How to Edit Your Story Using Fillers

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When I write a book, there are chapters that end up being shorter than what I need them to be. Usually, I write my first draft on pen and paper and transcribe it into a word processor. Pen and paper eliminates spending a whole day editing a few paragraphs around and not making more progress on your story (that’s something I call Editing Syndrome). It also eliminates the millions (okay, maybe just thousands) of distractions that come with a computer.

When I revise my story, I use a word processor – usually. There are times it is good to use real ink even when revising a story. If you realize that a chapter is too short or that you need to add a scene somewhere, going back to ink and paper is generally the best way to construct your scene.

I did this just today, and it worked!

The only steps you have to do is 1) plan where you are going to insert the new scene and edit the text accordingly for it. 2) Write the scene using pen and paper. 3) Transcribe it into the word processor where you are supposed to insert the text. 4) Read the new version and revise to make everything flow.

It’s really that simple. Try it for yourself.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Latest from YouTube and Other Websites

In recent YouTube videos, I’ve been doing a series about using pen and paper. Check out the first video in the series:

My Treasure on the Southern Moor website latest post: https://treasureonthesouthernmoor.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/a-late-meal-aboard-ship/

My The Williams House website latest post: https://thewilliamshouse.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/autumn-time/

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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The Top 10 Reasons Why Every Storyteller Should Write About Nature

  1. Nature is aesthetically pleasing.

It makes your story that much more alive. Rich descriptions of nature as the characters interact with it throughout the plot (whatever plot that is) are always a thrill to read and refreshes the reader.

  1. Nature is imaginable.

We are always interacting with and around nature, even when we do not realize it. When we read nature in a story, we can easily envision what is being described. This paints wonderful pictures in our heads and makes it easy for the author to convey into our minds the same images he/her envisioned.

  1. Nature draws a reader into a story.

Unless we can (as the main character of the story does) feel the texture of the tree, smell the pine needles, feel the rich soft grass and dirt, hear the babbling brook, listen to the birds and insects chirp, watch the setting sun shaft through the limbs of the trees, then we won’t be attracted to the story. When these descriptions are included, we will be drawn in to experience the story ourselves.

  1. Nature defines the scene.

How can you describe what a scene looks like, feels like, sounds like, smells like, and tastes like without any nature at all? The only way to describe an environment of a story is by using nature.

  1. Nature is very interactive.

It is easy for us to picture a main character walking his horse down a cobblestone path through the woods in the late afternoon because even though we might not have done so ourselves, we have felt stone before. We have walked through woods before. And, we have seen the late afternoon sun shaft through the limbs of a small forest.

  1. Nature is all around us.

Have you ever tried reading a story in an airport and then out in a park near a garden? Why is it you could visualize the story so much better in the park? Well, there could be thousands of reasons, everything from being nervous about your flight to the shouts and conversations of others in the airport. Yet, as nature draws us into the story, we generally find that we can understand it much better if we are around nature ourselves.

  1. Without nature, stories don’t make sense.

A story without nature is a story of confusion.

  1. Without nature, stories are dull.

If the characters never interact with nature, the story will not be imaginative.

  1. Without nature, stories cannot be visualized.

It’s impossible to truly be able see the paintings of the story without descriptions of nature.

  1. Without nature, your book will have all the negative reviews.

No one likes a story that doesn’t have nature described throughout it.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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How to Set Writing Priorities

Making certain to write every day can be a big challenge, yet if you’re not writing every day, then you are not a writer. You are a dabbler – writing on this day, writing on that, but not being consistent. In order to be a writer, you have to write every day. You have to make writing a habit.

As soon as I make writing a habit, I realize that inevitably there are other priorities that begin to raise their heads. How do I make sure I get my blog posts published? What about my YouTube writing videos or my podcasts or emails? Is there any way I can spend x hours doing the lawn work I have to do this week? Etc. Etc. Etc.

I’ve realized the following: There are certain weeks when marketing has a higher priority, and there are certain weeks when writing has a priority. Yet, I still have to be writing every day. There are just some times when the writing will not be as much as usual. Don’t do this randomly. Figure out when you have to make writing a priority. Below are some guidelines.

Make writing a priority when. . .

  1. You are writing a first draft to a story.

Never, never, never drag the first draft of a story out too long. If you have to, table everything else. Make certain you complete the first draft. Then, you’ll be done with the most discouraging part of the writing process.

  1. You are nearing the half-way point with a story revision.

After the first draft of a story is completed, it’s easy to spend some time focusing on other priorities. Then, you begin to revise your story, yet it still doesn’t have first dibs. Make certain that as you progress through the revision process, you are raising the writing priority until it is first on your list. Keep this up until it is complete and ready for publication.

