On People Watching

Hey. I’m not crazy. People watching is a genuine thing writers (and other creative people I guess) do. It’s fun. Try it.

What is people watching? People watching can be as simple as sitting in a cafe with your notebook and a pen and recording interesting things about the people around you. Something like, “elderly lady in a pink jacket with blue jeans and trainers drinks a coffee whilst reading on her smartphone” can be enough to spark off a story.  Continue reading “On People Watching”

The Differences Between…

…A Short Story, a Novelette, a Novella and a Novel

Well, there are a lot of different things you can write – maybe I’ll do different poems or something soon – but I thought that, today, I’d start with the basics.

Short Stories

  • Shorter than a novel, a novella and a novelette (duh)
  • Usually narrative prose
  • Has a beginning, a middle and an end
  • Generally about 3500 – 7499 words, although there is no set length
  • Under 1000 – 2000 words, in my opinion, is called ‘short short stories’ or ‘flash fiction’ – but others say just below 1000 words
  • Tend to only have 1 climax, but maybe 1 subplot
  • Doesn’t have too many characters

Novelettes 

  • Shorter than a novel and longer than a short story
  • A long short story, basically
  • Generally about 7500 – 17499 is considered a novelette
  • Has 1 climax, and then subplots

Novella 

  • Shorter than a novel, but longer than a novelette
  • Generally about 17500 – 39999 words
  • The rules are pretty relaxed with characters and plots and whatever

Novel

  • Longest work of fiction
  • Mainly fictional prose
  • Generally more than 40000 words, but can go up to a billion words, I guess

I hope that that helps with definitions, and I’m sorry that this was so late! 🙂

Sources:
Wikipedia

How To Research

Apologies for not updating – my grandpa died recently, and I haven’t been coping very well. Also, apologies for the title. I couldn’t think of anything funny. It’s rather annoying.

Anyway. Last week, well actually I don’t know when, I made a point on why you should research. Now, I think I should tell you how.

#1 – make sure you have the materials to do so. 

As I mentioned this last week, I shall not go into so much detail about it here. Just remember to have something to write with and something to write on.

#2 – get into the right frame of mind.

If you’re not in the right frame of mind to research, you won’t be able to retain much of the stuff you learn – and, although you have it there, it’s a lot easier to have most of it in your mind. Also, if you’re not in the right frame of mind, you might not find the right stuff, the stuff you’re looking for, or you might miss the most important stuff.

#3 – when you are actually researching, make sure that you…

First offs, read the whole thing – for example, the webpage, or page of a book – first. This way, if it’s complete and utter codswallop, you haven’t recorded it unnecessarily. Make sure you record it clearly and concisely. Make sure you understand what you are writing, so when you come back to it later, you don’t have to try and decode it. And when you do record it, make sure you record everything. And yes, I mean everything. Even if you don’t think it’s relevant, it may be lter.

#4 – if you’re using just the internet, make sure you use a variety of websites.

And make sure you record everywhere you get them from, especially if it’s a big project (like, make a bibliography). This means that if you write something, and, perhaps, post it online and someone disagrees, you can refer them to the source (or if you need to, blame the source for the mistake!). Also, some websites, such as Wikipedia, anyone can edit, so there can be a lot of made up stuff on there. Make sure you always check it up against other sources! And remember: only use the information if they all agree on it, especially for things like History. Finally, if possible, get visible proof, such as a YouTube video.

#5 – if possible, use a library.

Yes, this mystical places still exist! Wow! And, yes, although they have definitely – unfortunately – declined in standard, they are still marvellous places to go for research, especially for history (just beware that new things may have been discovered in between the time they were written and the time you were reading it). Take a notebook and pen and sit down, have a good read and a browse. Some books are absolute gems, and they’ll help you more than the internet.

#6 – if even more possible, talk to someone.

When I say this, I mean someone that was there, or is an expert on the subject, like a Geography teacher or History professor. Or, as aforementioned, get someone who experienced it! For example, I spoke to my Granddad about WWII, as he was in London during the Blitz. And, believe me, I found it much more useful than looking at some old webpage about someone I don’t really know, because I could see the emotion on his face! Remember, if you are talking to someone, ask them if it’s ok to take notes (because otherwise it may look a tad rude) or use a dictaphone or a voice reminder thingy on your phone so you can listen to it back and perhaps make a transcript.

I’m not sure what else to write about research, apart from the fact that it is vital, but if you do require any more help, then please, feel free to comment below. 🙂

Also, would anyone mind if I posted some of my own writing in the future, or should I create a new blog? Thanks, guys!

And yes, I will try and do some more posts. 🙂

DO YOUR RESEARCH!

do your research

Research. A word that many, many people shy away from. “Oooh, it’s such a hard thing to do!”, “I simply don’t have time for that.”, “But can’t I just make it up?”

No it’s not, if you don’t have time for that you don’t have time to write a book, and no. No, you cannot just make it up.

Now, a lot of people do research – the thing is, they just don’t do it right. The might research the wrong things, or get their facts wrong – maybe they don’t even write it down.  So how do you research?

#1 – make sure you have the materials to do so. 

I don’t just mean a paper and a pen/pencil/quill to write it down. I mean: what are you going to look at for your research? With the internet, you quite literally have the world at your fingertips (why, thank you, Google Maps). So yes, using the internet is good – just remember that people can lie on the internet, so make sure you look at many different places for your research. If possible, head to your local library. Books are a mountain of information, and it’s most often factual correct – just try and make sure it’s as up-to-date as possible. And, obviously, make sure you record everything useful and relevant that you find out. Even if you think you might not need it, try it anyway – it could come in useful in the future!

#2 – look in as many places as possible 

Information overload. Naa – no such thing! Keep looking, looking, looking! You might think you know every Greek monster out there, but then you have a glance at yet another textbook – and, oh! You find another one! You may discover something you never even realised – or find out that the information you had always relied on to be false.

#3 – keep referring to your research

Make sure that, once you have your notes – and make sure you keep lots and lots and lots of notes – you keep looking at them, reminding yourself of them. Don’t forget them, or get mixed up and tell your readers two different things.

#4 – when you actually write, don’t info dump with your research 

Don’t tell your readers everything in one go! Your readers only need to know the necessary stuff and they don’t need to know it all at once! Let in little bits here and there, in a way that still makes it interesting for your readers.

Hope that helped! I’ll do one on how to research, perhaps, later this week or early next week.

Questions? Shoot. 🙂

Ps, I like GIFs. I think I’ll use them more often.

Research/Planning

So, NaNoWriMo is just on the doorstep. This means that most of you are probably planning for it. Or if you’re very organised, you’re already in a state of serious over-caffination.

As for me, I’m very far behind and am in a state of panic trying to get all my ideas down whilst thinking up new ones. You try planning for two different stories and see where that takes you.

When doing research, I tend to take from a few sources and make notes. I also bookmark pages, too. How do you guys research? Remember you can use a range of mediums: the library is your new best friend!

As for planning: I never normally plan, and I think that’s why all of my stuff has failed up til now (hopefully). Also, because I’m cramming for exams, planning may save me. So, I’m just bullet pointing what’s gonna happen in each chapter. Does anyone do anything the same – or, indeed, different?

I would say there are no rules in researching, as in the way you do it – just make sure you get your facts right, please. You have no idea how annoying it is to read something and find that there’s something wrong, it just pees you off!

And there are no rules in planning. you don’t even have to do it. I tend to just wing it. And look where I ended up! Writing really bad [sorry] blog posts for random strangers, being very tired and laughing over a weird ass picture from Teen Wolf.

Oh dear.