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the missing ingredient for writing novels

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

 

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all the things i want to do

  • work on my blog

–  oh i want to make my blog like waitbutwhy but for writers and artists

– this writing blog will be targeted at young writers mainly who don’t have time for writing because of school and stuff

– and yeah thats about it

  • come up with a name

– waitjustwrite

– justwrite

– howtonotsuckatwriting

– sucklessatwriting

– wordbyword

– theslightlycynicalpen

– schoolkidswrite

– middleschoolerswrite

– youngwriters.org

– writingforkids101

 

  • come up with a theme for my blog
  • come up with really good post ideas
  • start writing them
  • make the art for my blog

 

  • start working on clickmate
  • plot it out and everything
  • start writing
  • actually FINISH it
  • publish it???

 

  • draw on the tablet because its REALLY fun
  • post the art on instagram
  • i want to draw really fun and really good stuff digitally

 

  • read really good books that inspire me
  • highlight all the amazing passages
  • expand my writing vocabulary
  • read posts and books about creating a plot
  • read about three act structure

how i was finally able to complete a manuscript after seven years

When I was seven or six years old, I wrote a story about a key thing

 

Putting in the Work

I think to become a better writer, you must put in the work. Writing a novel starts with just a string of an idea– a notion. And then slowly and meticulously, this idea or seed of a novel begins to form. Some days, you’ll produce crud. Other days, you’ll be stuck and not know how to move your plot forward. But I think a key ingredient is persistence, or not giving up.

You have to show up every day to put in the work, even when you don’t feel like it. (reference James Clear article about focus and that the rock thing.) You might produce crud, but slowly and inevitably, a story begins to form. I throw out at least a hundred pages once I have finished my book.

A lot of it is just writing out scenes that never happen, and just brainstorming of plots, backstory, characters, just random stuff. I write every single day (actually no) and If I produce crud, I search to see if there’s something valuable from it.

I think about my characters, I think about my story. Mention Austin Kleon where he talks about spending time with your story. You need to spend time with your story, capture your ideas, and put in the work every day, or whenever you can.

This is when your novel slowly starts to shape. There may be a month or two where you don’t write, because of life circumstances, but always, I return to write my book again,

 

Passion

Passion– this is the secret ingredient. I think passion and persistence are the two most important things

Creating out of trust, not out of fear

idk lol

 

 

 
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why writing is extremely difficult

  • how to maintain momentum
  • writing 500 words a day works for me
  • only if i’m in writing mode
  • that means if i’m in the season of writing
  • i notice im on and off between months
  • there’s a period of months where im mostly creating
  • then a period of months where im just absorbing new materials, ideas, and such
  • thats why i think writing a novel is so hard if you pass your writing stage and go into your absorbing stage
  • but once you leave your absorbing stage, you can keep working on your novel, now with fresh eyes
  • so don’t give up on writing
  • keep on doing it
  • and have fun
  • – also has a few writing tips on maintaining momentum
  • is it possible to write everyday?
  • yes it is,
  • only if you want to

what to do if you’re not a crazy rich author enjoying vacation in bahamas, ____

What if it doesn’t?

Just yesterday my mother told me a story about two brothers growing up. One was Pedro– he was a boy who loved cars. He was very knowledgeable about said cars, thinking and talking about them. Whenever a family relative was around they’d say, “Wow, Pedro is going to be an engineer when he grows up.”

On the other hand, was his brother, Alejandro. He was not good with cars, or anything with the sort. In fact, he was failing school. He was always overshadowed by his brother, who received all the attention and praise, while he on the other hand didn’t receive any.

It must have been tough for him.

Ironically, when Alejandro was fifteen, he became more successful then Pedro could ever be. He started to sell milk in jars; it was a very simple business. He probably thought it wouldn’t explode– it was just a little side project he just thought to do.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

In reality, this business did explode. So much so, that he quit high school. He couldn’t have continued it, anyway– he just wasn’t suited for school.

He was suited for business.

And thus, his business was booming. The money he gained from one business allowed him to start another one, and that’s how he went: making more and more successful profits, from earlier projects, and using each profit to launch another business.

Now. Let’s return to Alejandro, that boy that was supposed to become an engineer when he grew up.

What happened to him?

Well, he quit school, because he started to fail. He knew a lot about cars, but he just didn’t have what it took to become an engineer.

