Making Your Story Fly
I'm here to help everyone reading this (even if you're not a writer!) write stories. I'm definitely a writer, even though some of my stories just don't sprout wings and start to soar. But I'm here to help you make your stories do that. If you don't know what I mean by stories "sprouting wings and soaring" you'd better work it out soon. I hope that by reading this article you can write better stories than before, and I hope that I will have the pleasure of reading them in the Neopian Times. But enough chit-chat. Here are my tips.
1. Be interested in your story yourself
How are you supposed to write a good story if you don't care what happens to your characters and you don't like the plot? You can't. Write a story that you want to write, and take that story wherever it needs to go to become a good story that you're interested in, whether you have to change your plans for the story or not. When I write a story that I'm not interested in, it always comes out with scrawny wings and it won't take to the sky.
2. Be in a writing mood
Some days I feel like I can't write a single sentence, but others I feel like I could write a whole novel if I only had the time. Write during a writing mood, and if the writing mood fades, save your story and pack it up till next time. Then when you're in a writing mood next, pull it out and write again!
3. Write while you're in the right mood
Being in a writing mood is different than being in the right mood. Trying to write the happy part of a story while you're sobbing your eyes out about your pet rabbit dying isn't the best idea. On the other hand, it can help to try to write a happy story when you're sad so that you can escape from your sadness. But sometimes your sadness will seep into the story and make the story just as sad as you are. If you're trying to write a sad story when you're ecstatic about your first story being accepted in the Neopian Times, maybe you should wait until later.
4. Don't let your story get away from you
While you should take your story where it's trying to go, don't let the story take complete control. If you're trying to write a story about a Ixi who discovers she's a princess and has to travel through dangers to get to her palace, don't let one of the trials on the way to the palace become the whole plot and take up the whole story.
5. Write while you're comfortable
Comfort matters while you're writing. Being freezing cold while you're writing a story about Terror Mountain might be an inspiration, but when you're focusing on your own struggles, then it's hard to think about your characters. Try to be as comfortable as possible so you can focus on the story and not yourself.
6. Make yourself your character
So you're perfectly comfortable now, and you can go into your character's world. Be your character. Take yourself into your character. So where are you now? Sitting at my desk and typing on my computer, you say as you write your story. No. You're in Terror Mountain, braving a blizzard and running for your life so that you can find Taelia who is the only one who can cure your little sister's deadly illness. You're shivering in the cold, right? The snowflakes are flying at your eyes and practically blinding you, correct? Write that down. The snow's up above your waist, you say? Write that down. All you can hear is the loud wind in your ears, perhaps? Write that down. Going into your character's world in your imagination helps you capture every detail and see their world in a whole different way than if you're not in their world and simply writing down words that make sense and looks pretty on the page.
7. Try try again
If you're trying to submit your writing to the Neopian Times (or almost anywhere, for that matter) be patient. The first article you submit may not make the cut. The next one might not. The third one might not. Keep trying. I've kept trying. Trying, and trying, and trying, and if this gets in. it's my third article out of so very many I've submitted, but if I gave up, then I wouldn't have any. So keep on trying, and eventually, at some point, I am sure you can get something published if you try hard. Very hard.
8. Look around
So one day you're just completely stopped. You can't think of any story ideas. You can't think of a setting that will catch your interest. But look around. Peek into the distant corners of Kreludor. Peruse the pages of the Neopedia. Ponder the little things in your own inventory that catch your eye. Even junk can have a story tied to it. Peek and prod into every corner of Neopia. Look at species and colors in the Rainbow Pool, games in the arcade that you like, really and truly everywhere. Anything can spark an idea. Absolutely anything. For instance, this article truly owes something to Soroptimist's directory. That petpage led me to discover a section with a few gems of wisdom for me--writing guides. Why couldn't I make my own? See? I was inspired to write something from a pet directory. Look around.
9. Be yourself
Yeah, I know you're probably saying to yourself that everybody always says stay true to yourself, be yourself, and so on. But it's true. Write the kinds of stories you like. Write what you like, and chances are other people will like it, and if they don't, at least you can enjoy it yourself, right? And chances are people WILL like it.
I hope that these tips help you with your writing. And that 7th tip is very important. No matter what, keep your head down and keep going. When something gets rejected, it doesn't mean you're the worst writer in the universe. It doesn't mean that your story should be laughed off the face of the earth. It means that if you look at the mistakes you've made, then you can get better and better at writing until nearly everything you submit is accepted. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but still. I'm really hoping that this helps people write, and that I'll see some new writers publishing great stories for everybody to enjoy in the times. Including yourself. Good luck!
Special thanks: Thanks again to Soroptimist directory for the inspiration for this article and a truly convenient petpage! And if this article seems good enough to Soroptimist if she is reading this, I would truly be honored if she would add me to her directory. Also thanks to TNT for this awesome and inspiring site!