Category Archives: Creative Writing Habits

Procrastination

I think we all do procrastination in various forms - the oven that suddenly requires cleaning urgently, letters that need to be written and cats that must be played with before sitting down to write. In this guest post Amanda Scott outlines how she uses procrastination for character development.
[sendtokindle]

Character and Story Via Procrastination

by Amanda Scott

I always feel an uncomfortable twinge of guilt when leaving my work-in-progress to watch my favorite seasons of Doctor Who. This is time that could be spent writing. However, it allows me to combine my two great loves: writing and the BBC. Like many I think about my writing and its elements all the time. I’m always looking for new sources of conflict, listening to the dialogue of strangers, catching onto accents and dialects, or observing mannerisms and gaits. It was inevitable that my writing obsession would converge with my BBC time. For the next few hundred words I would like to justify the catalyst of procrastination.

“I become ridiculously attached to characters”

Doctor Who is a specific weakness of mine and I confess I enjoy the modern (2005-present) Doctor Who over classic. I will also confess that I become ridiculously attached to characters- the characters of my own creation, characters in books and the characters of my TV shows. I offer no apologies for this because, after all, isn’t the point of ANY story to create a character(s) that people will root for and find sympathetic? I love The Doctor character and adored the way David Tennant portrayed him. When the inescapable reality of his replacement drew near; I almost stopped watching the show because I was sure that I could never see anyone else as The Doctor. Behold! The next Doctor came and I found myself willing to believe this was the same man in a different form. When this happened my writer’s mind started deconstructing this conundrum (it was a conundrum to me anyhow.) I realized the character of the Doctor was so strong and so well written that everything I enjoy about him (confidence, humor, adventurous spirit, kindness, and a sense of wonder) was still intact. It is a testament to great writing to have a different embodiment and not lose the fundamental character. The reliability of the character makes you feel close to him; as if you actually knew him. This is how close I want my readers to feel to my characters. I’m sure you can say something for the actor as well but people talk about them enough already. We see this with Sherlock Holmes too, a character so strong that he transcends time and form (novels, movies and TV adaptations.) character intact. All the time showing that a reliable character does not mean a entirely predictable one and let’s never confuse a character’s arc with inconsistent character. See all the inspiration from procrastination? In fear of getting out of my depth I will not over explain the non-predictable yet reliable character. You will know it when you read it, which is why writers must do a great deal of reading.

“We always know what he will not do while still getting to wonder what he will do”

Although the Doctor Who character is written for television; which is different from novels, but all the elements of the story still apply and one of those elements is a character. Someone wrote this character so well that multiple writers, plots lines and actors have a clear idea of who this character is - his motivations, his driving force, his weaknesses and his inner demons. We always know what he will not do while still getting to wonder what he will do. So the next time you want to loaf in front of your TV you may call it research, enjoy your time, and then get back to work.

Tips

  1. Turn procrastination into inspiration!

  2. A good character is worth their weight in publishing contracts (or gold. Whichever you like).

  3. Writing is a maneuvering of paradoxes and Time Lords.

  4. Videogames. Yes, you read that right, the age of ‘videogames rotting brains’ is over. Like it or not; video games are created by writers and artists, and therefore is an art form.

    • Assassins Creed- Character, visuals, plot
    • The Elder Scrolls- Especially for fantasy writers
    • Minecraft- for landscapes and creative stimulus
    • Halo Reach (my preference.) Scifi, teamwork, plot, and guns.

This is such a small list and these are popular games that I love and have found helpful. Go to your local gaming store or online (I recommend STEAM). Ask or look for something that fits your work in progress. I am working on a paranormal romance that involves traveling through Dante’s Inferno. Guess what? There is a game for that! You can also find the soundtracks to these games on YouTube. They are beautiful and inspiring.

Stories are everywhere and in everything. Happy writing and happy procrastinating.

What a great post, Amanda! What do readers feel about using procrastination as an engine to drive character and story? Share your thoughts in the comments below - and share with your friends.

Aron Joice Passion and Writing post graphic

Passion and Writing

Do you communicate your passion in your writing? Passion in writing is the hook that draws the reader into the web of story. Here, Aron Joice, outlines how she accesses her passion and articulates it as part of her story. Enjoy!
[SendtoKindle]

Passion and Writing

by Aron Joice

Aron Joice Passion and Writing post graphicWhere does passion come from and how does it affect a writer? Passion is a gripping emotion that can allow us to discover secrets about others and ourselves. I am passionate about so many things, art, our environment, animals, children, and the elderly. Each category moves me differently, but the feelings are powerful nonetheless. Writers are solitary people facing a screen for hours on end requiring self-discipline. That discipline must come from the passion, and the necessity to write. So how do we use this as a tool to enhance our prose?

“Everyone is motivated by passion in some way”

I write fantasy. When I deal with my characters personalities and flaws I think about what motivates them. Why do they behave in a certain way? They can’t be linear, or unbelievable. Even the quietest of people have some deep-seated issues. The bottom line in my trilogy “The Lost Children of Managrail” is that love can heal, but it can also destroy. Think about the power of love. People have sacrificed their lives to save a loved one; others, in uncontrolled passion have taken the lives of those they profess to love. Everyone is motivated by passion in some way.

If I have a death scene, I’ll reach into my dark recesses recalling the death of a family member, or a friend. Perhaps even someone I loathed. I give myself over to that moment in time digesting what I had felt. Does anger come to the forefront evoking emotions that I can’t control? If so I am experiencing passion. Maybe I want my readers to hate a character. I can search my mental library recalling some hideous act that I read about in the media. The anger and disgust start to churn, I might think how I want that person to suffer, or die. These are passionate feelings not always controlled. Are they right? Can I justify them? Do I need to?

A writer must be passionate, or otherwise they will be incapable of moving the reader to simply immerse themselves in the authors’s work. When it is forceful, we turn a page and then another. The passion that motivated the writer has touched your heart and possibly your soul.
I think it is safe to say that most people relate passion to some art form whether it is writing, music, art, or dance. Let’s focus on art for the moment. Take a Monet and place it along side of a Picasso. Now stand back and tell me what you see. Do you think one artist is more passionate about his work than the other? Not at all, yet they are total 180’s. Monet evokes soft visuals that calm, while Picasso’s audacious strokes make one want to run with the bulls. Each brush stroke brought to canvas came from passion.

“Passion is personal, but can be shared with the world”

I was a trained dancer and spent many years performing. Speaking from a personal perspective the selected music was instrumental in how passionate I danced a particular number. If I didn’t feel the music to the depth of my soul, passion escaped me. I felt blah! The passion that the musician put into his work motivated me in mine. What about opera? Although this isn’t my cuppa, aficionados can’t get enough. Rappers, Metal heads, and Country fans will stand toe to toe with you regarding their passionate choice in music. Are there right or wrongs? Never. Passion is personal, but can be shared with the world, and that in turn brings about more passion.

Why is any of this important? Without the P word, life would be gray, and each day would be humdrum. The human race becomes less human walking around in a languid state. What a horrible and dull world it would be. Politics would fly out of the window (not such a bad idea), charitable actions, caring for our fellowman, starting the day with a powerful sunrise, loving our earth, feeding the hungry, educating the poor, honoring our fallen, standing for freedom, fighting for victims rights, all gone and forgotten without passion.

We are passion in its full form. It can’t be taken away from us; we can’t trade it in on something new and better. Passion is the best and the worst of us.

How do you convey passion through your writing? Share your thoughts below and this post through the handy buttons!