Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Writing Advice I Can’t Delete from my Phone Inbox

You know when you’re sick and can’t even think about keeping up with things… like blogs? That is today. I’m under the weather, even though the weather outside is gorgeous. I’m hiding in my bed, even though it’s Easter and I fully intended to make a nice dinner for my boyfriend and myself. But I don’t want to neglect my blog. I’ve been posting here every Sunday since September and if I give up today, that might provide an excuse to stop in the future. So here I am.

I read most of my email on my phone, a slightly outdated iPhone 4 that has been glued to my hand since I got it almost 2 years ago. I try to keep the inbox clean, but there are some emails that I just can’t manage to delete. Four of these e-mails are from the Write Practice, Jeff Goins, Writer and YA Stands, dating back to August. They remain in my inbox because of their outstanding inspiration and awesome advice, and I want to be able to refer to them at any time.

“For your story to be realistic, something has to happen. You don’t need to have explosions, murders, or dramatic love stories, but something has to happen.”
This is a short post, but one that is worth a read. Whenever a story idea pops into my head, I think about this post. Does something happen in this potential short story or novel? If not, it may not be worth writing. Also, this post has a great list of potential “happenings” that will guarantee something happens in your story.

The Write Practice: The Secret to Creating Conflict

"Conflict, in good stories, is not about spectacular events or painful emotions. Good conflict is about values." 
This post compounds on the previous one, even though it came three months later. When something happens in your story, it is usually a conflict. Maybe its man v. man, man v. society, society v. society, but as this post advises, good conflict is about values. This post gives a great list of potential values and some questions for you to consider when adding a conflict of values to your story.

"Dave Ramsey says if you want to be rich, then you should do rich people stuff. I want to grow my platform, so I'm doing what people with larger platforms have done."
This is actually a guest post by Andy Traub, but it reads as advice from Jeff himself. This post is meant for writers that have followed Jeff's advice and proclaimed themselves writers, but maybe they haven't made it too much further. If you want to build a platform and live your dream, this is a great lists of steps to consider. However, I must admit it's been difficult for me. I'm still struggling with Step 2, as 5AM and I are not friends. I know I need more time to write and waking up earlier would help but I haven't quite come to terms with it yet. Which is why this email remains in my inbox, as a reminder.

"Goal. Motivation. Conflict. I need to know these things for every character. If I do, the plot will be that much tighter."
This is great advice from Tonya and by extension, her agent. When writing, you have to know your character inside and out. Most importantly, you have to know their goals, motivations and conflicts. Also, this post mentions the importance of outlining the plot in advance, and even provides a link to a helpful generic outline. When I’m musing about my characters, I like to be reminded about GMC, which is why this post remains in my inbox.

Hope these posts provide some helpful advice for your writing!
Happy Easter!

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