…here’s what NOT to think about.
1. Formatting. It doesn’t matter what kind of font you have at this stage. Pick the one you like writing in and looking at and move on. Also, it doesn’t matter where you break your paragraphs, just as long as they get written. Even if you have one big wall-o-text, it’s better than nothing.
2. Grammar. Who cares about grammar during a first draft? Don’t pause at a sentence, wondering whether it’s “lie” or “lay” or “who” or “whom.” Keep going.
3. Criticism. Especially imagined criticism. Sometimes, while I’m writing a first draft I can hear all the voices of potential critics telling me that what I’m writing sucks and will never get better. Ignore it. It doesn’t matter. You’re writing, and that’s farther than many people get in the process.
4. Genres. If you want to write something that’s a quarter fantasy, a quarter romance, a quarter steampunk, and a quarter Western, go right on ahead. Don’t try and box yourself into a genre. Write what you like to write.
5. Details. Your main character might start out hating techno on page 1, then on page 5, he likes it. Inconsistencies and discrepancies don’t count against you. You’ll sort them out later.
I could go on and on listing things that don’t matter while you’re writing a first draft. But here’s the one thing that does matter: your story. Get it on paper (or in a Word document) and get it finished. You will have plenty of time to worry about the rest later.
Everybody has flaws, no matter how “perfect” they appear on the surface. No human being is perfect because perfection is impossible to achieve.
Therefore, fictional characters should also have flaws. They should not be perfect because if a character is perfect and all his decisions and actions are perfect, that makes for a boring story.
In real life, tragic flaws or imperfections are difficult to overcome. The same should be true in fiction. If you introduce your character and his major flaw in chapter 1, then have him overcome his flaws completely in chapter 2, you haven’t created a realistic story. In reality, those kinds of things take time. Flaws don’t just vanish overnight.
What makes a story very interesting (and what makes real life frustrating) is when two characters’ flaws play off each other. You may have a character who loves to skydive and another character who is terrified of heights. Putting these two characters in an awkward situation may create some interesting drama for the story.
So if your characters don’t have any tragic flaws or serious issues, give them some and watch your story get more entertaining (both to write and for others to read).
I have had this blog for three years… and so much has changed since then. I have learned quite a bit about the Internet and about blogging since I started, so I shall share what I have learned with you:
1. Everyone has an opinion. The most respectful thing to do when someone’s opinion is different from yours or if someone dislikes something that you like… is to not say anything at all. It’s their blog, let them have their opinion. There is a way to respectfully disagree, but very few people have that skill.
2. The best way to keep up with blogging is to maintain consistency. If you say you’re going to blog three days a week, do it. Hold yourself accountable.
3. Write what you want to write about. It’s better to write about something you love and get no views than to write about something that bores you to death and get tons of views.
4. Be nice. Return favors. Rules of politeness matter on the Internet just as they do in real life… although a lot of people seem to forget that and think they can be absolute animals online (but that’s a post for another day).
5. I know I just said you should write what you want to write, but it’s not wise to write about or discuss your personal life or your job on the Internet. Some things don’t belong online, and everything you put online will catch up with you at some point… sometimes in a good way, but a lot of the time in a bad way.
Happy blogging to everyone!
This is the season of college graduation. A new generation has entered the workforce full of hope and optimism… however, as with all things in life, a dark side exists.
The economy continues to improve, but it’s still hard to find an entry-level job these days. It almost seems like holders of bachelor’s degrees are flooding the market. Many, many people graduate with a degree in psychology or biology or English or computer science… but there are only so many jobs to be had. Many college graduates will go back to their old, hometown jobs as babysitters, lifeguards at the local pool, cashiers, servers, etc., and it may be a long time before they find a job that they are qualified for — as opposed to overqualified for.
Ever since kindergarten, each American child is beaten over the head with the message that he or she must go to college. Go to college, or else you’ll be flippin’ burgers. Nowadays someone can go to college and still end up flippin’ burgers. College is not right for every person, and it doesn’t need to be right for every person. Even far into the future, we will still need garbage collectors, janitors, plumbers, auto mechanics, and any number of positions that don’t require a college degree.
Yet the decision not to attend college is frowned upon. Yet when you do go to college, work hard for four years, and enter the workforce, you’re hard-pressed to find a job right away. You could still be looking for a job a year (or longer) after you graduate, wishing that you hadn’t gone to college because now you can’t pay your student loans because you can’t find a job.
It’s still hard out there for everyone. Finding a job (no matter what kind of job) takes patience and time. Even if you don’t get the exact position you want, life may take you in other directions that are even more enjoyable than the future you had envisioned for yourself.