Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Whacky Wednesday: 4 sentence fairytale

January 21, 2015

As with any goal, there should be some fun involved, and it’s no different with writing goals.  I decided that on my blog, for my writing I should devote one day to the fun side.  Every Wednesday will be dedicated to something whacky and fun.  I am going to challenge you to the same fun in the comments.  I would love to see how you turn writing fun; so I’ll keep these posts short.

Today is dedicated to the 4 sentence fairytale.  The rules are simple.  Four sentences, a complete fairytale, and where applicable, a twist ending.

Here’s mine titled Let’s Eat Pie.

Once upon a time, a fairy loved a boy.
The boy met a girl, and the fairy became jealous.
The fairy turned the girl into a pumpkin, and the boy was impressed
Now the boy and the fairy are married and enjoying pumpkin pie every night.

My 5 Year Goals

January 10, 2015

autumn rocker 2

As we begin another year, it is time for new goals to strive for, but this year I’m doing something a little different. I have decided to write (Yes I said write) down my 5 year goals that relates directly to my career choice. During my 2014 research, I discovered that one part of the success process that may have slowed my progress towards my goals, to a crawl, was I never committed my goals to writing.
In an attempt to resolve this issue, I spent part of January 7 writing down my career goals. According to the experts, Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, and many others, when you make your goals, think big, and be specific.
With all this in mind, here are my five year goals.
By January 1, 2020 I will be making 833,334 dollars, or more, per month. I will do this through writing, photography, music, and videos.
Writing – I will write no less than 600 words each day, and will have articles in photography & nature magazines within one year of this statement.
Photography – I will continue to sharpen my skills with nature photography, and will be a regular contributor in nature magazines within two years of this statement. By January 2020 I will have photographs in National Geographic.
Music – I will be able to perform in front of an audience with my harmonica, and be able to play at any level with confidence.
Videos – I will be posting no less than two videos per week, on both channels, and will have more than 100,000 views daily. I will also have more than 100,000 subscribers on each channel.
These are my 5 year goals officially starting January 7, 2015. If you haven’t seen any of my YouTube channels they are https://www.youtube.com/user/apb148 and https://www.youtube.com/user/NaturallyPhotographi .
If you are able to, I would greatly appreciate it if you would subscribe to these channels.
Thank you,

New Video: Breaking the Rules

May 14, 2012

In this video, I’m going back to the series on creativity.

This time I discuss breaking the rules in writing, and when it’s appropriate to use horrible grammar.

Reorganization process

April 1, 2012

I know I haven’t been posting many poems this past week, but I’ve been trying to organize my schedule to incorporate more posts on the internet.  I will resume the poems shortly, and other media.  As I have promised previously the posts will continue on WordPress, and they will be mixed media for the moment.

Here is another picture I took yesterday morning of a chipmunk that was enjoying a little breakfast.  I hope you all enjoy it.

Day 4: Random Raving

December 28, 2011

RANDOM RAVING

it was a pen, not a pencil, but you get the point.

I searched through my writing books

To find just the right topic,

But all the inspiration I got

Was super microscopic.

One book said to get

Reacquainted with my pencils,

But I have a hard time getting

Emotional over utensils.

So now I write these words,

And arrange them into verse,

And when it’s time for a video

I may not even rehearse.

I know these words are silly,

I know they don’t mean a thing,

But if the beat should strike a chord

Just tap your toes and sing.

I appreciate your listening

To my ranting and my raving,

But I think this poem should end now

Before I do what I am craving.

Allen Bradford

Announcement: The year in poetry!!!

December 4, 2011

For those of you who don’t watch my videos on http://www.youtube.com/user/apb148 let me first say, “Shame on you!”  Just kidding, but it would be nice to see your views.

I recently posted a video titled “One year of poetry!!!”  This video introduces a project I will be doing starting on Christmas day, this year, and ending Christmas day 2012.  Every single day, for the entire year, I will come up with a poem, post a video of the poem, and put it on my blog.  Some of these poems will be accompanied by a fitting photograph.

I am starting this project for two reasons.  The first reason is to give me a reason to practice my writing every day, with no chance of an excuse.  The second reason is to promote creative writing to those who want to write, but don’t think they have the time.  The poems I come up with will be freestyle, and the topics will be all over the place, especially since I’m looking to have others give me a lot of the topics.

This brings me up to the other point of this announcement.  If you are reading this, and have any topics I can use; and give you a shout out when I use it; let me know in the comments.  The only request I have is you keep the topics clean, and family friendly.  If you can’t give me a topic, please spread the word about the project.  I would love the idea of this project inspiring others to work on their own creative writing projects.

