A quick writing update
I have been absent from here for a couple of weeks, but that is not without reason! I have finally started to focus on writing which is a good thing! I have done away with my other project I was working on, realising that it would take a significant amount of time and effort to complete and right now, I had lost motivation to complete it. It meant that I was spending time being unproductive, just staring at it, rather than actually doing any work on it. Once I had decided that I was stuck with it and left it behind, I felt reinvigorated!
I was also doing a significant amount of work on my music; correcting and entering new metadata to all my songs. For the majority of it, the task was automated (so thankful!) and as it went on, I was able to find new ways to speed up the process (see this post). I now have a more organised and DJ friendly library; now to make mixes!
Now that I have stepped away from those tasks, I have time to focus on writing once again. For the past couple weeks I have been working on some personal pieces; wanting to knock the rust of my writing skills. I have now completed a 2,500 word piece which was quite challenging. I had never written that kind of genre before and found that I learned some things about my writing that I thought I could share.
1. Writing by hand is your first step
When I create a significant piece of writing, I always write it out by hand first. Yes, this may be a more time-consuming way of developing a story, but it does work for a couple of reasons.
a. It gives you time to think – I find that as I develop a scene within a story, I have a loose idea of what it is going to happen, what the characters do and say and how the plot carries forward. However, I do not have a concrete vision of how that is to come about. By writing by hand, it gives my brain the time and space to fill out the scene, filling the blank canvas – colouring it and giving it life.
b. Editing while writing – By writing it out, it forces you to read it to yourself as you pen the words. This allows you to catch some glaring problems before writing them on the page; making it easier to edit it later in the editing process.
c. Editing while transferring – When you finally do get to converting your work to digital form, it provides another opportunity to edit the piece. It is quite effective, as it forces you to read from the page and type in the words, which allows for the flow of the story to become apparent. When there are jarring problems, they stand out; waving a red flag and jumping up and down. Sometimes these are hard to see on a typed page; it seems the ability to see errors is diminished due to the text being so uniform – the errors seem to hide.
2. Tenses suck
I have found this annoying. I sometimes switch up between past and present tense without even realising. I think this is due to the fact that I am writing the story in the present and I forget which tense I am writing in. I am currently trying to find an online verb tense dictionary where you can type in a verb and it tells you the past/present/future tenses of that verb. Does anyone know where this is? Otherwise I will create one!
3. Action vs Plot
Getting the balance between action and plot development is a tricky one. On one hand, you need to develop the story – give it meaning, discuss the characters and provide an explanation of the background. On the other, there is also the need to show what is happening – the action, the speech and the interaction with the environment. The plot is the bricks of the story and the action is the mortar. A wall made entirely of bricks will stand up on its own, but it will not stand the test of time; it needs the mortar to bind the bricks together to create a solid structure. The same with a story – without plot and action, the story would crumble as a reader made their way through a story that was void of tension and emotion.
These are the three main things I have picked up so far! What have you picked up from writing? Always on the lookout for more tips!