjoys. Writing has been an interest for the past 25 years and he now has the time to pursue it. As a Moderator on Thoughtsinc.net, he welcomes any questions or requests for help.

This article is for use by Thoughtsinc.net

william-shakespeare

Unconscionably Speaking

Have you ever heard a speaker whose speech had a rhythmic or melodious quality? The subject matter may not be of interest to us but we still want to hear them. It’s as though there is a magical quality in how they communicate. This is how our language is meant to be spoken. It is, in a way, a puzzle that may have many solutions but one forced piece can distort the finished work.

We strive for greatness in our own writings and may use words we find in referencing sources, such as a thesaurus, thinking it will add merit to our writing. Doing this can cause a distortion in the flow of your writing. It requires more than just a glance at a list of similar words. If you want to use a word that is unfamiliar, take time to research how it is used in our language. The practice of clicking on the thesaurus and picking a word from a list will show itself in your writing as well as your speech. This may bring criticism and ridicule from others.

You are a writer and as such you should take pride in the tools of your trade. William Shakespeare is credited with adding many words to the English language. His writings were used to build references in the dictionary in the 1800’s. He most likely did not invent these words but he used words being spoken in the language of his time in his writings. Shakespeare is thought of as a prolific writer because of the many works he produced. He was a master of the English language allowing him to create great literature. This is one of the advantages of taking the time to read as much material as we can. Joining writing clubs, groups or online forums allow you to gain experience in the use of a language. Writing reflects who we are as a person. Whether we are skilled or lazy will show in our words.

A beginner can also achieve this title of prolific by using the tools we have, not by borrowing words we don’t use as a regular part of our vocabulary. This will only diminish the effectiveness of our art. Every word is a tool and should be practiced before applying it to something we are creating. The words we have gained skill in using are sufficient in creating a masterpiece so avoid the temptation of handling words that are beyond our ability to use. They may look like a way to increase the merit of our work but in reality will stand out as clumsy if used by a layman.

An apprentice carpenter must master each tool by practicing on scrap wood before allowed to work on usable material; we must also have the willpower to train ourselves before using more powerful and intricate tools at our disposal.

I may be able to build a house but attempting to build an Egyptian pyramid would only be a labor of futility. That doesn’t mean the house isn’t beautiful and I can always learn to build a pyramid.

About The Author

Robert Hatfield hails from mid-western Ohio. Comedy and Adventure stories are his passion. Editing and Reviewing are the fields of work he enjoys. Writing has been an interest for the past 25 years and he now has the time to pursue it. As a Moderator on Thoughtsinc.net, he welcomes any questions or requests for help.

This article is for use by Thoughtsinc.net