Wednesday, March 30, 2011 | By: Megan Held

Writing Advice 4

This should have been my initial advice post, but I got distracted with all the other amazing advice out there. People comment that I write in the same style. Well, of course I do, as do many other writers in the world.

Find your style and voice and do not change it. This is what makes you a unique writer. If you are strong at writing love stories, stick with it. Over the years people have asked me to write a love story. Here is my response, I don’t know love, only the love I put in my stories. I know crime and pain. Sadly, its what I know, but every story I place in love because it always helps a story.

If you do want to try another style, do it by all means, just do not give up on your original style. Here is a little type, always have a phrase you like for your characters to use and place it in every story. May seem repetitive but it is yours andandresr100900036 helps connect you to your story.

Plus, your style will change as time goes on. You will branch out, write more or less, try new things, add ideas and concepts. Embrace it. Cherish it.

No matter what, please do not let other people interfere with your style. This is who you are as a writer. It is your voice. Do not be afraid to put yourself into this voice, it gives more to the potential reader.

Keep writing because I am. Never lose your goals and ideas. Remember: if you are writing, its for you mainly and only a little for others. Like I said, I am never giving up crime writing. It’s me. My husband can agree to that, so can my parents and close friends.

Sunday, March 20, 2011 | By: Megan Held

Why I Write

After looking through all my posts I have realized that I have not written why I write. I just say that I write and for most writing comes out of something. Sure, I have said I wanted to challenge myself to write when I was 12, but that is not all of it.

Writing has changed throughout my 10 years since I started. Let’s just say, moving in with my dad and step-mom was a challenge. More rules, more adjustment, new friends, and sister who wanted me to hate things that I did not know why I hated. So, when I felt moments of weakness, writing became my muse. I would write to hide and escape. It was tough being the daughter of a dad in the K-9 unit, and a step-mom who dabbled in everything in the police.

When I had to help my dad, by either taking his clothes that were dirty from a call (when I mean dirty, I mean mud, leaves, blood, vomit, you name it) to waking up in the middle of the night to help put the dog away. It was tough, but I accepted it. If I was upset, I would write. My husband knew that even when we met as kids. He knew I would write to escape and hide from the world.

As I moved on to highschool, I got ridiculed for being a cops daughter by some and it sucked. Let me tell you, it sucked. But there I met my support for my writing and changed from not just writing out of pain but out of happiness. It still was tough because at this time my brother and sister were born, so not only did I have to work, go to school, do homework, still do my chores, help with my siblings, dinner, but still help my dad out.

When my dad lost his K-9 job, my world changed. More stress and worry. My attitude changed, no longer was I close to my older sister. My roles as a daughter changed. I was always the one my dad would turn to talk to. Some of the stuff is even hard for me to remember because of how hard it would be to witness what he did. I wrote. Best way to get everything out. It was my pride and joy writing, and I could see the look of my parents and friends at my talent (or so called talent).

Once I went off to university, things changed. I got to experience living on my own. That’s when the husband came into the picture majorly. We became serious and got engaged. He made me happy and didn’t want me to write because he was worried I was upset. So, out of practice, I began to write when I was happy. Still, I wrote when I was upset because he is in the Canadian Army Reserves and is gone most summers and weekends so I need to pass the time. But he still supports me and encourages me to write. He knows I need it because he watched me go through everything.

Everyone I have met in my life that has made in impact do appear in my novels. Whether it be on phrase they use a lot, a characteristic or even look, people appear.

I hope this helps understand why I write and that it is not out of pleasure all the time, but out of need. It has become such a part of my life it is never going to go away, even if I don’t get published. I do not care if I get judged for my past, but this is what has made me the woman I am now, and the person my husband fell in love with. So, for all those writers out there, you are fooling yourself if you do not know why you write. Everyone has a beginning, its just knowing it that makes a difference.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 | By: Megan Held

“Where do I go from here?”

This is the proverbial question that most writers are faced with. If writer’s are not faced with this, then I may be alone.I am not the type of person that makes lists of characters and information about them, nor do I write down what I intend to happen throughout my novel.

By making notes like that I find that it takes away from the novel. Stories in novels are supposed to just happen, not be planned to every line of every page. So, at times, every writer will experience a moment of “Where do I go from here?”

writing-with-penWhen these moments arise, do not panic. Stories need time and nurturing. If you are impatient, then do what I do, and ask people a simple “what one is better?” question.

