Categories
writing

5 Motivational Writing Songs

Having trouble staying motivated through your writing sprints? Well, here are five songs about the action of writing to pump you up and keep you motivated.

1. Rough Draft by Sarah Solovay

“One day, the real thing might blow you away” – Rough Draft

A story always starts somewhere. Don’t be afraid to have a sloppy start. After all, they say that a first draft is just you telling yourself the story as you know it. Once you’ve written your rough draft, you can revise and shape it.

2. Word Crimes by Weird Al

We gotta do revisions, and one of the revisions we gotta do is line editing. I love this weird and quirky song that gets me ready to get the hard work done.

3. Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

This song is perhaps a bit old and overplayed, but it’s still good. Here unwritten sounds motivational. If you’re having a bad day and you’re struggling to put words on the page, perhaps this song is the one to get your spirits up in the clouds once more.

4. You’re Gonna Know My Name by Watt White

“Just wanna tell my story” – You’re Gonna Know My Name

Sometimes you just wanna tell your story. So listen to this song to get yourself pumped up. No fear. Plunge forward into your plot and come out the other side victorious.

5. Man on a Mission by Oh the Larceny

“Bleed until I own this dream; build it like you’ve never seen” – Man on a Mission

You don’t need permission. If you’re having a hard day, this song’s sure to get you kicking against the morbs. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder that you’re on a mission to get this finished.

What are some songs that you listen to while writing to motivate yourself on your projects? Take a moment and share in the comments down below.

Categories
Reviews

Book Review: Misty of the Chincoteague

I was in a secondhand bookstore and went a little crazy—as many of the book-enthused are prone to do—with my book buying. As I was rounding up the goods, something caught my eye. Before me, on the shelf, was one was one of my favorites: Misty of the Chincoteague. So, not only did I immediately snatch it off the shelf, but I also determined that I would re-read it and see if it was as good as I remembered it to be.

For my full review, watch the video below:

Basically, this book was good for me as a child. The author, Marguerite Henry, has a firm grasp of metaphor and simile. Also, they know what emotions will hit you hardest. By no means is this book any less deep because it is a children’s book.

I must admit, Marguerite obviously has their strengths and weaknesses. While she’s strong with her metaphors, she struggles with other writing concepts. Despite this, the book was still a fun read and I would absolutely read it again.

Categories
writing

Writing Romance: As Easy As Math?

Last year, I went to LTUE and attended several days’ worth of panels. It was both enlightening and inspiring but one of my favorite panels was called “Writing a Romance is like Writing a Math Proof.” The panelist mainly discussed LOTR and one of the romances that didn’t make it into the movie (and how much of a shame that was). However, they made some very important points, some of which I would like to talk about today.

I’m going to say up front, that this article is subjective. Perhaps you won’t agree with the points that were originally made or my expansions of those ideas. I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below. 😉

You Have To Prove No One Else Would Work

One of the most important things about writing romance is proving that no other character would work with this particular character. You want to show your readers, through empirical evidence, that this person is right for them while others simply aren’t. This falls under the rule of realistic attraction. There can be various reasons for love to blossom (which we’ll get into in a moment) but this is the key. Provide moments of proof. Not hypotheses, not suggestions, concrete evidence.

This also falls under show don’t tell. We don’t want to hear why one person is meant for another, we want to see it.

I will admit, this sometimes does set up an unrealistic expectation. Especially since, in real life, there isn’t always one person. Perhaps you disagree with this all together and think that there should be many characters a person can be with. However. Be aware that the more time you spend proving that your character could be with anyone is less time you can spend building the relationship between characters A and B.

It leads to a weaker plot overall.

These Characters Work For Healthy Reasons

Now, it is fun to see two characters who are entirely toxic for one another—for examples of toxic characters check out 19 Toxic Male Characters From Romantic Comedies To Stop Lusting Over by Olivia Truffaut-Wong. Also, it’s not only men that are toxic in relationships. Women can be just as bad. It goes both ways.

Anyhow, toxic characters are interesting and they definitely have their place in media. However, that’s not what we’re looking for in the genre of romance, now is it? We want to see that character A should be with character B because they bring out the best in each other. They build each other up, not tear each other down. They contribute to each other’s lives and goals in ways other than just physical.

And no, having sex is not what builds love. It can be the direct result of it, a desire born out of learning about another person, but it’s not what creates that love in the first place. Please, stop. Don’t do it.

It is alright to have a foil for your MCs. A third, and totally toxic person. But, please don’t play this off as a love triangle (this is a personal preference, but…). Especially in a genre more represented by female leads than others, it would be nice to see two genuinely good people but one of them just doesn’t work with the POV character. One of them doesn’t have to be abusive and jerkish to prove that they are not right. They could just be, not right.

An Example

This example is by no means perfect. But take a look at this romantic short.

