J. Sevick

Just Write.

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Anonymous asked: I always get an idea but then never want to write in it after I've done quite a bit of world building. Even if I've written a passage beforehand I can't ever continue. Any advice?

characterandwritinghelp:

Can you identify what it is that stops you? There might be any number of solutions depending on the broader problem.

Problem: You’re not sure where to go from here. Maybe the worldbuilding is sound, but you have no plot. Or, you have a plot, but it took a hard left out of the outline a while ago and now you’re directionless.

  • Possible solutions: If a lack of a “road map” bothers you, spend some time making a new one. Make several, and see which trip you like best. Even if you only end up writing one, writing an outline of things that would never, ever happen can be a great way to get yourself moving creatively.

Problem: You’re bored with the idea. The idea was awesome while you were writing it down. Now that you have it all out on paper, it doesn’t look as impressive. It’s not fun anymore.

  • Possible solutions: Enlist a friend to listen to you talk about the story. Explaining an idea to someone else is a bit like selling it: tell them why the idea is great and why they should like it. This can jumpstart your creativity and remind you why you got started with it in the first place. Alternatively, give the idea a little space. Stick it in your sock drawer and pull it out on laundry day in a few weeks/months/years. Come back to it after you’ve had some time to think about other things.

Problem: It feels like too much. This idea started out really, really well… but then the worldbuilding kicked in and you saw that the plot has more potholes than a cheese grater. You have no idea where to start.

  • Possible solutions: Take it one thing at a time. Any project can feel daunting when you first start. Divide your story into scenes, chapters, or sections, anything to break it into smaller, more bite-sized pieces. Start with the bricks—eventually, you will have a castle.

Problem: You’re stuck. The muse has abandoned you and you find yourself staring at that vast white expanse of your blank paper/document with no ideas. What the hell, muse?

  • Possible solutions: Metaphorically deck your muse right in their ungrateful face and write something. This can be rough, but sometimes the best cure for writer’s block is to pretend you don’t have it. Latch on to something you like about the idea and wax eloquent about it for a few pages. Give the most in-depth description of every single nuance of a character arc. Do something—inspiration may well follow.

Problem: There’s that one partEverything was going so well, but then you hit… that part. The part you hate, the one you absolutely do not want to write for whatever reason. You aren’t in the mood, your research is lacking, something is stopping you from going forward.

  • Possible solutions: Skip it and move on. Come back to it later, when you have a fantastic writing day and feel like nothing can stop you. You are the writer, and you can write whatever part of your story you want to, whenever you want.

Problem: You’re afraid it will suck. You have such a great idea, and this amazing and wonderful idea is the greatest thing ever, and what if you aren’t a good enough writer to pull it off? What if your skills aren’t good enough to do this idea justice?

  • Possible solutions: Don’t sit around thinking that someday you will emerge from your cocoon a fully-fledged writer-butterfly, and that only then are you allowed to write good things. Remember, the first draft of anything is going to suck. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your skill can be defined in levels, or that there is a definitive final stage of writerly excellence. There is no “good enough.” You will always be good enough.

Problem: It just isn’t working. Your idea was amazing in your head, but trying to commit it to actual words isn’t clicking. For some reason, you can’t seem to get the plot into gear.

  • Possible solutions: Sometimes, an idea falls flat and we cannot identify why. This is ok, it does not mean you failed. It might mean you need to do some research, it might mean you’re a little burnt out and need a break, it might mean that this idea really isn’t going anywhere. In any case, it’s always ok to set an idea aside. Whether or not you ever come back to it is up to you.

Stuck? tag

-Headless

Filed under encouragement ideas writing psych

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The Second Draft: The Initial Edits

The Second Draft: The Initial Edits

For some reason, I have been completely unmotivated in revising my project. It’s not that I don’t want to get it ready for someone else to read it—I absolutely do. But whether it’s laziness, impatience, fear, intimidation, or simply not knowing exactly what to do, I’ve been stuck. Still am, in some respects.

But I just have to start.

So without knowing exactly how to approach this whole revision…

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Filed under exposition novel1 pacing revision second draft

18,797 notes

If you are a writer, and you have a novel idea that you are excited about writing, write it. Don’t go on message boards and ask random Internet denizens whether or not something is allowed. … Who is the writer here? YOU ARE. Whose book is it? YOUR BOOK. There are no writing police. No one is going to arrest you if you write a teen vampire novel post Twilight. No one is going to send you off to a desert island to live a wretched life of worm eating and regret because your book includes things that could be seen as cliché.

If you have a book that you want to write, just write the damn thing. Don’t worry about selling it; that comes later. Instead, worry about making your book good. Worry about the best way to order your scenes to create maximum tension, worry about if your character’s actions are actually in character; worry about your grammar. DON’T worry about which of your stylistic choices some potential future editor will use to reject you, and for the love of My Little Ponies don’t worry about trends. Trying to catching a trend is like trying to catch a falling knife—dangerous, foolhardy, and often ending in tears, usually yours.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay attention to what’s getting published; keeping an eye on what’s going on in your market is part of being a smart and savvy writer. But remember that every book you see hitting the shelves today was sold over a year ago, maybe two. Even if you do hit a trend, there’s no guarantee the world won’t be totally different by the time that book comes out. The only certainty you have is your own enthusiasm and love for your work. …

If your YA urban fantasy features fairies, vampires, and selkies and you decide halfway through that the vampires are over-complicating the plot, that is an appropriate time to ax the bloodsuckers. If you decide to cut them because you’re worried there are too many vampire books out right now, then you are betraying yourself, your dreams, and your art.

