Tag: tips

#Writing with Color – Writing help from Ingrid Sundberg

Author Ingrid Sundberg loves collecting words. She collects them, writes them down, makes lists of them and uses them to improve her writing.

“One of my on-going word collections is of colors. I love to stop in the paint section of a hardware store and find new names for red or white or yellow. Having a variety of color names at my fingertips helps me to create specificity in my writing. I can paint a more evocative image in my reader’s mind if I describe a character’s hair as the color of rust or carrot-squash, rather than red.”

And one of the coolest things she has done is put together a color thesaurus that YOU can use to improve your writing. I’ve included a few examples below (only red, white, and blue) but you should take a look at her website to get the full effect: http://ingridsundberg.com/2014/02/04/the-color-thesaurus/.

colors blue colors red colors white

 

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Pixar #Storytelling Tips – and my favorites

Via Pixar storyboard artist, Emma Coats. I picked my top five seven to include here on Unleaded. But you should check out the full list  here: http://io9.gizmodo.com/5916970/the-22-rules-of-storytelling-according-to-pixar

 

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

(Note from Day: I really like this fun little “blank” exercise above. It just lets you play and at the same time offers a very basic throughline for a story. How fun is that?!)

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

 

Also the image below is Pixar Star Wars. Although not related to the “22 Rules of Storytelling According to Pixar” I couldn’t resist.

Pixar_SW

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#Video Saturday: Advice for #Writers – Philippa Ballantine (@PhilippaJane)

Geist CoverJoanna Penn’s Video Interview of Philippa Ballantine on fantasy and first drafts.  New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author with her husband Tee Morris of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats.  The video is a bit old and mentions Geist first hitting the shelves but that just makes it better for us.  We can not only read Geist but also the NEXT three books! Yay!

You can find these books on her Amazon page.  What’s also cool is that she has written additional short stories that include some of the characters. For those of you slackers who don’t want to watch the video:

pip_ballantine_long-hairTop Tips for a First Draft

1.  Just keep writing and not look back.

2.  Include something that highlights the senses – color, sound, or scent.  It’s evocative and helps the reader get in the mind of the character.

3.  The characters are the lens through which readers get in to the story.  Better to have an imperfect character that allow you to empathize with them.

And of course what makes me squee…her favorite source of information and inspiration for writing is history. Geist is based on Tsarist Russia of the 19th century. Yay!

 

First drafts are never easy.  In addition to Pip’s great advice, what would YOU suggest?


Video Saturday (Repeat) – Elmore Leonard’s Advice to Writers

As many of you may be aware, Elmore Leonard passed away this last week.  There have been a ton of folks posting tributes and notes and tips that he gave on writing.  And we’re going to do the same.

Unleaded posted a Video Saturday about a year and a half ago of the American screenwriter and king of the hard-boiled novel.  It’s a great video that really lets you see his love of dialogue and voices and gives you a hint of how he brought his characters to life.  Definitely worth a repost.

So let’s raise a glass and toast Mr. Leonard!  Safe journey.

 

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Video Saturday: Tips for Reading Fiction from Mary Robinette Kowal

At Balticon this year I had my first reading.  Yay!  At Balticon this year I had my first reading.  Eeeep! <insert other sounds of fear>  I’ve bought books based on people’s reading.  I know how they can excite readers, and motivate potential readers.  It is an opportunity to put yourself and your work forward.  Which basically in my head translated to:  “Don’t muck this up.”

In the end, I did all right.  Not perfect, but good enough that afterwards I did not collapse, run for cover, or swear I’d never read again.  In fact, a couple of people liked my reading so much, they asked where to find the story I’d read.  <insert appropriate squee noises here>

However, for today’s Video Saturday I found something that would have definitely helped.  Hugo-award winning novelist and professional puppeteer, Mary Robinette Kowal, has a couple of fantastic and simple YouTube videos where she provides tips for reading fiction out loud.  And as she says in the video, she used to do competitive reading. (I never even knew it was a sport!)  🙂

This is a two-part video but because there is SO MUCH COOLNESS, I didn’t want to put them both out this week. Of course, for you smarties out there, here’s a link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GT9NbaogoE


Video Saturday – Advice to Writers – Philippa Gregory

Today is author Philippa Gregory. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read her novel, The Other Boleyn Girl or other historical novels but I fell in love with the film.  She has written novels set in several different historical periods – the bestselling Lacey trilogy — Wideacre, which is a story about the love of land and incest, The Favoured Child and Meridon in the 17th century; The Wise Woman, and A Respectable Trade, a novel of the slave trade in England, set in 18th-century Bristol. Not too surprising considering she has a PhD in 17th century literature.

The video is mostly about her writing and although interesting, I have to say I’m a bit disappointed it didn’t cover more about how she incorporates history into her novels and how to determine what to use and what to ignore.  As well as the risks of those decisions.

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