I’ve got great news. Knights World has evolved.
What does this mean?
It means that this is the last post on this site. Knigths World is going down as of today.
So why is this great news?
Because my new and improved site, Knights Writes, is going live from today.
That’s right, Knights World has evolved into Knights Writes.
Now, you may be wondering, why bother changing sites? What’s the purpose of this switch?
The Features of a Successful Blog
It turns out that there are a whole heap of features necessary for a successful blog that’s just not supported on the free web hosting utility that wordpress offers.
Each one of these features are worthy of an entire article, but in a nutshell, a successful blog needs an effective landing page, calls to action, and an eye catching design that just aren’t possible with the restrictions enforced here.
So, if you’ve been following this blog, or if you’re just checking it out, then come on over to Knights Writes. I already have an all new and original short story waiting to entertain you guys. Plus, I guarantee that you will get more awesome science fiction fantasy stories and more amazing writing articles.
Hope to see you over there and thanks for reading.
It’s amazing what you learn at the Barbershop. It can range from what’s the real purpose of a goatee to the best way to discipline your kids.
The most recent and surprising lesson I learned was about writing.
While going through the annoying and almost fortnightly process of getting a haircut, my barber reminded me of a rule that was long lost in history: an object at rest needs more force to move than an object in motion.
How this reminder came up is a long story, and beside the point. It got me thinking about circuit boards and centripetal forces and equations that jump over each other. And somehow writing snuck in there.
Have you been struggling to get back in the writing zone? Is the thought of writing more painful than cooking for your mother-in-law?
If yes, then maybe this law of physics is exactly what you need to get going again.
Newton’s Law of Writing
There are many reasons why you could be having problems with your writing. Maybe you’ve been rejected and you’re licking your wounds on the sideline, or maybe you thought that your writing was too terrible.
But it’s not the terrible writing that’s the problem, nor is it that rejection. The real problem is the break from writing.
Now I’m no physics expert so don’t get angry if I mix up a thing or two, but if memory (and Google) serves me correctly, somewhere in Newton’s laws was something about an object at rest tends to stay at rest while an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
Objects tend to keep doing what they’re doing. This resistance to change is called inertia.
If we think of objects as people and motion as writing, it implies that if you are writing then you will have a tendency to keep writing while if you are procrastinating then you will have a tendency to keep procrastinating (unless acted upon by an external force, of course).
Good work, Newton. Who knew he was actually talking about writing?
So, according to Newton’s law, if you haven’t been writing recently, then it’s going to be tough to start writing again.
You’ll probably keep saying things like, “I’ll start back tomorrow” or “It’s too hard, a little later I’ll write something”, and then you’re off to watch another episode of Breaking Bad.
But starting tomorrow never comes, and a little later never happens.
Just like that object at rest that’s resisting motion, you’re resisting writing. The longer you put things off, or the longer you take a break, the harder it’s going to be to start again.
It’s a vicious cycle of not writing leading to the reason it’s so hard to write in the first place. So now that you know you’ve got no inertia, how do you apply the right amount of force to get going again?
Put the Inertia Back into Your Writing
Think about how excited you were when you first thought about writing. Was there a story idea that you just had to tell to the world?
Maybe you already have a large chunk of your novel written, something you were excited about, and for some reason you can’t seem to finish. Go back and read your favourite part to rev up your writing passion.
You probably have a favourite author, someone whose work you read and thought that you could write a story just like that. Go back and read it. Or you can read one of her new releases.
And this doesn’t just apply to writing. It applies to any project, whether it’s painting, carpentry, and yes, even physics.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Taking a break is good. Vacations are healthy, but don’t let it extend so long that you come to a complete stop.
Remember, the law of inertia tells us that it’s going to take a lot more to start back up again. No wonder the weekends are so short.
So it’s time to resume your writing. And once you get your inertia, keep it by writing at least four times a week and you will never leave the zone again.
What do you think about Newton’s law of writing? Let me know in the comments.
As I walked through the woods, mud squelching under my feet, all I could think about was how much I hated these vacations. I could have been at home, playing video games or hanging out with my friends, but instead, mom and dad had to drag me all the way out here to this stupid lodge with my stupid little brother.
