Anonymous asked: Do you have any suggestions for getting over writer's block? For the past few months, I've had ideas for a story swirling around in my head but I haven't had the motivation to write anything. Then when I force myself to write, it just ends up sounding awful (even when it sounds okay in my head, I just can't get it on paper) and I get discouraged and just give up. I really /want/ to write, I just /can't/. Any tips for getting over writer's block or whatever this is?
There’s honestly no easy way to work around this, anon. However! There are some things I can recommend you that have worked for me:
- Things sounding okay in your head, but translating badly onto paper? Don’t write it. Record it. Speak it out loud into a recorder and then listen back afterwards. What I find with writing something is that I’m constantly planning ahead and looking back at what I’ve already written, so everything gets muddled. When you speak, you don’t have the option of looking back/changing what you’ve said, and you’re too preoccupied to think ahead, so things flow better. Listen back afterwards and write it down, and then edit it.
- Read more. When I find myself in writing slumps, I revisit old favourite books of mine, and find myself inspired by what I read. Set aside some time to curl up with a hot drink and a nice book, and relax. You’ll find yourself in a better state of mind to write, afterwards.
- Force yourself to write, even if you don’t like it. Not just your usual style, either- if you usually stick with prose, dabble in a bit of poetry, perhaps. Write small things that aren’t as important to you as your main story, as you’ll find yourself less preoccupied with getting everything perfect.
- Get into the habit of carrying around a notebook, if you don’t already. Get a nice one you’d be happy to write in, and if you ever think of anything at all- a disjointed sentence, a plot idea, character musings- write it. I’ve been getting into the habit of sitting outside each night when it’s dark, and writing my thoughts about the stars and the like. Sounds cliché, but it makes me feel like more of a ~*~real~*~ writer, y’know?
- Put together a good writing playlist. If you like to listen to music while you write, then this is a must. Take note: music you might like to listen to usually might not be the best thing to listen to while you write. I have a lot of instrumental music on my writing playlist- stuff by Ludovico Einaudi, or covers by the Vitamin String Quartet, for example. The lack of lyrics means that I’m not distracted by the words. (VSQ has covered a lot of popular music, so chances are you can find music you like by them :D )
Other than that, to get over writer’s block, all I can recommend is that you sit down and really iron out your story’s plot. Once you know what it is you aim to do, you’ll find yourself wanting to write. Even if it’s not as good as you’d like, just keep writing! You can always go back later and edit it. The main issue to begin with is actually getting the words flowing. Once you get back into the pace of things, it’ll come more easily. :) Best of luck getting over the writer’s block, and just know that everyone at WLA is rooting for you! <3
Anonymous asked: In response to the last question: It is impossible for your brain to create an original face (and body) on it's own. It will always come from people you've seen, such as celebrities. Which is why in dreams any person in that dream, you will have seen in one point of your life, even if it was just the man you passed in the supermarket for half a second.
Anonymous asked: when I'm thinking of a character, I always find myself thinking of an actor or celebrity or someone I know... Do most people do this? and should you do it? thank you! :)
Tazzy: Hmm. Well, I can’t speak for most people, as it’s not really something I’ve ever discussed with other writers, but I’m going to admit that no, I don’t find myself thinking of real life people- my characters are, for the most part, beings that I conjure up in my own head.
When you say you find yourself thinking of people, is it just their appearance, or personality, or both? I mean, sometimes I’ll find myself analysing someone (whether they be a random passerby or a celebrity) and I’ll take some facets of them and use them to build my own character, but, yes. For the most part, I try to avoid basing my characters entirely off people from real life (though sometimes I find myself awfully tempted to immortalise someone in prose).
I’m not going to tell you whether or not you “should” do it, because everyone goes about their writing differently, and if that’s how you create characters, then that’s your style. I would suggest, however, that you try not to translate the entire person onto paper, and you mix and match- try creating characters that aren’t like people you know?
Divi and I have recommended this character questionnaire before, and I’ll recommend it again because it’s great. Whenever you make a character, fill it in and consider whether or not you’ve just put someone you know onto page- and if you’re not happy with that, then edit it! The thing I find with characters is that, no matter how much you plan, they take over; they develop their own personalities and habits and become their own people. So don’t worry too much.
Good luck with your writing! :3
Anonymous asked: I'm fourteen years old and I'm an avid writer, however lately whenever I write, it seems to lead to sex? I guess I'm just wondering if this is normal? I never go completely into detail, but I guess it just feels right for the characters to do that.
Tazzy: It’s normal. c:
I think that’s pretty much all there is to say on the matter.
(Have you seen how many stories there are on the internet about sex by young people? It’s chill, dude. If it feels right, just go for it. Characters are human, humans have sex, and the world keeps spinning ever on. :D )
If you see this post on your dash, put one of the following letters in the person’s ask box!
A: What do you write? Fanfiction, original fiction, nonfiction, articles, songs, poems, essays, plays, what?
B: How often do you write?
C: Who is your favorite character of your own? Who is your favorite character created by somebody else? Why?
D: If you had the choice of going without writing forever or going without dinner forever, which one would you choose?
E: Have you ever participated in National Novel Writing Month or any of its variations?
F: What’s your favorite book? Favorite author?
G: What’s your least favorite book? Least favorite author?
H: How long have you been writing?
I: What grades do you/did you get in English class?
J: What does writing mean to you?
K: Share an old, embarrassing work?
L: What advice would you give to other writers?
M: How do you feel when somebody gives harsh yet constructive criticism?
N: Which writing blogs and writing help blogs do you follow?
O: What motivates you to write?
P: What are your goals for things to happen to your writing? (Getting published, getting a good review, having a fandom, etc)
Q: How do you get through writer’s block?
R: What genre do you write in?
S: Would you let a stranger off the streets read your first drafts?
T: What’s your favorite part of the writing process? Why?
U: What’s your least favorite part of the writing process? Why?
V: What do you listen to when you write?
W: What’s your biggest pet peeve in writing?
X: (Leave a prompt in the person’s ask box)
Y: How would you describe the perfect prose? How would you describe your own prose?
Z: How often do you read?
4hourfearlessleader asked: One of my friends nearly failed a Creative Writing assignment because the professor had just read something about murder, and her poem about sewing reminded the professor of it. I honestly think professors are the worst thing to happen to creative writing.
Tazzy: Honestly, that professor sounds like they need a
kick to the face stern talking to about what it is that their job entails. Because that’s actually really ridiculous. I feel sorry for your friend :/
fufutakesonthenet asked: To the anon who was asking about audience, I had a similar problem with my CW degree, but it was all about 'mature' writing. Mostly they said to write with audience in mind, but other times it was to write for yourself (but you have to consider the audience!!), so confusing. Not to mention 'write what the marker wants to read, and get a good grade'. In my last year i just wrote the hell I wanted but it didn't grade well, but I was happy. Publishers want to know what your manuscript target is btw
Anonymous asked: im constantly being told to write with a specific genre. i hate doing this. is it vital to consider your audience and change/manipulate/alter your work so it's better digestible by my audience? that just seems so untruthful to me. x
Tazzy: Okay. This is actually a serious topic that we need to sit down and talk about.
Just like myself, I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times: consider your audience. We’re constantly being taught to change our writing and adapt it so that the people we want to read it, will read it. And enjoy it.
Now. That’s not a bad thing. Plenty of successful writers have obviously sat down and thought about who they’re aiming their books at, and then forged ahead and written their novels with their audience in mind. Again, there’s nothing wrong in that. But.
I think you should always write for yourself. Feel free to change your writing and reshape it so that others can read it (after all, isn’t that what writing is? It’s taking what’s in your head and putting it onto paper so other people can see the beauty you’ve formed in your imagination), but I think when it really comes down to it, you should be happy with what you write. It all depends on what you want from your writing, though.
