Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

To Anyone Who Could Be A Writer

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I've always wanted to write this post, and also forgive the lack of posts but I have a lot of good news coming your way! But for now, I felt that the time was right for me to write a message to anyone who could be a writer.

Writing is a form of art, and it has many categories you see, if you are already doing the work, that means you should definitely consider getting the most out of it. So to all of those who simply dream of becoming great poets or authors I say: wake up, it's time to get to work. The thing about writing is that it's a habit and not something you do every once in a while. In the words of Mr. Chaker Khazaal (the most influential Arab of the world) "writing is like praying, you shouldn't give an excuse as to why you're not doing it".

In my humble journey, I've been blessed to have met a lot of great individuals who have amazing talent, hopes and aspirations... But it's funny that these are the ones who are filled with doubt and consumed by the idea that for some reason they're not good enough. But what are they comparing themselves to? Traditionally published books go through at least a dozen rounds of editing, where every round consists of the following:

  1. Developmental Editing
  2. Copy Editing
  3. Proofreading 
If you believe that your work is sub-par to them, well of course it's going to be, since you are competing and comparing your own style of writing to others, it doesn't work that way. That's why we write the stories we want to read. WE the authors are the ones creating whatever world we want to create. We are the ones researching the materials we want to shed light on, so to compare yourself to another writer or more so your book to another is the worst crime you can commit to yourself. 

Some will love your work, others will not -that is a given, and that's the beauty of sharing your work with others, they're allowed to disagree with you, but you aren't allowed to quit because of it since the more you write the better you get. Think of it this way: every mistake you make, is one that you won't repeat in your future, so grind, write, make mistakes and learn from them!

That's all for now, 

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tips on Story Writing - Inner Conflict


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For this week's post, I thought I would... Oh right... I guess I have to explain why I missed a couple of blogs right? Okay... Here goes... Pokemon Go. Alright, now that we got that out of the way, let's get to this week's post!

Story writing can involve a lot of different factors, it's not simply just outlining correctly or writing interesting characters and develop them well, there are some things as well.

The world you create!

I know I've talked about this a couple of times before, but I really cannot stress this enough. Even the most basic things would give life to your story. Let's talk about zombies (because who doesn't like zombies right? I mean, thank god Twilight didn't have zombies in it).

Say for example you're writing a story about a zombie outbreak. Now consider the current world status about every issue out there. No matter how silly or idiotic a concept may seem to you, it may very well appeal to someone else (some will try to control it, in order to generate money from it, and others will follow because of their kind hearts which are easily misled).

What the hell am I talking about? Organizations. I am welling to bet that SHOULD a zombie outbreak occur nowadays in the 21st century and after a load of games that prepared us for that possibility... we would have people speak for zombie rights (not hinting at anything, just trying to make a point).

There would just have to be people speaking for how we should contain zombies and that we may not have the technology to save them now, but it might be possible to conjure a cure in the future, and so we should not remember zombies as the wild beasts that they are but the loving people who they once were.

Who knows, they may be right, and I may even side with them, but that's not the point here. It's about how to create an inner conflict in the reader. On one side, zombies are killing people, and trying to rescue them may actually cause a death or two (or you know... mass extinction of the human race) but the reader cannot help but feel like there has to be a cure!

By providing two sides into every situation, you are getting the reader to subconsciously make choices and form opinions. What decision are they supporting? Who are the characters who take this cause as their burden? These can prove to be a vital ingredient to a story.

I hope you find this useful.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Thoughts on Writing - Update

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Today, I wanted to talk about some of my thoughts surrounding the publishing industry and I'll discuss the progress of Dragon Tooth as well (it's still scheduled for June I promise).

Lately, a lot of things have been on my mind and I thought I could share them with you guys and maybe it'll help anyone who is going through something similar.

The first thing is, I've started my last round of editing Dragon Tooth (in order to prepare for the release) and I didn't realize how much I actually improved throughout the process of writing it. Not only Dragon Tooth, but almost all of the stories that came after it improved my skills significantly.

