Let’s talk about: Tools of writing

 

Writing is a really personal process.

The internet is filled with advice, must haves, must dos, should dos and checklists on what to do to write a novel, short story or even blog posts. Hundreds or even thousands of blog posts and articles about how to plan, how to outline, how to write, even how to edit your writing. The truth is: there is no ONE way. For every author, you ask what they use you might get just as many different answers. Something that works for me, might not work for you and the other way around. As sucky as that is, everyone needs to find what works for them and then stick to it, or adjust it until it feels natural, perfect for YOU.

You do You!

I’ve been listening to several podcasts recently (including The Journeyman Writer and Self Publishing Podcast) and I did find that a few things worked for me while others didn’t but worked just fine for others. In one of the Journeyman Writer episodes, Alastair Stephens and Lani Diane Rich talked about the tools they use for their writing and that made me think about what I use. So I thought I’d share a little of that with you!

 

Research 
Google.com
Yep easy as that. No matter what I am looking for that is where I start. Be it images, articles about certain subjects and more.

Pocket
Pocket is a nifty little add-on that I use way too often. When I find a site that I believe to be helpful I pocket it. That means it lands in the app waiting for me to read later. Kinda like bookmarks but to me, it goes faster, and once I don’t need it anymore I just click the little “read” button next to it and it gets removed from the list. And the search function makes it much easier for me to find the article again. I use it on Firefox, but I saw that Android, iPad/Phone and Kobo apps are available as well.

 

Outlining and Writing
Scrivener

I started writing when I was really young and the only way I could write was on paper. Throughout the years I moved that to Microsoft works, then Word and Libre Office. I’m a huge huge fan of local copies, so I never made the jump to Google Drive for my writing (I use it just not for that ;)).
But last year a dear friend of mine told me about Scrivener and I thought it was awesome. I grabbed the trial and tested it, and fell in love. Then for my birthday, I received it as a gift and I’ve been outlining and writing in it ever since. I know some folks have trouble with it because it gives you a lot of options and frills, but I enjoy to be able to mark scenes by Point of view, keywords, move them around, make these little cards with summaries of the scenes, move them around if I have to and so on.
The whole folder for Character bios, Location sourcing and what not is fantastic and helps me personally to keep an overview. Before starting to use Scrivener I had a whole folder with subfolders for everything on my hard drive, but now I have them all in one program and it is way easier for me to look things up.

Evernote
I have told you about Evernote in another blog post and I still use it on my kindle, since I can’t put Scrivener on it when I want to write while being out of the house (haha as if I left the house) or in bed. The ability to sync the Kindle app with the desktop app to get my writing from one to the other makes it really easy.

 

Background Noise
This is one of those things that seem to be different for everyone else. Some need quiet, some want music that pulls them into the scene or character. Me? I need my TV running.
I can’t deal with quiet, then I start to think, and stop writing and start to look around… and I stop to write.
And music has the effect that I want to sing along, or in the case of instrumentals hum along, then I start to google about the artist, the lyrics, the sheet music… you get the drift.
But TV, I can have that running all day (actually I do) and write without being distracted. I know what I wrote and still know what has happened in the show I ran in the background. I might have to say that both is on the same screen. I have no physical TV, I have Netflix and I only have one monitor. So Netflix is in a small window in the upper left corner, while Scrivener is open across 3/4 of the screen. I also have learned to write blind with the typewriter so I can write and at the same time watch the show. Though I don’t do that often. Mostly I listen and when it sounds like something’s happening I look up to the small window and that’s it.
For many, it would be confusing or pull them out of the mood, but I need it to get really into it.

 

Graphics
I love working on graphics myself. Be it locations, characters or my covers, I try to do as much as possible myself. Not only because I’m broke af, but also because I have loved doing that for many years. I use graphics not only for covers but also for visualisation. Not that helps me to get into the mood and character.

Poser & Photoshop, Illustrator
Poser is a program in which I can put scenes, and characters in a 3D environment and render them. In Photoshop I do the rest.
My last project of making a map for Ashwood Falls was started in a program called RPG Citymap Generator, but after the initial 5 minutes with that program, I spent several days in Photoshop to make it mine.
Illustrator is another graphic program, basically the Photoshop of Vector images. I don’t use that as often as Photoshop but for example, the “Enemy of my Enemy” cover was made in there.

