6 REASONS TO CONSIDER HEALTH AS A WRITER

6 Reasons to Consider Health as a Writer

Good morning, folks! Last Thursday of January. I am in the middle of moving chaos as my boyfriend and I have a new apartment to move into. 

There are always a bit of fuzz about health, everywhere. The topic seems to be around in the background and after a while, I thought of it becoming today’s topic here on emelena.com. Health is a great part of our lives, whether we like it or not. By directing an extra thought to this matter, I believe we together can go through what benefits we can get from this. As writers, as business people or just people in general. This is a post for everyone. 

1.Exercising Takes Time

And generates. As much as it will be a busy hour or two in our calendar, that time will most likely generate energy. With a packed yet structured schedule, chances are also high that we do priority the little time we have for writing. As for example; if we have the whole day or week to write something, we may postpone it. This is of course a question of discipline, but I believe this way can assist us in developing our discipline. Because, when we suddenly know we only have that hour and that hour only, there is a high chance procrastinating lessens. Time for social media, checking the fridge for the hundredth time, etc, become less interesting as we know we must be productive to achieve something in this little margin of time. Therefore, I believe in effective work and tighter schedules. If we have an hour to write, are we going to lose it to doing crap or are we actually going to focus for ”only” an hour?

Then we need to mention that it is scientifically proven that exercising makes us more energized. That we get a boost afterwards. 

2. Morning or Evening Writers

Following last words, we can take a moment to analyze when we write best. How many hours beforehand must we exercise and have a hearty meal to achieve fullest focus and energy to write? This also makes it easier to know when to plan our workout. When is the best time to schedule the gym? When can we give 100% at the gym, to later give 100% to our writing? 

3. From Snacks and Late Nights to Early Mornings and the Gym

In my late teens and early 20s, I would prefer half laying down in the couch with a bowl of potato chips and my laptop on my stomach. Only a light in the corner of the room would be lit and so the street lamp outside. It was almost at the point of hearing the mailman delivering the daily newspaper before heading to bed. One day after a handful of youtube videos, books and information about personal development, I was firm to try to change this. 

Earlier nights and earlier mornings. As mentioned in a previous post, it changed my life. And I have heard it has changed many, many, many other people’s lives too. For example, I use those early moments in the morning to get some writing done. It is lovely. Lovely to feel that I have accomplished some writing already before the day has started. A bit of gym, breakfast, silence and coffee plus reading are a success for me. 

Some may always prefer writing late in the evenings, but if it is due a result of postponing – changing our whole schedule may be much to help. Therefore I really want to recommend this. And also, I dare to guess that we all do love to write – and what can we look more forward to than to wake up in the morning to get our hands on our writing project? 

4. Enough Sleep

Naturally, if we want to be able to bounce up from bed in the morning, it is a great idea to go to bed early. Rest our mind a bit. To boost our writing further, we can read a book in the evening. And even in the morning. Starting the morning with a bit of reading can start a creative process work in our mind, an urge to begin writing ourselves. I think it is a great idea to feed our mind with inspirational things in the morning. Not only does this pump on a positive setting, but it may make us a bit more productive with great new and fresh ideas. 

Side note: Once I was so tired I kind of lost my sight. I could barely see but my mind was so creative. It was 4.30 AM and my fingertips just moved. After a while I decided to go to sleep and get a full night’s sleep. When I woke up I was ready to properly finish my deal. 

5. Eat Food That Energizes Us

Food is not food. Food is different. If we really take a moment to stop tracks and analyze this statement, do we find a pattern between energy and food? What meals have caused us to falter in energy and what food has made us prepped to jump Mount Everest and back? This can take a lot of time and many people make a food journal to find a proper pattern, but I think it is worth it. That way we will know what choices to make in our daily life when it comes to choosing what to eat. We can easier choose what outcome we want. Specially efficient if we are heading straight into a business meeting or want to have a good hour of writing. 

Adding question: what food causes our energy to last? (I think vegetables? And other foods of course). Many kinds of groceries make us speeded on energy. BUT, not as many of them gives us a longterm energy. Rather a short term that dips just as quickly as we topped. Typically these are foods rich with fiber, low on sugar and in calories. And, lots of good vitamins for our body. 

6. Mindfullness 

I like to start the morning with a hot cup of coffee and just enjoy drinking it in peace. In silence. During that moment I reflect and imagine. I think of many things and now I dare to point out that it is probably the most important moment in my daily life. If I for some reason miss that moment, I am not happy about it. 

We can try yoga, other mindset programs through youtube or podcasts. There are many sources of information but many agree that we need a bit of a break in our daily life. The beauty of doing nothing. To wake up from our dream and really live in the moment. 

Also, during that moment, when we think and let ourselves be creative in our thinking – we exercise our brain. Inspiration may flow to our mind, concepts and ideas for stories. We ”get” (create) motivation for ourselves. 

Bonus: Focus

Most of all, I think all of these elements sum up a special word; focus. 

Being able to focus better is a momentum that needs exercise. We learn the more we try it. Different ways to achieve this state.  

Well, that is what we get from me right now. I am actually sitting in the darkness on the second floor of a bus. I always book the premium tickets to be able to sit a bit more comfortably. I travel very often nowadays and prioritize a bit of extra comfort. As much as I can afford, that is to say. 

Have a lovely weekend. I look forward to this week.

Love, Emelena 

Merry Christmas

Captioned a snap in Norway’s Christmas Land during an early morning.

