So, in short, my writing platform only consists of creative writing classes, 1st, 3rd, and then 1st again in three class-, school-, and then state-wide contests for writers. That is only at the moment, however. And, as I stated before, I am young. There is plenty of time to heighten my platform— and, oh Yay! I’m doing that right now with another state-wide contest! This time, I was working with a 1500 word limit. (Yes, that a tiny bit of wording to me!)
I think that since I am not planning on professionally publishing the piece I submitted into the contest, I’ll feel alright posting bits of it here. If, that is, I get more viewers soon.
I don’t expect anyone to take me seriously at the moment, for I have yet to give you a taste of what I can do with a word document. (Not so much with a pen for me; pen and paper come out choppy. Ugh!)
Now that you know where I stand, I’ll tell you more about what I call “freezing”!
What no cheers? Understandable. Okay, here we go:
For me, writing has never been about creating characters, a plotline, and seeing what you can write. (Sound familiar to anyone? Don’t worry! It’s just my opinion!) When I write, the characters “come” to me, not the other way around. They control the story. Ever heard a writer say, “The story just flows”? The writer isn’t stressing over every little word, only those that are critical to the character’s development.
“Okay, wait so does this mean we DON’T have to worry about having a dull character? Or one that’s inconsistent?”
Heavens no! It simply means that you receive jumbles puzzles pieces of a character who may or may not already have a voice of their own. Sometimes, the writer can see what the character looks like, other times, you only get the puzzle pieces.
It is your job to connect at least two of these pieces before you write; most of the time, depending on how complex and/or private your character is, the rest will slowly begin to connect on there own— in your head or in the story. (Yes, I had an experience with the last; it was both frightening and fulfilling to see my character actually telling the story. Or maybe I just have overly controlling characters? Anyone?)
No that you, as the writer, inevitably have control over what your character says. So, please, try and create a level ground in which you still have say over what happens in the story. It is still your character; you can carefully mold them into a certain personality you feel may better fit the story. Just be careful not to make them too “Yours”. They aren't tools, here.
So anyway, back to “freezing”. This is a very difficult task to master. It takes effort, persistence, and self-possession. Writing is like walking a type-rope. On one side, your landing is cement, and on the other awaits a deep pool of water. After so much time balancing, you might slip off the rope (understandable, don’t worry! Just climb back onto the middle ground you’ve established) and your landing may not be so gentle.
The cement: (Reality)
Cement can harm a writer who hasn’t stood on solid ground for a while (this could even mean several hours!) so it is important to give yourself a break every now and then. Carefully emerge yourself into reality again. Remember this isn’t torture. Enjoy it! You’re with your family and friends. Go out, forget writing for the moment. And when you feel inspired, sit down to your novel once more.
Beware, though. If you fall onto the cement (just like in real life) it will hurt. The damage varies. You will live, however, I promise! The worst possible situation is when you are “dragged” back to reality by your hair. Now, as a writer, you must be equipped with a hide thicker than an elephant’s— but an elephant is not invulnerable and neither are you. In certain cases, mostly dealing with publishing, rejections sent in dozens by agents can eventually be discouraging. Sometimes you will ask yourself why you ever climbed onto the stupid rope in the first place. No one can tell you what to do in this situation. It all depends on you. All I can say is: keep your faith. As long as you know your work will never be completely flawless, you should be able to take mountains of criticism respectfully. If that is impossible, this business is most certainly not for you.
Just relax, step back and take a good look at your work. Make your edits and try again. But don’t stay down too long— this could disconnect you from your novel: my own worst nightmare and one you really should avoid.
The Pool: (The World You Live in the Rest of the Time)
The landing here isn’t so gentle either.
If it doesn’t have the impact of the cement, your landing is never without the surprise of currents and tempeture. Some say writing can get lonely— it can! For at least a few hours a week you are submerged in this freezing water, reality hardly exists aside from the occasional ear-splitting phone ring to jar you from your trance.
Some say writing is easy, that anyone can do it. I hate to say it ,but that isn't true.
Yes ANYONE can write, and a handful of those can write WELL. But an even fewer can understand what it really takes to be an author. Am I saying all published authors understand this? No! Am I saying no non-published author can understand? No!!!!!
Here’s what I’m really saying:
Entertainment in general (creative arts) is an extremely difficult field to enter. I takes persistence, lucky, and more significantly, skill! This field (including everything from acting, to singing, to writing) is all based solely on opinion. You may, hypothetically, be the best singer in the world. If NO ONE in the world listens to you, however, because they don’t like your voice or songs or style, you will not make it. See? As if that wasn’t already difficult enough!
I won’t go into the other sections of entertainment because that is not what this blog is for. This blog is about writing.
Even if you don’t get published, you still want your work to be presentable, right? So that covers what they teach you in 1st grade. Correct your mechanical errors as best you can. Of course, there are always errors you won’t see. And that’s fine— get an honest friend to help you proof read. You miss so much while reading your own work!
We’re hovering above the surface, you let’s dip our finger tips in, shall we? See the ripples? That’s the story expanding in your head. Everything affects everything in a story, no matter how short. For example, let’s say you’re sitting on the couch and BAM! an idea hits you. Stacy Collins is an orphan. Okay? Now what? Not a very original idea— you want to expand. Why is she an orphan? Oh, now you see, it is original! She met a genie and wished her parents away! Intriguing, but why does she do it? What are the rules of the genie wish? Did the genie trick her? (Genies are known for that, ya know? Poor Stacy! L )
Okay, so that was a crazy, random example, but I assume you get the idea. See the ripples yet? Stacy met the genie somehow; this ripple bumped into the next and created the Wishing ripple where she wished her parents away; this creates the Orphan ripple, and so on.
This is where the trouble starts brewing. The Plot! Eventually, if you aren’t careful (and sometimes, even if you are!) your ripples will become tangled and bump into each other. Plot overload! You’ll need to do a bit of cleanup. Either better organize the flow of your story or do away with unnecessary plot. Another hassle would be little skips in your ripples. These are called Plot Holes and you’ll want to avoid them AT ALL COSTS! But I’ll go into that later.
Characterization will come in later as well since this getting ridiculously long.
Still waters always run deep.