Writing Series Part Two: Sequence

How important is the sequence in which you write your story? Do you have to write you story from beginning to end without straying from the path before you? Or can you stop and go as you see fit, writing in sporadic moments that all come together in the end? Is it okay to write the ending of the story before you even know what the opening line will be? Is it somehow bad for your writing or detrimental to the story if it is written without following the this-came-first-and-then-this-and-then-this-until- finally-this-happened pattern?

Most writers will tell you, no, you do not have to write a story from beginning to end; it isn’t a book yet. The way you are writing isn’t the same as the way it will be read. As long as the story is in order when it is finished, and everything makes sense, it doesn’t matter how you write your story. It doesn’t matter if you write your epic battle scene before you even begin to think about writing the conflict that causes it. The sequence of events, when telling your story, isn’t as strict of a rule book as others might think it should be.

For the most part, I have been strict when it comes to the order in which I tell a story. Normally, I write my story beginning, middle and end. I don’t usually vary from this method, regardless of what happens. While I may have an important conversation for later on in my story pop into my head, I never abandon what I’m working on to write on that part. Sure, I write it all down in one of my many journals, but I only write the part that is in my head. I don’t usually stray from what I’m working on at any given moment.

Recently, however, I have started thinking about this method. I’m wondering if maybe it will be easier to actually finish writing a book if I write it out of order. Then I don’t have to worry as much about what to do when I’m in one of the less exciting points of my stories. I like the idea that I can write my entire book out of order and then go back when I’m done writing to weave it all together. I like being able to write what I feel like writing, instead of having to stick with a strict order sequence that I tire of easily.

This isn’t necessary for writing your story!

I have a few concerns about writing like this, though. My biggest problem is that I would write all of the biggest scenes or events, and then not know how to connect them all together. If I’m thinking logically, this shouldn’t bother me. It is my story after all, and whether the characters take over and demand to tell their story or not, I’m still the one controlling what goes on the actual piece of paper. However, I have a track record for giving up on my stories when things are hard to write or get boring. There is a great chance of this happening if I were to actually write a story where all of the less-than-exciting parts are what I’m left with at the end. Then I would be left with a mostly finished book but no motivation left to actually finish it.

I don’t think that moving to this method of writing would be beneficial for me in the long run. More likely than not, I would live a life full of mostly-finished books that I just couldn’t find the energy to actually write. However, I am a fan of this method. If you can make this method work for you, then I say go for it! Do what makes you happy when you write. No two writers are the same, no one has the same way to write as you.

For all of the other writers out there, how do you write? Do you have to write your stories in order? Do you prefer to skip around as you write and then string it all together at the end with the not so exciting parts in the story? I would love to hear all about your opinions on this, and any advice you may have for someone considering writing like this. Feel free to leave comments below! Don’t forget to check back for posts! Also, follow me on Twitter!

Writing Series Part One: Point of View

The point of view in which your story will be told is one of the most important thing to figure out about your story before you start writing. Usually you choose between first, second, and third person points of view. The differences in them are great and can affect your story in a big way if the right point of view isn’t chose. Knowing the difference between the three is key to making sure your story is perfect. That is why the choice between first, second and third person points of view is an important one.

For those that don’t remember or may not know the difference between first, second, and third person points of view, allow me explain. First person is told using words like I, we, me, my, us, ours, etc. (I scream louder than I ever thought possible as the concert comes to a close). Second person is where the story is told by using you (You lift the guitar from its case, and begin to play the chords of a song you know from memory). Third person is told using words like he, she, they, him, her, theirs, etc. (He passed her a note in English and waited impatiently for a response). Third person, however, has two branches that you can choose to write from: omniscient (where all of the characters’ thoughts and actions are known) and limited (only the thoughts of one specific person are known).

Most writers that I have read use the same point of view for most of their stories. Personally, I find it immensely difficult to write in any other point of view than the one originally started writing in, a cross between first and second person points of view. I have experimented with third person briefly, but I find it difficult to write in. Regular first person is also difficult for me to write in. I’ve never tried to only write in second person, but I hope to have the opportunity to try this out sometime. I just haven’t had a character come to me that needs to tell their story from second person point of view yet.