Merry Christmas! 

It is precisely a year ago since I crossed that hospital corridor with my father, for a last time meet my grandfather. Talk about Christmas forming into a forever special day in my heart. I cherish this day. Some families are lucky enough to afford giving each other gifts, some are not. One thing I wish though is for each family to be able to spend this holiday with each other. A person is missing in mine, but the rest of us are together. In the Christmas holidays I wanted to share some inspiration of what we can do for personal self development! As writers.

At the Royal Castle. 

1.Welcoming a New Person

This can be a new partner to one of our relatives. Maybe it is the person’s first Christmas. Belonging to the main family, I am always very open and extra welcoming to this person. It takes a lot of courage to meet the partner’s family for the first, second and perhaps third time. Usually we want to make a good impression and do feel a bit of pressure. Therefore I try to show the person he or she is very welcome in our home. 

One thing to really remember is the name. Imagine something more awkward than for example mixing the person with another person, or actually not just remembering it at all. When someone knows the name and actually pronounces it correctly, we do tend to feel flattered and, maybe not ”special” but at least very welcome, and approved. Christmas for me represents a beautiful love that we share among each other. It is a perfect moment to pull one tight to our side for a warm hug, give lovable words and show each other that we care for one another.

2. Get Inspiration as a Writer

Some countries and families have a tradition of giving each other a book, which every person reads before going to bed on Christmas Eve. The holidays often mean (but not for everyone!) a lot of free time. This is a great time to have that alone walk and just stroll in silence, check out the new sceneries surrounding the neighborhood and perhaps picture a story going on. 

There is a lot of time for watching movies. A time where all family members can bunker up in the living room and together share an experience – watching a classic Christmas movie. According to me, this is the hight of Christmas coziness. A bowl of popcorn and chocolate pralines that often is from a Christmas gift from under the tree. Lovely. I tend to get loads of ideas flowing in my mind after watching an old movie.

3. The Spirit

In general, people may appear more stressed. But also friendlier. It is after all Christmas, a period of time where we tend to smile a bit more and welcome each other. Although even if we so take that stressful person, we can get an opportunity in finding characters for our stories. People bring out their strong personalities. If it is behind the Christmas gift game and the competitive side appears, the overly happy one, the one who feels blessed by all lovable relatives, the one who hates Christmas and everything that has to do with it. There are a lot of things to notice in a short span of time, which can help a writer who quickly needs a character. Just pick one during Christmas time. 

So, this was a shorter portion of what I tend to offer in my posts. However it is enough for what I will deliver during Christmas. I am wrapping up with a lovely dinner in company of my family and relatives. Tomorrow my boyfriend is coming over because we are traveling to both the Alps and to Rome, Italy for New Year’s Eve. 

Merry Christmas

Love, Emelena

EMAIL PITCHING OR COLD CALLING?

Sharing a few photos from a late summer evening out with me in the old city of Genova, Italy. 

Email Pitching or Cold Calling?

Which alternative of these two is the ultimate one? Not so uncommonly, this is a question many sellers face when realizing they need to reach out to potential clients and set up either a meeting or sell right away. After my fair experience in different areas as a saleswoman, I think I am ready to share my opinions on this matter. 

Obviously there are cons and pros with both, with the ability to switch one of the cons into the other’s pros. So, here it goes. 

Email Pitching Pros

    • Timesaving. Reaching out to more in less time.
    • Better choice when scared of calling by phone.
    • Afraid of conflict.
    • We are better in written format than by speech.
    • Socially scared.
    • We can take our time in figuring out a decent reply to whatever they answer.
    • The prospect may read this when it suits the person.
    • We can get a positive respond a long time ahead when the potential client feels ready to meet us.
  • Chances are higher they snap up every little detail in our written format rather than hearing a salesperson’s voice through phone.

Email Pitching Cons

    • A no is harder to change.
    • When receiving a dismissing response, we may not know the reason why and how we can improve when reaching out to the next one on our list.
    • If sent out to a great mass and there is the slightest grammar mistake or typo of any kind, every single email may contain it. Also, requires much attention to write correct spelling in names and such matters we regard.
    • The email account can get marked as spam if used incorrectly. (Which is rather easy when sending out a massive amount of emails to different people. Annoy a few and it is marked).
    • Email pitching requires a certain mysterious yet informative talent when writing the pitch. (Perhaps we can get into that in another post?).
    • There is a risk that we will not get any kind of response back at all.
    • If our company has a bad reputation, it will be greatly shown when the curious prospect googles the company.
  • The prospect may forget about responding as it is busy and suddenly the email gets deleted by mistake.

Cold Calling Pros

    • We speak directly to the prospect and get an image of the person by its voice.
    • A chance to manage convincing the person when he or she tries to dismiss us.
    • In cases of dismissal, finding out when or how we can contact them again.
    • Letting us know who the person we shall contact is, if he or she is not the correct person. Perhaps even if someone is on vacation and when we can expect to be able to reach the person at work.
    • Sharing a friendly conversation and grow a ”personal” relationship – also known as, getting a like.
    • This is personal for me, but I get energy from speaking with people.
  • We are amazing speakers with a pleasant tone and voice, gaining attention. This is our call.

