March 20, 2013
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Ever since I took up writing as a hobby, reading has become a much more interesting activity. Naturally, the more you read good quality work, the more your writing improves – somewhat. However, it does not substitute practicing the hobby itself.
One of my earliest attempts to actively improve my writing skills was by reading a certain type of written material and attempting to incorporate elements from it within my designated piece for the day. For example, I practiced by reading Beowulf and attempted to write using a similar modified style immediately afterwards. Eventually, I forgot about actively seeking to develop and discover my writing style and just enjoyed the material I read.
While going through some of my older work, I noticed how dramatically my style had changed. Slowly, but steadily, my writing style changed into a combination of different techniques, elements, and my own personal – genetically ascribed if you will – style.
To simply put it, I observed that the more you read and write, the less your writing gets affected by the most recent content you read.
March 7, 2013
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My new tactic of outlining my chapters before writing them served me well while working on the first part of the book I am currently working on. However, as I dig deeper into the story, the strategy seems to loose both its effectiveness and efficiency. I am currently half way through the second part and its seems that I am utterly lost.
There are two options I am currently aware of regarding the new hindrance, (1) to work on completing an outline for the remaining half of the part, or (2) to take a break from the current project and start working on improving another aspect of my writing. Nevertheless, It is unlikely that I would be capable of taking a break from an uncompleted story.
PS: so far the book stands still at 56,000 words.
February 17, 2013
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I wrote my first story (75,000 words) without using an outline and completed it in just under a month. I enjoyed writing and often sought to make time during my day to write. There were the occasional days where I managed to write 10,000 words and others where I wrote none.
However, I thought that my story seemed a little foggy in terms of plot development, in spite of the reviewers telling me that it was fine. Due to the self-non-satisfying plot development, I decided to prepare an outline for my second story before writing it. It went smoothly as I started off and motivated me to keep on writing, but as I got deeper into the story its shining faded away. Finishing it started to feel like a chore.
Eventually I decided to merge the first and second volumes into one bigger book of 120,000 words. Nevertheless, the stop between both books as well as the improvement in my writing skills gave me the impressions that he style changes drastically by the end.
The third and current project was my final and most successful attempt at making the plot smooth (so far). Instead of preparing the outline in one sitting before I start to write, I decided to prepare each chapter’s outline just before writing it. This method cost me the flow of the story a little as my ideas and concepts about the story develops. However, it does help keeping me motivated to write and continue with the story. Each chapter is dedicated to part of the protagonist’s journey with a complete set of story elements. In other words, each chapter feels more like a short story which ties into the main plot.
So far the biggest challenges I met in writing long stories were (1) keeping my goals in perspective, (2) keeping motivated to write, (3) finding appropriate historical figures or myths to base the lore on, and (4) preparing a smooth outline that dictates the story flow.
Although my journey as an amateur writer had just begun, I already feel it improving me.
February 6, 2013
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About a month ago I decided to start working on my second book and set a goal to write at least 1,000 words a day. Although it seemed an easy task to do, the process of daily writing is incredibly challenging.
Yesterday was one of my most ‘blanky’ days. I spent at least two hours staring at my computer in an attempt to squeeze out the outline of my first chapter (Since I have been preparing the outline for each chapter just before writing it as I mentioned before). Eventually I managed to complete a half descent one, but it did not please me, and I am contemplating re-writing it before I start working on the chapter itself. However, I do realize that at my low writing skill-level there is no way for me to complete a novel with no imperfect chapters.
The dilemma I am currently facing is to proceed or not to proceed (that is my question).
December 5, 2012
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Yesterday was a big dissapointment in terms of writing, however, I did get to work on my artwork for the first book.
I noticed two interesting things as I worked on my new hobby. The first is that I get affected by the most recent book I read, in terms of style of writing.
I also noticed that while writing I get way too many ideas. Currently, I am at a phase where I have the next two books planned in terms of concept, setting and idea – refraining from writing an outline so I can focus on my current project.
I need to read and write faster, way faster.