I lashed out with a stick, dried and crooked, swinging it aimlessly around with careless frustration. It was the only thing I could do to vent my anger. There was nothing for me here. The lodge was uncomfortable, appearing more for hunting than for a family. There was no television, a concept that I still couldn’t get use to. Even the breakfast was terrible. Mom made hotdogs. I hated hotdogs. My little brother said I loved them because he saw the way I ate them several times before. Of course, that was not true. What does he know?
The only interesting thing here was the hole. The clerk at the main cabin warned us about it, a hole about two metres in diameter. He claimed it was bottomless. Don’t fall in, he said. Best to stay away. What does he think I am, stupid? Why would I see such a big hole and fall in? The sun just came up and you could see everything. Although, there was not much to see. Just trees, grass, and more trees. That’s why I wanted to see it. It was the only thing that would prevent me from dying of boredom.
I heard someone call out, “Wait for me.” Oh no, not him again. A glance over my shoulder confirmed it was my little brother, following me. How annoying. Why is he always following me around? Couldn’t he just stay with mom and dad for once? I continued, doubled speed, pretending not to notice him, unable to help but be annoyed.
“Where you going?” he said, his voice so clear that I knew he was attempting to match my speed.
“Leave me alone,” I shouted, running and jumping over fallen logs. Branches scratched my face, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want him to catch me. I didn’t want to answer his stupid questions. And certainly, I didn’t want his company.
Suddenly, I tumbled down into darkness. I felt every painful bump as my vision reeled. When I finally stopped moving, I couldn’t see anything. My head throbbed from the descent, violent like a car crash. My skin was sore with several scrapes and bruises. I looked up, unable to see where I came from, unable to even see at all. My breaths came fast and ragged. Every time I inhaled, I pushed the stale air out of my lungs. It was too unfamiliar. Horror filled me when I realized that I had fallen into the hole. I felt the weight of stone and earth on top of me. It felt strangling. I couldn’t stay here. I had to get out.
Just as I gathered the strength to stand, I was grabbed by several hands. They seemed smaller than me, but too many to overpower. What should have been fingers felt more like claws that hooked into flesh. I screamed as they dragged me away. Several times I was submerged in a sticky liquid, gasping for breath every time my head was clear. I was rolled in something that felt like sand, then thrown into water with a splash. What was happening?
The water was getting hotter, as if being brought to a boil. I heard noises, banging and clinking and slurping, like the impatient pounding of a table with clenched fist, like the sharpening of knives and forks, like the licking of lips with unnaturally long tongues, over and over again, endless. I tried to move but the sticky and grainy substance on my skin made it too difficult. I didn’t want to die, not like this. I wanted to live. I wanted to see my mom, my dad, and my little brother again. Please, let me get out.
Just then, a hand held on to me and I was pulled out of the water and into light. I was back on the surface, between trees and lying on the mud, my heart pounding and my chest pumping, covered in a dark substance like tar and littered with clumps of white.
When I looked in the direction of my rescuer, I saw my little brother. I swallowed as I gazed at him, and couldn’t help but hug him, staining his clothes with the black that covered mine. “What happened?” asked my little brother, looking at me as simple as my dog would when he didn’t understand. I couldn’t answer. I was still too horrified to speak. All I could do was breathe deeply with appreciation the fresh air of the woods. My little brother extended his hand and held onto mine and said, “Can we go back now?”
“Yes,” I said, the words barely even escaping my lips, my breaths still heavy. Holding his hand, I escorted him away, glancing back at the hole to make sure I was nowhere near it. It was a fearsome sight and I would never approach it again. I gazed at my little brother, walking beside me as if nothing had happened. It was as if I saw him for the first time. I couldn’t believe he had saved my life from… whatever they were. But why wasn’t he taken? How could he have pulled me out of such depths? I had so many questions, but one thought dismissed them all: thank you.
While wandering the streets in search of food and shelter I came to an old house. It was a dilapidated structure of rotted wood and broken windows. Pieces of the roof hung as if fearful of falling. Even though it suited this wasteland of a town, something about it stood out. While all the other houses of brick were battered and crumbled, this one seemed to just exist for decades.
I heard a voice, young and tender and frail, crying out. “Help me. Please save me,” it said. Sobs lingered between each call. How could I turn away from someone who begged like that, even in a place like this, filled with violence and misery?
I climbed the rotting and creaking stairs of the front porch with wary footsteps. Caution was my best friend here. It would keep me alive. The last time I moved casually, I almost broke all my limbs.
