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Prophecy Six Blog

Sharing My Unedited Writing Experiences & Life Experiences.

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Listen to Your Intuition

When people ask how I can come up with my ideas or how can I write what I write, I tell them ‘I don’t know’. Most of the time I don’t remember what I’ve written when I’m done a chapter. When I start to write it feels like pulling teeth, trying to pull each word out as I slam my fingers firmly down on the keyboard. It’s after a couple of minutes my fingers pick up speed and my brain shuts off where I find that I can’t stop myself.

Mr. Canuck has experienced times where I’m sitting typing away, he asks me a question, and I’m talking to him like I’m not even typing while I’m typing away. “My hands are possessed”, he says in a joking manner… but I don’t think he’s wrong.

I get to the point in my writing that I don’t let getouttathewayme brain write any more. My brain will come back for the editing process when it’s more useful but in the time of writing drafts something else takes over and I think that’s my intuition.

Before I get into writing any of my stories I have a plan laid out. I know what I want for my characters and how the book ends but getting to those points are a complete mystery to me. I’ve been known to go back and re-read my chapters dozen of times by the time the first draft is over because I didn’t know what I wrote. In a sense that helps me get into the mind of my readers. If it doesn’t make sense to me, it won’t for them. If I’m not feeling any emotional connection, neither will my readers.

In the end, intuition is what guides us on this busy path called life. Is it any surprise that it would help you guide your characters lives as well?

Ugly First Draft

Not all that you  write is going to be beautiful. Sometimes when you get the words down on
the page you do not see the mistakes you’ve made or the words you’ve missed. It is when you read the paragraph or page back you realize what a mess you’ve made.

A mess yes but something that is able to be fixed.myquote

You can’t fix something that isn’t written down and that’s why in a strange way I love ugly writing. Most of my first draft is made up of nonsensical sentences or half-finished ideas. When I read it back I know the words don’t flow and the images don’t work. To those listening to me read aloud probably believe I have no actual writing skills.

I accept that. I understand.

Everyone has their own process… but when you hear the nonsense I’m sputtering out I hear potential. Those images that don’t work are being painted before my eyes and those words that don’t flow begin to grow.

First drafts are meant to be ugly. They are to show you the potential of the story you’re creating. It’s when you put the work in, make the changes you need to fit the pieces all together, that you realize your words were never ugly – they were the duckling growing into a swan.

Can I Be In Your Book?

Can I be in your book – is probably the most irritating question anyone can ask me.anythingyousay

I would like to tell them that they already are. That everyday life for a writer is taking pieces of everything that goes on around them twisted and placed into words that work well on paper. I want to tell them that each character may have something that was said to me, or a description that I thought of when wanting to describe a characters appearance that I stole from those I know. I don’t tell them this – and if I do they normally reply with something like:

“Oh, so that character is me?”

No! That character isn’t you. That character has said something you said that I found worked well for the situation. That character has your nose because I liked your nose. They aren’t you. They are their own person with pieces taken from others I know.

If that doesn’t shut the person up they usually continue the questioning with:

“Then can you make me a character in your book?”

No! Don’t get me wrong, you are a wonderful person that I keep in my life for many reasons – but creating a character of you isn’t one. A character I need to know intimately. I must know their worst fears, their deepest desires, their sensitive secrets. I cannot create a character of you without knowing every little thing that makes you you… and that honestly isn’t what I want to do.

I create characters because they aren’t real. I create characters because if they do something wrong there isn’t a real person who will get upset. My characters aren’t always going to be safe, happy, friendly, paragons. If I was to make a real person a character there is a very large chance I will make that character do something so horrendous that that real person will get offended, angry, or upset. I could try to explain to them that this character of them isn’t really them but they would likely say something like:

“You believe I could/would actually do ________?”dontaskme

Maybe? Maybe you would do those horrible things because I do not know your thought. Maybe you would do those horrible things because I am writing a story.

If I create a character based in reality my story is no longer my creation. My every move would be judged and scrutinized by the people I’m using.

So, NO, I will not make a character of you. No, I will not put you in my book.

This is my creative choice… so please try and respect that…

… Rant over…

Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

 

Recently I’ve had people ask me how to become a better writer. 10steps

I could tell them to read books, I could tell them to do research, I could even tell them to observe people and write down the qualities of humanity that stand out to them in those moments. These are all good way to improve your writing. I’ve done all these things, but I believe the most important step all writers and developing writers need to do is write.

Reading is great in the sense that it gives you an idea of what’s been done, and what people like. It helps you develop your own voice and will help you grow your vocabulary.

Research is wonderful because it will grow your knowledge of things that you’ve never known. It will keep your mind growing and will make your writing seem more based in truth than complete fiction.

Observation is fantastic to help develop characters and dialogue. You get to see people acting in their normal lives, and therefore your voice can develop a more rounded tone – one that people will gravitate to because your words touch the very core of human nature.

But writing – writing is the most important of these all.

While you are reading, researching, observing you are writing. You will write notes, write ideas that you want to take from other writers, or ideas for the world around you. You will write your stories down over and over until it sounds right to you. You will write what words dance through your mind taking all that those other steps have given you. You will write your world onto pages that will be seen by your readers.

