It’s been a while since I’ve regularly given advice on this blog. I got a little rusty, but the time spent writing fiction helped me gain new knowledge. So, let’s go!
Anyone who has attempted creative writing knows that it takes a lot of effort. However, effort doesn’t necessarily have to equal struggle. If you are struggling with your writing, I’m almost sure, you are doing one of these things wrong:
- Choosing the wrong genre
“Am I writing in the right genre?” is one of the hardest questions I had to ask myself on my journey as a writer. Each book genre, is like a theme party, with its own music, food, and costume rules. Look at the theme party you are attending right now. Are you in the mood? Do you feel excited about what’s going on? Do you feel a connection to the characters present? Or would you rather be someone else? If yes, then where?
More often than not, authors cling to a book genre which appealed to them in the past, not realizing, that they’ve changed, and this book genre simply doesn’t work for them anymore. I had this problem with fantasy, I just couldn’t break up with this genre, despite growing out of it. I forced myself to keep writing in it, and obviously, struggled. Nightmare!
If this sounds like you, you must be honest with yourself, and ask yourself: What would I rather be writing?
2. Trying to sound like another author
Authors are really dedicated to their craft and they can go great lengths to make sure that their writing sounds original, interesting, and artistic. Unfortunately, rather than focus some more on the plot or develop their ideas, they waste time trying to mimic another author’s style, which is often academic, highbrow, decorative, or outdated. Unfortunately, by doing so, you are only making things harder for yourself! Let it go and write with your own, natural style.
3. Writing scenes you’re bored by
In high school, I was writing an epic story about a town ruled by ghosts. Near the end of the book, was an epic battle. I remember, I struggled so much with it… If I could give advice to my past self, I would tell her, to just… skip it! This epic story was actually a love triangle romance, and a dramatic love plot twist would be much better than the epic battle.
If you really can’t delete a scene that’s boring for you, at least, try to alter it in a way that makes it interesting. I will give an example from Broken Sword, one of my favorite computer games: main characters were supposed to meet in a cafe. What’s the most interesting thing that could happen? I’m sure that the scenario writers asked themselves this question, as, the cafe was blown by a bomb. Wowser!
There is always a way out – or around – a boring scene.
4. Writing characters you can’t relate to
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the ultimate book killer. Characters are meant to help you express some thoughts or opinions. If you pick a character to whom you can’t relate at all, and who has literally nothing in common with you, you are going to struggle, perhaps even abandon your project. If you want to make writing easier for yourself, create characters who share some of your traits.
5. Setting unrealistic word counts
When I was younger, I expected my each and every writing project, to be a book of 50,000 words. This was, of course, very unrealistic. Most of my so-called “books” were actually meant to be short stories and novellas. However, I was so ambitious, I just couldn’t accept it and obsessed over hitting the 50,000 words mark. If this sounds like you, let it go! First finish writing, and only then, look at the word count. I know, most authors who take part in NaNoWriMo, artificially pump words into their books, and later, have to delete half of it. Don’t go after the high word count. Focus on your book’s message instead.
I hope this helps!