Here’s an example of my writing, for reference:

“Mason,” I whisper, and a lifetime of saying your name washes over me. We are six on the swings at school, ten at a school dance, thirteen at our first party, sixteen and you kissed me for the first time, eighteen sitting on the edge of your bed and mulling over the fact that we have days left before we go away to two different colleges before dissolving into each other.

Mom shakes her head and tears begin to pool in my eyes. What does she mean no? Are you gone? Did they release you? I don’t think that she is you; is that what she’s thinking? As a thought begins to form in my brain, another one overpowers it. No, I quickly tell myself, Mason wouldn’t leave without me.  You wouldn’t, would you?

Speaking of characters, knowing which character will tell your story is just as important as knowing the point of view. These two things go hand in hand, and are of the utmost importance to your story. Think about how different Harry Potter would have been if J.K. Rowling had used Lord Voldemort to tell the story rather Harry Potter. Can you even imagine it? Chances are, you can’t. The story of an orphaned boy in an ongoing battle against the darkest wizard of all time throughout seven books would be drastically different. What if, by the end of the story, we hated Harry and mourned the death of the Dark Lord?

Choosing the perfect character to tell your story means more than just deciding that since you are a female, your main character should also be a female. Make sure the person you chose to tell your story is the person that will have the best voice. The last thing you want is for a story about a young mother dealing with the pressure of balancing school, work and a toddler to be told from the perspective of the father. You should be choosy because only then will you have the perfect person to tell your story.

Just a few of Jodi Picoult’s books!

Sometimes, though, it takes more than one person to tell a story. Have you ever read a book by Jodi Picoult or The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare? Every book I have ever read by Picoult is told from the perspective of more than one person. The plot flows between each person telling the story (even if it doesn’t seem like they do when you first meet the character), while each character still has their own individual stories that are being told. This method of writing can be beneficial for many reasons, including giving you a new character to write through when the original one isn’t saying a whole lot.

Personally, I like to alternate my stories between characters. This gives me a new voice when I need it, and helps move the story along. I’ve learned that by using only one voice I tend to get stuck more often. I run out of “filler” moments before the big things happen in the story. With more than one voice telling the story, I am more likely to have an idea to use with another character.

If you write, or are thinking about writing, I would love to hear about the point of view that you write from. Feel free to comment below! As always, don’t forget to check back every other Monday for a new blog post! Follow me on Twitter!

Writing at last!

I have found my summer days to be filled with two little munchkins that love to watch kid movies and play the Wii. They like to randomly vanish and be found building forts with mattresses that belong on beds instead of against walls. They also like to climb on my lap and fall asleep, leaving me unable to move my leg from the painful position it is in. Regardless of how much I enjoy a certain movie, there are only so many times I can watch it before I need to permanently hide it.

I’m thankful for the recently acquired Wii for the kiddos. They like to spend their time on the Wii, giving me plenty of time to write while I make sure they aren’t getting into too much trouble. Sure, an argument about whose turn it is happens quite frequently, but that is an easy fix. While they play the Wii and battle it out on racing, I get to spend the day doing what I love most: create a story and watch it grow. Continue reading

Off to Middle Earth

 

Recently, I spent a week watching one of the best film series I have ever seen. I’ve spent most of my life shying away from watch The Lord of The Rings and reading the books. After hearing people rave about the series, and hearing my favorite singer reference it quite often, I decided it was time to figure out what it was all about. I checked The Hobbit out from my library at school last October, but things got a little crazy toward the end of the semester and I had no time to breathe, let alone read. In February, I bought The Lord of The Rings movies, but again got caught up in school work and didn’t get to watch them.

I put off watching the movies after school let out for one reason: I wanted to read the books first. I looked everywhere for the books, and asked my friends that love to read if they had them. I always come up empty handed, and while one friend had seen the movies she hadn’t read the books.

