4 Tips For the Unmotivated Writer

One of the most frustrating parts of writing is having a project in mind but being unable to move forward on it. We run into that metaphorical wall and shut down before we can complete our thoughts. Some people are good at just taking a couple steps back and then vaulting that wall while the rest of us look on in jealousy. But for others, it becomes incredibly hard to face the inner turmoil of self-doubt and just general lack of motivation.

So how do you break down that wall?

 

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Alterpedia: Elves

In the Alters’ World (and the series of books found here), creatures of legend reveal themselves to the world. Born through genetic abnormalities, defects and mutations, the Alters have lived for centuries as outcasts of human society, hiding their true nature from the world while colorful stories have been written by many to describe what they’ve seen. How are these creatures different from what was described in the stories? What relationship do they have with humanity? Every entry of the Alterpedia will delve into a new creature from around the world. This week we cover:

Elves

The woodland spirits of magic and mystery that have been depicted many ways over the years and rarely in a stable fashion. They’ve been everything from mischievous spirits to detached angelic beings. They’ve become the subjects of folklore, legend and movies adapted from books that didn’t really feature much of them.

So which is the true depiction? How do you separate the different depictions and sort them out? How far off was Tolkien? Let’s find out.

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5 Character Types People Frequently Screw Up

After a couple weeks attempting to convince people to edit and finding out through reduced traffic that no one really wants to do it (could have told myself that one), I have decided it’s time to branch out towards more general writing once more. Reading the work of several aspiring and new writers, I’ve found that one of the big problems with a lot of writing today is how often people strive to meet certain criteria without understanding the criteria.

It’s a problem that haunts many. So today I’m going to tackle a set of character archetypes that it seems almost everyone stumbles on once or twice and try to decipher just why they fail.

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The Three Laws of Rob-Edits

As of this writing, it’s been about a week and a half since the end of NaNoWriMo and a little over a week before the #Pitchmas event on Twitter. Your editing should be getting along if you listened to me at all last week. But there are some aspects of editing that always gall writers to no end, even after they get that feedback from their readers. How do you know when to keep a scene and when to throw it aside?

The general rule of thumb by the writing community is William Faulkner’s quote “In writing, you must kill all your darlings”. But William Faulkner’s line being applied to editing is the worst advice that I’ve ever seen and it still confounds me to this day that people keep using it in these conversations. That’s right – the emperor has no clothes, damn it.

The reason why people use this line is because they’re trying to tell you to not be so attached to your work that you ignore the flaws. You may have loved a scene that just doesn’t work anymore. But the advice itself is so vague that it’s basically saying, “delete all the scenes you find likeable and see what you get.”

That’s incredibly stupid.

So when thinking of an alternative to this piece of advice I started to consider just how you would go about determining what scenes to keep and what to throw out. It’s hard to really know for sure what you can and can’t keep because there’s so many factors to consider. But then, my nerd side spoke up and told me: “Hey, Asimov provided a solution to the conflicting functions problem years ago!”

That’s right, I’m going three laws on you guys even though you’re all fleshy humans (for now). In a hundred years, when this blog is found on some lost archive and is viewed again by my future counterparts, they’re likely to be robots anyway.

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5 Tips For Less Painful Editing

So, as of my writing this (December, though you may see this in the future, hi future!), the National Novel Writing Month just ended and you (the hypothetical you) have just spent the last month putting together the rough draft of your novel. Some of you might have done it for a laugh or just to prove to yourself that you could do it. But I know for a fact there’s a lot of you out there right now who intend to publish or try to publish what you’ve so painstakingly put together. In fact, I’ve heard from multiple sources that the first week in December is one of the busiest times of the year for agencies and publishers as they see a sudden influx of manuscripts.

This is a bad idea.

I understand, you’re incredibly enthusiastic about what you just put together. But, please, be aware that you wrote your piece in less time than it takes some casual readers to actually read the thing – you may want to edit first. And, actually, in the spirit of hyping internet trends that promote writing, remember that Pitchmas is coming.

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