I remember reading somewhere a quote by Stephen King "write your first book, finish it, leave it on the side. Write another book. Publish the second one." or something along those lines. The idea behind this quote is, writing is really a practice. The more you do it, the better you get.

I've been invited to some events lately, and there was one, from Global Vision, which is basically a company that works with colleges around the world to facilitate the application process for students who want to pursue their education further.

One of the requirements was to write a proposal of up to 2000 to 3000 words, and when the speaker said that, I could swear I sensed everyone going "Oh god . . ." and I wasn't amused. Not one bit. My daily quota has risen from 500 words per day to 1500, and it almost happens automatically nowadays and I don't even pay attention to it. I just find myself taking it scene by scene and it seems to work.

My point is, my writing has improved a lot since I decided to publish Dragon Tooth, but I do understand that I'm just at the beginning of this journey.

That's it for today, but next week, I'll be sharing some helpful tips to self-publishing.

Have a great day!

Until next time,
Write on.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dragon Tooth Completed + Release Date!



I am so glad to say that Dragon Tooth has finally been completed and headed straight into editing! The actual reason why I was late to post is that I was busy with London Media House, a printing company that decided to print a sample or a proof of concept of the book! To be completely honest (and for those who follow me on Snapchat, they've seen the sample) I consider myself very lucky to have had that opportunity.

Not only is Dragon Tooth my first official book, but add to that that I was THERE when the FIRST sample was being created. It was like I was witnessing its birth! Here's a sneak peak:


Here's the blurb:
Set foot upon the magical lands where Magic Guilds battle to the top! Dragon Tooth is one of three of the strongest guilds in the known lands. Follow a story of fantasy, principles and mighty battles!

A Magic Guild is a group of Mages that have formed an organization accepting job offers from the cititzens of the world. 

The Council of Magic supervises the use of Magic in the world. They are the sole entity that all guilds must listen to and heed their commands.

Mage Saints are Mages who are hand picked by the Council. They stand above all mages in abilities and their unrivalled power. 

So when is the official release?
The official release is set on the 7th of June 2016. This is also because it just happens that it is my birthday. So I thought I'd make it double special!

So what's next for you?
Nothing. Really, people assume writing and publishing a book concerns of only WRITING the damn thing (excuse my language) while it involves so much more. To be exact, the easiest part, is writing it. Next you have edit it, get beta readers, and then edit again and again, all until it is presentable. Even then, you have market it before you publish it, and then market it after you publish it. It basically never ends.

I would like to beta read this!
Then get in touch with me! I'm looking for beta readers currently and booking them. The book is still being edited but I think it won't be too long before it is completely read for beta reading. I'm looking for around 10, so just shoot me an email with the subject "Dragon Tooth Beta Reader" on m@infrangilis.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Writing a Short Story VS Writing Novel

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There are many different aspects to consider when writing a short story, and a novel. They are two completely different genres which require their own unique style in story telling. Personally, I think of short stories as exercises which one can do in order to get in that culture of finishing a piece, whether its 1K words, or 10K words or even a 100K one.

One of the main challenges when writing a novel is to actually flush it out in a way that is still engaging. Any sentence you write should build up for something larger or give hints towards something that needs explaining; you simply cannot get away with writing fillers in a novel (stuff completely irreverent to the story just for the sake of increasing the word count).

In short stories, you can actually get away with a lot of things, for example you can skip an entire battle or a change in sequence... moving forward with the story in just around 500 words (something that cannot be forgiven in a novel). Some might argue that this does not reflect good practices, to which I say, who the hell sets the rules for writers? We ourselves do.

Think of it like this: in a short story, you can sum up a huge event with its outcome and just proceed to the aftermath. In a novel, you have to explicitly describe everything that happened, no excuses!

Writing short stories is always fun, as you essentially get the culture of actually finishing a project, and that momentum is what gets you going when you're writing a novel. You will never improve if you keep writing in your comfort zone... you have to extend it and explore different genres in order to increase your vocabulary.

