Some writers believe that when they’re writing, they cannot read works by other writers for fear that they will imitate the style of another writer.
This topic was presented to me and I’m sure many writers have this problem. I enjoy delving into other Writers’ minds. I enjoy the way they paint pictures with words and branch ideas to conjure stories. I read to get a break from my thoughts.
Sometimes writers can influence you but you have to learn to read for insight and not to cite. If you’re still searching for your voice, you may be easily swayed by others. Allow yourself to try different things until you can stand rigid towards any outside persuasion.
It’s the reason all new writers study Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison and more…in effort to find themselves. It’s a learning process. Once you find your voice, stand by it. It’s what defines you and make you unique. You allow yourself to mimic when you doubt your skill. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if you don’t believe in you then who will?
My story is good because I believe in it. I put my heart and soul into it therefore I KNOW it’s good.
A story is good when you have relatable characters that share something personal. Each element is equally important. There’s nothing worst than a great plot but weak characters that stagnate the story.
If I’m reading a story, I want to live inside the characters’ mind. I want to understand them—if they’re sad—show me why they’re sad; don’t tell me! Then show me how they go about seeking relief from the grief in addition to illustrating why it is essential for me to continue to pay attention. I enjoy when writers lead me to believe that I can predict the conclusion then there’s a twist at the end that blows my mind. OH, I love that!
If you really think about it, all stories are the same. Let me show you:
Boy meets girl, they fall in love and something keeps them apart but in the end, their love prevails and binds them.
The protagonist has something taken away from him and he has to fight by any means necessary to prevent the antagonist/villain from winning meanwhile other life changing issues continue to come into play that affects his judgment.
Get my drift? Same idea…but as a writer you have to allow your creativity to set its own boundaries.
Being a writer, I tend to scrutinize every little detail—and often I’m harder on the story than ‘normal readers/viewers’ i.e. people who aren’t writers. I cannot stand it when I read a novel, or watch a movie and everything leading up to the protagonist’s goal/fate keeps me at the edge of my seat then the conclusion has me still sitting there waiting for more…more to the story…more depth…more, something; only to see the credits roll or the last page.
A good story is one that leaves the reader/viewer thinking about the plot days after they’ve read/seen your work. When writing, allow your creativity to lead you but allow the critic inside of you to step out once in a while. Allow the critic to ask, “Well why did this happen?” “That’s a foolish idea…why doesn’t the character…” By doing so it helps you to think and be more open to new ideas.
It’s never going to be perfect to you…but when it’s done you will know that you told the best story!
You all may think I’m a possessed lunatic when I say this but often times I dream of my story. My ideas come obscurely and rarely do I understand them. Wakes me out of my sleep, I’m left with no choice but to jot down the insanely weird images I believe are vital. Sometimes I stare at the ceiling until weary reigns, other times I fall asleep on the same dream as if trying to decipher confusion.
There are times, when I see something that bothers me and I know I’m being asked to address an issue—often social. I saw a woman catching a bus with five of her children all under the age of six. As a result, I came up with an idea for my TV-series.
Every writer’s different. Some people write true stories but add a fictional twist, some have been exposed to different walks of life—a child witnessing the death of her mother by the hands of her father, a boy teaching himself how to be a man through the streets, a child born with HIV…undoubtedly your experiences urge you to channel your thoughts in some form. Some people become life coaches, psychologists; I chose the path of a writer. Aiming at changing the way society neglects what’s essential; my blistered feet take me down a rough path. I keep on!
Mostly I drive with the radio off—allowing myself to think uninterruptedly. Consciously my mind is at ease; subconsciously creativity uproots a story for me. Take something small and like seeds to a tree; I nurture my ideas so they may grow. If I feel like there’s something worthy in my erratic thoughts, I record it on my voice recorder then free-write about it. When passion and excitement step in, it’s a wrap—I dive in head first!
I always say, I’m weird. I do weird things I doubt normal people do. When struggling with an idea I talk myself through it. If you’re on the interstate, and see a woman jovial, then perturbed or confused, chances are it’s me, trying to figure out my next move.
Reject by definition is to refuse to accept or consider. By definition to a writer that has spent countless time working on a manuscript, rejection is received as inadequacies or ineptness.
After months of researching and writing and writing and writing, writers finally edit and edit their work to perfection. Then they work on the dreary proposal letters expressing to an agent how wonderfully crafted and unique their manuscript is compared to a substantial number of manuscripts they receive daily. We can all say, “I don’t take rejection personally” but be realistic; we do! We take it as a bash to our skill. “Maybe it’s not good enough.” We start questioning our talent then finally our path. One letter, one agent wrote make us question who we are. We’re writers—indefinable talent as we illustrate lyrically by placing readers in our minds. We’re phenomenal!
