Thursday, February 27, 2014


I have been writing for about ten years now and there are many things that I have learned during that time. 
I've had to practically learn how to use grammar all over again (I didn't really listen in school the first time around).
I've made up my own shorthand language for when I write longhand at work.
I've learned to take, as well as give, constructive criticism.
But most of all, I've learned that writing can be unpredictable!
 You may say, "Crystyl, if you're the author, how can your story take you by surprise?"
That's a good question, to which I only have one characters take over!
If you write fiction, you may know what I'm talking about, but right now I bet a bunch of you are thinking that I'm crazy.
Yes, my characters take over. 
Sometimes, it is all I can do to write fast enough to keep up with them!
I'm getting ahead of myself. 
How do characters take over?
Well, when you write, if you develop a great character (good guy or bad guy, doesn't matter), it is easy to "fall for them". 
If the character is believable, they become like their own living entity within your mind (like a good friend that you've known for years). You become as attached to them as the reader does, if not more.
So, I have these "entities" in my mind while I write as well as a general idea of the direction that I'm going to guide them in, but sometimes...they throw a fast one at me!
I will have a dramatic scene worked up in my mind and as I'm writing, suddenly my heroine decides to say something that changes everything. Boom! My imagined scene is shattered, as is all the after affects to go with it.
But this is not a bad thing. Most of the time, it adds to another layer of the story and works out to be a much cooler idea and conclusion than I had originally planned.
So, you can see why I like to let them take over (most of the time). 
When I write, I like to immerse myself into the world of my characters as much as I can. That way I can properly describe surroundings as well as feelings. 
Not to mention, it's fun!
It's like watching a movie (which means my hand is cramping because I'm writing so fast) and I am just as excited as any other audience member to see what happens next.
So, now my secret is out...I sound nuts.
Does anyone else have anything similar happen to them or am I really just looney?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Idea Book

Writing ideas on scraps of paper is great, but what happens if you lose that scrap? 
Poof! Your brilliant novel and movie trilogy idea is gone!
All right, maybe that is a little dramatic, but if this has ever happened to you, you know that losing a paper with your precious idea on it can be devastating. 
You can try your best to rewrite it, but it wont be the same. :(

To avoid this, I suggest you start keeping an Idea Book
This is also a great idea for those whose imagination is on constant overdrive and there is no way you can write all those gems at one time.
There are times when I have so many ideas bouncing around in my mind that I feel like a schizophrenic who can't concentrate on any one thing, instead I'm always in my imaginary world because I don't want to lose the cool ideas.
My mind tends to be like a bucket full of water. If I add another drop, some of the other water falls out. Haha
To avoid this, I write down my ideas. 
It's like purging the "voices" from my mind. (I really don't have schizophrenia guys) 

(This one isn't mine, but it's a good example)

For my Idea Book, I found a fat notebook with a strong binding so that it could handle lots of rough use. I decorated the front (because I'm like that) and made it something that I wouldn't mind using all the time. I carry it around in my bag.
Any time I have an idea, I jot it down in there and then I know that it is safe until I have time to look upon it again.
It's great to have everything in one place
If I get a new idea and I think "Hey, this is like one of my other ideas", I can flip through my notebook and find out if my thought is correct or not.

The Idea Book also helps me when I'm feeling writers block. 
If I'm working on a story and I'm just plain stuck, I turn to my book and write a little more about one of those ideas. 
Sometimes, getting my mind off of what I am writing at the time and looking back through my old ideas is enough to spark my creative juices. 

The book is also a good place to stick photos of something that inspired you. I cut out pictures from magazines all the time. 
Sometimes, visualizing isn't enough. If I see it, I can better describe it in my story.

It's also really fun to see how many ideas and potential stories I can collect. 
I'm currently a 12! 
Who would have thought that I could think of 12 stories. Granted, not all of them are worked through and plotted out. 
A few of them are just random dreams that I've had and thought "That's make a cool story".

Also, I keep a list at the back of my book of names that I think are cool. That way, when I write in a new character, I can flip to that page and create an awesome name that will catch the readers eye.

If you haven't started an idea book, I suggest you do. This can be used for more than just stories. 
Poetry, for example, would make excellent use of an Idea book.

If you have something similar to this that you keep track of your thoughts in, I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Wow" Moments

Every once in a while, I like to dive into the archives and read back through an old story. 
Sometimes I do it to edit, to find another story idea and other times, I do it to re-inspire myself (If you're ever having writers block, this is a great trick to help battle that).
There are times when I catch myself reading through my stories as if I had not written it. 
Meaning, I am just as surprised when the characters in the book make certain choices or say things.
During these times, when I'm lost in the book, I find myself having "wow" moments. For example, I'll be reading a funny part of the book and find myself bursting out laughing; that stops me for a moment and I think "Wow, I wrote that!"
The sense of pride that fills me during these moments is great. 
I don't know about you, but as a writer, sometimes I feel like I am just kidding around and that I could never be as good a writer as other authors (you are your worst critic!). 
These "wow" moments seem to seal the deal for me. When I can still impress myself and forget that I wrote what I am reading and just enjoy the story, I know I did a good job and if I can enjoy the book, so can others. 
Let's face it, writing isn't easy...So, if you struggle with being your own worst critic, I suggest you read back through your story. Don't edit it, don't look down to every detail, I'm talking about just reading it, as if you picked up the book from the library and you needed a good read. 
You just might surprise yourself. 

Have any of you had "Wow" moments?