Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The IMAX mind of a writer

Every time we write our stories we travel to another realm, we see the world from our characters' perspectives. We become like actors/actresses that play our characters' roles. We are going through the scenes as if we were watching a movie in an IMAX theater. 
This past weekend I went to an IMAX theater to watch The Mysteries of Egypt. It was a magic experience. While I was watching this fascinating movie I felt that I was traveling to Egypt. I had the chance to fly  over lakes and all kinds of different landscapes, to sail the rivers with the local people, to feel that I was right there. The vivid huge scenes made me  breathe in the dry air and feel the sun burning my skin and I could imagine myself touching the pyramids with my hands. I even felt the dizziness of going too fast in the air.
   While I watched this colorful movie, I came to the realization that the best stories I write are the ones into which I dive with my own body and mind. I sense everything, see, smell, hear and touch. Not because I bog down the story with descriptions, but because the scenes become so real in my mind that I become a different person embedded in the setting of my story.
   Don't you think it is fascinating?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do strong opinions matter?

 A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a literary agent's blog who said that writers should not express strong opinions on their blogs because publishers don't like this. There were other recommendations but this one is the one that surprised me. There are readers out there who  disagreed with this agent's recommendation claiming that writers who do not express their opinions are not interesting and can be boring.

   I tend to write posts on which my personal views and opinions are made evident to the public. If I think that a subject is controversial I may take some time to process my ideas and thoughts before I dare write about it. In some cases I avoid writing about some topics altogether fearing that it may not be the right time in my career to do so.
  As writers we already take risks when we craft our own stories. Do we also take risks when we blog?
  Do you tend to gravitate towards blogs that are not opinionated? Or do you prefer blogs that express strong opinions? Do you prefer to sound neutral when you write a blog entry?
 What is your personal approach?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saying less is saying more

  I've had a fabulous learning experience this week. I had to submit a short story of around 700 words, so I decided to convert a specific story of 2000 words into a piece of flash fiction (700 words). Does it sound crazy? I had a precious opportunity that I did not want to waste, and I considered this was the right story to do that. (I am not going into details over this because it is not the purpose of this blog entry).
   I wasn't sure it would work out. It did. Tightening this short story was an enlightening experience. I was able to enhance the emotional intensity of the piece. I made it more powerful. In the ruthless process of trimming, I was able to see how by cutting down sentences and details I made relevant pieces of information stand out. I also came to the realization that there was some clutter that did not need to be there. I spotted pieces where I had been  over-telling.
  I read it aloud many times because I care about the musicality of what I craft. (Reading aloud is always part of my editing process).
 Have you ever tried converting a short story into a piece of flash fiction? If you haven't, try so. Just for the fun of it. You will learn a lot about the power of saying less and expressing more.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tips on how to prevent writer's block

 I've learned these tips from other seasoned writers and from my own experience:
1) Read, read, read. Read what inspires you and what interests you. Life is too short to waste it reading what you find boring.
2) Write on a regular basis.
3) Before beginning a story, create an outline and a number of characters. Make your characters come to life by thinking about their own interests, motivations, conflicts, emotions, situations, relationships, dreams.
4) If you ever encounter writer's block take a break and come back later. Do something else, like going for a walk, reading or anything you like.
5) Allow yourself to write   without censoring your thoughts. Let everything flow out without correcting anything, but keep in mind your outline and goals. They will help you  get somewhere. Editing will be done later.
6) Learn new words on a regular basis. Doing this will sharpen your mind and enrich your own writing. (In my case, it also fuels my imagination. Don't ask me why. It just happens).
7) Be patient.
8) Eat a  balanced diet. Exercise. Sleep the number of hours that you need to stay rested and alert.
9) Observe the people, events, conflicts around you. Everything and everyone can be a source of inspiration. Keep your imagination at work.
10) Be persistent with your goals.
11) Read, read, read. Pay attention to what you like about other writers' work. We are constantly learning something about the craft.
 12) Changing sceneries can help the brain to come up with new ideas.
  Feel free to share more tips if you have something else in mind.
 Here is a link that I found interesting:
   Happy writing!