Category Archives: about writing

Finale

Hello writerly friends!

Soo, yesterday was my birthday, yay! Hence the short post.

Today, let’s have a look back. As always, engagement dropped off after the first two weeks, I know this is normal but I wished I could offer more encouragement to keep people engaged. The discord server had more conversations and I think it worked well in keeping us all accountable. 

Personally, I did not work on the WIP that I wanted to work on, but on several others instead. That’s how it is sometimes, right? But still, March and April saw some of the highest wordcounts I ever had. 

An interesting insight after several conversations on discord was, that everyone has a different process of writing. Really, everyone. Courses, books, and webinars want to teach us three or four ways of writing but it turns out, there’s hundreds of different methods and approaches when it comes to bringing a story onto the page. 

What does this mean for you and me? Don’t be discouraged if a process doesn’t work for you. Don’t force a method on yourself that doesn’t help you. Try out different methods and be flexible enough to adapt. Even if you find a well working process, it might change over time. Adjust, adapt, and keep writing.

What comes next? In my experience, the summer months get very busy and lead to lower wordcounts. That’s fine! Don’t beat yourself up over this. I will keep the discord server open, but I think the next WIP project will be later in the year. I’ll have @fictober-event​ to run in October, so maybe we’ll have a quick sprinting project in September. No promises yet though.

If you liked the bits of writing advice I sprinkled through the posts, follow @the960writers​ for more. I try to reblog and post advice for all kind of writers, for plotters, planners, and discovery writers, and I mix the posts with inspirational things, jokes, and prompts. 

Let us know how the last 90 days went for you, what you learned about your WIP, the characters you write, and yourself.

I’m glad you stuck around and happy writing!

Originally posted on tumblr: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/post/684904222008983552/finale

Day 90/90

Hello writerly friends!

I’m a bit more busy today than I expected to be, so I will write a longer post tomorrow, with a look back and a look into the future for coming WIP projects.

Today I just want to say: Well done, all of you.

Whether you stuck to the guide I provided, or wrote your own way, whether you wrote a lot or a little — well done! If you’re still working on your WIP, keep going. Persistence is the key, I always say. 

If you want, make a post about your WIP and how the last 90 days were going for you.

The Discord remains open and I’ll talks more about the future of the WIP projects tomorrow. 

Originally posted on tumblr: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/post/684778711865851904/day-9090

Day 89/90

Hello writerly friends!

One more day to go! How are you all doing? 

Just a short post today with a little editing tip. Once you’ve saved your manuscript, you will read it through several times to fix things. As you read, focus on one specific thing for each. 

First, read it for structure. Does the pacing work? Do you hit your plot highlights? Can you delete stuff to make it tighter? Second, read it for character development. Do you show how your character started and how they grew? Next, read it for setting. Do you show the world your characters inhabit. And so on and so forth. 

Each read-through, focus on one specific thing to improve. You might even know where your own personal weakness lies (setting anybody? people talking in white rooms? just me? ok then), so make an edit pass for that specific thing. 

At the very very end, once you did everything else, work on making sentences pretty and look for typos. It makes no sense to do this earlier because you might delete these sentences anyway, so don’t waste time on fixing them. 

See you tomorrow for our last day!

Originally posted on tumblr: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/post/684692648576040960/day-8990

Day 87/90

Hello writerly friends!

We are getting to the end of this project and I want give you a few guides for what comes next: editing and revision. 

I was going to quote a lot from Rachael Herron’s book “Fast-Draft Your Memoir” (which isn’t just about memoir writing) and the chapter about revision from that book, but! I discovered that Rachael read out that chapter on her podcast in an episode: [http://www.howdoyouwrite.net/episodes/108].

Isn’t that awesome? She gives great advice how to approach revision, how to focus on the big things first, before you think about making sentences pretty that you might not even keep. I don’t agree with her advice to print it all out, my eco-heart can’t take that waste of so much paper, but apart from that, she really has a great approach to revising your first draft into a second draft. 

She begins with finding your theme. Your theme is the message you want to send out into the world with your story. You might get surprised, as you read your story over. You might find that your theme is different than you thought. You might have wanted to write a story about “love conquers all” but it turns out, you’ve written a story about “family is the people you find and love”. 

Find your theme and then start adjusting the parts of your story to that theme. Make it more cohesive. Check each scene you wrote against the theme. Does the scene still work? Does it strengthen the theme? Is the scene still necessary?

This is the point where you save your first draft in a separate copy and start a version two. Now you can shove scenes around without losing anything from your first draft.

If you’re not there yet, just keep writing on that first draft. Revision can wait until you’re done.

Originally posted on tumblr: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/post/684516974981709824/day-8790

Day 85/90

Hello writerly friends!

Only five days left, can you believe it? We’re coming up to the end of the project. 

In the Hero’s Journey, you’re now writing towards the final image. The final image is meant to be a mirror image of the beginning, showing the development and growth of the Hero over the length of the story. 

In the Heroine’s Journey, the final image shows that the Heroine found a new network, a secure place among their people. This is also a mirror image from the beginning, where we saw the Heroine being separated from their familiar network. 

I love this concept of a mirror image, I think it’s such a neat concept, not only for the reader, but also for the writer. You can literally see how the writer grew along with their characters! 

As you write your ending now, you might be tempted to go back to the beginning, because you thought of such a great image and want to change your beginning. You can do that, if it really bugs you, but you will probably get lost in premature editing and we don’t need that now. Focus on the finale. Make a note of what you want to mention at the beginning in regards to the ending you’re writing. This is just part of the process, we’re discovering the story here. 

