5 Ways Your Brain Sabotages Your Writing... And What To Do About It When we sit at the keyboard, we rely on our brains to help us fill that vast white space with intriguing words, well-rounded characters, and watertight plot twists. Sometimes our brains oblige. But more often, our grey matter tells us that we should check Twitter (because what if our blog post got a retweet from someone important?), that we totally have time to catch up on TV while we eat lunch (because that’s just smart multitasking right there!) Psychologists have identified all sorts of cognitive biases and mental tomfoolery that turn your mind against you every day. Escalation of Commitment Your brain says: “You’ve put so much time and effort into writing this story, it’d be crazy not to finish.” Imagine you’re an eccentric millionaire—probably wearing a monocle—who has spent two years and close to $100,000 creating a desk featuring cool-water sprinklers for those working in hot climes. When the situation is more relatable, Escalation of Commitment kicks in. Solutions: Price: $18.02
Narrative and Referential Activity - The Referential Process Kristin Nelson Narrative is a discourse form used in all languages for retelling past episodes, whether recalled or imagined. It develops throughout childhood and is part of all adult language speakers’ unconscious linguistic competence. Universal Story Structure: Cross-linguistic and historical studies have found that spontaneous oral narratives, or stories, exhibit a discourse grammar distinct from that of “here-and-now” speech. Even the briefest account of the past qualifies as a story if it contains a Complicating Action section—at least two sentences in the simple past tense, spoken in chronological order, that is in order of remembered events (Labov, 1997). Story-now vs. As Fleischman (1990, p. 125) points out, stories “are intrinsically structured with two time frames: the time of the telling of the story and the time during which the events of the story are assumed to have taken place.” Narrative as a Defensive Indicator: Relationship between RA and Narrative: Bohbot, V. Chafe, W.
75 Books Every Writer Should Read Whether you want to make writing your career or just want to know how to improve your writing so that you can pass your college courses, there is plenty of reading material out there to help you get inspired and hone your skills. Here’s a collection of titles that will instruct you on just about every aspect of writing, from the basics of grammar to marketing your completed novel, with some incredibly helpful tips from well-known writers themselves as well. Writing Basics These books address things like structure, plot, descriptions and other basic elements of any story. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers: You can improve the quality of your writing by adding a mythical quality to them with advice and insight from this book. Advice from Authors Who better to give advice on writing than those who have made a name for themselves doing it? On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King: This is widely regarded as one of the best books for any aspiring author to read.
How Using ARCHETYPES Can Transform Your Character Work « Creative Tips For Writers Many writers shy away from using or studying archetypes or “character types”. They fear they will be writing a stock character – one that lacks originality, depth and complexity. My argument is that there is a lot to be learned about from studying archetypes. And that quite a lot of depth can be learned from studying their purpose in a story. Here’s my argument in a nutshell: Every story has a hero. Q: How can learning about archetypes inform my own work with characters? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Q: How can I avoid writing stock types? A: Use the archetypes as a launching point, as inspiration. John Truby, storytelling guru and Author of The Anatomy of a Story states: “Using archetypes as a basis for your characters can give them the appearance of weight very quickly, because each type expresses a fundamental pattern that the audience recognizes, and this same pattern is reflected both within the character and through interaction in the larger society.” Archetypes by Jung 5 Major Archetypes 8) Lover
LitReactor Throughlines - and How to Use Them! Throughlines - and How to Use Them! By Melanie Anne Phillips Some time ago I described the difference between the two basic forms of story structure with the following phrase: You spin a tale, but you weave a story. The common expression "spinning a yarn" conjures up the image of a craftsperson pulling together a fluffy pile into a single unbroken thread. An appropriate analogy for the process of telling a tale. A tale is, perhaps, the simplest form of storytelling structure. Nonetheless, if one wants to make a point, you need to create a line that leads from one point to another. A story, on the other hand, is a more complex form of structure. In story structure, then, the sequence of events in each individual throughline cannot be random, but must be designed to do double-duty – both making sense as an unbroken progression and also as pieces of a greater purpose. You won’t find the word, "throughline" in the dictionary. Now that we know what a throughline is, how can we use it?
