Category Archives: kirjutamisest

Let’s talk about describing your online fiction piece.

I read a lot of short stories and novel-length things stories that don’t always get categorized as published book. Lately I have noticed that there are few things that bother me about them. Not the actual stories, for most times they are quite fun and if it comes with some grammar mistakes or misspelled words or timing mistakes, they don’t matter, because I know they are not professionals.

However, there are few things that could be done differently. So I decided to add a little list for any aspiring writers, who post on fictionpress or wordpress or fanfiction or any other platforms so they may get readers to read rather to skim past them:

  • Describing your story should really be a one-two sentence description, not “I’m not good with this describing thing” or “You decide after you read” or “I don’t own these xyz-named-firm’s characters, whaaah!”. Or “Your avarage fiction of…” or “I know I’m bad, but it’s actually quite good!” . Oh, and my absolute astonishment “Read to find out!”
    And “Don’t like it, don’t read.” Truly, if I wasn’t interested, I wouldn’t have picked it out of the line of hundreds, now would I?
    There is time and place to spread your insecurities, it should not be the description where the reader expect to find out whom the story is about and what’s the situation. I am consciously skipping every story that “dares” me to find out how good they are, for 3/5 are actually bad. Often not because the idea is bad, but the entire thing is often written sloppily, with little care and almost no editing. I loath stories where one paragraph turns out to be 215 word long sentence with no punctuation, small or capital lettering and pretty much remind me of Timothy Dexter, who added his in the end of his novel. Only, it was annoying 1797 and is annoying now.
    “This is going to be…” is also a kinky way to actually say nothing about the story and thus lose your reader, for after reading the description they still are not much wizer on who did what or what the conflict is about.
    When I am in searching mode, then a simple who did what or conflict description goes a long way. Or if the story is based on some incident.
  • Acronyms, for example   T/S, M/C, P&T&S or anything else that gets invented on the go, should not be in the description unless it is well known. That trend is actually moving into temporary romances as well and it is a big turnoff. Takes forever to understand what you could have either added in the first paragraph in your introduction rather than in that description where “After x-movie timewerse, Tony met Sally on his way to school and they decided to have a lunch” works so much better. Leave the acronyms for the first introductory paragraph, so they are still there, but they don’t take away that tiny description space that can actually pull in the readers.
  • “OC was just a normal person”. Alright, I understand that this is a common noter of a younger writer, which I’m not discussing more than I wish to bring out that if you say normal, try imagining what that “normal” character is doing. If you can imagine them reading a book, eating, drinking coffee with their eyes searching blue sky – maybe there is a better way to describe your OC you wish to mix in the already existing realm? Skip “normal” and say “Patric tested out his new toy and opened up a portal to Avenger movie”.
  • “Disclaimers: I don’t own the characters/movie/realm/etc” should be enough. But mostly it is followed by “If I did, I’d be *something f-u-n-n-y*”. Aside the disclaimer, I have developed a quick finger syndrome to skip whatever rant follows, for one can read only so many witty disclaimers before you get overloaded.
  • Begging for reviews or threatening to quit writing if you don’t get likes or using emotional blackmailing in the first sentences… Blackmailing goes down on no-one unless they have some emotional investment in you. Rather keep your dignity and don’t beg. “It’s my first story, so please be gentle” – it’s like setting up a sign asking all the trolls to gather for lunch. If your reader finds it interesting enough, they’ll let you know. If you are out to get “texts from your readers”, then most see it as time to leave.
  • Which brings me down to the last, and most important reason why I began in the first place – don’t apologize for your writing in advance. If you posted it, you are taking responsibility for it anyway. You already agree that what you’ve posted might be offensive to some, so why apologize to them in advance? Just say “This story deals with mature topics, sensitive topics” rather than apologizing in advance in case they didn’t like your story.
    The thumb rule, at least for me and most of the writers, is that you post only what you are ready to stand up for. If you are uncomfortable or feel insecure about it, then don’t post it. Look it over, think it through and then, when you are ready, then put it up. But what you DO put up, you take full responsibility for. There will always be somebody, who feels they need to point out some moral rule based on their world view or think you should not write this or that. So you have to be sure.
    If you think you can avoid it by warning ahead that this will be “hardcore violent” or anything else, you need to know that it makes you look worse if you don’t deliver. When I read, I deliberately start searching out the promised “warning” and I’m afraid, a lot of beginners don’t deliver what they promise. Can’t blame them, really, for often they need more experience to know better. So my advice would be – don’t do it. Don’t warn people – if they picked your story out in M section, they already expect it to be for adults and thus have no need for warnings suitable for PG-13. Think, when is the warning necessary and when you are overdoing it. 