Cold Calling Cons

    • It is time consuming.
    • Every time we pick up the phone we inwardly cringe and literally hate it.
    • Simply we are not a good enough speaker.
    • Not quick enough to come up with spot on replies.
    • Not comfortable or have skills enough to turn the prospect’s nos into yeses.
    • The prospect might be totally busy and therefore do not listen to what great words we really tell them. They may have been interested on another day but are totally in a bad mood this particular moment when we called.
    • They forget who we are five seconds after hanging up and will not remember our services two days after when realizing it is precisely what they need for their company.
    • They mark us as a seller at once and do not want to continue hearing because of the bad reputation many sellers has dragged down into the mud. Therefore believing we only want to fool them.
    • They get no chance to regret their response by checking up what we really are about before agreeing to meeting us/buying from us.
  • Gatekeepers that refuse letting us pass.

Just a few mentioned in each category. Surely there are tons of positive views and negative views on each. Some people urge that cold calling is timeless. It always works and always will work. That it will remain the best way to reach out to new potential clients.

On another hand. Some bosses believe email pitching is the new revolutionary thing in technology and that cold calling is as good as dead. They think this is the kinder version to costumers and that every seller manages to get the word out to more costumers.

So really – what is my personal opinion?

Many buildings appear like coming straight out of a movie. 

My Story

I have worked as a door to door salesman. It was fun, I learned to become quick-witted and rather ballsy. Utterly daring and outgoing, totally crushing my reputation as a shy girl and I loved every moment spent on work. Interacting with clients was fun and every car ride out to a neighborhood left me with a rushing wave of happiness.

Back in my home country I figured out one thing. I quickly knew working within telemarketing would not be something for me. Sitting beside a phone in front of a computer or notebook, dialing calls every hour awake to talk, talk and talk. Because my voice has never been my greatest strength. I do not want to sit here and say my tone sucks, but rather that my writing skills and interacting face to face are two of my attributes I know give higher results. Thereof the analyzed decision to actually become a door to door salesman.

As I later chose my work at this commercial real estate firm, working for their database – my responsibility was to be ”head” responsible for expanding the department regarding all suppliers getting involved when a company moves. I never want to speak bad of an employment, so this was just a mere misunderstanding during our interviews. Probably because my boss was an amazing talker in the phone and that it never crossed his mind that everybody clearly is not. Me included. So when I brought up the question if I would work as a ”booker”, or had to pitch on phone, I got the reply no. Feeling relieved after the clear words ”You will simply head from meeting to meeting holding a business presentation,” I thought, ”This sounds too good to be true. How easy!”. Well, it was kind of too good to be true. – Also a note to why I will ask straight for what responses and expectations employers will have for me before signing contracts in the future.

Rather quickly it came out that those meetings would be appointments I would book for myself. Alright. With a twitched nose I examined the front-page of Google and realized I would have to find every single client myself. And contact them. My boss wanted me to call them. As I tried so, clearly outside my comfort zone, I was taken as a salesman the prospect absolutely did not want anything to do with. I tried, I tried and I tried. I got an appointment here and there but it was simply not working. I tried to find some coaching and eventually turned to my boyfriend for advice (as he literally is the best motivating coach with good inputs when it comes to sales as a person possibly can be).

Doing these calls over and over again, fearing dismissals (as I struggle with fearing failure…) I was yet determined I would make this, that I would succeed. That is how I work. Whatever mission I take under my arms is something I am determined to finish, following the saying “Don’t start what you can’t finish.” However this was not a working strategy from my part and I decided to send out a few emails. Just a few. I googled around for good information in how to shape the pitch email and eventually I got my first respond.

I remember the shock on my face as I returned from the office room surrounded by glass, completely silent to shut out any noise and any other chatting seller. This time my heart raced as I saw the notification and surely, a prospect wanted to set an appointment with me! Instead of jumping around the office yelling ”I told you so!” I was quick to analyze what I did right here. Why did this particular client answer and how can I repeat receiving yeses? Soon I found my perfect email pitch and sent it out, turning my rate of getting a yes by every 7th phone call to get a yes from 75-90% of all emails I sent out.

Soon I had gotten courage enough to even dial the rest 10-25% and wonder why they had not answered or why they said no, sometimes leading to another appointment anyhow. My confidence was on top and suddenly I began filling my calendar with meetings. Talk about feeling proud as I did right then and there.

The funniest part was a particular one. I had called him probably around five times by this time in late spring. I had tried so many times to tell him that I wanted to set up a business meeting with him. Rather rudely, he neglected me each time and rarely let me finish. When coming out from an appointment I see not only the response from him to my email, but that he had called me three times! He wanted an appointment with me that badly! The person who was rude to me, that I had begged to meet five times now suddenly almost took a cab straight to my office just to see me?!

One time later at the day we had planned on having a meeting, he showed me around the company. Which in fact most of the clients do when I am welcomed to their office, building or factory. The grand tour, so to speak, when they show everything and I get a few samples of coffee, furniture advice or office items to bring home with me. Not only was the appointment a true success, me totally clicking with the owners, the CEO and the head of marketing in this conference room. One of them even drove me back to my office in his private car. Right then when jumping out of it, I thought of how ironical the scenario turned from being unpleasant to a complete positive and happy success. Just because I actually tried a different way. The email pitch.

My Conclusion

My opinion is that every salesperson should take a few moments to think about which parts of us that are the strongest. Ask ourselves: What am I good at, and what am I less good at? The reason is not to never do what we are bad at, but simply knowing where to focus for ultimate result – if that is the goal. Another thing can be to try out both ways to see which fits the seller the best. It may not always be the one he or she thinks. Additionally I would like to say that an excellent coach may be to good help and make a seller confident in one of the areas if he or she feels unsure about emails/calling. A good coach is also crucial for success.

