The Simple Advice

I’ve been writing stories since I was in the third grade, I think. I started with horror stories and the following year I ventured to my first fantasy story, which was a bland ripoff of some science-fantasy anime I used to watch.

Anime and film had been my inspirations. Books were never a thing for me until I was much older. So in my younger years, I basically skipped the basics, and did a bunch of experiments I thought at that time were brilliant.

In the end, there were not at all that great. Fast forward a few years later, my first books were Harry Potter one to the “Order of the Phoenix.” I had, at that time, also read “A Game of Thrones” and “The Gunslinger.” And I thought I’ve learned a lot from those.

The first ever epic I’ve written was called “Dragon Wars,” I was in my third year high school, and I’ve gone halfway through it before deciding to show chapters to some friends and to my grandma. Of course my friends liked it, of course they did. Grandma liked it too, so, of course she would give me a pat on the back. However, she added, “You should explore more on writing simpler sentences.”

I refused. I wanted to be eloquent and dramatic! I was thinking, she didn’t get it. She hadn’t read the books I’ve read, which were, what exactly? Harry Potter, Thrones, and Gunslinger. Nah. I wanted to write shit sentences like, “The susurrus of thousands of leaves rustling in the cold and violent night allowed him to see through the prestidigitation and blahblah.”

In short, I was a thesaurus whore, thinking the more complicated words I used, the more lyrical and more poetic my words would sound. I only realized I’d look like an asshole. I looked at Rowling’s books and King’s, and found that all they ever used in their stories were simple words. Words that paint images as soon as you read them. George RR Martin’s prose is just as easy to read, he never used words that would make you flip through a dictionary, or make you pause to wonder what the fuck did that word mean.

As my readings expanded, I learned that most authors just use words so simple, the story moves on in a fluid and comprehensive pace. And it’s a wonderful experience to go through that phase. The problem is this, it’s how you construct the sentences, how you piece together these simple words to bring out readers’ imaginations.

Later I started reading a bunch of books about writing. There’s a lot of useful advice out there that can inspire writers. But I found that “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White to be the best source for writers, because they teach you the most basic form of writing from which you can build upon your own voice.

It’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way as works I’ve been so proud of were crushed or dismantled by beta readers and critics. It’s an experience worth going through and I like to think that my voice has grown over the years. But I’ll never forget that aspect, where you need to write with simple words to build a story that every reader can understand.

Advertisements

My paramour

4a6563e0e31b5

Oh ssshhhiiiaaat! Copy-pasted this from iTunes. Hope that’s ‘kay. No one sue me! I wuv Paramore! I buy their songs! It’s in my veins! >_>;

I should be writing. Really. Planning an outline, even though I’d rather keep my pants on and tight through the whole ride, especially now that I’m gearing up for my first NaNoWriMo! Yeah! But nah. I’ll watch live Paramore concerts on YouTube instead, and check out Hayley’s Twitter. I think my favorite look is the weird iTunes Festival look, like she came from a Tim Burton film. Also, the green hair and getup in Wango Tango, and I’m like, fuck, I’m in love. NSP help me.

Stop. Just stop. I am stopping! In this post, I’d like to talk about (hashtag) #writing. The things I’ve picked up along the way in my career as a journalist, as someone who has been writing since being a little kid, and as someone who started reading books only in his early adulthood (17). I had a long-ass post but deleted it cause it was too long. So here’s the rundown!

