Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Things That Influenced My Writing

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There has been a number of people who have actually influenced my writing tremendously. None of which were my tutors at school. Growing up under all the pressure and stress that is put on anyone during the 90s was very difficult. We were witnessing the jump to total dependence on technology (whether this is good or bad is a story for another day). 

However, I have never really depended on school or any form of traditional ways to learn English. From a young age, I was really interested in that language, all the TV I was watching had me compelled and wanting to 'speak' like they do. It did have its charm, I won't deny it. 

But starting from then, I got involved with a lot of different forums that specialized in different things, the trick? All were English. People always mocked my grammar and spelling and to which I would always respond by insulting theirs (internet rage, go figure) until some day, I decided to just try to read beyond the (learn t0 sp3ll ... OMG !) and started to notice patterns. 

From there on, I constantly kept on improving. Noticing that "i" when referring to yourself should always be capitalized was the first thing I learned by the way.

Anyways, from there on, my level of English had always surpassed my school's standards. The exams were a joke to me personally, and I remember the myth that no one could get a full mark in writing. Well, I challenged that and got the mark. The teacher told me "this was incredible, I have never read something this good in a long time" which was a great compliment to satisfy my own ego (and boy I was arrogant).   

I remember when I was a kid, I would listen to English songs and try to say the words, as well as pick up English books and make silly sounds pretending that I was reading. Most of the times, people would come to me and say "do you even know what you're saying? Well, if you don't why do you say it!". People made fun and ridiculed when they could, but had I listened to them, I would still speak the "door oben, ziz wan not good" kinda thing that they speak and call it the English language. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Three Ways to Earn Money With Your Short Story

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So, you've finished writing up an awesome short story that leaves readers with a life changing impact and are wondering where to go with it from here? Then this post is for you.

Many emerging authors and writers struggle with this dilemma. Whether it is weighing up writing a novella, short story or a nonfiction ebook. In this post, I'll be talking about some known methods and ways to earn money with your completed short story.

I'll be addressing techniques about how to write a successful short story in a future blog, but for now, we will assume that you have already completed a story that sells.

There are basically three ways to earn money with your short story. Keep in mind that there is no shortcut to success and that it'll probably tire you. Also, be prepared to get rejected a lot, but remember it only has to work once.

1- Submit to Literary Magazines.

There are an infinite number of literary magazines that will pay you money for publishing your short story on their magazine. The way it works is that they purchase "First Rights Publication" which means that you cannot publish it anywhere until it gets released in the magazine. Then, all rights revert to the author.

Most magazines have a flat fee, while others offer a more lucrative reward that is based on the number of words (a short story must be under 7500).

Here is a link that provides 46 Literary Magazines you can submit your short story to:
http://letswriteashortstory.com/literary-magazines/

2- Entering Competitions.

There are a lot of competitions that accept emerging authors. Actually, some competitions exist for the sole purpose of supporting new authors. While some competitions have an entry fee, there are a number of competitions that you can enter free of charge.

These often offer a hefty reward in the event that your story goes further in the competition. Cash, along with publication opportunities. One of the most accredited competitions is "L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future" which I highly recommend you enter if only for the bragging rights. Here is link to their website:
http://www.writersofthefuture.com/

Also, here is a link that provides a list of short story competitions:
http://www.christopherfielden.com/short-story-tips-and-writing-advice/short-story-competitions.php

3- Self-Publishing on Amazon KDP.

Your short story would be available for Kindle users and those who use any form of devices to purchase the ebook. In case you are wondering, Amazon provides this service for free, making your short story available to a huge global market just in the blink of an eye.

The pricing structure for short stories however, will be discussed in a future blog post, but often authors charge 0.99$ per short story.

Remember that you need to effectively market the short story as well before its release in order to ensure great results.

Visit this website in order to learn more:
https://kdp.amazon.com/

Happy writing everyone!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Curing Writer's Block

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If you follow me on Twitter, you will have noticed that I have been occasionally tackling the whole concept that new writers often say after working on a short story, a novella or a non-fiction book. If you have ever sat down to write something, it is bound that you have experienced what everyone calls "Writer's Block". Whether an author simply starts a new project, or decides to ditch the whole idea... It is something very serious. So let's uncover the bullshit factor that is within it.

What is it? 

Writer's Block happens mostly during the 15K mark and is when the author just can't come up with ideas on how to progress the story; the creative spark simply vanishes.

How to cure it?

The answer is really simple. Just bloody write. There is no shortcuts to overcoming a creative problem. If you have an outline already planned for your book, set a daily target that you will always meet. Whether it's 1K or 2K, just write! And give yourself the permission to write garbage. Writer's Block often means that you have very high expectations from your writing which is totally fine and actually a very good thing. But you have to understand that everybody has a good day that follows a bad day.