For me, it ended up with emails when reaching out to absolute new clients and phone calls when re-connecting with them. If I really needed a meeting quickly and I had no time to wait for a response, then I would just pick up the phone and dial until the hour I had free was set. Simple as that. My actual strong thinking is that we should not be conservative here and say that one way is the right way. Really, try both in each situation as to what fits us. Also, looking over what type of costumer we are contacting can be a good idea. An IT company may spend more time in front of a computer (making them look over emails more AND even prefer getting an email rather than a pushing seller on the phone) than a marketing boss of an event bureau who just loves to talk to people straight away. Do we see the point?

I hope this helped you out if you were this confused salesman or saleswoman wondering what your call was. Analyze your skills and try out both ways until you know what works for you!

Love, Emelena

5 AMAZING WAYS TO NAIL THAT PERFECT ONE SHOT

Snapping a few pictures outside the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. What a place!

Good afternoon! Today we can discuss the matter of how to write the perfect one shot. Let’s heaten up an afternoon tea or brew a hot cup of coffee. This winter weather, darkness and chilly air, definitely causes me to urge remaining inside, bunkered up in the couch with a fireplace in front of me. Together we can evolve and grow as writers as we dig into this topic of one shots. Welcome Thursday!

What is a One Shot?

A one shot in the fanfic world is often much shorter than a multichapter story (in words). It is one page/one chapter. Instead of being about a long journey, it is rather about a scene or event in that journey. Pick one moment and dig into it. A notable explanation of a one shot may not only tell in the two words, but also to call it a teaser. When being desperate for a movie or program on TV, we may find snippets of it on YT. This is a clip, a teaser, to attract us to the full story. A little bit towards this is what a one shot is. Except that a one shot is so much more – but it is good to head for this direction. It makes it clearer for us to understrand how to think when structuring and planning our one shots.

1. A-B

Of course, every story goes from A-B. However in a one shot, I suppose we can define it as clearer. It is easier to spot the A spot heading for B. A defined start and B destination. While naturally longer stories should have this too, a one shot really needs this. A good plan is useful. When we decide to write a one shot, the first thing we should do is to sit down and note what the event is. What do we want to achieve when writing this? What is the purpose? When we go from A to B, it is important to notice that there are only two letters here. We are not going from A to D and pass stops such as B and C. No, we simply go from A to B, meaning we shall know what is not necessary to have in our story.

One example when writing fanfics can be to avoid “unecessary” characters and OC ones. Further so, we should be very careful in how we write the summary (again). As the summary is the first impression, we shall avoid writing about OC’s there specifically.

The problem with bringing an OC into a one shot is that it usually requires us to give a bit of information about the person. It can put the reader on a sidetrack and a one shot does not really give room for a sidetrack. Not that wide at least. A one shot should be as concise as possible. Only bringing up the most important things. If there is a line we can delete and still get to the point, then we should. While this is a rule for longer stories it is extra crucial in a short story such as a one shot. There is simply no room to confuse a reader. While we must not misunderstand that for keeping the readers on an edge and on the thrill, there is a difference as to babble about irrelevant stuff.

We can sum this up by comparing a wide picture being a muli chapter story, and as we zoom in to investigate a tiny part of the picture – we find the one shot.

2.Can This be a One Shot?

This is a question of both our ability to prioritize and what kind of potential a story has. If we have an idea and really feel the many elements we want to devour, then perhaps we should try our wings on a longer story. If we have this grand idea to a story and a partly additional one, but not enough ideas to a fullenght multichapter story – then we can consider writing two one shots instead. Like a followup or something of the first one. But trying to force a story out of a one shot may not work, and we can have that in mind.

The best one shots that I have read have made sense. I have seen that either way there is a real great deal of planning to lay the story out like that, or, the author has a great talent of connecting elements in its head. To increase our chances of achieving this effect, I think we should put a bit more time to actually plan our story. To structure it and maybe note down the dialogue as well. If there is no dialogue, write the important elements that we want in this piece of moment.

I would say that one of the hardest things we face here is definitely to learn to prioritize. Is it worth it to write a partly well multichapter story because we think the idea has potential of a one shot+ rather than cutting it down into an amazing plain one shot? I have several times set aside ideas of a multichapter story as I have realized that having it down to a one shot would result in a much better and entertaining story. It would give more to the readers compared to expanding it into a longer one.

3.Read Other One Shots

By reading other one shots we will gain experience. We will grow and learn as readers. What is good, what works and what does not work that well? It will make it partly easier for us to spot dos and don’ts when we write our own stories. We will notice further what one shots we remember, those who leave a trace of a mark within us. To learn a rhythm through this type of text. What we like and what we like less. We may get inspiration as well, but most of all I think reading other one shots is one of the greatest lessons when it comes to learn writing our own. That is to come after writing one shots, of course.

We can compare those we read to our own. If they are about the same lenght, is there any unneccessary written, etc? By observng others mistakes and successes, we may learn a bit ourselves.

4.Lacking That Little It

To create a memorable one shot we really must have that one little it. In a multichapter story we are grateful for many thrilling events, but a one shot is… a one shot. One shot. One chance. We do not really have the time to build up like in a multichapter. We can create this make a grand ending, but it definitely requires a bit more of us, or simply in a different way, than the requirements would have been in a longer story.

