Depression’s Journey

Darkness. Shadows. Pain.

Just another human.

Just another life.

What was the point?

Was it worth the fight?

Every sunrise a battle.

Every sunset a temptation.depressionsjourneypoem

Doubt. Fear. Anger.

Monsters in the closet.

Death.

The terrifying escape.

Just another human.

Just another life.

What was the point?

Was it worth the life?

Faith. Hope. Love.

Spirits that clung.

Life. [Read more…]

How to Research Historical Fiction

How many of us have shied away from historical fiction because of research? Hand raises. Yes, it is a terrifying part of the process. Your biggest fear? That history buff reading your book with a disgusted face at your gall to say they used gold spoons in the Jamestown fort.

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I have been a part of a debate team this past school year. The bulk of the work on the team is research. Tons and tons of research. I personally have always loved researching. Fact finding is like treasure hunting for me. So over the school year I have had way too much experience at research. Which leads me to be able to share with you all some simple steps to attack the terrifying monster we call research.

 1. Pick Your Topic

Simple enough, right? Start very broad. Are you writing in the Biblical era, Revolutionary war, Great Depression? For example, let’s go with World War II. Great, we have a topic! World War II went on from 1939 to 1945. So now we have a time period to go off of. This may seem too basic, but trust me: you need to start as far out as possible. The next step is where we go in depth.

2. Mind Map

Now we get to start making our categories to research. If you already know how to mind map, you are good to go to the next step.  This process is easy to do in a notebook, or you could use a resource like mindmeister.com. Begin with listing your topic in the middle of the page. Then start listing some basic subcategories surrounding your topic. For World War II, I started by surrounding it with the topics: Cause of war, countries involved, aftermath. From these three subcategories, I began writing smaller categories connected to them. For example, Countries involved: America, England, France, Germany, Japan, Italy… [Read more…]

10 Romance Cliches to Boycott

Romance. Generally, a genre I choose to steer clear of. Always. Which can occasionally put me in an awkward situation. Being a girl and all. I am just more of an action girl. It has always been my favorite. But I hear the word ‘romance’ and wince.  I have nothing against those who love writing romance fiction; it is simply not my strong point. (Believe me, I tried. Don’t ask about it. It was ugly.)romaticclichespost

Besides all this, I do appreciate some romance fiction; properly executed, I really love it. My favorite romance author is Francine Rivers. She is fantastic with the unexpected. I never know what direction the story is going to take, she keeps me guessing the whole time. I highly recommend her Mark of the Lion series.

Part of the reason I dislike a lot of romance is because of the way many writers handle it. So, I have compiled a little list of clichés and pitfalls in romance fiction. A lot of these I learned from experience when I attempted a romance.

1. Perfect guy falls for boring girl

The biggest cliche of all romance fiction. I am guilty of using this method in one of my stories. The nobody girl, struggling in life, not confident with her body, meets the hot, handsome, and successful guy who magically has interest in her over tons of other hot girls. Practically everyone has had this idea roll through their head while considering romance in a story. It’s pretty typical. Awfully typical. This ties in with my next point.

2. The perfect guy

This one is the worst. It is all over the place. The guy has the absolute perfect body, great career path, and is fantastic at everything. But then, sometimes you have the counterpart, which can be equally annoying. [Read more…]

Blurring the Lines Between Light and Darkness

By Melody Faith

Writing or reading a dark book can be a very debatable topic for Christians. How dark is too dark? How much gore is too much? It has gone back and forth for years.

Recently, I read an interview with Ted Dekker discussing the darkness in his writing. He explains why he feels the need for it. He wants a distinct difference between good and evil in his stories. He wants readers to look at evil and be repulsed by it while they look at good and see the beauty in it. I found this to be a masterful way of describing how to handle darkness in Christian stories. blurringpinterest

Today’s media and pop culture really likes to blur the lines.