These were my grains in the pot. Something that has been bothering me, and will continue bothering me, when reading online. Hasn’t stopped me from reading yet, but sometimes it’s better to learn from other’s mistakes than repeating them yourself.

Have a nice writing day!

 

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Filed under Drama, elements of writing, kirjutamisest, Writing, writing trivia

Work space

I wanted to show off 🙂

We all know that for a writer, their office, or wherever they work, is pretty much their temple. Same with me. One needs a GOOD feeling place to create monsters that take over the world. I just had my last piece of the puzzle put in place, so I’m very happy and exited to show it off.

2180485929007716668-account_id=0So, a bit about this tiny room. It is actually a half of a room. The big brown cupboard is actually the back of another small office space which is occupied by my brother. Yes, I am living at home right now and yes, we do share a room. I actually have a decent job, time for my writing and time to play with my dog. So, sue me. It’s down to practicality of life, times are hard enough.

Enough of the introduction – this is my office. Welcome! That Monopoly on the left side on the wall – I painted that some years ago. Worth that 3 months of mini brush work. Around it are artworks by my niece. You can’t see on the pictures, but her artwork is also on the other side of the office, on the wall, framed. In an easy reach, there is also the loupe, for we two are pair of curious people, so we need our main tool in fast reach.

9177896642838483138-account_id=0The second picture is closer up on my book shelves. I was very happy, when it turned out that all my books fitted in there just right, with only few places empty of fairy tale books that are now in niece’s collection.  In front of the books are the few things that I keep – the tea box is Idea Chest Game I once did for my writing group. Still plenty of pieces to go. The small chest next to it is my collection of story cubes. I need a next box for the new ones :).

As you can see, I have a collection of dolls around me. Might be, because I’m a bit of a kid in heart, but I’ve always kept some kind of tokens near me. They all have their place and reasons. Maybe I’ll tell you about them some time. Next to the Barbie is my writing mug. Sis got it for me from the last Hanseatic Days fair. It is usually full of coffee with milk and I absolutely love it!

3105966192191881356-account_id=0Yes, I do own a green chair on a yellow carpet I can pick on with my toes. I like colors. I can’t keep my toes in place when I sit, so somehow I’ve come to like those bathroom carpets with long bristles. On top left you can see Tobbie, my scull. He sits on top of a box made by my grandpa. LOVE it so much! I have a huge chest like that too.

The place has some hidden secrets too, like the tiny table where the keyboard is on – it comes out easily to make a full size table where I can paint. The cupboard beneath the table is where all my art supplies are.

I know it’s small. I don’t really care as what I need is right there. All the books for writing, the art supplies for painting, the printer, the computer. And privacy. It is the most private place in the house and for that, I am very, very happy for writing does not always want an audience.

That’s it. That’s my work station at the moment. It has childish features, and will get some of them more over time, but it has what I need as a writer – a chair, my notes and possibility to write until early hours of the morning without disturbing others. Perfect in every way :).

 

 

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July Nano, homepage and boxes

It has been very busy lately. Firstly because I am finally leaving the dormitory life behind and, well, it takes some work to do that. Mainly things like packing and ordering a moving help and all that and I only have this last week end for it.

Secondly, because Nano is around the corner again. I doubted if I’d want to take it up. Because of the reasons up there. I thought it will go to half way to July, but then I was told I can finish the contract earlier and I went for it. So suddenly I discovered that I do get the time! Well, as much as it is available, but I can do it!

The idea, what to write, came to me few days ago  too, so now I’m super exited as if on coffee rush and can’t wait for it to start! For that I even made the Friday Flash Fiction entry a bit earlier. Oh, and because I don’t have any internet for the week-end. No time for writing either. Or not at least before Sunday.

