Monday, November 26, 2012

Shameless Monday



I am dubbing today “Shameless Monday.” I’m sure a lot of people reading this have done questionable things over the weekend and now need to redeem themselves, but that’s not what I’m talking about. This is when I want to be shameless and talk about my writing. 

Please don’t run away! Give me a chance.

Yes, I have some stories that I am working on that I would like to tell you about, but I also would like to tell you about some of the things I have learned about writing. I am very much an amateur writer and I have so much to learn. It is my hope that with the eyes of a novice I can share what I am learning in new ways. 

The shameless part first. About a month and half ago I finished a short story, called Pain & Paranoia. It is approximately 10,000 words or roughly 20 pages. It is about a young man, Jason, who is tortured and beaten by two small goblins. Jason can see the goblins, but no one else can see the little monsters. Jason’s co-workers and friends think he is going crazy and hurting himself. 

So, far I have had a lot of positive feedback, even from people who say this type of story is not their cup of tea. Pain & Paranoia is free and is available here: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JeffSherwood
 
I hope it is a story you will like. If you do read it, please let me know what you think. I would even like to hear criticism. The criticism will help me to improve my future writing.

I won’t bug you with my other stories at this time, so let me share with you something I have learned about writing. I quickly realized the writing processes I learned in English 101 and 102 actually work. Who knew, right! I have found a combination of different processes work for me. 

When I first get an idea for a story, (I have about a dozen of them right now) I like to free write about the idea. Free writing is putting whatever pops into your head on paper (electronic or otherwise). You write no matter what it is that pops into your head, even if it is the same word over and over again. Also, you are not supposed to stop writing at all. I have switched up the rules for this. I write down what pops into my noggin, but only those thoughts that have to do with my story idea. I will stop writing so I can organize my thoughts, but I will not get up from my seat. 

Free writing has been very helpful for fleshing out a story. Most of the time I start out with a simple idea such as “There are four tribes of werewolves.” From there I start to see all the characters of the story and what they look like. I get ideas about their quirks, weaknesses, and strengths. I can see where the story takes place. I will come up with different parts of the story and where I want it to go. Please keep in mind, it does not come out this organized. My thoughts jump all over the place hitting this, that, and left field. 

The second process I like to use is outlining. This is where I make bullet statements and organize the ideas. As I said my thoughts during free writing are jumbled up. During outlining I will take each thought and organize it so all of it makes sense. I organize by characters, location, background story, and story points. 

When writing my story I will refer back to my outline. The number one thing I get from the outline is simply remembering things like one character always wears hoodies, or a character’s name. I’m always forgetting names. During the story I get ideas, so I stop and add them to the outline. One rule I have about outlines, they are not written in stone. Just because I decided during the outline two characters should fall in love, does not mean that during the story I can’t make one of them gay and they never get busy. I’ll stop there, because I need to keep this PG.

I hope this has not been too shameless, but I have to get word out there somehow about the stories I’m working on. After all, what is the point of writing a story if no one is going to read it?

I also hope my thoughts on the writing process were helpful in some way. I know the processes I talked about are fairly basic. I felt there are some burgeoning writers that might be struggling with how to form their ideas. Maybe there is a writer that just needed a reminder about some tools for generating ideas.

One last thing, I am not completely shameless to think I know it all. I do not know the first thing I am doing. Therefore, I would love to hear from all of you. Let me know what you do for your writing process. Do you change up the rules? Where are your areas of trouble? I hope to hear from all of you.

Thanks to:
          SleepingFox @ deviantart.com (Love Is War)
          Bob Beeson (Pain & Paranoia Cover Art)
          kagomeamichun @ deviantart.com (Art Medium Chibi: Writing)