Weekend Writing Prompt

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Welcome back to the Weekend Writing Prompt. How did you go last week?

This weeks prompt is: As the sun set over the hills, he knew peace had finally reigned.

Was he in battle?

What happened?

Who was with him?

Will the peace last long?

Is it an emotional peace or physical?

For me, right now I’m going with an emotional battle of some kind. Maybe issues with a loved one or friend, or even himself. A life long battle with himself that he has finally came out of the other side of. And now he is sitting under a tree, feeling that inner peace knowing his journey is only just beginning.

What about you? What happened to your character to finally allow for peace? I’d love you read what you write. You can contact me in the comments below or

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Email: bechombsch@dodo.com.au

Bec

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The Art of Paragraphs

Paragraphs are, next to the words imprinted on the page, one of the most beautiful things about a piece of writing. They provide clarity, allow the reader to tell the difference between who is speaking, who’s perspective that scene is being told from, it breaks up the story and allows for enough white space that it is easy on your eyes and gives you a chance to put the book down and find your spot easier.

Paragraphs are shown through either a new line and a substantial indentation or a line space. The line space looks neater and allows for better presentation on line through blogs and fan fiction stories or similar. And is often found in text and reference books. The indentation is found in fiction books and novels.

One of the most important things about paragraphs is that they flow. So that the reader can move easily from one block of text to the next and not feel like they missed a whole section of work, or wondering where Sally went who was there taking with Bob only a moment ago.

As a reader scans through your work, and some will while others read each word you write down, the main things they notice is the first and last word in each paragraph. Make them count. Draw them in and have them captivated enough to read the rest.

How long should each paragraph be? This varies. It really does depend on what needs to be said in each block of writing. But ideally, according to the Style Manual, for authors, editors and printers (I use the sixth edition) paragraphs should range from three to five sentences. Much more and your reader will find it hard to follow, get lost in the abundance of text and struggle to follow what is happening.

A classic example of this is the old stories such as, Dante’s Devine Comedy.

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The above image came from another blog History of Visual Communication Blog

As you can see it would be hard on the eyes to read and follow. As with any kind of media, be it posters, advertising, writing, white space is your friend.

When should a writer start a new paragraph?

When a new person speaks. Always without any doubt or hesitation. New person, new line.

If your stories involve jumping through time, if you are going back or forward in time. Each time change requires a new paragraph.

The setting changes. Are you now outside? Did Fred just walk into the room and join the discussion.

A new event happens. Has your character heard a noise? Are they running away? Have they stopped running and are they now fighting?

Someone’s brought in a new idea. Tori’s just thrown in a suggestion or something has happened that has caused Mike to go off into thought or required an explanation.

When the camera moves. You know how in TV shows and movies, the camera goes from Ben to Jack and you are seeing that they do. Change your paragraph then.

You change perspective. This is vital when you are using Omniscient Narration. We will discuss this further later. But it means that when you allow for all character’s thoughts and and multiple perspectives. It works the same as speech new character, new line.

———–

Heart Song (an extract)

I watched as his face changed, the man I once knew so well, my best friend, the one constant in my life growing up. I just caused his world to fall apart. It confused me. I knew he missed the friendship, the support, the comfort I gave when he needed it but we both looked at each other a different way.

Derrick was my everything, he was my heart song, my other half, my reason for living. I was his best friend, wingman, company when there was no one else, confidant and the one who set him straight, taking no bullshit from him.

‘I’m not leaving that easy. We need to talk. Hell, we needed to talk since you left. It’s been three years and I am still waiting on an explanation.’

‘I wouldn’t be feeling too hopeful about getting that today,’ I muttered. I watched as his jaw tensed. ‘Derrick, look it was…great, I guess… Seeing you and all, and to be honest I am not entirely sure what happened last night. I can’t believe I let you talk me into Tequila shots. Lord knows I wouldn’t do it voluntarily. But I have a life to get on with and don’t have time for this.’

‘Firstly Princess, last night your words were “Holy shit Derrick? I am way to sober for this crap,” and you did Tequila all by yourself, all I did was say hi.’

I got a flash of last night and groaned, yes I did that to myself. This horrible cotton-wool head, the jackhammer pounding into my skull, the lack of memories was all on me.

I had forgot about his side of Derrick. I had forgot about this side of me. The sides that always challenged each other that pushed each other’s limits. It came out when one of us was annoyed and escalated from there. I took several deep breaths before following him. I considered leaving, just walking out but he would follow.
We headed back to my place. I refused to speak to him for the remainder of the trip. I felt his eyes on me often. I watched as several times he went to talk but stopped himself. I watched the sadness in his eyes that grew with each passing minute.
As he pulled the charger into the driveway, I said a silent goodbye to the car I once called home.

