Sunday, 21 May 2017

Turning Memories into Story Plots | Halcja's Podcast #1

Hi, everyone. I've posted the first episode of my writing podcast yesterday and since it was scripted, I thought, why not post the script as a blog post? So here you have it. There were some spontaneous bits in the podcast but I've tried to even it all up. Hope you enjoy it and find it helpful and interesting!




I've noticed two main ways how you can fuel your writing inspiration, using your own life. And I've also seen the two of them combined in a bad way but I'll talk about that later on.


How to write stories from your own experience

1. Non-Fiction. Essays and Autobiographies. The first way is to just write down your memories of the past events, exactly how it all happened, or at least how much of it you remember. In this case, you'll be using the first person POV and past tense. It's similar to writing a diary but with adding more structure to the stories. You can have your main focus on the events, and also elaborate on your own thoughts or feelings, and speculations about the future. When it comes to storytelling, I think that you can apply here most rules of creative writing (show, don't tell: cut out filter words; don't overuse adverbs etc). The only difference being that these stories actually happened in real life and you are both the narrator and the protagonist.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Internet Drama and Support

I was going to write a blog post about internet drama because it just so happened that I had to block two people on facebook this week. But when I opened a new draft a funny thought ran across my mind.

I don't need this anymore. I don't feel like venting and complaining. No more need to take screenshots of comment wars and post them on my FB page.

And the reason for this change in heart is that this time I know that it won't go unnoticed and ignored. I know that if I write on my FB page that I'm having a bad day or that something has happened there'll be people who'll support and cheer me up.

When I was blogging and using social media in my native language I'd oftentimes feel  that I could write just about any horrid thing you can think of, even a blog post consisting solely of the f-word, and still won't get any reaction from my readers, who were mostly people that I actually knew in real life, so it wasn't like I was expecting this huge wave of feedback from complete strangers. And that was frustrating to the point when I'd quit blogging for months at a time.

I would sometimes feel like I was loosing my mind. I was writing about things that genuinely concerned me, so being ignored most of the time wasn't that great for my mental state.

The funniest thing was that in private conversations people would admit that they actually enjoyed reading all of my comment drama. And they liked reading my blog. But I only found out about it after posting on my FB that I'd given up and deleted it.

But I'm glad that I gave up. I now have other projects that are already giving me more feedback and satisfaction that I'd ever dreamed of. And I know that my hard work won't be all in vain.

A little support and kindness go a long way.

At first, I thought that I won't post this to my blog because it seemed shorter than what I'd expected it to be. I wrote the draft in the blogger app that I don't usually use. So I thought I'd just tweet about it because I still want to get these thoughts out of my head. But after thinking about it for a little while I've decided to post it as a final tribute to my former internet drama obsessed self.


Saturday, 8 April 2017

"Saving my dead father"



As some of you may know, I've recently uploaded the first episode of my podcast in English, where I elaborated a little on why exactly I decided to start writing fiction in English.

But what's been really bothering me for a while now was why have I bothered with all of my Ukrainian projects for so long before switching my keyboard from UK to EN. Over the time I've had a lot of projects that were aimed at promoting Ukrainian language and culture or creating content in Ukrainian. I've had a couple of blogs and rpg-forums, a youtube channel and I even volunteered for a few translation projects. There are at least a handful of Wikipedia articles translated by yours truly and I've also subtitled some TED talks. I'll stop here before it starts looking like I'm bragging, but I did a lot of stuff which could put me in the category of a patriot and language enthusiast. But I'm not... Not really.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

10k Celebration Post | #amwriting

This week I've hit a new milestone. I know that 10k words might not seem like alot but considering that it's the first time I'm actually serious about my writing project, I see it as quite an accomplishment.

What I've got so far.

• 10 078 words

• 2 chapters that I consider finished

• about a dozen scenes and dialogues for chapters to come

• an actual outline that doesn't look too bad and it wasn't forced unlike the ones for my previous projects

I love my characters and I really enjoy writing this story. I'm still learning, but I don't let this discourage me. Even if I'm doing something wrong, I'll have plenty of time to fix everything when I get to editing.

I've noticed that every other time when I'm writing a scene a thought pops into my mind "wouldn't it be funny if he did this or said that?". Because of that I'm now pondering if I was right when identifying my genre as romance. There's still plenty of conflict and drama but whenever I see an opportunity to make it funny I just can't help it. And there's only been one kiss so far...

