Which character will you choose? Main, a side character? Perhaps your antagonist? I find this helps me get to know my characters. Let me know if it helped or inspired you.
Sacha hates the third person. And she sits tapping at keys on the keyboard all she can think about are the times she has talked aloud or talked about herself in the third person.
“Everyone says you’re mad if you talk about yourself in the third person,” she exclaimed aloud.
Annoyed Sacha waved her hands angrily in the air. Irritation brewing at the thought of how long (weeks) she has tried to write this post. Her aim, was to write the whole thing in the third person, but as she jabs the keys and her blood slowly begins froths and bubble in frustration, doubt settles in… Sacha isn’t sure she can even write consistently in the third person.
Sacha wonders why some people like writing in the third person. She knows that like everything there are fashions in writing. There has been a fashion for writing in the third person for some time, but the last five years has seen a dramatic turn around with the like of young adult fantasy and dystopian trilogies taking centre stage in the popularity stakes.
And amen to that, Sacha thought.
What provoked Sacha to write this post, was her attempt at reading ‘Uglies’ by Scott Westerfield, a book that has been on her ‘to read’ pile for some time. A book that to all intents and purposes should be right up her alley. But as she read it, she became more and more frustrated at the style of writing. It was, of course, written in the third person.
Of course Sacha isn’t trying to be biased, some of her favourite books are written in the third person. However, this particular book pushed her buttons. So much so, she genuinely screen shot particular passages and had to angrily text them to a friend who had read the book.
“But this just sounds ridiculous,” she whined, “don’t you find the repetition of the name ‘Tally’ annoying and disingenuous?”
The phrases that made her send these messages were something like this:
‘Tally found herself wincing’
‘Tally found she hadn’t forgotten to bring the plate’
Sacha doesn’t want to be mistaken, she actually likes the concept in the book, and is going to attempt to finish it… at some point. But ‘Tally found she hadn’t forgotten to bring the plate’,
“REALLY??” Sacha shouted cringing.
This is the perfect example of why Sacha hates the third person. First of all, why didn’t an editor pick this up? Sacha thought indignantly. Particularly because she has her doubts about whether it’s grammatically correct. It doesn’t exactly flow, Sacha would hope that authors at least attempt to set an example for how young adults should write English.
Enough, Sacha thought, before she ran out of steam writing in the third person. Using someones name seems disingenuous, it’s impersonal. Sacha likes nothing better than feeling like she is in the head of a character. Like she becomes the character. Sacha doesn’t think you can get that as well in the third person. Playing God, and writing like your God, if you write in the third person, is just a bit arrogant if you ask Sacha. Ok, perhaps she’s exaggerating a bit, but you can see her point… just read her overly annoying, written in the third person post!
You can do this with a dictionary, but one of my favourite websites when I am really stuck in a writers block rut, is One Word where it does it for you. Every day or every couple of days – I forget now, it generates a new word at random. It has a time limit of 60 seconds. It’s a sprint to get as many words down as you can, and then if you choose to, you can click submit after the 60 second timer finishes. You can see other people’s submissions, which I like to do. But I chose this as a writespiration because it has genuinely inspired me before, and got me out of a hole too.
I thought I would share some of the one word challenges I have done – I do cheat sometimes, when I get in the flow I tend to just keep going rather than sticking to the 60 second limit, but anyway – you can see how it works from my examples:
I would never be grateful. She was meant to love me, and she let them cut my arm off. My arm. My only source of income, how can I ever be an artist without my tools, my hands are my life.
“David, you were going to die,” She pleaded.
“Fuck you Marie,” I spat. I glared at her with a hate so penetrating I thought it would consume me.
“So I should have let you die then?” She said throwing her arms up in the air.
“I wish I were dead. I am nothing now. Nothing,” I couldn’t even look at her. Every time I tried to look into those sea green eyes I used to love I felt sick. My stomach ached to be whole again. She had taken everything from me. I am not whole. I am not a man anymore. I am nothing.