———–

Above is two extracts from my short story Heart Song which I’ve linked in if you want to read it. As you can see I have used indentation for my paragraph style, new lines for each new speaker and as her thought process changes I changed paragraphs. Then in the second extract you will see how as the scene’s change I once again moved to a new paragraph.

Below is an extract from a Supernatural fan fiction I wrote, called Thanks for the Memories. You can see how I changed paragraphs with new scenes, as I switched from Dean’s to the reader’s perspective (for those who read the story, I have changed Y/N = Your Name for the reader insert to Lana for ease of reading) The italic represents flashbacks and the bold text messages.

———–

Memories of their first time together filled her mind. It was beyond amazing, beyond anything she had ever thought it could be.

Three weeks later, Lana woke to a text message from Dean. She smiled as she opened it. The happy feeling soon fading and making way for tears.

“Sorry Baby. I don’t have a choice. Dad said something’s come up, we need to head out. I never wanted to say goodbye.”

That was it, the final message.  

Lana wiped the tears, she hadn’t realized were there. That man still haunted her, his green eyes still watched her in her sleep. She saw them most nights. She couldn’t get them out of her mind. It was still the best summer of her life. He was still the best summer of her life.

Dean looked around the small town, memories came flooding back. He never wanted to leave in the first place. But now, coming back, he never wanted to be here. He’d promised her he wouldn’t ever hurt her and he knew he did. He thought back to summer he spent here, such a bitter sweet time.

She walked through the door of the diner with a group of other kids her age. Dean watched as she shifted her hair off her face and rolled her eyes at some joke. Gorgeous was an understatement. Someone said something else and she laughed. He frowned it was musical but didn’t sound quiet real. It was more forced.

Her blue eye’s caught his and she smiled at him. Dean grinned, a genuine, happy, grin. Not something he did often.

He watched as she went to the counter to order and he followed her up.

‘So, what’s the pie like here?’ he asked.

‘Depends on who made it. But the cherry pie looks nice and sweet today,’ she smiled.

———–

As you can see when paragraph’s are put into place correctly it does leave a lot of white space. But this is your friend as it’s kinder and easier on your reader’s eyes.

Good luck. Any questions shoot me through a message and I will try and answer them. I have also attached a couple of short cut/cheat sheets for your wall. One plain black and white PDF and one a little bit fancier as a JPEG.

the art of paragraphs

The Art of Paragraphs (PDF version)

Bec

Do you have something you want help with? Or would like to see on here. Feel free to contact me and request it. You can find out how here on my contact page.

Please note that the link for the book is an affiliate link. If you purchase through it I do earn a small commission. But I will not recommend a book that I do not use myself or deem worth it. I am in no way paid to advertise the book itself.

Weekend Writing Prompt

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Welcome to the weekend writing prompt. It’s Friday here in Australia, and I thought it would be a good time to put one of these up, for those who use weekends to write and relax.

Never have I felt as scared as I do now.

Where does this lead your imagination?

Is your mind running from something?

Are you hiding?

Is there a rumbling of a distant storm?

Gun fire in the distant?

A scream that is breaking through the silence?

Are you facing a fear?

What is happening to make your character so scared?

For me in my mind right now, my main character is running scared, ducking between buildings, hiding in the shadows. Trying to escape the enemy who want her dead at all costs. Where does this lead…For me right now a new novel I started this week.

Where will yours lead? I’d love to hear what happens you can comment below or

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Email: bechombsch@dodo.com.au

Bec

New Manuscript

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Fun times. I considered planning it on the side and working on something else, but out of all my plot ideas that I have lined up, this next one has scenes flowing really well through my head.

Only catch is I need to rework the plot to make it more viable. Time for coffee, scrap paper, pens, white board, and my hubby and kids to help me connect my dots.

Bec

Understanding Fan Fiction

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I received an inbox from a follower on tumblr today, asking if I can help her answer some questions about fan fiction. I thought that I would I would write up a more detailed answer and post it here for those who are not sure exactly what it is and why it’s done. I have plans for putting up how to posts for tumblr later so this is probably a good place to start.

Fan fiction is a world that I didn’t even know existed until early last year. I went onto tumblr looking for funny gifs and vines, based on things I had seen on Pinterest, and stumbled across it by accident. It’s a bit like the underground world of writing. Some people have heard of it, others haven’t and the fans and writers tend to keep quite about it unless they are talking to someone they feel will enjoy it.