This started off as a blog on rejection but has become a tribute to my fellow writers. So what the agents you’re sending it to say no? Research a new list and send some more proposals out. If that doesn’t work then heck, self-publish and make it a best-seller. Agents aren’t the end-all be-all. We call the shots. Without us, they wouldn’t be working.
Writers I implore you to have faith if not in yourself, then in your writing. You’ve been blessed with a gift. Don’t give up the fight—perseverance and dedication will take you further along this journey than defeat will. As I speak to you I address inner conflicts with myself.
The thing that leaves me bewildered is that the writers fearful of rejection are the ones, most talented.
Everyone isn’t going to like your writing style. It’s not you; it’s your style so stop taking it personally. Believe in your work and the time you’ve invested in your dream. Do not allow someone else, whether he/she is a writer, an agent or a friend/family member take away from you that you’ve been bestowed with.
Edit your manuscript some more, put it away then return to it again. When your time arrives, no writer, agent, or friend/family member can stand in your way. As hard as it may be, exercise patience but don’t stop writing. Work on the sequel, start another story/collection. You’re a writer, so write!
Don’t allow anyone to hinder you from the path you’ve been chosen.
As a writer, you have to become one with your story but also know when to step away from it. You have to give yourself time to write but also time to be, you. Even though the writer and individual are two in one, each needs breathing space.
When you write,
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Live your characters—know who they are, their likes, dislikes and the way they would react in different circumstances.
Write the story the way it comes to you.
Don’t stop writing to edit or worry about logics. Allow your characters to tell their story.
I guest blogged on…
Someone left a comment from my last blog: Even though I’ve thrown my novel out, it always returns to me. What does this mean?
It means you’re battling with the story in your mind. Either you’re uncertain as to the way to go about addressing an issue or you’re restricting the story by imposing your views on it. Allow your characters to tell their story. Initially, you may not like the direction it’s taking but allow that journey to occur—you never know.
Clearly there’s something within you ready to burst out so let it! You’re holding back your creativity. Plug some headphones in and allow your characters to show you what you’re hiding. Stop thinking and write. Stop reading and write. Write the story that’s shackled by your opinions.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we are our greatest critic. If there’s someone you can confide in, run the idea by him/her or let him/her read the pages you’ve written. Chances are they’re going to say, “You’ve got to finish this…I love where it’s heading…”
Stop second guessing yourself. If there’s no one that believes in you, you have to believe in YOU! The strongest stories are the ones that come from the heart. A reader can immediately sense when a writer is holding back. Allow your protagonist to fall in love, or oppose his/her greatest fear. Allow your antagonist to be burdened with the torment they’ve caused on others.
If the problems lies with you not understanding who your characters are, then free-write. Live their lives—understand their reasoning i.e. what would they do if they lost their job or spouse, what if the person they most rely on is killed? Think outside of the box. If you don’t know your characters, there’s no way you can tell their story. Stop thinking about the concept and focus on your characters. I hope this helps.
Keep me posted and good luck with your endeavors.
Stream of consciousness in theory is applied to any (fictional) passage where the author attempts to represent a character’s state of consciousness both conscious and subconscious. It allows the author to speak from first or third person with the third person being omniscient.
This term doesn’t conform to the rules of grammatical syntax and often lacks structure, punctuation, capitalization and so on. It’s highly likely to see capitalization, dashes and ellipses where they aren’t normally.
Authors normally use this technique to allow readers to understand reasoning behind a character’s actions. Perhaps a character, Jenny is emotionally reckless and negligent to her spouse. She’s living a promiscuous lifestyle and initially readers assume that she’s simply living out repressed fantasies. However the author may present a stream of consciousness like…
My husband DOESN’T understand how to fulfill my needs maybe he never will. I prefer to share my bed with obdurate men—like her father who came into her room and removed the innocence from her innocent heart— I mean who can care about me? The stain of sex lingered through her psyche…she allowed this hurt to control her. Sexual gratification helped ease her hollow heart lacking love leaving her searching for fulfillment from the very thing that created the pain--sex. My promiscuity helps me forget.
Though free-writing and stream of conscious are similar since both techniques lack logic, and display a variety of typographies for emphasis; free-writing is a way to channel your thoughts. However stream of consciousness is a way to allow your readers to understand the depth of your characters. It provides exposure to the hidden recesses of the mind. These thoughts are unspoken and authors can utilize sensory imagery and or memories to provide a stream of consciousness.