The movies sat on my dresser for months, and I looked at them every day wondering what all the fuss was about. After a long day of moving boxes and unpacking, I pulled out my laptop, grabbed the first movie and sat down for one of the best nights of my life. I was thoroughly surprised by my enjoyment in the series, and how quickly I formed an attachment to the hobbits, Gandalf, the elves, the dwarf, and the two humans.

I spent the rest of the week trying to find time between moving boxes and unpacking to watch the other two movies. At night was when I was finally able to climb into bed with my laptop and the next movie in the series, I followed the journey and found myself pitying Sam when Frodo refused to believe what he said about Gollum. By the end of the series I was devastated. I needed more, but the hours of bonus material didn’t quench the thirst for another movie.

The day before Mother’s Day, my siblings and I went out to get something for our mom. It was last minute and Walmart was picked over pretty well. We went to the electronics in search of a CD she was wanting and that was when I saw it. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey sat on a shelf with Bilbo staring at me in a taunting manner. I had some extra cash so I bought it, and The Desolation of Smaug.

I devoured them just as quickly as I did The Lord of The Rings. I was thrilled to see Frodo at the beginning of the first one, and even happier when Legolas showed up in the second one. I was horrified when the movie was over. Peter Jackson (the director of all of the films) has a way of leaving you hanging at the worst possible time. It’s a talent, I think, and I hate that he has it. Luckily for me, I have this book. After watching hours of bonus features the movies came with, I pulled the book from my shelf and began reading.

I’m not very far into it, but I have plenty of time to finish the book before the next movie is released. I can’t wait to be brought into the journey with Bilbo once more, and learn about all of the things that didn’t make it to the movie. I know that the book will be completely different from what I have already experienced, but that is perfectly fine with me. I’m excited to be pulled back into the world of the adventurous hobbits.

I strongly encourage everyone to watch the movies. I can guarantee that there will be something in the story for you to be interested in, whether it be a mystical land, the love story between Aragorn and Arwen, or the epic battle scenes there is something for everyone. You won’t be disappointed in the stories of Frodo and his journey or Bilbo and his. I can’t exactly push a book that I haven’t read yet, but knowing that books are always better than their movie counterparts, I think that everyone should pick up a copy of these books! Feel free to comment below and tell me all about your experience (good or bad) with the series.

As always, don’t forget to check back every other Monday for a new blog post! Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter, and be sure to ask for a follow back!

Can the countdown be a little quicker?

Summer is the time of year when everyone (for the most part) is happy. Weddings occur almost every weekend, camping and cookouts happen constantly, and endless nights are spent with friends. I don’t know about you, but there are certain things I look forward to during the year that only happen during the summer. I love to swim, eat watermelon and watch one of my favorite shows of all time: Big Brother.

I can’t tell you the first time I saw the show, but I can tell you I have only missed a couple of seasons since then. It’s one of those train wreck things, where you can see how everything is going horribly, horribly wrong but you still can’t take your eyes away from the disaster about to happen. I love it, and spend most days of the year counting down for the premier of the next season. It is an addiction, and I will proudly stand up in one of those anonymous addiction meetings and say, “Hello, my name is Micalah and I am addicted to Big Brother.”

Aside from that magnificent show, there are a few other things that I am looking forward to. One of them happens to be another show that I have been waiting for my entire life. Boy Meets World was a show that filled my childhood. I remember watching the show with my parents and falling in love with Corey and Topanga as they fell for each other. Now, the show has a spinoff coming to Disney Channel this month. Girl Meets World is set to premiere toward the end of this month, and the excitement I feel for this I cannot even explain. Cory and Topanga are back! Of course, the show centers around the life of their daughter Riley, but that doesn’t matter to me! What matters, is that this show is happening and part of the original cast is back for it!