I pushed open a front door that balanced precariously on one hinge, entering a spacious room with no furniture and floored with the same rotten wood that dominated the house. Broken glass and bits of wood lay strewn about as if something had detonated close by. Sunlight easily filtered through the windows of broken panes. There, in the middle of all this debris, knelt a little girl.
She looked up at me, removing her hands from a face stained with dirt and tears. Her weary eyes were surrounded with a dark smudge. Some of her long uncombed hair curled slightly at the top, the rest ran wild down her back, knotted and tangled. Her dress may have been white once, but now was tattered and filthy.
“Please help me,” she said, standing with shaking feet and reaching out a small frightened hand.
“What happened to you?” I said, losing all sense of caution and being filled with compassion. I wondered, how did she get here, who were her parents, and why did they leave her? As I looked at her, my mind became filled with memories of my daughter. They looked so much alike that the pain I struggled to put behind me for so long was eased. Seeing this little girl, helpless and abandoned, hearing her crying and begging, reaching out her hand, the father in me couldn’t turn away. I didn’t know how, in a time when resources were scare, barely able to help myself, but I would help her.
Suddenly, I heard the spinning of large propellers, and the air outside churned with dust and wind. Several armed men in camouflaged uniforms came down on ropes from the sky and crashed through the door and windows. They wore gas masks that muffled their commands. At both the girl and at me they pointed guns, heavy and automatic, ordering us not to move.
The little girl’s eyes widened with horror as she looked at a soldier who approached holding a large metal box resembling a safe over his head. He quickly brought the open end down on her. When her entire body was inside the safe, he slammed the door shut and turned a large cog, locking it. The last thing I heard from her was a scream, high pitched and intense like the wail of a banshee. After that, all the soldiers became at ease.
My face contorted with contempt and disgust. I couldn’t believe what I just saw. What cruel men they were, confining such innocence as if she were nothing more than a contamination. Better they had taken me. At least I would have been able to handle such a constraint, but not someone so new to this wicked world. My heart sank to the pit of my stomach. My pain returned, twice as intense. It was like losing my daughter all over again. No, not this time. I was not about to let this happen. So angry was I that the words exploded through my lips. “What’s the meaning of this? What are you doing to that little girl?”
“Little girl?” came the voice of a soldier, muffled. “That’s what you saw?” He removed his mask, revealing a man with a lean face and a jaw lined with stubble. “Look, buddy, we just saved your life,” he said. “That… your little girl is the most dangerous thing in this world.”
I jerked my head back at his words. “Dangerous?” I said. “Are you mad?” He spoke as if she was a flesh-eating predator out to kill us all, like a great shark in the ocean. No, before me was just some muscle-headed psycho. He had probably trained in the military too long. She was not dangerous. She was frightened and alone. She was in need of a guardian. She… was my little girl.
At that moment, I realized, we were no longer in a rotted wooden house. The walls were replaced by crumbled bricks. Now, this old house looked just like all the other battered houses of the town, no longer standing out. What just happened? I thought, as my eyes flickered about this ruined structure that somehow manifested.
“I see you’ve figured it out,” said the soldier with a wry smile. “You’re welcome.” As I stood there in doubt of my senses and my thoughts, he placed his gas mask over his head and walked over to the safe. Taking hold of one of the ropes, he hooked it onto the safe and tugged on it. All the soldiers followed suite, tugging on the ropes they came down on. The ropes retracted, lifting them away into space. The sound of propellers diminished, the air settled, and in moments they were gone.
I stood in silence, alone again. I left the house, looking up at the helicopters as they dwindled into a blue sky. I knew I should continue on my way, in search of food and shelter, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t just return to the wanderer I once was, not when she was locked away like that. The thought of walking away was like a knife lodged in my heart. I didn’t fully comprehend what just happened, but I knew what I saw. They were the ones who were dangerous. They were the ones who deserved to be locked up for what they did to her. I had to save her. I had to save my little girl.
2014 is here and it’s time for new resolutions.
That means we’re all making promises that should make our lives better.
We go around saying things like I’m going to exercise, I’m going on a diet, I’m going to break that bad habit, and I’m going to get more writing done.
But sometime during the year, somehow, it slips away from us, and we end up breaking our resolutions (after we promised under fireworks and all). Has this ever happened to you?