Okay, so maybe it's not romance after all. Is it women's fiction? Well, you know... because my protagonist is a woman... Is this how it works? I honestly have no idea. I've tried looking up some "determine your novel's genre" checklists but that didn't help much. Maybe I'll ask my alpha readers to help me figure that out.

Getting some initial feedback was another thing I've been dealing with this week. The mere thought of showing my manuscript to anyone other than my family makes me panic and question my plot and writing skills. I told my friend about a funny scene I'd just written and by the time I finished telling it I was thinking that it's stupid and not funny at all. But my friend laughed at my scene and offered some of his own speculations as to where the story is going. So at least there's one more person in this world that thinks that my jokes are funny.

My main goal in writing is to make my stories easy to read and funny. I'd like my readers to feel the same things I feel when I'm writing them. But to get to that goal I still have to write many thousands of words.


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Researching Characters | #amwriting

I've been working on some character development this week. And let me tell you! It's not an easy task to manage!

They say that you should write what you know. But who'd want to read a book where every other character is a writer or a blogger? And maybe an English tutor, an accountant and a QA engineer (kudos to mom and sis). I guess there is a handful of other professions that I'm slightly familiar with thanks to my relatives and friends. But is this knowledge enough to write a proper MC? I don't think so.

But thank goodness for the Internet! If you don't know something from experience you can always google it. So writing an interesting character really boils down to lots of research.

I've decided to make a few of my characters lawyers and I have absolutely no frikkin idea about lawyers and what they actually do. Okay, I've seen lawyers on TV. But that's already a fictional representation, so it's probably not a very good idea to use other works of fiction while researching for your novel. Instead, I've pulled up a few articles on Wikipedia and some random websites about law schools, how to get a job as a lawyer, what kind of career paths there are for law students and so on. And then I'd like to find out more about the law itself. What is it and what do you do with it? I know that I'll only brush the surface, but at least I'll figure out why my character is so fascinated with it and how do I convey it through my writing.

But research is important not only for your character's career choice. Another thing I'm researching is psychology of an individual. And in particular children psychology. It's easier to write about adults, because I am one. The same goes for teenagers because I remember being one. But one of my characters who has quite a big role in the story is a four-year-old. He's old enough to have something to say for himself, but too young to communicate on the same level as an adult. Writing this character scares me the most because I want him to act his age, but I don't have enough experience with little children (last time I've tried talking to a 4 y.o. the kid got so shy that he head bumped me in the face) so I can't just write him on a whim. He'll have a lot of dialogue and I wouldn't want him to sound too old for his age.

So that's something fun to look forward to. Discovering my own characters and learn something interesting about them and maybe even from them.


Saturday, 4 March 2017

Change of plans | #amwriting

I haven't updated my blog in a month. I've promised myself to be consistent. I've decided to do it the right way this time. I even had nearly finished drafts of blog posts waiting to be published. And still I haven't made an effort to polish them off and update my blog.

I can think of many excuses for why I've failed to stick to my own commitments. But the truth is... I wasn't even thinking about my blog in the last month. I didn't feel the need to update it.

I've only started blogging here a few months ago, so it's not like I'm ditching a serious project. I'm not yet serious here with this blog. It's just a place for me to let out some steam and practice my English writing. So I won't let the fact that I haven't updated for a month worry me too much.

I was thinking about the bar that I was trying to set for this blog. I came up with a few interesting ideas for it, like the DLS. But I'm not that sure that I really want to write that. I like the idea, but there are other things I want to work on, that are more important for me in the long run. And I think that my blog should reflect that. I should learn to let go of interesting ideas and stop trying to juggle a few projects at the same time.

I don't want to let this blog become another stress factor for me. So for now I don't know if I'll be updating it regularly or at all. I just know that if I feel like writing and publishing a blog post or two, I'll do it without any feeling of guilt or regret.

Another thing that I wanted to talk about was this whole #amwriting thing that some of you may have noticed from my twitter feed. And I think I've mentioned it once here too... I'm working on a novel right now, so some of my blog posts may be about that as well. I think it even might be more interesting than the DLS. That's also one of the reasons why I don't want to make this blog the main focus of my writing. If I ever want to publish this book then I should be writing it instead of weekly blog updates. I want to focus on my real goals and stop distracting myself with side projects all the time.


Thursday, 9 February 2017

Random Ramblings

I was supposed to have a DLS blog post ready for today but it's not ready yet due to some unfortunate circumstances so I've decided to write and upload something more random today. Who knows, maybe this will eventually become a tradition.

I will let my train of thoughts lead me wherever it wants to go and maybe later pick out interesting thoughts for more serious standalone blog posts.