I sank into hospital bed pleading it to take me to whatever was next. I wanted it to swallow my body and let me die in peace.
I stood in front of the charred remains of my home and let my arm drift through the air as flakes of silvery ash kissed my skin. I was numb. Everything I owned was gone. Forever. I had no history, no memories, nothing.
The guilt crept across my skin like waves creeping across a darkened shore. It was suffocating. Every pore was being strangled, oxygen exiled from my throat. I dropped to my knees and clawed at the dirt. Pushing my face hard into grass I inhaled dirt and leaves desperately hoping to choke the pain away. My last shred of energy drained out of me in a pathetic swipe to the grass. I just laid there silent and still till the cold ground had penetrated through to my bones. My soul was shattered and empty. He was gone. And it was my fault.
As the sixth moon hurtled round the third moon of Uriah, we knew this was the end. The apocalypse had been predicted and speculated about for months but this really was it. It grew so fast that the whole planet knew there was only a matter of minutes before it smashed into the Earth and obliterated mankind.
And instead of Mrs Black frantically making love to me or spending our time confessing our love or even our regrets, she picked up the Hoover an started cleaning.
“Listen Sach, if we’re all going to die, the house at least needs to be tidy for when we come back.”
“Babe I don’t think it matt…”
I watched as every word I said rippled through the air and hit her. One by one, her eyes became more hollow and vacant with each word. I didn’t think she would ever recover.
It was the only way in. Through the sewer system attached to the ocean. I fucking hated deep water; it was the thought of all the fish and sea bugs touching my feet and legs without me seeing what they were. I shuddered. No matter how much I didn’t want to get off the boat and into the blackened water, I wasn’t going to let the bitch beat me, and that meant taking a deep-sea swim in the middle of the night.
“Suck it up Toni,” I said, and put the clunky breathing piece into my mouth and slipped into the Icey cold waves.
Hope this helps, if it did, let me know 🙂
I don’t need to tell you that if you are a writer, you need to be able to read, and read well.
You need to be able to read for the love of it, to glean inspiration from it, to pick out strengths and weaknesses from it, and to critique it in order to learn from it. The other lesson I have learnt is that you need to be able to read both widely across varied genres as well as reading deeply into the genre you write.
This is the start of a set of new series for my blog, this one in particular is on reading like a writer.
This first post is on:
Reading Non Fiction
I don’t even pretend to be a non fiction reader. Can’t stand it. Much to my father’s – who is a purely non fiction reader- disgust, I am a out and out fiction reader. I have no shame in losing myself in a story, delving into the characters, and disappearing into new worlds. I struggle to read non fiction because quite honestly I find it boring, I hate the lack of story and complete absence of characters.
However, in the last month or so I have come to realise that this way of thinking is a smidgen naive. Here’s why:
I recently developed an interest in space, physics and the concept of ‘alternative history’ more specifically the ancient astronaut theory. Just an interest mind – I haven’t suddenly converted to anything odd!
Anyway, the only way I could find out more was to research online, which I did, but everything I was finding out seemed to lack depth. There were articles, and opinions, and some interesting pictures. But I couldn’t quite get the detailed knowledge I wanted. Cue the search for Non Fiction books. The first two non fictions books I have found and started reading are:
‘A Brief History of Time‘ by Stephen Hawking
‘Aliens in Ancient Egypt‘ by Xaviant Haze
Both fascinating and giving me the depth I was seeking. But more importantly I already I have a million ideas for new stories. One of my pledges for this year is to read more, but in particular Non Fiction. I won’t be reading just non fiction because its too heavy and I would fail miserably. I want to read a minimum of 12 books this year, a far cry from the 2 or 3 I could sink a week before baby black was born, but still. If I do at least 12 this year I would be ecstatic.
What have I learnt about starting to read non fiction?
1. Non fiction (can – depending on what you read) provide interesting facts, ideas, new thoughts, new lessons, new concepts, new everything.
