Olivia, the main character in Cat Winter’s The Cure for Dreaming, believes women deserve the same basic human rights as men. But her protests and dreams of becoming something more than just a wife and mother makes her seem unattractive to men, overwhelming uncouth, and absolutely hysterical — at least by her father’s standards.
Her father fears Olivia will end up just like his wife: a wild woman who abandoned her family for her career. He hires seventeen-year-old hypnotist Henrie Reverie to try and subdue Olivia’s dreams of wearing pants and challenging male privilege.
He obliges with a twist: he allows Olivia’s subconscious to see the world how it is. Now when she looks at her father, Olivia sees a hideous monster like the creature in her favorite novel Dracula. She sees women who fight for their rights as ethereal beings and women who don’t as translucent – disappearing before her eyes. Olivia wants this curse removed but it cannot be done easily and with this new ability, she must learn to defend herself and fight to be the woman she wants to be.
Keep reading for clever writer Kiesha Frue’s opinion on Cat Winter’s second YA novel.
Starting on November 1st, thousands of people start toward the goal of writing the first 50,000 words what may be their very first novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. This project is called National Novel Writing Month, and it’s an excellent exercise for young and practicing writers. Adapting to heavy (and consistent) writing loads is an essential skill for a working writer, but divvying up your time and knowing how to make up for lost hours and days can be daunting. Inspired and built on artist Svenja Gosen’s excel sheets, we’ve put together an intelligent, shareable spreadsheet on Google Docs to help organize your writing goals and quotas.
With this spreadsheet you can automatically: Track daily word counts, adjust goals based on headway and the the date, and view statistics on your writing progress (and share them with your friends and beta readers). Instructions are saved as a tab on the spreadsheet. Download the sheet here, and follow for more Nanowrimo and writing resources.
New Writing Contest! If this looks familiar, that’s because it is. The One Sentence story competitions are back! We’ve simplified the rules and changed a few things around to improve the format and accommodate a larger audience, and we’re excited to see what you can come up with. The genre theme for this contest is: Horror.
When you’re an authorial superstar, maybe you can throw sentences out with natural flair and have every word mean something new and astounding. Writers who are still learning, however, have to be very aware. Casting aside the bloat of a story and laying bare the essential organs can be painful, but the end result is worth it. Nietzsche, author of Beyond Good and Evil and the Anti-Christ, wrote in Twilight of the Idols: “It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” This Halloween season, we want you to try to do the same.
Tell us a story in a single sentence. The entry can be in any style, prose or poetic, but the piece should fall within the Horror genre or use themes and symbols closely associated with it.
Scary stories should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted here with the headline “[Your Title] by [Author] (Horror Contest)” by Midnight EST on October 30th. In order for us to send out fanmail about the contest and results, you must be following the blog to win. Under the cut are specific rules and prizes. Three random followers who reblog to promote the contest, regardless of whether they entered or not, have the chance to win a prize. So, help us get the word out!
There’s no shortage of essays on writing out there. Authors, poets, scholars and other creative voices spend years devoted to their art - it’d be crazy (and our loss) if they never took a moment to talk about the why and how. These five essays are available to read online for free, and they’re exceptionally useful and inspiring for young and aspiring writers.
If you find yourself getting stuck on the planning stage of writing, you should try cutting it out of your process for awhile. Just start writing, and follow that line of inspiration. What you end up creating might not be your best work, or even the project you want to pursue, but it should kickstart you out of your block. There are a few ways to do this, and I’ll talk about more this week, but I want to leave you with Hemingway’s approach to writer’s block. When you don’t know what to write:
Write one true sentence.
From A Moveable Feast, Hemingway writes:
Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.
Once you have that sentence, you can figure out where to go from there.
Everyone wants to write a story that grabs its readers and doesn’t let them go until it’s over. Stories they’ll read before they fall asleep, when ‘ten more minutes’ turns into ‘two more hours’; stories that make them trip over their feet and walk into walls; great, suspenseful stories that make your heart pound. That’s what you want to bring to life. But how?
A great way is to approach it build tension with every page. Tension in every story, regardless of genre or subject, should crackle off the page. It makes conflict believable, and it adds some weight to your dramatic arch. Grab something you’ve written, or throw together a story, because this is an editing exercise. Let’s get started.
Break out a notebook and get ready to slash and hack. Here are the keys to editing in tension for a dynamic plot progression:
I think you need to take a step back from your writing and imagine it as a moving rhythm. If you’re trying to build tension, ellipses are your enemy. Tension lives in a fast pace. Short, choppy sentences speed up the heart. They force you into motion with the narrative. Ellipses… slow down your story telling. Used often, they detach the reader from the weight of a situation and force them to look at it from the outside.
Don’t overuse your ellipses; save them for special occasions. Otherwise, when building tension, move from longer sentences to shorter ones and use as few distracting punctuation marks as possible.
We do now. Here are a few of the best/most interesting character development sheets we could find around the internet. Use them to answer questions as you develop and create your new characters.