Thursday, 29 June 2017

Confessions of a Writer



Hello everyone, I am here with another discussion post this week. I know I have been off with my posts (I AM SO SORRY). I am trying to get back in to swings, my personal life has just gone very busy and well what can you do right?

But today I want to share another blogger who found me (I have no idea how, I blame Google but I am so glad she did) who is a wonderful human being and her poetry will bring you to your knees.


SO please Welcome Eve,



Hey there! My name is Eve (a pen name). I run a small writing blog over at Edge of Night, where I've been practicing with poetry and prose near daily since 2014. I'm no published author (although, technically, I do have to hit the "publish" button every time I post something new... Only kidding!), but I've gained an entire new perspective on writers and their craft over these last two+ years, up to and including the crazy research and work involved in putting together a book one hopes to publish.

Using my personal experiences, here below are my responses to a few writing-related questions posed by the wonderful Book Lover, as well as some brief pieces of advice for my fellow writers or anybody thinking about taking up the challenge.


Questions:

1. How do you come up with ideas for your poems? Do you create a mood board? Conversations? Reading other materials?

A: My poems come from pretty much anywhere. A lot of the time it's just a random thought that inspires an idea; other times, it's a conversation, a picture, reading others' works.. Anything that can inspire! I don't create mood boards, no - but I've considered starting. The mood boards that I've seen from people are just beautiful!

2.  Have you ever gotten writer’s block? How do you deal with them?

A: Oh, allll the time.. lol. Writer's block is a recurring thing that plagues everyone. For you, it might be called "reviewer's block."

I actually just recently wrote a post about this. I don't know about others, but I continually have to come up with new methods to get past writer's block. At the moment, my most successful solutions have been telling myself to "just write a brief micro poem or story," instead of a full-blown piece (much less intimidating), listening to music - especially instrumental songs so that I don't start singing along and distract myself - and other common ways like being out in nature, browsing the Internet, watching a movie or reading a book, etc. :) But sometimes, when the block is seemingly unbeatable, a lengthy break might be the only thing that will do it. Come back fresh!

3. Is it hard for writers to kill off their characters as hard it is for us readers to see them killed off?

A: I've actually never killed off any of my characters! It's coming, but it has yet to happen. This is due in part to my terrible character-creating ability. I overthink it, make the process nearly impossible. But I imagine that it would be hard, yes. Assuming it was a character that I enjoyed writing. If it was some prick wearing his ass for a hat.. I could see that being quite enjoyable. *Insert wicked grin here.* But I would think that it’d be extremely sad to kill off a fun character - once they’re gone, no more playing with their personality!

4. What inspired you to become a writer?

A: Nothing specific did, it's just always been something that I found fun. Up until about two years or so ago, the time that I started my blog, I never wrote regularly. I'm talking like, half a short story every 6 months to a year, if that. I wrote about two, three poems before I started my blog in 2014. But I always went back to it. Not often, but I always got the urge to write again. Now I can't stop!

5.  What is your writing process like? Do you outline plots before writing?

A: My writing process.. Oh, what a mess my writing process is.

I don't follow a single process. It's different for pretty much every piece that I write. I used to just simply be a "pantser" - someone who never plans, never outlines, just let's the story unfold as they write. To a degree, I still do that. But I have been trying to do more outlining, more planning, and let me just tell you that bullet points are the most wonderful things in the world for that.

I have a few short stories in the outlining stages right now, and I've been trying to figure out the personalities of my characters, the basic plot - and to do that, I've found that writing a paragraph or two summarizing what will happen in the tale, and then giving each character a section with bullet-pointed details is a simple and great way to go.

6.  What was your hardest scene to write?

A: Hm.. That's a tough one. There aren't too many scenes that I've written that had any actual substance to them, and those that I gave the most thought and effort to are now part of a postponed (*cough* likely to be scrapped) novel, BUT..

In said novel that I had started to write a couple of years ago, so originally titled Renegade, there was a chapter early on that involved the main character, Elena, mourning her fiancé who had died some time prior. She was sitting in her car and found an item belonging to her fiancé that just stirred up all those residual emotions. Grief, anger, the works. I had just gone through the death of a very close family member myself about 2-3 months before writing this scene, so the emotions were ones that I could resonate with pretty strongly. Now that I think about it, though, that actually made the scene a very easy one to write - perhaps not the best example lol!

7. How do you select names for your characters?

A: Hah! I wish I knew! Funny that you ask this, because I'm sort of going through a naming crisis right now. It used to be that I just picked some random name that came to mind and that I liked. Now, I try to make them more meaningful, but I haven't yet found a good way to do that.. I've researched, I've Googled, but it's a case of serious overthinking that apparently no reasonable amount of research can solve.

Websites like Behind the Name are great for browsing. But then you have to think, what do I want the name to mean? Should it be something specific, or a more broad meaning? Will the meaning affect how readers see the story?! How many syllables? What letters sound best and in what combo? Then there’s the problem of picking names that are too similar. Or not similar enough (e.g. you pick a name that has ancient Greek origins, and another that is modern.. I don’t know.. Swahili. They may or may not mesh too well). Then you’ve got to make sure the first name fits with the surname, ahhh... It takes forever. I love names, and I absolutely hate them.

8.  Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

A: I'm in a similar situation here as I am with scenes - most characters I've created have been very spontaneous, very random, and lacking in any substantial emotional investment. However, there is one that I loved writing so much that I did actually become attached:

Garrett Marlowe, also from my to-be-scrapped novel, Renegade. He's got that sarcastic, dry humor that is just an absolute pleasure to write. Unfortunately, I never got far with him as I only made it about five short chapters into the novel. Maybe I'll give him his own short story sometime..

9. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

A: There are a bunch of things that make writing hard, but a lot of them seem to go in streaks. You know, one day it's nigh impossible to find the right word, and the next they just all rain down from the sky. One day you're terrified of putting yourself out there, and the next you're as bold as ever. It's interesting how writing and all of its processes work - it's such a personal thing and, at least for me, that was (and still occasionally is) a problem. But you get through it, and then you get stuck on how to name your characters.


#writerlyproblems


10. Do yo have any tips for writing?


- Don't avoid writing because you think you're no good at it. No matter what the activity, we all have to start somewhere, and you won't get any better by giving out that excuse. By all means, call yourself the world's worst writer - I guarantee it ain't true, but either way, just keep writing. That title will slowly start fading away.

- A writer's work is never done. You may think it is, but come back in a few months' time and you'll find lots of stuff to fix. Inevitably, you’ll scroll through your past works and go, “What? How on earth did I let this garbage get out in the open?”


- Experiment. Try out new styles, new subjects; try weird, unconventional things. Work with familiar things, too, but drop structure if you feel it’s holding you back at the moment. Return to it later. Personally, I'm crap at following the rules of writing. Just have fun with it, and over time you'll pick up your own tricks!


Tell me Eve, why do you love writing?

Who doesn't love to tell a good story? I have learned so much these past few years - I've got a better idea of how I think, what I think, how to organize it all and how to put those strange, brilliant ideas into words that, just maybe, others can get a little good out of. And if not, then I've at least had a ball letting my imagination run amok. But not only that, writing gives you the chance to learn oddball things about the world we live in, as well as things that are quite useful for everyday life. Not to even mention the obvious skills improvements that come from doing anything frequently.


Writing can be challenging, especially in terms of one's confidence and with finding time. But there are so many, SO many, benefits that come with a little (okay, a lot of) persistence, experimentation, and practice. It's a hobby, and for some, perhaps even a career, that I would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat. :)

Thank you to Eve for that lovely, go and show her some love you guys because she is the best! <3


Let's talk: Do you guys suffer with writer's/reviewer's block? How do you get rid of it? Let me know in the comments below, I can't wait to read your comments!


Arios amigos!


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13 comments:

  1. This is so cool! Thanks Eve for sharing all your writerly woes and joy! I like to outline, of course there is a pantser sense to writing in general even with an outline because you've got to go where the character takes you but I need to know the point of the scene and where I want to end up! Names! I LOVE naming characters. I feel like part of it is a deeper meaning but there is also a visceral feel to the character that the name (with no meaning) gives a character. I wanted unique names because my characters are hard for others to relate to so they had to be made up but not so odd that even the reader is over the people attached to them!

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    1. Thank *you* for reading, Dani! ^^ It was a pleasure collaborating with Aneesa. You make an excellent point about going where the character takes you! That's pretty much how it goes lol. Problem with me is, I let the entire character unfold that way, with very little idea of what I actually want out of them. That's not so great when, like you said, you need to know the point and purpose of the scene. Practice, I guess. Just gotta keep digging.

      Names are so much fun that way - I completely understand what you're talking about there! Sometimes a character just *feels* like a name.. Or the name itself gives the character a special feeling. Made-up names are a great way to go! You do have to strike that balance between unique and just.. too complicated, though lol. It's easy to go overboard. But so rewarding when you get the right one!

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    2. Isn't she so great partner? I am so glad you love her answer, she is truly a kind person <3

      You know Eve, if I ever became a writer I feel like I would have the same problem! lol I am so terrible with names I would be forever searching on Google. Google is my bff in this case!

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  2. Thanks so very much, Aneesa, for being a fabulous partner in this! It was a ton of fun. I'd totally be up for doing it again in the future if another idea pops up and you'd like to! :D

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    1. THANK YOU EVE! YOU WERE TRULY A GREAT FRIEND TO WORK WITH! <3
      We got there in the end didn't we?
      YES me too! I will let you know if any does lol

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  3. Oh wow! This is such a great post! Eve's sounds like an amazing blogger.

    The hardest thing about writing a review for me is to review a mediocre book. I would so love to just be awfully blunt. But, then I think about how the author would feel, and then I completely reign it in and choose to offer constructive criticisms over emotional outburst. I try very hard to be a kind reviewer even when I may be giving it a 2-star.

    Lonna @ FLYLēF

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Lonna. :D

      Any writer worth their stuff will accept your review however you choose to present it. Because it all helps. All of it. Even if you only have bad things to say about a work, that at least signals to the author that there may be some issues to consider.

      With that said, constructive is always best and most productive, and the author will seriously appreciate that level-headed response lol. A lot of time, energy, and love goes into their work. At the same time, that's what you sign up for when you put your words and ideas out there - criticism in all its forms.

      Thank you for reading!! :)

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    2. She is!

      I agree you with, I sometimes have difficulty too writing a review especially if I didn't like the book but I try to take my personal feelings aside and just be critical!

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  4. This is such a wonderful post, guys! I so enjoyed reading it, and it was so interesting to hear Eve's thoughts. As a fellow writer, I can totally relate to the things you've said, and I love your advice - that's so true, and something I have to remind myself of constantly.

    Thanks for the lovely post!


    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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    1. Thanks so much for reading, Amy! :) As writers -- heck, just as people in general, there are quite a few things we have to repeatedly keep reminding ourselves about. But in the end, it's important to just keep going, no matter what the current worry is lol.

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    2. Thank you for stopping by Amy :)
      I am happy to hear you enjoyed it!
      Great advice Eve! ;)

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  5. Such amazing answers, Eve. I think I already knew some of them based on previous conversations and your blog posts. But this was still a treat to read! I agree with you on most points. :)

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, I definitely remember mentioning some of these points in other places before. They'll probably come up again, too lol. Thanks so much for reading - I'm glad you enjoyed the read, Vani!! :)

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