As the one shot is one chapter, we do only have one chapter in giving the setup, opportunity, change of plans, point of no return, major setback and climax. Everything goes into a chapter and it really says it all: Consise. This is probably the reason I am often left impressed by writers delivering many well written one shots. That they manage well to see what is important to keep and what can we afford to erase. What balance do we need in revealing information and what can we let remain untold. While in a longer story it is amazing to always think like this too, but there is a bit higher level of acceptance in wrong doings.

5. Sum Up – Deliver Emotionally

Most of all. Those stories that we do tend to remember are those which deliver emptionally. Those who leave us feeling something. It can be stress, relief, pain, love, sadness, hatred, happiness. But they do twist something in us and that is why we remember them. It is said that we remember people by how they made us feel. It is the same with stories. We remember them by how they made us feel. I can raise my hand to this myself, as I know I can return to stories only by the want of reliving the emotion I had when reading the story the first time. I suppose it is the same with music and movies as well. We seek what we want to experience emotionally. Really, a thoughtful saying from the bottom of my heart. My own words to you.

Love, Emelena

WHAT’S IN THE FUTURE FOR PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN?

This is one of those lovely evenings where I listen to Ennico Morricone – Once Upon a Time in the West (gah, what a piece of sound!). I am awaiting my amore’s arrival as he has been away in Poland with his job. I bunker up with a box of dark chocolate pralines I bought in Copenhagen (my boyfriend gave me a surprise weekend to the capital of Denmark), I put on the socks my maternal grandmother has knitted for my cold Norwegian winters, and, I am all set for watching my absolute favorite movie. From Pirates of the Caribbean. Is this not just such a fascinating bunch of movies?

What’s in the Future for Pirates of the Caribbean?

Being the die hard Pirates of the Caribbean fan I am, I thought it would be suitable with a review. Even if it happens to be almost a year after Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge. When browsing internet it seems as if fans are quite parted regarding opinions of the followups. Everyone appears to be on the same page about The Curse of the Black Pearl, the first one. This is a clear favorite. But when we go over to the second, third, fourth and even fifth, the audience is quite divided.

Some prefer the first, fourth and fifth – and the other half seems to enjoy more of the first, second and third. Maybe the fifth as well. I do love all movies, and can watch them several times. Anyhow, instead of dwelling which movie is better than the other one, I thought about considering what’s in for the future. It seems as if Carina Smyth/Barbossa’s actress has signed contract for the sixth installment (from Wikipedia and IMDB sources). An interesting input and her character is very much in time. Being an astronomer and horologist, a woman with her own willpower, it seems fitting for 2018/19. A trend going and a trend I hope will stay forever.

Then again, I think Elizabeth Swann’s character alongside Angelica Teach are quite modern too, in this sense. Elizabeth Swann has the apparent character development of growing from a wealthy and proper Daddy’s girl into a pirate captain. Kind of gentle but with a decisive tone. Angelica Teach is fighting off Jack in most parts, and even though she decides to give up her life for her father, I find her modern as well. She does locate herself at edges and has her own character development of going from becoming a nun into – sí – a pirate. A person who has obeyed to a person who rules.

But now, we discuss the last installment, Salazar’s Revenge or as I know it – Dead Men Tell No Tales. How it ended and what we can expect in the future. Do you have any ideas? I have some theories. So far I have not found a storyline for the sixth movie, therefore I dare taking wild shots in guessing the following outcome. However, I have heard a funny rumor of the main character being the son of Jack and Angelica. Who knows.

Storyline

Dead Men Tell No Tales has a plot with Captain Jack Sparrow (would I be a fan if I forgot the title?). Now, Henry Turner, son of Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner is a grown man, still missing his cursed father. As we know from At World’s End (III) Will is doomed to run a ghost ship, pretty much. And Henry wants his father ”to come home.” He knows of Poseidon’s Trident, which is hidden somewhere and he needs this to be able to break the curse. In the triangle Jack has sunken Captain Salazar’s ship ages ago. Now when Jack trades his compass for (what else?!) a bottle of rum – the compass releases the mountain walls and Captain Salazar is no longer trapped in there. He obviously wants to avenge Jack (when is Jack not hunted to pieces?).

So Jack wants to find the trident too, to break this curse. Alongside all of this, Jack and Henry are in search for the trident. They pretty much side with Carina with them who wants to find it too, mostly for her father’s sake. She is an orphan and wants to honor her father. Now all three share this matter in a wish of finding the trident. All the while Salazar specifically wants to take Jack down.

Fun Facts

  • Apparently the faces Jack sees when facing the guillotine and is about to be executed are the Norwegian directions Espen and Joachim. Personal opinion: Yes, I find it too cool that I happen to not only live in Norway where they come from, but live literally two streets away from their office. Is this bragging or just extreme fangirling?
  • Mullroy and Murtogg are back! Yay, the funny men guarding the harbor in The Curse of the Black Pearl. If we remember those two gullible men Jack easily talks out of watching his every move. Loved those two and they were equally in character in this movie. I am totally giving points to whoever suggested and accepted having these two back. They surely have their place in the movie series and bring a bit of comedy to the film.
  • Elizabeth Swann is the mother of Henry. But in real life, the age difference between the actress and actor is merely four years! Henry is a perfect fit though. I dare to say I think he even looks like a possible offspring from a blend between Mrs and Mr Turner. He does look a bit like Elizabeth.

What’s In For the Future? 

