Greg Gutfield’s Writing Advice

Mr. Gutfield was fantastic, snarky, and made a pretty darn cool impression on me (ironic because his book was called Not Cool). He is a political satirist, author, humorist, magazine editor, blogger, and television personality. He is the host of Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfield on the Fox News Channel.

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Well, I don’t have my laptop back.

It’s estimated that I won’t get it back until May 5th. *cue le sighs and sobs*

Writing Advice from Greg GutfieldBut my sister is allowed me to borrow hers while she’s not on it, so, as promised, Greg Gutfield’s advice. 😉 I met him at a Books-A-Million book signing. Me, idiot that I am saw a tour bus in front of a lovely book store. It called my name. I walked in and hopped in line — without a book. Again, me, idiot that I am, waltzed up with my 12 year old sister tagging behind said, “Hey, I don’t have a book for you to sign, but I do have a question for you to answer. Is that against society’s rule of thumb or something…?”

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Gutfield’s writing advice!

1) Concerning Publishing: Start Local

See if you can print stuff in your local newspaper, blog, etc. It starts as a foundation. There’s no guarantee that it will get you far, but people will read what you write if you get it out there. So start small. And write a variety of things. He was telling me about a lady who started writing about health and eventually made it big.

2) Ask Questions

Even if they’re stupid. Ask. Ask. Ask. The more you know about things, the more you can write about. This is why I, personally, am a huge fan of research. You’ve got to have an element of reality in your story, otherwise it’s just fluff. And no one wants to read anything that doesn’t teach them something or mirror elements of their own lives. And honestly, how much could I know at sixteen? I need to know what I’m talking about before I say something. The same goes for writing. Pay attention to the world around you. The news, society, etc. Your writing should be relevant. (That last statement was my own, but I think it’s something to keep in mind.)

3) Don’t Write Your Feelings

THANK. YOU. When you begin to write your feelings, bad things happen. I’m pretty sure that could have been phrased more intelligently. I was going to bring up Twilight, but I can’t say I have too much of an opinion on it since I’ve only ever heard about it and never read the novels or watched the films.

Anyway: feelings. They’re fickle. If you’re a teenager (as I am), you’re hormonal. You’re brain damaged. I’m brain damaged. I’m pretty sure it gets better. Either way, a story based on feelings isn’t going to leave much of an impression on anyway. Sure, people might relate, but it’s going to be fluff. You need a solid core for your stories and it should be wrapped in layers, not cotton candy.

I think that’s it. Short, sweet, to the point (minus my ramblings).

Mr. Gutfield was snarky, hilarious, and came across as very informed and intelligent.

I appreciated his time and cool way of brushing off the fact that I didn’t have a book for him to sign.

Next time, I think you can look forward to another post on characterization. Possibly. It depends on whether or not I find anything intelligent to say. It seems that it’s all in my head, but once I put the ideas to paper, everything gets jumbled up. 😛

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

Thanks to all of you, I now have 100+ followers! I’m so blessed to have you all and sincerely hope you can learn something from my ramblings, get a laugh, and/or know you’re not alone. Thanks a million, you lovely human beings. I love you all to bits. ^_^

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Liebster Award!

I’ve been nominated for it! Which was a lovely surprise!

A big things to Tara for the nomination! It made my day. ^_^

So now, I guess this is what I have to do:

Thank and link back to the person who nominated you
List 11 facts about yourself
Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
Nominate 9 bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers (you can’t nominate the blogger who nominated you)
Ask them 11 questions
Let them know about the nomination

Well, obviously since my parents have set restrictions on my internet communication abilities, I’ll just do what I can and hope y’all don’t hate me for it. 😛

Le 11 Facts

1) I’m the kind of person who likes pulp in their orange juice.

2) I second-guess everything. I’m serious. I’m rarely every sure of anything or anyone because I doubt. If I was a dude, my name’d be Thomas.

