Category Archives: Writing tips

Editing ‘A Forbidden Love’ what one-and-a-half years of experience can do.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago I published A Little Help and it’s been a great adventure so far. Publishing a novel made me hungry to get more of my novels published. Since it’s easier to edit and revisit a previously written story, I thought it would be a fun and useful project to touch up my first completed novel. Once it’s done the new version will be published both on Smashwords.com for free.

‘A Forbidden Love’ is a novel about the many newspaper articles which involve teachers who get caught having sex with their student(s). The subject intrigued me, because those women must know what is at stake, and I wanted to explore how such a relationship came to be. As a result I wrote a short novel of about 55k words, and in this post I want to share some of the details that go into editing this story.

The preview is the first paragraphs of chapter 1 and I want to show how ones skill can improve in just one-and-a-half year, when you really commit yourself to it. Between now and then I’ve written hundreds of pages, read dozens of stories, studied grammar, writing techniques, and in general I practiced a lot on role playing sites. A lot of my readers have also been very generous with their feedback, and that aided me greatly at improving myself as well.

I want to share the new introduction to the story with all of you, and let you judge for yourself if it got any better.

THE OLD INTRODUCTION:

It was Friday midday, 4 p.m. Alice let out a deep sigh, she had a tough week and she was glad that she was finally off work. As a math teacher she was responsible for teaching the sixteen to eighteen year olds the basics about mathematics at a high school, in a suburb in the United States.

Unfortunately most of her students seemed more interested in having fun and trashing the classroom than actually learning something. There were a couple of exceptions and usually the boys were worse then the girls, however, teaching classes was slowly but surely turning into a living hell for her.

Alice was twenty-six years old and having finished college at the age of twenty-two she only had four years of experience with standing in front of a class. She was great at explaining new subjects and getting the points across, however, maintaining order wasn’t one of her strongest points.

THE NEW INTRODUCTION:

With every passing second, the clock made a soft ticking noise. When the large clock hand finally hit the twelve, while the small clock hand was at the four, the school bell rang insistently; heralding the end of the class, and the start of the weekend.

Students made a hasty retreat from the classroom, leaving their teacher, Miss Evans, behind, as she yelled, “Remember class, I want you to study pages 214 to 221. There will be a test next week!”

Several of her students grumbled unintelligible words, while a couple of them gave her a dirty look. One even voiced his protest with a loud curse, but left in a hurry as Alice glared at him through the slits of her eyes.

After the last student had left the room, she let her shoulders drop, while a deep sigh escaped from her lips. She closed her eyes for a moment, and rubbed her temples with her fingers. She had endured a tough week, and she was glad to that she could finally go home and relax. As a math teacher, she was responsible for teaching the sixteen to eighteen-year-olds advanced mathematics at a high school, in a suburb in the United States.

It was unfortunate that most of her students seemed more interested in having fun and trashing the classroom, than actually learning something. There were a couple exceptions, and usually the boys were worse than the girls, but either way, teaching classes was turning into a living hell for her.

Miss Evans, or Alice, had only four years of work experience. She had finished college at the age of twenty-two, and after she had graduated and had enjoyed a well-deserved vacation, she had accepted a job at a local high school. Explaining new subjects and getting the points across was easy to her, but maintaining order in an unruly class was like herding cats; a pointless exercise that only resulted in a lot of frustration.

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It’s the same text really, but so much more is happening now! I hope to create a lot more immersion with the new version and show Alice’s frustration, rather than tell about it. If I can touch up the entire story like the new introduction, then it’ll probably create a much better reading experience.

It also makes a great practice for my next big project, which will likely be a science fiction series. In the past I never quite understood what was meant with showing vs. telling, but since then I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to tell parts of the story, as long as an emphasis should is put on showing what’s happening with the important parts of the story.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the revision and feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions.

Jasper Storm

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The ‘Blank page method’ helps you through a writer’s block.

Hello everybody!

I thought that a fun way to introduce myself would be by giving a useful tip, that helps you deal with the well known beast we all fear so much; a writer’s block.

First a little something about myself; I am Jasper Storm, author at Smashwords.com and I thought it would be fun to start a blog about the things that keep me busy. I expect that most of this will be related to writing, but in the future I’ll likely also include my thoughts about ongoing issues in society in general.

Enough about me for now, and let’s talk about writer’s blocks. Those who enjoy writing any sort of literature, from fiction to nonfiction, probably got stuck at one time or another. There are a lot of useful tips already available online, but the writer’s block that bugged me for eight months couldn’t be beaten into submission until I thought of a trick that turned out to be very easy, yet also extremely effective.

The problem I was dealing with, was that I wanted to write a chapter for a story that had to fit between two existing chapters, however, I couldn’t figure out what I should put in there. I had a vague idea and I knew that I wanted to add roughly three pages to my novel, but for some reason I just couldn’t get it done.

I once read something along the lines of, “There is nothing more inspiring than a blank page, since your story can then go in any direction. It allows you complete freedom since it doesn’t need to conform to what was already written.” and that line got me thinking.

It made sense that a blank page would help you focus on that what you really want to write, so I created a new document and scribbled down four lines that contained a rough idea of what I wanted to write about. It turned out that the blank page indeed allowed the creative juices to flow free again, and that in turn caused me not to write the three pages I had intended, but a full six pages that had some really lovely dialogues as well!

In the end it turned out that subconsciously I kept what was previously written in mind as well, and after I was done with my additional chapter I could simply copy/ paste it in my novel. I still had to make some minimal changes at the start and the end, but after that I was pretty much done already. A writer’s block of eight months was cleared in half a day of writing and I had a lot of fun while doing it.

Since then I’ve dubbed this method the ‘Blank page method’ and I now deploy it every time I get stuck in a story.

It’s only a small tip, but next time you find yourself staring at your screen, not knowing what to write; you might want to remember this tip, and do what I did; create a new document and forget about what you already wrote for a minute. I found that there really is nothing more inspiring than a blank page!

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