Writing 101: For Beginners

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I’ve actually started a series of videos on my youtube channel which I am going to be gearing towards writers or those who want to write. I’ve decided it might be a good idea to share those videos here for those who want to watch a video version. And for those who don’t, I am going to have a written version in this blog post as well!

This is a post for beginners, but even our advanced writer selves need a recap of the basics from time to time. So let’s begin!

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I know what you’re thinking. Really, Olivia, starting with grammar? But the truth of the matter is that grammar and punctuation are pretty important! No one can really enjoy a story when it is incredibly hard to read and you need to jump through hoops to understand the message alone. Even though lots of writers like to skip over this step, it can be incredibly valuable to take the time to learn the basic grammar rules. I’ll be doing an extensive post on this in the future, so make sure you look out for that one!

Read, Read and… you guessed it! READ.

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This is probably the advice I would give to most writers. I may love reading but that is¬†not¬†the only reason why. Reading is incredibly important if you want to know what works and what doesn’t ¬†work in a book. You learn about common tropes and once you know what you like/don’t like in a book, you can make sure you do/don’t include those elements in your own book!

And let’s just agree, reading is fun right? Natalie wrote a lovely post about the books she reads to get inspired which you should check out for more information!

Settle Down in your Writing Zone

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Every writer needs a writing zone. A mental one as well as a physical one. Your mental writing zone is the time of day that you give yourself to write. Try and set aside a standard amount of time each day which you can fully dedicate to your writing so you make sure you are always making progress.

For a physical writing zone, I’m more so relating to place! Where is it that you write? What is comfortable. Do you need a playlist? Silence? A pile of handy writing prompts for when times get rough? Make a little writing huddle zone just for yourself.

Plot Bunnies and Stereotypes

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No one can write without an idea. Some people get visited by the plot bunnies on a daily basis. Some of us have to go hunting and drag them out from the depths of their rabbit holes by their tails. It’s kinda different for everyone. Either way, try and find ways to get inspired and sprout those plot bunnies!

One way that I do this is by knowing my stereotypes. There are plenty of different kinds of tropes that happen in books. Knights in shining armor, damsels in distress… etc. But what YOU can do is take those common tropes that everyone secretly loves and put a spin on them to make them original and like something no one has ever seen before!

Research

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This one might seem pretty straight forward – and that;s because it is! Most of us write about things that we can relate to. But that doesn’t mean we know everything there is to know about that particular subject, emotion, or setting. Further research is needed to create the best writing about it that you possibly can!

*Pesters*

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Every writer needs at least one person to pester them about their writing. Someone who they can possibly write with when they want to, or someone who just cares enough to ask them if they have written today! I have someone like that… actually quite a few now. But what about you? I’ve mentioned how YWS is a great place for it, and have even made a whole post about why we need to partner up as writers.

So that’s all the advice I could give to a newbie writer! What advice would you give?¬†

Olivia-Savannah x

How to Edit a Poem

Hello everyone!

Editing a poem can be hard. I know a lot of people who struggle with it. But really, I wanted to give you a little bit of advice especially as Valentines is coming up and you all want to be writing those love poems right?

When it comes to poetry there are five things which should be the key focus of your editing. You need to look at the rhyme and rhythm, the word choice, the message, the punctuation and the structure.
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When it comes to rhyme and rhythm, the best thing to do is read the poem aloud. Reading the poem aloud will help you know if it sounds smooth when it is spoken. Are there too many syllables in a single line? Maybe a word in there needs to be cut, or another word needs to be added to make the line work. It is a little bit of a cheat sheet but sometimes I count the syllables in each line of my poem and if they roughly have the same amount, then usually, but not always, the rhythm is done well. Rhyme is another thing. NOT all poems have to rhyme! But if this one does, does the rhyming sound natural or forced? Is there a pattern to it?

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What is most important about the poem is the¬†message that the poem brings across.¬†Every poem has a message. Whether it is just to make the reader laugh, or to carry across a deep theme, share an opinion or just to highlight the small joys of life – there is always one there.¬†Look for the message in the poem, and if you can’t find it¬†then it is evident that something needs to be done to make it more clear. This is the vital part of the poem! Also, try and have other people read your poem. They might interpret it differently, but if they¬†understand the general message,¬†then you’re good to go!

Hand in hand with the message of the poem is the¬†word choice.¬†Poetry has limited words to it. Sure, it can be as long a poem as you like, but there are fewer words than in a novel so you have to be even more careful with your choices. The¬†word choice should reflect your theme¬†or at least be gearing towards helping get that message across. Also, don’t be afraid to make the effort of looking into¬†beautiful words¬†that could make your poem extra special. Having just the right word in just the right place makes for the best poem.

