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Writing Advice

Staying focused while writing toward success

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It’s important to realize that writing, like any other occupation, requires time and effort to achieve success.

But you’re probably thinking: “I knew that!”

Great. Keep reading compadre.

The truth is, for us writers, there is never a guarantee that our efforts will ever take us to the Holy Grail of writing, that elusive big advance, or the sale of your book’s movie rights to a big-time Hollywood studio.

For most of us that is, at least early in our writing careers, just a pipe dream.

So here is how you stay focused while chasing your dream of publication.

You forget about the end result. What I mean is, don’t even think about publication.

You’re probably thinking: “Is this guy crazy?”

Well of course I am. After all, I did pursue writing as a career.

What I mean is that you cannot live and die with the thought that publication should be your end goal as a writer.

Its best to just focus on the writing itself. Love of the craft. That is the essence of writing anyway. Those big money book-deals and all the other perks, at least for me, are bonuses.

I’m serious.

In the meantime, how do you stay focused while writing?

Simple. You slow down, and enjoy the beauty of life. Writing, at least until it becomes a full-time occupation, should be pursued exclusively as a hobby, nothing more, and nothing less. That is how you relieve yourself of stress and negativity that can only hinder your creative juices and distract you from your truth path, or Soultrail as I call it. The path that the Universe has chosen for you alone to walk upon.

I wish someone had told me this years ago, when I was just getting started with writing. But now, I’m here to tell you that, enjoying life to its fullest should be your top priority.

When your creative juices stop flowing, it’s time to put the ole laptop on standby and go outside. Walk. Take in the fresh air. Go skydiving. But make sure you check your parachute before doing so.

What I’m trying to say is, living life to your maximum potential will make you a better writer overall.

And that my friends, is the essence of writing.

For what is a writer’s goal if not to explore life and the Human Condition through words.

Now take a deep breath and exhale.

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Writing Advice

How to value your reader’s time by engaging them in the story, Part II

Yesterday I talked about how the taste/hunger sense, incorporated into your writing, can take it to a whole new level. So today I thought we’d chat about sight/visual perception in writing.

After all you can’t make the reader hungry without showing them the food. Right?

Glad you agree my friends.

O.K. lesson number one. Which sounds better:

1)Bobbie looked up at morning sky and smiled.

Or…drum roll please…

2)Bobbie eyed a salmon sky that unraveled before her eyes.

I’m guessing you chose #2. Right?

You have to use the visual description to make the story come alive. You, the writer, are creating a novel, or a short story, which in essence is a part of you. It is a living, breathing entity transfered from your truest self, your soul that is, onto paper for others to enjoy.

Kinda like what movies do, only, we writers do it with pens, keyboards, and tablets.

Another example if I may:

1) Sebastian was lost in the woods, suddenly, before him was a hungry wolf. It snarled at sebastian.

Hmmmmm…but wait, I think we can do better.

2) Sebastian looked around. He found himself in uncharted territory. The trees were dark and silent, boxing him in like towering fences. He heard a sound. Before him stood a dark wolf with grey eyes and dark, spiky fur which reminded sebastian of porcupine twills. The creature licked its muzzle and moved in on Sebastian.

I think its safe to say #2 was more effective. Plus you included some methapors, to give the reader something to visualize. Metaphors are good. But use in moderation.

That’s how you make the reader’s eye take notice. Not just of the story, but your writing as well.

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Writing Advice

Why being original is Timeless

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Originality. Easy to say but hard to accomplish. Why? Because its tough being original. If it wasn’t then everyone could do it. But don’t give up. Keep reading.

The first step in being original is to realize who you are and what you’re trying to do. Do you want to start a new blog? Online business? What is it? Figure what you want to do and you’re on your way to being original.

Next, go out and do as much research as possible in your chosen field. For me I wanted to be the best writer possible, so what I did was read as many books on writing there were. I learned from the best and took my writing to a level I never thought I could. So, in my own way, I became original.

Ok. Now comes the meat-and-potatoes of what I’m trying to say about originality: go out and see what other people in your field are doing. Study them. Take notes. Figure out what makes them successful and then put your own spin on it.

Be original. Work your imagination and see how you can do the exact same thing, but, using a different approach. Dont copy others, the world is filled with copy cats who are either too lazy or indifferent about being original. I know you can do better than that.

Work hard. Being original takes time. This is not something that happens in a few hours, or days, or even months for that matter. Thats why its called being original.

Always remember that anything worth doing is going to be tough. But that’s the beauty of it. Go for it. Make being original what defines your soul.

Finally. Respect what you are doing, and respect others. I always remember what James Scott Bell, a great writer, in his book “The Art of War For writers” says. He tells us: “Respect the craft.”

Good advice. From an original man.

So now you ask: “What do I do next?”

Get started on the road to originality.

I believe in you.

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Writing Advice

How to value your reader’s time

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Hopefully by now I’ve established that I’m a writer that loves writing helpful blog posts. Which brings me to my next topic.

