Tag Archives: stories

After Thr3e Years

Notice my spelling of the word “three” in my title? That’s my tribute to the author (and the book) that got me writing. Three years in the writing career, and I’m only just getting started. Every year, I post new things I’ve learned about the craft that is writing, and this year, being my third year in the craft, I’ve decided to share with my readers, fans, and followers, three things I’ve learned about writing in this short while.

1. Everyone believes they understand the craft.

By everyone, I mean everyone. If you are an upcoming writer, you’ve probably already had your works criticized by non-writers, and even non-readers alike. They try to analyze why you should do this, and why you shouldn’t do that. While most of them actually mean good, taking medical advice from an IT specialist probably isn’t the wisest thing to do. It spurs from a need to tell a story, because in the end non-writers and non-readers are telling a story one way or the other…just let me tell mine my way.

2. The blank page really is terrifying.

No, really, it is. When I first picked up the trade, it seemed that the one thing that was common with the opinions of all writers was, “The blank page is terrifying.” Flip forward three years later, and I still dread starting a book or a story. It’s really exciting, having a fresh tale to tell, but it’s dreadfully frightening when you open your text editor and watch that black cursor blink and mock you amid all that impossible white space. “How do I fill it?” You ask yourself. One word at a time. Something tells you…yet it’s never that easy. Never.

3. You don’t pick your genre, your genre picks you.

You don’t just wake up one morning and decide you want to write Steampunk Romance…ok, for a genre that weird, you probably get to choose. But I’ve discovered that the kinds of tales you tell are deep within you already. I think this affects readers too. You just find yourself drawn to a certain genre. Perhaps this is why it’s always hard to provide a definite answer when asked, “why do you write/read this kinda stuff?” Your genre calls you to the craft. Make no mistake about it.



After 2 Years

The ending months of the year 2012 makes it two years since I became a writer. Though it’s only been a couple of years, it’s been one heck of a ride consisting of rise and falls, successes and failures, elations and let downs. In these two years, however, I’ve learned a whole lot of things about the writing process, which I outline below. There are many other things about writing, no doubt, but here are a few vitals:

No one can write your Idea as well as you

It’s how I started writing, really. That concept or idea, I always feel, dropped in your mind for a reason. I have also found out that no matter what tiny bit of an idea you get, it comes with some sort of vague idea as to who some of the characters might be. You are already bonding with the characters even before the first word is penned (whether you’re a pantser or an outliner). It’s like a soon-to-be mother in labor. The second the baby emerges, the connection between the mother and child is the strongest. Sorry, dads! It’s the plain truth. She did carry the kid for nine months, after all.

Inspiration and Passion isn’t nearly enough, discipline is required

In today’s world, everyone is teaching that you should follow your passion. Good and fine, but I found out that especially in writing, inspiration and passion aren’t nearly adequate driving forces for seeing you through to the final period. Discipline is required. If you cannot sit down at your work for protracted hours and write, your story can be likened to chasing a rainbow; you see it after the rain, but really there is no “end of the rainbow”, and there’s certainly no pot of gold there. Discipline is the transportation to the end of your manuscript.

Discipline isn’t enough, you need patience

Discipline might certainly be the transportation to the end of your manuscript, but it is a rickety way of getting there. Oil up discipline’s joints with patience. Patience is what ensures a smooth sailing all through the writing process. Writing is a brutally remorseless process, and if you’re doing it the right way, it’s a lonely one, too. Where discipline might falter, patience stands firm. You just gostta keep pressing till you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Set goals, but start small

No one is disputing the fact that setting goals is almost the only way to achieve things, but many times we tend to get overtaken by our goals of becoming a New York Times #1 Bestseller, that we forget the number one thing writing is; a process. Have those goals—I have them, too—but instead of making your first work am epic 600 page tale, why not try your hands on writing short stories first, getting the hang of the art that is writing. I learned this the hard way.

Characters aren’t just that, they are people

Your characters aren’t just characters that help take your readers to the end of a story; they are living, breathing people with a past, a present, and a future. Like you, they have ambitions and goals, which may or may not be becoming a New York Times #1 Bestseller. If all your characters take decisions the way you would, they are nothing but clones…of you. It’s back to the drawing board, then. Sorry.

Writing should be fun, inasmuch as it is work

I did say that writing is “a brutally remorseless process” earlier. Though a hundred and ten percent true, it should be fun. If you don’t have fun writing, perhaps you should think of another career path. There is nothing worse than working in misery, trust me, I know. Above all else, you need to love writing. You need to breathe, eat, and sleep writing. Nothing, for me, comes remotely close to writing. I love it.

Reality vs. Fiction

I sat down one afternoon and began thinking about the power of a story. The power of fiction—guess that could also be the title of this post.

I sat on this day and thought to myself, If it’s impossible in real life, it’s possible in a story. If it’s impossible in a story, it’s impossible in real life.

To put it in a simpler form, fiction makes the impossible possible. I’m one of those folks that believe in the supernatural and the paranormal, you can’t convince me otherwise. I seen, and heard, of some pretty bizarre stuff because of my background. But even with the existence of the supernatural, some things are without a doubt farfetched. For example, a man not being able to distinguish the real world from a dream world (Ted Dekker’s Circle Series), or a writer’s pseudonym—who might have as well been a potential twin he gobbled up in his mother’s womb—coming to life to haunt him (Stephen King’s The Dark Half). These are all impossible scenarios in the real world.

Even though I did mention that what is impossible in fiction is definitely impossible in real life, I’m yet to find a scenario that is totally impossible to tell in a story. In a story I can single handedly amass a great following and become the president of Africa, yes, the entire continent. Nothing’s impossible in a story.

I dare say that even Jesus knew the power of a good story which is why he spoke in parables, an archaic word for fiction if you ask me.

No one wants to see reality being mimicked event-for-event in a story. It is why I say “The world is not enough, so I create an alternate.”