Saturday, November 9, 2013

On Writing: and why we do it

      This month I have been participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is where you attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. You can find more information about NaNoWriMo here.

      I've always been a big reader, since I read "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry in elementary school. I loved how even though I couldn't relate to what the characters were going through, I could still feel an emotional attachment to them. I couldn't get over how real they felt. As my book collection began to grow and build itself up with other books, some chapter books, a little bit of non-fiction books about the weather, and others were books that were only read to me before bedtime. It didn't really matter what the story was, I just wanted to hear one. Every once and a while I would come across a dud, or one that I didn't like. It wasn't until Fifth grade, when I moved from Alabama to North Carolina, did I ever think about the idea of writing. I knew nobody, and when one day we were told to write a story, that's exactly what I did.

   We were given slips of paper that had prompts, or things that we had to include in our story. When I pulled my slip of paper from the many in the teacher's hat, it read...


   I wanted to have the most unique story, and I came up with a story about an evil toast that manifested when you left it in the oven too long. When I read the story out loud I was greeted with tiny bits of laughter, and a roomful of smiles, but there were obviously kids that didn't really care. But those who enjoyed it, kept asking me to write more stories about evil toasts. I remember writing one for every holiday, including Halloween and Christmas.

   Over the course of a two years, writing became more serious for me. Not just wanting to write stories and not do anything with them, I started to carefully plan my stories and really think them through. I believe what starts a writer is a reader, and some readers become writers. I think the idea of being able to create new lives, and new worlds that stretch to the farthest corners of a person's imagination is what gets to people.

    If you're a writer, then congratulations.
    If you're trying to write a novel, then congratulations.
    If you're a reader, then congratulations.
    If you're also attempting NaNoWriMo, then congratulations! (and add me as a writing buddy, here.)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Creating Realistic characters

Creating fictional characters:

   People are hard to figure out, so making one isn't the easiest task in the world. Heck, it's pretty dang hard, but doable. I believe to create a good fictional character you need to know everything about them; their personality, flaws, thought process, hand gestures they tend to make while talking. If you haven't read a John Green book, then I suggest you pick one up right now. His characters are so original and real and captivating. John Green put a video on YouTube explaining how he does it (see link at the end of the post). Basically he said that characters in books are not built on images, like in movies or TV shows, but they are built on words. That being said, it doesn't matter as much as what they look like as it does on how they think.

  QUESTION TIME!!!!!!!!!

     Should my protagonist have flaws?
    Yes, yes, yes and yes. Protagonists who are perfect tend to be boring and unrealistic. Don't give them just one flaw, because that too is unrealistic. Humans will be humans with hundreds if not thousands of flaws. Of course, you're not going to write down all those flaws because who has time for that. Write Five flaws as your minimum and Twenty- Five flaws as your maximum.

        Should my antagonist have likable qualities?

The answer to that is yes. Just like your protagonist should have flaws, your antagonist should have some likable qualities that can appeal to someone.

       How do I... Wha... I don't... I can't..

    Yes you can! Creating people is hard, I know because they are so complex. You might be asking yourself 
     "I don't even completely understand myself, how in the heck am I supposed to create a new human being?"
Yes this task is tedious, but how else are you going to have a story if you don't have characters to have a story. Just remember to have fun with it, and if you aren't having fun with it, put down the pen and STOP WRITING (for a little while at least).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~John Green Video
                                                     Hope this helped!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Tricks to FINALLY shut up your internal editor

We've all had that feeling. That feeling when you're writing your draft, then BAM! You look at the sentence you just typed and say          
                  "Maybe I can just make that a little better."

 Sure one time seems like nothing, but add the time of all those other sentences that need a little brushing up, and you have a problem. Who is to blame for this? Your internal editor of course! This is an annoying problem for writers of all sorts, and today I will tell you how to shut him/her up.

Tip #1: Hide the words, if your inner editor can't see the words, she'll have nothing to fix.

Tip #2: Promise your editor that they'll have their time to shine soon, but you just have to finish writing.

Tip #3: Distract your inner editor. Since your editor has a mind for fixing things, let her focus on other things than your writing.

I hope you found these helpful. If you did not everyone is different in the way that they do things. If you have a different tip for shutting up your inner editor, put it down below in the comments.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Story Bible

    I have recently been keeping a Story Bible for my novel-in-progress; Outlandish (you can check that out on my projects page). 

One might ask, "What exactly is a Story Bible, and how do I use it?" 

    Well, I'm here to answer all your questions.

    A story Bible can be handwritten or typed. The story bible is where you can keep your character descriptions, and worldly aspects. This is a helpful tool when writing. You can reference this when you need to know something as simple as a character's hair color, or you need something as extreme as the way they would respond to certain situation.

    I got this idea from a YouTube video, which you can watch here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Every writer needs...

Every writer needs a thesaurus and a dictionary. If you do not have either, get your butt off the chair and buy one. If you do not feel like buying a physical copy, I highly recommend's app for iOS devices.

Monday, July 15, 2013


    If you are reading this, then Congratulations! You've found yourself on my blog. This post is very important because it is my first! The purpose of this blog is to track my progress through my journey of getting my book published. If you, too are an aspiring author with a blog feel free to tell me and I'll check it out. I'm also looking for critique partners (I'll make a separate post about that).

             See you through the screen,
     Jo Beasley