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Writing Techniques to Set You on the Right Track

Writing Techniques to Set You on the Right Track - Beth Rodgers

Written by Beth Rodgers

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  So, I’ve picked up some book writing techniques over the years that I have always used to my benefit, and I hope to help you use for your own benefit.

Even as a little girl in elementary school, I wrote journal entries describing the desire I had to be an author.  Journal entries are especially helpful for those writers who are lost in their own writer’s block and need more techniques to get them out of it.

The main issue that I encounter in my own writing is introductions.  I most always end up pleased with my choice of title or opening paragraph, but they give me more trouble than they’re worth.  So, I sometimes come up with or search for story starters and poem starters as a means of helping me think of beginnings.

When I was in middle school and early high school, I was in love with the idea of learning how to write a story (I still am!).  I had fun.  Writing wasn’t a chore; it was a pleasure.  I loved learning how to write a story, an anecdote, and other styles that teachers would provide.  It was also enjoyable to increase my knowledge of literary terms, including learning to define words like “anachronism” and consider how to use those devices within my writing.  It is because of these early experiences that I feel I have garnered some expertise in the matter of book writing.  

When eighth grade rolled around, I parodied the pop culture phenomenon that was Beverly Hills, 90210 and wrote my own version: Lathrup Village, 48076.  

Your writing does not have to be yours to be inspired by you.  You make it what it is.  Find ways to pull the most useful items you have and use them to structure your own writing.

As time went on, young adult stories seemed to fit me to a tee, as I was a young adult myself. Junior year of high school was the year that cemented my desire to be a full-fledged author, as I wrote my first novel that year.  I used tips and techniques that my junior year English teacher provided me with, as well as some of my own that I had garnered from my own writing experience.  One of these tips was to watch for redundancy.  Learning to make sure that you are not becoming overly repetitive with what you have to say is important in any type of writing.

My first novel started out as a short story I had written my sophomore year.  When first assigned, it had to be 3-5 pages, and about anything we wished.  I wrote about the most unpopular boy, a main character named Phillip, who likes the most popular girl, Susie, while dealing with his best friend moving away, and gaining a new best friend while using quick wit and a caring manner.

Little did I know I would continue this young adult novel-in-the-making my junior year and add in new  characters, along with some surprise return character cameos who served to further complicate the never-peaceful teenage lives that the main characters constantly led.  

This just proved all the more that conflict sells.  People enjoy reading about the trials and tribulations of others and possess a desperate desire to see how it all turns out.  

My use of character development, conflicts, twists and turns, and a passion for my subject matter are central pieces of the puzzle that make up the book writing techniques that I use.  

TV and movies serve to delineate this point all the more.  As an avid TV and movie viewer, I am constantly spotting potential book writing techniques and strategies that writers use to keep their audiences at the ready for anything that might possibly occur.

Some TV and movie writers like to start at a season or series finale, or with a particular scene, and work backward to what they feel will be the best starting point.  Others remain mysterious and keep you guessing to see what will happen next.  This is useful in TV writing, but is prevalent in movie scripts, as they have a shorter amount of time in which to tease you with potential scenarios and keep you guessing to find out which will actually come to fruition.  

It’s amazing to look back on shows that have been on for years or have gone off the air already, and realize that the whole plotline, or at least the vast majority of main ideas, have definite ties back to the very first episode of that series.  A great example of this can be found when watching the pilot episode of Friends.  If you have watched most or all of that series, re-watch the pilot and see what I mean.

Going back in time a bit, the astute Ben Matlock and Lieutenant Columbo solidified the power of a few key phrases and wording styles as they investigated their cases and solved them with barely any trouble.

Perspective is very important in writing, especially when writing from a specific point of view.  You have to be able to see what you read, watch, and write as positive, negative, happy, sad, or a gaggle of other emotions in order to truly know that you have tried every angle to make your writing shine.

So always view your writing as a glass half full.  Watch TV and movies to see and hear the masters at work.  Read your favorite authors to investigate for yourself how great minds work.  Write a novel, book, play, or even a doctoral thesis.  Use techniques that you have learned and that you are learning as you are in the process of writing.  Open your mind and see all the possibilities that writing offers.

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Are Writers Like Voldemort?

Written by Christopher Mannino 

Two recent reviews compared School of Deaths to the Harry
Potter series. I decided to play on that a bit with this question: are
writers like Voldemort?

I say YES.
The first similarity is that both writers and Voldemort use magic.
Voldemort’s magic mostly involves torturing and killing people.
He seems especially obsessed with a teenage boy, and finds ways
to get into the boy’s mind.  A writer also uses
magic.  Writers use a group of arcane symbols arranged into
clumps they call words.  Like a spell, they can take an image,
something that only exists as a slight fancy in their imagination, and
dump it into the imaination of their reader.  As I type, an
elephant walked in front of my window stinking of manure.  Did
you picture an elephant, or smell manure?  What if I then told
you there was no elephant?  That transference is the most real
form of magic imaginable….
“Writing is magic.” – Stephen King,
On Writing
 
Another striking similarity is in what both writers and Voldemort
want: eternal life.  Voldemort is obsessed with the idea of
immortality.  He kills people to create horcruxes, ironially
causing his own downfall and death, when one of the horcruxes fights
back.  Writers are no different.  It’s true that many might
simply want to share their ideas, but in the end, by creating stories
that will endure, a writer has taken part of their soul and created
something eternal: a part of their soul that can be shared in
another’s mind, and could last forever.  Sounds a lot like making
horcruxes- only without all the murders.
So what do you think?  Are writers like Voldemort?
Also, don’t miss this stellar review for School of Deaths:  http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=20235
 

Introducing: The YAAR Blog!

YAAR logo 2

Greetings, fellow bookaholics!

Allow me to introduce ourselves. We are the Young Adult Author Rendezvous, a stalwart group of authors, writers and fanatics from all over the globe. Though most of us write in the Young Adult genre, quite a few of us write for younger audiences as well, from Middle Grade all the way down to picture books for preschoolers.

We have banded together as a group because we all have stories to tell, and, if I may be so bold, we are darn good at it. Our library of books is extensive, and we hold that you will browse our selection of books that are guaranteed to entertain readers of any age.

But more than that: we want to give you all the benefit of our experiences and our vast array of knowledge. Though we come from all walks of life, we are united by our love of books. Because you can’t be a writer without that, and, I think you’ll agree, there is a lot of ground to cover.

Starting immediately, people who visit our site regularly will be treated to blog entries from many of our members, with a new entry scheduled for every other day (usually the odd-numbered days, though we may fill in a few even-numbered days if there is a demand for it).

This is going to be SO MUCH FUN!

@YAARendezvous #YAAR #fiction

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