Fan fiction is the viewer/reader/fan’s interpretation of what could or should happen with a piece of media that they enjoyed. I will admit I thought it was only based on movies and tv shows, but I have since found out that it includes almost everything, there doesn’t appear to be limits, TV shows, movies, books and even video games all have fan fiction stories written and based on them.

It uses the characters and sometimes plots of a piece of media to make a new story. Sometimes including reader inserts, which is where the reader is placed in the story using acronyms such as Y/N for Your Name. The story lines are anything from re writing some of the already used plots to include other characters, fix issues fans had with them or to include things they thought would have made it more interesting, crossovers with other fandoms, based on songs, brand spanking new ideas or just to end a series that fans didn’t think ended very well.

Fan fiction is a great way for writers, like myself, who want to test the waters with their writing skills, develop their writing, learn how to write or even see what people think. Fan fiction has also brought about a few famous authors. E.L James, wrote (according to fan fiction legend) 50 Shades of Grey as a fan fiction of Twilight and The Mortal Instruments author Cassandra Clare also started out writing fan fiction.

Not all producers, published authors and video game creators like the idea. Some really have an issue with it. Other’s don’t mind it and have admitted to reading it.

As an author, although not published, personally I think the idea can be great. Would I be offended if someone wrote some for my work? Probably not. I think writers can get a lot of good ideas and a greater understanding of what their fans want and possibly even ideas for future works. I also think it’s a great way for writer’s to be able to see how people judge and interpret their characters and storylines. It’s really does help someone know if they are portraying a person how they meant to. And for those who have stepped into that world as a reader or writer, once there you really do get an idea of the size of a fandom; Supernatural, Dr Who, Sherlock or the SuperWhoLock fandom is a great example.

For me personally I have seen how fan fiction can change a person’s life. My own blog and work is open to requests. I allow people to send through story ideas based on what they want to read and I write it up. This have been everything from: “Can you do a birthday fic?” to “I have a friend living with terminal bowel cancer, who is a Supernatural fan, could you please write something that includes the boys helping the reader through the end?”

Other requests have been about how one of the main characters falls for someone who is flawed according to the rest of the world, be it overweight, glasses, underweight, has stretch marks. Fans like to be able to feel that their hero’s, celebrity crushes etc can fall for someone who isn’t Hollywood gorgeous and it then becomes a massive confidence boost. Something a lot of people need. And what is meaningless to one may end up helping someone else who is really struggling.

These kinds of stories usually end up with private messages from people thanking me, because they had a bad day and were suffering low self esteem etc and the story just helped them realise that they are not as bad as they thought. I have even written stories based on a blind hunter and another who was deaf. Giving these people a chance to believe that they can still achieve anything and “save the world,” means a lot.

It’s also a great place to make friends. I have spoken to some of my readers who have been going through some pretty tough times and spent hours talking to them. Helping where needed and sometimes all they need is just an ear. It’s amazing how strong a friendship’s can grow from this. I have one reader/friend who is now on my personal Facebook and we talk most days about random stuff, I have another that I chat to privately through tumblr about random stuff as well or use her to throw idea’s around with. I’ve seen other’s who have made life long friends who have changed their lives.

Getting into writing fan fiction is easy. Firstly, check it out. Read others works. On tumblr do a search for your favourite character x reader (eg dean x reader), fan fic, fan fiction etc. See what others have done. It’s pretty easy to pick up on a few things. There are a few sites out there who host fan fiction, but tumblr was an easy place for me to start. Set up a blog, this is automatically done once you sign up, so pick a good user name.

Find something you love or have read/watched/played enough to know what it’s about, the main character’s personalities etc. And come up with an idea. Write up your story and give it a good edit. I like using Word to write it up and then I copy and paste into tumblr. Other’s happily just use the tumblr app and type it straight into it.

Tag it! And use your tags wisely. I’m not entirely sure how it works, someone once told me places only count the first five tags. I’m not sure. I have a list that I add in. Tags are what search terms the story is placed under. Without tags no one can find you. So this is things like: #supernatural #Dean x reader #dr who #Matt Murdoch #Dean Winchester. I’m not sure if capitals matter. Then click post.

In the world of fan fiction, a lot of writers do help others out. They shout out for new blogs, share stories, read and review, and offer advice on setting up blogs. But usually only if asked. I am one of those. I happily help out others, we all had to start somewhere. And when I started I had no help and had to go at this and figure it out all on my own.

