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IWSG – 06-07-17

  • Posted on June 7, 2017 at 4:22 pm

We're here for you.There’s just something about being surrounded by fellow writers that makes one feel safer writing, isn’t there? That’s what the IWSG is all about. A community of writers meant to join together and share our sorrows, woes and triumphs!


This month’s question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

 

To be honest, no I have never said “I quit”. I have had writers block for months at a time. I have had a self-imposed ‘do not write’ rule, but it was always in the effort of becoming a better writer. You see, I find that I get blocks more often than others. Or maybe exactly as often, and others have more self-discipline than I do. I’m not sure. All I know is that more often than not, I stare at a page and try to will myself to write, and find myself crying over it instead.

Writing is hard.

But you already know that. Especially if you’re part of IWSG, or a writer yourself. So no, I have never given up entirely. But I have given up on some projects. There are just some stories that I will never allow to see the light of day. And that is that.

Now, onto more pleasant things!

I’ve started a new project, which is meant to introduce those who follow me, and those who know me, to a new subgenre of Science Fiction, called “Humanity, Fuck Yeah!” or HFY for short. A large dose of it can be found here on this subreddit. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is science fiction that runs on the premise that humans are the most badass things in the galaxy.

Generally this means that humanity is from what is known as a Death World. Earth is Space Australia, where everything tries to kill you, and for most species, everything succeeds. My favorite story in this particular genre is a series that can be found here. It’s a great little scifi with a female main character who ends up being hella badass and disciplined at the same time. I adore it. <3

In fact, I love the series so much that I have started recording all of the stories in that universe and put them up on Youtube! You can find them on my youtube channel! Please take a look, and please forgive me for the amateurish videos. This is my first time using any video editing software ever, so I’m on a steep learning curve!

On another note, this whole thing is practice for when my own books go Audio, and I read them to the world. Plus, it allows me to study more writing in the genre I’m attempting to write right now. So win/win!

Researching Mystery

  • Posted on August 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Today, I have a guest blog published over on Cindy Grigg’s website. We’ve swapped guestblogs, and her post, 9 ways to fix your Stereotyped Character is informative and fun to read! Go take a look at it! Also, take a look at the article, Researching mystery which you can find here:

If you’re curious, here’s the first two paragraphs of the article, for your perusal.

To begin with, I’m not normally a mystery author. To be specific, when I was younger, I only ever wrote fantasy novels, or romance. Now, however, I’m trying my hand at mystery novels, which means quite a bit of strife. I have a natural instinct when it comes to fantasy, so I find it easy to fall into. With Romance, I have my years as a fanfiction writer and fandom roleplayer to fall back on, which can both enhance and detract from my writing. (No one likes reading author’s notes, I’ve since learned.)

I came to mystery as a genre because I love the tense atmosphere. Maybe it’s less mystery and more suspense that I enjoy. But recently, I’ve found that I want a challenge. And the best way to challenge yourself is to write something you’ve never in a million years written before. But how can you write something you’ve never written before? How can you make sure that you don’t slip back into writing what you know? And worst of all, how do you manage to make it a GOOD manuscript when you know nothing about your genre?

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9 Ways to Fix your Stereotyped Character – A guestpost by Cindy Grigg

  • Posted on August 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

So You Wrote a Stereotyped Character…9 Ways to Fix Your Story

 

I’ve recently been doing a blog post series on How to Write Well-Rounded Female Characters, which included a list of 19 Female Character Stereotypes to Avoid.

Since Nicohle and I are swapping blog posts today, I would love to take that list one step further and show how I would fix a stereotyped female character (but the same concepts apply to any character).

Why You Don’t Have to Start Over

If your female character falls into a stereotype, it’s not so much that you’ve written her wrong as that you’re just not done writing her.

Writers revert to stereotypes or tropes rather than fully articulating what makes a character unique. It’s tricky because you may not feel lazy as you write a stereotypical character. You’re still sitting in the writer’s chair fulfilling your daily word count or time quota, but essentially you’re being creatively lazy about who you are writing about.

1. Rearrange what you’ve got. A lot of creativity is a matter of how you arrange the disparate parts of something to make a whole. Which aspect of your character is the focal point? By restructuring which personality traits are pivotal, you could create a more fresh character.

2. Add something to the character that scares, stretches, or otherwise challenges you. If writing about a certain characteristic your character possesses makes you think about the world in a new way, it likely will do the same for many readers.

3. Change how long your character stays a stereotype. Maybe your character can start out as a character but be changed by a new event. Maybe reveal they were hiding their true nature for some good reason. Think: Scarlet Pimpernel.

4. Look around you. Think of the most unique people you know and add some part of their personality to your character.

Rarity gives you an example reaction.

5. Add more weaknesses, flaws,  fears, and losses! I like the trick of thinking, What is the worst thing that could happen to my character? Then consider adding that to your plot so your character has to really solve and struggle.

6. Put your character in strange situations. Brainstorm several seemingly unrelated scenes and put your character in them. Consider crossing genres with this exercise. Put your fantasy heroine in a murder mystery and see how she behaves, etc. You may stumble upon an interesting nuance to add to your story.

7. Change your character’s past or future. If the character seems flat or one-dimensional, hook the audience into caring based on something terrible or wonderful they went through or will go through.

8. Give your character a unique motivation. Most of humanity is motivated to some degree by love of family, romance, personal gain, or moral/spiritual paradigms, for example. But what if you made your character also motivated by something kooky like a love of snails, and wanting to save those snails from extinction, for example?

9. Create personality contradictions. I love giving a character two characteristics that seem paradoxical or at odds with one another, then showing why they are this way.

Both fixing characters or scrapping them will require a lot of editing, so I figure you might as well refurbish your stereotyped character rather than starting from square one.

While it takes more effort, it’s more fun and interesting to write well-rounded characters. For me, this comes down to asking, But who else is she/he?! By consciously steering clear of stereotypes, writing becomes more adventure. More fun.

Cindy Grigg

Cindy Grigg writes speculative fiction and instructional non-fiction. She is the author of the HULDUSNOOPS series, a middle grade mystery and fantasy adventure about Icelandic Huldufolk or “hidden people”. As About.com’s Office Software Expert, Cindy also writes about technology and productivity (www.Office.About.com). Find her writing advice, blog, and other projects she’s working on at www.CindyGrigg.com.

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