If you’re like pretty much every other author in the world, you became a writer because you had stories you wanted to tell. Those are your stories, and no one can tell them better than you can. So write your stories, and then edit your stories until you have something you can be proud of. Write the stories that excite you, stories you can’t wait to share with the world because they’re just so amazing. If you want to write Murder She Wrote in space with anime-style mecha driven by cats, go for it. Nothing is off limits unless you do it badly.

And if you must obsess over something, obsess over stuff like tension and pacing and creating believable characters. You know, the shit that matters. There are no writing police. This is your story, no one else’s. Tell it like you want to.

Rachel Aaron (via relatedworlds)

Yeah, so, this answers a lot of asks I get. It’s also why YW focuses on technique and style, and less on content and research.

(via clevergirlhelps)

(via clevergirlhelps)

Filed under encouragement ideas perfect

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Why I Hate the Idea of the Friendzone

Why I Hate the Idea of the Friendzone

Here’s why I hate the whole “men are only friends with women to have sex with them” idea—even if it’s true, which it shouldn’t be:

Because it reduces a woman’s value as a person to sex. You can’t possibly want to be friends with a woman because she’s funny, or she likes the same TV shows, or she gives you good advice about how to deal with your girlfriend, or she’s smart and interesting… No, you…

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Filed under feminism friendzone pop culture romance

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Character-Driven Stories

They say that stories can be divided into two broad categories: plot-driven and character-driven. Essentially, it’s based on what moves your story forward—car chases and clues and fights, or conversations and decisions and relationships? Now, obviously, this is a broad generalization with a myriad of nuances and exceptions, but there is something there to be explored.

Most literary fiction is…

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Filed under character-driven genre

4,231 notes

clevergirlhelps:

I see and write a lot of “DON’T DO THIS!!!” posts, so I thought I would make a “DO THIS!!!” post.
General Requests
More POC in leading roles
More important friendships
More queer characters in leading roles
More disabled characters in leading roles
More genderqueer and trans characters in leading roles
Realistic women in leading roles
Happier/more positive characters and messages
Specific
45 Things I Want to See More Of (Part 2)
Black Villains
Boys in YA
Characters
Cool Things (2) (3)
Fantasy (2)
Female Characters (2)
Female Character Traits
Happiness
Horror Genre Mashups
Magic Systems
Male Characters
Medieval Fantasy
Modern Fantasy
Plots
Relationships
Romance (2)
Soulmate AUs
Stories
Stories I Want to Read
Urban Fantasy
What thewritingcafe Wants
YA Novels (2) (3) (4)
My wish list tag is always updating and includes posts containing things I would like to see in fiction. characterandwritinghelp has a similar tag.
The plot bunnies tag is likewise updating and includes posts that I think would make for an interesting story.
More Things I Would Like to See
Steampunk with different ethnic influences alongside the gears
Utopias that try really hard to be good, even though they aren’t and never will be perfect
Science and magic coexisting
Creation stories - stories that focus on building and growth rather than destruction
People are good themes
Extroverted protagonists
Environments other than temperate deciduous
Stories centered on art
Stories without war
Read More

clevergirlhelps:

I see and write a lot of “DON’T DO THIS!!!” posts, so I thought I would make a “DO THIS!!!” post.

General Requests

  • More POC in leading roles
  • More important friendships
  • More queer characters in leading roles
  • More disabled characters in leading roles
  • More genderqueer and trans characters in leading roles
  • Realistic women in leading roles
  • Happier/more positive characters and messages

Specific

My wish list tag is always updating and includes posts containing things I would like to see in fiction. characterandwritinghelp has a similar tag.

The plot bunnies tag is likewise updating and includes posts that I think would make for an interesting story.

More Things I Would Like to See

  • Steampunk with different ethnic influences alongside the gears
  • Utopias that try really hard to be good, even though they aren’t and never will be perfect
  • Science and magic coexisting
  • Creation stories - stories that focus on building and growth rather than destruction
  • People are good themes
  • Extroverted protagonists
  • Environments other than temperate deciduous
  • Stories centered on art
  • Stories without war

Read More

Filed under things to write ideas

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Procrastination

Procrastination, for me, happens for two reasons: fear and laziness.

Fear, or resistance or doubt, is all about subtle manipulations of thought that convince me not to work on what I know I need to work on. It’s mostly about what I fear will come from actually doing whatever it is that I’m avoiding.

Laziness is just simply not wanting to do the work. It usually comes from preferring to do…

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Filed under career doubt fear resistance writing psych

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When Does an Idea Become a Story?

When Does an Idea Become a Story?

I’ve got a theme for the week, and I’m going with it.

Several of my posts this week have been about getting ideas—from what you read, from what you think as you read, from a branding idea—but how do you know when an idea is right for a story?

I talked about this before in “Three Ways to Evaluate an Idea,” but I wanted to add a few more brief thoughts.

See, for me personally, I can come up with an…

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Filed under developing ideas evaluation Ideas planning

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Analyzing for Ideas

If you can’t tell, I’m still on a bit of a kick about what I’ll write next. I’m still sure I’ll work on revising my current project, but I have undoubtedly relapsed into my old ways of idea-development-doubt-collapse. I’m not happy about that. I had hoped my sudden triumph signaled a change, but it didn’t. But it did show me I can do this, so I’m not giving up.

Coming up with random ideas isn’t…

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Filed under developing ideas Ideas reading