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Posts Tagged ‘help’

I’m starting a new book on Wattpad called ‘Writing Tips 101: How to be A Good Writer’. In here I’m going to be sharing what I have learnt in my years of writing. I’m not a professional (yet!) but I know enough that I can share with others.

Every time I post a new part with a new tip, I will post the link in a new blog so everyone on here can benefit. I am open to all questions, suggestions and comments.

I’m really excited about this. I love writing and I love helping people become better writers.

Keep your eyes peeled, I will be commencing as soon as I’ve created a cover. 🙂

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Take a break

Anyone who knows me will tell you how much writing means to me. I am an avid writer and if I could live and breathe it, I would. However, there comes a time when you need a break. Well, that’s what I think anyway. Who knows, maybe there are writers out there who can write for hours / days / weeks on end without a single break. Sadly not everyone can.

There comes a time when you need a break. It’s like a normal job. You have holiday pay for a reason, so you can take a break and not think about work for a while. Writing is a job, so you need to take a break occasionally. Even if it’s a day, it’s enough to recharge your batteries so you can start fresh next time. Although remember, it’s okay to take more than a day. Sometimes taking a week or more off can do wonders.

So be practical and don’t overdo it. You look around and see those dedicated career workers who live and breathe their job. And what good does it do? It does them no good at all. If anything it can cause family trouble, it leaves them exhausted and their social life goes down the gurglur. Who wants to be like that? I know I don’t. If you do, then that’s up to you but just remember, sometimes you do need time out.

I take a break from writing from time to time. When I do, I always go back recharged and rearing to go with new ideas.

Speaking of taking breaks, I am doing just that starting today. I’m not taking a break from writing as such, as I did that only recently. I’m taking a break from something else, which is connected to writing.

I spend a lot of time on wattpad writing stories, reading other people’s stories and offering critiquing and editing services. Sadly over the last few weeks, I’ve become exhausted with how much I’ve had to do and I don’t like that feeling. So I’m not going to have much to do with it for a few weeks.

Pressures with family and work haven’t helped either. So yes, I’m taking my own advice seriously. By the time I return, my batteries will be fully recharged and I’ll be rearing to go again.

What this means is I can focus on other writing. I am in the process of putting some final touches to a manuscript so I can send it to a publisher. I really want it done within the next couple of weeks so I can send it off.

It also means I’ll get November to myself. Why? NaNoWriMo of course! I am in the process of planning out my story for that month and I am very excited about it. I don’t want any interruptions then. I am determined to write my 50,000 words.

My plan is to return to wattpad in December.

So there you have it. Take a break people, it’s important! If you decide to just take a day, do something that doesn’t involve writing. Go down the beach, spend some time with your family, bake… whatever tickles your fancy. But don’t write. You’ll be surprised how good it feels.

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For a long time I had no idea what a critique partner was. Then as I started to take writing seriously and I became a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, I realised how important they are.

A critique partner gives honest and sometimes harsh opinions on your story but you will be forever grateful for their honesty. They will read your story from start to finish and tell you everything that is wrong with it. They will also correct grammar, punctuation, spelling etc. as best as they can. Remember though, they are not qualified editors or proof readers, they just point out the obvious errors.

Please keep this in mind: even though critique partners are important, you have to be ready. One thing I was told was this: if just want someone to tell you your story is good and you can’t accept criticism then a critique partner is not for you. Not yet at least. You must be ready.

To be ready you must be willing to take a step back from your story and get it ripped to pieces. But don’t view it as mean or rude, view it as a way to improve your writing. Believe me, there will be times you want to rip your hair out and scream at the other person but let me say this… don’t do it! If they’re confused and can pick up a zillion errors, so will the reader.

As a writer we don’t see our own mistakes, that’s where critique partners come in. Trust me, as much as it might hurt having your story ripped to shreds, it’s worth it. You will come out a much better writer at the end of it and your story will be 100% better.

Good luck!

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On the weekend, I lost a close friend in death. He had been battling cancer for about two years. When he was first diagnosed, he underwent chemotherapy and they successfully got rid of the cancer. He was a totally renewed person and lived life to the full. Unfortunately, around six months later, it came back. This time there was no fighting it.

He was such an independent person and he hated anyone doing anything for him. Towards the end though, he was almost a vegetable. It was such a horrible sight to see. Saturday night he died. I found out on Sunday morning. Even though we had all been expecting it, it was still a shock. Don’t get me wrong, I am so glad he’s not in pain anymore. He’s in a much better place. But it was one of the saddest things to happen.

After his death, I contacted a friend to see how she was. We were both close to him. Well, this ‘friend’ barely acknowledged me. She went on and on about how she has suffered. Yet never once did she ask how I was. I was a mess when I found out. I cried for hours and I really needed her. Yet she wasn’t there.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know we all deal with grief in different ways, but I firmly believe that it’s times like these you can tell who your real friends are. Friends should support each other. What sort of a friendship is it if the other friend isn’t there for you?

So in light of this situation, it inspired me to write a poem. Now, I haven’t written poetry for years so don’t expect perfection. But I thought I would share it anyway.

I feel pain too, didn’t you know?

It’s not all about you, so there you go

I show you I care, I show you concern

Yet what do I get in return?

