Write like your life depends on it! Because it doesn’t. Is the name I chose for this series of post for two reasons. Reason one writing stories of any kind is a way of life, and reason two it’s a life-changing thing when you create a story. This series will be focused on fiction writing. Mostly fantasy, and I will be using examples from my work which is science fiction for the most part. But before I get into my tips and process that I use to help with writing, I’ll explain who this series of post is for first. The focus will be on fiction and building fictional worlds, the characters, and making sure it all flows and makes sense.
So before I start with my process, I’m going to go through a few things to get started. First off what I use when I write, this will be useful for anyone just starting out and trying to write their first novel or story. The two most important things I use is a notebook and my word processor. The notebook I use mostly to start my stories, I have lots of random ideas I write down. Some a few words others a few sentences, but I never actually write more than a short idea in my notebook. I find it makes it easier to start a story when you have something tangible to hold and look at. The next thing is where I write and that is my word processor. Which leads me to my next section and that is the software that I use when I write.
I use a few different programs when I write, the first of which is WordPerfect. It is a word processor, but its focus is more formatting wise. However, that isn’t the reason I use it first. The reason is actually it’s faster the Microsoft word. It also shows me a more book feel showing the grid lines all the time it feels more like I’m writing on actual paper. The second reason is its spell check is better than the one in Microsoft Word. The second piece of software I use is Dragon, my speech recognition software. I don’t actually use it while writing. Instead, I only use it when correcting my work. I do this for two reasons, one its about ten times faster and two the most important is it forces me to say the corrections out loud. Doing this makes it so much easier to correct your work because one of the easiest ways of catching simple mistakes in your flow and grammar is to read it out loud. Hearing the words makes a big difference, I learned this while editing something I had already edited, but I was doing it now with Dragon. I would think one thing, but after saying it I would change it because of how it sounds. The great thing about this is speech recognition software is built-in to most operating systems so it’s not necessary to buy software to do it.
The next piece of software is more of a mix, I use Microsoft Word with three plug-ins, which are 1checker, Ginger, and Grammarly. After running spellcheck in WordPerfect I save it and open in Word then run spell check again. I run a check four times once to open it in Word, starting with Words built-in checker, then 1checker followed by Ginger and last Grammarly. Each one does catch a few different mistakes, but most are caught by me reading over what I wrote and Grammarly. I mostly use all to make sure I review sentences that are a bit off. But the best part is you can use all of those for free or get a paid service, but for now, I use the free service.
I don’t use any novel writing software because I believe they cause more problems than they solve. Also, every writer in history up until the computer age didn’t have those programs to help them and I believe that to be a fantastic writer you must Write like your life depends on it. And using software to write your story isn’t writing it’s filling out a questionnaire and having software make the story for you, which may work for nonfiction, but definitely not fiction.
Now my final writing tool is my surround sound and lots of rock, metal and just happy music depends on what I’m writing. For instance, I’m listening to rock while writing this. I am actually mentioning this for one reason. The first article I read on improving my writing when I just started to study writing to get better talked about music and the environment a person writes in. It actually gave me very bad advice that if I followed I would actually not be writing right now. That article said that good writing must be done in silence or with very low calm music it must never be higher than you speak normally or have anyone singing in it. I followed what it said and it didn’t work for me because the fact is that doesn’t work for everyone. So what I’m going to tell you is to find something that makes you feel. It could be music or it could just be a smell or anything that makes you feel something and get your mind loosened up. For me that is music, mostly rock, It puts my mind into an excited frame and I want to write and create something. The next thing is making sure the environment where you write is comfortable and clean. I sit mostly in my chair with my laptop on my lap when I write. For some reason, I don’t write as much when I sit at my desk so I put my feet up lay back with my laptop and write.
Now for a quick conclusion, I want to stress how important it is to be comfortable when you get ready to write. I play my favorite songs before I even sit down with my laptop to get my mind in the mood. And I follow the same routine when I start this way it becomes something that puts my mind in the right state. Because having the tools to write is only the first step you must be in the proper state of mind and ready to do it in order for creativity to flow.
For the next post, I will talk about starting your story or novel