But the idea!

rare-pearl-cover 

Gale Wenalan , a gargoyle has a rare pearl he knows dragons would want – his baby brother. And thus, he hates dragons with a vengeance. It doesn’t help that Accark, a dragon, has moved across him in his apartment building and seems desperate to become his friend. Accark’s logic seems clear – he wants the pearl. But when the dragon shows up again, wanting to hire him, things don’t seem so clear any more.

I’m exited! Maybe it’s a fluff story, maybe something more, maybe lots of tears, maybe tragic – god knows. I have no idea! And that, my dear readers, is what makes it so deeply exiting. Ok, so maybe i already have some idea, but that has to end on paper now 😀 . Clicking on the image will take you to the homepage, where the character profiles are.

Speaking of which – I have filled out all the empty articles I had for the purpose of building the system, but got left to wait due the time that the publishing took. I still have a book at editing stage, but I figured it didn’t look right to have empty places, so I just gritted my teeth and went and did it. The only part that has no entries yet, is Feher’s characters. There are two reasons for that – Nano is starting and at the moment I think the publishing rate is full enough. So I’ll concentrate on Nano for now and leave that for the August, which would give me a nice prep for the next Nano, when I’ll take up the last alien book again and finish it – there are a lot of characters of that section, so it will take a lot of time to fill them all up.

I also began a new section there, which I hope to continue – LC Sunday Journal. It’s a bit different, so I hope you’ll be nicely surprised when you visit it.

I will hopefully have time for a movie though, after I have exhausted my energies on cleaning and packing. I decided that I just will make the time, because the last time I went to cinema was with my niece and half a year ago. So, a little grown up movie would be good for change, and the perks of going to see that at 22 in the night is soooo tempting.

But I gotta go back to work now – still have some boxes to sort out before I can go and collect the next punch and I still have some cargo packing to do as official work.

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Filed under Drama, kirjutamisest, Working through ideas, Writing, writing trivia

**News from LC Aisling** 27/01/2016

Hello readers!

Updates on the Huntsman’s Daughter!

The editing is completed and all there is left to do is some basic grammar check – gotta have the comas in the right places and then formating for better reading for e-books.  After long deliberation I decided to change the name of the novel. The new title is called Third Law.  Thank you, John, for cracking the gears with me!

Also, I am happy to present to you the ink fresh cover for the Third Law! I will add the introductory chapter to the homepage soon, so you can peek inside and taste it.

third law testing

You can find out more about the characters and the story on my homepage under the Encyclopedia section as I will keep adding them there over the upcoming weeks. I hope you enjoy their company and the story they take part in!

Don’t miss the next chapter of Flash Fiction this Friday, on 28th of January 2016!

L.C. Aisling

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Filed under Dead Child's Portrate, kirjutamisest, my own works, Publications, Writing

The Holy Grail for Writers

Holy Grail

The Holy Grail of writers is Originality. It’s the ultimate dream – to come up with something so unique they would name award after you.

Yet when we come upon a new idea, we are so obsessed of this dream of all dreams that we gladly toss anything new out, because it is rough stone compared that golden chalice. Or perhaps gem stone cup? Or simple wooden bowl?

We all have come to a point, where we rid ourselves from ideas we get, because we think they have all been thought before and then yield to frustration how mediocre we are.

Do you know that this same grail itself once began as a piece of material with no significance? It too was once a mundane object that was washed with dirty dishwashing cloth and rinsed under cold water or scrubbed in mix of oranges and sand during the luckier days…

What made this small cup famous was the details and action it was pulled in. We would never know of it if we didn’t relate its faith with Lamb of God. Neither would we crave for it if we didn’t know of Percival’s story. 

Yet none of those stories would have come to reality if those writers would have let their ideas go, because someone had written on that idea before. So many writers and numerous stories and imagine – they all wrote them, copied the ideas and added new details. And we still pick them up and distinctively know what makes that particular story unique.

