Quick Tip #9 – Of PowerPoints and Epic Music

Hello, I have returned.
Though I have not been very active here, I have been working on my writing projects and have even discovered new ways to be more productive. This quick tip is about what I have found to help me be more productive and how I can across each discovery.
Recently, I have been in a weird funk where I can’t get my writing to be as lively as I would like it to be. I have tried taking a break from writing, doing some travelling and trying new things with the hope of bringing some more emotion into my writing. It helped me a little but the motivation to get up and write was slim to none.
One, humid afternoon, I was at home and browsing YouTube because I was too lazy to get up and finish the chapter that I was writing. During my browsing for the soundtrack of one of my favorite movies, I stumbled across epic music.
I had not heard about epic music before, therefore, I was intrigued and decided to give it a listen.
And boy, I was not disappointed.
Epic music has given me the motivation that I was looking for. It kicked my creativity up to a whole new level. So much so that I have a vivid picture/motion picture of the scene I am trying to create and I am enveloped by the emotions that I wish to convey. This genre of music pushes someone to create a world based around the music and the feelings buried within the music.
The second discover I came across was PowerPoint.
Yes, PowerPoint has been around for a few years, so I wasn’t really discovering PowerPoint for the first time.
What I am referring to is the use of PowerPoint.
One evening, I was rereading my outline for my novel. Ok that is a lie, I was trying to reread my outline. I don’t know how but looking at my notes was boring. Though I love the story idea, I couldn’t bear to read the outline.
Therefore, I grabbed my lap and I started to write. In the middle of my writing, I decided to rewrite my outline. At first, I was simply going to open a Word document but I noticed I could also make it a PowerPoint.
In a way, a PowerPoint presentation was like an index card. Only it was fun and you could put in animations. Because of this unusual comparison, I rewrote my outline in PowerPoint.
This has made me more productive because the presentation of my notes is nice to look at. I can easily skip from one chapter outline to the next and I know that this outline will not be lost in my cabinet. Writing an outline in PowerPoint just makes writing more appealing to me and I can’t exactly explain why.
There you have it! The two discoveries that I have made in my absence. I know two isn’t a lot but I have been busy and traveling has given me a lot of scenes to include in my novels. I hope these two discoveries are helpful to you guys.

‘Til next time, keep writing!

Quick Tip #8 – Old Writing Pieces

When I first started writing, I had a habit of getting rid of some writing pieces that I did not enjoy or that I felt were not worthy of keeping. At that time, a friend of mine would always tell me “You should keep your writing pieces!”
I don’t know if it was the fact that she was younger than me or the fact that I didn’t see the value of my work, but I was a bit reluctant to do as she said. So, at first, I threw out a few pieces of writing. Then, as time went on, I started saving pieces of writing that I either never finished or didn’t like.
Fast forward to 2017. I find myself looking through my cloud storage and what do I stumble upon?
Old writing pieces.
After taking a few minutes to reread my old work and cringing at some of the sentences I had thrown together, I came to realize that an extremely important thing for a writer is to keep hold of their old writing pieces. No, I am not saying this because it’s great to reminiscence or to make examples of our old work. Our old pieces of work are quite valuable even when we grow as writers.

Benefit 1 – Notice the Growth
One benefit that I have gained from keeping and looking over my old writing pieces is confidence in my writing. When I first started writing, I made a bunch of rookie mistakes in my work. I overused dialogue, bent my characters to the will of my story, and I used a lot of dialogue tags. Comparing my old writings to my current work shows just how far I have come in the last few years. I found that I managed to apply all the tips and tricks I have learned and there is an improvement in my writing. This really boosted my hope for a writing career in the future seeing how I am still learning how to improve my writing.

Benefit 2 – Discover What You Want to Write About
The second benefit that I have gained is that I now realize what I truly want to write. I noticed that my old pieces and some of current pieces revolve around the same general idea. However, I have been trying to convey that idea and I couldn’t figure out how until recently. This clarity has helped me to edit my work so that I can create a piece that can convey everything that I need it to. If I had not decided to keep my old writing pieces then this story idea would have never found a way out.