Well, it’s happened to me, many times. But not this year. This year, it’s going to be different. How?
Here’s a trick I learned on how to keep my resolution.
A Little at a Time
So you want to start exercising 60 minutes a day, every day of the week, for the entire year.
Fine, that’s all good. But if you’ve never exercised a day in your life, this is very unlikely. And this doesn’t only apply to exercise. It applies to diets, breaking bad daily habits, and writing.
If you’ve never wrote more than 10 minutes for the week, then you’re not going to write 60 minutes every day.
Instead, try taking a small step. Just start exercising. Just start dieting. Just go one day without that habit. Just start writing. Do it just a bit every week. And next year, when you can proudly say I kept my resolution to do a bit every week, then you can graduate with a new resolution to do it a bit every day.
So what’s the small step I’m taking?
Well I’ve been blogging for some time now, so I’m going to try to up my game, just a little bit.
My Way Forward
If you have a novel in the works, or you’ve finished your first draft and ready to revise, then I’ve created a guide that might be right up your alley. And I’m going to give it to you, free, courtesy Knights World.
How to Turbo-Charge Your Novel to Become a Great Read will help you with tips and tricks I’ve learned around the web and from my experience writing my novel.
Simply click here, enter your email address, and it’s yours.
Another new thing I’m trying: fiction short stories.
I realise that I’ve been focusing on articles about how to write. But I’m an author first and a blogger second, so I’ve actually missed my target.
Now, if you’ve been enjoying or making use of my helpful articles about writing, then don’t worry. I’m still going to post those. I’m just including some new content.
Every month I will post a new and original short story. Just don’t get angry if I miss a month or two. You know how slippery those resolutions can be.
So subscribe for updates and you will get my guide, along with fiction short stories, and more awesome articles about writing, all for free.
What do you think? Sounds good, right? Let me know in the comments.
So you’ve finished your manuscript and it’s ready for the world, or is it?
Are you really sure it can withstand the brutality of an agent, a publisher, or thousands of vicious readers?
Putting a manuscript out for others to read and review can be a frightening thing for a writer, especially if you’re a writer like me.
You sit, wondering what’s going through readers’ minds when they reach that awesome scene. Will they get it? Will they understand its brilliance?
After days or weeks of torment and silence, a review finally comes back, and turns out, they didn’t get it.
The agent passed it up, or the reader abandoned it. And unless that reader was your mother, you might not even get any feedback at all.
You’re wondering, how could this happen? You spent so much time writing and rewriting, fixing all the loopholes and typos. You swore you had it nailed.
So what gives?
Before You Serve Bread
Think about the method to make bread.
You combine all different ingredients: flour, water, baking soda, maybe some interesting spices. You knead the dough and allow it to rise.
But there’s one vital step before it’s ready for the world. You have to bake it. It needs to be heated in an oven to a gazillion degrees before it’s ready for consumption. And while it’s baking, you go about living your life.
You head out to do the laundry, paint the house, and play the piano (just like that time you invented the raisin).
After the right amount of time has passed, you come back and take it out the oven. It looks a beautiful golden brown (or whatever colour you like your bread). You give it a final taste test to make sure it’s ok, then give it to your husband and watch his eyes gleam (well, my eyes would gleam anyway).
Now imagine how bread would look and taste if it wasn’t baked. Try to serve unbaked bread and you may never be allowed to set foot in a kitchen again, ever.
And it’s very similar for writing.
Bake Your Manuscript
We can compare the ingredients for bread to the ingredients for writing: imagination, time, passion, structure.
We combine all these ingredients together and create a first, second, and even third draft. But the manuscript isn’t ready until you bake it. How?
Go watch a movie, see what’s up with your friends and family, talk to your wife (because you know she’s pissed after you spent so much time working on that manuscript).
After a couple of weeks, when it’s finished baking, come back with a fresh pair or eyes and look it over one more time. You’ll be surprised to find all the things you initially missed, or the great new ideas you came up with.
This is exactly what I did after I was finished with the third draft of my novel. I ignored it for a month. And while running in a marathon, somewhere in between almost dying and swearing I’d never do this again, the heavens opened up and bestowed me with an awesome idea.
When I started my fourth draft, I couldn’t believe all the mistakes I saw, and I identified many places that needed some extra spice, along with including my new idea.
