When I started my creative writing major, I kind of knew that not every teacher I had would enjoy fantasy, but I never thought they would not except it for page count(In my college, all students had to make to 60 pages total for a class in order to basically pass the class). One of my teachers had actually told me that he wouldn’t accept my piece because it had the word sword in the beginning and fantasy wasn’t his genre.
Now hearing that hurt and I had started crying in front of him because I already felt like I was failing his class. I had started to rethink my writing, believing that maybe what I was writing wasn’t good enough.
I wasn’t mad at him for not liking fantasy since people do like certain genres and not others. I was just upset because he wouldn’t accept it for page count for the genre I wrote it in.
The reason I’m typing all of that down was that it taught me something. That was to be proud of the genre I wrote in, which was, and still is, fantasy. That I also don’t need to please people like him who don’t like fantasy. My boyfriend would tell me how that teacher wasn’t my audience, and my audience was people who enjoy fantasy.
Never change the genre you write in. Just because of someone scuffs at your or thinkings differently of you or comments in almost a negative way, don’t like lowly about the genre you love to write stories in.
Think about the audience that loves the genre and would love to read your stories. It’s those people you want to think about while writing. Not those other people. I understand the wanting of making everyone happy, but at some point, you need to make yourself happy with your work and understand you can’t make everyone happy.
Be proud of the genre you write in. Be proud of the stories you start, the stories that you finish, and the stories that you just get ideas for.
Be proud of yourself!
I’ve noticed in some of my manuscripts and in other books, mostly YA fantasy, that the main character being great at something is sometimes not shown. It’s just told how great they are, but there is never an example of it.
An example of this is when a writer writes about an assassin character who is supposed to be this bloody killer, which is an interesting set-up, but then show them not killing a person they were ordered to kill, even though it was stated before they don’t hesitate or kill first and think second.
I apologize if that was a bad example.
My point is I want to see an example of your character being great at this thing you are having them do so I can feel like I know them more and get behind their change in character.
I understand of wanting to just tell how great your character is and move on with the story to get to the interesting part, but it’s also amazing to get to know a character then see them change and be proud of their change. I’m not saying to show it in the very beginning. It can be shown through a memory or throughout the first half of the novel.
There are authors who show their characters doing the things they were described to do, like Leigh Bardugo.
Overall, you write the story you want and write your characters how you want to. I just thought it would a good idea to remind other writers to not just tell how great their character or characters are but to also show it.
Have fun writing!
This week a published writer came to my writing class to talk and answer questions that my class had about writing and the publishing world. Something that he mentioned was how sometimes you might have to write short stories and get them published before you will be able to get a novel published.
Which is something a lot of other published writers at my school will say as well.
Now, I’m not saying that will always happen or that this is what you should do. But, what I’m trying to say is, don’t only write novels. Write short stories, including poems. Since, what you could do as you are sending out your novel or working on your novel, you could be sending out some of your short stories to get published.
I understand that some people can find writing short stories hard and others find it easy, but I think the only way to get better at something is you need to keep doing it until you get the rhyme of it.
The reason people might love to read short stories is that it isn’t a long commitment like a novel is. Writing short stories are fun because you have to write a story in not many words and you get to give it that punch in the gut at the end.
Just keep trying, because all that trying, all the effort, and all the time you put into your writing, whether it be writing novels or short stories, it will pay off. Just keep believing you will make it as a writer and to keep on writing.
As a writer I’m sure you read books in the genre that you love/are writing or in a genre you are trying to read more or even a genre you don’t like and are wanting to try it out again.
No matter which one, you are still learning from those books you are reading.
It might be writing techniques or how to be able to world build or how to be able to make a characters voice strong. Those book are teaching you things you can put into your writing to not only make it better, but stronger.
For me, I find that I learn so much more from the books that I didn’t like or hated. I learn what made they strong, but as well as what I didn’t like about them so I try to do it better or I can notice what they might have done wrong and try to correct it if I write a story that might be similar in a way. I do learn from books that I love, but not as much. I do learn quite a bit about world building when reading books that I enjoyed, including characters.