Keep track of your stories and make sure you copy all the web links into a word document so you can post what is known as a Masterlist. A list of all your story’s web links. This is vital. I cannot stress it enough. You will be asked for one, usually on a regular basis.

Layout and formatting is important. I have read a lot of posts from readers who will not read a fan fiction that isn’t spaced out, well formatted, correct use of everything. Sometimes this can’t be helped. Tumblr known for changing story formats being viewing modes, eg phone to pc. But where possible make sure you include things like line spaces between paragraphs, and a new paragraph per speaker/new lot of dialogue. Also always spell check. We all make mistakes, even some published books have errors in them. But a story that’s riddled with mistakes is hard to read. And if you are re reading old stories and you notice an error. Edit it.

Post regularly, eg weekly or fortnightly. If you have a schedule let your fans know. If you are going to be away for an extended period, let them know. They are great and really supportive and understanding. But those die hard regulars like to know when your next story will be. And who can blame them, we are all like that with our favourite authors.

If you have rules let them know. I don’t do smut (R18, porn writing and sex scenes) not my style. Could I? Probably. Will I? Nope. I have fans and readers, including my kids who are under that age group, I have readers who are under the age 13 so I keep it clean. I will imply it’s happening. I will give a bit of details about kissing someone’s neck, hand going up the shirt. But that’s it. I usually cut scene to lying in bed after or the next day. I don’t feel that it’s needed. It can take away from the story line, it can ruin a story, and ultimately it can give readers that are too young for that kind of thing, details that they didn’t need to know.

I can and have managed to write stories based around a sexual relationship without actually writing sex scenes. However, this kind of thing is each to their own. Some writers enjoy it and do it happily. But it’s one of my rules and I stick by it. If it’s requested, I politely decline that part of the request but write everything else. If it’s too hard to leave that out, I will offer the request to other fan fic writers and ask someone else take it on. As a writer you should not feel pressured into anything.

Also decide if you are taking requests. This is when people contact you with a story idea. And let people know. It’s your choice. You can open it once a month, once a week, not at all. Your choice. I do, and it generally stays open. I just line them up and work on them around my other writing schedules.

What do people like to read? After nine months I think I’ve figured it out. Angst, tear jerking, emotional rollercoaster type stories. Will you please everyone. God, no. I have had emails complaining because I killed someone off and I need to fix it. Nine times out of 10 I do. But funnily enough, the times I write up the next part to bring them back people don’t ask for it. But they love to be drawn into the story like an addiction.

It will take a bit to get going and find your style, pace and ultimately you will. It’s just takes patience and trial and error. My work when I first started compared to my work now is completely different. Don’t get discouraged about the amount of likes or reblogs you get. I’ve had some that have only had 10 all up and others that have hit the hundreds. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. You’re not them. You are you and that’s all there is too it. People will love your work, it’s just a matter of them finding you, of you making yourself known. Love your fans, sure aim for more. But what you are doing is for those who are following you now. You will notice a regular group of them who come back for every story. I have some that I know without a doubt will be one of the first people to like my work and if they don’t I worry. Not about my work, but them.

Fan fiction starts as a way to test the waters and ends up as an online family and book group. It can be a brilliant way for people to refine their skills, test different styles (Point of view for me was a huge test) and see what works for you. It’s worth undertaking and using to it’s full potential for emerging writers. Embrace it.

I am the author of the Supernatural and Avengers fan fiction blog, 5 Minute Fan Fiction on tumblr.

Bec
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The Mind of a Writer…

  

I kid you not, that is seriously what happened. I ended up with the two new titles for my Binary books. So much for being a stand alone. I have dialouge written out in short hand and scenes set. 

So much for my mental holiday…

Now the trick is to get all my editing done and fan fiction requests caught up on before I start the next novel.

Bec

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When One Story Ends…

Another begins…

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So I am in a bit of a bitter sweet moment right now. I have just finished the first draft of my 6th and final book in my Battle for Terra series. It’s taken nine months, approximately 600, 000 words and countless nights of plotting, planning, note taking at 2am to achieve this milestone.

Now to work on editing and hopefully getting it published. I am just in awe right now. Although I can honestly say, my journey as a writer is still happening. I have books to edit, fan fiction requests to write up, novels to read, reviews to write, blogs to work on and I am planning my next book as we speak… No, my brain never stops.

I am so proud with what I have achieved, since April (9 months ago) I have written 7 manuscripts. All ranging from 90-110k words. My goal was one. 😀 I think I hit that.

Wish me luck. Here’s hoping a publisher finds by story as addictive and enjoyable as my readers.

Bec
xx