Until next time,
Write On.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Duck's Sacrifice - Short Story



Our story begins in the magical forests where a duck was living along with her three children near a suburban area. Every day the duck went to town and bought food for her three children and that has been the pattern of their everyday life, living happily together until one shadowy night.

It started as what appeared to be a normal day. The mother duck got up and woke her children for breakfast. Soon after, the mother decided that it was time to go to the City as usual and buy food for the next day. However, before walking out, she was stopped by the youngest of her children, Sophie.
“Mom, I wish you would get me a present . . .” she said. “Me too!” shouted all the children at once.
After seeing their enthusiasm, the mother could only smile at the innocence of her children.

How can I say no to them?” she thought. “Very well, I promise to bring you the best gifts I can!” The children screamed and cheered at the delightful response.

“Bye mom! Stay safe, I love you!” said one of the children.

Excited, they could barely wait for their mother to return.


The mother was walking ever so happily, but soon, her train of thought was cut by the raging sound of thunder. She looked up, staring at the clouds, and as she lowered her gaze, she was shocked to a see a bloodthirsty wolf staring at her.

“Oh no! What do I do now!” she thought.

“Going somewhere?” the wolf says sarcastically.

Time quickly passes, and the sun is almost set, and there were the children, patiently waiting in tears of excitement and joy as they wait for their mother’s return with gifts and food. But fate had decided otherwise…

As it was getting late, soon, the feelings of joy and happiness were quickly substituted for worry and sorrow.

“Mom’s late… this isn’t like her…” said Sophie.

“Maybe we should go look for her!” said one of the children.

“You’re right… we should” said the eldest as they decided to go outside and look for their mother.

As they went out of the house, they stood there ever so shocked due to what they saw. Their heart did not wish to believe what their eyes were seeing. A cold body, filled with open wounds, blood scattered everywhere . . . their mother, laying dead . . . after a coldblooded attack.

“MOM!!” they shouted as they rushed towards their mother lying in a pool of her own blood . . .  

“N..no… go back… I.. its.. not safe…” she warned the children, but they did not listen… they would not listen. They rushed towards their mother, and tried desperately to bring her back to the house.

But as they were picking their mother up, they turned only to see their house surrounded by a pack of wolves, one, very familiar to the mother duck . . . it was the wolf that had once attacked the mother, and now returns to inflict death and finish where he once started, only this time with his entire pack as well.

“Oh oh oh, what do we have here… going somewhere?” said the pack leader, the same wolf that had attacked the mother duck while grinding his teeth.

Then came the hardest of trials of the mother, where words would not escape her lips, only tears. Tears she shed for the fate that she knew awaited her children. Tears that dropped in the knowledge that her children loved her so much that they would not heed her warnings.

But then the unexpected happened. Ruki, the eldest, bravest and most beautiful of her children, spoke, and where one flower should’ve fallen, there she stood, proud and strong in defiance of the pack’s tyranny, and an attempt to restore hope and wash away the teary eyes of her siblings.

“Stop it all of you!” she screamed at the pack. “If you think that you can scare us by doing whatever it is that you are about to do, you’re wrong.”

“If this is really our end, then I am thankful to meet the end without regret, without anything!”

The mother smiles, and tears keep falling down her face. And the children begin to tighten their grip and hold each other crying. Afraid but feeling overpowered by the words of Ruki.

“And if this is really the end, then we will meet it with our pride and with our mother! And be grateful to meet it and we’ll make it such an ending, that it would shake the skies from above!”

Upon hearing Ruki’s words, the children explode in tears… sorrowful tears… brave ones…


And as the wolves were getting prepared to attack, the pack leader smirked, then commenced the attack, and along with his pack of wolves . . . slaughtered all.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Writing My First Story Ever

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Every writer has an incredible story about the first thing he wrote. It might be embarressing or just plain awesome from the start, but my journey writing stories actually started when I was 9 years old. actually wrote the story in Arabic and it revolved around a person called "Leo" who travels to Mars and makes contact with Aliens. He then proceeds to mobilize Earth's army and try to conquer the damn thing. 