Max Barry | Fifteen Ways to Write a Novel Every year I get asked what I think about NaNoWriMo, and I don’t know how to answer, because I don’t want to say, “I think it makes you write a bad novel.” This is kind of the point. You’re supposed to churn out 50,000 words in one month, and by the end you have a goddamn novel, one you wouldn’t have otherwise. I find it hard to write a goddamn novel. Some of these methods I use a lot, some only when I’m stuck. The Word TargetWhat: You don’t let yourself leave the keyboard each day until you’ve hit 2,000 words. 33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters — Well-Storied. 21. Find their identity. Understanding how your character defines themselves in life can help you better understand how they interact with and present themselves to the world. When defining your character's identity, consider elements such as their gender identity, race, sexuality, religion, ancestry, and interests. 22. Perspective is the lens through which we see the world. 23. Who does your character gravitate toward when seeking friendships, romance, or guidance? 24. Give your character a voice. 25. Is your character optimistic, pessimistic, or realistic? 26. Where is your character happiest? 27. Help your character weather your story's conflicts by giving them relationships with loved ones or mentors. 28. Your character's gut feelings can say a lot about who they are, while also add nail-biting tension to your story that foreshadows dangers to come. 29. Everyone has their breaking point. 30. When all seems lost, a safe haven can keep hope alive for your character. 31. 32. 33.
The Review Review Story In the spring of 2008, I stopped submitting to literary magazines. As a fiction writer, trying to get my work published felt as futile and inconsequential as trying to write my name on a snowflake. I spent so much time sending work out and buying envelopes, printer ink, stamps, and paper only to receive one after another rejection letter, sometimes not even written on a full piece of paper but cut from the bottom third, as if rejection of my work were not even worth wasting a full page. Of course getting published is not easy and if it were, the rewards would not feel so valuable and hard-won. However, I also felt that there was something unsettling about this entire process. Worse, I was not the only writer like this. Wanting to get published in lit mags had started to feel like doing community service so that it would look good on your college application. At first, this discovery was comforting. With over 600 print and online journals, however, it can be hard to know where to begin.
Writing Descriptive Sentences: 6 Simple Rules Great descriptive writing brings story scenes to life. We see the flickering candlelit banquet halls or chaotic battlefields great descriptions conjure. Here are 6 tips to write descriptive sentences that are evocative: 1: Choose precise imagery (avoid overusing abstract nouns) We often think of descriptive writing in terms of adjectives – the describing words that add specificity to nouns. Yet sometimes our nouns themselves are thin on description. ‘The air smelt like freedom when he was finally released from prison.’ The problem here is that ‘smelt like freedom’ is nondescript: What exactly does freedom ‘smell’ like? ‘It had been too long since he’d smelt the damp aroma of pine that followed him along the trail.’ Instead of lofty abstract nouns, it’s often more effective to find a specific image, from a specific setting, as a specific character sees (or hears/smells/tastes/touches) it. 2: Remember subtle differences between describing words 3: Deepen descriptive sentences using comparison
The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do. Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Because that is what writing is all about. Procrastination is an alluring siren taunting you to google the country where Balki from Perfect Strangers was from, and to arrange sticky notes on your dog in the shape of hilarious dog shorts. The blank white page. Mark Twain once said, “Show, don’t tell.” Finding a really good muse these days isn’t easy, so plan on going through quite a few before landing on a winner. There are two things more difficult than writing. It’s no secret that great writers are great readers, and that if you can’t read, your writing will often suffer.
Paragraph Transitions Paragraph Transitions Paragraphs represent the basic unit of composition: one idea, one paragraph. However, to present a clear, unified train of thought to your readers, you must make sure each paragraph follows the one before it and leads to the one after it through clear, logical transitions. Keep in mind that adequate transitions cannot simply be added to the essay without planning. Conjunctive Adverbs and Transitional Phrases Conjunctive adverbs modify entire sentences in order to relate them to preceding sentences or paragraphs; good academic writers use many of them, but not so many that they overload the page. Transitional phrases can perform the same function: Use them wisely and sparingly, and never use one without knowing its precise meaning. Implied or Conceptual Transitions When Ulysses S. In this transition by Kori Quintana in an article about radiation and health problems, the connection between the paragraphs resides in the common term of "my family":