Tag Archives: Motivation

I Feel Like Writing FanFiction

6 Apr

I’m not embarrassed to say I used to write fanfiction. I used to write it a lot. In middle school (2000-2004), I was on fanfiction.net more than any other site. In high school, I went back to it briefly in 2006 but, for the most part, I didn’t think about writing or being a writer. The same is true for college. I might check stats to see how my story was doing, but it wasn’t something I followed. Then when I graduated college in 2012, I went back to it. I don’t know what made me do it, but I went back and finished my story.

I’d started a romance that never went anywhere about a fandom that was mid-series when I was writing. When I revisited it in 2012, I knew how the story would end in cannon, but not how I wanted it to end in my story. Knowing that I was going against the author gave me a degree of freedom that I enjoyed. I added an action/adventure aspect to my story and really enjoyed writing it. I finished the story and have been inspired to write a lot of original fiction.

Fanfiction taught me a lot about writing that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I read a lot and was able to pick out good and bad stories quickly which helped me make my story better. I’m rather successful in my romantic pairing (312 favorites on one story) though I know that’s nothing compared to some bigger fics. I don’t say this to brag, but to illustrate how supportive the fanfiction community was and how their encouragement drove me to finish my story. Fanfiction is great because you get instant feedback. You post, and within hours reviews and favorites and follows start to flood your inbox. It’s great!

I wish writing fiction were as responsive. I edited ten pages of my WIP today and what did I get? A sore neck and nothing else. At the same time, I got a favorite for my story that was finished two years ago. This was so motivational! I wish I got these emails more often. I wish I still got comments (why do those dry up?). I want more writers to tell me they love my story, to PM me asking for updates.

In summary, I feel like writing Fanfiction. I want that feedback, that love, and that encouragement that I have yet to find anywhere else in such quantity. Nothing against all of you; you’re wonderful and I love your comments. But the feedback on my fiction writing is different. It’s motivating in a different way.

Did or do any of you write fanfiction? What fandom? Did you find it motivating?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Library Writers Group: Motivation and Goals

29 Jan

After taking the holidays off, I met with my library based writers group last week. It was a big group, the largest we’ve had since we began meeting. It derailed us a bit from our normal practice, but it was good to see so many faces excited about writing. We had a good theoretical discussion and I wanted to share some of our points with all of you.

Many of the new members wanted different things out of the group. A lot of people are looking for editing help and critique partners. I’ve found mine through a writing group so I have to agree it’s a great place to meet people. Another reason, which I thought was great, was to find help with your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses, maybe grammatically or with an aspect of character development, and a writers group is a good place to find people whose skills can complement your own. The overwhelming reason people were at the meeting was to find community among other people who wanted to write. One member said she was looking for people who would encourage her to write every day. “I need a group of fanatics.” I loved that. What do you want out of your writers groups?

A lot of us were in a lull with our writing and hoped the group could kick us back into gear (I’ll admit that’s part of why I go). We talked about ways to get started again. A great way is to look at things you’ve started before and maybe not finished. Something that you jotted down in your idea notebook or started and abandoned. Trying to pick up the thread of an old thought can get you thinking again. A few people said they read books about writing or writer’s memoirs to inspire them. Sometimes as someone who’s 25, it’s hard to remember that most writers don’t find success until well into their 30s or later. I still have time. Reading other work can be inspiring as well. Reading a book you love or something by an author who inspires you. The main thing we stressed was the accept any amount of time you do get to write. It might be five minutes, but that’s five more than the general population. How do you get yourself out of a writing slump?

We had a good discussion on goals. Why do we write? What are we trying to accomplish? To be honest, a lot of us would love to see our names in print; it’s a sense of accomplishment we’re not going to get in many other forums. It’s also a validation that what you wrote is good and someone wants to read it. Some people write to connect. A member gave an example of a memoir essay she wrote about a disability she’d been struggling with. It brought her a lot of feedback and comments from others who had disabilities they struggled with and allowed her to connect with others who felt the same way. And some of us feel like writing is what we’re called to do. We think that the story inside us needs to be told; needs to be shared with the world. We’ve got to let it out because it’s our duty as writers and we just want to share. Why do you write? What are you trying to accomplish with it?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. It would be great to continue the conversation with y’all!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Novel Girls: Consistency, Emotions, and Showing

3 Apr

Even though we’re missing Sonia more than we can take, the Novel Girls are venturing onward. We met last Thursday after almost a month apart and it was so good to see these girls again. We met at Nicole‘s new apartment for a change of scenery and to meet her cutie cat, even though he didn’t seem to like me very much.