Please do not think that the benefits gained from keeping your old writing pieces is limited because it is not. This is merely the beginning of the benefits that I have recognized. I’m sure that there is way more benefits that I have yet to acknowledge. ‘Til next time, keep writing!

Writing Tip #7: Where to Write Down Your Ideas

As all writers know, it can be hard to find a designated object to write down a story or a series of story ideas. The fear of losing that one killer idea or that major plot twist will make us write on everything and anything we can get our hands on. Like old receipts, blank pages in books, our bodies or the bodies of others. At first, it seems like the most brilliant idea. You managed to reuse a piece of trash or made use of something that was seemingly useless. However, old receipts can get lost, blank pages can sometimes disappear (I haven’t had that happen yet but I am waiting), ink washes off skin, and sometimes our human notebooks walk away with our ideas.

So where can we write down story ideas? This seems a bit ridiculous, I know. We live in a time where you can go to any app store and download a writing notebook or some form of writing tool. But what happens, if you reset your device or if the app suddenly disappears? Your ideas and all those notes are long gone unless you can remember what you had written. This has happened to me several times when I started getting interested in writing applications. Since those tragic events, I found four fool-proof ways of keeping my writing ideas safe along with two others resources that are also pretty reliable.

  1. OneNote

This is probably one of the apps that I use the most. OneNote is a Microsoft application that allows you to store notes. Unlike the notebook default app you get on your device, the notes stored in OneNote are saved into a cloud that allows you to extract the note from just about anywhere. If you get a new phone and have to re-download OneNote, simply sign into your Microsoft account and viola. Most of the notes you have ever written should be there. The reason I say most is because I recently signed into a device and opened my OneNote, only to find that some of my notes were missing. I don’t know why that happened but it did. Thankfully, the previous device still has the notes.

Just a side note, I think this only works if you have a Microsoft account, since everything you create will be saved into a cloud within your own account.

Similar to OneNote, I know Apple has a note application which I believe is linked to your Apple account and the note application provided by Samsung is linked to your Samsung account. Disclaimer- I have never used the Apple or Samsung note application, therefore there isn’t much that I can tell you.

  1. Word

Yes, this is also a Microsoft application. Microsoft Word works the same way OneNote does. Be signed into your Microsoft account, write a bit, and then save your work so that you can pick it up from any device. Word is a thousand times more reliable than OneNote. I have yet to have a problem with Word applications and Word Online.

  1. OneDrive, Google Drive/Google Docs

OneDrive and Google Drive (I guess you can include the Apple cloud) are just storage places for writing pieces that you wish to keep for however long you need/want them. Google Docs is what you would use in order to save your writing pieces to Google Drive. Google docs is similar to Word, however it isn’t quite the same. There are many things you can do with Google docs that you can’t do with Microsoft Word and vice versa. Whichever you prefer to use is really up to how you feel about the service you are being provided. Obviously, I lean more on the Microsoft side of the spectrum but I do think Google Drive and Google Docs are pretty good. I haven’t really had a problem with any of Google’s application such as Google Drive and Google Docs.

  1. Voice Recorder

I’m pretty sure we all have a voice recorder in every device we own. I use my voice recorder a lot and not for writing purposes. The voice recorder is a good place to store story idea, especially if you want to hear yourself act out a scene. This would really come in handy if you are unable to write down the idea at the moment.

Fun fact- Michael Jackson used to record parts of a song that he wanted to record. He did so to help him remember the tone and melody of the song.

 

This is all I have for you guys today. I did my best at proof-reading and such but I’m sure there are some mistakes in here somewhere. ‘Til next time, keep writing!

Quick Tip #7 – Getting Over the “Not Good Enough” Stage

Whether you are a beginner in the creativity game or have been creating things for years, I’m sure we all get those ‘not good enough’ blues.

