There is so much more

Writing is definitely something that consumes me. I love it, every aspect of it. For me putting words to pager (or screen) is exciting, fun and I can’t get enough.

There is so much more to writing than just putting words down. There is plot, characters, story arcs, scenes, grammar, sentence structure, paragraph structure, chapter structure and more to consider. There are the nuances to story telling such as how to describe even ordinary things or people, how to move the story along, bring in characters and show the reader their stories.

It can be overwhelming if you look at it all at once. There is so much to do, to think about and consider. I say bah! Just write. Use what tools and rules work best for you. I do. Then I go back and apply the rest. Such as: show don’t tell, filter word removal and more. I don’t look at the editing or revising as work, it’s a part of it. A chance for me to fine tune and perfect what I’ve written. I never make the mistake of fooling myself in believing what I wrote is perfect. There is always room for improvement.

I started this blog as a means to share what I’ve learned. In writing, editing, querying and the pursuit of being published. I also started this blog to strengthen my platform. Along the way I have met amazing and talented people who not only support my efforts, but put out amazing blog’s of their own. I am continuously learning and enjoy sharing. More importantly, I appreciate all my readers and the comments that are left for me.

I have learned to stretch my writing muscles and be open to ideas and methods I’ve never tried before. To attempt stories in different perspectives and view points. I have fun writing my blog examples and accidentally got a book out of it. It’s very important that I keep reading other people’s work published or not. For me it’s a way to see and understand how other people think. What they like and want.

My imagination is only limited by myself. One thing I’ve learned to do is to see and ‘feel out’ alternate options to a story arc. Be it major or minor. The options are endless and sometimes, the unexpected one boosts the story.

I have learned to never give up. To look forward and dare to dream. That hard work and persistance will get you to the next step.

So thank you to all that read my blog, thank you to all that leave comments and to all that write fantastic blogs for me to visit and enjoy.

My advice about writing.
Write what makes you happy. Don’t strive to write what other people are writing. Write for yourself and most importantly, write how you want to. If you like it, someone else is bound to. 

-Sheryl

Some of my favourite posts I’ve written.

That is disgusting

Isn’t it romantic?

Roller-coaster Conversations

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Ordinary

I don’t know how to do that

Research is mandatory. For any and everything. Not just to learn something new, but to brush up on something once learned.

There is temptation to research the crap out of something, get excited than brow beat the reader with all that glorious knowledge. I try to avoid this. I’ve been told that about 90% of what you learn on any particular subject won’t or shouldn’t make it into the book. Now I’m not talking about the main subject matter. Like if the book is about motorcycles, then sure there should be more than 10% on the machines.

What I’m talking about are the things or nuances in a book that make it real and interesting.  Do I know how to fly a plane? Nope, but with a bit of research I could have someone in my book be a pilot with just enough information to make it believable. Because I’m not a pilot nor do I know any personally I would keep that as a minor character trait. Maybe even a hobby. Elude to it, maybe use flying a plane as part of the story. But if I learn all there is to know, then proceed to attempt to educate the readers on what each button and gauge does, it wont go well.  I can practically hear the covers being slammed shut just thinking about it.

For me there are my main reasons to research

Learn something new

How to fly a plane or what do people who fly planes do? videos, texts, other stories. Everyone does this type of research
What does the interior of the penthouse suite look like at a hotel? Most hotels have virtual tours or numerous images online to work off of.
What does a one room apartment look like in an apartment? I’d look up rentals and go for a virtual tour.
Google maps is my favorite tool for getting a peek at a destination I may not have personally visited. Go for a google street walk. Don’t forget to note the traffic or people. 

Remind of something old or once known

I know how to fish, but sometimes I need a reminder on what bait to use and when.
Familiar places can come back to life with a return visit or a google street view visit.
I remember being in school, but times have changed. Interviewing kids or teachers can be a great asset to a fresher look on a classroom etc.


Get better description

I employ my FAB approach (See blog The FAB pencil)  Sure I know what cars look like but a specific one? Dealerships and manufactures often have detailed descriptions.
Take a car out for a test drive. 
Hire a limo for the night
Go to a similar destination or event that happens in your book. The park, the theater, a restaurant. Whatever or wherever, visit with fresh eyes, open ears and a clear nose. 
I’ve never seen a live rat up close. Maybe a trip to a pet store is in order. 