In this short we see that 1. there is some empirical evidence as to why the first relationship doesn’t work. Everything started out fine. But, in the long run, they couldn’t see eye to eye and, ultimately, one of the partners was holding back. At times the one character does do mean things, but for the most part they are a regular person.

And thus, 2. we get a healthy solution from someone not willing to give all of themselves to another, but willing to share.

So, maybe writing romance isn’t math, maybe it’s more of a science? What do you think? If you haven’t already, go ahead and subscribe. And, don’t forget to share your thoughts below.

Categories
Novel writing

WIP Update

Finished with Arc 2 of my WIP? Maybe. It’s about the same length as it was before and I really wanted it to be longer than that. I suppose that the overall work being longer is satisfying. The overall work is sitting at 57,000 words right now so that means we’ve got a ways to go. For now, here’s what I’ve done.

Combined Characters

Sometimes you have too many side characters. This was the case with an old seer woman that the MC and group meet along the way. So, I wrote out the old woman and gave her lines to one of the other people in the group. This made things way simpler and meant that we got more time with the scenes that were important. I love the way this also gives Laima (the character who got the old woman’s lines) more personality and really affirms her religiousness. I hope she keeps developing in a good way over the course of the novel.

More Time With The BBEG

The BBEG (big bad evil gal) is very personable and, under different circumstances, might have been an ally. I really wanted to drive that idea home in this section. Although the reader met the BBEG in the beginning of the story, it wasn’t clear that she was the opposition. So, in the middle section I really wanted to explore what could have been. And build up how tragic a relationship she has with the MC.

Changes Yet To Come

It’s amazing how, even while writing, you think of things that need changed. I have a doc on the side in which I have written important things I need to change. I need to talk more about magic, and a spear, and get the character’s voices distinct. There’s a lot of work yet to go. But this is going from dirty draft, to draft one. So the main point right now is to expand things out to the proper length. Even though we’re at almost 60,000 we still gotta get closer to 80,000.

So, wish me luck and let me know how your own WIPs are going. Don’t forget to like and comment. What do you struggle with most on your drafts?

Categories
Reviews writing

Why Maleficent Never Needed To Be Good

Over the last decade there has been a fascination with how villains become villainous. Megamind (2010), Despicable Me (2010), Maleficent (2014), Joker (2019), and others have taken to humanizing their “bad guys.” I personally enjoyed some of these titles for their genius. However, I have some qualms with the depreciation of evil in mainstream media. So today, I’m going to talk about why Maleficent never need to be “good” to be good.

I still remember reading a series of unfortunate events as a child. Even then one quote in particular stood out to me:

“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”

– Lemony Snicket

I thought this was pure genius. And it is so true that people are a mix of many things. Writing a well-rounded villain takes a skill and thoughtfulness that comes from recognizing that they are people too. In fact, John August does and excellent job of explaining this in his article “Every Villain Is A Hero.” For a villain to feel real, they do need to have both aspects of good and evil. They need to have hero-like motivations which put them at odds with your main character.

However.

In Maleficent (2014), I found myself startled and disappointed at the defanging of Maleficent in what could have been a truly spectacular remake. While there could have been a deep dive into the culture of politeness among fairies, we instead got an uncomfortable rape analogy which “justified” Maleficent’s actions. In the end (SPOILER ALERT), it was instead her love that set Sleeping Beauty free from her slumber. This was, overall, an interesting take and a well-executed twist.

But, was it the Maleficent from the original Sleeping Beauty?

This villain was a far cry from the well-spoken, noble-reminiscent, castle-dwelling woman who was both petty and vengeful. Disney had already reinvented Maleficent in their retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story back in 1959. The woman in the original tale didn’t play such a large role. However, it seems they were unable or unwilling to keep that character’s spirit alive in 2014.

Maleficent did not need to be a misunderstood person in order for her to be a character that was both compelling and complex. Whatever drove her original character to sit alone in the dark castle, away from other fairies, would have been an interesting story indeed. Just look at her rage in the original movie.

[the video got taken down… but you can look it up]

I don’t know about you, but I want to know more about the character I see in that clip. I want to know more about how she amassed all that power. About how she remains unchallenged on that mountain for 16 years even when the people know she’s going to kill their princess.

No one dared challenge that Maleficent.

We’ve entirely lost the spirit of fairies, now. Sylvia Spruck Wrigley explains this perfectly in their article “Five Reasons Not To *** Off the Fair Folk.” Fairies are not nice, but they are extremely complex, extremely tricky, and very compelling characters. Why wasn’t this explored? The character we saw in Maleficent was not one of the “fair folk” but was the romanticized fairy that means humanity no harm.

Give me the no-apologies-given noble fairy who lusted after power and didn’t care who she stepped on to get it. After all, what’s more relatable and more human than something we see so frequently in our everyday lives? Show us how regular people rise to power, how their desires can lead them down dark paths, and what conflict did Maleficent face within herself as she walked that path, if any?

Do you agree? Or do you think this change was for the better? Share and comment below.