On being a writer and a student

Sometimes, finding time to write can be next to impossible. It’s a passion that can sometimes be difficult to find time for. Between finishing school, working, blogging, doing the rest of my classwork and attempting to maintain a social life, it can be rather hard to find time to do what you love. I’m sure a lot of people who read this have the same issue, and I want you to know, I feel you.

Look at my desk, I don’t even have room for my laptop on there!

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What’s your perspective?

By this, I’m talking about the narrator of the story. From which perspective is your story being told? Picking your perspective is more then just whatever you feel like. Each one brings a stylistic difference with it that will change the way your story is told.

First person

I’ve heard people call first person amateur, but I disagree. It does tend to be the voice most used by beginning writers. First person is easy to start, but hard to master. It is best used in situations where the action is very focused on your main character and they have a very strong voice. Things in the story should be colored toward their opinions and ideas. You should really know your character before jumping into the story.

Second person

Rarely used, and for good reason. Since second person is ,”you,” you’re making the reader the main character. This could be used to create an interesting mood or to place the reader in an uncomfortable situation (I’m thinking the Beatles song, “For No One,” off of Revolver).

Third person limited

Possibly the most versatile voice you can use in short fiction. There is a lot you can do by being detached to your character but only having access to their thoughts. You know have the freedom to describe the actions of other characters separate from the interactions they have with your main character, but since you only have access to their thoughts you can show how they shape that person. It can also give you a detachment, a sort of coldness, to your main character. A desperate emotional situation, with an unfeeling narrator, can feel that much worse.

Third person omniscient

Another voice that would be rather difficult to use. This time, only because of the space requirements. This is much easier to use in novels, where you have the time and space to jump around between your characters. By doing this in a short story, you are limiting how much you get to know about each character you move to, and you already have so little to work with.

What are you guys writing out there?

I’ll admit that I’ve aimed this blog toward my own writing style, and what I like to write. I’ve always gone for more of a character driven, realistic, maybe mid or early 90s setting for my writing. Just kind of happens that way.

But poking around the internet, I noticed a huge following for science fiction and fantasy writing. So that got me thinking, what are YOU writing?

Fiction Prompts

Given out by teachers, and offered up by never-ending laymen, fiction prompts always exist as a facet of our craft. I feel like they can be good for breaking writers block, or for short exercises to get you into a creative mood, but see less value beyond that.

A good idea should come from within, not based on a prompt by someone else. You should be able to create your own prompts based off of the images you see in your day to day activities and the situations that you and the people you know have experienced.

That being said, I would be no good if I didn’t provide some links and examples. Here we go:

This is a list of prompts that I actually like. A list of simple images that can spark creativity.

There seems to be a lot of blogs based on this subject.

I have no words for these.

The value of hearing your work

How many of you read what you’ve written out loud after you have finished writing it? You would be surprised, that something that sounds okay when your write it, or makes sense in your mind, will sound awkward out loud.

Many time, that is how your reader will comprehend it, awkward. So give it a try, read your story to yourself and see how it sounds, I bet you’ll change something.

For some added fun, here’s a video of Chuck Palahniuk reading an excerpt from one of his books. Chuck’s books are pretty popular with the 20-somethings and his book readings usually draw a decent crowd. Warning, the content is totally NSFW.

Sharing is Caring

And that being said, I thought I would share a work in progress. The goal for this one is to sit comfortably around 10 pages, but here is an early preview.

Something for bloggers and readers

It seems like useful links just keep showering me today. Must be all the rain I’ve been experiencing lately.

Since I am a blogger that uses wordpress and lives in Baltimore, this conference looks pretty interesting. I might just sign up for twitter just to find out what’s going on there.

I noticed a lot of people end up here for the article I wrote about Hidden City Quarterly, and that is pretty exciting. I spoke with the editors and they’re excited to know people are searching for them so much. So I thought you might like to know they have a new issue out. I’m loving the cover, check it out: