76

You don't. To put it in more words: the audience has to get attached to make the death relevant. You want her death to be a wake-up call, a touch of realism and a reminder of what war is. Sure, there is no guarantee that your audience will like the same characters that you like. But if you realize that you've grown fond of that female soldier, if you find ...


46

For many years --decades actually --my goal with every piece of writing I wrote was that it be read and appreciated by someone. There were plenty of things I wrote that didn't achieve that goal, and ended up moldering away in some corner of my hard-drive, but I viewed those projects as failures. I write to connect with other people, and anything that doesn't ...


44

Take a dimly lit corner of your universe and one of your lesser characters and start writing some of their backstory as an in-the-moment adventure, not an aspect of someone's history. You know by the character's present-day traits that they had an experience like this, so jump back in time and walk the younger, more innocent version of them along the hard ...


43

I might be able to help; I spent my whole young life moving from project to project without finishing anything. Now I am a casually famous horror author whose work is unusually popular on YouTube, and my second book was optioned for a film. 1. Keep a notebook with you I keep a large, college-ruled notebook in my backpack with me at all times. That backpack ...


34

Fix it now. If you realize you made a mistake, go back and fix it now. Not, I stress, because the last 20K would be "wasted," because no writing is wasted, but because it's clearly blocking you and you don't want to write it. Carve off whatever pieces aren't going to fit and put them in a slush file. I like this method because it feels less painful than ...


34

I am a discovery writer. I agree with Liquid, I don't leave it alone. If I get stuck, I edit my story so far. I will start reading, from the beginning, and if I see anything worth fixing, I do. If I finish and don't have an idea, I'll start over. If I go weeks without thinking of the solution, I'll still do that. I feel like my only choices are to drop the ...


31

How do you start writing? You sit down and write. No matter how trite, no matter how derivative - you write. You give it your honest best effort. Then, the next day, you give what you've written an honest look. You note what's good, what's bad. Then, you either continue writing, edit yesterday's work and then continue, or put it in a folder of "no good", and ...


31

Honestly, if it's outright impossible to write due to overwhelming emotion, don't write. Wait until after the upset has passed. However, if you're upset, but yearning for creative expression, use that misery. I can't remember how many times I've harnessed depression and melancholy to evoke genuine pathos in my writing. Perhaps I'm approaching it from an ...


27

You can't. Do you know Psy? As in Gangnam Style? They tried SO HARD to make comebacks. What did they do wrong? Everything they did after that was a rehashing of Gangnam Style. The cinematography, lighting, even the melody sounded so much like Gangnam Style. I actually liked Psy's previous music but everything after Gangnam Style was just a rehash of the ...


26

Wait. I am a discovery writer, meaning, I do not outline or plot or plan ahead, except in a minor way. I often don't know where the first Act ends, or what complications and setbacks will arrive, I definitely do not have a list of characters, or attributes, or histories. I invent them as I go. Before ever putting fingers to keyboard, I come up with my ...


24

I read somewhere, don't ask where because I forgot, that if you wait for the right mood to write, you won't get anything done. So, I think if you just try to sit in front of your computer/paper, relax for a few minutes and delve into your character's mind, it would be better than to just not write until your mood gets better. It's hard, I know because I ...


24

You are a prisoner of having learned too much about the writing process before ever trying it out. Forget everything you have learned or been told, and just write massive amounts without worrying at all about how good it is, or whether it follows the rules. Then, finally, after you've written FAR more than you need for a story/novella/book (whichever is ...


24

If you want to be a writer, you had better get used to reading and re-reading your own material. I just completed what I hope is the final edit on my latest book. I haven't been keeping score, but I have read the entire book through ... at least 5 times. And every time through I find problems I missed on previous reads. How to get the motivation? I don't ...


23

I don't think philosophy and fiction are really opposites. The difference is that in fiction, you don't describe the philosophy, you show its consequences. For example, if your philosophy includes the claim that whatever bad you do, will come back to haunt you, then in a philosophical essay you'd just write that, and give arguments why it should be true. In ...