Stock sites
And sometimes I use stock sites. These are sites that provide stock images to use in your own pictures. Some need to be paid, others are free. There are way too many to list here, but when you google for Stock images you will have a lot of results including websites that list 10, 20 or more of the best ones.

 

My friends and partner
At the moment I don’t have beta-readers (hope to get them, though), but I have friends I bounce ideas off. When I get stuck or need another set of eyes to know if a plot works they are the ones to get bugged by me. I feel lucky to have friends who don’t sugarcoat things and tell me if something I wrote sucks, otherwise that wouldn’t be any help. My partner even reads through my whole draft in that little time he has to find plotholes, inconsistencies or anything else that jumps at him.
I’m forever grateful for their support.

 

That is pretty much my writing tool cabinet. Does it look anything like yours? If not what would I find in your cabinet? Let’s chat and let me know in the comments!

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How Star Trek and Doctor Who improved my story telling

I’m a huge geek.

I grew up with Star Trek – The next Generation. As it was aired for the very first time in Germany I was 8 years old and was hooked from the first episode, despite the strange Cheerleader attire of Deanna Troi. I remember running home from school to not miss the episode that would start at 2:30 pm, only minutes after my last class. I made it every time. After that, the story just went on with Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even Enterprise. The only show I didn’t really get into was TOS, but I loved the movies – so that’s something.

Of course, it didn’t stay with Star Trek. Series like Lexx, Firefly, Stargate and many more followed but for the most time of my life, Star Trek was my bae. And then came Doctor Who. I had never seen the original series at the point or even heard of it – yeah Germany is lacking great geek stuff. I was hooked from the first episode – again. While we were waiting for new seasons we had to get our Who fix and watched the movie, borrowed Jon Pertwee episodes from a friend and enjoyed them thoroughly. I have loved every Doctor I have seen so far, even the “unpopular” ones.

Assimilation² Cover crop
Part of the Assimilation² Cover. The copyright of this image’s publication belongs to IDW Publishing, under license from CBS Paramount Television and/or Paramount Pictures.

While I watch a lot of TV and movies, these two shows have shaped my life. They were teachers, friends, lifelines and more to me, the characters became a second and then third family. And I still am fully immersed through my cooperative writing Star Trek Role-playing Group Starbase 118. When thinking about how I started my writing to where I am now I can honestly say, that these two shows helped me with my writing. But why?

Those of you who know the shows might know already. Both Star Trek and Doctor who have strong characters with their own plot-arcs, developments, and goals. And then there are characters without these elements so you can see the difference right away. For example, Worf had much more story than for example Geordie. Or Doctor Who’s Mickey has more of an arc than Donna’s mother. And I am a huge fan of character development and stories. So observing the series’ ways to develop their characters has been a huge help to find ways to do that.

These shows also have relatable and likeable characters, just as much as characters that we can really hate on. I believe that Star Trek and Doctor Who both have fantastic plots that develop and evolve characters throughout single episodes, seasons and the whole show. The writers even managed to bring in Villains that we can relate to, that make us understand how they tick, why they became who they are. Who wouldn’t understand the intentions of Gul Dukat when it comes to his daughter, while at the same time hating on him for it. One of the favourites among my friends was Garak the Tailor, who was dubious and loveable at the same time. Who did not shed a tear when realizing the true driving force behind The Master, while being shocked by his maniac attempts to take over Earth? Or when Rose finds out what is in those Dalek tanks, I admit I cried and felt sorry for them. That is some great villain writing right there.

Every episode has its own timeline. The introductions, getting to the meat of the story, continuing with a plot twist (something happens that causes them trouble) and the way to get out of it, and then the fading out/resolution. But as every fan of almost every show knows, there is not only the timeline of each episode. But a timeline of the season, or series of episodes that belong together. Writers do the same, nobody wants to give away everything too early, or drag things out too long. If you are writing a series, you want to make sure that the first book doesn’t resolve the problem already. Star Trek TNG did not have it that much, other than multi-episode plots, but where you can see that really well is in Star Trek Deep Space Nine, especially in the last season. And Doctor Who has a lot of that as well, even more so.

