Three Essential Writing Techniques from Stoker’s Dracula and the Epistolary Narrative

I’ve been working on this article since June and am happy to finally share it with my fellow writers and Stoker fans. I was really inspired after reading it.

Read the article here.

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Editing My First Draft: Writing Exposition

The system I have in place has been going quite well. Here’s a preview of the editing key I created on Instagram.

It took me a couple of hours just to edit six pages…out of 470ish? Haha. It’s great fun, actually. After stressing over the ending and coming back to the beginning, the ending looks clearer and easier to manage. For now, I’m at the beginning, relearning how to write exposition well. I found a great video for that actually.

320x50 Got an Idea?

This is the same channel I recommended on my Magic Systems post. I’m definitely going to be sharing more resources in the future. I’m hunting for them constantly and get excited when they have damn good advice. Hope this helps anyone who needs it. Speaking of which, here are two of the books I’m currently studying right now, just to get the basics down and start thinking outside the box. Click on the pictures to check them out.

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft 9th ed. by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, and Ned Stuckey-French – Great for learning the basics of fiction and storytelling and good for review. I’m pretty sure I got this book in college.

Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot by Jane K. Cleland – I bought this a couple years ago. More than anything, this book reminds you to keep your audience in mind and helps you keep your writing fresh and inventive.

Hope that helps anyone who needs it. I’m grateful to have them…obviously

AbeBooks.co.uk - New, Secondhand, Rare Books

First Draft Progress: Four Days Until Deadline

Words Written Today: 1132 Words (I did more editing/rereading than writing to prepare for the ending lol)
Approx Total Word Count: 115k Words

If I were to guess how many chapters were left, I’d say about…three to four and only one of them will be much longer than the rest of them. Then I have to rewrite the prologue. We’ll see.

First Draft Progress – 14 Days Until Deadline

Incredible progress!

Additional Work:
– Studying language/linguistics
– Studying literature
– Brainstorming for the novel series

Really, the majority of this update is simply the fact that I’m happy. Progress and momentum is good right now. There is a bit of a concern for this upcoming week. I’ll be around family quite a bit for this week. I’m traveling across the country and I know the travel time will give me the chance to write, but the family time. Heheheheheh, will I get a chance to write? If not on the draft itself, hopefully in a notebook or even my phone. I don’t know. I’ll make it happen.

For now, so far, so good.

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First Draft Progress – 18 Days Until Deadline

Research Topics:

  • Weapons in science fiction
  • The history of alchemy
  • The fundamentals of alchemy
  • Greek and Egyptian History
  • The Egyptian afterlife and The Book of the Dead

Today was a fabulous research day! Today’s research topics helped me flesh out the history of two characters who, for lack of a better term, gave me major feels while writing them. Now that I’ve worked through their lives a bit more, I can continue writing their about their pain 🙂

First Draft Progress – 19 Days Until Deadline

Yesterday was Mother’s Day so…I took that time off.

I did watch Game of Thrones. I’m completely caught up, so very minor spoilers ahead. It was…a great lesson all writers should learn from. Although the story isn’t complete until next week’s finale and although I am not into the lore like some other fans are, I’m doing my best to be objective to what has happened so far. Still, I have a sour taste in my mouth even as I’ve listened to various perspectives, some neutral, some optimistic, some extremely disappointed. I’m in the range between disappointed and neutral because the writing for the last episode and the episode before was lackluster. You can almost hear the writers screaming “We just want the story to end.” With a show as immersive as this one, you don’t want to sense that sort of energy. You shouldn’t blatantly declare to your audience that you’re going full self-sabotage. Endings are hard; all the more reason not to give up. But are the writers giving up?

I’ll tie all of this into my novel in a second here. Bear with me. There’s still one more episode. I’d rather see it to the end as objectively as possible rather than be bitter or watch it with any high hopes. It is what it is. There are many stories you’ll dive into where you’ll want a certain ending or event to happen. I recently felt that way about Dracula (I finished it!). There wasn’t anything wrong with the story composition, but there were a few things I wanted: (1) I wanted to hear Dracula’s side to this whole ordeal (It’s no wonder there are so many poor adaptations of this story. Everyone wants to hear Dracula’s side, but nobody hits you where it itches.) and (2) I needed more death. I wanted Jonathan Harker to die. I wanted him to die so bad. I wanted Dracula to rip his throat out. I wanted misery and tragedy to strike the core of every hopeful character full of faith and fire. I wanted a Shakespeare ending. I wanted everyone to die. Even Dracula. Lastly (3), tying in with the previous point, I wanted Dracula to have much greater strength than stealth in the night and disappearance during the day. I wanted his hunting capability to be more of a sharpened craft. I wanted more strategy from him (You know, maybe Castlevania spoiled me? lol). Regardless, the ending is what it is. No rewrites. No changes. Just adaptations are all we’ll get. It’s important to remember that as an author; the ending of your story is yours alone. It’s immutable unless permitted to evolve.

I’m not encouraging any sort of rejection of constructive criticism, but it’s always important to remember to not fear what others say of you. Instead of fearing it we need to face it, no matter how much it stings. You don’t have to listen, but we as artists know that anything revealed to the public is open for criticism. Even if you don’t read or listen to any criticism, it floats about. Acknowledge that it is there and I would think that your stance to your composition will be strong from beginning to end. If you lie to yourself and pretend the criticism isn’t there, I’d think that’d weakened your stance. This is so difficult to say since I’m such a sensitive person, but I’m also a very philosophical person who adores the nearly limitless views of life. I love to listen and I love to learn even when it hurts me. Art is expression and enlightenment.

That being said, let Drogon’s flames fall where they may…probably onto whoever Daeny is pissed at…

For now, I’ll keep writing.

Typos – A Poem For Writers Who Get It

They’re a thing.

They happen.

They’re survivable,

yet

embarrassing.

It’s the equivalent

of shooting yourself in the foot,

bleeding all over the floor,

but still walking around,

limping even,

and not processing the pain for a long while,

too long,

until you stub your toe,

look down at your ridiculous foot

with a giant, gaping hole,

and see blood everywhere.

Then you wonder,

“How did I not know?”

You can go to the hospital for your foot,

but doctors won’t heal your dignity.

Ugh.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.