With all of the excitement over those two shows premiering, it’s hard to think that I could be excited about another new show. That, however, would be a wrong assumption. MTV is airing a documentary series titled Nine Days and Nights of… and the series premiere episode features none other than Ed Sheeran. It is an in depth look at his life as he records his sophomore album X (Multiply, not ex). This, is probably the show I am excited for most. Ed is a pretty private person, and being able to see inside his mind as he recorded one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year is a special treat. While his appearance on the show is only for one episode, I can honestly say it is the show I want to see more than any other show out there.

There is only one thing I could possibly look forward to more than the documentary with Ed Sheeran, and that is his album release. I know I have posted about him a lot since I started this blog, but everyone seriously needs him and his music in their life.  He is quite possibly one of the best musician to have ever existed. I might be a little biased, but most people would agree that he is amazing. His live performances are the best, and I highly suggest looking up any of his songs live before listening to the studio versions. I have nothing against the studio versions, he just sounds better live. Start with any song from his debut album, +, and then work your way through all of his other songs.

Most Ed Sheeran fans have been waiting a long time to hear new music from Ed. His debut album came out almost three years ago, and since then we have heard only collaborations and one song from a movie (he did the end credit song, “I See Fire” for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug). Everyone, including myself, is counting down the days until June 23rd, the day his album releases. Already we have heard four songs from the actual album, and two (possibly three) songs from the deluxe version of the album.

Do you have something that you are particularly looking forward to this summer? Do you do or watch something special each year? As always don’t forget to check back every other Monday for a new post! Also, follow me on Twitter and be sure to ask for a follow back!

I need some motivation

As the summer progresses on, I realize on thing: I have no motivation to do anything. I had a set list of things I wanted to accomplish over the summer, and so far I have managed to do three things (technically six). I have over twenty books that I haven’t read, but are collecting even more dust than before on my bookcase. The book I had planned to sit down and write over the summer is still hanging out in the lounge in my head, along with all of those other story ideas I haven’t written down yet.

I’m sat with the realization that I have been on summer vacation for almost a month and the only thing I have actually worked toward doing is watching a movie series (Lord of the Rings). Sure, the movie series was one of the best I’ve ever seen. That, however, doesn’t mean I should take the rest of the summer off to mourn the deaths and victories from Middle Earth, even if that sounds a million times better than working.

While trying to get myself in the mindset to write the next bestselling book, I went in search of how to get motivated to do something like that. I came across numerous quotes and advice columns on novel writing and motivation, and almost always the motivational advice was the same. Most of us are procrastinating writing a paper or going for a run all because we don’t have the motivation to get started. Here are a few tips I found while looking for help on how to get started on my novel.

1.)  Set goals and work toward them

This seems like an obvious statement for getting any type of work done. However, I have found that having lists of what I need to do written out in front of me, helps to get the work I need to do done. I know exactly what I need to do to have whatever task I’m working on finished. I also know all the steps I need to take to get there. Plus, I get to mark them off with a highlighter and see all the progress I’m making.

2.)  Reward yourself after finishing a task

This means after you get a good amount of work done, take a break and treat yourself. This does not mean that after writing a paragraph on your paper that you turn on the television to watch a soap opera. Instead, finish an entire chapter and then have your reward. You could go for a walk, draw a picture, or watch funny cat videos. Personally, I reward myself by reading in a book or watching television. Remember to take only a short break and then get back to your work. If you work toward your rewards you are more likely to get more work done.

3.)  Work with a partner

Often times the tasks that others set for us (or we set for ourselves) are too daunting to tackle alone. Finding a partner to do the work with you or to bounce creative ideas off of can be very beneficial. Not only are you sharing the work load with someone, but you also have someone there to share in the agony of the work. After all, even Frodo had Sam by his side to help with the burden of the ring.

4.)  Realize that in order to succeed you will have to fail
Success doesn’t come without having failed multiple times. Do you think Taylor Swift became a worldwide superstar without failing once? She was denied by multiple record labels before finally being the first person to be signed at Big Machine Records. Success for myself and you will be the same way. I’m not going to write a bestseller right out of the gate (though that would be amazing). I’m going to muddle my way through rejection letters before finally finding a publishing company to publish my books. It isn’t always going to be sunshine and butterflies; sometimes there will be rain.

5.)  When you are done, you’re done

It’s always hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Often times it is clouded by our judgments of our performance of the task at hand. Other times, we get overwhelmed by everything we need to do and forget that the first step to getting done is just to begin. Once we take that first step into the unknown, it’s a little easier to see the light. Sure, sometimes it turns out to be a train chasing us back to the beginning, but if we keep going we will find the light on the other side. Then, we can smile at the sunshine (or the rain) and know that we are done. For better or for worse we have accomplished what we sat out to do and it is no longer in our hands to worry about it.

I hope that this helps you if you are struggling to get your tasks done. Don’t forget about the light on the other side! As always, check back every other Monday for a new post, and follow me on Twitter! Be sure to ask for a follow back if you would like one!

Summer at Last!

My final class of the semester has ended. My mind has made it through the week of final exams. My backpack is empty, my textbooks sold back and my days no longer hold a strict schedule of what I have to do. Yes, my friends, summer has finally found its way to my doorstep.

I find myself, though, with a seemingly endless supply of days and nights with nothing to do. Sure, I have my blog, but that is a post once every two weeks. You wouldn’t be able to tell it from the amount of boxes stacked around in my house, but we are currently moving. That project will take only a few days with the help of a friend with a truck.

Once we are moved I’m sure to find myself with empty days. I would lose track of what day is which if it weren’t for a countdown for Ed Sheeran’s album release, or the fact that my blog comes out on a certain day every week. I don’t know about you, but time has always blurred together for me during the summer months. Mornings and evenings all look the same for the most part, and it’s easy to confuse Monday and Thursday if you aren’t counting down for Friday.

The countdown for this is happening.

I’m sure most people out there have a lot of plans for their summer vacations. Beach trips, family vacations and camping trips with friends are all things that make up our summer breaks. My summer has a prospective beach trip toward the end, but until then I have nothing. My summer vacation looks a lot like my spring break did, television, DVDs, books and working on writing my book.

I have abandoned all form of television watching aside from one show that I need to live. My Wednesday and Thursday nights have been set aside for American Idol. Now, I can finally catch up on all of the shows I’ve had my mom recording for me throughout the semester. I can also finally watch The Lord of the Rings series. I bought all three movies back in February and have yet to actually watch them.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I read a book purely for enjoyment. All of the books or stories I have read since my first day of college last August have been an assigned reading or to help with a paper. I have enjoyed most of the books and stories, but they are not what I would have chosen for myself to read. I have more books than I can count that I have yet to read. My days will definitely be filled with the books I have neglected.

Speaking of neglected items, my writing seems to have been abandoned since I came back from Christmas break. I had planned on setting a certain time each day to write. I didn’t plan on needing as much time to do homework as I have, though. College classes seem to be a lot needier than I had originally thought they would be. However, seeing as how it is summer vacation I can now freely write whenever I want. This means that any time I’m not reading or working I can get to work writing that novel I’ve been thinking about all year.

The plan is to get a summer job. This doesn’t sound anywhere near as appealing as being able to read or write all day does. Money seems to unfortunately be that evil necessity that we all need to survive, and to get that money I need a job. One positive to this (aside from the money anyway) is that I have a greater chance of seeing my high school friends if I get a job. All of us went to different colleges, but now that school is out we all will have more time to see each other. Which is amazing because I have missed getting to see them every day.

I’m hoping to take a trip (or two or three) to see some of my extended family over the summer. They moved away a few years ago and I haven’t been able to see them much. Last summer I spent about a week with them. The routine there was about the same as it was here at home, but the faces and places were different.

I hope that those of you that get a summer vacation are going to make the absolute most of it. Do you have plans to do something special? I would love to hear about all the plans you have! As always don’t forget to check back every other Monday for a new post. Yup, that even means throughout the summer. Also, follow me on Twitter, and be sure to ask for a follow back if you want it!