Another element that I really enjoy is returning elements, be it bad boys or allies. In Star Trek, we have the Borg, Klingons, Romulans, the Dominion, Cardassians, Breen and many more of these returning baddies. In Doctor who we see the Daleks, Cybermen even the Autons return a few times, and not to forget other characters like Bonny, Mickey, The Master. To me, it is the element of “Oh hey I know them!” that connects different stories together making it all obviously the same universe. It brings together the whole history of the show.

And last but not least, movies, as well as TV-Shows can teach us a great deal about pacing and structure of a story, for single episodes, multi-episodes and seasons. We learn about stages in the story (introduction, twist, climax, fade out), for short-term plots and long-term plots. We learn how to foreshadow, how to bring in surprises and how to come to a satisfying conclusion (at least most of the time).

When you start writing, one of the advice pieces you’ll get over and over is to read a lot. Who wants to write, needs to read. And while I agree with that, don’t underestimate the teaching power of some great Television.

Doctor Who - David Tennant

Do you have favourite shows that do this for you? Maybe some other shows or movies taught you a lot about writing or helped you to put your story to life? Tell us in the comments, maybe you’ll bring a gem into the lives of other writers like my friend brought Doctor Who into mine.

My new best friend – Evernote

You have seen it on this blog a few times – not as many times as others had to read or hear it from me in person but nevertheless – that I have not found the time to write much. That was one of the reasons that around Black Friday I decided to get a Kindle Fire. While it is full of awesomeness by itself, I wanted something I can carry around with me to write on.

Yeah yeah, I know. There is the magical invention of pen and paper, but let’s be honest here among us. I have not written much by hand in many years, apart from shopping lists, I can barely read my handwriting because my brain is so fast my hand can’t follow – in contrast to my fingers when it comes to typing which still is too slow but much faster than whatever I could get onto paper. Also if I write for more than two minutes my hand is going to cramp up and hurt like a … you get the drift. So typing it is. I have no laptop, nor can I afford one. So the Kindle has become my writing buddy.

The first apps I added were Office apps, trying them out to see which works best for me. And it was pretty annoying to write a bunch and then having to send that file per email to my computer. I could have used google drive, but I didn’t find any free program that allowed to actually edit the files on Drive itself, which again meant to send emails with documents. And then I learned of

And then I learned about the existence of Evernote. Why has nobody ever told me about that before? I am looking you there!

Evernote

I am able to not only write on my Kindle but sort it all nicely into Notebooks (like folders). These I have sorted by current writing, plot ideas, writing for my roleplay and notes for like Second Life creation ideas (I also have a ToDo folder but I have not used it yet). And the best part is that after I’m done I simply safe and next time I go to my PC I start the Desktop app and have it all there. No more sending emails around to get the files to where they need to be.

Okay, actually the best is, that it’s free. But function wise it’s that you can sync it between your devices. I’m quite sure that there is a lot more in this app than I have discovered yet, so make sure you check it out. Since I got my writer buddies I have written more than in the last 4 months combined. Most of it at night in bed, when I couldn’t sleep. it already has been absolutely worth it.

Maybe you want to tell me about your little Evernote Tricks. What else am I missing? Do you have writing buddies that you absolutely recommend? Let me know down in the comments!

 

Update time! What have I been up to

progress update

 

It is about time I update you on what I have been up to! Because I’ve been busy! Things had slowed down last year, but for Black Friday I had the chance to obtain a Kindle Fire for a good price. That helped me to write more again, as I was not bound to my desktop anymore. Most of the time when I’m in bed already and can’t sleep I just whip out my Evernote and write a few lines. Makes me feel incredibly productive. 😉

If you’ve been following along you know that I wrote a Sci-Fi Novella in the “Blood in Space” Universe called “Enemy of my enemy“. The same universe now got a little more love from me. Jonathan Snyder is putting together a collection of short stories and I had the honour to add one of my own. It is called ‘Extinction’ and will once more return to the proud Atelak Warriors. This time though we witness an event within a different tribe that will later end up a story, used to teach children to not lose their temper. Why you ask? You can find out once the collection will be released. You’ll hear about that right here when it’s time.

I have also continued with the second book of my Ashwood falls Trilogy. The first 8 chapters are in its first draft and I am excited to continue with the story around Alana and Leandrus.

