Category Archives: Writing

About writing and other writing related issues.

i was in Belgium…

Two Fridays ago, it was Mother’s Day. Two Fridays ago, i packed my boy off to school and make sure his father knew the plans for the day and left for the airport. Two Fridays ago, i gave myself the gift of attending my first-ever writer’s conference, for an entire weekend!

It was the Europolitian, organised by the 5 regions of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for Europe. Loved it!

It was held in the lovely city of Brussels, Belgium. i had never been there before and had a great time walking around a small part of the city for the Scrawl Crawl, which was a pre-conference event.

 

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Some of my favourite buildings we saw on our Scrawl Crawl through the city.
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The weather wasn’t great; it was rain one minute, sunny the next. But we made it through; rain, sun and fun.
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The Grand Place with its gold painted buildings. Quite impressive, indeed.

There was a lovely dinner after all that walking and then it was off to bed because we had an early start to a long day.

 

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The conference venue was a beautiful manor house in the suburbs, with lush green grounds, stunning grand rooms with wood paneling and sparkling chandeliers. It was an inspirational place to have the conference.

i enjoyed the lunches which were served from food trucks! And it was an informal stand up affair.

The keynote speeches were superb (one made many of us cry, another made us laugh a lot), the workshops were helpful and insightful, my one-on-one crit was good, the many chats with fellow attendees made it feel warm and family-like. i came away stirred and recharged with ideas to move ahead with my writing!

Thank you to the hardworking, amazing team which put the conference together.

 

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What a contrast! The cathedral at Grand Place on a rainy day and at night. Both beautiful!

The next one is in Switzerland in 2019 – i am definitely there! 😉

 

syc

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Points of Views…

i haven’t written about my writing in a long long while! Well, i have been busy – the online shop opening and all the daily stuff of home managing and kid-raising as well as keeping up with writing the second draft of my work-in-progress (WIP).

It took me a fair amount of time before i started on the second draft proper. Why? Because i was dealing with issues of point of views (POV).

"Icon made by Freepik from Flaticon.com"
“Icon made by Freepik from Flaticon.com”

In my first draft, i attempted something which i have read about long ago; which is to write the same scene a few times but from the POV of a different character each time. Thus building more and more depth into the scene as you go along.

However, having re-read my first draft, i felt it did not work (at least for me and my story) and it is a technique which can be difficult to pull off well. And of course, i am a beginner writer so my skills are not yet polished enough.

My writing bubby helped me to work through some of the issues and i’m so grateful to have her there with me. i have decided on a different route with regards to POV but i have stuck with using all 4 POVs of the main characters in my story.

i’m about a third of the way through the second draft and have added several new scenes when i decided i should read something by an expert about POV again – just to make sure i’m on the right track.

i found this article to be quite useful: Avoid Being Branded as an Amateur: Use These 7 POV Basics.

My top take-away from that article is:

7. Once in a POV, stick with it carefully. When we get into one of our character’s heads, we need to do the best we can to see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and think about everything the way that particular character would. The more we can stay deep inside our POV character, the more alive that character will become to our readers. Remember, we can’t have our characters noticing things about themselves that they wouldn’t normally see. If in doubt, use the mirror test: Am I describing something about my character she would see of herself (i.e. the protruding blue veins in her hand)? Or would she need a mirror to notice it (i.e. the color of her own eyes)? If she needs a mirror, then she shouldn’t be thinking it about herself (unless she really is looking into a mirror, which incidentally has become a clichéd/taboo way of having characters describe themselves). 

i am writing from a first person POV so sometimes i do get carried away with describing my characters and things about themselves so this mirror test is good to keep in mind.

How is your WIP? Do you face POV issues too? If yes, what are they?

syc

Research – Do You Like Doing It?…

research_20140123i LOVE reading!

i will read almost anything, in English (German takes me too long and Mandarin is too hard now that i’ve left it behind decades ago), with the exception of very theoretical stuff like Chaos Theory.

When i did History, Geography and Literature in school, subjects where research is important, i was in heaven! i also enjoyed reading all of the research i had to do for my thesis when i was at university.

So now that i’m writing a novel, it seems strange that i’m a little reluctant to do some research. It’s not the having to do all the reading that is making me hesitant, it’s the time it takes and how easily distracted i get following one link to the next to the next and beyond BUT…

… research is important!

i have just finished listing my scenes and “interviewing” all of my major characters and think i’m ready to start writing proper. However, there were a few points which came up in the “interviews” which should really be researched on. They are not major plot points but they relate directly to the characters involved and could very well influence things like dialogue.

Then i read Do the Write Thing and now i have decided i should do the research!

Because who knows, it just might be my novel which unexpectedly blows Dan Brown out of the literary waters and (i’m) suddenly swamped with speaking or blogging requests*, i don’t wanna be caught out on a few poorly researched points…

So anyone knows how to put a few more hours into the very short 24 we have been given a day so i can get all these research done? 😉

Do you research details of the story you are writing? Do you like doing research? How do you do your research? Internet? Go old-school – at the library?

syc

*orange text is quoted from Do the Write Thing. i am grateful for the inspiration and encouragement from The Write Practice blog.