I read a lot of articles about writing on the web- there are so many fantastic websites and blogs out there sharing information about all aspects of the writing process. Here are some of my favourite finds from the last month…
2. How to Maintain Focus When Writing
by Mary Jaksch at Write To Done
I always write to instrumental music- usually original film scores that suit the mood of whichever scene I am working on- so it was interesting to read here that music is known to aid focus.
3. Imagining Beyond One’s Own Experience, or What the Fiction Writer Calls “Going to Work”
by Tracey Hahn-Burkett at Writer Unboxed
I have never liked the phrase ‘write what you know.’ Therefore, I like this article.
4. The good people at Aerogramme Writers Studio are once again on my list, for the simple reason that they are awesome. Firstly, it was through them that I heard about a free online course from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program called How Writers Write Fiction: Talks on Craft and Commitment. This course will feature a ‘curated collection of talks created by fifty authors of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and literary translation. This will be complemented by online discussions, writing assignments and practical workshops.’ (Aerogrammestudio.com) It starts on September 24th. Yay! Also, while you’re over at Aerogramme, you can check out their list of writing opportunities for August and September.
It’s always nice when two of your favourite authors get together like this! I find lots of new books to read at Kate Forsyth’s website, as well as interesting information on the craft of writing.
6. The Power of Explanation Compels You: Avoiding the Dreaded Infodump
by Janice Hardy at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University
Dreaded infodump, indeed! I like this article because not only does it identify what infodumps are, it also gives clear advice on how to get rid of them. Janice Hardy’s post on plotting backwards was also one of my favourites this month. I recently read James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel from the Middle and was quite taken with the whole idea of starting at the middle and working out from there. (I struggle with beginnings. I honestly think I spent most of 2013 re-writing the first chapter of my novel-in- progress. Yes, really.)
The middle (or midpoint, midpoint reversal, Act 2 climax, etc) is, according to Bell, the ‘magical moment’ that essentially ‘pulls together the entire narrative.’ It’s the place where the character has a good look in the mirror and and decides what kind of person they are, or what kind of odds they face (or both). It’s the place where big stuff happens. Bell uses Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind’s famous ‘as God is my witness’ scene as an example of this. This scene is the moment when Scarlett faces the odds and begins to change. We see the essence of Scarlett, and therefore the essence of the entire novel. If we know what is happening to Scarlett (or, better yet, our own protagonist) at this point, we can better understand how they were at the beginning of the novel, and how they will have changed by the end of it. Bell calls the combination of these three key moments the ‘Golden Triangle.’ I sat down and made my own Golden Triangle and it has helped me see the shape of my own WIP so much more clearly. It was amazing! I recommend getting a copy of the book and trying it for yourself.
If you live in or near Sydney, Australia I also recommend doing the Plotting and Planning course offered at the Australian Writers’ Centre with author Kate Forsyth. It is a brilliant course and Kate is wonderful at explaining the finer points of structure and planning. (I love Kate’s classes so much I am going to England in September for a week-long writing retreat with her in the Cotswolds! More on that later : ) )
Have you found any great writing articles online lately? Do you write to music? If so, what type?