  • If you write to make a living, you will feel the Pressure of ever stacking bills. It won’t be enough unless you’re a big mainstream and well-known writer like Neil, King, Martin, and Rowling.
  • Some aspiring authors continue to believe they will sell their book as easy as ordering kinky stuff from Amazon and make millions from it. Ignorance is a bliss, I guess.
  • Daydreaming is awesome. No, really, keep on doing it. I started when I was bored shit in my first grade class. But if you’re going to do it all the time, make sure it’s about your story and not the glory you want.
  • With so many things happening and so many stuff around, it’s easy to get distracted: Social media notifications, Ninja Sex Party has a new amazing song about pee-pees and vajayjays or a legit cover for once, binge-watching Voltron, the stain in the window that needs cleaning, the trash that needs to be taken out, ice cream in the fridge, reading blogs about writing, writing a blog post. Time goes away faster than you think, and if you feel bad for not writing anything, well, That’s What you Get. *Insert guitar!*
  • Don’t wait for the Muse. It doesn’t exist. Even if you have to slog through one word after another, feeling shit, it’s okay. It’s like building a house, Brick after Boring Brick. You need that chapter completed before moving on the next one.
  • Be Careful in Playing God while worldbuilding, crafting magic systems, mapping landscapes, setting histories, developing characters. There’s so much going on, it’s so easy to have one or two inconsistencies. That could work in your favor, to create a deeper, more sophisticated story that requires a lot of thinking. But more often inconsistencies will feel alienating.
  • I used to believe you can be productive even with the TV on, or while listening to songs. I guess it works differently. With songs, I often end up imaging myself doing a badass solo that puts Eddie Van Halen and Jimmy Paige to shame. Some people can write better with songs or OSTs. But TVs? In fact, not just that, even WiFi. Nope, you want to write seriously? Turn it Off, all of it, and focus on writing.
  • Negative feedback will sting. But know the difference between a good negative feedback over a bad negative feedback. Get beta readers who will say, “Hate to See Your Heart Break but this book sucks, you need to change the pacing, the character is too perfect, etc… etc…” If someone says your book sucks because they said so, punch them.
  • I’ve come to learn florid writing is dazzling and nice to read. But sometimes, I’ve seen writers try a little too hard. This isn’t to belittle or to harm, but it’s true, especially in a few self-published books I’ve read, they tend to over-describe and their attempts to sound sophisticated, just, doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s best to write something plain and clear that is easy to digest and imagine. You wouldn’t want your readers to pause and try to Decode what you’re trying to say. It ruins the story’s flow.
  • Now is the only best time to write.
  • Just keep on writing like a Monster.
  • Write in your Native Tongue. If you will write in another language, make sure you have enough mastery over it. I’ve met a lot of aspiring authors who didn’t have English as their first language, but writes in that language anyway. Some are good, and, some needs work, but that’s alright, learning and failing and then succeeding is how we roll.
  • I know I keep saying you need to write, write, and write, get absorbed into your own world, spill all the blood of goats in sacrificial tributes to complete your manuscript, but it’s important to have an Escape Route to unwind. Breath some fresh air, go to the mall and buy something nice, meet people, observe the world around you and you can apply it to your story.
  • When you start punching those keys with fervor and fury, don’t stop. Keep on writing as if there’s an Emergency, as if there’s a gun pointed to your head and will go off if you stopped for more than three seconds! (There’s actually an app that deletes the entire manuscript if you stop writing! It’s called the “Most Dangerous Writing App.”)
  • Scream Hallelujah when you finish that draft!

I have no conclusion. I just really want to stop writing, even for a smidgen of my time, and watch a damn Paramore video. Is that too much to ask?!

 

Things on Writing

For the longest time I’ve noticed, the one thing that everyone tells me if I want to be a writer is to simply…

WRITE.

But somehow some of us find reasons, or excuses why we can’t write. I know, I get that, I’m pretty much the same way. But as I look back from time to time, I noticed a couple of things. I’ll list it in bullet form just to quicken things up.

– Busy, we are all. In every possible time, write.
– Write while in the train – use a smartphone or a notebook.
– Write while in the God damned bus – use a smartphone or a notebook.
– Write between lunchtime. This might mean sacrificing some food time.
– Daydream.
– Write before you sleep.
– Keep a pen and paper nearby when you sleep. You won’t know when you’ll suddenly wake up with an awesome dream/idea.
– Write when you wake.
– Daydream. Read. Write more.
– If watching a TV, and couldn’t be helped – ignore your show, write during commercial breaks at least.
– For fuck’s sake, write while in a boring date – use a smartphone or a napkin.
– You don’t need a muse to fuck in order to write.
– Think about electric bills, post it in front of you. Think of your family or the future of starting a family. What more motivation do we need?!
– Don’t stop writing. Important to build a skeleton AKA the first draft first.
– Workout. It helps build discipline.
– Instead of music, come up with ideas, and start cooking them.
– Keep phone or notepad close while working out, just so to jot down the idea.
– Fuck the jotting down, if it’s a fucking good idea you will remember them… most of the time.
– I think it was Neil Gaiman, in a blog post whom said: Write, finish things.