Category Archives: Writing

Hungry 

I’ve been reading more lately, way more than I’ve been in years. I’ve tried to focus my efforts on writing more, and felt thirsty for words. I had never starved myself as a writer. I thought with all the junk I read all day, every day, I’d been well fed. To the contrary. 

I’ve been working on multiple projects while not being able to really focus on one. My characters are patiently waiting to grow and do things but my mind is in a pit. Now I know why. 

I’ve been devouring psychological and horror thrillers and I can’t get enough. Is this a sign? I’m a big thriller person, always loved them for their fast pace and tension. They make me want to write like that. They make me want to hold my breath until the last possible second. 

I’ve neglected my craft and my muse isn’t too happy with me. I just need to focus. 

For now, I’ll satiate the hunger and read because writers can’t write if they’re malnourished. Enough of the junk, I’ll feast on the good stuff. 

I’m Back. #writing #creativeprocess #mentalblock

It hadn’t rained for the past few months. The sky stayed clear, and the earth below dry, just like her thoughts. All inspiration was gone, just like the muse.

So she stared at the window, hoping the drought wouldn’t last too long. “It happens to all writers”, she convinced herself. “My time of complete mental block is just taking forever to lift.”

She sighed. Grabbing the cup of coffee in front of her, she took a sip and sighed again. “I never used to drink coffee. I need some awakening. I’ve been in the dark for too long.”

Words came so easily before. Now, her brain lacked any creative flow.

“No, it shouldn’t last too long,” she repeated, as if the words had some magical meaning. But they didn’t. The truth shall set her free.

“Maybe, I’m just not a true writer.” Ah that truth hurt like hell.

Because she really believed she had a gift. Words were her friends at some point. She would think of something, anything, and that mustard seed gave rise to a majestic story. Whatever the topic, she could write about it. No biggie. She had it all figured out.

Until a few months back, when she started focusing on selling her latest book, instead of writing more. The time she spent doing what she thought was something, but in reality was nothing, dragged her into a hole where inspiration wasn’t invited. Worse, inspiration didn’t matter.

She was trying so hard to fit in. To find the special formula that would make anyone eat out of her hand like she was pooping gold. And did she poop gold? To her, her stories were priceless. To the rest of the world? The world didn’t care so much.

And that was the root of the problem. She wanted everyone to acknowledge what a brilliant author she was, instead of not giving a darn, and keeping her writing fresh. There was so much to be thankful for. The bestsellers didn’t make a difference. Her stories were about human conflict. No sex, no violence, just tales of people who lived their lives the best they could, and were everyday superheroes.

Because her creative juices came from the streets of New York City. And she knew how to bleed these streets dry by watching, and listening.

After an everlasting period of no real writing, today, the drought finally ended, and for the first time she wrote something. Her mind ran, and she ran with it. It felt so good to be friends with words again, and not to worry about selling books.

She was an author. A real one. Riddled by self-doubt, and all kinds of negative thoughts about her worth and talent.

Doubt didn’t matter anymore though. Deep down, she knew she’d kick ass.

And all she had to do was write.

Determination quote image

#FF How to create a successful #arc for your character #plotting #writing

Hello folks and happy Friday!

The other day I blogged about conflict, and the all and ever familiar (or not so familiar) concepts of internal and external conflicts. Today, we attack the character’s arc.

Every character has to be as realistic as possible to be believable. The psychology of a character plays a really huge role in the plot and the overall quality of the story. Many timeless tales have shed light on a character’s evolution throughout a perilous journey by diving into the character’s mind. His/her internal conflict, coupled with the external conflict, gives depth to the plot, and more room to play to create a beautiful arc.

The arc is your beginning and ending point. Each character has its own arc. The story itself has an arc too. The arc can be huge, if your protagonist is the main player, or it can be very small for secondary and tertiary characters. The size of the arc doesn’t matter. 😉 The arc will act as a measuring stick for the character’s evolution throughout the story.

Let’s take an example: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. There are many characters in this book with many arcs. Let’s focus on two of them, Javert and Jean Valjean.

Beginning of the arc for Jean Valjean. A good man, trying to do the next right thing by stealing bread for his sister’s children during a time of economic depression, Valjean is sentenced to spend years in prison. He becomes this despicable character in the eyes of society. The world sees him as a bad person, unworthy of trust and love. Picture his arc growing from the ground up.

Javert is depicted as the ultra self-righteous police officer who doesn’t believe in forgiveness, and redemption. His arc actually starts high and gradually goes down.

Valjean will mature, and evolve, to become this man everyone loves and respects, even when he tells the truth about his past acts and demands to be brought to justice.

Javert will turn into a bitter individual, bloodthirsty for revenge, becoming the super villain everyone will hate. Javert will realize that his sense of justice was wrong, and Valjean, despite being a criminal, was a better man than him all along. He ends up taking his own life because he cannot accept that truth.

Valjean and Javert represent the sides of the same coin, and their arcs certainly bear similarities. But as Valjean’s arc goes toward good/order, Javert’s arc goes toward bad/chaos, his sense of justice morphing into abuse of power and personal vendetta.

