We created Golarion, the Pathfinder campaign setting, Ask Us Anything! : worldbuilding How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day When I started writing The Spirit War (Eli novel #4), I had a bit of a problem. I had a brand new baby and my life (like every new mother's life) was constantly on the verge of shambles. I paid for a sitter four times a week so I could get some writing time, and I guarded these hours like a mama bear guards her cubs - with ferocity and hiker-mauling violence. To keep my schedule and make my deadlines, I needed to write 4000 words during each of these carefully arranged sessions. But (of course), things didn't work out like that. Needless to say, I felt like a failure. When I told people at ConCarolinas that I'd gone from writing 2k to 10k per day, I got a huge response. So, once and for all, here's the story of how I went from writing 500 words an hour to over 1500, and (hopefully) how you can too: A quick note: There are many fine, successful writers out there who equate writing quickly with being a hack. Update! Side 1: Knowledge, or Know What You're Writing Before You Write It
How to Master on the Art of Getting Noticed: Austin Kleon’s Advice to Aspiring Artists by Maria Popova How to balance the contagiousness of raw enthusiasm with the humility of knowing we’re all in this together. In 2012, artist Austin Kleon gave us Steal Like an Artist, a modern manifesto for combinatorial creativity that went on to become one of the best art books that year. He now returns with Show Your Work! (public library) — “a book for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion,” in which Kleon addresses with equal parts humility, honesty, and humor one of the quintessential questions of the creative life: How do you get “discovered”? Kleon begins by framing the importance of sharing as social currency: Almost all of the people I look up to and try to steal from today, regardless of their profession, have built sharing into their routine. The act of sharing is one of generosity — you’re putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining to someone on the other side of the screen. The only way to find your voice is to use it.
Stephen King's Top 20 Rules for Writers Image by the USO, via Flickr Commons In one of my favorite Stephen King interviews, for The Atlantic, he talks at length about the vital importance of a good opening line. “There are all sorts of theories,” he says, “it’s a tricky thing.” “But there’s one thing” he’s sure about: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. We’ve talked so much about the reader, but you can’t forget that the opening line is important to the writer, too. This is excellent advice. Revision in the second draft, “one of them, anyway,” may “necessitate some big changes” says King in his 2000 memoir slash writing guide On Writing. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. See a fuller exposition of King’s writing wisdom at Barnes & Noble’s blog. Related Content: Stephen King Creates a List of 96 Books for Aspiring Writers to Read Stephen King Writes A Letter to His 16-Year-Old Self: “Stay Away from Recreational Drugs”
How Spritz Redesigned Reading, Letting You Scan 1,000 Words A Minute When we read, our eyes move across a page or a screen to digest the words. All of that eye movement slows us down, but a new technology called Spritz claims to have figured out a way to turn us into speed-readers. By flashing words onto a single point on a screen, much like watching TV, Spritz says it will double your reading speed. Spritz Inc. is attempting to redesign reading--and renaming it “spritzing”--by streaming one word at a time at speeds varying between 250 and 1,000 words per minute. Words are centered around an “Optimal Recognition Point" in a special display called the "Redicle." This method reportedly eliminates the time-consuming need to move your eyes across a page, which Spritz's research suggests improves focus and comprehension. “Spritzing is not for everyone,” CEO and co-founder Frank Waldman tells Co.Design. The technology was released last Sunday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and the company has since received more than 5,000 developer submissions.
World-Building for Concept Artists and Illustrators 20 Tips For Writing a Captivating Short Story (Part 1) by Mindy Halleck Today, as I edit, trim, cut, and otherwise obliterate a short story I wrote that ended up to be 8,000 words, but needs to be 5,000 words, I am reminded of this quote: “Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” -Henry David Thoreau Wise man. I thought I’d share some editing tips this morning, not so much for you as for me. I will share these tips in three concurring post over the next two weeks. Anyway . . . drum roll . . . . Writing short stories is a great way to investigate diverse genres, characters, settings, and voices. Here are some editing tips that hopefully will keep you from banging your head on the editing desk. Watch your word count. Check out part 2 for the rest of the tips! Mindy Halleck is an award winning author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. Like this: Like Loading...
Microsoft Word is cumbersome, inefficient, and obsolete. It’s time for it to die. Image from Wikipedia. Nearly two decades and several text-handling paradigms ago, I was an editorial assistant at a weekly newspaper, where a few freelancers still submitted their work on typewritten pages. Stories would come in over the fax machine. If the printout was clear enough, and if our giant flatbed scanner was in the mood, someone would scan the pages in, a text-recognition program would decipher the letters, and we would comb the resulting electronic file for nonsense and typos. If the scanner wasn't in the mood, we would prop up the hard copy beside a computer and retype the whole thing. Technology was changing fast, and some people were a few steps slow. Nowadays, I get the same feeling of dread when I open an email to see a Microsoft Word document attached. It took years for me to get to this point. Today, it's become an overbearing boss, one who specializes in make-work. Even so, people can live with typos in their input. <!
Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling--Visualized Note: This article is included in our year-end storytelling advice round-up. A while back, now-former Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of pearls of narrative wisdom she had gleaned from working at the studio. This list of 22 rules of storytelling was widely embraced as it was applicable to any writer or anyone who was in the business of communicating (which is pretty much everyone, including software developers). Last week, Dino Ignacio, a UX Director at a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, created a series of image macros of the 22 rules, posting them to Imgur. Have a look through more of them in the slides above.
Infographic shows the most common problems in screenplays I'd love to see a breakdown of manuscript rejections done this way. Having watched a few movies in the last ten years, I can tell you from authority that these are not the reasons manuscripts get rejected. It depends on what studio you're pitching, what sort of movie they're in the market for, what sort of other movies they've greenlit, what sort of mood the scriptreader is in that day, whether they're looking for a good role for some actor they just signed a deal with, what movie made the most money last year, and even more importantly, what movie LOST the most money last year (ooooh, you wrote a western? If only you'd turned in that script BEFORE The Lone Ranger crashed and burned.) So basically, it's 95% dumb luck. But writing a good script certainly can't hurt (it's also nice because then if your movie actually gets made, it has less of a chance of being savaged by critics and ultimately forgotten.) That's an example of an odd phenomenon. It sickens me. Not really.
The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations is a descriptive list which was created by Georges Polti to categorize every dramatic situation that might occur in a story or performance. To do this Polti analyzed classical Greek texts, plus classical and contemporaneous French works. He also analyzed a handful of non-French authors. Publication history “Gozzi maintained that there can be but thirty-six tragic situations. This list was published in a book of the same name, which contains extended explanations and examples. The list is popularized as an aid for writers, but it is also used by dramatists, storytellers and many others. The 36 situations Each situation is stated, then followed by the necessary elements for each situation and a brief description. See also References External links
Truths About Fiction The following essay was previewed in the class that Stephen Graham Jones taught for LitReactor, Your Life Story Is Five Pages Long. 1. The reader should never have to work to figure out the basics of your story. Who’s whose wife or husband, what the time period is if that matters, why these people have broken into this house, and on and on, just the basic, ground-level facts about your story. 2. Meaning you don’t have to lay every last detail of every last thing out. The best writers are the ones who can cover the most distance with the fewest words. 3. It can be as simple as if the story opens with what feels like a dramatic frame—two people sitting by a fireplace, talking over brandy—then we already expect the story to circle back to that fireplace. 4. You open with a hook, of course—the title—then you hook with the first line, then, usually at the end of the first paragraph, you set that hook. 5. They’re not reading so you can render for them their already quotidian lives. 6. 7. 8. 9.