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Posts Tagged ‘Writer’s Digest Books’

Some years ago I created a workshop titled What Every Beginning Writer Needs to Know. I’ve used a few of the main ideas for this blog and added/modified others.

 

  1. How do I become a writer?writer

I become a writer by writing

Some people write every day without fail. If you can do that, great. If not, do the best you can. Try your hand at various types of writing to see what interests you most.

I become a writer by reading

Read what others write. Study their use of language, of technique, of style. Read for fun but also train yourself to read analytically.

I become a writer by connecting with other writers

One of the best ways to connect, as a newbie writer, is to find a writing group near you. Ask questions about their purpose, their schedule, their skill levels. Most groups are open to new people and willing to share and help one another.

I become a writer by continuing to learn

Besides a local writing group, there are usually workshops and conferences you can attend where you can meet other writers and learn with and from them. Online courses are everywhere on the web, so check into those as well.

I become a writer by setting writing goals and establishing priorities

How badly do you want to write? Ask yourself the difficult questions and decide how much time and effort you are willing and able to set aside for this. Be committed.

I become a writer by listening to the Spirit of God within me

Perhaps you feel a call or at least a draw into the writing world. Listen to God’s Spirit within you and obey. God will lead you if you are willing to step out and follow.

 

  1. Begin with a Plan

I worked through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from this excellent resource. It’s a stretching experience that can help draw us out of our respective shells. If you’re looking for a strictly Christian workbook of similar purpose, try The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer.

day planner

 

 

 

 

  1. What and how do I write?

What do you like to read? Research that particular genre and try it out.

Exercise: Write the Cinderella story in your genre of choice (romance, news story, mystery, fashion column, etc.)

 

  1. Organize your work

Some people need outlines, charts, timelines, maps and other methods to organize their writing. I do. Others keep a lot of things in their heads then forge ahead to see what happens. Experiment to see which category you fit into, or how you can combine the ideas to work best for you.

 

  1. Use Available Resources

There are countless writing books that can help a newbie writer. Browse through the Writer’s Digest Books for a sample. Some of my favorites are:

Plot & Structure

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham

Plot by Ansen Dibell

Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress

Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble

Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell

 

  1. Use Social Media

This point was not in my original workshop! I didn’t know anything about social media then, and I don’t know very much about it now, but I am learning. If I can do it, so can you. There’s no getting around the fact that social media is necessary for writers today. When you consider it, social media sites help you to write, to read, to connect, to learn, to set goals and priorities, and even to be encouraged spiritually. We can hide or we can use this resource for the glory of God through our writing.newer twitter

* Special tip: I’ve been learning how wonderful social media is for an introvert. I can meet new people and not have to go out, dress up or speak off the cuff. I can also promote and support other writers, which brings me immediate response and recognition. It’s a win-win situation.

 

  1. Keep a Balanced Perspective

We all start somewhere. There will always be those who write better than we do, and there will always be those who are not as advanced as we are. As long as we allow our Creator to teach us about creativity, we will remember that it is not of ourselves, it is a gift.

 

Happy Writing!

Want to connect on social media with me?
My website/bloghttps://janicedick.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @JaniceDick54
Amazon Author Pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Janice-L.-Dick/e/B001KIAKLK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/janice.dick.56

 

author photoAbout Me: I began writing intentionally in 1989. My historical trilogy was released in 2002, 2003 and 2004, the first two books winning First Place in the Canadian Christian Writing Awards. Besides historical fiction, I also write inspirational pieces and book reviews, and put in many hours of editing, mentoring, and speaking. My first contemporary fiction manuscript awaits publication , and a new historical fiction series was just released (October 2013).

I was born and raised in southern Alberta, Canada into an ethnic Mennonite farm family, blessed with a loving and stable childhood, and lots of relatives who told stories of Russia, emigration and early life in Canada. After graduating from high school, I attended Bible college in Saskatchewan, where I met my future husband. We moved to a farm in central Saskatchewan after our marriage and raised three children, who have now blessed us with ten amazing grandkids. 

 

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What is plot—besides a piece of ground used to bury dead people (that’s from James Scott Bell in Plot & Structure)? In my mind, plot is the story itself, with a beginning, middle and end. Of course there are literary works that don’t follow any of the rules, not even as guidelines, but I’m thinking of genre writing. Plot is the skeleton of the story, the bones on which the rest is built and fleshed out.

            THE HOOK

fish & hook

Stories must begin with an appealing element of some kind, an aspect of the piece that draws us in and makes us want more. In fiction writing, this is called the hook. Switch over to a fishing analogy: the fish sees the worm or lure and can’t resist a taste, but alas, once he grabs it, he’s hooked and committed. That’s the kind of draw we need in our stories, one that grabs the readers by the senses and holds them while we reel them in through the depths of the rest of the story. And the read should be worthwhile.