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Lastly, we move on to the¬†punctuation and structure¬†of the poem. This is something a lot of poets struggle with.¬†Even though poems don’t always have to fit a formal structure, there¬†needs to be a general meaning to the structure.¬†Just like with paragraphs in novels, they have a method to them. A single part of the message should be in one stanza. You can isolate one liners to bring across more effect. The best way to¬†nail structure is to experiment with it.¬†The same pretty much goes into punctuation. When it comes to punctuating your poem remember¬†there doesn’t have to be a capital letter at the start of every new line, and a comma at the end of every line.¬†Take the structure out of your poem and then make it into prose. Put in the normal punctuation where you would – the full stops and the commas and all that. Then put it back into poetry form. That’s a handy trick to get the punctuation right. But remember,¬†also experiment with punctuation¬†because it can add more to your poem!

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This is a good place to start when it comes to editing/writing your poems! Hopefully, this will be of some use to you.

Do you like to edit poetry? Or write your own?

Olivia-Savannah x

Finding Inspiration from Another Person’s Work

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To be perfectly clear, this post is not about copying another person’s work. It’s about finding inspiration to keep doing what you’ve temporarily lost the motivation to do. Yesterday, while I found myself procrastinating again, I sought my books for inspiration. This book caught my attention. I’ve had it for months but I’ve never had the need to flick through the pages. Until yesterday, that is. ¬†Chasers of the Light¬†is a collection of typewritten poetry by a man who got famous on Instagram. His words are lonely, sometimes heartbreaking but gorgeous. I’ve always been a fan and Tyler was the man that inspired me to write back then. I was surprised how instantaneous my reaction was. I almost felt like crying because his words was like a douse of ice cold water. It woke me up. Instantly, I remember those frantic days, nights and early mornings when my fingers couldn’t keep up with the words spilling from me.

It is tough to make it as a poet in the publishing world. The market, though not saturated, is not that popular. But I know I want to publish my work. I just didn’t know how. A month ago, I found out that there’s an independent bookstore here who does publishing work for indie authors and that they do their best to cater to the writer’s vision of their work. Up until yesterday, I hadn’t a clue as to how best to format my work.

I’ve been slowly going through my notebooks and collections of poems. I was amazed by how much I’ve amassed in the last few years. Some of the words are cheesy as hell, but some have a bit of truth and honesty that was shocking even to me.¬†Seeing Tyler’s book gave me a swift kick in the butt. He reminded me that if I don’t write it, no one will read it. So, thank you, Tyler. Once again, you’re an inspiration.

 

What about you? Who do you go to when you need a jolt of inspiration?

The Young Writers Society

Happy February everyone!

Some of you may not know this, but I’m a moderator over on this writing website called The Young Writers Society.

And I sort of love it there.

What it is, is a community of young writers who have the chance to share their writing online (copyright stays theirs) and with the help of a point system, in return for reviewing other people’s works, they get reviews on their own. That way everyone is helping each other get feedback on their writing.

I have been using the site since I was twelve years old. I have read some amazing stories there, novels, poetry, and I know quite a few users who have gone off and gotten published. But the best thing about it is that there is a sense of anonymity because you use a username, so everything is still private. Here’s why you need this website in this life:

It’s for young writers, but that only depends on your definition of young!

Yes, there are thirteen year olds on here. Yes, there are those that are 24 there too. It depends on what you see as “young.”

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You’re going to get valuable feedback. Remember what I said about partnering up?¬†

Those reviews are going to be your light in the dark. They are going to help shape your writing and make you a better writer by the end of it.

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It’s a community!¬†

You get to meet some lovely people, and make friends as well. With people who share the same hobby as you! That’s always valuable.

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There are forums brimming with writing advice.

Yep. You’ll find plenty of articles written by writers for writers. Which means it is usually advice that really works. On top of all that, you can ask questions and get replies! Interactive advice. :3

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Chatrooms for endless word wars.

Yes, there is the main chatroom. So whenever you feel like discussing things writerly with actual people, running a word war to pick up that word count, you can!

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Workshops. Events. Radio Talks.

Every now and again there is a workshop, or a special event, or even a radio talk! Workshops are so wonderful because the specialise in a time of writing, or a writing concept. you don’t know how wonderful they are until you’ve tried one. This site really does have it all.

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I use it and I’m fabulous.

I’m just joking. Or am I?

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But mostly, it will help you write more, meet those deadlines, and feel happy being a writer.

So join us there now!

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Do you have a writing based website that you use? Do you want one?

Olivia-Savannah x