Saturday, April 8, 2017

Get it Written

I have writer friends who got a fantastic story happening in their head. Their characters are alive, breathing, and moving with strong limbs. Scenes run, gripping a hand. The whole thing heaves a message that can stir many hearts.

And it's not yet written.

The beautiful story stays invisible. The characters live, but do not exist. They know in their hearts that only words can let the story out, finally unfettered.

I'm writing this for you, if you're one of them. I am no expert in writing. I took online courses, attended writing workshops, and practiced everyday to make myself at least better at it. But may God be praised, my first ever book, Finding You, has been published! And I can only tell you how I did it.

Let me share with you five things I found essential in writing a book. I assume that knowing these things can make you think that writing a book isn't scary at all. The process is fun, I tell you! So once you're on it, I hope you can apply this.

1) Pray.

Everything is grace.

I have named the muse Grace. Remember that in the beginning, God's Word made the world possible. "Let there be light!" And there was light. As a writer, you should know where to get the words when you don't have them. Ask, and He'll give it to you! After all, you're working for Him, right?

2) Set the atmosphere.

This is applicable in all forms of art, I believe. Before I paint the windows of our classroom, I would decide first on what atmosphere I want to set. How do I like the students or anyone who enters the room to feel? Cozy? Make it vintage. Paint woods. Peaceful? Use calm colors.

It's the same thing with writing. What's the atmosphere do you want your book to carry? What do you want your readers to feel? What kind of world are you letting them in, and what do you want them to see in that world? Once you're mind is set in it, the words will follow.

3) Plan each chapter.

Your story is one huge chunk, and it has to be sliced into yummy pieces. One step at a time. What I did was I wrote phrases/words under the name Chapter 11 (for example) saying what the reader will find there. Make it messy, it's okay! Once you start writing it, you'll feel the growing satisfaction of having it cleaned and organized, and finally, seeing it end up as a beautiful and sparkling piece!

4) Be in the shoes of the reader. 

I realized that being in the shoes of the reader can either make you too empathetic or too egotistic. If you're too empathetic, the tendency is you'll give everything the reader has to know - spoon-feeding. The piece will be stuffed with adjectives or detailed sentences, which can burden the reader.

Reader: Yes, I know! You don't have to tell me!

If you're too egotistic, you'll keep many things from the reader, giving him/her the task of figuring things out herself/himself. Bear in mind that not all readers think the same way as you do, so this can cause confusion.

Reader: Ahh... Wait, what?

The key is to find the middle. It's best if both the writer and reader make the effort of piecing the scenes together. Collaboration. Allow the reader to make it his/her own. Strike out the unnecessary. Describe those that are rarely put into words - usually these are important.

5) Use metaphors.

Our minds aren't always willing to make an effort that's why minds love patterns. This is what makes a metaphor beautiful. It offers both effort and ease - effort to see a connection, and ease in recognizing the natural pattern. Instead of seeing it as a burden, it becomes a challenge the reader willingly takes since it gives the fulfillment of relating two things; hence, enriching the reading experience. Metaphor can also provoke both the reader's thought and feeling at once.

For example: His eyes carry a glint of the sun.

Believe that the universe is made out of things helping each other. Find them.

That's it! I hope this article helped you in any way. My friend, write your story. If you won't, who else will? Will you permit it not to be told? Never written? Your readers are waiting for you. God is waiting.

Just. Get. It. Written.