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The Plot Whisperer

ImageAs you (probably) already know, I’m a writer. No, I haven’t published anything yet, but that will change pretty soon. But I am, nonetheless, a writer. And in my pursuit of more knowledge on the subject, I read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, by Martha Alderson. Now, you have to understand I’m not the kind of writer who sits down and plots her whole story. I usually have an idea I want to write about and I just sit down and write. After I’m done, then I’ll structure it for the editing process. I found that to be helpful. It helps me see the story as a whole, without limiting me to follow a structure before even starting. That’s because I don’t really know all that’s going to happen in my stories. I see plotting as creating expectations for a story, and not following the plot would seem disappointing to me. That’s why I only plot after finishing my first draft.

But what does the book has to do with it? Well, I read the book in the hopes it would help me understand plot a little more and maybe help me improve as a writer. I was, however, a bit skeptic over the whole idea, since I don’t plot before writing the story, but I found out The Plot Whisperer was a great help. It’s not a book only for those who plot beforehand, and it has helpful tips for all kinds of writers. It talks about “the universal story,” the plot planner, the scene tracker, the barriers we find along the way, and much more. It also has exercises here and there that can help you with your writing.

Anyway, I found the book very helpful, and if you’re a writer (beginner or not) I certainly think you should take a look at this book. Then come back and tell me what you think.

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Learning the craft

2756494307_4018808b1b_oI’ve been taking creative writing classes and enrolling in creative writing workshops for the past two years and I can say they have changed me. One professor in particular has been a huge part of it. Before taking his workshop I could read all kinds of books and I was fine. Now I feel like my way of looking into things has changed. Every book I open, every story I read, is different. I see things I had never noticed before. I see little flaws in technique that I wouldn’t be able to identify before. I see what could be done to improve the flow of a story and what is stalling it. And although I might not always agree with his point of view, I am thankful for all he has taught me.

I’ve recently read 1Q84 and my reaction to it was not what I expected. Thank you to my professor I paid attention to details in this book I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ll talk more about it later, in a separate post, but all I say is that my opinion is influenced by all I’ve learned in the past few years.

Learning about writing has changed me. It has made me aware of how to approach it and what I need to do to improve my own writing. It has made me a better writer. And I can’t wait to learn even more.

Photo credit: Nic McPhee

 

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Are You Up For the Challenge?

Long time no see (or is it read?).
 
Hopefully you’re not like me; breaking promises to yourself about writing more because you’re:
A.)   Reading five books at once, but still not working on your own.
B.)   Working more hours since you’re not in school.
C.)   Promising yourself for the thousandth time that tomorrow you’ll write.
D.)   Catching up on television series.
E.)   None of the above.
F.)   Other: _____________ (please place your excuse in the space provided)
 
Well, the answer to your muses’ prayers have been answered. There are two more weeks until the next writer’s challenge from Nanowrimo begins. This is their summer event, titled Camp Nanowrimo. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of July. Unlike the November event, you won’t get anything for reaching said goal other than the satisfaction of doing it.
 
Buuuuuut…
 
Finishing a rough draft that long that fast is really a reward within itself (and you can always take part in November’s Nanowrimo as well). After that, perhaps the fact that nearly every movie in the past two or three years has been from a comic book, novel, or revamp should spur you on to refine your story and turn it into the diamond you already know it is.
 
You owe it to yourself and your characters to complete their stories and make it the best that you can, but no one can sit you down with a pen/pencil/tablet/laptop/other device for writing. It has to be you, wordsmith.
Best of luck and as always, happy writing!

(Found using CC Search)

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Bad Habits

I just got back yesterday from another amazing SBL weekend in Madison, and I couldn’t be happier. It was great! Better than great, it was amazing! Not only because of the music and of meeting again with old friends, but also because of the news one I met.

Coming back was the hardest part. Saying ‘goodbye’ is too hard, so we just say ‘see you soon’ and pray that ‘soon’ won’t take too long.

Then on my way back home from the airport I started listening to Johnson‘s album Bad Habits and I just couldn’t stop smiling. Anyway, here’s one of my favorites. But I do recommend you go check out his website and full album–you can get it from either Amazon or iTunes, although Amazon is cheaper.

Enjoy!

 

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Writers Write

They do. It’s true. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.