Whether you can help by topics, or promotion, let me know so I can thank you as it deserves.  Thank you for your help, and I hope you will watch the videos.

Enjoy,

Allen

Viewing the forest from the plane.

October 24, 2011

When you fly over a forest, in a plane, it’s easy to forget that the forest is made up of individual trees, bushes, flowers, and animals.  Yes, it’s important to see the big picture, but you should never forget the individual parts that go into making the big picture.  Let’s take a look at the panoramic photograph of Portland, Maine above.  What you see is a very wide angle of the port, and city.  What is not seen, or noticed is that it took three photos to make this.  (if you want to see the process of this photograph go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYxOcvSjmDg and watch the video)

The same thought is true for writing.  Whether it’s a short story, or an epic novel, you can’t have a whole, without the parts.  Too many writing instructors try to get their students to focus on the plot, (the panoramic) and not enough focus on the three parts of the plot; setting, situation, and character.(The three photos).  If you want your story to be well rounded, you need to go deeper into each of those three, to bring the details out, (Parts of the three photos like the boat, and specific buildings.)

When you write a story that you want people to read; you want readers to see, taste, smell, and feel everything your character experiences, but that will never happen if you don’t focus on the details.

Let’s try a quick example.  Elizabeth slowly ascended the stairs; the freshly sharpened hatchet from her father’s workshop felt like an extension of her arm which hung down by her side. She quietly entered the bedroom where her mother napped, and began to use the axe on her mother’s head.  Her task completed, she made her way downstairs, and hid under the stairwell to wait for her father to pass out drunk on the sofa, like he did every night.

As gruesome as this little scene could be, this scene is lacking details to bring the reader into the story.  Details that answer questions such as; “Why did Elizabeth feel compelled to murder her parents?” and “What made her use the axe?”  If you’re like me your mind filled in a lot of blanks.  I did not get this from an actual horror story; this started from an actual murder case, and I added some of my own ideas to make it a different story.  As the scene reads right now, this could have been part of a news article.

During your first draft, most of the scenes will read just like this; just a shell of action, without all the gory details.  Even though you aren’t writing them down now, keep a notepad next to you to keep track of them as you need to.  The first draft is basically looking at the forest from the plane.  When you begin revising, you will be landing the plane, getting out, and exploring the forest floor.

Enjoy,

Allen

Give your character zits!!!

April 13, 2011

The thing I’ve always hated about society is that all the rules are superficial, and it’s obvious in the media.  Models, in every magazine, look like they were cut from the same anorexic cookie cutter.  On television, and movies, the performers all look athletic; even the overweight performers. With all this exposure to “perfect” cosmetic appearance, is it any wonder novice, as well as professional writers, have a hard time giving their main characters even a blemish.

In most of the books I’ve read lately, (mostly romance) the writers gave the main characters problems to overcome; and that’s how it should be.  Good stories are about the main character’s reaction, and solution to the problems that come up before reaching their final objective; this is what they call conflict.  The problem in almost all cases is that the protagonist’s physical appearance is either described as “voluptuous beauty”, or “hunk with rippling biceps”, (just examples)   but the point is, they are never given so much as a pimple.

I agree, the way you describe a character should have something to contribute to the story; but to make all your main characters perfect takes away from the “reality” of the story.  In reality, even models have blemishes; they’re just really good at covering them up.

When you are creating your characters, don’t be afraid to throw in an occasional wart, or give her acne rosacea.  By giving your characters some physical imperfections, you not only add more internal conflict; you also make your characters more believable and sympathetic.  Believe it, or not, readers like to identify with characters who are more like themselves. 

At this point you may be thinking, “but people read to escape reality.”  That is a valid point, but that goal should be achieved by helping the character overcome insurmountable odds in amazing ways; not by making your character physically perfect.  Giving them imperfections can have a truly positive impact on the human side of the story.  If a man saves seven people from a burning building, which do you think would add more emotion to the story?  If the man was a marathon runner, in perfect shape; or if he had only one arm and was blind in one eye.

Not only does it make the character more identifiable, emotionally; it can also make the way they overcome the odds much more amazing.  If you are working on a story that seems emotionally flat, and you haven’t given your characters any physical flaws, try writing it with an imperfect main character, and see where the story goes from there.

Two steps to start writing, and build A CANOE.

June 18, 2010

When we are in high school, teachers tell us to start our writing projects by picking a subject, and starting the research right away.  No offense to teachers, but that leaves out a very important step.

