Thursday, September 11, 2014

Two New Fiction Specials and the Use of Writing Templates

Dear Fellow Writer,

Thanks for being a valued subscriber.

I have TWO fiction writing specials this week that will interest you, I'm sure.

Rob's new novel

Amazon now has a marvelous facility whereby you can pre-order books that are due for release later in the year. I have taken advantage of this feature for my next novel.

Purge is a full-length adult thriller due for release on the 28th of November 2014.

You can order your own copy at the special PRE-ORDER price of $2.99 by going HERE.

If you're a fan of my writing, you're going to love Purge, probably my finest fiction work to date. Find out more about the story by going 

Also on special as we speak, is a new compilation of my work, available TODAY!

Yes - all three of these bestselling titles is now available in one complete and unabridged volume - and at a third of the price you'd pay for all three!

Go HERE to get access to The Easy Writing TRIPLE Whammy!  

Keep writing!

The Use of Writing Templates

Prioritzing Your Writing Tasks

Many writers feel that using plans or outlines or any kind of template somehow stifles their creativity.

If you believe this to be the case, you're not using your templates correctly. 

A good template is not an exact outline of your eventual book.

A good template is more accurately a series of prompts that fire your imagination and keep your inspiration pumping during the writing process.

Over the years I've seen new writers make the mistake of creating mammoth outlines that are actually just shortened versions of their final books - sometimes up to fifty or one-hundred, even in one case I saw, two-hundred pages long.

The problem with these very detailed outlines is that, after their construction, the authors tend to feel no real appetite to write the book or novel.

Why? Because, in a sense, they already have.

A good template should be a list of short prompts that you only refer to after you've exhausted the inspiration generated by the previous prompt.

If, when you're outlining, you feel tempted to fill in every blank, add dialog and descriptions, stop yourself.

Always leave enough unsaid in your prompt so that you'll have something to inspire you during the fiction writing process.

This is why a good novel or book template should never be more than, say, 15 to 20 pages long. Any more than that and you're probably actually writing the book…

My own book templates are rarely more than one page long, even my 100,000 word epics!

Outlining is a different mental process from writing - and it's a good idea for the outlining process to remain that way.

Outlining is practical, like drawing a plan, a left brain activity.

Writing is imaginative, like lucid dreaming, a right brain activity.

Don't try to do both at once.

A surefire way to get blocked is to use both hemispheres of the brain at the same time - because the critical nature of the left brain will often counter the right brain imaginings and they'll end up canceling each other out, before you put 'pen to paper', as the saying goes.

If you need more detail to your outline, it's best to expand your ideas, either in a separate file or later, while you're working on your writing.

For instance, I will sometimes be in a situation like this:

I will have a body of text based on prompts and I may reach a prompt that says:

               Introduce Mike - salesman in car yard.

Then I will imagine how to tell this scene - or should I say 'show' this scene.

But let’s say I'm stuck.

Perhaps there's not enough detail here to inspire me.

What do I do? Go away and think? Take a long walk and try to envisage the scene with all its subtlety and implications? As a final resort perhaps.

First I need more productive options. Ones that involve actual writing.

When you're writing to deadlines (whether self-imposed or not) you can't disappear for long walks every time you get stuck. Your projects will take too long to complete if you do that.

No, you need to break down the main prompt heading into more precise prompts using subheadings. For instance:

                              Introduce Mike - salesman in car yard.

                              Describe car yard, weather, environment

                              Hero enters yard in his car

                              Dialog about why hero's there

                              Mike's surly, uncooperative

                              Mike's boss appears

                              Hero told to ship out if not buying


And if at this stage I'm still stuck, I'll push myself to imagine the physical backdrop to the scene like the weather, for instance, in broad strokes.

Is it wet? Cold? Warm? Dry?

Then, what's in the locale? A main road? Traffic? Is it quiet? Deserted?

Basically, if you don't know what to write next, you need to keep drilling down into the prompts. Usually I find something will eventually set me off and I can start describing the environment or Mike's clothes, face and demeanor, motivation, or whatever.

Even if that doesn't happen, I'll use the old standby fail-safe: just write the dialogue - or snippets of the conversation between the characters - and use that as a starting point.   

This 'breaking down' technique also works just as well for nonfiction where, if you get stuck, you need to ask yourself questions like:            

               What am I trying to do with this chapter?

               What do I need to illustrate in this section?

               What's the best analogy I can think of to make this concept easier 
to understand?

Never be afraid of using outlines and templates.

At the very least think of them as a list of notes you make about a project before you forget why you were writing in the first place.

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell
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