3) You’d probably never know if I hated you in real life because I’m polite. I’m more honest over the internet with some people, but irl, I’m known for smiling all the time and being way too sweet.

4) I’m really not very funny. My humor consists of uncalled for remarks, knowing random things, and facial expressions.

For instance, someone was joking and said that someone else was drunk on wine and the response was, “It’d take a lot more than that, honey.” I, not thinking, blurted out, “You would know.” *facepalm*

As for knowing random things, someone asked how one would hide a body (this was with the youth at my parish) and I was like, “OH YEAH, YOU BURY THE BODY SIX FEET UNDER AND THREE FEET ABOVE THAT YOU BURY A DOG. THEN WHEN THE POLICE’S DOGS GO SNIFFING, THEY’LL DIG OF THE DOG AND JUST KEEP LOOKING.” Way to make an impression on the young people of the church, Rana. Although, I did learn that that’s why one girl is friends with me. *shrug* Because I know how to hide a body. *cue the song They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love*

5) I am thinking about setting up a little crochet shop during the summer. I think it’ll be a crochet-on-demand type thing. If anyone’s interested. *shrug*

6) I don’t like following school rules. Yeah, I’m homeschooled, but I do it online so the English lesson will ask me to choose which person was right on a certain issue and I’ll be all like, “Actually, neither and here’s why.”

7) RED is my favorite music band. Skillet, Sent By Ravens, Thousand Foot Krutch – other favs. 😉

8) I just made cinnamon roll scones – SUGAR-FREE, LOW-CARB, AND GLUTEN-FREE, PEOPLE. They’re amazing.

9) I talk a lot, but rarely say anything because I don’t like people I know knowing a lot about me.

10) I have privacy issues. People infringe on my personal space, possessions, or anything else of mine, I will freak out internally.

11) I don’t freak out very easily. I rarely scream. Especially if kids get hurt, I’m just all like, “unless they’re going to the ER, they’re fine. And even then, they should be fine.” I know, I know. I’m a heartless beast.

Le 11 Questions I Must Answer

1. Do you like to take distorted pictures of yourself?

…Yeah? I normally don’t like pictures of myself, so I mess them up as much as possible. I feel like it captures the “real me.” It’s kind of sad.

2. How would you describe yourself?

In a few words? A paragraph? A novel? An auto-biography? I’ll try to keep it short. 😛 I doubt myself a lot, but am strong in what I believe. I like people, but don’t trust them easily. But when it comes to fooling me, it’s quite easy. I swear I’m blonde at the roots. Someone told me cranberries were vegetables and someone joined in and I believed them. -_- In my defense, however, I was exhausted. *cough* I’m always exhausted. *cough*

3. What’s your best joke?

Me. I am my best joke. But if you want one to tell others… the first one that comes to mind is, “The best steak joke is a medium well done.” I didn’t make it up. I’m not funny/smart enough. 😛

4. If you had to change your name, what name would you pick?

Oh, gosh. Uhm… Ariadne? Maybe? Possibly? If I was a guy, I’d choose Icarus. I think that’s a flipping epic name.

5. Do you collect clothes tags?

Nope. I’m a pack rat, but I try not to keep things that I won’t look back on fondly later on in life. Or things that I can’t remember a lesson from. Know what I mean, jelly bean?

6. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That answer would vary depending on the mood you caught me in. Right now, you caught me at cinnamon rolls/cinnamon roll scones. I have a sweet tooth. 😛

7. Choose one: Famous, rich, or attractive

What? Oooo. As in, which would I want in a man? Which would I want for myself? If the first: I’m not into guys. (I’m not into girls either! I think I’m non-sexual.) But I’d probably go for attractive (with the right personality, beliefs, etc.). If the second… Either famous or attractive. I have a lot I want to say for people to hear, but I’m afraid it’d change me and I don’t want that.

8. Do you have a favorite letter?

I like them all if they’re in the right font. ^_^

9. Chocolate or peanut butter?

O___________________O Why are they separated?

