writing

Top Things I’ve Learned About Writing.

Having published my first book, I’m moving on to other projects. But, as I’ve said before, I had no clue what I was doing the first time around. I started writing with no intention of publishing, or even showing it to anyone (that was very early on, of course). So, my thought wasn’t, “If I’m gonna write a book, I need to know how to do it. Let’s go look at a bunch of helpful blog posts, listen to writing podcasts, read how-to books, etc.”

It’s different starting a new book (or two, in this case :P). My goal from the start is definitely to show people and publish as apposed to last time. So, I want to know what I’m doing. In this post, I want to share some of the things that strike me as the most important.

I’ll give a quick sum-up of this post by saying: If you have not listened to K.M. Weiland’s podcasts, checked out her blog posts, or read her books, go. do. it. She has several books, a whole myriad of blog posts, and enough podcasts to last you a good long while. I can honestly say, if you’re looking for writing advice, she’s at the top of my list.

Now, if you want to hear some of the specifics, read on!

This is in no way everything I’ve learned. I’m just pointing out a few basic things. If you’ve been writing for a long time, hopefully you know this stuff by now. If you’re a new writing, totally take a closer look at there things:

  • Outlining.

This right here is probably either really overlooked, or really basic. So, if you’re not a plotter, maybe think about taking this step into consideration? And if you are a plotter, well…I’m a little embarrassed. My first draft was me ‘writing by the seat of my pants.’ No planning for me. But boy would it have been a lot easier, had I known how to use this crucial step to its fullest.

I think it’s fair to say I’m officially a plotter, and will be from here on out. I’ve outlined both of my WIPs, and while I’m still learning there’s more that can be done, it’s helped me tremendously.

Outlining really helps you get to know your character, your plot, and your theme, desire, conflict. And- I don’t know if this is normal or not- I really enjoyed doing character interviews. While I still feel at times like it’s strange to just write a random fact about the character down without ‘discovering it first,’ it’s really cool to see your character take shape before you even write (or type) a word.

(I found the bulk of my information on outlining in K.M. Weiland’s book: Outlining Your Novel.)

  • Structuring.

THIS ONE IS A LITERAL LIFE SAVER. Oh. My. Word. I listened to her podcasts (I’m just going to warn you: Most- really all- of this information came from her [she it that good!], and I will likely go on about how awesome she is throughout this post…) on story structure recently, and it just blew my mind. Like, literally. I mean, I really didn’t see how having three acts, an inciting event, key event, midpoint, climax, and resolution was so important. But, news flash, they’re very important. And just listening to her podcasts, it was easy to point out to myself which parts in my story were already in place (just maybe needed an official name) and which parts needed a change entirely (or in my case, needed to be added in!). It taught me a lot about my story. Story structure is not something you want to overlook. And again, a lot of you probably knew that. I’m just the late one that had to jump on the train.

  • Character Arc.

I haven’t even stinking listened to all of the podcasts on this (yep, more K.M. Weiland), but like with story structure, this stuff just blows my mind! Like, I really never realized all there was to writing, and what a craft it really is. The intricacy of it all amazes me (making me very grateful that I get to be a writer!).

I like that character arc is for the characters what story structure is for the plot. And how they’re both essentially their own stories (not that you could have one without the other, as I’m coming to learn), woven together… It’s just so stinking cool. If you want a strong story, take time to learn about these two. I still am!

  • Pacing.

Again. Amazed. Like, I’d heard this term, but I always thought it sounded rather confusing, like too much to grasp, and even scary. And while I’m just starting to get to put this one into practice with my first drafts, it’s really not as far out there as I’d thought. Sure, it takes practice to nail it like with anything else, but it’s definitely doable.

K.M. Weiland, in her podcast, talked about how even just making sentences longer or shorter can help the pacing (I think that’s darn cool- I know, I’m like, just waking up to all of this, and I’ve got a crazy sense of childlike wonder. Go on, judge xD). And then having scenes and sequels- the action, and then the reaction to that. Keeping it not going too fast all at once, but keeping a good balance.

These are just a few things. There are so many other things that are extremely helpful (and yes, wow me). I wasn’t going to spend the post trying to explain things I’m still learning- rather, ramble about their importance- but if you want to learn more about this stuff, visit www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com, look up her Helping Writers Become Authors podcast, or check out her books on Amazon. I have yet to read the rest- I’m kind of low on money! xD

Post sum up: Go check out K.M. Weiland because K.M. Weiland is tremendously helpful. Appreciation post! (I promise, that wasn’t the plan! Haha!)

How’s your writing going? Are you just now jumping on the train with me, or have you known this stuff for forever?! I hope everyone has a great week!

Also, please be praying for Southern Texas. I know many people there who have lost a lot, and it’s hard seeing everything that’s going on there… But God’s got this! Please keep them in your prayers.

 

3 thoughts on “Top Things I’ve Learned About Writing.”

  1. AAAHHHH YES, YES, *YES* to all of this! I can literally ramble on for hours about how much I love story structure and character arcs. Especially character arcs, because character arcs involve theme and THEME = LIFE xD When I got a bunch of classics for school the other day I was going on and on to my mom about how amazing the themes were in these novels. #storystructurenerd

    Speaking of theme, there’s this really cool course over at a place called Kingdom Pen that talks about it in depth. They use a very similar structure in character arcs to K.M. Weiland. It’s a little pricey, but I’d highly recommend it 🙂 (Link: http://kingdompenacademy.teachable.com/courses/ — it’s the one titled “Theme Mastery,” but the others are awesome too)

    (oh, and Kindom Pen — http://kingdompen.org/ — is a really awesome online writing community for Christians who write speculative fiction. They talk a lot about fantasy and sci-fi, but the articles can apply to other genres as well. The forum over there is supper supportive)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ikr!! I literally am like, blown away by how awesome writing is (I feel so weird saying that because technically I’ve been writing for a while!!). It’s so cool everything that goes into it.

      Theme is something I’m trying to figure out right now, so thanks for the link!! It’s one of the things I get the general idea of, but I could definitely learn it more in depth! I need to look into that!! And for real, Christian writing communities are great! I’ll definitely look at it!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s