Story Writing!

Random Video from the band that is now on my workout playlist:

(for some reason this vocalist’s looks and actions reminds me of the lead vocalist from Back On… like from Sands of Time or Flyaway, even if the latter has a much higher voice and is just different… or maybe I just listen to too much J-rock)

Question for you all: Are there any budding (or veteran) writers among you? If so, perhaps I’ll write a bit more about… writing! =)

Okay, here’s the plan. From 11 PM to midnight I’m going to be working on this story idea I’ve had since forever.

I’ve read writing magazines that say ‘Start Writing!’ or ‘How to Become a Writer,’ etc., at Barnes and Noble. But they say things I already know. Or heard a million (+1) times.

1. Write every day.

This one I don’t mind hearing, since you might have to HEAR it every day until you say ‘SHUT UP, I’ll DO IT!’ Took just a few years for me to say it. I’ve been on a (creative writing) roll for… less than a week. Took writing classes over others just because I knew they would make me write. But I wanted to make writing something I did on my own. Like I wanted to make exercise something I did on my own, even if I wasn’t on a team or doing martial arts. Mayyybe become an ‘athlete’ – an independent one? Mayyyybe become… an actual WRITER?

2. Know the elements and format of a story – beginning and introduction of characters/setting, conflict, climax, resolution. And maybe even get into types of conflicts – environmental, caused by others, caused by self, types of resolutions, blah blah blah…

It’s like the 5 paragraph essay. You know what it’s supposed to do, but are you really going to use it forever? How boring. There are all different types of stories, and some of them aren’t balanced – they focus more on setting, or characters, there might not even be a clear climax… a lot of ‘modern writing’ in particular loves to break these rules. (Credit to Mr. Garfinkel from AP English Lang in high school for having us demolish those five paragraphs).

You’ve got a story. What makes it interesting? Why do you want people to read it? For the journey, to live on the streets of 18th century France, smell the scents, maybe see it in a completely different lens than before? Or do you want them to read to find out what happens during the assassination of some fictional (or whatnot) president that your characters are planning?

Plot, setting, climaxes, characters – those are your elements, your tools in your sandbox. Just go ahead and make the story interesting, in whatever way works for you. The conflict-climax-conflict-climax formula doesn’t tell you how to write. Unnn-helpful.

Others: Show, don’t tell; show, sometimes tell; give characters depth; don’t use too little or TOO MUCH detail (that was a problem for me in one class)…

One thing I did find interesting was this idea: outline the story before you start. And roman numerals aren’t your only option; try using index cards for each scene!

I might actually try this (or type those ‘index cards’ out), but I think I need more scene-writing practice first.

Here’s one idea that I have, that might be useful for writers that are looking to improve their craft and descriptions, and not just their plot structure?

Details are everything. You want to know and visualize the settings in their entirety, and then translate those images into words. I think that process itself is an art form – how do you paint just the right amount of strokes, in the right places, so that readers see (and hear, and smell…) what you want them to, while also having room to enrich their experience with their own imaginations?

I’m planning on making a page for each setting that I am thinking of – whether it’s a cave or a forest trail in the west side or on the east, or a city, or school – and write all of the words and phrases that I can think of to describe them. I think this will make it much easier to write scenes and get them going, because I won’t be fishing around for words and thinking, ‘Is this cave dark? Is it damp? Musky? Are there lights on the right or left side?’ Then I can focus more on the action in each scene.

Look at the time – 11:03 PM! Guess I’ll write till 12:03 then.

One more thing (I can stay up ALL NIGHT you know… or maybe not really…):

I find music to really help me with the creative process. I just imagine music videos with my characters as I’m listening to each song. And I just had a kind of breakthrough. As in, a few new VERY important characters, a whole new plotline, and more experiences for my current characters.

This makes me incredibly happy because for the longest time I’ve been focusing on only one main plotline (with supplemental backstory plotlines), and I’ve been thinking, ‘I’m spending so much time thinking about this. What if I write it, and it’s no good – or it’s underwhelming?’

But now that I have a whole different addition to the story that is solid in my mind, and not just a wispy concept that I hadn’t totally decided on…

It’s like having multiple stories in one (technically, multiple interconnected stories in one world! If I don’t start adding worlds)!

The only issue is that the new set of events I have planned makes one side (or part of the side) clearly bad and the other side clearly the victim that started out… not as bad. But I’ve been wanting to avoid black and white in this story. I think some events may just turn out to be black and white… sometimes, as my new character says once, ‘It’s just that simple’ – but hopefully that won’t be the overall case.

Enough vagueness and rambling, hour of STORY TIME!

(Second) Video of the day (this is, I think, the song that was playing when I got the idea for the new plot arc – and no, that arc is not about an arsonist… or maybe it depends on your definition of ‘arson’… hopefully that’s not a spoiler =P And “Inner Universe” by Yoko Kanno helped me develop it further… =D):