I didn't actually finish it, nor do I know where it is currently but nonetheless, that was my first experience writing a story. I still hope to write the story again with better names than "Leo" who I believe was a reference to 'Leo' from 'Charmed' but maybe its better to leave it at the past.

It wasn't that embaressing really, except for the part that people made fun of me and called me crazy, but yeah other than that, it was just an amazing feeling to write something and bring a world to life through your vivid imagination. 

Aside from that, my first ever (English written) story was called "A Duck's Sacrifice". It started as a very innocent story about a Duck living with her family, and then they get attacked by a pack of wolves and eventually some... bad stuff happen. I'm not gonna spoil it, and tell you what, I'll be posting the story next week for your enjoyment/horror. 

I wrote "A Duck's Sacrifice" back in 2012 and from there, I began to work on Dragon Tooth as well (yeah, been actually 4 years since I began writing the damn thing). Dragon Tooth took me this long because I re-wrote it a couple of times as well.

So yeah, that's my story, what's yours? 

Write on,
InfranGilis

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

5 Things To Do To Organize Your Writing

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Keeping my ideas organized has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a writer by the way, by profession, this is something that everyone should do.

I find that being organized adds a lot of value and impact in the long run, and there are a number of ways I keep mine in check:

1- I have a big board in my room that is full of markings and future plans. No matter how silly you think the idea is, always write it down. Chances are, in the future you'll come to a point eventually when you are stuck and need ideas (where this will be perfect. You can mash up a couple of ideas that fit and flesh your story out more).

2- I have a mini-fridge (worst investment I have ever made by the way) that I use for this as well, I use magnets to hang one-page outlines on it. Create a challenge for yourself, create as many one page outlines as you can, or you can write your goals or ideas for future scenes in your novel/story. Hanging them will give you the urge to finish them just so you can feel the rush of taking one out. Food, and beverages won't hurt too.

3- I have the "Book of Secrets" which is a notebook that I always keep close to me, and write all ideas, tips, and observations regarding anything I encounter in it. Someone once said "if you write it, you don't have to remember it" which is the perfect excuse to do this (for the lazy ones). You'll always encounter challenges, or be taught lessons whether its from YouTube videos (yes Jenna Moreci, we're looking at you) or random lists on the internet. Even quotes on Twitter too (#amWriting #writerTips).

4- I keep a separate document for large projects that is basically a 'cheat sheet'. For Dragon Tooth, I have "Dragon Tooth: World Information" which lists all the guilds and characters in the story. Having a one place go to like this will definitely keep you in track or how the story is going. This will help tremendously when you take those long breaks (which we all know you take).

5- Outline, outline, and outline! Outline your entire story, novel, book or script. Anything that needs writing, needs outlining. It makes you focused and determined to finish because you know how it ends basically. One will never understand the importance of this step unless they start writing a novel of around 70K words and they lost track of the events that took place previously and have to re-re-re-read the entire thing again just to ensure there are not plot holes.

These are my top five methods of how to organize my writing. Always remember: it's better to write it, than to remember it.

This is all for now, if you have any questions, remember you can drop me a line anytime and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Write on,
InfranGilis

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Spark of Writing - How To Get Inspired To Write

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Being inspired to write can be one of the most difficult tasks ever. Sometimes, the spark is just not there and anything you write isn't up to par with your standards and expectations. 

Well, so what. Keep on writing, even if its annoying at first, it is almost never as bad as you think. For me personally, I listen to some soft music, turn off all the lights, light a candle and focus a blue light on my keyboard. That seems to do the trick and get me inspired.

Other times, ideas just pop in my head and I would link them to real life events or even personal experiences and just go from there. If the story doesn't excite me, then I don't write it. I shelve it until I can combine it with something better and have it be more awesome. 