Instead, he was Alejandro’s apprentice. (Or assistant, “apprentice” may be too insulting.)

So. Where did Pedro go wrong? He loved cars and was good at school (for a while.) Besides, he couldn’t control the family around him esteeming him to be an engineer; he couldn’t control over shadowing his brother– he simply couldn’t.

So maybe i can keep talking about how this applies to writers. How can we not be Pedro? What if we can’t control how people talk about our writing? Maybe I could mention how John Green’s english writer said that he’d never become a famous writer, and how J.K Rowling had to face so many difficulties before her Harry Potter series became an instant bestseller.

But does that mean you can’t become a succesful writer unless countless others don’t believe in you?

NO!

Tere’s plenty of other writers, succesful, in fact, who have showed consistent progress, who weren’t talked down by their peers, who worked hard and who became very great writers too.

So what if you’re one of those hard workers? What if you believe in your talent and your success? What if you write with a passion and believe that one day you’ll publish a novel?

How can we not be a Pedro?

This part of the post I need to flesh out a bit more. Even don’t know the answer. What if your hard work doesn’t pay off. If you have the right mindset and everything, does that mean we’ll never publish a book? Or does it mean that there’s a secret or one key that we need to know if we want to eventually get published?

what you can do

Imagine the worst case scenario

Imagine the exact worst case scenario. Once you’ve accepted it, absorbed it, and are perfectly okay with a life you imagine to be your worst case scenario, you won’t be totally disappointed when your writing revenue doesn’t lands you a paridisal vacation in ____, Bahamas.

In a way, the idea of your worst life kind of consoles you, because you can’t go worse than that. You need to have a backup plan, and make sure you’ll still be happy living the image of your worst life. Better safe than sorry, right?
At the same time, don’t go overboard with the worst case scenario thing:

My worst case scenario is that eventually the hunger for attention will be overwhelming and I’ll kill myself with all the voices in my head. 

Well, my worst case scenario is that I’ll be a psychologist/psychiatrist who makes average income, hasn’t published any books yet, and has a terrible, horrible blog that sucks and nobody reads. Instead I’ll look towards my art, and my art on instagram will land me a surprising amount of followers. But at least I’ll have enough money to support myself, right?

So, please make your worst case scenario. If you’re okay of living that life, then you use it to your advantage. It’ll be okay if life ends up like this. Most importantly, just do the things you enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to commit yourself. Put in all the work and effort. Have a burning passion to create new things. Be the best version of yourself you can be.

And if the work doesn’t pay off?

Well, at least, you have enough money to support yourself with your Plan B, right?

If you want to have the writer’s life, you’re not going to be some crazy rich famous successful person, alright? I think learning to accept that is the first stage of becoming a mature author.

Redefine your image of success

Now, this similarly, has to do with what I just said above.

Stephen McCranie, a comic artist I admire, posted a video on Youtube titled “Create out of Trust, Not out of Fear.” In this video, he discussed how we shouldn’t be motivated to create anything, may that be a a comic book, a novel, a work of art, based on the number of sales we can get. Don’t focus on the money. 

Instead, we should focus on the process. Focus on making it the best book you can be.

Truth Number 1: You Can’t Control The Results

You can’t control how your life, or the success of your book, will turn out.

 

this can even apply to writing! We don’t even know how our book will turn out when we first start. She made a post saying “Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you make the whole trip that way.” – E.L Doctorow

BUT sometimes, not knowing how our book or life will turn out is overwhelming. That’s why we should follow these pieces of advice:

1. Focus on the Process, Not the Results

Since we know we can’t control the results, there is one thing we can control, and that is the process. That’s writing the actual book, or making the actual piece of art

THE GIRL TALKED ABOUT i mean the girl about crossroads of should and must talked about how her goal was having the fifty pieces of art posted, and that she already accomplished the goal. Her goal wasn’t the people liking it, no no. She couldn’t control if the audience liked her work or not, but them liking it was the icing on the cake.

Stephen McCranie says we should enjoy making our art and focus on the process. We shouldn’t focus our goals on how many sales we get on a novel. We should instead focus on making a good novel. we need to have trust that our novel will turn out well in the end.

