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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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

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

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'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

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 ...


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 ...


19

Stop writing and put it in a drawer. Go write something else for a while. There is no point in continuing when you know, as you clearly do, that this story is off the rails. It is not going to yield either usable prose or usable insight. At the same time it is clear that you have not yet had the positive a-ha moment that reveals what the true story ...


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 ...


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 ...


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, ...


12

I buy lots of papery, cheap, crappy notebooks and I get past the blank page by free-writing. I allow all that utter trite and nonsense churning around in my head to spill out onto the page and just write and write and write. No punctuation, no spelling, no writing inside the lines or margins. (It's advice I took from both Anne Lamott and Nathalie Goldberg ...


12

I have a leather-bound notebook with the words, ‘Quickly become feral’ embossed on it to remind me that that’s what works in progress do, because I’m an advocate of Annie Dillard’s advice: “A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but ...


12

What keeps me motivated is I like writing for its own sake, it is my hobby, it can make me laugh, it makes me feel good to have figured things out, and for crafting a piece of art. Like other people's non-passive hobbies (painting, woodworking, car restoration, writing music) it is an outlet for my imagination. It gives me something to think about that isn't ...


12

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, ...


11

I don't have the major swing you have, from brilliant to horrible; but I understand the sentiment from earlier writing. I suggest three things. 1) Treat yourself like a child, or at least like a student. A beginner. Write what you want, and when reviewing it, be critical but try to put your criticisms in phraseology you would use with a child learning to ...


11

One possibility is to write about the things that upset you. My writing career revolved around an interest in Nature, particularly animals. However, when I was an employee of the Seattle School District, I was so stunned by the corruption, bureaucracy and tyranny I saw all around me that it was hard to concentrate on my projects. Then one day, I opened my ...


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