Thursday, April 24, 2014

Add a "Soundtrack" to your Story

Ever been listening to a song that hits you so deep that you look out the window and pretend that you're in a movie? 
Come on, we all do it!
Or have you ever watched a dramatic movie and afterwards the scenes keep playing in your head and the soundtrack sticks with you for days?
Maybe you even think about how you would have ended it differently?
These times are best used for your writing!

It amazes me how much music can affect your mood day to day. 
The same can be said about writing.
If I have an adventurous song on with a very energetic beat, I feel like my writing comes out more pumped up and full of juicy descriptions.
On the flip-side, if I am writing a heart wrenching scene, I like to listen to haunting slow songs. 
I like to think of this as putting a "soundtrack" to my story.

I used to write to silence, but now that I've tried music, I find that I can write for longer periods of time without burning out.
Sometimes, I will find the perfect song to what I am writing and will end up playing it on a loop.
I've even...made myself cry doing this. Don't judge! haha
If you're not already convinced, here's another plus to listening to music while you write, it cancels out other noise around you.
Like the lawn mower next-door, the annoying little brother, or the sports channel on in the front room.
Use music to pull you out of every day life and take you to another place, one where YOU control what happens.
If you have a problem concentrating on writing due to lyrical music, try classical, or my favorites, soundtrack music.
You tube, Pandora, iTunes, etc...are full of awesome music of all genres that will help inspire your work.
If you've never tried it before, give it a shot!
What are you waiting for?
Try adding a "soundtrack" to your story, it just might give you the awesome boost you need to make your story GREAT!

Here are a few of my favorite songs to write to:

Drumming Song- Florence and the Machine
When I'm Small- Phantogram
Midnight City- M83
Do I Wanna Know- Arctic Monkeys
Elastic Heart- Sia
Breath of Life- Florence and the Machine  
Intro- The Xx
Gladiator Soundtrack
Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack

My Love- Sia
Words- Skylar Grey
Hymns to the Sea- James Horner (Instrumental)
Young and Beautiful- Lana Del Rey
Stay- Rihanna
Breathe Again- Sarah Barellis
Origami Crane- Trevor Hale
Waterfall- Enya (Instrumental)
The Approaching Night- Phillip Wesley (Instrumental)

Seven Devils- Florence and the Machine
Loretta Young Silks- Sneaker Pimps
Hello- Evanescence 
Jack and Sally Montague- Danny Elfman (Instrumental)
Walk the Rain- Sneaker Pimps
Sentimentos- Andres Linetzkey (Instrumental)

There's a little bit to get you going. 
If you have songs that you love to listen to while writing, I'd love to hear about them.
Please comment the name of the song and I'll check it out. 
I love finding new music!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How To Start A Book

I've had a few posts about writing, but what about writing with a goal in mind? 
A book perhaps?

The thought of writing a book may intimidate people, I don't want to fool you into thinking this is an easy task. It's not, but it's worth it!
The best place I can think to start a book is...wait for your mind! 
Yup, your imagination is the key factor to get this project going.

First: You need an idea!
Spend some time in your mind. 
(For some of you, this may be a chaotic and scary place...That's alright, use that!)
Depending on if you are writing fiction or non-fiction, will factor into how deep into your imagination you need to go.
Search around in there for ideas, anything, and start writing them down. 
They could be something as simple as "I got a balloon at the park and it guided me on an adventure" to something as complex as "I fell through a portal and it took me to another dimension!"
The cool thing about writing your own story is that it's YOURS and the sky isn't even the limit!

Second: Once you've got your idea, start to plot it out.
I know a few writers who will start with a general story idea, a few character names and a pen and just go to town, making it up as they go until BOOM, they have a story!
I work the system a little differently. I like to get the general story idea played out in my mind and start to plot things out in a bit of detail. I ,at least, like to write down the main beginning idea, something I want to happen in the middle and a general idea of where I want it to end.
Then I start to look for character names. 
A good place to get interesting names is the credits of a movie. It sounds weird, but I've done this many times. Or you could go onto and look up random names.

Third: Start writing! Grab a pen and paper or your laptop and go to town.
Don't worry about editing anything yet, just keep writing until you get to the end.

Fourth: Now that you've finished your first draft (I call it the skeleton), you can go back to the beginning and start fixing things.
If you're not the best at editing, do your best and then turn it over to someone who knows what they're doing. If you have a friend who writes, that's a good place to start. You can also find students in college who will edit for cheap.
Keep polishing it up (putting some meat and muscle on those bones! Now you no longer have just a skeleton)

Fifth: Keep revising until it is something you are proud of. I've been through a few of my stories 6-7 times and I still don't know if I'll ever catch every grammar or spelling mistake, but the important thing is that I am proud of it.

Sixth: Let others read it.
Yes, this is a scary step. 
Maybe they won't like it...but maybe they will!
The best thing to do when someone gives your criticism about your story, is to take note of it and better yourself from it. 
Perhaps you are too "close" to the story to realize a major plot hole that someone else might find. That doesn't mean you're a failure. Grab up that pen and put your thinking cap on.

After all...the story must go on! Haha

Alright, I've given you all the guidance I know about starting your story. Now it's up to you to go out there and do it!