Advice, Writing

Building Worlds One Word at a Time

Good evening, everyone! Today, I’m going to write about one of my favorite things about writing: world building. I love well-built worlds in other’s work, and I love spending time building worlds in my own work. My favorite stories tend to be the ones that have fully realized worlds and settings. DuneWest World, the Harry Potter series. All of these stories have well-constructed worlds that are the foundations for the novel. Without them, the stories fall apart. World building is about as important, at least in my mind, as the plot of your novel. I’ll discuss how I work on building worlds and offer tips and tricks that I’ve found useful in my own writing.

Now, with my usually terrible transition skills, let’s get started with the meat of the post.

Grammar, Writing

Past or Present – Verb Tense in Writing

When crafting a story, you have two big decisions to make before you even get started writing: what point of view are you going to use, and what tense will you write in. I’ve already discussed POV in another post. Today’s entry will talk about verb tense and what benefits and drawbacks come from both past and present tense.

Choosing a tense for your story determines the mood and pacing of your story. This is inherent in the tense you choose, because each has its own feel and garners its own response from the reader. There’s also a stylistic choice going on here, where you want your voice as an author to be heard. So keep all of this in mind as we discuss verb tense.

Advice, Writing

Just the Right Amount – Tension in Stories

This is likely to be a short post, mainly because I need to get to bed somewhat early tonight so I can get up early in the morning to get some last minute editing and writing done, but an important one. I want to talk about creating tension in your story.

Tension is that strange bedfellow of conflict (a concept I’ve already discussed at length). Unlike conflict, though, tension can exist on every single page. With conflict, you need to be able to take a breather. Tension, however, drives your story and keeps your readers engaged. It doesn’t have to be in bright red, blaring letters, but tension lives and breathes in every word and scene in a good story. Whether it’s your character’s fears of not solving a mystery, or the pause before a battle where your characters are wondering if they’ll make it to the next day, or the long, drawn out moment when Dr. Frank N Furter lets us know he can see us shiver in antici…pation, tension is integral to keeping your audience engaged.

I’ll talk about some tried and true methods for creating tension in a story, as well as my personal thoughts on tension.

Grammar, Writing

It’s All About Your Point of View

I will preface this post by warning you guys that I kind of have a love affair with grammar. I don’t claim to be the world’s best grammarian, but I am way more excited about the way that the English language works than I should be. As such, this is likely going to be the first of many posts that discuss grammar, how it functions, and how it can impact your writing.

Today, I’m going to discuss point of view. In its simplest form, point of view is the perspective the reader is taking in the narrative. When used effectively, it can help you show or obscure things from the reader, as well as let them in on things the characters don’t know. It’s arguably one of the two most important decisions you will make as a writer when starting a large project. I’m going to give you a rough overview of POV, pull some examples from my own writing to demonstrate how differing points of view can affect your storytelling, and then talk about how perspective can help or hinder your work.

STOP. It’s grammar time.

Advice, Writing

Writing in the Cloud

When I first started writing, I was limited to Microsoft Word or its freeware knock-offs. This meant that I was tied to a single computer, with a single file. I used to carry a notebook around with me, so I could write ideas down. In fact, some of my first fiction was written by hand, on the long bus ride to and from school. Now, with wifi and lightweight laptops, writing on the go is a lot easier. My main tool for writing these days is Google Docs, and that’s what this blog post is about. How to make effective use of writing in the cloud, the upsides of it, and the downsides.