Clearly when checking on reddit and diverse forums, people have their ideas. So far I have yet not come across an idea that actually works. As a result of seeing After Credits, where we see a shadow of what seems to be Davy Jones visiting Will and Elizabeth at night, people discuss his return. At first we think it was all a dream, as Will wakes up. But there are barnacles on the floor, revealing that surely someone was indeed there.

Some people also consider a fact of Barbossa returning, once again coming back from the dead. I wondered about this idea and had to google it. It seems as if the actor neglects the idea somewhat, commenting that it would be more true and honest if his character actually died this time. Mostly because it makes a stronger impact on the fact that this first antagonist character actually has a heart, as he died for the cause of his newfound daughter. And I agree to this. Even if I would love to have him return, as his character is totally EPIC. In a way, his legacy does live on. Carina is an interesting character and I am glad she got as much room in Dead Men Tell No Tales as she actually did. It was perfect.

In the ending scene Jack sees Will and Elizabeth’s reunion. Something which seems to bother his ego and he gets slightly upset over the fact that a lady has not been swept off her feet for him, he refocuses his attention forward and says that he has a ”rendezvous beyond my beloved horizon.” According to IMDB this means a meeting, ”usually prearranged with a friend.” Some think this hints him encountering Barbossa again, saving his butt from the locker. Some also point out a true translation and definition is that this refers a romantic encounter.

I wonder if that can be though. Not only letting Barbossa Mister Actor’s thoughts in consideration, but to think of the storyline. Would it be too repetitive if we brought him back? In a sense, I would be delighted to have him back. And for me, a Pirates of the Caribbean movie cannot really be bad. Unless they kill off Angelica, that is to say. I love and sympathize too much with her to accept her leaving the franchise.

Many Willabeth fans (aye, I checked the ff network), obviously wants more of Will and Elizabeth. Elizabeth with her cameo in this previous movie and Will both having scenes in the first and third act. But I wonder what storyline possibly could bring them back in? What shall happen in case to throw these two lovebirds back into the game? Theories are infinite, but I cannot really come up with many ideas myself. Some wonder if now the curses are all broken, then so is Davy Jones and that is why he is back. But does this still really work? Can we truthfully support this theory?

A lot of movie franchises though seem to forget about small details making the storylines not work perfectly well together. In fact, now when I think about it, it appears to be more of a rule than exception that something quite is not following up in the storyline. Often, there is this trouble with math. How old is this character if he was five in the last movie and now five years has passed in the movie. Can he be sixteen then? Oh, yes, he can. We will go with that one!

So, in how many routes I try to draw in my notebook, I still cannot come up with a reasonable excuse to rightfully bring Barbossa back. However, there may be a genius out there thinking of ideas I have not come across. I will never close the door. Right now, it remains ajar. I will wait until I sit in the movie theatre enjoying the sixth installment, for sure. One can never know, right?

What is My Personal Idea of What Happens in the Following Movie? 

Well, we should of course consider this after credits scene. After all, someone was visiting Will and Elizabeth. And it did, in fact, look like Davy Jones.

Then there is this with Syrena and Philip. Will this French actress return or did they have a happy ending in the fourth movie, On Stranger Tides? Is there more of them in the future, or are we settled and happy with how their story so far has ended?

Carina, which actress has signed a contract for one more movie, I do wonder what she has in mind. Will she now try to take over Barbossa’s fleet? Maybe? She seemed proud to be a Barbossa in the end after all. Perhaps she is off out on the oceans to discover treasures or following maps. But then, how does this work with Henry?

Henry has accomplished what seems to have been a very dedicated life goal. He has brought his father back home. Now what? He was a sailor before, but quite a troublemaker. Fortunately that, or else he may not have had such an adventure he indeed did have. The question I muse on is what we can see of him in the future. Is he by blood a true pirate or is he a good noble man? Or both, like Will Turner?

There is good old Jack. Now with a compass not working. Oh, my apologies, now it actually works. But like a normal one and it does not point into the heading of what we want the most. So, as the ending words declared he is off to meet a friend. Which friend? In Tortuga? It cannot be Gibbs right? Since Gibbs was behind him on the Pearl. I can be Barbossa, after all. And it can be Angelica. I mean, yes, Jack knows a lot of people but he does not seem to be a friend to all. More likely that he has upset an awful amount of people trying to chop his head off. Therefore I only find two possible friends if not regarding his father, uncle or unknown friend we have not met yet.

And then, there is Angelica. Voodoo queen on a deserted island claiming she was pregnant before Jack left. What can we see in a future movie? She has a voodoo doll of Jack. Will she do anything with it? Can we expect a return with this character? I sure hope so, because she if any character does put Jack in its’ place. I think her character causes a development in Jack’s character. Jack actually puts another one’s needs in front of his own. Think of that. Narcissistic Jack is putting someone else as prior.

So, the interesting part is this fact of the curses broken. Are they broken? In that case, how come we got to see a glimpse of Davy Jones returning? How does this puzzle work out? And if they are broken, does that mean Angelica’s voodoo doll does not work too? All curses? Will a sixth installment be about non-fantasy piracy or have the developers come up with an idea to walk around this information of ”no working curses”?
What do you think?

Another interesting quest; what will the new villain be like? Who will he or she be? A made up character or based on myth? I see popularity go among fans to see Captain Hook. But, would that not be to involve Peter Pan’s fairytale into Pirates of the Caribbean? Like a crossover? Or have I missed something here? So many questions and unfortunately not too many answers. The only thing I do know so far is that I will see more of Captain Jack Sparrow and Carina Barbossa. Surely I would bet my money to see Henry Turner, Joshamee Gibbs and Scrum as well. Then I could only hope to see more of Angelica Teach, maybe Hector Barbossa and Willabeth.