23

I think there are two steps: 1. Decide the character's philosophy of life I'm using the example of two medieval characters because that's my settings of choice. Imagine we need two female characters: Eleonor is the lady of the manor and Mary is her twice-removed cousin (from a poorer branch of the family) who lives with her as a lady-in-waiting. As the ...


23

I'll give my two cents, as someone who feels the same struggles. You'll never get completely over the fear of rejection, or of not being good enough. I say this because even accomplished authors reported the same fear. Brandon Sanderson said, in an episode of the podcast Writing Excuses, something along the likes of "Yes, the last book was a success, but ...


22

One at a time. It isn't laziness. That's just a word people throw out when work doesn't get done and in many cases, including yours, it's meaningless. You've done a lot of work, you're just not finishing it. Set up a source of external pressure. I had a novel in my head for 10 years before I did anything about it. I did some research and wrote an ...


21

For me, writing is a passion. Not writing is an impossibility. There are stories in my mind; I need to tell them. I need to find out where they go, how they go, what they mean. I have something in mind when I start a story, but it changes, mutates, I do not fully understand it until it is written and finished. I find out what I think and how I feel about ...


19

One solution that usually works is to write when you wake up, when nothing has happened in the day. I write for two hours every morning. My alarm is set for 4:30 AM, I am at the keyboard by 5:00 AM, and I write until 7:00 AM. Nobody calls, the only interruptions are the dog asking to go outside and refilling my coffee cup. This might fail if a multi-day ...


19

I DON'T DO IT MUCH, BUT I HAVE FOUND THAT HAND-WRITING IN ALL CAPS IS AN INEXPLICABLY-GOOD WAY TO LASSO A FROTH OF EMOTION WITH YOUR PEN. IT MIGHT FEEL STUPID FOR THE FIRST LINE OR SENTENCE OR PARAGRAPH OR PAGE. DO NOT LET THIS FEELING STOP YOU UNTIL YOU FEEL LIKE WRITING CALMLY. IF I AM RIGHT OR YOU ARE LUCKY, THIS WILL ERECT A SHRINE TO THE VALIDITY OF ...


19

Don't detach yourself emotionally from the character. Rather, experience the character's death as a major part of their arc. This is not a real person who is gone once dead; this is a fictional character, and their entire arc is what makes them who they are. Make the specifics of the death contribute towards making the character even greater, and love the ...


19

There is a distinction that needs to be drawn here: are you talking about practice that helps you improve your writing, or are you talking about the kind of practice you can put in a CV to help you get a job in journalism or something similar? If you're looking for something to put on your CV, "I write a diary" is weak. "I write a blog" is stronger, because ...


17

Writing is where I run to, from everything that upsets me. I read the last scene I've been writing, from the beginning, and by the end - I'm in that moment, I've found my focus, I can proceed from there. Sometimes I channel frustration, anger, pain, disappointment into my writing: the story demands them all. But it is actually easier for me to write those ...


16

You don't detach yourself from the character. On the contrary - you let yourself feel the pain of her death, experience the loss, and you pour all of that onto the page. When a character dies, it should matter. It should be a punch in the gut for your audience. That can only be achieved if you care about the character. If you don't care, if you've detached ...


14

My bandaid may not fit your wound, but here it is all the same. When I'm editing, I break it down into sections to make it more palatable for me and my ADHD-having muse. First I work on the plot holes and place notes where needs to be beefed up, and where needs to be trimmed. Then I go in and start trimming the fat. Unneeded scenes marked on the previous ...


13

I think you are trying to do too much in each step of the writing. Writing (or any art) in not a single process, it takes different skills to produce a work. I see that you are trying to produce something "good". But you can't create something "good" while you are judging it in order to "improve" it. Something that can be "improved" is by definition not ...


13

It is not important, unnecessary, and in fact utterly impossible. You need to put yourself in the character's shoes, imagine how he feels, write that, try to evoke emotions in the reader. It helps if you have ever in your life experienced something similar, so you have a reference point. But writing in that moment? If your character is in excruciating pain, ...


12

Fearing procrastination is procrastination ;) First: No-one said you are not allowed to develop a character when pantsing a novel. But if you take three days to add detail on detail for just one character, then you are doing it wrong. Sit down and write your story. If you encounter the problem, that you need more information about one character to go on, ...


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