Get a better understanding

I may not know the in and outs of a particular mental illness or behavior. Books, documentaries and interviewing a psychiatrist or afflicted person can be an invaluable research tool.
I Have no idea how to fix flat tire. Sure I’ve seen it in movies… if I really needed more information its out there. You Tube, the local mechanic. 

I have no clue how to start a fire if stranded in the woods. But my one character should… 

If I don’t know, I research. I may only use a tidbit of what I learned but knowing more than necessary allows me as the writer to use that wee tidbit effectively and correctly.

I think its neat how  open people become when you say. “Hey I’m writing a novel and I have a Police officer character. Do you mind if I ask you a question?”  Not every person will be willing to sit down to a full length interview. But from asking several cops different questions I not only got my answers, but I also got alternate perspectives.

If you do plan or get an interview, be prepared. Ask questions you know will get you the information you need to write your scene. Remember I wouldn’t go on and on and on about how pepper spray is attached to the vest, nor how it’s exactly used, feels, smells, or tastes. But if I need to touch on one of those aspects to enrich a moment then it was worth it.

I’ve never had white-hot chocolate. Maybe I’d get some and FAB it. Then ask others what they think of it… What I like/dislike and why will not be the same as someone else’s reaction/opinion.  Sometimes my research is spontaneous. I see something new or interesting and I take a closer look or inspect it further. I use my instinct to alert me to potential plot fodder.

My advice about research.
Do it. Take notes. Open your eyes, listen, feel, smell and taste. Learn and try. Make it fun and even try new things. Research isn’t all books and lectures.

-Sheryl

Related blog posts worth reading:

The FAB pencil

Details, details, details

How did that sound?

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Instinct

The Art Of The Arc

Every story has a beginning a middle and an end. They have lots of fun bits in between but essentially they need to follow what is called a story arc.  We’ve been taught story arc in basic form from the first story ever read to us.

There are many ideas on how a story arc should be presented, the most famous and reliable being the hero’s journey. Any quick google search will turn up oodles of examples of what we basically already know.

The arc of a story is to bring purpose and dramatic structure to the story. The guidelines for the reader who need them badly.

Two prominent types exist; the fall from grace and get back up again to succeed or the successful protagonists fall from grace to rediscover what they lost etc. The art of the Arc is in how it is created.

The beginning of the story should be the exact opposite from the end. The beginning or opening scene should establish the protagonists position and toss them into their first crisis or conflict to start the chain of events.

Each following conflict or crisis should be more dramatic, build the tension and progress the story-line without hesitating or going backwards.

As the story reaches climax all pieces should be in place for the final conflict or crisis to make sense and be exciting.

The resolution can be exciting or a slow come down from the high of excitement. It should make sense and fit in with the ultimate goal set out within the first few conflicts.

The end should conclude the story. That doesn’t mean there can’t be hints or set up for following stories, but the main arc of this one should be done. The reader should close the last page feeling satisfied with the conclusion. If a following story was foreshadowed, the reader should be excited for it knowing that the next one will be different yet just as fabulous.

story Arc.jpg

There can be as many crisis/conflicts as I want so long as I keep them pushing the story forward and tension up. There are more than one mini story arc or arc-within-arc going on at any given time. These are the side stories. These can be simple or complicated but are best served if they tie into the main story arc in some way.

Types of side arc’s:

Inter character relationships developing such as romance, friendship, animosity and hate to name a few.

The growth and development of a secondary or tertiary character

The story of the antagonist (I call these the anti-arc since they seem to go backwards-ish)

Soul searching of any kind – re-finding ones faith in whatever they have lost it in

Any form of personal growth or overcoming a tragedy or even overcoming a weakness

I’m sure the idea is clear. When I write side or sub characters I love to give them their own little story to go through. They can be helpful to the protagonist or hinder them. On purpose or by accident.  The options are only bound by the limits of imagination.

There are moments when I think about it too much and it all seems so daunting. Especially when I look at the technical aspects of it all. Then I remind myself I already know how to use an arc I just need to stick to it and make sure the tension goes up in a steady incline.

My advice about story arcs.
Whether the main or sub story, keep them on track so your readers get excited. Regarding the crisis or conflicts, make sure they have purpose to the end. Pointless action will annoy a reader if there is too much of what boils down to nothing of importance. 

-Sheryl

Interesting posts;

De-dangling modifiers

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.\

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Hesitate