I was recently approached and asked to write a Guest Post on the platform “Story Wars”. I was totally honoured to be given this opportunity.
Before we get to my guest post, I want to introduce you to Story Wars.
About Story Wars?
Story Wars is a collaborative writing platform, where you can read, write, and expand on thousands of created story ideas, or even create your own! Connect with writers you love, explore a world of inspiration, and get feedback on your own writing. Story Wars is a great way to improve your writing all the while having fun.
~ Story Wars About Page
All you need to do in order to join Story Wars is sign up. The platform is completely free. And let’s be honest, we all love free. 🙂
There are lots of stories you can jump into or even create one yourself. There are different categories so you can choose the genre that works best for you.
The stories created on Story Wars are all licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Not only is this platform great for creating stories, but it also builds a strong community and encourages support amongst its writers.
There are forums for chatting and a blog where advice is shared. It was on the blog that I got to share some advice.
If you’d like to read my Guest Post, click Writing Tips from Ari Meghlen.
EDIT: Apparently, not everyone was able to access the blog via App without having to sign in. So please find my article below:
Firstly, I want to thank Story Wars for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with this wonderful community.
One thing I always believe is that as writers, we are not in competition and instead do best when we support and encourage each other. With that in mind, here are some tips I would love to share with you.
Don’t Compare It can be easy to fall into the habit of measuring and comparing your work against other writers. New writers especially can fall into this trap, even going so far as to compare their early writings to other people’s full polished and published novels.
Comparing yourself to others does nothing but create feelings of insecurity, inadequacy or jealousy. Don’t hold up your writing journey against someone else’s. Focus on what you can control, your work, your time, your effort.
Use a Map While there are a few writers who are truly pantsers (writing by the seat of their pants) and can write and finish novels as such, many struggle to actually finish their manuscripts or can end up having to do larger edits and bigger rewrites. Creating and writing to an outline can be a better option.
An outline is your map, it helps keep you on track and while it can take some time to create, often helps you avoid large plot holes and keep track of subplots. Outlines are especially useful if you write with multiple main characters and shift POVs (point of view) throughout the story.
Know Your Narrator Speaking of POVs, keep an eye on who your narrator is. If you are writing in third person, you need to decide whether the point of view is limited to a single main character or will shift to different characters throughout the story. If you choose to go with the latter then make sure you shift perspective to a different person, either at a hard break or at a new chapter.
Avoid constant head-hopping into different perspectives within a short space. Even experienced writers can find themselves slipping into the wrong perspective within a scene and it leaves the writing fractured.
So during edits, keep a close eye on whose perspective you are writing in during each chapter and make sure you aren’t shifting it by mistake.
Readers need to connect with your characters and if you are changing perspective within a paragraph or a page it breaks some of that connection.
Don’t Chase the Shiny By that I mean, watch out for the shiny new idea that creeps up while you’re writing your current manuscript. It is so tempting to abandon the story you have been working on, sometimes battling with, to chase that brand-spanking-new idea. We all love the new ideas and there’s a rush from delving into a new world and meeting new characters.
However, this way leads to nothing getting finished. If the new idea catches your eye, take a short break and quickly write down some notes about it. Don’t write any scenes just get the bare bones down and out of your head. Then put it in a pending folder and go back to what you were working on.
Your goal should be to finish your story. Once you have your first draft completed you can always start writing that new idea, while editing your draft. But avoid having two active stories on the go at once. It almost always slows you down.
Keep Your Notes Organised I truly wish I had learnt this when I first started writing. Most likely you will write many things and as well as manuscripts, you will have idea notes, character profiles, world-building notes, deleted scenes and so much more.
Set yourself systems for naming, storing and organising all this data in easy to locate folders. Design a consistent system that you can replicate. For example, create a Master Template folder. Within that folder have a few common subfolders such as Profiles, Scenes, Ideas, Outline, and Research Notes etc.
Then every time you start a new project simply copy that template folder and rename it with the story title. This keeps your writing notes consistent and organised.
Write What You Love Writing is a passion, so do it because you love it. Write what you love to write, write what you love to read. Don’t just chase the trends and don’t write something because it might make money.
If you don’t really love what you write, it will show. It doesn’t matter if you are writing for a saturated market or for a very narrow niche. If you enjoy it, write it. There will always be readers out there who will love it too.