10. Would you be chosen to act as Snow White or the wicked step mother?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I have no idea. If the director of the play knew me, probably the wicked step mother. If we were just acquaintances, Snow White. Though I’d need a wig. 😛

11. Which is your favorite hair color: pink, blue, or green?

I think it depends on the person it’s on. 😉

Questions for my nominees to answer:

1) What nationality are you?

2) Do you believe the ends justify the means?

3) Do you work well under pressure or snap?

4) What’s your favorite music genre/band?

5) Batman or Superman?

6) Do you like to bake?

7) Would you rather burn to a crispy chip of a human person or get skinned alive?

8) Honestly, how many friends do you have? Not acquaintances, but honest-to-goodness-friends.

9) What was/is your best subject in school?

10) Do you do your own thinking or allow others to just give you the information?

11) What’s your favorite ink color?

My nominees (is that the correct terminology?) in alphabetical order:

1) Lisa of God’s Daughter 4 Ever

2) Mirriam of Wishful Thinking

3) Sara of Sara Delacroix

4) Una of Petticoats and Muckboots

And that about wraps it up!

Just a side note: my laptop went kaput last week. I’m getting it repaired. When I get it back, I’ll write up a post on what a touring author I ran into on Friday had to say about publishing and writing in general. 😉 I’d never heard of him before, but his name was Greg Gutfield and he wrote Not Cool.

God bless!

Rana

FYI: You’re Going to Mess Up

Having encouraged you all to be your best in my last post, I think it’s only right to let you know you’re going to make mistakes. I’m going to make mistakes. You can’t live life without making mistakes. Mistakes are what allow us to grow.

We need to keep a realistic attitude toward our imperfect nature and always remember to learn from our scew-ups. Otherwise, mistakeswhat’s the point of making them? That’s not to say, go ahead and be an idiot. Smoke, do drugs, get drunk. No. I mean make smart mistakes. Try something new and don’t be afraid to fail. 😉

On Sunday, during the Gospel reading, we heard about Lazarus. He’s the dead guy that Jesus raised from the dead, as you’ll remember. The priest emphasized one line that really struck me.

Martha said in John 11, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

I think this is beautiful. I have come to believe. We’re all a work in progress. We all need to work on having faith – we need to come to have faith. We all need to work on doing the right thing, having the courage to do it. We’ll need to keep working on improving ourselves all our lives.

I challenge you to speak the truth in your writing. I think that’s one way we can come to have faith and encourage others to have it as well. What’s the point of having it if we don’t do something with it? If we don’t do something to change the world for the better? Even if your novel doesn’t go anywhere big, but one person reads it and it inspires them in a positive way, what more could you ask for?

You just changed a human being’s entire mindset (possibly).

I think that’s fantastic.

So write honest. Write real. Include real struggles into your novel. People need to know they’re not the only one. Especially in today’s world.

God bless!

Rana

You’re Awesome. Yes, you.

Writing, as my fellow writers know, is hard work!

I mean, writer’s block often gets us down. And, good grief, is it hard to pull through that! But every once in a while, you get that flash of inspiration that motivates you to keep going!

You're awesome

Sorry, guys! I don’t know where the background image is from and I certainly don’t mean to infringe on any copy rights. If you’d like me to take it down, drop me a comment. 🙂

My dad frequently says, “Good things don’t come easy.” And I agree.

No matter what you’re doing, whatever you get will – 99% percent of the time – be equal to whatever you put into it.

And I’m here to encourage you to keep at whatever you’re doing. Whether it’s that novel you’re struggling to finish, that chapter, that lesson in history… whatever.

Put your all into it.

Go chase that dog and grab it by the tail, then drag it back home and make some hot dogs. Enjoy that hard-earned meal and slather on that ketchup and mustard. If you’re feeling particularly accomplished, add some relish as well.

Work hard, play hard. Balance it out 50/50. Do your best. Don’t give up. Yada, yada, yada.