There’s a reason why so many authors say to read and read and read, because you learn from those books you have read. You get to see what stories you like and what genre you enjoy.
As some who has gone to college for creative writing, even though I did learn some such while getting my degree, I found that I could have easily taught myself writing and grow as writer if I just read more of what I wanted to read and kept on writing my stories instead of being afraid with what my classmates would say. I’m not saying getting a degree in creative writing is useless, because it’s not. But realize you don’t need to have a degree in creative writing or go to school to become a better writer.
I believe there three things you need in order to be a great writer.
- Read books
- Keep writing
There might be more, but those are the only three I can list off the top of my head.
So, keep on reading.
Now, if someone asks you why you are reading a lot, answer one, because I love to read and two, because I’m learning about how to be a better writer.
As writers, we can get an idea from almost anywhere at anytime. A lot of those times, at that moment, we love those ideas we come up with, and sometimes we immediately want to start writing it. But when we do start writing with that story idea in mind, we then realize how much we either don’t know or how much of a general idea it is.
Sometimes it’s best to write down the idea and let it sit in your mind to develop it more.
The reason for sometimes letting a story idea sit is so it can develop more. To see if it could actually become a story you could write, as well as seeing how much you could develop more of the story before going to write it.
I do this with a lot of story ideas I come up with, because a lot of them are either generic and/or cliches. So sometimes letting the idea sit as I do mundane things helps it grow into an interesting story that isn’t a cliches.
I know not everyone does this. Some writers can come up with an amazing story idea quite easily.
Not every writer is the same and usually a writer finds their own way of dealing with their ideas.
What do you do with your ideas? Do you let them sit or do you do something else?
Finishing the first draft of any type story is important and it is also the hardest to do.
It’s important because with every story you think of, getting the story fully writing from beginning to end will help you. Getting to see the whole story in front of you makes you realize how much more work needs to go into it, to fix plot holes, and see if the direction you are going in is the direction this story is supposed to go.
The reason this is hard to do with finishing the first draft is that we writers always have a tendency to either stop writing the story because it’s not written well, or we want to edit everything that was written before even finishing the story.
First, no story is ever perfect when it is first written. That fiction book you love so much didn’t get written perfectly in the first draft. It took many drafts before that book became the perfect and amazing book that it is. It wouldn’t have gotten that way if the writer didn’t finish their first draft.
Second, it’s okay to edit a little bit here and there, but don’t edit everything. You don’t know what will make it into a final draft, and taking a whole time to edit all the writing you have done previously, will take time away from actually writing so you can finish your draft.
Something that I have learned is that your first draft will suck.
I always have to tell myself “it’s okay for this first draft to suck” when I start a new story because I know after finishing that first draft and editing that draft, the second draft of my story will be better with now knowing more about my story than I did when I first started writing it.
Remember, it’s just a first draft. You are just getting to know and understand your stories, as well as your characters. The next draft will be better, including the draft after that, until you feel it’s finally perfect and ready to be sent out somewhere.
This past semester I have been learning more and more about the hero’s journey and how important it is in stories.
Almost every story you read follows the hero’s journey.
If you don’t know what this is, then it can be broken down into 12 parts, which can all be found and explained in The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writer’s by Christopher Volger.
- Ordinary World
- Call to Adventure
- Refusal of The Call
- Meeting the Mentor
- Crossing the Threshold
- Tests, Allies, Enemies
- Central Ordeal
- The Road Back
- Return with Elixir
You could pick any book from your bookshelf and find this structure. Heck, you could even look at your own story and maybe find this structure.
If anything, this might be considered the back bone of a story with you just putting in the words of your story you had created.
Over each week or maybe every other day, I will be going into each of these twelve parts to give you more insight about them.
I also highly recommend for you to read The Writer’s Journey if you are as writer.