Life as Experience

“Write what you know.”

Many of us find this advice in articles on the web or in magazines. It isn’t a bad piece of advice but it can act as a double edged sword. What if you don’t have a lot of experience in traveling or gardening or martial arts but you’re writing about these topics?Do I have to sign up for a martial arts class? Do I have the finances to take that gardening class or to travel? For the majority of people, the answer will be “no” most of the time and that’s okay.

We can ask an expert or look online for information. We can go on forums and read what people say about vacation spots. Thanks to the Internet, there are way for us to explore the world without breaking the bank. Who knows, maybe on day you’ll be the one writing about martial arts and gardening tips.  In this way, we won’t be restricted or bored of writing what you know. It’s not always boring because life experiences can be very valuable in adding texture and depth in a story but at times, this isn’t always the case, and so it is a good thing to have some variation.

This past week I attended a Disturbed concert and yes, it was amazing. This was also my first concert and it was totally worth it. Now, you’re probably wondering by I bragged a bit but I’m getting there. On Wattpad, I read a lot of books aimed at young adults and most often than not, there is a chapter or a scene where a characters goes to a house party and they talk about all the sweat and the lack of space. A concert is not different – not really. The raging music and the crowd of people are on the mark. I can use my experience of going to a concert in my writing because I have lived through it and maybe I don’t write about a character attending a concert but the experience can be tweaked to fit another scenario.

Whether good or bad experience, it doesn’t really matter. There is nothing easy about life and if it was, I don’t think it would be very interesting and exciting. So, you can write what you know and you can look up things you don’t. I’ll leave you with one piece of advice. Next time you go to a concert, bring ear plugs. They won’t cancel out the noise (not that you would want to) but your ears will be grateful.

Updates on Life

I didn’t post anything Friday because I was without WiFi for an entire week and I had no signal on my phone. In order to compensate, I’ll post something today and continue with my regular schedule on Friday.

A few months ago I finished my manuscript and edited as far as I could with a lot of help by my friends. I am happy to say that I sent out a few query letters a couple of weeks ago and I’m waiting anxiously for a reply. Or in some cases, no replies at all. It’s not like I don’t have much hope but I’m being realistic. A contract isn’t going to land on my lap though a girl can hope.

Thinking back on writing this novel, I started it writing during NaNoWriMo 2012 and I was able to finish. After three years a few months, I was able to finish the rewrite and it’s been such a long journey. I never thought I would finish because school had its priorities but somehow I made it to the end. So, now I’m writing the second book and preparing for the long road of rejection and writing but it is a good feeling. After all, I don’t want to be anything else but a writer.

Tick Tock

Is there a sense of urgency in your story? Here’s a way to fix that.

Recently, I have been reading a lot of short stories by my peers for my creative writing classes. While some have been great with their ups and downs, others are a bit lacking. As per one of my previous posts, I like to sit back and think about what I can steal and what I can avoid. The conclusion that I came to was very simple.

The stories that were a bit lacking had one thing in common: there was no clock. By this I mean that there was no urgency in the story. There was no deadline and the characters didn’t really have a motivation to do anything. So, this got me thinking about my own writing and without realizing, my novel already had a clock. Subconsciously, I must have made this decision knowing that my characters needed a deadline. Of course, the situation that I presented in the first chapter called for a deadline.

However, I looked at my other ideas I plan to write into novels and I noticed that they didn’t have a clock yet. Usually, I’m able to create a bare skeleton plot for my ideas and sometimes I am good at having it all planned out.Yet, I found a few that I was stuck on. I didn’t know what was going to happen or what was at stake. This is where the deadline came in.

The deadline gave the plot(s) a sense of urgency. Not only that but it prompted my characters to move forward. This only helped my character’s motivation appear on the page because readers want to know why someone is doing something. There’s always a reason.

The clock can be metaphorically or physically, like a bomb about to go off on a plane. Either way, it shows that something has to happen. This event will propel readers to turn to the next page eager to find out what happens. So, if you’re struggling with your writing, sit back and think for a moment. Is there a deadline? What is at stake? Would the story stay the same if the deadline isn’t met?

Thanks for joining me this week.

Until next time,

Kassandra C.

Media Muse

Has your muse abandoned you? Here’s how to get her back.

Recently, I have been doing research . . . of watching television shows. While everyone has different view on shows and different opinions of them, we can’t deny that there is something about a particular show that draws you in. As a writer, I wanted to explore that and to used it in my writing. Writing scripts, I believe, is just as difficult as writing anything else.

There’s less room to explain and each scene and piece of dialogue have to contribute to the story. It’s the same as writing but there’s the time frame to think about. Saying that, I recently watched MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles and I was in awe. Usually with fantasy, it can be difficult to picture how the world looks and the characters. I have a lot of respect for fantasy authors because I know how difficult it can be to write for the genre. I’m trying to work on my own fantasy novel and I’m stuck in the planning phase.

This show, like films, nudged my brain into thinking visual again. I started to play out scenes in my head instead of concentrating on all the details. Sure the details are important but I let myself become overwhelmed and the planning made my muse give up. So, watching the first episode I started to twist up the scenes and molding them to fit my characters. Not only that but I wanted my idea and story to compete with the show. How could I get my characters to jump off the screen (pages in this case)? What made this show so interesting to watch? Of course, they have Terry Brooks books to go off of but in its own right, I liked what I was seeing.

It’s not only shows that put a fire in me that makes me pick up a pen and start writing. Films, novels and video games all put a spark in me when they’re well written, made, etc.
So, next time you’re watching your favorite show, watching a movie, reading, playing a gsme, stop and think about why you like it. What makes you go back to it time and time again?

What shows get your creative minds going? What do you steal from them? Until next time, Kassandra.