So we should make each chapter fun then. Focus on that. Focus on making a good novel. Getting a book published is a noteable goal, but we can’t if people like it or not.

ahhhh

OH YEAH AND I WANT TO ADD about the must thing, like that girl elle woods or elle luna talked about how art was her must.

As long as you’re helping others

The thing is, when you’re doing your must and passion, you’re actually helping others. To be fulfilled you need to connect with other people and follow your passion, to do your must. Even if you don’t make it in the NYT bestselling list, making an impact on other people with the stories you create is so much more meaningful.

That’s the day I know I’m succesful– the day that my art or writing positively impacts someone, like the art and writing of generations before me have also impacted me.

She says, in an interview in a podcast, “and then you find your place in the system, and like the thing about the teacher and the students.”

So.
Maybe you won’t be a crazy rich author enjoying vacation in Bahamas– that’s too superficial, anyway.

But I can promise you one thing– your hard work will pay off. As long as it’s something you’re truly passionate, you will be able to publish a book. It’s hard, but it’s possible.

To cap it off:

(insert main points and headlines)

so what i wanted to say was that I just remembered something about hmm I’m still trying to think, hmm I can’t seem to pinpoint it grr.

There’s so many people that want to get published, when a lot of them don’t.

So what’s the truth?

I’m still figuring that out myself.

Now, let’s return to the story of Alejandro and Pedro. There’s a twist: their father was a business person. In fact, he was a terrible one. He made many terrible decisions, and was terribly in debt. He owed so much money that he couldn’t pay it off on his own.

What happened?

Well, the only person who was abundant in money could help the father– and you guessed it right. It was Alejandro. He had to pay off all the money. All the hard work, all the sweat, and tears, was gone. He used all of his money to pay off his father’s debt, something he had no control of.

All his money was gone.

Now, what did he do? Just become a homeless hound on the street?

No.

In stead, he rebuilt his business from the ground up, all over again. After even more years, he became just as, or in fact, more successful from when he had to give up all his money to his father.

And he kept making more damn businesses.

This is a true story, in fact (and if you don’t think it is then you don’t have to believe me.)

So if you’re discouraged about writing, then keep writing. Keep making damn more pages, word by word.

on story ideas and how to capture them

Story ideas. . .  Where exactly do they come from?

Duh. Our imagination.

Wait. But what if you don’t have an imagination?

Well, then it’okay not to have an imagination, because no idea, no matter how well thought-out,  is original. People just transform everything from movies they see, books they read, and even real life experiences and real people. Ideas are just other ideas that are mashed together, transformed, and created into an entirely new idea. There’s actually a theory that states that all of the original ideas have already ran out a long time ago; however, that doesn’t mean two stories itself are exactly the same —  even if two novels have the same concept, they can be entirely different.

So, point number one:

1. Don’t care if your idea isn’t original

No story can be 100% original. There has to be at least one cliche concept in your story because it’s impossible for there not to be. This holds especially true here on Quotev, which predominantly consists of romance. Romance is extremely formulaic — we know that by the end, the love interest ends up with the hero or doesn’t; it’s as simple as that.

Better yet, just read this saying: “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”

There are lots of ideas out there in the world, as said by this quote, yet none of them are 100% original. Lowering your expectations so that your idea isn’t completely original takes off a load of pressure on your shoulder.

This freed me in a way and made it much easier to come up with ideas. It made me think, “Say, if I think about it that way, I see many of them right now.”

Most writers worry that their story idea isn’t completely ‘perfect’. I mean, if you haven’t even finished writing your first story, I think it best not to think of the perfect story idea. Just choose a concept that you like and stick with it.  I wouldn’t care if the story idea is amazing. After realizing that I had to get my shit together if I wanted to write my story, I stopped focusing on the idea. I just thought of a random story idea, and worked it out to make it look enticing and interesting, until I sort of fell in love with it.

Actually, you can’t ‘sort of love’ your story idea, you have to really love it:

2. Make sure you really love your story idea

Ask yourself this question: is this really a story you want to write about? Think about it for a while, because whatever story you’re writing, be it non-fiction, fantasy, or romance will require you to be in it for the long haul. You’ll probably spend the next two to three months — at best — planning, writing, and publishing your novel on Quotev. You have to make sure it’s a story idea that you are excited to write, or else you’ll easily get bored of it (sometimes, even if you love your story at first, you get tired of it at and give up eventually. If you do have trouble with that, reference my chapter Don’t Get Discouraged). The point is, you must have this passion, this burning desire, to tell the story that you want to tell, and to get it out there.