So if what you are writing is not satisfactory to you, remember that you can always come back and fix something terrible because it will always be there, ready for you when you are. That's why we have a first draft (that almost never is shared with anyone. Ever.) and a second draft. Often, books and novels get to the 6th draft period before it is ready for Beta Reading.

if all fails, you can always re-write the whole damn thing too.

The bullshit factor

Now, we have to identify when a writer is truly going through the phase where his creativity isn't matching his expectations, and when children just spout some bullshit just to sound "cool". I actually had an encounter that went like this:

"I'm actually a writer, and been working on a project for some time now"
"Oh? So how far are you?"
"I reached the 6K mark..."
"Oh..."
"Yeah, I have Writer's Block"

See? Now that is just someone pretending to be a writer just because it sounds cool when he says that he has Writer's Block. It's really frustrating when you deal with them and it is just better to remember "don't feed the troll".

Have YOU had Writer's Block?

Actually, I had days where I finished an entire chapter in a weekend, and those days where I simply can't bring myself to write another line! I still go through it every day. But I make it a goal of mine to write every day. Chances are, the spark will kick in and I'll go back and fix it, making it appealing and just sound awesome.

So, while I do have those bad days, I simply don't give up. And I urge you to do the same! Writing is an art in itself, and if you don't practice it daily, it'll just get harder and harder for the spark to ignite the flames of creativity that dwell within you.

Until next time,
Regards

Friday, September 11, 2015

Should You Change Your Decisions in Writing?

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Sometimes, when you are so deeply rooted within a world of your own, you begin to wonder how was it that you got this far? I have always dealt with hard decisions when writing a story because, in a way, I do not control the story... The characters do. What I write is strictly character-driven plots for the sole purpose of realism in the piece of writing.

I learned that because I plot out how the story ends up before actually writing the details of what and how things end up happening. Did I ever wish that I could change a decision for the betterment of my own satisfaction? Yes, did I ever do it? No.

I think it is very disrespectful when an author changes what he originally planned simply because they lacked the will to carry on with whatever they planned. Sure, you might have come to a new and better idea and justify it all you want, but the truth is, if it is something hard for you to write, imagine how the readers feel. Exactly, you want that.

I remember when I saw an interview of George R.R Martins where he spoke about how he wrote the Red Wedding. When it came down to it, he couldn't actually write it, but instead went ahead and wrote the aftermath of what happened, and then came back to it finally.




Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dragon Tooth - Chapter 5 Updates + New Novel in The Making?

This is gonna be another update about Dragon Tooth, a short novel I am working on. As of right now, I've been finishing up chapter 5 which is one of the longest chapters in the entire novel... I've actually been really excited to get to this particular part because... Up until now, everything was a set up for these magical moments.

People weighing up how tough and how strong the story is built... It'll all come to play with the next chapter. I think it is something that the readers will enjoy the most.

New Project? New Novel? 

Okay, so if you noticed and checked the Upcoming Projects page, you'll see that I included a cover titled "New Worlds". This is not a new project but rather a conversion of a screenplay I wrote into a novel.  The screenplay was meant to trilogy that I think had too much potential not to make it into a story in itself.

I've enjoyed tremendously writing that particular screenplay and look forward to start writing it. However, it is very unlikely that I'll begin before I completely finish Dragon Tooth.

So stay tuned for more!
Until then.

Friday, September 4, 2015

How To Write A Compelling Story


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Many writers struggle when writing a story and they just can't seem to get the plot, lessons and values carefully embedded in a story. Often, the stories are just predictable and throughout this blog, I'll hopefully go through how you can surprise the audience even when having a cliche.

This will focus on fiction, but it can easily be used and adjusted to suit any genre there is.

1- You should power and jump straight in! 

Most writers spend tremendous amount of time trying to explain the world they have created that they bore the reader with details they don't need the instant they pick the book. Jump right in! Explain the world through the progression of the story... the rules, the fights, the conflicts. Introduce the world through the actions and have them integrated IN the story. The best example I can think of is to have an outsider, and have your character take them through the basics.

Example:

Person A is from another continent and doesn't know anything about the customs and rules of <City>. He gets in trouble and does something that is socially unacceptable, and gets saved by Person B (a citizen) who then goes on to explain to him the rules.

It's still challenging however to embed this in the story without sounding boring. So, what you can do is make it more exciting to the reader and have Person A joke and ridicule their methods and how they live. Your readers will be able to relate better to the character this way.

2- Write complex imperfect characters!

Write imperfect characters! Because perfection = boredom in fiction. You want to have your character someone who the reader can relate to, just think about it, how many perfect people have you met so far? None!