I’ll be talking about editing and revision in the next two posts. I think you’ll have a better time with revising if you approach it after you finished this first draft. Finish the story.

Originally posted on tumblr: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/post/684330831759785984/day-8590

Day 83/90

Hello writerly friends!

We’re coming up to the finale!!

As Jessica Brody explains: Finale: The hero proves they have truly learned the theme and enacts the plan they came up with in the Break Into 3. Bad guys are destroyed, flaws are conquered, lovers are reunited.

This is where the world saving comes in and the character growth. Here you want to begin to tie up all the threads you started over the story

I have to say, I don’t often come all the way to this point. But when I do, I write down lots of notes for myself for images and motifs that I want to add towards the beginning. At this point, I want to see the draft from an eagle-eye view, get an impression of the thing as a whole. 

So that’s my advice. Keep writing forward, but take notes to the images you use, the tone you convey and how you want to mirror that through the story once you get to the edit phase.

Day 81/90

Hello writerly friends!

Today I want to talk about motif, specifically repeating motifs. I’ll add two links to this post that explain what a motif is and how it ties into the theme of your story.

For me, my favourite trick with motifs is bringing them up again at significant points. If I have a theme of freedom, I would use motifs like chains, cage. In spreading the arc over the story, I like to bring these up again later in the story, this time showing what has changed: the chains and cages are broken now. 

A motif can be something that looks insignificant at first, but grows in importance over the story. I think it makes the story more interesting to read because you’re giving the reader a thread to follow through. 

We’ll be getting back to this in a few days because one important point in the Three Act Structure is the mirror image at the end that shows how everybody grew over the story.

[https://blog.reedsy.com/what-is-a-motif/]

[https://thewritepractice.com/green-motif/]

Originally posted on tumblr: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/post/683952359509999616/day-8190

Day 79/90

Hello writerly friends!

If you’re writing along, you should now be near the point where your story enters Act Three.

Jessica Brody in “Save The Cat” calls this the “break into act three”. It’s the moment where the hero realises how to solve problem. The hero has the knowledge and the ability to fix the main story problem but they also have grown so much, that they can also fix themself. The hero fulfils their character arc.

In the Heroine’s Journey as Gail Carriger describes it, this is the point where the Heroine gathers everything they’ve learnt and all their new friends. They get together to apply that knowledge and that combined force of network to the story problem. 

These points are quite similar, don’t you think? I think this shows how these two journeys can easily be combined. Stories can have a Hero and a Heroine working together. 

Think about your basic buddy comedy, the one stoic character who wants to work alone and the fun character, who has many friends and connections. That’s a Hero with a Heroine in the same story and one possible arc could be that the Hero changes into a Heroine. Stories with multiple characters may have each character on a different journey, with different focal points in what is important for their journey.

Don’t feel trapped by all these structures and journeys. Use what works for you and discard the rest.

Originally posted on tumblr: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/post/683775751696285696/day-7990

Day 77/90

Hello writerly friends!

Today I have a book recommendation for you. This book is by Becca Syme and Susan Bischoff. You might remember Becca Syme from Day 1 with her advice about burnout. The new book is called “Dear Writer, Are You Intuitive?”. I started reading it today and I already like it so much that I want to tell you about it.

This book is about us, the discovery writers, who just know how the story wants to be, who feel in their gut how the story has to be written. Who don’t outline, don’t lay out the structure before they start. Who write intuitively. 

Many people write intuitively but it’s easier to teach plotting. So we can learn a lot about structure and plotting but less about intuitive writing. Teaching about intuition is difficult.

Not every “inner voice” is helpful intuition, we can also self sabotage ourselves by listening to our own critic. And of course, we also know about people who say that they “just know”, without any evidence for their convictions and we don’t want to be like those people. 

I haven’t finished the book yet, but it looks very promising in helping me to find a process for my writing that fits me, and lets me feel free. Following my intuition feels much more natural to me than trying to force myself into a structure.

Originally posted on tumblr: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/post/683606969535332352/day-7790

Day 75/90

Hello writerly friends!

Today, in our three act structure of The Hero’s Journey, we’re coming up to All Is Lost, which leads us to Dark Night Of The Soul before we enter Act Three. (Look at me capitalising everything, the perks of being german)

At this point, we often have a betrayal, or a death. Things go very wrong, the plan has to be adapted. Our characters are frustrated and have lost hope. It looks like they can’t win. 

Let’s compare this section to the Heroine’s Journey. 

The through-line of the Heroine’s Journey is the forming of a network. Friendship, found family, a team of experts, that the kind of thing a Heroine searches for on their journey. For the Heroine, isolation is a threat. Their enemies will try to isolate them to weaken the Heroine. 

This also brings us to an All Is Lost moment at this point, where something goes wrong inside of the team the Heroine has built. The All Is Lost moment for the Heroine is something like a betrayal from a member of the team, the enemy successfully separating the team, a trusted contact failing. It looks like the network will fail and they can’t win.

To enter the third act, the Heroine and the Hero have to adapt to the new situation, by finding a compromise, working through emotional conflicts. Both Journeys are not that different at this point. 

If you want a little reminder about the workings of the Heroine’s Journey, complete with swearing when Sasha Black realises why the writing of her book has been such a struggle, listen to this episode of the Rebel Author Podcast: [https://sachablack.co.uk/2021/03/03/075-the-heroines-journey-with-gail-carriger/]

Originally posted on tumblr: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/post/683400886063693824/day-7590