The very same universe gets a little more love in form of a short story I have started to work on as well. This short story will shed some light on Leandrus’ past and how he landed in the void he was pulled from. For this short-story, I am catching up on some fun Tudor-era research and am having a lot of fun with showing another side of our favourite demon of the series. Once that short story is done it’ll be a Mailing list subscriber exclusive, so join the list and you won’t miss it. 🙂

That was it from this side of the screen for now. How about you? What have you been up to? Want to share your current projects? Are you excited about something? Let me know down in the comments. Let’s chat. 🙂

 

Let’s talk about – Write what you know

Letstalkabout

 

No matter if you write fiction or non-fiction, blog posts, do-it-yourself articles, advice columns, short stories or novels, you might have heard that one piece of advice all through your weeks, months or years of writing: “Write what you know.”

When I heard that for the first time I had immediate thoughts on what I know!

I know how to cook frozen Pizza.
I know how to not starve because I ordered a huge pack of ramen noodles in all kinds of flavours.
I know how to sleep for a long time.
I know how to take a shower without breaking my neck – 37 years of study in that subject proof that.
I know how to binge watch TV-Shows and movies.
I know how to avoid doctor visits when I really “don’t wanna”.

I know many many things more, but let’s be honest: Nobody wants to read a book about that. Well actually I’d die to read a book about it, but I might not be a big market all on my own.

After eliminating all these useful, elaborate skillsets the question remained: What do I write about?

Writing fiction might be a tad easier on that because you don’t have to go into the depths of a subject too much, but you still need to know what you are talking about. Maybe the whole ‘Write what you know’ does not only mean the experiences or your degree you have in a field.

Instead, make sure that you research the hell out of something you want to write about. Writing paranormal stories with demons and vampires? Study the lore. Writing a story that plays in the Tudor era? Read about it, the life, language, customs, important events and what have you. (Coincidentally that is what I’m doing at the moment.) Want to write for a woman but you’re a bloke and have no idea about that? Study women, read magazines, talk to them and ask what they’d do. If your character goes through a life-changing event and you have no experience with that said event, chat with folks who’ve gone through it.

There are many ways to research and accumulate knowledge about what you are writing about. So go ahead, dig in and then “write what you know”.

What is it you are writing about? How did you get to know about it and got more insight? Was it easy? Exciting? Boring (if so why the heck did you want to write about boring stuff?) Share your experiences and tell me more right down in the comments.

Brand spanking new Podcast interview

Some of you know, that part of my creativity goes to and comes from being a member of a Star Trek Roleplaying Community called Starbase 118. I’ve written with this group of ST enthusiasts for 4 years and have met all kinds of awesome people from casual writers to fellow authors. In this community of fans and writers we also have great institutions like a podcast team! Jonathan Snyder from that team has recently interviewed me about what I do when I’m not writing for Starbase 118 and the result has been published today!

It has been my very first audio interview so I was a little nervous, but I had a blast! Of course I’m sharing it with you and hope you’ll enjoy!

What did you think of the interview? Did you enjoy the information you’ve got? Which questions would you ask me if you had the chance? Did you do podcast interviews and how did they go? Please comment below and let me know! Thank you for taking the time and see you around next time!

How Can I Help My Author Friend? | Dave Butler Writes

I’ve seen this today from a fellow writer and I just had to share with you guys!

 

A skeletal and non-exhaustive list, offered with no comment. You can:

  • Buy her book.
  • Buy more copies, and give them as gifts.
  • Share on social media that you’ve bought the book.
  • Reshare your friend’s announcements about the book.
  • Reshare great reviews of your friend’s book.
  • Post a review to Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites.
  • Share your review on social media.
  • Feature her cover art on your “wall” or other social media platform. Provide a link.
  • “Like” good reviews of her book.
  • Review her book on your blog.
  • Invite her to post about her book’s release on your blog.
  • Suggest her book to your book club.
  • Write and share a filk song based on her book.
  • Ask your library to order a copy.
  • Ask your kids’ school to order a copy.
  • Attend your friend’s book launch.
  • Offer to host a book launch for your friend.
  • Pass information about public speaking opportunities (at libraries, schools, conventions) to your friend.
  • Cosplay your friend’s characters at conventions.
  • Tell other people verbally about the book.
  • Sell copies on consignment in your place of business.
  • Suggest your kids do book reports on her book.
  • Leave a copy lying prominently in your house for people to notice and ask about.