This is not a well articulated answer, I apologise. It’s kind of hard to put across what it is I want to say. In regards to your own question: write whatever genre you want, and fuck other people. And I think you need to find a balance between writing for yourself and for your audience- then other people like you can read your writing and enjoy it.
Oh man, I really can’t answer stuff like this at all. Sorry. Drop another message in if you want more clarification, I’ll try to hash out some stuff with you. c:
Anonymous asked: Any advice on how to write drunk characters? Thanks:)
Tazzy: Oh man! Yes! This is one of my pet peeves- it’s very, very obvious when someone writes a character being drunk when they’ve never been drunk themselves.
Firstly: most people have to be very, very drunk to slur their words a lot. I’m sure you’ve read dozens of stories where people throw back a drink or two and are suddenly unable to string together a coherent sentence. For most people, to be that incomprehensible requires a lot of alcohol.
Secondly: Being mildly drunk is like being very tired. You know when you reach that stage where you stop entirely caring about how you act? And you say/do silly things? Yep. Basically, the more you drink, the less the little voice in your head that says “that’s a bad idea” works.
Third: Each person usually acts consistently. If a person is drunk and becomes a melancholy drunk, that’s usually what they’ll act like when they’re drunk- the majority won’t swerve back and forth. You get friendly drunks, depressed drunks, angry drunks, people who are drunk but don’t let it affect how they act, etc. I’m one of the latter- I will be aware of how the alcohol is affecting me and take extreme care not to come across as being drunk. (A character’s circumstances can always affect how they act whilst drunk, of course.) But yes, on this note-
Fourth: The more instances you’re drunk, the more in control you can be of yourself. It’s not that you just build up a tolerance for the alcohol- which you do- it’s also a mental thing. You realise how stupid you are when you’re drunk, and make an effort to stop yourself. (Though some people get drunk so they can claim that they ‘didn’t know what they were doing’, so play with it a little. Everyone’s different.)
Fifth: You have to be entirely smashed out of your mind to forget what happened to you/what you did while you were drunk. Seriously. And even if you do forget stuff, chances are you’ll remember snippets, or recall things that went on when you’re reminded.
Fifth: Depending on the age of your character, they may or may not like the taste of alcohol. Most alcohol, unless it’s very weak, does not taste good. As you get older, your tastebuds die, which is why alcohol starts to taste better- many younger people drink just for the sole aim of getting drunk, not because they like the taste.
Sixth: Hangovers. Most people have to drink a fair amount to get a hangover. Again, everyone’s unique- if you’ve written a character who’s very susceptible to getting drunk, feel free to lay the hangovers on as thickly as you like. For the majority, however, hangovers aren’t common unless they go out on a serious binge drink.
Sixth: When you’re writing a character who’s drinking something, please look into the strength of the alcohol. I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen a character drink a few mouthfuls of beer and suddenly start acting like a loon. No. That’s not how it happens. A few mouthfuls of vodka? Perhaps. Compare the alcohol contents- vodka’s usually around 40%, with beers around 4%-6% (though of course it can vary wildly). Use your logic, basically.
Seventh: I think the only way to really write a drunk character well is to get drunk yourself. I’m not endorsing drinking at all- I mean, it’s very dumb- but if you want to write it accurately, that’s the way to go, I guess.
That’s all I can think of for now. I’ve never been that drunk myself, so I’ve never experienced a hangover, or forgotten what happened while I was intoxicated- I’m sure other people can add their own experiences, however. :’) I hope I was helpful! It’s hard to describe how to write drunk characters, truthfully. Best of luck with your writing, either way!
by Suzanne Harrison
The more I read how the successful authors do it, the more I realize that, like successful people in all walks of life, they all do things in common that contribute enormously to their success. So how can we learn from successful authors to ensure our own success in 2008 and beyond?
We can start by adopting what I call “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Authors”. Adopt these 7 habits and you just may find that 2008 is the year you break through your own writing barriers!