Disney’s 2014 retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, Maleficent, is an interesting example. The story portrays Maleficent as the protagonist, while King Stefan as the villain. I personally found it to be very confusing and down-right disturbing. I struggled to find a character to like, pity, or care about. I really despised all of them, even though I knew they wanted us to love Maleficent. I had a hard time pitying her. She was evil. She chose to be evil and did wicked things. None of this was addressed as wrong; you were simply pressed to pity her.

Another example for this is Tim Burton’s 1993 Nightmare Before Christmas. While I adored the music and the simple story, I was disturbed by the twisted worldview. It portrays Halloween characters, who in themselves are not evil. They simply do their job every October 30th. But for some odd reason, no one likes the Boogie man. He is bad, and they mean really bad. It struck me as so odd. Who was to say he was worse than Jack? Where was the line? Jack the Pumpkin King was the one you cared about and loved, even though he was in fact a skeleton and the King of Halloween. But the Boogie man, though he was like any other evil Halloween character, was still the evil villain. Our hero and villain were both evil characters. A cute, creative story, but a twisted perspective.
[Read more…]

Forgotten Aspects of Action

By Melody Faith 

Action and Adventure is a large genre of novels today. One of my favorites, in fact. A large part of these novels is, of course, action. Fist fights, gunman chases, sword duels, battle scenes: all those intense scenes that make the action a reality in the story. I have always enjoyed action in stories.Forgotten_AspectsWhen it comes to writing it, there are some pretty main points that young writers tend to forget. They are the forgotten aspects of action scenes.

 

Cinema Impression

That scene where you can practically see the camera angles for each scene. See the pain but also emotion in a character’s face as they swing their weapon. Hear the dramatic music ringing through the battle as a beloved character falls. Their hand moves up slowly, and you hold your breath as you await the end of an intense fight. And then you look up from your book; all is still in your bedroom, it’s late at night and your family is all asleep. Few authors do this, but those that do, create it well. James Byron Huggins, the author of a fantastic novel called Rora, is amazing at incorporating this. You feel as though you are there for every fight that Joshua encounters, defending against the enemy for your very life. So when it comes time for you to try out the cinema impression, try to slow down those scenes. If you have to choreograph the fight ahead of time, do so. View it like a story board artist: what camera angle would you focus on?

 

Character Development

Many times young authors like to emphasize characters in quiet scenes, rather than action scenes. They feel like they have to take a break from the story to expound on who the character is. Don’t let this happen. Action scenes are crucial for your character’s development. How do they react under pressure? How do they think when they have little time? What are the thoughts running through their head when their lives are threatened? Who would they sacrifice themselves for? Understand that your character is weak and vulnerable in action scenes: you are seeing them for who they really are. Take advantage of this; let your reader see who this character really is. Do they have a secret the reader only hears about in those intense moments that the character drops their guard?  Enjoy discovering who your character is in these moments, and drop the intense focus on what kick your character will carry out. Just dig into who this character is.

 

Dialogue

This goes hand and hand with character development and plot driving. Keep the characters talking. It helps the plot to continue driving home rather than pausing for each fight or battle scene. The best I have seen of this is Ted Dekker’s Circle Series. Thomas Hunter is a martial artist in one world and an army commander in another. In each fight scene, the plot continues to flow strongly, questions are raised, and the plot builds. You also get to know each character through the scenes, while not pausing the whole story for a flashback. When dialogue flies between the hero and antagonist, it builds so much more tension and emotion. Make your characters converse as they fight, and take advantage of these moments to flesh your character out more.

 

Aftermath

A lot of us enjoy writing the action scenes, but then when it comes to the aftermath, it’s like writer’s block strikes again. A large flaw for new writers is to skip over the aftermath. They move on to the next exciting scene, forgetting they left a character back on the last page with a broken limb and busted lip. You can’t forget the effects of the action scene. Follow through with your action. It’s not all about the fight: include the aftermath and show how it has affected your character. Bryan Davis is great at doing this in his Echoes from the Edge series. After each action scene, you are given a chance to breathe as you read about how the characters were affected. In your aftermath scenes, don’t forget to emphasize how the plot has moved or changed since it took place.