2. It can open your mind to completely new… everything. It will lead anyone with half a cell of imagination into world upon world of new ideas, places and characters.
3. You learn from it, and in topics your interested in
4. You build knowledge = building skills = more ideas = better writer
5. You can find new hobbies or interests and even better, build knowledge of those areas
Does anyone out there read non fiction? If so, what types of books/topics? How do you find reading non fiction versus fiction? If you don’t read it, then I hope you try a non fiction book this year, trust me when I tell you slogging through is absolutely worth it, if nothing else, to improve your writing.
So I pulled my head out of my own arse and after a few slaps to the face, self scalding and deprecation I well and truly got over myself!
When I say I got over myself, I mean I found a muse that inspired me enough to pull my head out my backside and see the light. A muse that made me realise: the piling emails lain untouched in my inbox, the 4000 word assignment still unwritten, the untouched 52K of my baby and my now week long hiatus of my blog, was, in sum, unacceptable.
I appeared to have momentarily tipped into an abyss of self loathing and depression. I do that sometimes… Actually quite regularly. But then I think a lot of writers fight depression or if not then a creative slump or whatever.
This particular slump is connected to a lot of other things I shall try not to elaborate on too much. My dear friend who is a hypnotherapist has agreed to treat me. I am extremely hopeful that she can help me work through whatever crap is going on in my head thats causing my absolute lack of self worth. Anyway…
This muse in particular happens to be a song. I stumbled upon it quite by mistake. I was given a voucher for iTunes for christmas and happened to be browsing the iTunes store and came across this beauty which has been on repeat ever since! Now I must caveat this song with a little explanation of me and music.
I don’t hear lyrics. Like, at all. I constantly sing the wrong words, its a rare occasion I can tell you what a song is actually about. I only hear how the music makes me feel. I hear melody, and tune, and rhythm and beat, but never do I hear lyrics. So I don’t have a scoobies what this song is about either! But I sure do like the way it makes me feel. For the first time this year I felt motivated.
The song is ‘Warrior’ by Imagine Dragons
Has anyone else found a new muse this year? What is it?
I really hate January 1st. It’s the ultimate come down. You partied hard the night before, fuelled by booze, contagious enthusiasm and ever more ridiculous resolution promises. The night seemed alive, 2015 was going to be THE year. It’s your year, your time and your chance.
What a load of shit.
Woke up this morning, feeling more bloated and fatter than ever, with a raging hangover and more resolution promises I will break before the end of month. Stepped on the scales, didn’t I?
WHY, did I do that?
Now ELEVEN pounds heavier than I was in August.
Fuck January. Fuck my life.
January 1st – berroca in the morning 11am hangover starting to disappear, better make an effort – healthy yogurt and bagel for breakfast. By 1:45pm I’d eaten chocolate, hated myself for eating it so ate more to console myself.
F***ing January. I’ll start tomorrow!
Looked at the insanity DVD pile with enough hatred to send me straight back to the chocolate drawer for another round of “stuff my face and hate myself some more” I’ll start insanity tomorrow.
Looked at my beautiful treasured Mac laptop lain unused for the entire Christmas break. Not a word written, not a thought for my assignment nor my much in need of an edit WIP. Looked at it, hated on it. Then hated on myself for slacking. I’ll start tomorrow.
Looked at the calendar, only 3 more days off till I go back to work. And the awful realisation I’ve wasted my entire precious Christmas holiday doing sweet fuck all. Something I can’t abide – waste. Spent most of the first week off being ill with a stupid cold I couldn’t rid myself of for a month. Happy to say the last two days have seen it finally bite the dust. But still. I hated on myself some more for behaving like the thing I hate – a waster – sleep is for the weak!
So where did it go? When did I lose my mojo? It’s been gone at least a month. I have no motivation AT ALL. Not to exercise and lose the weight I need to, and not to pick up my technological pen and write.
How do you get motivated when you and your mojo are lost?
Maybe you should tell me tomorrow?!