Writing Tips

#Writing Memes and Interesting Things: What about the word ‘very?’

quote-never-use-the-word-very-it-is-the-weakest-word-in-the-english-language-doesn-t-mean-anything-william-allen-white-302455

Never use the word, ‘very.’ It is the weakest word in the English language; doesn’t mean anything. If you feel the urge of ‘very’ coming on, just write the word, ‘damn,’ in the place of ‘very.’ The editor will strike out the word, ‘damn,’ and you will have a good sentence. – William Allen White

Ways to Avoid Very

*Seeking an accessible version of the table.

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#Writing and #Worldbuilding Resources

WorldBuilding Moon, Cityscape and Book

World building is one of those parts of writing fiction that people either feel comes naturally to them or that they struggle incessantly with.  I can’t say I’ve met anyone who says, “Oh yeah, it’s just another part of writing.” One of the activities we are doing in our local writing group is having presentations and guided discussions as a way to share information and resources and learn together. I just led tonight’s talk on worldbuilding.  We talked about how we did it as individuals, what we struggled with, what we enjoyed and how our writing process was impacted (i.e. are you a plotter or pantser and how did that play in).

Just thought I would leave some of links that we used below:

Worldbuilding Information and Resources

 Collected for Cat Vacuuming Society Writing Group (7/9/15)

30 Days of Worldbuilding Exerciseshttp://www.web-writer.net/fantasy/days/
These are short, 15-minute exercises that can help you make crucial decisions about your world, and what you want your story to say about it.

Jump-Start your Imagination Creative Writing Exerciseshttp://howtowriteshop.loridevoti.com/2011/02/jump-start-your-imagination-creative-writing-exercises-for-worldbuilding/

7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding http://io9.com/7-deadly-sins-of-worldbuilding-998817537
When worldbuilding fails, it can wreck your whole story, and leave your characters feeling pointless.

____________________________________

Chuck Wendig’s 25 Things You Should Know About Worldbuildinghttp://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/09/17/25-things-you-should-know-about-worldbuilding/
Worldbuilding is one of those topics that bakes my noodle every time my brain chooses to dwell on it. I have a whole bucket full of opinions, many of them in stark disagreement with one another. World-building covers everything and anything inside that world. Money, clothing, territorial boundaries, tribal customs, building materials, imports and exports, transportation, sex, food, the various types of monkeys people possess, whether the world does or does not contain Satanic “twerking” rites.

Patricia Wrede’s Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions on SFWAhttps://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/
The list of questions is meant to aid authors of fantasy fiction who are seeking to create believable imaginary settings for their stories. While many may be helpful, they will not all apply to every story. The idea is simply to provoke people into thinking about the ways their settings and backgrounds hang together.

Worldbuilding versus Storytelling (Or Does the Phantom Menace have Better Worldbuilding than Star Wars: A New Hope) – http://io9.com/does-the-phantom-menace-have-better-worldbuilding-than-1026016172
The original Star Wars doesn’t explain. You’re just thrown in the deep end with a space battle. In The Phantom Menace we have trade disputes and negotiations. Does the prequel then have better worldbuilding than A New Hope?

Hunter Liguore’s World Building Through Map Makinghttp://www.draftjournal.com/content/draft_exercise-liguore.pdf
Let’s say you’re writing a story about a family that lives on a farm in the late 1800s. (Think O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.) Your main character works in town, two miles from the farm. If you were to make a map, you would immediately mark these two locations. But what else is there? What surrounds the farm? What might your character encounter on that two mile journey? Some questions you might ask yourself.


Non-Video Saturday: John August – How to #Write #Scene

In a blog post, screenwriter John August offered 11 Steps to Writing a Scene (and also a lovely shout-out to one of my favorite writers Jane Espenson). Ryan Rivard consolidated the post and put it into a simple infographic.  The graphic is below but check out the links to the writers and their posts.  Much more great stuff. How-to-write-a-scene-inforgraphic

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National Novel Writing Month is Almost Upon Us (#NaNoWriMo)

Are you ready?

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), either you love it or you hate it.  NaNoWriMo is an annual creative writing challenge. It challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. So approximately 1,667 words per day. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process.  It turns what is a lonely “some day” project to a social, fun, and interactive activity.  Several NaNo novels have been edited and published. Several NaNo novels are awful but the key concept of shared creative mutually-supportive fun is one that almost everyone who participates enjoys.

According to Wikipedia:

Since 2006, roughly 100 NaNoWriMo novels have been published via traditional publishing houses. Many more have been published by smaller presses or self-published. Some notable titles include:

  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, published by Doubleday
  • Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, published by Delacorte Press
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, published by St. Martin’s Press
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, published by Dutton Juvenile
  • The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, published by Del Ray Books

A pretty impressive list.

So far, the vast majority of the Cat Vacuuming Society Writing Group of Northern Virginia (say that fast 3 times) will be participating in some way.  No, not all of us can or will complete a novel, but the idea of committing the month to rededicating ourselves to writing, and using the enthusiasm of NaNoWriMo as a boost is too tempting to ignore.

Rather than just troll the Internet, I decided to go straight to the source – the NaNoWriMo website.  Below is their collection of lovely short articles for Preparing for NaNo Success.  They’re a quick read and should get everyone off to a great start.

Preparing for NaNo Success

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Characters and World-Building

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Plot and Conflict

 

So…let’s do this!  Good luck, everyone.

NaNoWriMoParticipant-2014-Web-Banner

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Last of the Geographic Descriptors for #Writers by Octoswan – Meadows and Mountains

Today is the last of the geographic descriptors from Carolyn/Octoswan. This Saturday – Meadows and Grasslands; Hills, Mountains, and Valleys. As always, you can check all of them out at her website here.

Geographic Descriptors TitleMeadows and Mountains

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Further Geographic Descriptors for #Writers from Octoswan – Rivers, Oceans, and Wetlands

Continuing on in our series from last week, more geographic descriptors from Carolyn/Octoswan. As I mentioned before, if you’re impatient, you can also check them out at her website here. This week – Rivers, Oceans, and Wetlands. I love Tumblr for stuff like this!

Geographic Descriptors TitleRivers Oceans Wetlands

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