Source: How Can I Help My Author Friend? | Dave Butler Writes

Re-blog Brian’s Writing Tip #3: Write like you talk

I saw this yesterday and it made me think. I sometimes write too formal. Not because I want to sound formal, but because I am not a native speaker. But i realize that I rarely write how I speak. So maybe I should try that next time I start writing.

What do you think? Should we write how we speak or can that be a problem? Comment below and tell me what you think. 🙂

 

Source:  Brian’s Writing Tip #3: Write like you talk (3) Brian’s Writing Tip #3: Write like you talk | Writing Tips | Pinterest

Self publishing #1 – The start is not what you think it is

I have been asked a couple of times how I went about my self publishing journey and I have tried to answer to the best of my ability. Despite having read hours and hours about self publishing, what to do and how it works, I have made many mistakes. So I decided to share my way, and not only tell you what I did, but also what I did wrong. Maybe the one or other will find this helpful. Because self publishing is such a long journey, I thought it might be more useful to split this in several parts and make it a series. So here is where we start.

If you are anything like me, you might think that the start is to write and finish the story. Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong. After reading more and more after I have published my book, I have learned that the actual start of the process is to begin building your base, a community of people, followers, future readers etc.

But why should I do that when I don’t even have the book yet to show them? Well that was my question. But actually it makes a lot of sense. You need to get people interested in you. I have not done that when I started, so I am telling you about the things I should have done.

The start could be anything like this:

  • Start a blog (I personally love wordpress, but there are other platforms, depending if you want to host it on your website or not. Even if you have a static website, a blog is a fantastic addition, to allow people to subscribe and follow your new posts more easily.)
  • Create a twitter (unless you have one that you want to use for it already.)
  • Create a facebook page for your musings and book promotions
  • Syndicate your blog with twitter, facebook, google+ and other social media websites for maximum exposure of your blog. It helped me because it saved me the time to manually post every article over the net.
  • Check out online communities/forums about writing and get active (If you google for writing communities you will find a lot of sites with lists and such to help you find the right one for you. These are just 3 of the top results here, here and here.)
  • Read author’s websites and blogs, comment and connect. (Contrary to the whole rumour (and sometimes fact) about authors being solitary creatures, many of us actually love to interact with other writers and readers.)

You might not have a book to show yet, but you have your mind. Share your way, your ideas, interesting articles about writing, writing prompts, inspirations that make you write, quotes that you feel are worth sharing and so on and so forth. I am the first to admit that it takes getting used to. I keep thinking that I have nothing to say, nothing to share, but that is not true. I just keep telling myself that for some reason. So I’m still trying to get into the groove.

On twitter you can share these blogposts, interact with readers and writers or just anyone really. You might think that your stories are the most interesting part of you, but actually readers want to know you. They want to be part of your life so share something about you, don’t hide behind a wall of books. I know that many writers out there are more comfortable focussing on their writing, I am one of those. I really have a hard time to be active on social media, but I have my moments here and there. But mostly I think that my stories are more interesting than me. But I’m trying to get over that. 😉

But the more connected people feel with you, the more interested they become in you and what you are doing. That also means they might be more interested in hearing about your story, your book, your novel series, whatever you are writing, once you have something to share. It does makes sense. I mean would you be more interested in a book a friend publishes or in that of a stranger? Yes, the stranger can deliver a fantastic book that you want to buy – we do that all the time, right? – but if a friend tells me about their new book I’m all over that like I’d be over a meat only buffet.

So Step 1 is to start building your base, interact (even if it is hard for you it’s worth it), and show yourself.

 

SelfPublishing#1

 

Stay tuned for the next part soon. Until then feel free to share your beginnings. Did you start with building a base? Or did you write all the way through and started after? What are your experiences and what would you do different if you’d have to start again? The comment section below is hungry for your input!

How To Write A Great Story – Pixar rules

Source: How To Write A Great Story – The Meta Picture

Sharing a Quote

You are not alone

 

The actual picture is not made by me. Copyright lies by Konstantin Tilberg . I only increased the contrast a little and added the writing.  Thank you for sharing your work, Konstantin, with us and allowing folks to use it as base for their stuff!