Regardless, I look forward to the sixth one no matter what.

Love, Emelena

4 MORNING ROUTINE TIPS THAT BENEFIT A WRITER

Early awake in my parents’ home. This weekend trip fitted me perfectly as my partner is in Warszaw with his work. I just love mornings like these and could definitely imagine staying here for a bit longer. There is something very special about an early morning, spending it in silence and the sensation of peace. As I am a person who in the majority of my teens would sleep almost until afternoon (!), I nowadays proudly will go up between 4-5 am even on weekends. Here, we can go through the benefits and perhaps explain why this phenomenon is a bit hyped. What we can achieve by doing this and how it can help us as writers.

Grab a cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa (we are in the mid of November) and let’s dig into this topic together. The benefits of waking up early and setting up a good morning routine that works which as positive consequence can favor us.

1. Set Goals and Plans the Day Before

It actually starts the day before. Preparation is key to a good following day, according to my say in this. To be able to optimize the other day, I suggest us to start planning it the night before. This way, we may not only be somewhat more eager to start it, but we know in details of what will be required of us, how it will dissolve and further what goals we have.

A simple to-do list is sufficent. We note down what our musts are for the other day, and maybe even schedule tasks in detail of hours. One thing here is to be able to prioritize. There is no use to write everything from the world and back, but rather focus on a few tasks. Mentally it takes a lot to be able to face an almost similar to-do list the following day, as a result of us not being able to accomplish as much as we thought. Personally I think it is better to write fewer tasks which I will be able to accomplish, and perhaps a bonus in the corner of the paper if I manage to be in position for reaching out to another goal. This will rather result in a confident boost instead of feeling disappointment of not accomplishing what I was supposed to do. Also, this may bring down the stresslevel somewhat. Because now we now what will be required of us tomorrow. We will imagine the processes and also achieving the goals. There will be nothing to really memorize in the back of my head and have a stressful sleep if we instead note it down on a piece of paper, preferably an A4 blank paper for each day.

I suggest us writing a checklist before bedtime where we finish the dishes, make a quick-clean and in general do what we can to not feel heavy when waking up the following day.

A newly purchased pineapple lamp and a vanilla scented candle. Level of cosiness high.

2. Start the Morning at 5 AM (Or Earlier)

Many people claim waking up at 5 am is lifechanging. Even the skeptical me has to agree upon this matter. Waking up at 5 AM has shown been benefitting in many different ways. It may be very tough in the beginning but let’s go through the pros together.

– More time in the morning – the obvious one. A few more hours offer us more time to prepare ourselves for the day. Whether it be putting on make-up, having a longer shower or whatever events we tend to have in the early moments. Instead of stressfully jump around the bedroom as we try shoving our legs into those jeans – we can in a more relaxed manner get dressed. Instead of opening the bottle of juice and drink directly, we have time to sit down neatly and enjoy a heartly breakfast. Instead of quickly giving our significant other a peck on the lips, we may have time to share a conversation. Instead of throwing half the world inside our bag and even so forget that important paper, we can take our time to carefully go through what we put in our bag. Better would of course be to pack our bag beforehand on the night before. The emphasis I want to point out is that we have time to fully prepare ourselves, mind and body for the day. We get to let things take the time that they do.

– I have heard about the psychological effect as well. That when we do this, chances are higher we feel a rush of discipline. This is something I want to agree with. I certainly do feel more disciplined when waking up around 5 AM or earlier. Additionally, one common psycological effect is the sensation of leadership. This comes with the feeling of being awake before “everyone else.” One thing though that I like to mention is that we shall not really compare ourselves to others. It is much better if we just realize the positive effects of waking up early within ourselves.

– In these early morning hours, there will be less distractions than later in the day. As the majority of the world has not woken up yet, we are more alone at this moment. We can use it to our advance by doing some of those important tasks or goals we set up the night before. When completing them, chances are we will feel a rush of pride as by 8 o’clock we may think “The day hasn’t even started yet and already I am halfway through to completing all my goals for today!”. This excitement may also push us to a level of really beliving in our discipline, like; we have already proven what we can, so why should not the rest of the day result likewise? A major confident boost, is it not? A following event can be to go through the list and see what we already have done and what we will have to face within the near time capsle. It is lovely to cross and check that line which has bothered us for a while. Now it is finally done.

– There have been many discussions of people claiming that one is more productive during the morning. Mostly because we have lots of energy after a night’s sleep. Also, when we have a “deadline” of wrapping up before going to work – we know we have to put 100% in whatever we do to be able to finish. More effective work, that is to say. The line of being more energized is something I want to repeat again, as when we wake up we tend to feel more excited of life itself.

Love eating vanilla “yoghurt” from Alpro together with cinnamon and frozen berries. 

3. A Morning Routine That Works

So, what we need is a longterm goal. Set for example a goal of writing a screenplay but we never really prioritize the time that it takes. Note that this works for whatever writing goal we may have.

First, we need to define our goal.

Then we decide a moment during the day when we will sit down with a pen and paper to form our dream morning. What is required to achieve this longterm goal? How many minutes or hours are realistic to devote to this goal in the morning?