How do you engage your reader? Yes. I’m talking to all you serious writers out there. Yes. I know its a battle to keep the precious reader engaged, but we’re writers dammit, that’s our job!

You make them a part of the story with strong writing. Yes. We all know the cliche: “Show, dont tell” but I won’t waste your time with that now. If you’re a writer you should know by now that you can both “show” and “tell” in a balanced manner without violating that rule.

The key word here is: feel. Or, feelings. As a writer it is part of our creed to engage the reader, to bring his/her feelings to the surface. To elicit a response. Whether it be internal or external.

You do that not only by creating conflict, but by engaging all the senses associated with feeling: Sight, Taste, Smell, Hearing, etc.

One thing I like to do is make readers hungry. And living in the U.S.A. where we’re blasted with food and restaurant commercials on a regular basis thats not hard to do. So we take feeling and associate it with appetite. It may be a battle at first to incorporate this into your writing but I guarantee you over time the payoff will be worth it.

I like to make some of the characters in my stories hungry too. How? By descriptively showcasing the food on the table or in a restaurant. You get the picture. Incorporate it into your writing. You’ll not only improve your writing but also help the food manufacturing industry in spades. But with everything in life, use in moderation. Or, you might be better off writing a cookbook.

Remember: Engage with moderation, sprinkle this throughout your writing and you’ll have some appreciative readers.

As always, thanks for reading my words,

T.A. Uner

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs regularly about writing and self-improvement. You can also subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. If you do this he will dance on his hands.

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Writing Advice

The key to defeating doubt

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Doubt. It’s not a fun word. Especially when you’re trying to make it in writing, or, in any other profession for that matter. But its just a word. Doubt.

Thats it. When you realize that doubt is just a crappy little five letter word, then you will begin to realize your true potential. Whether you’re trying to invent some cure for hair loss or just heading down to the pond for some tad pole fishing, doubt should not even be in your mind, or vocabulary.

But wait. I bet you think I’m crazy right? Maybe I am. After all I became a writer, one of the most unpredictable jobs out there. With no guarantee to make enough money to feed my pet rock. But still, doubt didnt stop me. And here I am now, a soon-to-be published author.

You can do it too. I know, cause I’ve been there. I’ve done my time in the depths of hell. But here I am. Still standing. You…can…do…it!

Repeat after me. Doubt is just a meaningless five letter word.

Five letters. Thats it.

There. That wasnt so bad now was it?

Now its time for a Leopard King prayer: “I, T.A. Uner, Author, bestow upon the reader the strength, wisdom, and courage of the Leopard King and his mighty Incantra.”

So go out there and kick doubt in the ass.

What’s stopping you?

I believe in you.

T.A. Uner

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Writing Advice

How to make a good Writer great!

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I’m often asked by friends and relatives: “How does a writer improve his writing?” Well the answer is simple: Read. For a Fantasy writer such as myself, I not only read heavily within my genre but I also take the time to dust off the old classics. Now before you rush off to go buy a 1000+ page copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, remember that it’s the universal themes that become ingrained within a writer’s subconscious mind that helps improve his or her writing. Personally I’ll read anything: from the dusty tome purchased at a second-hand bookshop to a 13 page menu at a restaurant. Yes. There are 13 page menus out there my friends. But that’s another topic in itself.

So my advice for anyone out there, whether you write Fantasy, Erotica, Suspense or Thrillers. The way to go is to read a classic now and then. Let your mind soak up its richness, its beauty. Mix it up my fellow scribes. And of course read within your genre. But never underestimate the power of the almighty classic.

Thats why they’re called classics. Right?

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Writing Advice

Why did I become a Writer?

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I really think the fantasy genre has come a long way. The stigma it once carried that it was only for geeks is long gone. I think it was when the Peter Jackson directed RETURN OF THE KING cleaned up all the academy awards back in 2003 that fantasy was headed for great things.

I guess the desire to write started in fourth grade when I penned my first book. Ten pages of chicken scratch of a metallic hero called “Jet Thrust” and his sidekick “Fighter.” Together they lived in an alternate universe and often visited Earth to make sure some calamity did not befall humanity.

I have always had a deep respect for multi-faceted individuals who can relate to Sci-Fi/Fantasy, perhaps because I like to write stories for people like myself: who enjoy reading about strange worlds and alternate realities, featuring heros and anti-heroes, going against immeasurable odds.

Now with the massive success of Game of Thrones, fantasy has moved to the forefront of genre fiction. I see more great novels being written over the years. And I truly believe the best books have yet to be published. I subscribe to the philosophy that writers, not just us fantasy scribes, have an obligation to create something original for the masses, to push the limits of imagination and say you gave your best. And, if you’re lucky, end up inspiring people.

That is why I became a writer.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs regularly about writing and self-improvement. You can also subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. If you do this he will dance on his hands.