 

“Enemy of my Enemy” Reveal

A few times I have been asked what I am working on at the moment.  One of the projects is getting into stages at which I can tell you more about it! I have mentioned my dear friend Jonathan Snyder before and he is working on a Sci-Fi Roleplaying System called “Blood in Space”.

It is an honor for me, that he has asked me to write a novella based on that universe. I’m excited to tell you that the first draft of that novella is done now! The part of the universe I chose to write about is a member of a species Jonathan invented called the “Atelak”. The Atelak are a proud species of hunters and warriors. One of the steps in the life of an Atelak is to go on their own personal hunt to either hunt or battle enemies for prestige and honor. My story is about one of these proud people and their own personal hunt.

Larenssa had always dreamed of her life as a strong warrior and worked all her young life to be ready to bring glory and honor to her tribe. Passing her initiation rites was a challenge, but it would pale compared to what she would endure on the traditional hunt.

Leaving her tribe behind, Larenssa began one of the most important journeys of her life. She will find herself at the mercy of her prey and be forced to make a decision. What will happen when the tables are turned and she becomes the hunted?

I will continue working on its edits and hope that we will be able to bring the exciting story about Larenssa’s hunt to you very soon!

Handwriting challenge

A few days ago a friend of mine issued a handwriting challenge on one of the social media platforms I lurk around. It was actually supposed to write something nice, but well call it artistic freedom or something: I did my own thing. And I thought it’d ba fun to share with you, sharing why I do not handwrite my drafts.

Have you done the challenge? If not, feel free to join in! Share yours in the comments, be it video or picture 🙂

Guest post “Meet the Villains”

A few days ago my dear friend Jonathan Snyder has written a guest post on this blog “You Have to Torture your Characters!”. Now I had the honor of writing a guest post for him!

The post I chose will talk about writing an interesting Villain character! So head on over to “The Musings of the Crazy One” and read “Meet the Villains”.

Again, thank you Jonathan!

MeetVillains

You Have to Torture your Characters!

So tell me, did you look at the title and go, “What the hell is he talking about?” If so, then mission accomplished, if not, then why are you still reading?

Hello all! I am Jonathan Snyder and I have been dying to tell you all why you must torture your characters for the sake of a good story! This is also the first time I have ever written a guest blog and so I extend my uttermost thanks to Jessica Werner for this opportunity.

Let’s get back to torturing characters. For the record, I am not referring to medieval style methods or worse, Fifty Shades of Grey. I am referring to the concept that you have to make your character go through tough times to succeed in their goals.

Have you ever stopped and thought about some of your favorite characters outside of the context of their story? In honor of the new Star Wars movie, take Luke Skywalker for instance. His only home and two loving relatives were destroyed by Stormtroopers, he’s been thrust in to a giant galaxy by himself, not to mention he has to find out his parents were horribly murdered and became the most feared man in the galaxy. Even his mentor gets slaughtered after a few weeks together. That’s a lot of stress! Characters need to go through hardship to grow and become more than they are. To be unchallenged is no way to find out who or what they are. Like real people, characters need experience and adversity to be molded to their full potential or in the case of villains, to crack and break in to the monsters they become. They must be tortured by life and their enemies to become better. Not only that, it makes for great stories!

Now, after all this stuff about making sure your characters suffer horrible things, there is one final rule that I feel must be remembered. No matter what you do to your characters, you need to reward them in the end. Give them what they are striving for or find a way to make sure what they did was worth it all. Luke became part of something greater and in the end came to understand what being a Jedi means. Do not just torture your characters and never give them anything in the end, unless you’re trying to mimic Russian literature.

So, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post and have a great time sitting at your computers thinking, “So, what horribly thing can I do to you today?”

 

 

Sra’kalor revision is now available in print!

A little more than a week ago, I have released my revision of Sra’kalor! As promised it is now available in print as well.

I have received my proof copy and all went well, so now you can head on over to Lulu, and grab yourself a copy as a perfect-bound Paperback!

You can find Sra’kalor in print here.

What can I tell you, it’s a great feeling holding it in my hands and smelling this wonderful book smell. See for yourself!

