thinkinglazy

Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: Writer

Looking for book reviewers

Hey, I’m looking for someone to review my fantasy book Book of Kayal: Strength of Unity. Send me an email on Snileson@gmail.com if you’re interested and I’ll send you a free copy.

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On Writing: Breaking the Streak

Writing has been a somewhat difficult activity to engage in these past few weeks. Thanks to the outline I had prepared earlier, I had no shortage of ideas, just willpower to sit and write.

I still forced myself to write the 1,000 words, brought down from the unreasonable 2,000, I promised myself to write every day and followed the outline as much as I could, deviating whenever something seemed a little too amateurish or simply not to my liking.

Yesterday, when it was time for bed – the good ideas always come then, I decided to force myself to sit for a nice three hours after I awoke and write as much as I could during this time, following the outline for my current book of course. This, however, was an unrealistic prospect once the day began. I woke up, had breakfast and picked up a book I just started reading the other day. Before I knew it, I flipped the last page of the book and realized that it was time for lunch, a welcoming timing according to my stomach. I ate heartily and retired to my desk where my computer taunted me. At that moment, satiated and quenched, I remembered my somewhat informal pledge to myself the other day and opened that aging document titled ‘Deliverance Edge’, a title I intend to change once the story is finished. Four hours later, and 4,000 words too, I found that undesirable feeling of not wanting to write completely withered away. I finally broke the curse.

This poor piece of writing is meant to do one thing, and one thing alone, which is to give new writers an idea on how to break through the willinglessness to write which occasionally preys on us. What happened today was something psychologists would refer to as ‘flooding’, a term usually referring to a method of managing fears. I am not sure if the term ‘flooding’ applies to this particular case, but I would say that, at least, a similar concept exists when trying to break free from a writing stalemate.

On Writing: Surprisingly Common Issues

AS you know I have been reading and writing a lot lately. When you write, the way you perceive books, regardless of the genre you read, changes. This made me appreciate good books more and dislike bad ones even more.

I found four elements that repeatedly repeat themselves in well-known books, occasionally best sellers too.

  • The objective of the book is not clear. You read without knowing what is the point
  • Characters do not change. Books are supposed to take elements you know and are habituated to and put them into a different setting. If if character in a book is too ‘unhumanized’, then it fails to fulfill its intended role. People change as they grow and gain experiences, people in books should too
  • The objective of the book remains unclear once it is finished and you start asking yourself what did I just read and why
  • This last point is a matter of opinion. I expect to learn something from every book I read, and when I don’t it bothers me. Many books leave their readers with nothing more once they finish it – like this post which abruptly ends.

Note to Writers

I just want to tell anyone who fancies writing as a hobby and hopes to make something out of it to remain diligent in their pursuit. Rejection letters, bad reviews, writers block and all other caused of frustration are simply unavoidable, at least in your early stages of mastering this craft.

Remember that every great person who ever excelled at a craft had to learn and spend a great deal of effort improving it. If you wrote your first book and fail to publish it or at least get some positive feedback, then don’t blame you undeveloped skill and rather focus on your unrealistic optimism – as opposed to realistic optimism, which makes no sense – for raising your hopes to imaginative levels.

You will write a lot of bullshit before reaping the rewards of your work. Remember the 1,000,000 word mark I talked about in one of my previous posts? Set that as a goal instead of publishing with a traditional publisher. In the meantime, take advantage of the other means available to you.

On Writing: Perspectives and Scopes

My first attempt at writing a novel had a bunch of elements which made it extremely difficult for me to patch up. It is not a well written book nor does it have a Golden Idea, but it has enough content to write an entire series about.

There were two big mistakes which I did and failed to learn from at the time, but at the moment, considering my journey so far, I am glad that I have made them – this way I can reflect back on the experience and learn from it instead of guessing what its like.

Errors are inescapable, and mine were many and will continue to be so for a long time. I attempted to juggle a story between no less than five perspectives which crisscrossed together throughout the story. Needless to say, it was a feat too advanced for my baby skills. In addition to having confused the hell out of me when trying to time the events of each character so that it would make sense for them to meet, I had to write a story for each character. The content was immense for a new writer as it is, although I only managed to squeeze about 120,000 words in, considering that a new world had to be created and its rules set.

The second fault was the scope. Epic fantasies have to have epic scopes. At first, and without any research regarding this hobby I had just picked, I thought that writing would be easy as long as my imagination was working. Writing, however, ended up being far less about imagination than about logical deduction and expression. If you cannot express a plot which would lead to a logical conclusion, regardless of genre, then you fail as a writer, or at least perform poorly.

My suggestion to any aspiring authors, or simply someone interested in writing novels, is to avoid writing from more than one perspective until you have acquainted yourself with writing a little more. I would not be so bold as to set the bar at writing 1,000,000 words, considering that I myself am not doing that, but perhaps after writing at least one novel. Although, if you try it and avoid getting quitting due to disappointment of your work, it would surely teach you something, if not initially then later.

I am proud of my first book, unpublished as it will always remain, because it marked a huge step towards my learning of this new craft. I can safely say that without it, I would be less than what I am now.

On Writing: Character Interests

I have been watching lectures by Brandon Sanderson, a published Fantasy author and professor, on youtube and came across some interesting ways to keep your characters interesting.

The first thing that he said which grabbed my attention was ‘give your characters interests’. This would come the cost of some research – depending on how familiar you are with the interest you decided to give him/her – and time. However, it will reflect beautifully on your story. Once you learn to make them use terminologies of their interest or give them an appropriate mindset, you will find a far more colorful character which would entertain the readers while motivating you to write more about him/her.