The more you write the more precise your writing becomes, the more your writing improves, the more your ability grows. Without writing you will not desire the need to research. Without writing you won’t find yourself observing the world for ideas.Writing is the most important step of all.

How my writing is going right now…

When I don’t have anything planned I can write like a fiend but the second I have a scene planned or an idea where the story is going to go I end up unable to figure the best way to get it on paper. I overthink the writing process. I overthink what I want to happen and try to find any plot holes this idea may cause.

Free writing is easy… planned writing is a nightmare.

Yes, when it comes to writing my merightnowbook I have somewhat of an outline. I break down my
chapters into points knowing what I want to achieve in each scene. I work on a way to get through the beginning, what I need to set up for the reader to become engaged in the story. I know the path each character is going to take to the middle of the book, and I have a good idea on how I want to end the book (though most of the time that changes due to unforeseen circumstances). I plan but it’s with these plans that my mind decides that they aren’t good enough or I didn’t think enough… or I didn’t research enough. I try to get a sentence down only to erase it moments later because it doesn’t sound right. I spend more time fighting with myself on what to write than actually writing.

I know what I want to say – no questioning that – I just don’t know how to get the bloody words down on paper. -.-

 

Tales of Talking to Myself…

So… I catch a lot of people off-guard when I’m talking because my mind likes to do this thing where one second I’m engaged in the discussion and the next second I’m plotting out the end of a chapter. This happens more often than I would like…

For example:

I was in the middle of shopping whatifcharactertorturewhen I walked down the spice aisle. This was around the
same time I was researching different plants that could be slipped into someone’s food to do damage – poison someone basically. So, as I was looking over the spices I didn’t notice someone move to stand beside me. The poor woman was looking for nutmeg – which on a side note is a nightmare to try and find. As I reach for the bag of sage I must have muttered to myself – probably something along the lines of ‘how big of a dosage would I need to kill someone’. The woman was shocked from whatever it was I said and hurried away obvious that she heard me but pretending that she didn’t.

That time I didn’t mean for someone to hear… but I do have to admit there were moments when I was in university that I used my book research to get people to leave me alone. My favourite place to use this was in the campus coffee shop.

WARNING: using this tactic to get people to leave you alone may result in them thinking you are crazy… then again you’re a writer so they aren’t that far from the truth… 

imawriterI decided to sit in the corner booth in the empty back area, away from the loudness of the other groups. I wanted time to work alone but enough noise to keep my ears from buzzing from silence.

As I was working away on one of my very old drafts, a rowdy group – of what I assume was outdoor recreation students – sat in the booth beside mine. They were obnoxiously loud, clearly not hiding in the back area for the quieter atmosphere. So, when I heard their conversation slowly die down enough for someone to hear me, I chose to make my voice louder than usual and say, “Eviscerating him may be too much… I’ll have them play Russian roulette with his extremities instead.”

The best part about this was I had opened several tabs to medieval torture devices and interrogation techniques. The group left several moments later to go to the other room and my place in the back area returned to its mild silence. That’s why as much as this kind of thing is inconvenient at times if used correctly it can be a great tool to get people to leave you alone. 🙂

Ambient Noise For Writers

I’ve mentioned before that I love to write in silence, but that wasn’t fully true. Most of the time you will find me sitting on my windowsill, curled up with my laptop tapping away on the keys with the flow of my mental thoughts… but sometimes I put on ambient noise to give me some sense of movement or sound.

When I was young I was inclined to listen to screamo or hard metal when I wrote. There would be music, tempo, and all-in-all sound that didn’t have any distinctive words that would work their way into my work. As I got older I found it harder to concentrate when I had someone from Norway screaming incoherently in my ear… so I moved on to other kinds of ‘music’.

My first introduction to ambient music was probably at age 14 when I was on a road trip with my parents through Eastern Canada. Maritime trips with my parents were one of the biggest influences on me in both what I write, the history I love, and the music I listen to now. I remember picking up a CD with Shanty music – which I do say I did become overly obsessed with. On this shanty CD there was one song that was just ocean waves and people on the beach. It was so relaxing and helpful in developing my mind to imagine pictures of the scene, which has helped me be able to visualize my writing.

It was later when YouTube grew in popularity that I began to collect ambient noise on playlists to listen while I wrote, and now I’ve even discovered some amazing sites that I waste a lot of time on. One ambient noise I listen to the most is the rain. I honestly don’t know why I like the sound of rain. Maybe it is due to it being nature’s white noise? As it washes away the filth is washes away what burdens you have in your mind. It acts as a curtain cutting off the busyness of your mind to allow you to focus on what you find important. Maybe I love the sound of water because I was born Pisces – although I don’t find that a likely reason? Whatever it is, it doesn’t really matter. I know that rain helps me focus my mind and that’s all I need to know.

If you enjoy listening to ambient noises while you write I’ll post some links to some sites I use. One of the links was suggested to me by one of my readers, and thanks to him I now know what a medieval tavern sounds like (thanks DJ Morand for making this suggestion).