Sra'kalor Paperback

Let’s talk about … rewriting

Letstalkabout

Today I want to talk about rewriting. Now that is some scary stuff right there. You have a story in your mind, a poem, a speech – anything really – and somehow it doesn’t work out. I don’t know about you, but that completely blocks my mojo and it can happen that I stop writing for a while, breaking my brain on how to make it work.

Well, just recently, while writing on my first draft of the second part of my book series, I stumbled over that problem. I kept reading the last chapter I had written, but I was still blocked. So I did something that proved to be the first step in the right direction: I questioned what I had written. The reaction of Alana getting some news just seemed wrong, despite me feeling it was alright when I initially wrote it.

So what do you do in that situation? I don’t know what you would do, though I’d love to know, but I asked some friends. I explained the situation and asked them how they would react. The answers were eye opening. Only one of them told me what I have written, the others all had the an answer similar to another, but it was the opposite of mine. So I decided to rewrite the whole chapter.

It might sound strange to some, but that is an extremely hard thing to do. A story is like a baby to me as writer, so changing or even deleting it is tough. To be honest, while it is difficult I do know that it is for the best. It will make the whole situation more believable and I am excited for that and the added development it will provide. Of course I cannot tell you what situation that was, because that would give away an important part of the second book. It is important though, which I keep realizing and learning over and over again, to not be afraid to change things up, to delete scenes if needed, or to adjust them. I want it to be more realistic, so I’m getting on that. Cross your fingers!

What is your experience with this? I believe every writer had to go through that at least once, if not even more often. I’m curious to hear your stories, so share them in the comments. 🙂

Snippets – Prompt #3

It is past time for another Snippet! For those among you who are new here, here is how this works:

I am posting a Snippet below. It is something I wrote down at some point and did not develop, but I would love to see get its own life. Then you go and write whatever pops into your mind. You can make it a story about how it came to this, or maybe it is the beginning or the middle. You can write a poem, or anything else that is inspired by the Snippet. If you want, you can share it in the comments, because I would LOVE to see what you did with the Snippet, and show it to everyone. Easy enough, right?

So here we go, the newest snippet for you guys:

Snippet3

I can’t wait to see what you are coming up with. Please share your stories in the comments, I would LOVE to read them!

The hat that saw the world

Once upon a time in a land far far away, lived a hat, crocheted by the most beautiful lavender yarn. A special honour had befallen on it, as it was the prize for a generous give-away by a kind hearted yarn-enthusiast. Our lavender hat was really excited, because it would throne on the head of the lucky winner. The day came when the winner was chosen, and the hat wondered, where this strange sounding land named ‘Germany’ would be.

It watched as its maker prepared the details for the travel and it saw that there was a big water between its old and the new home. A long travel, it thought, what a fun that will be!
It didn’t take long when it was bedded carefully in a passed envelope and made itself a temporary home in the cozy folds. Carefully it held on the smaller envelope that had been added inside for the lucky winner across the globe. It could not wait to get on the way and just the next day its journey would start.

When the shaking and wobbling began it peeked through the crack that had been left open, just little but enough to see, and saw it was moving. An exciting tohuwabohu of black moving rubber bands, catapulting so many of its brethren – smaller, bigger and the same – through huge halls, sorted and brought to big trucks, filled and loaded with more of them. It saw a big sign, that said Phoenix and he looked around searching for the fiery bird. But before he could search properly, the big box closed and with a loud rumbling noise they began to shake and vibrate, moving to their next destination. And this happened a few times. It was excited to see all these places with their funny names like Chicago – where did chica go, and who was chica? Was it a letter too? – or Detroit – was it of metal like that shiny golden one with the little beeping friend?.

But it got even more excited when it saw the change from the big boxes rolling over the streets to an even bigger rounder box. It was long and had windows, and wings! The little lavender hat was jumping of joy. It would fly!

For the longest time, almost a full day, it watched the sparkling diamond crusted ocean beneath them, waving at them from afar. The clouds surrounded the big round box like cotton balls, keeping them safe, catching them on their softness if turbulences occurred. When the sparkling blue vanished out of side, the little lavender hat was not sad. It knew more was to come. After the big round box found its way back to the ground the hat heard strange sounds and words, it did not understand. But the big sign above the building let it know that it was in a place called Amsterdam. It giggled listening, they sounded funny. Or maybe they had a cold, the little hat was not sure.