A perfect example would have to be "Minds: the Secret Society" where the story initially followed a strange path with it being just a silly story about me killing people. But, it then evolved as something in real life happened, and I could just see it fit in really nicely with Minds. I then re-wrote it and now it is what it is. 

The inspiration has to come from within, for example, if I don't have a story or something in particular that I want to deliver to my readers, then the story is just words on paper. It doesn't have life or essence. 

Explore, read and delve deep in every topic that interests you, whether it's the news or anything similar. Chances are that you will be able to get a sense of a story when stumbling upon things that give you that spark of interest and sets you on the path to conquer greatness!

Write On,
InfranGilis

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Writers In Bahrain - What Its Like to be a Bahraini Writer

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Writers in Bahrain are among the top fairy creatures, you hear myths that they exist, but they are all secluded in particular areas that no one knows of. 

It's kinda ironic because I do know of a number of extremely talented writers, but they are just shelving themselves in a bubble that they are in the wrong country. Well, the thing is, if your friend is a writer, just try this: walk to them and tell them I know another writer. Their reaction would almost be "but it can't be! I thought I was the only one!".

I admit, there is a tremendous pressure on everyone here to lay off writing and pursue a "normal" and boring career and that is one of the top reasons why established writers don't actually pursue it. They fall pray to the terror that is responsibility soon enough and just give up. 

See writing takes practice, and if you don't do it daily, you kinda lose track of those skills. Most also feel the torture of "you want to be what? A writer? Okay sweety, but what do you want to be when you grow up?". Writing is not taken seriously here... So I really think that it is very difficult to swim against the current, because being a writer in a country that is dominated by oil wealth is kind of being an investigator that is looking for unicorns. It can happen, but it is very unlikely. 

Lots of things can hinder our dreams and stop our talents from growing. But the most important thing here is to give ourselves the permission saying it's okay to fail and it's okay to be a loser in something while winning in another thing. 

My message to every writer in Bahrain, I hope that something or somewhere is built that links all writers together and a community starts that provides a successful platform for self-publishing authors and writers. Hell, it could be an annual event where the likes of Stephen King are invited to knock some god damn sense into our parents that being a writer is actually pretty damn cool.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year Resolutions For Writers

happy new year!


On this special occasion, I thought really hard whether I should post something or not, but eventually opted to give in and do this. How many new years will we live after all (probably about 30 or 40 more)? 

Well, I really tried not to do this and I'll tell you why later, but then I thought you guys defenitely deserve another post for this occasion. Now, I'll tell you a few things about how I actually percieve new years and all.

Most writers have a lot of fun making goals or life changes that they... eventually stop doing or persuing after a couple of weeks. Chances are, we all are like that. The idea of a fresh start somehow makes us ready a plan of what we want to achieve. 

Most writers list down some goals that involve writing a number of words per day, or even commit to writing one book per year (or even 12 -one book per month-) and I'm here to tell you why this is a bad idea. 

To be honest, I wasn't encourages about new year simply because: it's just another day... No matter how strongly we want to believe that it'll be the start of good things for us. So, my advice for you guys is this:

1- Don't put unrealistic targets that you cannot achieve! For example, writing a minimum of 5000 words a day is a very credible achievement. But I doubt you can sustain that for a whole month let alone a year. So start it somewhere within the range of hundreds (this actually increases the quality of writing as a result too). 

2- Plan out how many books, stories you want to write. I'll tell you mine: finish up Dragon Tooth, and write a minimum of 3 short stories. See? 3 is an easy number. That way I won't feel utterly useless when I can't meet the target. 

3- Read, read, and read. If you are writing fiction, read fiction. I remember the famous imp of Game of Thrones saying “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge”.

That is all! I think 2015 was a year filled with bitterness as well as happiness. So my message for you guys is to build on the successes that you have had, and to keep pushing yourself to be awesome.

Write On,
InfranGilis.

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.




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!

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.