Back in October 2016 I was lucky enough to write a guest post on the wonderful blog of Kathy Cecala! A fantastic blog full of wit, wisdom and humour.
I think that it is safe to say that today there are more writers than at any other time in history. Between free blogging sites, and self-publishing sites it seems that you can’t swing a cat these days without hitting a writer of some kind and that is wonderful.
The sharing of ideas and opinions helps us all grow as people and as a society. Whether you write stories, opinion pieces or factual ‘how to’ manuals there has never been a better time to get your words out to such a wide and varied audience.
The only thing that hasn’t gotten easier has been finding motivation or inclination to write.
Something all of us have in common is that we all have habits.
Human beings are, by and large, creatures of habit and routine. We routinely wake up at the same time every day, even without an alarm clock. We eat at similar times each day, and we carry out the same sort of activities day in and day out.
Now that might sound depressing, at least to some of us, but it needn’t be. By performing the same sort of tasks multiple times, you will notice that you become better and better at said tasks and we can manipulate this by building habits for the tasks we want to become better at.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years researching how to build good writing habits. I’ve come across some great habits and some …less great habits. I’ve decided to share the five habits that I believe have been the most useful to me in improving my writing.
While writing my upcoming novel Ghoul, I created a character designed to serve the function of a ‘talking head’ aka someone for Mya, the protagonist, to bounce ideas off. However, I understand talking heads are bad; they result in clunky dialogue that’s obviously just exposition in the form of dialogue. So, with that in mind, I tried to turn my talking head into a semi-developed character with her goals and motivations.
I made this character a Sphinx. I’ve always been fond of a bit of Egyptian mythology, as those who read Amenti will have noticed, and it didn’t take me long to decide where in London my Sphinx would live and she promptly moved into the Egyptian walk of Highgate Cemetery.
I started drafting a bit of dialogue between my Sphinx and Mya, and before I knew where I was my ‘talking head’ fast outgrew the role she was designed for and took on a life of her own. My Sphinx had become Kepi and all of a sudden I had another book growing in the back of my head.
While Kepi lives in the Highgate Cemetery close to the ghouls who dwell beneath it, there is another Sphinx in London. Ophelia and Ophelia even as a rough character concept was very demanding and spent her first hours of life in my head telling me her story.
I hate first drafts.
First drafts make me sad.
I hate writing them, I physically have to force myself to sit and type. If I ever lose motivation during a story, it is always at this stage when I’m putting the first words on the page.
The planning stage is great, probably one of my favourite stages. Everything is so fresh and new, I can see everything so clearly, and I know it’s going to be great. I always feel so excited at this point, I can’t wait to get started until I actually try to get started.
Editing is long and laborious, but I love it when a story starts to shape up when it begins to come together. I get just as excited as I am in the planning stage. When the little scribbled story begins to look like a real book, it’s one of the best feelings.
The first draft is like I spit up on the page.
What I see in my head looks nothing like what comes out on my first draft. My first drafts are wooden, cliché, the dialogue is awful, and it is at this point I almost give up on every single project. It takes a lot of effort to get through that wall.
I’m currently working on the first draft for Courage in Silence, a story that I loved while planning and hate now I’m in the first draft.
I really hate first drafts.
Katie Marie wrote a Book. A big one and a couple of little ones. Check them out!