WOW! I really need to do more journals.
Anyway, I've recently finished a mini-story of mine, for a good friend (), and have several observations about writing in general. These might seem pretensious, but I think I need to make them anyway.
First of all, there are some very specific things I've noticed as I've gone along:
Is an utter bitch. Its mostly the very small details that come back to strike you. For me, this means hair colour and, more especially, eye colour, which is all important for those tense "white of the eys" moments. Details of areas and places should stay the same too--its bad if something is suddenly there that wasn't there before (unless its clear that the characters have only just noticed it and it WAS there before).
2) Inventing the plot as you go along
I write episodically, and mostly for friends. This means that the chracters I use have already been introduced and that, to create more atmosphere/suspense, I leave liberal cliffhangers. Sometimes I even try to trump each scene's cliffhanger with something even more suprising. However, this means I can forget the previous parts, which may not link into the next as much as I'd like. Its prolly best then to plan out the ENTIRE STORY BEFORE YOU START, to make it easier as you go along and to allow people to feel clever when they re-read it.
3) Time management
Rome was not built in a day, and neither was a good story. But Rome would also not have been built if there was no deadline for the stonemasons to work with. There's a thin line, then, between "taking a break" and "not doing anything for months". I know I've done both. I also know that people can be fustrated by apparent lack of work...but I find that writing one scene a day (of which a "part" may have 10+ scenes) tries me out. Its not just the writing, its checking how each word fits into a rhythm, like a musician's song, and THEN spell-checking, re-reading...it can take weeks.
4) Getting to know characters
This is also hard, as with totally new/other people's characters. I know I can get them "roughly" right, but it only even feels like a pale imitiation--like I've written a shadow of their true complexity or some sort of shallow caricature (a nobleman with complex loyalty issues may become a constant tea-drinking freak, for example). As you write more you get to know them more...which brings me back to the whole point about writing episodicaly. Looking back on your old stuff can be pretty hard...
5) Read often
Do other things than trying to write. Watch a movie, go to the park, go to town, read. As someone once told me: "read like a butterfly write like a bee". Take inspiration from events around you; not all of it, obviously, but little fragments, like a butterfly taking nectar from flowers. Then write it all down in your own way. Spin something new and original out of old threads, and don't be afraid if it looks similar to what others have done. There's nothing really that's TRULY original.
Er, I'm not sure what else I want to add. I can try and offer tips, but I know that everyone DOES have their own style, so this might not apply to most.
Don't give up though.
Its the easiest thing to do--just check how much FF on fanfiction.net is left unfinished after only a few chapters. Keep going and you'll see success.
Anyway, I'd like to wish all my watchers a Happy New Year! I'll be off to Spain on the 2nd January for a Geology trip for two weeks, but I will be back on the evening of the 16th!
Keep being awesome!