The three things we decided to talk about are all running together in my mind, so I’ll try to separate them as best I can. We read the last section of my novel (yay!) and there was one thing that really bothered Katherine. My female protagonist is a pretty head strong character and an independent thinker but in the last two pages, someone says something about her that makes her seem very weak. I hadn’t noticed it until Katherine pointed it out and I’ll need to rework a few things to fix it. We talked about when there are one or two lines in a story that can completely change someone’s opinion of the character and how strong/weak they are. I made a similar comment about Nicole’s scene, in which her intelligent and sophisticated character was attacked and didn’t do much to defend herself. Nicole explained why this happened to us, but we needed to see it in the text because not everyone eats pizza with the author.

This is the joy of beta readers. They can see the lines (like in mine) that change their opinion of a character and they can find points (like in Nicole’s) where a character’s motivation needs to be clarified. Many times, motivations can be explained through the emotions a character is feeling. If a character is scared, he or she is more likely to act defensively instead of aggressively. When the author is able to show the emotion of a character, it’s less likely that their motivations will need to be explained and the reader will be able to sympathize more no matter what because they are inside the character’s head. I’ll tend to recommend this if there are long passages of dialogue that don’t have much as far as tags or time to delve emotionally into the character.

Our last point is almost opposite to this advice and it’s getting out of a character’s head a little bit. In a first person point of view, it’s tempting for the narrator to remain slightly anonymous and undefined. Unless the character is looking in a mirror, why would they describe themselves physically? This can be frustrating for the reader, who wants to be able to picture the person whose head he’s inside. Katherine’s narrator went through a strange change to her physical appearance and it was hard at times for us to picture what she looked like as the story progressed. Sometimes it is good to get out of the head of the narrator so the reader can get a whole picture.

This is a little shorter than some of my other Novel Girls posts, but I think we discussed some really important points. I’m curious how my next re-write will go now that I have all of the things we’ve talked about in my mind. I hope to come out with a better product because of it.

Until next time, write on.

Novel Girls: Voice, Description, and Motivation

7 Sep

I’ve been fortunate enough to find a group of other females around my age who are also aspiring writers.  Because we’re all working on long-form fiction, we decided to call ourselves the Novel Girls.  (It’s a novel idea, HAH!)

We try to meet weekly on Thursdays to have dinner and critique each other’s work.  There are four of us, NJ, KK, and SG.  SG’s been on an extended business trip for the last six weeks, so it was just NJ, KK and I last night.

There were three main writing points we went over last night that I wanted to note here, either for my later reference or to help another writer.

  1. Distinctive voice: KK shared a great piece with us last night that rotated between three settings and four characters.  The opening scene was a female character and she used some wonderful description, internal dialogue, and flashback to give the character a very distinctive internal voice.  The next time we saw this character, she was in a scene with three other people and her voice was a little lost in all the action.  The other characters were busy having a conversation and this female was standing by, listening.  It almost seemed to me like KK had rushed through writing that part because she didn’t give the character the distinctive voice she’d worked so hard to give her in the first scene.  This helped me remember that my characters have personalities and will react to everything around them.  It’s important to be sure this personality shines through in every scene and that they have an appropriate reaction to the things they hear and see. even if they’re not narrating that scene.
  2. There’s a limit to what one line of description can show: NJ shared a piece that started with two female co-workers at the end of the day, getting ready to leave for work.  NJ described one as having a large shoe collection that matched her outfits each day and the other as having a wrinkled business suit.  A few lines later, she wrote that unlike the first, the second character didn’t care about her appearance.  This one took me a second to process because to me, a business suit with wrinkles at the end of the day didn’t imply slovenliness.  With one or two lines more of description, the character could be more developed, come across as a careless dresser, and it might not even be necessary to say she didn’t care about her appearance.  This made me realize that my character’s clothes aren’t even described very much in my text and that how a character dresses can tell a lot about them.  (For reference, my book takes place in 1920s Chicago.)  I recently was invited by an acquaintance to visit her grandmother’s old house, where she still has some of the clothing worn in the late 20s and early 30s.  I hope that after seeing these clothes, I can find a way to show my character’s personalities through their simple clothing choices and be a little less ‘show-y’ and more ‘tell-y.’
  3. Character motivation needs to be strong, even if the character isn’t speaking: I have a scene where my male protagonist is trying to evade a female character he doesn’t like AND the scene is narrated by my female protagonist (confused a bit?).  KK’s comment was that she didn’t understand why the male protagonist was doing what he was doing; she couldn’t find his motivation!  Our ultimate decision was that I should switch the order of a few scenes, but it made me realize that in scenes where the non-narrating character needs some motivation, it takes a lot of attention to detail to make sure that motivation is clear.  It could be done with dialogue, description, etc., but it needs to be there.

 

I’m not sure if this helps anyone else, but it sure helps me to think through it!  What’s some advice you can share about writing?  Maybe it will help me with my next critique group!  Please leave a comment and share.