It’s in the details, not in the idea itself. If I’d set every half-a-page idea aside, I would never write anything. There wouldn’t be characters to fall for or places to dream of. It is so tempting to get angry and delete what I’ve already written or cut the page out from notebook. But I won’t do it, because if you have a conflict – you can write the story. Let yourself go. Don’t judge the idea, judge the outcome. None of us would have got this far if we’d judge every exercise or word we put down on paper. We can’t read minds, but we can read what you write down.  

I put up for this year’s promise not to toss aside any idea before you have created at least two characters and written half a page of dialog or story according to your idea. I’m not talking about getting it perfect or setting up monster goals, but realistically facing up your crippling fear and working with it. Not every idea will work out and not every one will get sequel, but if you see even a glimmer of what will come next, then do it! Continue writing! Polish your Holy Grail until it shines!

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Creativity Lotto

creativity lottoOur writing group has a lot of people, who feel that they need to reconnect with the art of writing or experience a writers’ block.

So, hopefully this helps – a creativity lotto! The idea is sort of like having an idea generator on paper for creative exercises on our meeting.

The slightly larger idea behind this is that as far as I’ve been dealing with characters, there’s always two sorts of them. Those, who are created and like first crushes sit around and don’t really have much action going on to bring out their best qualities and those, who are created specifically for the story so the story could continue and get to the end. If you are just at the beginning of writing, then we often don’t either understand the difference of the two or we don’t know what kind of writing way you like.

With “I have a character, but no story” problem usually sounds like “they sit around and do nothing!”. During this year’s nano, I feel like a beginner, but I too had this problem.  A good night sleep and it went away again.

For this I have beige, pink and gray labels.  These will give you the character (60-year-old Robin Hood for example), a background fact (This character played hide-and-seek with their imaginary friend) and a trivia fact to describe a side of them (who hides a knife in their boots).  The facts and characters are built up so they would combine with each other and would create rather light-hearted characters.  Yet I tried to keep the facts so that they would hint to what kind of character it would be.

For example in this case with your 60-year-old Robin Hood with imaginary friend as a sign of lonely life and a knife in their boots would give you a character, who has background of lonely life with crooked understanding of modern justice and big question why he hides that knife in the boot?

The green are to bring example of “having the situation” and should give the understanding of how it feels to explore already existing idea and how to work on it.

For example “Spouse sets up shrine to “little gray” aliens in empty bedroom.” What characters would you create? There would be a wife, a husband, maybe some children? Or perhaps the wife’s new cult group lands in and they’ll have a meeting there? Perhaps he’d join?

The yellow labels are sort of “You meet a man in a bar and he tells you that…” sort of labels.  They are heavier in topic and I deliberately searched for labels that would be tragic or controversial, like “…a sister tells how they escaped from India after witnessing how their father married her sister off to an old man at the age 0f 4 “. This is to bring them out of their comfort zone and irritate a little.  Sometimes it’s good.

By the way – all the ideas I took from yellow newspapers for three days and not from other story generators.  Which should be proof enough that all you need to do is open your eyes and look. There are plenty of story ideas to follow. But idea isn’t anything unless you work on it.  Sometimes the most unsuitable you come across can be the one that you work through and complete. But you won’t know if you don’t explore them and cast them aside, because it isn’t Picasso of the writing world.  But where do you think they got their ideas? By widening their opportunities and trusting the randomly heard idea.  I just finished writing 30 days in a row about men, who can dig through asphalt. I should know.

I won’t give here the lists I used for our writing group, but to any writing group enthusiasts – I greatly recommend doing it! If not the Lotto itself, then the assignment itself. Tell your group to find 50 ideas only from their surroundings and newspapers during one week.  It’s an eyeopening experience and I seriously recommend it. I’m thinking of doing this next.  🙂

Write away!

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Mind where you get your characters

 With NaNo only weeks away and reading the questions coming up in the forum, I thought I write a bit on creating characters for beginners. The biggest problem right now seems to be that they try to create characters based on games and anime. That’s all nice if you write them, but not good if you are working out good, solid, literature character. I have met characters in games that are deep and seriously good and thus my attempt here isn’t to tear them down as something evil. But with the shallow water they are often swimming in in wikipedias and publicity stunts, I would think twice to use them as literature examples for creating my own.

