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Idea doubt

 

Idea doubt, something that comes swift and often to the writer. Should I be writing free style with no research or plot strategy? or should I plan everything? And if I plan everything should I do research into how other writers plan things? and so comes forth a million things that bench your writing immediately. As I’ve been writing for a long time now I’ve come to realize that the best thing, for me anyway, is to simply write. Get it out and edit/shape it as you continue. If I get stuck for what to do next that’s usually when I do some research for something that will ignite the next load of words.

Going what I’d call ‘freestyle’ I think is important as it allows you to become aware of your own style and creativity. It also builds up a trust and confidence that your own imagination is the only thing you really need. Getting your head into a worry storm over other peoples methods and recommendations of plot points or writing processes will only cloud your judgement and block your best inner writer. That’s not to say they’re not helpful, i.e Ted Talks but treat them as inspiration and take lessons with a pinch of salt.

Having multiple iterations of a piece of work is completely normal, writing is a continuous task, that means you’ll be constantly editing, re-writing and and re-thinking your story or content. That’s not a bad thing and the more you do it the less idea doubt you’ll have.

p.s If you don’t watch Ted talks, get on that. Brain compost.

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Journalistic styles

There are a number of journalistic forms and styles, here are a few:

  • Investigative: a primary source of information, which unearths unethical and illegal behavior by individuals, companies and government agencies. These pieces usually take a long time to construct and are orchestrated by a large team who conduct interviews, analyze data and travel great distances to gather evidence to support their claims.
  • Ambush: Journalist’s who approach individuals in the spotlight off guard in public places, they use aggressive questioning tactics in the hope of a news worthy response. This is often associated with ‘Gotcha’ journalism, a term that describes journalistic methods that are designed to entrap people into making damaging statements.
  • Convergence: or ‘new journalism’ is the use of multiple media forms together, such as print, graphics and video.
  • Gonzo: characterized by its punchy witty style and arduous language. It’s known for throwing off the restraints of conventional journalistic writing forms. Its unique style gives up objectivity in favor of immersion, usually first hand perspective, which is drawn from popular culture, fiction and philosophical literary styles. It was popularized by the American writer Hunter S. Thompson, author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 and the Rolling Stone magazine.
  • News: Facts are relayed in a straight forward style without any jazz. These stories usually lack the depth a feature story offers or the questioning approach of an investigative piece.
  • Reviews: Are mainly opinion based, from a critic or authoritative voice from within that field.
  • Columns: Stem from the personality of the writer, who takes their own style, opinion to a topic of their choice and are recognized by their individual voice.
  • Feature writing: Explores a subject from all angles, with a dense nut graph*. They offer the biggest work count of all types of journalism, features are lengthy pieces and often incorporate interviews.
  • Blogging: This is what I do, as you can see. It’s a combination of many forms but without the restraint of most print T&C’s. It is an outlet for writers to write casually about whatever crosses their mind.  Blogs can inspire social trends as well as provide a platform for book writers, journalists and presenters.

*The Nut Graph
‘In American English journalism terminology, a nut graph is a paragraph, particularly in a feature story, that explains the news value of the story’, Wikipedia.

If you’d like some historical background on journalistic styles an interesting read can be found here

The anti-awesome list

I had to call upon a synonym for awesome out of the lexicon abyss today and thought it was a pretty splendiferous idea to make an anti-awesome list for moments like this in the future. Enjoy and re-blog at your leisure.

astonishing, awe-inspiring, awe-struck

beautiful, beyond the call, breathtaking, brilliant

clever, cool, chat-hop

dazzling

epic, excellent, exceptional, exciting

fabulous, fantastic

great, groovy

heart-stopping, humbling, highly, hat tip

impressive, incredible, ingenious

magnificent, majestic, marvelous, mind-blowing, momentous, moving, monumental, mic-drop

out of this world, outstanding, overwhelming, on-steriods

phenomenal, powerful,  phantasmagorical

remarkable, righteous

shazam, sick, simply divine, spectacular, staggering, striking, stunning, stupendous, superb, sweet, splendiferous

terrific, the bees’ knees, the bomb

un-freakin believable

wow, wonderful, wondrous, what’s not to like?

Feel free to comment with other suggestions!

The five senses

five-senses-icon-set_62147502195

 

The five senses and why they’re important. As someone who has been writing for over fifteen years even now I still have to remind myself to go back into a piece of writing and add in a sense I’ve missed off. When developing characters and the story itself the five senses shouldn’t be ignored. This isn’t to say you need to describe every one in every new situation or for every character. Pick your senses and add them in where it counts, like character descriptions (I’ll do in another post). It’s important not to overload the reader and to give them the opportunity to fill in the gaps with their own imagination. What does a bunch of snufflous mushroom smell like? A wet foot. Someone is chopping onions, which brings about a stinging of the eyes. Here there is no need for a smell descriptor, or the texture of the onion as your audience already knows what they are. Weaving these senses in and out of your writing is an art form, lets briefly go over what each one can cover:

Sight: What the character sees and how they interpret it. You as the author know that there is a grand castle down the road, over the hill and through a densely wooded forest but your character may not and they definitely can’t see it from where they’re standing.

Smell: This is the simplest of the senses and my favorite because you can have a lot of fun with it. Get creative with your smells, everyone receives a smell differently and one persons lily is another persons bad apple. Think what makes sense for the character- how do you want their personality to develop? Are they quirky or rebellious, disillusioned perhaps? Is your character a straight line business man who enjoys the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans in the morning?

Touch: The way things feel, a smooth metal banister, a soft and warm freshly baked brownie. Someone falls to the ground and grazes their hands on the tarmac, the texture like sandpaper. The way things feel to the character comes through touch, as well as how they interact with those things according to how they feel. Your character may run to get the kettle off of the hob but then jumps back because it’s scalding hot, touch adds depth to all of these interactions.

Taste: What is your characters palate? Does it change over time? Were they forced to eat raw beetroots as a child and so can tolerate the undertones of dirt and the bitter aftertaste now?

Sound: Is it a big sound or a small sound? does it reverberate? How does it affect the scene/characters around your protagonist? Sound can be used to change the tempo of the story and can inflict all kinds of emotions from fear ‘the sound of something discerningly dead could be heard crawling towards them’ to happiness ‘her tinkling laughter could be heard wherever she went’.

Having read the above you may have noticed two types of descriptions, the obvious and the stealthy. Adding senses in a way that doesn’t expose them makes for better writing and allows your descriptions to flow. That’s not to say they aren’t tools to be used for highlighting a sense as well, i.e consider this sentence ‘the overpowering smell of stagnant sewage water made him double over and vomit out his insides several times’. The focus here is the smell, lets see that again in stealth mode ‘He approached the entrance to the sewer, which wreaked of stagnant waste’ one can imagine that smelt bad but not so bad that it became the focus of the scene.

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