Here is an example of a hook that drew me in:

– P.D. James’ The Private Patient: “On November the 21st, the day of her forty-seventh birthday, and three weeks and two days before she was murdered, Rhoda Gradwyn went…” Well, that immediately raises a plethora of questions for which I want answers.

* A tip: you don’t have to have your hook intact right away, just have an idea of it. You can tweak it many times in the process of writing and editing.

CONFLICT

hands in conflict

Another element of plot is conflict. All the examples given above hint at clashes and tension, and that’s what makes a story. Each scene, each section of dialogue, must involve tension and lead us deeper into the tale.

OUTLINE

WORKING TITLE                                                             

I          Prologue

II        Part One

            A. Opening Disaster

                        1.  Introduce main character

                        2…

If you are an outline person, you will work through your main plot elements in point form first, filling them out as you develop the storyline. If you are not an outline person, you will organize in your head as you write. It’s a matter of what works best for you. There are many formulas and templates to help us create a workable plot, and we’ll discuss those next time.

SCENES & SEQUELSScene & Structure

plotWhen plotting a story, it helps to write in scenes instead of chapters, in my opinion. The book Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham is a great way to learn about the differences between action scenes and internal episodes and how they compliment each other. Another excellent resource for plotting is Plot by Ansen Dibell. These are both Writer’s Digest Books and are available online in print and digital formats.

In Plot, Dibell writes: “Plot is the things characters do, feel, think, or say, that make a difference to what comes afterward” p. 6. So it follows that as we plot our novels, we need to consider who the characters are, what they do, how they live and think and feel, how they communicate, and how this all works together to lead us to the desired ending.

* Note: sometimes the story takes a direction the author did not foresee, and the resulting ending differs from the original thought. Plotting must be a flexible endeavor.

You can follow your instincts in plotting a novel—it’s best to study up on it first, though—or you can use some of the resources and ideas suggested above, but get plotting. We’re waiting for your novel.

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blog-hop-for-writers imageSome years ago I created a workshop titled What Every Beginning Writer Needs to Know. I’ve used a few of the main ideas for this blog and added/modified others.

1. How do I become a writer?

I become a writer by writingstk19948boj

Some people write every day without fail. If you can do that, great. If not, do the best you can. Try your hand at various types of writing to see what interests you most.

photo-1I become a writer by reading

Read what others write. Study their use of language, of technique, of style. Read for fun but also train yourself to read analytically.

I become a writer by connecting with other writers

One of the best ways to connect, as a newbie writer, is to find a writing group near you. Ask questions about their purpose, their schedule, their skill levels. Most groups are open to new people and willing to share and help one another.

I become a writer by continuing to learn

Besides a local writing group, there are usually workshops and conferences you can attend where you can meet other writers and learn with and from them. Online courses are everywhere on the web, so check into those as well.

I become a writer by setting writing goals and establishing priorities

How badly do you want to write? Ask yourself the difficult questions and decide how much time and effort you are willing and able to set aside for this. Be committed.

I become a writer by listening to the Spirit of God within me

Perhaps you feel a call or at least a draw into the writing world. Listen to God’s Spirit within you and obey. God will lead you if you are willing to step out and follow.

2.  Begin with a Plan

I worked through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from this excellent resource. It’s a stretching experience that can help draw us out of our respective shells. If you’re looking for a strictly Christian workbook of similar purpose, try The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer.

3.  What and how do I write?

What do you like to read? Research that particular genre and try it out.

Here’s a fun exercise:  Write the Cinderella story in your genre of choice (romance, news story, mystery, fashion column, etc.)

4.  Organize your work

Some people need outlines, charts, timelines, maps and other methods to organize their writing. I do. Others keep a lot of things in their heads then forge ahead to see what happens. Experiment to see which category you fit into, or how you can combine the ideas to work best for you.

5. Use Available Resources

There are countless writing books that can help a newbie writer. Browse through the Writer’s Digest Books for a sample. Some of my favorites are:

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bellphoto

Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham

Plot by Ansen Dibell

Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress

Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble

Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell

6.  Use Social Medialinkedin link

This point was not in my original workshop! I didn’t know anything about social media then, and I don’t know very much about it now, but I am learning. If I can do it, so can you. There’s no getting around the fact that social media is necessary for writers today. When you consider it, social media sites help you to write, to read, to connect, to learn, to set goals and priorities, and even to be encouraged spiritually. We can hide or we can use this resource for the glory of God through our writing.

facebook_link

* Special tip: I’ve been learning how wonderful social media is for an introvert. I can meet new people and not have to go out, dress up or speak off the cuff. I can also promote and support other writers, which brings me immediate response and recognition. It’s a win-win situation.

7.  Keep a Balanced Perspective

We all start somewhere. There will always be those who write better than we do, and there will always be those who are not as advanced as we are. As long as we allow our Creator to teach us about creativity, we will remember that it is not of ourselves, it is a gift.

Happy Writing!

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