The ‘not good enough’ blues seem to sneak up on us when we least expect it. They happen most when we have received rejection letter upon rejection letter, are lacking views on our Wattpad stories/blogs/YouTube videos/Instgram pictures, or just seem to be running around in circles. This dangerous case of the blues can drag us down to the point where we abandon our creative side and attempt to fit into a lifestyle that isn’t for us.

One thing I am sure we all ask is: How can I get over this?

The main thing we can do in to overcome the ‘not good enough’ blues is to remember our goal. Ask yourself again and again why you started your project. Ask yourself where you want your project to take you, where you want to see this project within the next few months or years. Even try to imagine the project a few years in the future. Try to see it as completed and as an amazing completed piece of work at that.

With those answers fresh in your mind and hearing it coming from your lips can push you to keeping pursuing your goal. Take each bump in the road as a step toward completing your goal.

Another question I’m sure we all ask is: What happens when that doesn’t seem to be enough?

The simple answer is don’t give up. Yes it sounds stupid and it sounds very ineffective, but it works. Even if you don’t work on your main project for a while, never give up on your hobby. Whether you create videos that the world will never see or write for several fanfictions or just post little jokes social media- do not give up. Remaining connected to your hobbie in any way possible will help you sharpen your skills and build up your motivation so that you can continue on with the main project.

What if that doesn’t work?

Take a break. Sometimes a little sabbatical is needed to kickstart your creativity, no matter how long the sabbathical is. Overworking yourself is a good way to hate your hobby therefore never be afraid to take a little break. We all need one anyway.

That is all I have for this Quick Tip! ‘Til next time, keep writing!

Quick Tip #6- Drabbles, Drabbles Everywhere

Recently, I have been making it a point to write drabbles or flash/short fiction. Though I am in the process of writing two novels and that I do have a limited amount of time to write, writing these short pieces is not counter productive.

Allow me to explain.

There are a few websites that are willing to publish fiction pieces that people have written. However, their mandatory word counts range from 100 words to 7,500 words. This wouldn’t be a problem if I had a bunch of short fictions pieces lying around. But that is not the case. Therefore, I am taking out some time to write short pieces that meet these word counts so that I can submit my story and get it published. Oh, did I mention that you do get paid for your story should it get published? I didn’t mention that yet? Oh well, now you know.

Taking the time out to write drabble that could possibly make it into a magazine and then get paid once it has been publish is not counterproductive in my eyes. If anything, I think it can be counted as a little investment. You get some recognition and are getting paid for it. That’s worth it to me. Of course, this is my unprofessional opinion.

If you would like to submit a short piece in hopes of getting it published and getting some money in your pocket for it, I have put the link to an article that lists several sites that accept submissions below.

Click me!

Hopefully, you will find the article as helpful as I did.

By the way, if you can’t submit a story, try writing some drabbles. Writing drabbles will push your creativity in such a way that it will make you a better, more expendable writer. Even I am doing this to challenge myself into creating short yet powerful stories in order to better my writing ability. After all, there is never a time where we can’t learn to do something.

‘Til next time, keep writing!

Writing Tip #6: Multiple Character Point of Views (POV)

It seems scary at first, deciding to write from multiple point of views in a single story. To have more than a couple of main characters is daunting enough. Yet, there is nothing to fear when it comes to writing from multiple point of views. Now, I’m not an expert but I have been writing in multiple points of view for a while now and I know how to complete this task.

Tip #1: Remain in Your Character’s Head

One of the things I noticed with myself when I first tried using this technique, is that I tended to leave my character’s head. What I mean by this is that I would often put knowledge in my character’s head that they wouldn’t and really shouldn’t know. A reminder that I continued telling myself was that I cannot know more than what is given to me or beyond my concern, therefore, my character cannot know more than what is going on around them or what is of concern to them. A character’s understanding is limited just how our understanding is limited. Therefore, character one can’t know what the other characters are thinking unless you give them the ability to read thoughts. So even though you may know the insides and outsides of the entire novel universe, you cannot allow any unnecessary information to leak into the mind of your character. It will ruin your story.