List of Ambient Sites:

RAIN MOOD : this site plays rain and only rain. You are able to make your own rain music by combining a YouTube link with the rain of the day. They also offer Rain Music of the day where they take someone’s creation and let the world listen to it.

FOREST MOOD : this site plays forest noises like bird calls, rustling leaves, running streams, babbling brooks, and scurrying animals. If you are suck inside writing and want to feel like you’re writing in nature this is the link for you. Also helps if your characters are travelling through the woods.

NOISLI : I found this link from a VSauce DONG video. Here you can create your own unique ambient noise. They have rain, thunderstorms, wind, forest, leaves, water stream, seaside, water, fireplace, summer night, coffee shop, train, fan, white noise, pink noise, and brown noise. They are all adjustable and can be shared/ saved on your social media accounts.

TABLETOP AUDIO : this site was suggested to me by DJ Morand . They have more atmospheric ambient noise like forest at night, busy tavern, medieval battle, and many others. These I find helpful in figuring out what the atmosphere is like in a scene of my book or helps give me ideas on what noises my characters could be hearing in certain places throughout the area I’ve placed them. I find this more a world building tool than an ambient noise for writing tool.

LIMIT Chill Ambient & Lounge Music : this is a YouTube channel I happened across one of those days I was procrastinating. They are relatively new but they have all kinds of ambient noise videos that last anywhere from 3 minutes to an hour.

Your Book Is Needed

Recently there has been a big change in my life. As some of you know I moved across Ontario to be closer to family. So far everything has been going smoothly with getting settled into our new place, getting internet for Mr. Canuck and mine web lives – like blogging, Facebook, and gaming.

The only downfall to this move is the fact I’m back to where I was a year ago. Jobless and stressed out about being jobless.

Yes, this gives me time to focus on my book and I’ve been trying to do that… but most of you that write know that there is a certain mindset you like to be in to write. Sure, those famous writers out there say to just write no matter what but we all know that you can write anything but that doesn’t mean it will be good. When you’re in your right mindset the words flow easier and you get a lot of writing done – it is just how you are and nothing is wrong with that.

The problem I’m having right now is that the stress of being jobless is causing my writing mindset to not appear. Due to this stress I’ve been having a very hard time trying to find the motivation to work on my draft, which isn’t good because… well I’m supposed to start working on the publishing part come June.

So, yeah… that’s what’s happening right now. Stress of no work = no writing… which freaking sucks.

With that said that isn’t the reason why I posted this. The reason for this quote is because I want to try and motivate myself into being able to write today. I want to write and need to write. Not because of the impending due date but because I haven’t written in a while and it feels like I’m missing a piece of my happiness when I’m not putting words to paper… well word document.

“Somebody out there needs your book,” is what needsyourbookgoes through my head whenever I stare
blankly at the screen. Somebody will like my book. Somebody will learn, love, thrive from reading my book. As an author – writer – we have the power to motivate people through our words. Our characters have the power to infiltrate our readers lives and attach themselves to their soul. There have been characters from books that still have a special place in my heart like any good friend and there have been books that I had needed to read to help me through hard times. Just like you have a favourite character, just like you needed to hear the words written by your favourite author – there is/ will be someone that will think the same about your work.

It may be one person. It may be dozens of people… but there is at least somebody out there that needs what you’re writing. Don’t you owe it to them to write them that book?

 

Writing In Silence (Quote)

Something I’ve found most interesting as of late is how I have to work in silence to get anything done. While Mr. Canuck is down the hall with his music blasting some kind of dancing remix or 80s 8-bit jam, I am sitting in the window of the master bedroom curled up with a blanket listening to silence.

Well… not always silence. Recently I’ve begun to listen to tapping/ scratching ASMR which is still noise but easy enough to block out when I need to focus on the world I’m writing about. When I was young I always blasted music in my ears. Listening to Coheed and Cambria or Evanescence while writing was how I blocked out my reality back then. I honestly don’t know how I was able to do it. Now that I think back, maybe that was one reason I never wrote well…

Still, the point I’m trying to make is as I’m getting older I am starting to appreciate silence more. I get a lot of work done in silence… and when silence bothers so many people I can’t help but find peace in it. Silence to me means that nothing around me is happening. This silence shows that the world around me is still and calm allowing my mind to not have to pay attention to the world around me but permit myself to dedicate what energy I need to the busy world errupting in my mind. While my world inside my head is dealing with explosions, battles, creature chases, angered debates – the world in reality is utterly silent.

Weird, isn’t it? When something like silence can create in itself the noisiest of situations. That while I’m sipping my tea and my foot is tapping in reality, my mind sees a bloody battle field or hand-to-hand combat. When I take a deep breath through my nose and readjust myself so my bum doesn’t go numb, that my mind hears two opposite nations arguing over resources or singing in a main atrium of one of the Glass Towers.

Silence to me is as inspiring as music. In silence I can paint pictures in my mind. In silence I can create worlds from white noise.

“Writing is a product of silence.”

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