3. Don’t try to please too many people writing your story

Of course, you’re not writing this story for yourself — you’re writing this story for a specific audience, which is most likely people here on Quotev. But don’t try to please anyone at all writing your story — please yourself, because it’s your story after all. Even if your concept is not popular, write it anyway. Don’t focus on it being good — just get it done.

Wait. But how do you come up with a story idea?

By training yourself.

To do this, I would grab any book. I prefer composition books because they are tightly bound together. If I get a regular spiral journal, the pages fall off and I find that extremely annoying. Or you can pull up an empty word document — whatever floats your boat, mate.

The next step is to let it all out. Free write. My journals are literally a bunch of random thoughts, scribbles, and drawings that popped into my mind. Whenever I came up with an idea, maybe not an idea, just a vision, I wrote it down. I think it’s better if i call it a vision more than an idea.

For example,  I had spread some cream cheese on my bagel, and I suddenly got this like ‘vision’. So, I wrote it in my journal. Or, you could type it on this website called Evernote or Google docs. But, I prefer my journal.

I don’t know. I just saw wrinkly hands spread thick, lumpy cottage cheese on some bread. And I got a vision of a cottage in a forest. These visions lead to other visions, and I wrote them all down. I thought of medieval times, and candle makers, and the imagery just popped into my mind. I could hear the bells of Notre Dame. See? I think you’re starting to get the hang of it.

I might also be in the car. We were near the beach, and I saw my mother apply lipstick on her lips. Suddenly, I got a vision of a dusty desert like in Holes, and I could see the waves in the sky because it was that hot. Then a Jeep came and an attractive lady came out, and she made this entrance and started applying lipstick on with epic rock music playing in the background. But, I had feelings, visions, I could almost hear it — it was as if I was there.

Ideas come from literally everywhere — they don’t have to be just visions like mine. In fact, one of my best ideas happened by accident, when I wasn’t even searching for one. I was scrolling through Quotev when I misread the title Check Mate, reading it as Click Mate instead. Then, the title got me thinking. I asked myself questions, like, what is Click Mate? Then this catch phrase popped in my mind: Find your mate at the click of a mouse. Bam. Story idea.

Sometimes, a story idea can be inspired by something happening to you or to someone else you know in real life. Or maybe by another book, or a really emotional song that you heard on the radio and you are just dying to capture into novel format. The point is that ideas are literally everywhere. 

You just need to capture them.

Even if nothing pops in your mind, write. If something makes you curious, ask yourself why? These answers, or questions, will lead to more questions and more visions. It’s like a chain reaction, like the initial domino in a line of dominoes, hitting each one until you reach the end.
And once you reach an epiphany of what your story is about you can start planningBut yes, whenever you have a vision, promise me you will write it down. By doing this, you are training your mind to notice ideas, and I swear ideas will pop into your mind more frequently.

Talking about the composition book thing, once you write your initial vision or idea or whatchamacallit, draw pictures of what you see. It can just be scribbles or doodles, and like I said, question your visions and ask why. Where is this place? Why is this happening? What if this? What if that? 

This step is important–just ask dumb questions, and come up with many answers, because things lead to other things. You need to take full advantage of your story idea, especially ones with lots of potential, because if you don’t, then your story won’t be as good.

This step is very important, because this determines what you put into your book. Don’t worry if it takes long. For long term novels it can take as long as an year. Or as short as a day. But once you are done with exhausting your mind over the possibilities, you will be ready to tread onto the planning phase of your novel.

Don’t worry if your story idea is ‘bad’. Once you get into the habit of writing your ideas down it will get easier and easier. Write it. Write it all down.  I could combine ideas. And transform them.

Sometimes when I have a good idea, I just try to imagine it. And more visions come. This is all good. Even if it sounds like a bad idea, just write it down.

When you do this, you are training your mind to be more alert and awake, and more observant too. Let’s go back to the first saying. “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”

It might be true, now that I think of it. Just think of ideas. If you ever had an interesting experience, write it down. Just try to twist it and maybe add a love interest.

Ideas are everywhere. It just takes time, hard work, and effort to notice them.

create out of trust, not out of fear

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