Showing posts from August, 2015

Writers: 4 Steps to Killing Your Darlings

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved. In writing, there's a phrase we learn early in the process:  Kill your darlings. I wrote a short piece in a workshop a few years ago that became one of my "darlings." The instructor told us to pick one character trait and show it in the writing.  I chose to create a character who was detail-oriented. I even volunteered to read it in the workshop and received lots of compliments from everyone including the instructor.  People even said it was publishable as is. It wasn't. I tinkered with it a bit, because you never submit a first draft, and submitted it. It got rejected. I work-shopped it and got very little feedback from my group.  I tried submitting it again. Rejection. I tried a third place and they rejected it but provided a suggestion. So, I edited it based on the suggestion and submitted it again. Rejected. Frustrated, I took it to my current writing group and asked for their feedback. (This was a very

Story Development: 3 Ways Opposites Can Help

Courtesy of A story's development can take many turns before the final work falls into place.  At the Writing in Place conference last month, my instructor, Lydia Netzer , spent a great deal of time helping us develop the story prior to writing it. Her first lesson was to allow randomness in our creation. On the second day, she talked to us about the parts of the story: Characters Scenes Ideas/Reversals In regards to characters , she suggested we consider opposites for the character.  Death vs life, truth vs lies, comfortable vs uncomfortable, etc.  For example, if your character is comfortable in a certain environment, place them somewhere that will unsettle them. In our discussion on scenes , we explored the question what if.  If you're character would follow a certain direction, what if they acted out of character and did something different?  For example, instead of saying no to something, what if she said yes? The concept of ideas and re

Plotter vs Pantser: An Exercise For Writers

Image courtesy of Are you a plotter or a pantser? Plotters outline the books they want to write in great detail before they begin to write.  They know what happens in each chapter, and they create a roadmap to get them from start to finish. Pantsers write by the seat of their pants.   Well, not literally, but they get an idea or a character and start writing.  They let the story development follow where the muse takes them. My creative writing style is more pantser than plotter which surprises me since in everything else, I'm a planner. For example, when I write training materials or business policies and procedures, I'm a plotter. But when I try to outline my whole story like a plotter, I lose my creative drive.  It becomes too formulaic.  Like the plotter, I do know where the story is going, but I haven't laid out a road map to get me there.  Plotters often use spreadsheets, too. I keep a spreadsheet, but it gets filled in as I go, not before I wr