How to Write ~ Part 2

Writing! Oh, that mystical thing! How do we do it? People say there’s nothing to it, that it’s not magical, and I beg to differ.

Here’s the thing. Writing is, in itself, a craft. Much like knitting, it takes technique, practice, and experimenting with different techniques for someone to become fluent in it. But then what happens? You want to express something, and you create art.

See, a craft is meaningless, but it’s a gateway for the birth of art, which is meaningful.

So, you can have the world’s greatest idea, but without honing your craft first, you’re never going to be able to express that idea.

Alright, cool, we all want to make art. How do we do it?

If you’ve read the previous post, you now have an ‘idea’, and a ‘feel’. These are your precious nuggets of how you’re going to actually ‘write’.

Pretty much like knitting, writing is deceptively simple. You write. Duh. You stick words on paper/computer file. Wow, so artistic, you think.

But it’s not that simple. Writing, in my opinion, uses both the creative and logical parts of the brain, because it uses the logical side to write words, but the creative side to choose these words (I’m not a doctor here, this is just my theory okay?).

Now, here’s the thing. For me, there’s a ‘zone’ I get into when writing. It doesn’t feel like just sticking words on paper. Usually when I’m doing that, it turns out like crap. Stilted and blah. It isn’t art when I’m doing that. Why? I’d like to theorize that when I’m just sticking words onto paper, I’m not expressing the story, which is stored away in some spirit-bubble-dimension or what have you.

I like to think that good writing is like channeling a spirit, tapping into intuition. Something ‘clicks’ inside of you and the words flow. You get into the ‘feel’ and you intuitively choose the right words to create the art.

Alright, that’s all good and cool. We all want art, we all want ‘the magical flow’, so how do we get that?

Here’s another thing. It takes practice. Just like channeling (whether you believe in it or not), or even trance-work, you’re working on getting your brain to do a certain thing. Whether you’re taking an image/story bubble from within your mind or some spirit’s mind, you’re taking that story bubble/thoughtform and tapping into it, and then shooting it out your fingers onto the computer! Sort of. But you get the idea, don’t you?

One way I’ve found to express a story is to F&F. Forget the idea and Focus on the feel. Because unless you’re writing a textbook, the feel is what you’re immersing in. So, just for a moment, Forget about the ‘what’ and ‘how’. Forget all the technicalities and Focus on the ‘feel’. Think in images. Think in smells. Think (and here’s the real goal) in feelings. Express that feeling.

How the FUCK does one do that?

Well, let’s take get back to the apple and the knife cutting it. What ‘feeling’ does a knife give off, in this context? Is it destructive? Protective? A shield, a mental barrier, standing between an attacker and a defender? What color is it? What texture is it? Is it silver and glinting and sharply sparkling?

Sure, you can say that the knife is sharp and pointy. But if you transmit what it represents and the ‘feel’ of it in the story as a whole, you’re on to something.

Same goes for the apple, same goes for everything you write. Nothing in art is ever just an apple and a knife. It’s patriarchy versus matriarchy. It’s the industrial versus the farm. It’s steel against flesh. See where I’m going here? Everything can be so much more, and it’s this ‘so much more’ that you’re aiming for.

If you can do that, you’re well on your way to writing art.

Alright, so let’s talk concrete tips here.

Put music on that suits your theme. Are you writing rain and tragedy? Listen to rainy mood music. Put on incense that suits your intended ‘feel’. Heck, even get dressed up if it helps you. The point is: do anything that helps you get imitating that desired ‘feeling’. Once you’re in the mood imitating it, you can closer tap into the intended ‘feeling’.

Another tip that people say a lot is: write a lot. Write about anything and everything. Yeah, that’s great and all, but I’ve got another idea. Every day, try and write out your dreams.

Uh huh, not so easy, is it? Why? Because our dreams can sound silly and pointless, but when we were immersed in them, they carried so much ‘meaning’ and ‘feel’ to them. And that’s exactly what you’re wanting to get good at. If you can express the tragedy and terror of a nightmare, no matter the ridiculous premise of it, then you’re on to something.

Also, if you’re anything like me, you only half-remember your dreams. Writing these out and making them make sense is a great way to get used to tying ideas in together and ‘fill in the gaps’. This is also good memory practice, too.

Finally, dreams are connected to our intuition. I’m quite sure that writing out our dreams helps us tap into our subconscious or something like that. I think this could be mighty useful.

Now, I’m going to end these tips with one tip that I was told by a writing teacher, which I’ve honestly never tried but always thought was super cool: copy out another author’s work. Just that. Pick someone you want to write like, and copy out pages of their work.

If you struggle with getting a ‘feel’, this could be a way to gain one. The idea behind this is that you immerse into the ‘feel’ that the author created and, by copying it out, develop the mental pathways for those word choices. This will allow you to literally ‘think along those lines’ when trying to write your own works.