It did not have much time to listen or to watch everything, but soaked in every little bit of its journey. Just a little big later, it was already back on the way, back in another round box, crossing land, green and yellow and small sparkly blues. More funny sounding voices greeted it at the other end, similar to those in Amsterdam but different. And the next morning, the big day was there! It felt the hands grabbing, placed into a bag, not a big box any more. Gently wobbling as it was carried through streets. More hands, as it was handed to someone else, which began to increase the crack in the envelope.

Carefully it was pulled out of the comfortable padding, fingers feeling its softness. With a joyous cry it was lifted to the head of the lucky winner, soft long hair carefully placed between its loops it finally rested on its finally destination. And it could see the smile, a happy one, on its new owners face as she looked into a mirror, placing it carefully, and said “You have seen more of the world that I have. I think you have a lot to tell me!”


 

So yes, I won a giveaway of a hat, that was the kind of hat, I had wanted to have for a long time. Already as a younger girl I saw these and thought how beautiful they are. So when I saw the giveaway I had to enter, and was surprised to be the winner. I have to thank Brie, the lovely maker of ‘The hat that saw the world’ for making my girlhood dream come true. And of course I cannot not write a little story, right?

The little lavender hat
The little lavender hat
The little lavender hat - Side view, so much hair in it!
The little lavender hat – Side view, so much hair in it!
Hi everyone!
Hi everyone!

(Excuse the poor quality, my webcam isn’t the best 😉 )

Brie makes beautiful things with her crocheting, hats, dolls and more. You really should check out her FB page, she also does giveaways – obviously – and she should be known much more than she is. She’s the sweetest and kindest, and a lovely friend of mine. Thank you, Brie. It did not make pictures but the stories it has to tell…

Let’s talk about …

Letstalkabout

Some of you might or might not know, that English is not my first language. If you hadn’t noticed until now: Surprise! So yes, while my grasp of the English language is better than many other Germans can pride themselves with, I do not know everything. Obviously. There might be the one or other grammar mistake even in my blog posts, but I try my best. Either way today it is not about grammar or spelling.

Today we are talking about windows.

Windows? Yes! Windows. Well more about the fun to find out about more of them. So me being a non native speaker I had a moment of “OMG I do not know how to call this” while writing a new chapter of my book. And there are usually three or four ways I try to find out which word I am looking for.

  1. I ask the all knowing man of my dreams, who is usually sitting two meters behind me, just waiting to be able to shine with his knowledge.
  2. Checking the dictionary – I know for some that is the first step but oh well I like hearing his voice more than checking myself.
  3. Type a description of what I am looking for into google and hope that there is something even relating to it.
  4. Ask my native English speaking friends online.

To my utter surprise the first three items on that list failed me, when I tried to find a certain word relating to windows. In German we have a certain word for when the window is opened this way:

Tilted Window

In German that would be “gekippt” or “auf kipp”. Now I could have thought it would be cracking a window, but to write ‘She looked at the cracked window’ could have given a completely wrong impression of the condition of said window and we cannot have that. The direct translation of ‘gekippt’ would be ’tilted’, but as always in situations like that, there is no guarantee that a direct translation is the correct word.

So I went to my online community and asked them. And boy, did I learn things about windows. I was surprised how much we could even talk about that subject. And surprisingly there are way more window types that I knew existed. Now look at this:

Window Types

A few of those I have seen before, others were completely new to me, and not all types of windows are in that graphic either. Either way, according to this the type of window I mean is a Hopper. Now imagine I would write “She looked at the Hopper window.” Maybe for those knowing the name of that specific type that would be good, for me though, not so much. I’d imagine a window with bunny ears hopping around in my house. Yes, not so good, but highly amusing.

So among all the fantastic information about types of windows, in different languages and from all walks of life, the consent was with either “opened” or “tilted”. Oh look my old friend is back. Opened to me looks more like this:

Open window
Open window – Source http://www.shuttersandsunflowers.com

So after everything I went back to where I started and chose tilted. But who would have thought that talking about windows could be not only a long discussion, but also interesting? I have not, but I was wrong.

Anyone out there been going to search for window types for their stories before? What have you found interesting about it? Or have you had other interesting searches for the right word to share with me? I certainly would love to hear about it.