Writers' Treasure Fiction Writing How to write great scenes: tips and tools

How to write great scenes: tips and tools

This is a guest article by Michael McPherson. If you want to read a guest article of your own be sure to read the guest article guidelines.

Writing for a living is not as easy as people think. Most persons believe that writers have a great life – just sitting at a desk, filling in blank pages. But the truth is that freelance writers struggle to survive everyday by trying to create new and exciting content. Fortunately, in our informational era, there are a lot of apps designed to help you organize the text. A better visualization of the scenes means less time spent arranging and more time spent writing.

So here are some amazing tools that a freelance writer must know about.

The Brainstormer

This application (for iPhone only right now unfortunately) is wonderful for those whose inspiration ran dry. With one single spin, writers can find new ideas for plots, characters, illustration concepts, and fiction worlds. Users can even create their own wheel. Let’s say you want to write a new scene but have no clue where to start. After spinning the wheel you get: Unconditional love – small town – harbor. Is this generating any inspiration? Then get to work!

Editor’s Note: When is this coming to Android, anyone? 

Plot generator

This is another great tool for ones stuck on a text. As the name says, the site randomly generates different things – entire short stories, plots for any styles, pen names, letters and so on. Users can fill in the forms with their characters’ names, adjectives, places, jobs, passions, and more. Then, with just one click, the plot is created. Also, the website can generate a plot from scratch, by filling in the forms on its own with random ideas. Now, writers don’t have to completely accept the plot. They can just use it for some inspiration.

Scrivener

This tool is good for the ones who create long and complex texts. Scrivener allows you to organize the scenes really effectively. The software has many features. It can be used as a notebook, users can create a board with sticky notes and they can label chunks of text as drafts or anything else. Then, they can draw outlines, edit multiple documents and more. The great thing is that writers don’t have to work on a single long text. They have the possibility of creating separate documents for every scene and then compile them as a whole.

Hemingway

Editing is a hard job for every writer. Also, it is well known that one cannot efficiently proofread his own text. This online tool is very helpful in that matter. Writers just have to paste the text on the website and click edit. The tool will point out difficult to read phrases, number of adverbs, words or phrases that can be simpler, and uses of passive voice that can be avoided. Of course, the user is the one expected to make all the necessary changes, but Hemingway always has useful suggestions.

Editor’s Note: I can’t believe I haven’t tried this tool before. But then, like all such things, it’s good till some extent, can’t completely replace manual work.

FocusWriter

Having problems focusing on your text? Then you need something to block all the distractions away. FocusWriter is great at doing this! Users can set a personalized background and create a workspace comfortable for them. The tool is also motivating – writers can set goals and alarms, and view statistics of their work. The typewriting sound effects are wonderful for the inspiration. You can use this program anytime, it works on all operating systems and it doesn’t need installation.

Simplenote

Inspiration strikes at weird hours. And not everyone is carrying around pen and paper. But it is a sure fact that no one leaves the house without the mobile phone. So install Simplenote – created by Automattic – and never forget an idea again. They say it’s the cleanest note-taking app ever, it offers ways to organise notes, and you get full online syncing. Can’t hurt to try it, no?

In conclusion, there are a lot of amazing tools and apps that a writer can use to improve his scenes. One must only be dedicated to this job and put in all the efforts to create better texts.

Michael McPherson is a graduate student from Boston University, freelance blogger and a regular contributor at ScholarAdvisor.com. You may follow him on Twitter: @McPhersy.

2 thoughts on “How to write great scenes: tips and tools”

  1. Very interesting article! Though I’m engaged into publicist kind of writing it was very interesting to read about fiction writing. For me it is much more difficult to write fiction than any other kind. You should have imagination, right words to express the whole range of emotions… It’s tremendous work!

  2. That plot generator site is hilarious. It reminds me of Mad-Libs where you ask someone for random nouns, verbs, and adjectives and insert them in a story. The humor aside, I can see how the plot generator would be useful for thinking outside your own little box (if nothing else).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post

POV: What it is and how it mattersPOV: What it is and how it matters

First things first: POV means Point of View. It’s a fiction writing element, and it matters in your novel.

The obvious questions are: why and how?

Answer: because it’s an important thing to consider when writing narrative and it can make your story better by determining its voice.

(more…)

The Big Picture of a NovelThe Big Picture of a Novel

For me, writing a novel isn’t the same as writing the short story. The two are very very different, and that’s not for me. That’s saying for everyone.

Writing a short story of 1000-2000 words means you don’t have to worry about the big picture. You just write a gripping event which happened one day and that’s it. You don’t have to worry about the time span your story has either. Writing a short story is certainly easier in that respect. However… there are certain other problems related with it, about which I’m going to inform you in another post.

Back to this post, as I was saying, it’s all different with a novel. There are chapters in a novel, and you can’t write disconnected, disjointed chapters. Your readers will throw your book away if they find it’s very episodic. If you want to write in an episodic style, try the short story then!

So you have to worry about the Big Picture. Find where your chapters are leading to. Find whether they’re leading to the place you want them to lead, or whether they are disobeying you (for a want of a better word). And that is not as easy as it looks. But hey, if this is overwhelming to you, remember that all this stuff is not impossible! Thousands of writers have done this thing. If you like writing, you have to do it. I also have to do it. If there’s one thing that is important for a beginning writer, it’s this: whenever you find a thing that seems just way too difficult, take a break. And then determine to do it. After all, other writers have done the same thing too.

So is writing a novel as easy as it looks? Definitely not! What I have told you is only the teaser. There’s still a lot of stuff left to tell.

Which means this post will have to be cut in parts.

Read part two | part three

Subscribe for more.

How to pick out a character for your novelHow to pick out a character for your novel

This is a guest article by James Thompson. If you want to submit a guest article of your own be sure to read the guest article guidelines.

Believe it or not, but the profession of your novel characters play a major role in making your novel a big hit. Using clichéd professions such as doctor, lawyer, detective, or an actor won’t suffice — unless it’s the only relevant choice. The profession of the characters, especially the main character, is what sets the scene for your book. Readers prefer reading something “fresh”.

How often do you read about a wizarding profession? (I’m sure we all clearly remember the famous books with those characters). All right, these aren’t all technically “professions”, but they set the scene and add more flavor to the character. They make a character more memorable.

A character’s profession affects the entire novel. It pinpoints to a personality type.

For example, what kind of a personality would you expect a detective to have? Clever, unsocial, and offensive at times? How about a rich guy? Bold, clever, and slightly arrogant? The profession also affects the plot. Since the profession forms the personality and “role” of a character, it’s bound to alter the plot and the way the character acts and reacts in it.

I have stressed enough about the importance of the characters’ profession. Now, let’s move on to how to pick out a suitable career for them. Relax, they are only characters! They won’t complain about freedom of choice.

(more…)