Ultimately, there is one final pointer I need to give you: -> Fuck It.

My best writing, my breakthroughs in tones, my great ideas, usually reveal themselves once I go ‘Fuck It!’ (with the exclamation mark) and just go with the flow and write whatever I want/feel for. It’s probably unorthodox, but I really stand by it. If you’re getting frustrated and feel like you’re reaching a breaking point, then just go ahead and break and see what happens next. Really, if art is what you’re aiming for, you’ve got to let the subconscious/mystical take over at some point.

How does one ‘Fuck It’? I don’t mean for anyone to get all violent and throw chairs at the walls. My ‘fuck it!’s are always quiet, internal affairs. I don’t lash out at anyone or start smoking or drinking or anything. In fact, – let it be known that I never write under influence of anything more than a light beer.

The art of ‘fuck it’ is really to just let go.  Let go of how you ‘think’ it should be, and just let it be it’s own thing. Really, that’s it. Stop thinking, and let the spirit move you. Let the story show itself to you instead of you creating it. Put your mind on the back burner and let the characters do their work.

It may sound like mystical mumbo jumbo, but that’s what works for me. I hope it works for you, too.

Thank you so much for reading my post! Do you feel like your writing is ‘channeling’/’tapping’ into something? Do you feel there is a mystical edge to the writing process? Let me know what you think!

As always, have a lovely day/evening. Much love to you all ❤

How to Start Writing ~Part 1

I tend to write a bunch. But one thing that (fatefully) I said the other day, was that I couldn’t write about writing. And now someone has asked me to do just that – and I think I can do it.

Let’s just explain something for starters here. There are two kinds of authors out there: plotters and pantsters. Plotters ‘plot’ out everything that they want to happen before they write it. Pantsters ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ and wing it.

Theoretically, plotting is the smarter way to write. But practically, it leads to stale, choked-up writing in my experience. Pantsting can lead to more of a ‘feel’, but then can need massive editing and lots of work tying in ‘loose ends’.

Ideally, therefore, you’re going to be a mixture of both. You want to be flexible, but have an idea as to where you’re going.

So let’s start with starters. What do you need to start? I’m going to put my hand down and say that you need Two Things to start. They are: 1) an idea, and 2) a ‘feel’.

Now let’s start with the first one: an idea. What counts as ‘an idea’ in the writing world? Well, basically anything that you can shape a story around. It can be either a) character-based or b) plot-based. Now, again, ideally, you’re going to want an idea that’s a bit of both, but I find that authors tend to be either one or the other in their emphasis.

So, a character-based story is all about the ‘who’, the personality of your characters, their development and their emotions. Here is where quirky characters come forth and charm the readers.

A plot-based idea will grab the readers with intrigue, suspense, and mind-bending notions. It’s all about the ‘how’ and ‘what’ behind the story.

Again, ideally, your idea will have a bit of both to it. But really, don’t be shocked if you find yourself placing emphasis on one or the other. That’s really how it goes (in my experience).

Okay, okay, but how much do you really need as far as an idea goes? Here’s the fun truth: That depends entirely on you.

The entire basis for Chaos’ novel series was a dream that was, literally, ‘teenager named Chaos gets picked up off the highway by a trucker’. One sentence, and really, honestly, nothing more. I spun a series I’m still working on from there. That’s because I don’t need much to spin a story off of. That’s just the way I am. Other people, however, may not be like that. They’re going to need a setting, a plot figured out, a character arc, and maybe even more before they even set ink to paper (so to speak).

Now here’s an essential thing to this ‘idea’. It’s got to interest you. The reason I wrote down Chaos’ story was because something about that teenager on the side of the highway intrigued me. It still does, almost a year later, after writing on it almost every day. So this idea has to really, really, interest you in a long-term kind of way.

A good test that I sometimes do, is just to wait on the whole writing out the idea. Wait a few weeks and see if the dream comes back (if it was a dream), if you still care about it, and if you still want to write about it.

If, two weeks later, you’re still captivated and have built up the idea, congrats! You’ve now got an idea. If not, then oh well. It wasn’t an idea for you.

Now, okay, we’ve covered the ‘idea’. What about this mysterious ‘feel’? What’s a ‘feel’?

The ‘feel’ is the tone of the story. It’s the setting and theme and message and style all rolled into one. Will it be narrated by a peppy, sarcastic, cheerleader? Is it grim? Is it patronizing? This ‘feel’ will dictate the metaphorical color that stains your page. If it’s a ‘dark’ story, or if it’s ‘serious’.

Why is this so important? Because it affects literally every word you write. Because it dictates where you start the story, how you start it, and how you tell it.