Also, give your character a tone, motives, objectives and even hidden agendas so that the reader gets confused as to what they are hiding. Don't introduce lots of characters and then kill them (*cough*...) just use any character that you have already. It's much better to keep the story to as little characters as you can.

Often heroes are so overpowered that the bad guys don't have that much of a chance anyways, however do something different... make your protagonist the underdog for a change or have them go through hell. Have an opponent play at his weaknesses and just when their about to lose, their best friend ends up betraying them! Readers love these occurrences because they want to see how the character reacts. Have your readers care for your character... and you have succeeded at creating a complex character.

3- Always end with a bang!

Often called cliff-hangers. Always end a chapter while the reader wants to read more. Just when there is a huge reveal... just when someone powerful enough comes sending the bad guy flying... stuff that would make the reader thirst for more. For me personally, I always try to end each POV with a "bang" making the reader anticipate everything on every little end.

Don't be afraid to end the chapter in the heart of the action as well as ending it with an upset.  It's often a good idea to break the chapter into parts to control the pace, as sometimes when the pace is high enough the writer just powers through the story out of excitement but unfortunately it ends up being a disappointment, because the reader kept anticipating bigger and more exciting events to happen.

Build excitement, when the pace is getting too high.

4- Plot, plot, plot, and plot!

Before even writing, you must have a plot written down, even if its just one sentence... for example the plot for Mario is that "a princess gets kidnapped, and Mario sets out to save her". Try to establish the purpose of the story early one in order to get lots of room for twists. For example, you could build the story so that Mario is desperate to go save the princess at all costs. Going through all challenges and enemies on his way, but as soon as he finds the princess... she confesses that she does not want to go back. She wasn't kidnapped... she left.

See? That makes the writer able to write compelling and disturbing twists if he knows what the reader is anticipating and expecting, it makes it easier to break those thoughts surprising them with more and keeping them on their toes.

5- Don't be afraid to KILL your characters!

Yes, you heard me right. Don't be afraid to kill your characters. I know it's difficult and that I am a horrible person to even suggest it, but believe me the cliche of having a person always survive a situation no matter how bad it seems just takes the realism out of it. It makes the reader predict how the story will end just because you wouldn't let the person die!

Sometimes, no matter how bad the situation is, the hero is in the wrong place at the wrong time however, the audience doesn't even feel a thing because they know the "hero" will always survive. Take Game Of Thrones here for a second... can you predict who lives or dies? Exactly. It should be real, if the character does something, goes somewhere or does anything completely stupid... chances are they are gonna die. And it's that realism that I believe every fiction has to include.

Why? Because first of all, the idea of death is real enough for every reader, and once they see that your book is no different, they will start to care for the characters more because at any moment, they might just die!

I have to be honest here, I have killed more characters than I can remember, and every time I do it, I feel horrible... which reminds me that I am actually a good guy because I felt the death of the character I had just killed off in the most horrible way possible... Well, it's the thought that counts!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Book Update - Dragon Tooth



Welcome to the Dragon Tooth post!

Starting from 2013, I've been working on a short novel that revolves around the world of Dragon Tooth, one of the strongest guilds and how they deal with everyday politics until a threat arrives that challenges the world as they know it. It's a story of strength and weaknesses. Mages and Assassins, Darkness and Light.

I thought I'd share with you guys how its going and what interesting things are happening as well!

The novel is not yet done, I know it's been 2 years and its closing in at 3 years but it is a pretty damn exhausting procedure to write a novel. Not only have I learned and pushed my writing to new levels, but also it taught me lessons about consistency and determination.

As of now, chapter 4 is officially done and I began writing chapter 5. What's next? Well, they are a total of 6 chapters so its really nearly done. I've been sending it to people of interest as well to see what the feedback is, and it has been amazing!

A couple of publishing companies have actually approached me to publish the book as well, so I'm taking my time with it and don't want to rush things too, but lots of exciting things are happening.

I'll do another post actually about the publishing deals as I think it might be useful to someone who is new to this (me as well) so we can learn together as I go through this exciting experience.

Until then,
Regards

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Greatness Begins With A Step

I've been wanting to write about this since a very long time to be honest, but I never seemed to have the time to do it. The thing about greatness is, that it can be considered a skill that one can grow used to. Too many times do we sit alone doubting whether we can pull off another day or not.

"A good life is fine... "

Once, someone asked me about greatness to which I responded it is like the air we breathe. We are surrounded by it, yet just because we don't see it, it doesn't concern us. Greatness is something you can FEEL but not actually SEE. I remember watching a presentation where the presenter asked the audience "What is the greatest obstacle towards greatness?" to which many of the audience responded with good wrong answers.