  1. You are behind with the macro-goals of how much writing you wanted done by the end of the year/bi-yearly.

If you realize your long-term goals aren’t being met, then do the following: 1) Make writing more of a habit, 2) Make writing more of a priority, and 3) (if you are already doing the prior steps as much as humanly possibly) Make your goals more realistic.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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The Amazing Secrets of Storytelling

Now that I have your attention by my motivating headline, you probably think that I’m either a genius or a quack. The truth is neither. The amazing secrets of storytelling are something that’s common sense; the trouble is that so few people are taught common sense these days. I can give you the secrets in three simple words.

Imagination. Inspiration. Wholesomeness.

Imagination refers to your ability to give your reader through words the same visions and images you have inside your head. Drawing a reader into your story takes imagination – the right descriptions, composition of scenes, environments, and proper portrayals of characters.

Inspiration refers to everything you need to gather in order to have imagination. I call this “reference material”. The truth is that no writer is 100% original, or even 50% original. We acquire our ideas from our interactions with the real world: Places we go to, people we visit, paintings/pictures we observe, other stories we read, stories we are told verbally, smells and tastes, etc.

Wholesomeness refers to the level of simple virtues placed within a story. If your story never talks about food or nature or sleep/rest or water or trees or rocks or characters who appreciate such things, then your story will not be a good one.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Watching TV and Start Reading

I doubt whether anyone at the end of his/her life has said, “Oh, if only I had watched one more hour of television – my life would have been complete.” Yet, reading produces far greater rewards for your life.

  1. Television is heavily liberalized and one-sided.

Let’s face it: Most television is junk. In today’s modern world, generally only one political side controls all the major television political news. Not only politics is affected by this subjectivity. Most channels are created to present people with very few morals and depressing stories – both fiction and non-fiction. Areas with higher television viewing have higher depression rates.

  1. Reading produces better intelligence.

Yes, this depends on what you read, true. Yet, even the simple act of reading will give you more rewards than watching television for that same amount of time. It requires more concentration and allows you to think in a quieter setting.

  1. Television produces unintelligence.

When most fictional television stories revolve around things that do not and cannot exist and most non-fiction stories are presenting false facts, the viewer is only being fed unintelligence.

  1. Reading gives better imaginative rewards.

The creative rewards are far greater with reading because you have to envision the story yourself instead of having it all passively spoon-fed to you through a screen. You actively participate with the story instead of watching it from a distance.

  1. Television commercials are only getting worse and influence you to spend more money

Most commercials are fake. They are designed by computer graphics artists that change the appearance of whatever the company is trying to sell, and the entire point of most of them is that your life is incomplete without their product, which isn’t true.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Building Morale for Writing

Yes, it’s true. I will finally admit the one secret that no author wants to admit. Is everyone ready? Here we go.

There are some days when even the best of us don’t feel like writing. Perhaps this is because we are working through a difficult point in our book. Perhaps this is because we are intensely working on some other project in our lives. For whatever the reason, a day comes when we sit down to write, and the words don’t come onto the paper.

How do we build morale? How do we regain interest in the point we are at in our writing?

The answer is that we have other gathered material that can help us to springboard our creativity. We know ahead of time that we will get stuck at some points in the tunnel. Therefore, we prepare for it. Writing preparation is essential to writing. Before you write a story, you must gain reference material: Photos, paintings, real places you visit, stories you read, people you talk to. . .You must gain research: Fact checking for whatever subject matter you are writing about (whether fiction or non-fiction). . .You must write an outline that becomes the schematic and road map of your story. You must compile other lists of the elements of your story.

All this is essential to your writing capability. When your morale is down for the story you are writing, all you have to do is turn to the inspired images and imagined scenes you have created for your story. Remember the vision. Remember why you wanted to write the story in the first place. Lastly, remember that that vision will not be entirely clear until your final edit. Be encouraged with where you’re at in the process of creating the story.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Gain Insight in Writing

As in everything, a good writer must learn insight in writing. An author must be able to look at his/her writing and pretty much instinctively be able to know what is wrong with it and how to change it.

Yet, how do authors learn this skill? Are we superhuman? Is there a learning curve?

If you are a new author, then understand this: We have all been where you are at right now. No one can write a perfect first book. What’s more: Not even a professional can write a perfect first draft. However, over time, we learn how to identify our mistakes. We approach writing as a process. Just as an athlete doesn’t do a high dive or a marathon without first warming up his muscles, so also an author doesn’t plunge through a book without warming up his “pen”. We gain inspiration and research. We compile reference material. And, we work through an outline. We recognize that each stage in the writing process is building our final work, yet none of it will be our final vision until the final draft is edited. And even then, we learn to release our work to the public even though we know there is more that could be done with it. Any project can always have more done to it.

Gaining insight is more than just practicing writing. It’s doing something over and over again that we have a love for. Every writer loves to write. Every storyteller (like myself) loves to create a new story and work through all the stages to complete it as we originally envisioned it to be.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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