Be awesome, y’all.

God bless!

Rana

Make It Up or Make It Real (Part Two)

In the last post, I went over the logistics of how to start researching. Here’s a brief summary (we’ll continue using the druggie examples):

1) Figure out what it is you’re researching.

This will include determining exactly what you want to research. So this is kind of the pre-research stage.

2) Research more about what you’re researching about.

After you know kind of what you want to research, Google some more on that specifically and figure out whether or not that’s what you’re looking for.

3) Know the logistics.

Now you can figure out what that specific thing does, the history behind it, and how it works. (With the Irish Mob, we knew the types of criminal activities they engaged in.)

4) Research the details.

The final step is knowing the specifics. Where does the mob usually hang out, where can they be found, etc.

Make It Up or Make It Real (Part 2)

Sorry, guys! I don’t know where the background image is from and I certainly don’t mean to infringe on any copy rights. If you’d like me to take it down, drop me a comment. 🙂

Today, we’re going to go over what to include in your novel after having done said research. 🙂

Actually, this bit probably comes first… oh, well! Leave it to me to mess up the order! 😛

A lot of it depends heavily on your main character.

For instance, if s/he’s the drug lord, you’ll need to go deeper and figure out exactly how their organization functions, what drugs they deal with, how many people would work for them, how they would pay them, how they do business. The list goes on.

Always ask yourself questions. Is it realistic? How would they achieve that?

But if the MC (main character) is just some poor kid off the street who got in with the wrong crowd and now does errands for the organization, chances are they won’t know too much about what’s going on. In this case, you’ll probably just need to know how they deliver, where they’d pick stuff up, how they live and information like that.

If your novel is about a kidnapped person, like Alyx is in Homecoming, you might just need to know where their HQ would be, how many people were involved in that particular group, and how they live. Actually, I haven’t done that. O_o I didn’t think to think about that. See? I didn’t ask myself the questions! 😛

Know what you’re centering in on.

If you’re just focusing on one aspect of their criminal activities, research it. The rest may not matter too much. For example, if you’re just dealing with murder, then research how they’d kill someone, what they’d do with the body, and whether or not they’d leave evidence, a false trail, a note, whatever.

Whether it be a bullet in the head, or chopping it off with a knife, or bleeding them to death, you’ll want it to be realistic (if you’re like me, anyway), and incorporate that into the story.

Research the levels of the gang, depending on what it is.

This is more example-specific, but it applies to jobs and other things like that as well. Know the heirarchy. If a secretary in the Empire State Building picks up a novel on another secretary of the ESB, she’ll either be familiar with how it works, or very confused at the lack of realism. Know what I mean? 😉

Concerning stereotypes.

Lisa was worried about using something stereotypical. I wouldn’t be too worried about them. It’s just a label. You can take it anywhere. If a stereotypical gang has a lot of research done on them, it’ll make your job easier. 😉 Plus, your readers will be familiar with them. It actually might be better to choose a more well-known gang (or business or whatever) than some obscure, random, virtually non-existent business that deals with nothing anyone would be interested in established in Antarctica just to make the story interesting. Unless, of course, it deals with some pretty high stakes and affects your story and MC heavily.

You’ll want to take into consideration the reality of the premise too. 

This goes along with knowing who your MC is and how their position affects the story. If your plot is focused on some gofer-urchin-person at the bottom of the chain, make sure that what you’re doing to them is realistic. The head honcho probably wouldn’t favor him/her at all. They’d more than likely be disposable and very replaceable. So it might not be a good idea to have the new girl no one pays attention to with the miserable life to suddenly be the big cheese’s favorite minion.

That wraps up this mini-series on research and reality composed of thoughts and opinions by this 16-year-old girl who has no life. If you have any questions or want to add something, feel free to post in the comments! 😉

Don’t forget to rate the post too if it’s not much trouble. 😉 I’d appreciate it and your honesty.

God bless!

Rana