If you write romantic relationships – don’t model them using anime. I am sorry, but that’s probably the first reason you are having problems dealing with them. Articles about anime, including manga, dealing with the series characters tend to be simple, scratching often only the surface and including only few traits of the character. Also, comparing the new lovers with the rest of the genres, they also tend to be set up so that women are overemotional and pushy, gentle and men either very shy type or boss-like emotionally barren. Here I’m not talking about erotic manga or anime. That’s all good for screen, but if you are writing stories trying to impress readers and fill the pages, that’s just not enough. There is more in lover’s inner life than obsessive need and that should show through the story, their reactions and reasons why they are reluctant to take up the offer or why they have difficulties making the relationship work. Instead of burying your head in mangas – look around. Watch people on the streets, school, libraries – wherever you are. How do they act? What makes them frown or crash their nails into pollster of the seats? How long does it take the couple from holding hands to their first kiss? Can you see the beating heart written in their blushing cheeks?

Fantasy writers – forget games! Please! I’ve read already fourth forum post that talks about creating an elf, which has elemental powers (and DO research on them first!) and the next question would be “what level in the game should that elf be?” Dungeons and Dragons manuals are indeed my favorite reference books, too, but step out of it! Loosen your boundaries! The dwarf can be over-grown and there can be midgets amongst trolls. Entire species, now that I think of the Norwegian legends. How about turning towards folklore for inspiration instead of games?  What’s in games is already thought out, what’s in folklore is yet to be re-discovered. How about looking into your local mythology? There’s a house probably that folktales whisper rumors – what are they about? A ghost? Perhaps it’s not a ghost, but something more sinister, who has lived in burrows under the house and has just a century ago managed to dig through the concrete and is now doing everything in his power to get the intruders to leave and keep the place for his own. Or perhaps the innocent tale you saw as a kid proves now fatal to your kids, because it happened to be a decoy of a child snatching ghostly figure you thought was just funny made-up story by your friend? Doesn’t have to be a creature – it can be a simple smoke coming from the wrong place or anything else that you can see around you. Clean patch of land that nothing grows on? Something buried there perhaps? Or the lightning strike there years ago and it still bring shivers over your spine?

The idea here is that instead of keeping yourself bound by the medias you are already familiar with, let loose and write. There are few things every character should have, which would give them more substance, but as even the greatest novelists can tell you – they might work and might not. The three things should be a goal, a secret, morals and a desire, shortly “a Goose Mode”. Goose – because you act as its herder, like you herd your characters around. Also, because Go(al) + Se(cret) Mo(rals)+De(sire). No, it’s not scientifically from some book.

Every character has goals and drive to reach the goals they set for themselves. Think of a little girl, who has watched entire day how mom makes scones for Sunday picnic. The smell rolling around the house is unbearable and by the end of the day, she has no other thought left in her head than what the tasting buds tell her to desire: “You want that scone and you must get it! Today, for tomorrow is too late!”. She has a goal – get that scone!

On the next day, after getting that scone from the pantry shelf, she goes around with guilty look – she ate one of the scones yesterday. But it’s Sunday – church service is ending every minute now and mom will unpack the food she made yesterday and one of the scones will be missing! How would she explain that? What if she could hide it somehow? She now has a secret AND new goal – innocent little girls with secrets, mm! Things get interesting here!

But wait, she is a good girl after all, Sunday school best and she does know what she did was wrong. So when mom unpacks the scones, she is already prepared for the drama, prepared to the fact that she’ll have to face the truth… and instead mom gives her the scone and there are again three for each family member. She quietly eats the scone and stays silent. In the evening, when mom comes to help her read the evening prayer, she confesses eating the scone. Mom nods, accepting her apology, tugs her in and kisses her on her cheek, saying: “I know, darling, I made few extra just in case, just don’t do it again.”

The characters don’t always have to be all flesh and blood, but those four building blocks should always be there. Then, even if just simple fillers, they have enough dept to shine. Like my art teacher said once: “If you have a white paper flat on your table – it is just 1D. If you pick it up and turn half of it, you get 3D, with all the colors and shadows.” I feel the same way about the characters – you can only make them 1D by giving them their looks, but if you add the shading, you get characters that can grow and move and won’t fall over with the first wind of criticism.

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