I was sitting here trying to figure out what to write about. I wanted to talk about writing and say something that would be worth it. I wanted to say something that would be valuable to you, but I couldn’t think of anything. Actually I did think of something, many somethings, and couldn’t decide which one to start with. I thought about many tips I know have helped me when writing as well as when editing a piece of work, but I couldn’t decide which one tip to talk about.

That’s when I thought about Writers Write and decided to share with you all about it here. It’s a great source for anyone entering this new world of writing or anyone who think they still have a thing or two to learn. And in my opinion, you should always feel like you still have a thing or two to learn. I mean, no one can ever know everything there is to know, not even in one small area. If that were true there would be no scientists or researchers in the world. They would be obsolete.

Anyway, Writers Write not only has tips that are very helpful and explained in a very simple way, but they also have daily prompts that can spark your creativity and help you out if you ever feel like you’re stuck. They also have other things, like quotes and comics and so on.

It’s cool. Go for it. You won’t regret it. Or just don’t click on it; it’s totally up to you.

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The Smell of Books

I once got a book from the library that had such a strong smell I couldn’t stand holding it so close to me. It smelled of cigarettes or something. I assumed the person who read it before me was smoking while reading it, and that’s how it got such a smell. It was so strong I couldn’t even read the book, and I had to return it to the library. That was the only book that I ever had a problem with concerning the smell of it. But it did make me wary of library books and I avoid smelling them since then.

Today, however, I couldn’t resist it. I’ve been reading 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami, and I got to a part that says:

“Still sitting on the floor, Aomame closed her eyes. She pressed her nose against the pages of the book, inhaling its smells–the smell of the paper, the smell of the ink. She quietly gave herself up to its flow, listening hard for the sound of Tengo’s heart.” (p.546)

After reading that I brought the book closer to me and inhaled its smells. I had to. Then I pressed the open book against my chest and thought of the hands that had touched it before me. I thought of how many people, upon reading the same paragraph, would have brought the book to their noses to smell it. I thought of how many more will do it in the future. I wondered if the book would carry along a smell of me that will mix with the smell of all its readers. A smell no human can smell, but that only books know about.

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(Book Sniffer by shieldsink)

 

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Silver Linings Playbook

Silver_Linings_Playbook_PosterI wanted to watch this movie for so long and today I finally did it. I debated whether or not I should wait and read the book first, but I had the DVD in my hands and just couldn’t resist watching it. Now I definitely want to read the book. Why? Because I want to find out what was changed from the book version.

The actors were great, some of the scenes were very funny, some felt very real, but there were still things I didn’t like so much. Now, if you haven’t seen the movie and doesn’t like spoilers, I suggest you stop reading right about now, because I can’t talk about the things I did or did not like without spoiling it for you. I mean it, I’ll mention things that will spoil the ending and you can’t get mad at me.

Okay, now for those of you who decided to stick with me and read this review, here it goes:

Yes, I did like the movie. Would I watch it again? I’m not sure about that. Yes, it was funny, and yes, it was awesome to see a movie where the main character has bipolar disorder and to see how that affects those around him. However, there were things that, to me, were too hard to believe.

First of all, why is Pat (Bradley Cooper) being so honest and so direct to Tiffany? Having bipolar disorder does not mean you have no social filter. People with bipolar disorder have mood swings, not a need to be direct no matter what. The fact that they made him ask inappropriate questions and make inappropriate comments was something I did not like in the movie. Maybe it was part of his therapy to tell the truth all the time, but that was not mentioned (unless I blinked when that happened) and he was not like that with everyone, so it makes no sense.

Another thing I didn’t like was close to the end, when Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) is hugging Pat and he looks at his (ex)wife, disengages himself from Tiffany’s arms, and walks towards his (ex)wife without saying a word. It doesn’t make sense. If he had said just a “wait” to Tiffany, she’d still have the same reaction, but it would make sense later. Somehow that seemed weak to me.

But all in all, the movie was nice. I liked the songs and the interactions between the characters. I think the actors were very good and that the movie was light and funny. I liked that they cast Jennifer Lawrence to play Tiffany even though they thought she was too young for the part. I liked that they didn’t make them win the dance or get a high score just for being different (although I thought it was a little pushy that the only judge who always gave every couple a score that was lower than all other judges did was the one to give them a higher score). I loved how the truth about the letter was revealed. And I really enjoyed the little jokes here and there.

So yes, I guess I did like the movie. But now I’m very interested in reading the book. I’ve already added to my holds list at the library.

 

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