 

You can probably tell that when it comes to writing, developing your character and plot are the biggest points. It must all tie back to that. So even when you are writing intense action, don’t throw it in there carelessly. Take great care to why it is there. Have fun and delve into your action scenes, get to know your characters, and keep the plot flowing.

 

IMG_1294-3At fourteen years old I decided to pick up writing novels. I had always loved writing essays and
reports but I had never considered writing novels. I was introduced to Nanowrimo by a friend, I
decided to try it out. I never stopped writing novels since. I found a new love. A new world was opened up to me, one I could create myself. I have a firm belief in using coffee as a writing fuel. C. S. Lewis has always been my inspiration. I want to write showing messages that point to Christ and inspire others to do greater things. When I am not writing I enjoy graphic design of all varieties, listening to music, and training in Karate with my nine other siblings.

 

When you just don’t “feel it”

As writers, we know that feeling. Fingers standing still over the keys. The cursor blinking on a blank page. Your brain an empty hole of lack of imagination. Writer’s block. We blame the characters, we blame the plotting, we blame the lack of research. Sometimes we forget to blame–dare I say it–our own laziness.

 

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We get tied up and frustrated; the days have been busy–we are tired. We simply don’t “feel it”. We have all been in this situation, and we like to blame it on multiple things and call it writer’s block. The “I don’t feel it” attitude is not wrong. Many of us experience it after having a rough day or being stressed over the project itself. But thankfully, it is something you can fix, with perhaps more ease than the traditional writer’s block requires. With a few simple steps, but definitely hard work, you can push yourself to work beyond the, “I don’t feel it,” attitude.

 

Get Excited!

 

Remember that sweet beautiful feeling you first got when you decided on your protagonists name? Or the time the plot first landed in your head? Remember how glorious it was to dream about your story? Those feelings don’t have to be gone now that the hard work has begun. Get the excitement back and remind yourself why you love this project. Develop characters more: remind yourself of why you love them so much. Research more of your favorite quirks from your story, like that super awesome sword you saw on Pinterest. Engage your imagination once more in what your story can be. Allow it to soar like it did so long ago when the story began, and let the craziest ideas come back for a new revelation to the story.

 

Set goals

 

Setting goals can be a great way to fix the “I’m not feeling it” mood. I like setting weekly goals, it keeps me fresh every week, coming up with new ideas for writing. Start small; maybe commit to writing 400 words a week, then you will accomplish it more easily. Gradually, start challenging yourself with greater goals and step it up to 1,000 words a week. In the past as I set goals, I would find myself having to sacrifice the times that I previously used for watching movies, reading, interent, and even sleep in order to reach my goals. But in the end, I was glad to look back and see what I accomplished because of my commitment.

Which leads me to the next subject.

 

Make a commitment

 

Commit to your story. You must come to the realization that you want to write this and it will happen one way or another. Decide how important this story is to you. Is it worth skipping the movie in order to finish a chapter? Love your characters, love the story. I have had stories where I despised the characters; in turn I never wrote and dragged myself through research for it. Decide to embrace your project; commit to it like it is a dear friend to you. If you leave it alone for too long it would be hurt by your absence. Your project needs you.

 

Don’t make excuses

 

And finally, ignore the voices in your head. Yeah, we all know them. The ones that say, “Go ahead, write tomorrow, you worked all day.” Sometimes it is good to take a break. Days can get tiring, and we all need a little break. But sometimes we start to say it every day; we make excuses for ourselves constantly. Soon, “tomorrow” is just another way of saying “never” because we simply can’t muster enough determination. It reminds me of every time my alarm goes off, right when I think sleep couldn’t get any better. My head screams for me to turn it off and sleep, it begs and comes up with every excuse. But deep down I know I must get up, and so with the craziest amount of strength I can muster at 5:30 A.M., I roll out of bed and say no to sleep.

 

Say no to the voices, set a goal, commit to the project, and love what you do. It’s sounds simple  on paper, but believe me, it is hard. But guess what? We can do it. It is in fact possible.