Tip #2: Have Defined Characters

Another obstacle that I faced was that weird merging between character personalities and a lack of depth to my characters since there were too many for me at the time I was writing. This was because I did not clearly define who my characters were by the time I was writing. This proved to me that in order to write from the point of view of multiple characters, I would need to know my characters. Developing characters will help to keep them from merging into one whole character and from becoming flat, unattractive characters. Read my article on developing characters here.

Tip #3: Getting Too Excited

This is something that I can often get myself caught in and I noticed other writers do this as well. As a writer we get excited about certain parts of our book and certain scenes that we are DYING to write. However, this excitement, if not contained, can lead to a major problem. Said problem is jumping from one POV to another POV in the middle of a scene. It may seem like a little thing, however, jumping from POV to POV in the middle of a scene or simply jumping too frequently can cause the story to become choppy and can leave a lot of loose ends lying around. It will also confuse the reader and even you, the writer. Try to stick with one point of view long enough to keep from jumping. You can always have the other character’s point of view serve as a recap of what went on in the past from a different angle. This is usually the most successful way of achieving that look-back-and-reminisce type of point of view.

Tip #4: Stay Organized

This is super important. Especially if the world your characters are in is very complex or completely different from each other. Keeping each point of view organized will help you tremendously when switching from different point of views. Keeping tabs on whose little sister Emily is will be just as important as knowing how the law of gravity works in each character’s world (only applicable to fantasy writers and such).

 

These are the tips that will help you get started writing from multiple points of views. I hope you found this helpful and if you have any tips that have helped you, please share them! We can all learn from each other.

‘Til next time, keep writing!

Writing Tip #5: Breaking the Fourth Wall

Believe it or not, we have all seen/read the breaking of the fourth wall. For those of you that watch television of any kind, I am sure you have seen the latest Hotels.com commercial. In this one commercial there are two instances where the fourth wall is broken. The first is when the military Commander asks the Captain what type of Captain he is. The Captain then looks at that the audience and says “On TV,”. The second instance is when the military Commander looks at the audience and says “Who are you talking to?”

So, now that we have an example of breaking the fourth wall, we can ask; Just what is the fourth wall? And how is it broken?

Speaking for myself, I have only seen this term in fan-fiction stories. This was where I have first read the phrase and came across this method of writing. After doing a bit of research, I found a term that sort of comes close to ‘breaking the fourth wall’. This term is called: alienation effect. Read more about it by clicking Britannica.

Try to think of the ‘fourth wall’ as a one-way mirror. You are on the side that allows you to see what is happening on the other side. For you, it is like looking through a window. While the characters on the other side are not aware that you are there and that they are not real. To break this wall means that the character acknowledges that they are a mere character and that their world is made up. This acknowledgment can be subtle or direct. This can be picked up on if you see: “I should have been here several chapters ago,” or “Remember in season two,”

These are a few ways to tell when the fourth wall is being broken, however, most breaks in the fourth wall are not that obvious. In the example I mentioned previous, the fourth wall is broken when the Captain and the military Commander acknowledge that there is someone else (the viewers) watching them while they are acting or living their life. Another example (and a stellar example in my personal opinion) is the Truman Show starring Jim Carey. In this movie, Jim Carey or Truman is a character and his life is lived within the fourth wall (quite literally seeing how his life is basically a television show). When Truman begins to seek what is beyond the boundaries of his world, he is literally trying to break the fourth wall surrounding him. One scene that really stands out, only because I didn’t finish the movie, was when Truman is arguing with his wife and she yells out “Do something,” to the crew watching her and Truman fight. His wife knew her reality was fake and that there would be others to help her (the crew on set of the show or the director). A final but good example is Community. There is a single episode I watched where the cast of that season was talking about how to make the next season (or next semester) better. However, the cast openly acknowledged that they are in a specific season and that they have an opening song with credits. Other examples that I know of are in fan-fiction stories, I hardly see this method used in the shows that I watch. I’m sure there are many other good examples that I haven’t seen/read yet.

That’s all I have for today’s writing tip. Hopefully this technique will help you to become a better writer. ‘Til next time, keep writing!