He then proceeded to say that the greatest obstacle to a great life... is a good life. A good job, a good life, a good... settlement. Why do we settle for a boring life when we are just a breathe away from greatness? Often people wonder why I exhaust myself with work and other projects without getting paid a dime. They are amazed that I do this, and when I tell them "I'm looking at the bigger picture" they don't seem to understand.

I know how people and life in general can affect your mentality, your personality, your motives and even your objectives... but it shouldn't. You shouldn't accept the pressure that people put on you, wanting you to become just like everybody else, and see you will always have someone who wants you to become just like them, have a perfectly safe job and whatnot. However, remember that the worst thing you can do, is to be like everybody else.

Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Tips For Aspiring Writers

So, I've been working since 2013 on a short novel called "Dragon Tooth" and recently finished chapter 4 out of 6 planned. As I gave this to a few close friends to see what they thought of so far, I've had a lot of questions about the experience of writing this since 2013. Normally, the first question raised is "Are you nuts? Since 2013?" and my answer is yes, but... it comes with benefits as well. I thought I would share with you a couple of tips for anyone who is thinking about/is writing a novel.

1- Plot it all out. Often, writers do the mistake of taking the story for granted thinking "It's all in my head". Well, you're wrong and it shouldn't be just in your head. It'll all be incredibly easy once you plot it all out and write it all down. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, just the basics of how the story begins, progresses and ends. A writer should always know how their story will eventually plan out.

2- Do NOT edit what you write. Okay, I have to explain. Writing and editing are two different things, and they are different. Of course you should get it edited but not as you write. Concentrate on getting the novel done FIRST and then go back editing it as much as 2 or even 3 times. What this does is, it builds a strange trap for the writer that whatever he is writing needs to be edited and often hinders the process of getting it done. Yes, your un-edited copy will suck, but that's the beauty of it, you're not supposed to show it to other people until you have edited it at least 2 times.

3- Create compelling characters. Readers have many different tastes because they are different human beings naturally. Your novel can't be the same guy but under a different name everytime. Have someone wicked who lies, cheats, and even kills people just because he feels like it. Then give yourself the challenge to humanize the character in a way that readers will show sympathy towards him for being who he is!

4- "Show and don't tell". Okay, this is one of the golden rules in writing, and it doesn't matter if it's a script, a screenplay OR a novel. One of the biggest mistakes amature writers make is how they actually describe actions and emotions. They TELL the reader what the character is feeling instead of showing it. Example? Here:

"The man quickly stood up and punched the wall." - Weak.

"The man pulled away from his chair in an instant, clutched his fists and drove them into the wall. Cold sweated, there he stood." - Yes!

Notice how you get to FEEL the emotion and not just read it? Also note that we could add more dramatic effect while describing the action afterwards.

5- Too much dialog! Never think that a good story has good dialog alone. A good story consists of believable characters, where they each have charactaristics, motives and hidden goals or agendas. The reader should understand the point of the dialog. Never forget that its a very important tool writers use to explain the world or the struggle to the readers. Yes yes, here's your example:

"Why are you doing this?!" Person A said.

"I want to go south, because the princess is there and I want to save her, I thought you knew that" Person B replied.

"But you didn't answer the question, why do this?"

"Because there is something more to this than you think."

Okay, that wasn't so bad. But what if we actually use words to explain more about the hidden motive that you and I both know Person B has?

"Why are you doing this?!" Person A said, as he kept eying PERSON B.

"To save the princess. Why else?" Person B replied with a tone that brook no argument.

"You're not answering the question Person B...", Person A said.

Person B turned his face and a smirk wore his face as he exited the hall.

Muuuch better. A little mystery is always healthy and will do wonders to the story. It's always better to give the reader the ability to invest emotionally in the characters. Who would they root for? Person A or Person B? What is Person B trying to gain by saving the princess? All these are healthy questions that the reader will think of, and of course if you can instil an idea in someone's mind, you can easily break it afterwards.

New Updates

Hi everyone.

I know that I haven't written or posted anything during these past few days/weeks/months/years. But it's all in good taste. I have been extremely busy with life that I did not have the time nor energy to sustain this blog.

Very exciting things have happened, and I wanted to let you all know that I'm back. The (almost) monthly posts are back as well. However, I decided to use this as my main blog where I'll be discussing many things including projects that I am working on or stuff that I am really excited about.

I can't wait to tell you guys about everything going on, but we'll take this step by step.

Changes!

  • New Domain!
  • New Content!
  • New Style!
Now, the monthly posts will not change, it's just that the content of this blog will cover a more wider options. I will keep you guys updated about many things going on in my life which are interesting. 

Until then, anticipate!
The InfranGilis