Readers will root for Valjean. Who doesn’t want the underdog to win? Javert could have earned some stripes if Hugo had decided to shift his arc upward toward good again. But he didn’t do that.

A well executed arc will manage to draw the readers in and keep them glued to the pages like it’s cocaine (it’s actually an expression I heard from fellow authors when talking about books they devoured in one sitting).

The arc offers thousands of possibilities, shapes and directions. There can be a million plot twists, which will shape the arc with multiple peaks and valleys. The arc can never be a straight line (because a straight line doesn’t show evolution). That’s why an arc is called an arc, and not something else. 😉 Ultimately, the arc will reach its high or bottom. However you want the character to evolve, a powerful arc will resonate with readers and make them addicted to the story and the character. Bear in mind that a character can evolve while not radically changing his/her point of view. The storytelling will guide the character to a cross-roads (climax of the plot): change or remain the same but there must be evolution.

I’m pasting a link to a great article about the character’s arc, and a few diagrams with links to other very helpful blogs below. Please feel free to share!

That’s it for today. Have a lovely weekend folks!

#WW #Conflict in a Story #plotting

Happy Wednesday!

This post is a small cheat sheet dedicated to conflict.

Every plot is built on:

1) The internal conflict: the character’s emotional, mental, spiritual, physical evolution/struggle throughout the story;

2) The external conflict: events happen in the world where the story is taking place and the character reacts to them. The external conflict creates the story goal;

3) The interaction between the internal and external conflicts, which will give rise to a climax, and the plot will come to a resolution.

Here’s an example everyone will relate to: Snow White.

Snow White’s internal conflict: she’s the princess and like all princesses in fairy tales, she wants love.

The external conflict: the Queen wants her dead, so she has to hide. It’s Snow White vs. the Queen. Good vs. Evil. Who will win?

Well the issue here is that love will be difficult to find if Snow White stays hidden forever. But how will she escape the evil Queen?

The death of Snow White after eating the apple is the climax in the fairy tale. When the prince finds her and the glass coffin breaks, she wakes up and tada, finds her true love! The plot resolution is good wins and evil loses.

Conflict is the structure. The interaction between the internal and external conflicts creates the meat and potatoes of the story, and each character’s arc. More on the arc in a another post…

I’m pasting a link to a very good article on internal and external conflict – definitely very helpful for every writer out there. The whole website is actually dedicated to writing so feel free to explore.

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Alright, that’s it for today! Thanks as always for reading!

My page… your words #amwriting

writers-quotes-story-writing-34823004-320-320When the characters take over and tell the story, and I become a mere slave to their whims and feelings, my duty as a writer has been fulfilled. I will do my best to transcribe everything, the way they see it, and live it, so that when I read the words I just wrote, I hear their voice, not mine.

I will feel their sadness, their joy, their anger and their fear. I will overcome obstacles, conquer new worlds, fall in love a million times and experience heartbreaks. Life will play like a movie on the screen, and I will be a spectator. They will travel, take me to foreign lands, meet monsters and superheroes. They will grow and learn, cry and laugh, live and die. When the book is done, and their story has been told, I won’t forget them. They will remain with me at all times.

I will write relentlessly until they tell me to stop. And once I know they’re satisfied with the end result, I will put my pen down, and smile. Because writing is my life, and their words the only truth I know. I will pull my hair but I won’t quit. They will comfort me, reassure me I’m on the right path even when I doubt myself. It is their journey I undertake, their goals I reach, and through their eyes, I escape to a better world.

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#FF #Leap of #Faith

d63d4f47acf242499d5a3dc8e9ebbe9dThere’s dream, and there’s reality. And between the two, there’s faith, and there’s fear. I’m afraid of failure, but I dream of success. To make success my reality, I need to have faith. I need to show patience, and determination, in order to make my dream a reality, and transform my fear into faith. Bottom line is, over thinking everything is garbage, and action is the solution.

With action, will come failure. I can’t avoid that. My determination will be tested, and force me back on the saddle. All I have to do is keep doing what I’m doing, remain teachable, and slowly, everything will fall into place.

I am bound by practical necessities. That’s my reality. There’s stuff I don’t want to do, people I don’t want to talk to, places I don’t wanna be. How will I grow if I don’t go through the motions, and stay humble? The most grateful individuals I’ve met were those who went through hell and came back. They knew what pain and hardship felt like, and they enjoyed every moment without that pain. The simplest routine brought joy in their daily lives. I must follow their example, in order to reach my goals.

And the only way to keep going is to have faith. I took a leap of faith when I started writing. I took a leap of faith when I decided to be in a relationship. I took a leap of faith by coming to America. I took a leap of faith by waking up this morning and welcoming a new day.

When I have faith, everything works out. It just does. It’s when I doubt that the world looks bleak to me, and all hope vanishes. Faith isn’t weakness. Faith is strength.

If you feel like today is just another day, without excitement, love and anything to look forward to, just close your eyes, and think of something to be grateful for. Then, restart your day, remain positive and follow your heart. Your leap of faith will take you far without you even realizing it.

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