A selfish response, you ignored my pain

You focused on yourself, on your gain

He wasn’t just a friend to you

He was a friend to me too

We all knew it would happen, like an end to a song

Yet he held on, it took so long

Then when the time came, he finally died

All I could do was sit down and cry

At that time I really needed you

It was a hard time, I felt so blue

Yet you weren’t there, you didn’t care

You only cared about yourself, it’s not fair

What sort of friend are you?

Not a very good one, that’s true

I’m sick of giving and never receiving

So the time has come, I’m no longer believing

Our friendship has been a convenience to you

I need a new friend, one that will be true

Someone who will support me as much as I support them

Someone who will not be afraid to help me mend

So the time has come to say goodbye

It’s time for me to spread my wings and fly

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Today I thought I would blog about characters and where people get their inspiration from. My aim is to get an insight on how other writers create them and hopefully help fellow writers who struggle with character creation. I know for some people, character creation can be a difficult task.

Being an avid reader of many books,  I’m always intrigued at what possessed the author to create certain characters.

Is the character based on the author? Is the character based on a friend, family member, enemy? Is it someone entirely of their imagination and has no relevance to people / things they know?

Take for example Gollum in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. What was Tolkien thinking when he created him? He’s such an unusual character and I really wish I knew. It’s funny, I had never really thought much about it but today I was watching The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey and it got me thinking. Hence this blog.

This is something that has always intrigued me. To me, character development is the most exciting part of creating and writing a novel. You can create anyone you want and make them who you want them to be. I get a thrill just writing about it!

So where do I get my character inspiration from? It’s simple – everything and everyone around me!

I use people I know – family, friends, work mates, acquaintances. Sometimes I’ll sit somewhere outdoors and just watch the goings on around me. This allows me to see how people act and I find I can gauge a lot about their personality. I listen to the way people talk, what they talk about and this gives me an idea of who my character will be. Will they be shy, giggly, outspoken, selfish, argumentative?

On wattpad.com I have a completed story called The Matchmaker. The main female character, Shannon, was an easy yet exciting character to create. One day I was watching Jane Austen’s Emma and the character of Emma was the type of person I imagined Shannon to be. Not wanting to plagiarise, I tweaked her to make her unique. In looks she has a bit of me in her when I was a teenager, a bit of my 16-year-old niece, a bit of my middle sister and a bit of my best friend. In personality she has a bit of Emma, a bit of my ex-best friend, a bit of my eldest sister and even a bit of a workmate.

Off topic just briefly – if you wish to read the story, go to the website and search for my username LisaStanbridge.

On topic again. The example of Shannon is just one example of one character but you get the gist of what I mean.

So this is my question to my fellow writers who are readers / followers – where do you get your character inspiration from? Leave a comment below. I hope that between me and the rest of you, we can provide some interesting reading to fellow writers and help to those who struggle to create characters.

If you read how other people create them, it might help you too or give you some new ideas. So, please leave a comment, let everyone know what inspires you!

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Blog

Have you ever been like this? I have, many times! This isn’t relevant just for blogging but for any form of writing. There is nothing worse than staring at a screen and not being able to get a single word down. So how do you overcome writers block?

In this blog, I will provide five tips that I personally find useful. I’m not saying it will help every single one of you because we’re all different, but I hope some of you will find it helpful.

1. Just stop. Step away from the computer and take a long, well earned break. Sometimes you write something for so long, ideas run out and you get stuck. It’s called overdoing it. So taking a break for a while can quite often do wonders. Even if it’s for a few days or more, it will help.

2. If you know what’s causing the block, try and figure out where it started. Sometimes it can be as simple as losing your way. You just need to go through the last few pages and see where you fell short and fix it. Quite often this can fix the block and you’ll be well on your way again.

3. Go for a walk or even just go outside for a bit. Fresh air does wonders because it clears your mind and gets you thinking about other things. If you can’t get outside, or it’s just not your thing, do something else that you know will clear your mind. Work out, read a book, cook, whatever does it for you.

4. Talk to someone else. You must have a friend or family member who knows what you’re writing about so talk to them, bounce ideas between each other. This is something I do a lot with my husband.

5. Sit in a busy place, e.g. a mall, shopping centre or pub, and just observe the goings on around you. Listen to how people talk, listen to their conversations (you’d be surprised how many ideas you get from eavesdropping!), observe how they interact with others, how they walk, what they’re doing. If you’re looking for novel ideas, you may get a character idea. As you know, having a character in mind will lead to a story idea. If you want to write a blog, you might see something happen that sparks an idea.

Sadly there are times when you will try everything to combat writers block and nothing will help. This has happened to me on occasion! If that happens, all I can say is be patient. It’s frustrating, I know, but most times it will clear in time.

Even if you’ve planned out a story from beginning to end, writers block can still occur. A plan is just that, a plan. It’s there as a guide but you still have to fill in the gaps. Writers block is almost inevitable.

I once read somewhere that writers block is when your imaginary friends don’t talk to you. So get them talking, give them something to talk about!

Well that’s all from me. I hope this is useful. If you have any other tips to combat writers block, please leave a comment. I would love to hear what other ideas can help!

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