There are as many ways to start a writing project, regardless of what the project is, as there are writers.  I’m not saying doing research at the beginning is wrong, (there is no right or wrong) but doing that much work right out of the gate can burn you out quickly and you will be grasping at excuses to take multiple breaks.  Writing is supposed to be an enjoyable time, and that is what the first draft is all about.

When you start your first draft, you only have to remember two steps.  This works whether you’re writing a term paper, or a 700 page novel.  Those two steps are loglines, and free writing.

Step one is coming up with a logline.  Many of you may ask, “What is a logline?” The term “logline” is actually used in script writing, but the technique works in other type of writing, as well.  A logline, simply put, is one sentence to tell people what your writing is about.  To make it a little easier, here is the logline from a script I’m going to be working on; “The goblin king comes back from the labyrinth to steal Sarah’s son.”   Not only does that tell others what I’m writing about, but it also helps me to keep my focus as I write.

A more familiar form of the logline is the writing prompt.  The writing prompt is one of the best defenses against writer’s block.  Prompts can be found anywhere; in books, the internet, writer’s magazines, writer’s groups, you name it.  If it helps, the book I usually turn to is “The pocket muse: endless inspiration” by Monica Wood.  Some of my best ideas came from that.

Once you have your logline, you can move on to step two, and this is where the fun can really begin.  Step two is called “free writing”, and it’s not something that schools usually teach.  You may ask, “If it’s such an important step, why don’t they teach it in schools?”  This can be explained in one word, “structure.”  The English department of any school is there to teach the structure of English.  That includes spelling, grammar, and syntax.  In free writing, there is no attention paid to structure.  In the first draft, none of that matters.  The purpose of free writing is to get words on paper. You can leave spelling and grammar for the editing phase.

I always like to look at the writing process, like making a dugout canoe.  When you ask anyone how to make a canoe, most will start with cutting down a certain tree, and cutting away anything that is not part of the canoe, but that really isn’t the starting point.  In my model, the logline would be the seed.  Depending on what kind of logline you create, that will determine the kind of writing.  The free writing would be the growth of the tree, in which all the words come out.  It is watered by motivation and passion, and it is fertilized by time and persistence.  Once you have all the words, then you can begin the edit phase, where you cut out anything that is not part of the finished project.

Remember, when starting a writing project, the hardest part is motivating yourself to do it.  Once you sit down to write, it becomes a lot easier, and more enjoyable.

Enjoy,

Allen

You can see the companion video at http://www.youtube.com/apb148

Focus on article publishing

August 15, 2009

About ten years ago I wrote an article, quickly proofread it, and sent it into a magazine that handled that type of article.  After waiting one month, it felt much longer, I received a reply in the mail.  The rejection letter was a standard form letter; “Your article doesn’t meet our needs at this time…”  and at the end was a note saying,  “The article was too tangential.”  In the end, I just threw both the rejection letter, and the article out, frustrated.  My bad!!!!

Last night after reading the article “Life After Almost” in the September issue of  “Writer’s Digest” I now realize it probably would have sold if I would have rewritten it with more focus.  Today’s blog is not about the encouragement you should receive from personalized rejection letters.  That was covered perfectly in the article.  Today, I’m going to approach the subject of focus.

While writing, it’s easy to get off the subject and follow a new line of thought.  This is perfectly fine in the first draft, and is something almost expected.  As we free write our articles, we tend to write as thoughts enter our mind, so going off  will happen.  If you try to send in something that is random, or “tangential” you will be rejected.

After your initial draft, you will need to edit.  While you are going through the first edit look for any common threads that will make up the article; don’t forget to file away the material you don’t use, they can become future articles.  Once you have the common threads, these will now become the skeleton of your article.  This skeleton is your central theme on which to focus your article.

Now that you have your focus, you will need to add a little muscle, nerve and heart.  At this point, you’re still “taking notes” but this is where your article’s structure will come from.  At this stage you also need to write down any questions that you will need the article to answer, and do the research that will give you the information.

The final phase in writing a well focused article is adding the skin that will hold all the pieces together.  Now you will need to organize all the pieces in a coherent order, fill in the missing transitions and connecting words, and write it in the best possible way to convey the message you are trying to write.

Also, in the final phase, you will need to proofread carefully to make certain there are no grammar, and spelling errors.  Keep proofreading until you are comfortable there are no mistakes.

I realize every writer has a different method to approach writing, and there is no “one” method to writing a perfectly focused article, but this is the one I’ve found the most helpful.  I hope it does the same for you.

Enjoy,
Allen