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Three Things I Learned Finishing My Third Draft


A few days ago, I finished my third draft. I printed out all the pages, shoved them into a binder, and the first thing I did was drop it. On purpose. I wanted to hear that sound, that thud that meant something that had weighed on my mind for the last four years had actual, physical weight. And my god, was that a satisfying thud. [caption id="attachment_3149" align="alignnone" width="3264"] what a rollercoaster...[/caption] That binder, with its 271 pages and 77,283 words on those pages contains the third draft of Under the Gold Paint, a novel I started my freshman year.…

Charlie Hebdo: From a 15-year-old Writer’s Point of View


"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations." - George Orwell I walked into my English class Wednesday morning and saw this written on the whiteboard. Our teacher asked the class, “How many of you have heard about the news in Paris? About the Charlie Hebdo shootings?” Until then I hadn’t. The explanation that followed stunned me. Two gunmen shot down 12 French cartoonists that were part of satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. They were attending a meeting when the massacre began. Twelve people died because someone didn’t like their drawings. An act of terrorism against…

The Secret of Originality


Creating a novel requires a lot of thought. Actually, maybe that's a bit of an understatement. You have to know the characters better than your best friends, your settings better than your home, and etc, etc. Well, you get the point. Novels take a lot of work. If you're like me, even brainstorming smaller chunks of a book take a while. Or should I say, a long, long while. By the time you find that great idea of yours, a lot of time spent researching, plotting, and brainstorming time has been already used up. You've dedicated a lot of energy into this…

Three Recipes For a Better Plot


"I took a master class with Billy Wilder once and he said that in the first act of a story you put your character up in a tree and the second act you set the tree on fire and then in the third you get him down."-- Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back Producer Gary Kurtz, LA Times interview You have this great idea for a story. There will be this amazing main character that's great with a bow, some interesting minor characters, a horrendous villain with a large burn mark covering his arms, and everything takes place in this giant city that runs on recycled…

Making a Perfect Main Character


Imagine a world without people. I wouldn't be here. You wouldn't be here. The world would be a pretty desolate and boring place to "not" be a part of. The same goes for stories. We tell stories to describe what people do. So whether you're writing a sci-fi, romance, or action packed amazing adventure, you're going to need some people (or as we writers call it, characters) to do the actual doing. This is where the fun part begins. Unfortunately most people don't know where to start. After all, you have to think up a whole person; this includes their physical characteristics,…

Creating a Novel: Turning That Idea into a Reality


Sometimes an idea hits you like a large sack of rocks. It may just be a little case of curiosity. Other times it's something else. This isn't one of those I-wonder-what-banana-milk-tastes-like kind of ideas. It's a big idea. An idea that could create a whole new world or revolutionize the way we think. This idea is huge. It's wonderful, it's amazing, and it's an open opportunity for upcoming genius. And then suddenly you think to yourself, "I could write a book about this!" Well, guess what? You can. This is where most of us start. We've all seen a book before--…