Consider these few sentences.

  • The knife sliced through the apple.
  • The knife made its way through the apple.
  • The blade, dangerously sharp, cut through the helpless apple’s flesh without remorse.
  • Forsooth! The blade, quickeningly sharp and ah, so vile, cut its evil way through the pure fruit, pouring forth sticky juice and raw flesh from within.

Well, not only is each sentence longer than the last, I think we can all agree that they belong to different stories entirely, due to the way they’re written, their ‘feel’.

Now, again, before even starting writing, you want to think about this mystical ‘feel’. You want to know if it’s going to be a funny read, serious, etc.

For me, personally, the ‘feel’ is not a very clinical thing. A more technical person might write out a list of pointers to help them dictate the ‘feel’ of the story, such as ‘no jokes, only sarcasm, little description, lots of dialogue’. But personally, I do no such thing. I really stick to the way the story makes me feel in my head. And perhaps I’m unique in this, but I think of what the story, or the spirits behind the story, want. Do they take this story incredibly seriously? Do they want it to be passionate? Or is it a loose, happy, and silly tale?

For me, the ‘feel’ usually comes with the ‘idea’. It comes with images, song snippets, and emotion. If a story makes me think of dark pine trees, (as Chaos’s did), but also has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, that’s what I’ll try and bring forth.

So, to summarize! You’re going to be plotting or pantsting. You’re going to want an idea, which can be either plot or character-centric, and a ‘feel’ to start with. From there, you’re going to start the ‘writing’ process. That’s another post, however.

close up of paper over white background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Adorable Adoption story (SPOILERS)

So, this post is just going to be one massive spoiler for Ranger’s story. But it’s what I’ve got on my mind right now, so here goes!

So, in Ranger’s story there’s a rebel group led (sort of) by this woman called Allegra and her sidekick fiancee Ryo. They’re not the kind of ‘good guy’ rebels like in Star Wars, by far. In older versions of the story they were the principal badguys, modeled very loosely upon my childhood’s scrappy understanding of a variety of secret services. What it boils down to, is that they’re not quite the good or bad guys in the latest version of the story. I find them sort of likeable, but their actions are quite questionable, if not downright villainous, and I’m not going to even try and defend them. They’re not the good guys, I’m telling you.

But here’s the thing. Today, I wasn’t able to write fiction. I just kept drawing and drawing, and while drawing I thought of what a happy couple they are, and then, BAM! I remembered an old plotline I’d cooked up for them years ago -> They adopt a child.

Here’s how it goes: because they are part of a religious organization (their rebellion is fueled by religious reasonings), a nun talks them into adopting a rebellious child, because, you know, it’s their duty to help preserve the faith and protect the next generation. So, you have these two hard-asses with scarification on their faces (Allegra is a sniper and kills a bunch of people during the story) and Ryo (child genius turned massive IT tech who also knows how to fight and is in charge when Allegra’s not around), who have never liked society or gotten along well with ‘normal people’, suddenly… living in a house with a white picket fence during the week and attending parent-teacher school meetings. Pretending to be normal to give their child the best and most stable rearing.

I mean, they would be so awkward as normal people, but such dedicated parents. Imagine them moving into a house and having the neighbors come visit and be all ‘hello who are you?’ and they, on the spot, having to invent a back story for themselves that’s as unsuspecting as possible. They would have to pretend to be, like, working in a factory or something. And the parent-teacher reunions! And the child tantrums!

I promise I don’t have baby fever, y’all. I’m just thinking of what a hilarious and adorable little family they’d be. And wouldn’t it be funny if they try and get their kid into a private school? I’m imagining them trying to sit and speak with the principal/whoever you have to sit with to get your kid into a private school (obviously they’d have no clue what they’re doing). They’d have to pretend to be polite factory workers but in the back of their heads they’re like ‘I just want to murder you!’. And then dealing with the other superior-acting parents.

I don’t know how this will actually pan out when I get there in the story, but right now, it’s hilarious in my head, and I really wanted to share.

This is them, Allegra is the one on the left and Ryo on the right. The lines around Allegra’s eyes are the scars, and Ryo has a snake scarified onto his cheek. Also, I’m not quite sure what Ryo is wearing. I always drew/pictured him wearing tunic/arabian-ish clothing. He’s supposed to have dark skin but be of unknown descent by having been adopted. Allegra is generally supposed to be pale-ish, maybe tan. I’m not sure and really, it doesn’t quite matter (unlike other ethnicities in the story that are actually important and plot-relevant).

allegra ryo point

So that’s that, my lovelies. I hope this made you giggle a little, and makes you excited to read Ranger’s story whenever it will be ready to be read.

As always, I wish you all the best. 🙂 Have a lovely day/evening!