He also suggested to use historical characters, something which I base most of my characters on, to start guiding your characters speech and behavior. A strong background of history also helps develop ideas and plots for a wide range of genres.

After watching these lectures, I started thinking more deeply in character creation and development. Naturally, the first step was to draw from my personal knowledge and experience. One of the many perks of studying psychology in college is the ability to dive deeper into you written characters’ personalities and making them more realistically complex. What I am experimenting with at the moment, while writing my current book, is giving my characters symptoms of a psychological disorder – all humans have symptoms of psychological abnormalities which is natural and healthy – not to a degree that they would be diagnosed as having it, but to render them more realistic and interesting.

Eventually you will find that as the story develops your characters change, a normal and welcomed occurrence, which might make the initial character personality research seem like a waste of time, yet is actually not due to the need to have a starting point.

Here is the link to the youtube channel which has Brandon Sanderson’s lectures:

http://www.youtube.com/user/WriteAboutDragons

I also want to inform you that my first book will be free tomorrow (Friday 21 June 2013) on kindle via these two links (US and UK):

US:   http://www.amazon.com/Book-Kayal-Hands-Fate-ebook/dp/B00DCJR284/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371754749&sr=8-1&keywords=book+of+kayal

UK:   http://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Kayal-Hands-Fate-ebook/dp/B00DCJR284/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371754752&sr=8-1&keywords=book+of+kayal

Follow me on twitter if you want an easier way to follow up my free days @TarekCherif3

On Writing: That Golden Idea

So I have been working on my third book, or fourth if the merging of the two volumes of my first book does not count, and am half way through the first part, consisting of five chapters. So far, I have a mild idea of the big idea – I call it the Golden Idea – I want to conclude my story with.

While writing my first book, it took me two months to come up with a Golden Idea. This time, however, I am trying to force it out and its clearly not working.

I noticed that the Golden Idea is not something that you can force out, but it is a concept that slowly materializes before your eyes as you write and experience life – by simply living and having new or old experiences. It is possible that the initial idea can be forced, but it won’t be refined this way. My current theory is that any concept can become a Golden Idea once it has been properly embedded within a story which is nearing its end.

There are many ideas being considered at the moment, all which need not be addressed at the moment because the book is still in its early stage, but I believe that at least one of them will develop into a Golden Idea as I reach the end of this book. I guess the only way of knowing it is by finishing my third book which I am considering calling ‘Deliverance’ or ‘Emperor’s Deliverance’.

On Writing: My Free Book

On Writing: Nearly Finished & Ready to Publish

I have finished my story, as most of the ones who read my posts know, and am currently facing a whole new bunch of issues that require addressing. For starters, the reviewing process is becoming rather tedious, yet not to an extend that would allow me to consider procrastination. I have also started designing my book cover for the only intended publishing version of my book, electronic.

However, there are a few things that I have gotten out of my way. First of all, I have decided to publish via Amazon Kindle my electronic, and only, version of the book. I have also reached a conclusion regarding the pricing of my book. My original intention was to offer the book for free, as I do not seek to profit from writing considering that my skill has not reached the appropriate level for such action. As of this moment, I decided to price it 1.99-2.99$ – namely because several sources noted that free work tends to be associated with a low quality which directly effects exposure.

As I previously posted, attempts to officially publish my first book, not the one hogging the topic of this post, did not go as I expected – namely because there is no reason for a literally agent to trust an unpublished and unknown author. This, however, did not negatively affect my resolve, but boosted my will to find alternative means of getting my work out there.

This has been another post which had only the purpose of logging my journey so far, and I hope that it would not bore you. I would finally like to offer my sincere encouragements to whoever seeks to write and publish her or his work. Do not give up, for refusals in this field are far more than reason dictates, but I believe that the few who make it are either the ones gifted in the craft, or with iron-bound resolve.

Good luck in whatever you seek, be it writing or not.

On Writing: Discover Yourself

I have written before about the writing process of my first two books. If you are looking for a professional published writer’s viewpoint, then don’t waste your time reading this. However, if you are interested in a personal journey of an amateur writer discovering his inner-talent, or lack of it, then you’re in the right place.

I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about writing, and I am about to continue spending another significant portion of my time while I take a nice long walk in a few minutes, specifically, figuring out the method that best suits me. I have written with and without an outline and personally experienced the pros and cons of both methods. Nevertheless, so far I realized that both are important for a good piece of literature – in comparison to my own personal standards.

What worked best for me was the preparation of detailed outlines in terms of characters (dramatis personae) and preparing a loose outline for the events of the story. I also started preparing my outlines in modules consisting of five chapters each and found that it provides enough cohesion and minimizes the boxing-in phenomenon known as writer’s block.

During my personal voyage I have discovered something wonderful that continues to amaze me to this day. I noticed that if you write without any preorganization, you tend to open a portal in your words that lead directly to your innermost self. To simplify this, during the revision process of my first book, I realized how my surroundings and desires affected various elements of the book, including characters, plots and ideas.

I suggest that you try to write a story, even a short one, without any preparation at least once to get to know your inner-writer on a more personal level. It might not be your best work though, but it will sure enlighten you about yourself.

Here is the link to the post I published a while ago about my method of preparing a dramatis personae for a fantasy book. Some elements were ignored though because they were unnecessary.

https://thinkinglazy.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/on-writing-sample-character-concept/