Why didn’t I see this the first time, I thought, slapping myself on the head?
Now ideally, you should let your manuscript bake between every draft, maximizing your effort to capture all errors and improve your story. Once you consider a draft finished, leave it alone for some time, and resist the urge to edit until baking is complete.
Note that this applies for all types of writing, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, and even blog posts. The smaller the article, the less baking required. It could be a month, a week, or a night.
So remember to bake your manuscript before unleashing it into the world. That way, you will capture errors, loopholes, and maybe include some great new ideas. Once baked, agents, publishers, and readers will all give your awesome story the attention it deserves.
Now over to you. What do you think about baking your manuscript to ensure it’s ready for the world? Let me know in the comments.
If you like this post, then you can subscribe to receive updates for new articles and get more awesome content straight to your inbox, and Follow @jevonknights me on Twitter. I scan several blogs daily and tweet the great ones, so there’s no need for you to keep searching. And if you haven’t already, click here to check out excerpts from my upcoming fantasy novel, King Larsen.
When was the last time you did something cool?
No, I don’t mean donating to charity or helping out your grandmother.
I mean something that just looked or sounded cool for a camera. Something like getting up and sticking out your chest with your hands on your waist when someone asked if there is a doctor in the house, or making an entrance just in time to say I object.
If you said yesterday, then I invite you to beat me up and take my lunch money.
If you had to think a bit before saying never, then don’t worry, because you’re living in reality.
So if these cool scenes are never likely to happen in the natural order of things, why would you think of writing it in your story?
The Cool Scene
If you think your story would make a great movie, and who doesn’t, then you’ve probably pictured several live action moments in your head.
You’ve seen the camera zoom in when the protagonist suddenly realized that Rihanna’s concert was cancelled, or a character removing his mask to reveal his Brad Pitt-ish face at the strangest moment, just because it would look cool.
But in reality, there’s no camera, and we all try to live our lives while not looking like weirdoes.
I’m not saying that there won’t be exciting or dramatic moments like when a doctor is actually needed during a crisis. But no doctor is going to stand up, stick out his chest, tilt his head up proudly with his hands on his waist and say with an unshakeably confidence “I’m a doctor.”
Instead, a doctor would just get up and hurry over to the injured person and start his analysis.
I’m sure there are people who have tried to stop a wedding (or two) before. But at the exact second when a priest asks if there are any objections, nobody is going to barge through the entrance, the large double doors creaking as they crash on the walls, and shout “I object.”
In the movie The Great Gatsby (great movie, by the way), do you think the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, actually wrote in the book that when Nick finally meets Gatsby at the party, trumpets played and fireworks exploded behind him as he turned with a smile, a smile so rare that you will only see it four or five times in life, a wine glass elegantly held up between well-groomed fingers as if to make a toast.
No, that cool scene in the movie is not what he wrote.
In the book, Nick was simply sitting at a table with a man about his age, chatting. And in the course of the conversation, the man identifies himself as Gatsby. No description of fireworks, no sounds of trumpets playing.
Situations that look cool on camera are just weird and unlikely in real life, and they are no different in books.
Focus On Telling the Story
I know how great that scene would look on camera. Trust me, I’ve had a couple of them in my first novel. But while reading it over (in my 4th draft or so) I realized, no one acts like that.
It’s ok to have fireworks at an expensive party, but fireworks don’t burst behind people at the exact moment they introduce themselves. Nothing’s wrong with describing lightning and thunder, but nobody makes an entrance just as lightning flashes or thunder booms (well, I heard Usain Bolt did once but I still have my doubts about that).
Instead of describing how you believe the director should pan and zoom the camera, and what special effects should happen, focus on telling the story. Tweet this
The character simply introduced herself. A man hurried over to the victim, ordering everyone to make room and exclaimed that he was a doctor.
Always strive to make actions and conversations as natural as possible. Put yourself in the character’s shoes, with her attitude and experiences, and imagine how she would naturally react.
So do yourself, and your readers, a favour and delete all the situations that only looks cool on camera, and focus on telling a great story.
When your book turns into a movie, then Michael Bay will put them back in and you will see those cool scenes that you imagined after all, along with a lot more explosions, the true Michael Bay way.
So what do you think about removing those cool scenes? Let me know in the comments.