Free resources for writers to be #amwriting

 

I set up a page where I keep some links for free resources for the writer to be. Today I thought I might post them as well as they might help one or the other of you. It’s not an awful lot but some might be interesting.

So here they are! Have fun:

 

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method            He explains his way of writing a novel, you can get free newsletter about advanced fiction writing and a free email-course about “how to publish a book”

Open University, Open Learn, Start writing fiction A free introduction by the Open University on writing fiction

BBC Archives ~ Interviews mit 20th Century writers brilliant page with Interviews as early as the 1930′s

BBC Writersroom Tips on writing and the possibility to send in unsolicited scripts for films, shows ect

Writing fiction on about.com everything from finding a space to write to how to get published

Writers Digest We all know that one I suppose

MITOpencourseware What the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has to offer for writers

DiplomaGuide.com A list of courses for free for aspiring writers and poets

more characters

Today I wanted to work quite a lot on my courses but something was holding me back. I was really reluctant to work on the given tasks but urged myself to do them anyway. I thought I could go back to the tasks and refine them later as long as I started and do something.

So I started the part with the setting on the Openlearn “Start writing fiction“. Nothing special there just the rule that setting + character = story. Well sounds somehow logic but if you try to put that into practise it is not that easy anymore.

Had an appointment at our surgery today and I used the waiting time to jot down as much as I could about how the waiting room looked like, what I heard, felt, saw, smelled ect. I think that is a good exercise to start becoming more aware of my surroundings as well as finding expressions to describe the setting. I really liked that and the waiting time was much too short for some strange reason :-).

In the evening I got myself back into working mode and made a list of characters for the Zara~story as well as a file for each of them with a list what I need to know about them:

The character’s name

  • A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline

  • The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)

  • The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)

  • The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)

  • The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?

  • A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline

Taken from the Snowflake Method Step 3

Name? Age? Place of birth?

Residence? Occupation? Appearance? Dress? Strengths? Weakness?

Obsessions? Ambition? Work habits? Hobbies? Illness? Family? Parents?

Kids? Siblings? Friends? Pets? Politics? Tics? Diet? Drugs? Favorite kinds

of coffee, cigarettes, alcohol? Erotic history? Favorite books, movies,

music? Desires? Fears? Most traumatic event? Most wonderful

experience? The major struggle, past and present?

Physical/biological: age, height, size, state of health, assets, flaws, sexuality, gait, voice.

  • Pyschological: intelligence, temperament, happiness/unhappiness, attitudes, self-knowledge, unconscious aspects.
  • Interpersonal/cultural: family, friends, colleagues, birthplace, education, hobbies, beliefs, values, lifestyle.

Personal history: major events in the life, including the best and the most traumatic.

Taken from Openlearn Course “Start writing fiction

Well of course there are things that I do not need to know about them as it is a fantasy story but this is the general list that I made myself to create characters. I think that is quite handy 🙂

I only did Zara so far. But my next steps are outlined now as I will work on one character per day unless I get a fit of work mania. Well not very likely…..


One Character

Step 3 of  Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method is to start creating your characters. You are supposed to write a one page summary with

  • The character’s name
  • A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
  • The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
  • The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
  • The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
  • The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?
  • A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline

for your main characters. Interestingly I am doing Open University‘s free course “Start writing fiction” in their Open Learn area. At the moment I am at part 1.4 “Portraying a character” and incidentally I was supposed to do a characterisation for a character as well. So I used that to start with my main Character Zara. I have done a lot already about her but got caught in the fact that characters and story sometimes develop by themselves and don’t go where they were intended to go. For me those changes always felt like I am not good in what I am doing. How can you know about your character if it changes constantly? But Randy Ingermanson says more than once that that is a process that happens all the time and shows that the character comes alive. So I realised that this negative image of my writing actually stopped me from getting anywhere. I think I got an image of her from what I wrote for the Open University course but I have not answered the questions above. That is what I will do tomorrow.

Some years ago I have tried self-learn courses to get good with writing but my lack of self-esteem and also my lack of perseverance stopped me from finishing them. That seems to have changed. I love to research free material and try out what they teach while I work in the novel.

A few weeks ago I thought about having a mentor for my writing but I had no idea where to find one and I am too shy to ask. Well today I can say that Mr Ingermanson definitely is one. But also the good authors I am reading. Just finished Patricia Cornwells “Red Mist” and while reading was checking for example on what conflicts Scarpetta has in herself but also with the characters around her and what main conflicts are in each scene to bring on the story. I also tried to figure out how she creates atmosphere and how she describes her surroundings. Reading a lot and finding out how the authors do it is probably the best mentor and way of learning how to write. Another one of my classics to learn is J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings. You can learn how to create world, atmosphere and suspense. That book was the first I ever read and tried to learn from him.

Another way of having mentors right now are blogs of writers. I am not picky just let my intuition take over and show me which one to follow. There are for now mainly Derek Haines and Susan Kiernan-Lewis. Well I should go somewhere like that :-).

Thank you guys for helping me even though you do not know it :-)!!!!

Picture thanks to Theguyinblue from English Wikipedia via http://ookaboo.com

right…..

managed to get myself to do step two of the snowflake method.  I am not quite sure if it is really how it is supposed to be but it gives the novel somehow a look of “I can finish the thing”. Think this method might work as you can do it in bite-size steps and nothing gets too much. Well I managed again to spend my time with loads of reading blogs and buggering around on facebook so the avoidance stage is still working high. But well everyone has started small I guess.

With signing up for Randy Ingermansons newsletter also comes a free e-mail course of how to publish your book. To read that was too intimidating though. ….. I keep you updated…..