written in 2009, by an 11 or 12 year old me. she really had no clue how right she was. the funny thing is that I know exactly which part she was talking about, too.
it's a photo of a journal entry with multiple spelling mistakes. the text reads "I like to pretend (I know, I'm too old for that.) that I'm sharing myself with a vengeful spirit. somehow I don't think I'm too far from the truth. I think there's another me inside of me, (you know, like multiple personality disorder!) that is dark and powerful, that is my true self. I'm constantly trying to fight it down, like at this very moment."
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Can I ask what you used to learn & practice to write the way you do because a) I'd also like to improve my writing and b) because you are one of the most talented & extraordinary writer I've EVER come across on A03
Thank you so, so much, I'm honored! 😭 I can, absolutely!
So a big thing I used to learn is, I read a ton (had way more time for it a few years ago, but that's where a lot of the foundation was). And one of my English professors once told me, 'if you want to write a novel or story, go back and read your favorite books, but read them as a writer and not just as a reader'. And once I did, I understood what she meant. I'd read back over these books I loved, only now I was looking for why I loved them so much (and I still do this some when reading). If something hit me emotionally hard, why? Was it the body language? Their emphasis on description? If they set up an elaborate, 'SURPRISE!', how was it done? How did they lay clues? How did the author write this out? It helps a ton to look at the structural framework of something you love, and so one of the things you can easily use, that I used, was literally just your favorite books. My favorite series is Dresden Files, for example, and that's where I learned a lot about how one can write internal dialogue, action scenes, and laying clues. I also try to read books by popular authors (that I enjoy, don't get me wrong) so I can look at their techniques and hunt down new things to try. <3
Second, I'm going to rec one of my favorite books that helped me with learning to write emotions (which anyone who's read TRT knows I focus on fairly regularly). I literally always write with this nearby: The Emotion Thesaurus. The 1st edition I have has 75 emotions, and each has a connected list of physical body language signals, internal sensations, mental responses, cues of acute or long-term feeling of that emotion, and cues of suppression of that emotion. The second edition now has 130 emotions (haven't had a chance to look through that one yet). That book helped teach me about linking emotion to sensory descriptions - physical, mental, internal, and then with time or suppression.
Third: if anywhere near you or online has a free class on creative writing and you have the time, I'd give it a shot! I took a fair amount of English classes in college, admittedly, but even once I was done, I kept an eye out and I've managed to get into some free or cheap classes. Some are pretty terrible, a lot are just middle of the road, and then every once in a while you get an amazing one where you hear hysterical gems like, "your job as an author is to cause pain. Embrace it! You're a sadist now," and then you learn how to torment characters with unique acts of suffering. So there's always something to learn, even in the terrible classes (it's sometimes just, 'don't do this one thing').
Writers Groups! I have had some very kind and very honest writers groups over the years that have helped me learn where my weaknesses were as a writer. One of my biggest issues used to be overdescription of everything (I wish I was joking, RIP to my early readers), and I didn't even realize it was a problem until I joined a writers group and they pointed out that things were a bit unnecessarily wordy.
Grammarly is something I use for every chapter. I generally edit my chapter, paste it into Grammarly, and then it hits me with a newspaper points out politely where I can take out some unnecessary commas. Grammarly reminds me not to get cocky. Grammarly humbles us all.
Those have been my biggest resources on learning over the years: published books I loved, books like The Emotion Thesaurus, taking writing classes whenever I could, writers groups, and Grammarly. I try to consider myself a constant student, always learning! After that, it's just practice-practice-practice. Pastafossa is, I think my third pseudonym over *ohgodtoomanyyears* of writing fanfic and original stories on and off. In the beginning, my fanfiction was terrible (seriously, I found some the other day on an old hard drive and, good god 😂). I've tried my hand at one-shots, parody (I wrote a bad smut fic for Dragon Age a while back and LORD that was wild), humor, prompt challenges. Try everything! Some of it will fail miserably, but much like the terrible writing classes, at least you learn something, and then you use that for next time. ❤️
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