What are your advices on writing a story?

The answer to this question — without meaning to sound snide — is to learn the craft of writing fiction.

Note that I said the craft, not the art, because they are two different things and — good news — a craft can be learned.

There are workshops, books, online courses, free information everywhere that will teach you the craft of writing fiction. The only difficult thing for you is to find the particular method that will work for you. That will suit both your personality and your method of writing.

So start looking and, when you find something that resonates, try it out. It may not be right for you but maybe the next thing you try will be perfect.

Then, and only then, you might want to consider how much art is involved in writing a story and you might also want to consider whether or not you wish to pursue becoming an artist as well as a crafts-person.

Personally, I believe that you can write excellent fiction either as an artist or as a crafts-person. Or both. It’s just a matter of preference.

Are first person novels more personal?

This is a personal answer. How it seems to me. Other writers may see things differently.

I believe first person novels are more personal, not because of anything intrinsic about the writing itself but, rather, because the act of writing in the first person takes the author deeply into the view-point character’s mind, thoughts, feelings, etc.

The result is a deeper personal narrative than is normally achieved through other kinds of view-points.

What are some good tips for writing a fantasy novel?

  1. The fantasy genre is huge and varied. So first you should figure out which sub-genre you will choose. There’s High Fantasy, with speech and word patterns that somewhat resemble old English and usually involve royalty and royal magic. There’s Urban Fantasy that’s contemporary, though it may or may not take place in a city. There’s Light Fantasy, which is a book that falls in another genre but includes some fantasy elements. And so on and on and on.
  2. Once your sub-genre is chosen, read a half dozen or so books in that sub-genre and jot down three to five things that all of the stories contain because those are things that readers of that particular sub-genre have come to expect and will want to see in your story.
  3. If the fantasy world is other than our normal, real world, spend some time building that other world. But don’t spend too much time on this or you may never get around to writing the story. Instead, do as much as is needed to get the story sketched out, then keep notes on things of that world as you write so you keep everything straight
  4. Plot out your story and write it. And good luck to you.

How do you stay organized when conveying your thoughts in writing, and is it really that important to the reader?

Absolutely, it’s important to the reader! If your mind is messy, your writing will also be messy.

But whether you organize consciously or unconsciously isn’t important. All that matters is that you know what you wish to say and that you say it competently and succinctly so your reader will know exactly what’s in your mind.

How should I write a dream of one of the characters in my narrative?

The usual way to make sure the reader knows they are reading a dream sequence is to make the physical look of the passage different from what goes before and afterwards.

This can be done by writing the dream sequence in italics or by marking the beginning and end in some way, such as whatever character you use to denote the end of a scene or chapter. (Not all authors do this. I don’t. But if you do, then it’ll work just fine.)

Some authors don’t denote any difference in the appearance of the dream sequence and simply depend on their skill as a writer to make sure the reader knows what’s going on. Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Whatever you choose, good luck. It can be done.

How would your writing change if you wrote the concept for a character and their role in a story and then randomly assigned their gender (assuming your writing doesn’t involve the ‘traditional’ gendered roles like women nurture and men protect)?

The answer to this question is totally personal because my writing, like the writing of every author, is personal.

It wouldn’t make any difference in my character as long as I hadn’t already begun writing because, once I had the gender assigned, I’d proceed with the subconscious awareness of the character’s gender and that would show in the finished product.

However, there’s a caveat to this subject: if an author departs from acceptable gender stereotypes/archetypes/behaviors, then he/she had better do a good job of explaining why that particular character doesn’t behave as most characters of his/her gender do.

Because readers have certain expectations of gender-assigned behavior. They are normally fine with outliers as long as the reasons for those outliers are made clear. But they will descend upon the author with their claws sharpened if the character does not behave as expected with no explanation given.

What makes a good anti-hero?

The same qualities that make a good hero, only in reverse order.

The thing is, if you want a really great anti-hero, you must make that character believable, easy to hate, and easy to love.

So the qualities that make a good anti-hero don’t depend as much on what the qualities are as they do on what percentage of each quality the anti-hero possesses.

Give him more of what you want readers to hate, less of what you want them to love and enough quirks to make him human.

But they must all be there.

I’d like to start writing more. I used to be rather creative but it has been a long time. What is a good way to start being creative and writing prose again?

The usual answer is: start a journal. It’s a good way to simply let you mind wander while you get back into the creative stream of writing.

I’ve never had a journal. Tried it several times and it never worked for me. In fact, I hated it.

For me, simply taking a walk does the same thing because my mind wanders all over the place as I move along a trail/road/path. Usually, by the time I’m back home, I have more ideas than I need and can hardly wait to get them down on paper/computer.

So what do you already do that piques your imagination? Gardening? Fishing? Cleaning closets? (Yes, I know someone who finds inspiration while cleaning closets.) Whatever?

The only real requirement for whatever you do is that you do it in solitude so it’ll be your thoughts that come to the fore and yours alone.

Harvest time for writers

As a writer, I know how important being organized is and when this time of year arrives, I always feel that itch to get things figured out.

My favorite season as a writer is winter. Yes, I like spring and love autumn’s colors and the cool breezes that make me feel more alive, but there’s something about winter.

I think it’s because I’ve gone through that organizational period that seems genetically connected with the harvest season — taking what’s been growing in my mind while the hummingbirds and insects flew around my head on the deck and putting it all into some kind of coherent order — and am now ready to get going. To start writing that next book. Or series.

So I love back-to-school time and I find myself looking ahead to the coming change of the seasons, getting excited about Halloween, and every time I pass an aisle of school supplies in a store that feeling grows!

Because something about new pencils, folders, staplers and more makes me feel like I’m about to really get myself organized, and fresh boxes of markers and colored pencils have me feeling the creative itch.

And, yes, this year is no exception. Every yellow leaf on the ground beyond the window of my desk with its computer waiting to be used and every little kid perusing crayons at Walmart makes me just a bit more excited.

(thanks MissouriQuiltCo.com)