The advice or input from your friends can help make the decision for you easier. Essentially, you are writing the book for yourself, but having input from potential readers is always wise. I tend to get stuck at major decisions that could take the story in different directions for a bit.

Never panic or rush a decision. If you need to leave writing for a few days to make the decision then do so. Writing does take up time, but you have to expect that there will be times when you have to take a break from it. Not all writing is fluent.

Do not stop a story either to make it go “your” way. Sometimes the flow of the story should stay the same and not be altered.

Just know that if you are having the “where do I go from here?” moment, you are not alone. Ask for help, give it time or let it takes it own path.

Only advice when asking for writing help, specify it is for writing. Learnt my lesson when I asked several friends “disappear or die?”

Keep writing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 | By: Megan Held

Dealing With Death

Sorry for misleading you, but this is about dealing with death while writing. It is not easy to have a death in a book. Time, thought, pain and sadness is felt by the writer.

I may write crime novels and thrillers, but deciding to have a character die still takes a toll on me. It is heartbreaking because as you write the reactions, you feel what the characters are feeling. If they cry you can beat that you may feel the need to cry.

Even if you think you are desensitized and cannot really feel emotions, you will feel them. If you feel them then you know you are writing about death correctly. I am not going to act like I am tough, I just had a person die in one of my books and had to resist crying. Honestly, when I do have to kill someone off I tend to call or talk to people because I am upset.

Here is my advice I have learnt about writing about death, whether to make it realistic:

    1. Do not make it so that no one cries. Any death will have at least one person crying.
    2. Make it realistic for your story. Don’t make it so that an alien sucked the person’s brains out in a love story.
    3. Don’t make the character take hours to die by describing every moment unless it is essential. No reader will want to feel that much heartache reading. Torture, that is fine; actually dying, not fine.
    4. Make the reader see and feel the emotions felt. The more emotions that people can picture and feel the better the story. It will make the reader become a part of it.
    5. If you don’t feel it, the reader won’t either. This is my main rule that if you can take from these, this is the one. You should suffer more actually because in a sense, you are doing the dirty work.

So, you have written the painful scene and it has affected you. Here are some methods to help get over the death. For most deaths I have become accustomed to getting over it after I have written it, but some take longer to get over. Here are some pieces of advice:

    1. Talk to someone. I tend to call the hubbie or my mom. My mom just tells me I had to do it for the story and calms me down. Hubbie gets my mind away from it. Find people you can talk to, and they will be your muse to getting over the death.
    2. Take a walk. It clears your mind. Whether the walk be 3 minutes or an hour. Does not matter.
    3. Take a shower or bath. It helps relax the body and mind.
    4. Watch T.V., listen to music, distract the mind. Focusing on something else will help drain out the thoughts.
    5. Keep writing. This may not seem to connect with the other ones, but sometimes continuing on with the story will help its progression and also help get over the death. I tend to do this the most because the death makes me want to keep writing.

Hope my advice helps. This can work for more than just death. It can work with break-ups, loss of an object, anything that requires a rational decision that causes emotional strain.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | By: Megan Held

Get Lost in Writing

You open the blank book, grab a pen and its all lost from there. No, not lost as in you have no clue what to write; the lost where you start writing and you don't know what happens to Father Time.

This is why I love to write. Some nights I cannot produce anything, either due to homework, work, exhaustion or writers' block. But, when I am able to write, it turns into hours of nothing but that.

There is never enough time in a day to do this, but all you need is 30 minutes. A lot to ask for, but it is an ideal amount. It does not have to be 30 minutes in one chunk, just 30 minutes in general. If you want to get some writing done my one suggestion is try writing a little before bed. Although you may only write a paragraph or two it still adds to the amount you have left.

My other suggestion is if you are an avid T.V. watcher and have favourite shows-yes, the news counts-write before the show starts or just after. I am not responsible if you get lost in writing because that is the main point in writing.
You do not begin to write a story and just slowly chip away at the plot, dialogue or characters. No, that is not writing. Writing is the creation of an entirely different world, not much different than one we think of or live in. When writing you travel to this place and think, breathe, see everything that you are writing about. THAT is getting lost in writing.

I get an adrenaline rush just thinking of getting lost in writing, and it happens a lot when I write a post on this blog. I know, I know, writing is not easy and never has been. In order to get lost in it you have to begin it. Sometimes it takes hours, days, weeks, even months to reach a point when you get lost in your writing. I have learned a few tips over the years on how to get lost in it.

All I can say is keep writing and you will become lost one day.