Can we possibly squeeze in a bit of reading, exercise and mental peace as well? These three is according to me the most important tasks of all.

From at least 5 AM – the moment when we leave, we are free to design our routine. We picture ourselves in our imagination doing all of this.

Always a good book around, and snacks. 

4. Sticking to the Routine

Sticking to the routine WILL be EASIER if we prepare the night before. Really, it makes it easier not to push that snooze button and just go out of bed. We can also lay out the gym clothes and fill a bottle of water which is in the refrigerator, prepare a breakfast and also charge the laptop with battery the night before. Also, making mood boards, dreams and a journal  – laying out the to-do. 

What I do:

  •  I prepare coffee the night before so I can just press the “brew” maker right at once with a partly open eye in the morning.
  • Water of bottle is prepared in the cold fridge.
  • Gym clothes are laid out and a podcast is waiting in my phone.
  • 4 – 4.30 my alarm goes. I brew my coffee at once and enjoy it in the darkness beside my boyfriend. Sometimes I sit beside my windows to view the street.
  • 4.45 I am dressed and go to the GYM.
  • 5.45 I am home again after a workout where I have pumped my mind with a positive thinking podcast. Very important that I do not check regular social media (but only positive thinking accounts) and ignore the news.
  • After a quick shower and breakfsat, I sit down and read in silence (a bit of snoring from my boyfriend of course). This to feel how my brain works and loves to take in information, imagine a little and simply get new impressions. This usually makes me to want to write myself, which leads me to do so.
  • By 7.30 I am ready to leave for my day to day job and then I have written a bit on my online business and read a bit, exercised and I am pumped on positive energy. Additionally I have gotten a confidence boost by feeling high on self discipline that I almost bounces to work, ready to kick ass.:-)

Now, as we saw on my to-do list of the day; I need to wrap my things up as I am heading out with Mom to a Christmas Market. This will be a lovely Sunday.

Love, Emelena

The Best Pros of a Classic Notebook

 

Benefits of a Notebook

While some people will evolve with new technology, not only preferring to download an ebook but fancy filling their electronic calendar with pretty notes – there are some of us others left. We, those who really enjoys drawing an old-fashioned inc pencil over a paperwork notebook. Just like people have for decades, if not centuries. After having this extraordinary love for notebooks, I decided to share how it actually can boost our productivity and help our lives. Even regarding the disadvantages I do find apparent to these lovable items.

Now, grab a cup of coffee and share this Thursday with me. Let’s look forward to a peaceful weekend and maybe even drop by a local book shop to buy ourselves an old fashioned notebook!

Never Runs out of Battery – Did you forget to press the bottom ’save’?

Have we not all experienced this? We are sitting in a classroom, perhaps in a so-called computer room. The teacher is walking among us with a watchful gaze, and we have a very important school project we have worked on for so long. And this afternoon we decide to press the sunny tempting weather going on outside, to the back of our minds. Suddenly five minutes before deciding to print this school work out – the computers crash. It may even just freeze. Just something makes us too, freeze. Freeze in horror as we realize our work is not yet saved and we are going to have to redo all the information, formatting and writing we have accomplished so far. Inwardly we scream about what an idiot we were to not save this in time. And depending on anger issues, we may even consider throwing the computer out the window.

It seems as if most people need to make this mistake at least once (or a couple of hundred of times) until we learn from it. Quite, nothing is as frustrating as when effort has been at one hundred percent and we finally are seeing the light in the tunnel. And then it is all erased. We are back at square one. If we cannot grab the class’ computer hacker, we must face that he is at home this day, calling in sick and we must just restart the computer without having our precious work back. Tough life.

Now, with the negative outcome here, this does not happen with a simple and plain notebook. Obviously there is no save bottom to be pressed. On the other hand, a notebook is very vulnerable when it comes to rain, water in general and definitely fire. However, a computer would be too. But typically, one does not use a laptop over the head when running from the front gate door to the bus station. There is a greater risk we may fumble up the jewel notebook and keep our faces somewhat drier by using it as a sheltering umbrella.

To Do Lists and Notes

The first I do every single morning, if we dismiss the idea of coffee, it is to open up a brand new page. I note down what I must accomplish the day and I may already have a few lines written from the day before. If I have not had time to finish them by the late hours of yesterday that is to say. Naturally they will transfer over to the next page. In a way, I feel more productive when I get to grab a proud hold on the pencil a few hours later just to cross some of the lines. There is this self esteeming sensation inside me which grows when I get to do so. As if I really am a doer and not a talker. At least, this is the outcome such a ”tiny” task actually does to me.

Of course, nowadays I have also discovered the nice system within the notes system in Mac computers. I need to admit that I do feel enthralled when I get to block the lines I have empty for checks. I suppose this goes hand in hand with an urge of feeling like I really take a step forward every single day.

Otherwise I use this for writing plots to fanfics, screenplays and goals. What goal do I have for this week, this day, this month, year or lifetime? Before, I used to have these little bookish diaries and using post-it notes for what to buy from the grocery stores. Although I keep doing this in between, my main focus is the previous stuff. In a sense, I think it is easier to concentrate when using a classic notebook rather than a computer.

Focus
 
If we neglect the possibility of emptying battery resulting in us jumping ninja-style down the staircase in search for a charger, there are tons of distraction sections a computer offers versus a notebook. Yes, we may have interesting parts in our notebooks, specifically if we have dug out an old dusty one from 2010 we have in a moving box in the basement. But a computer typically do not only have folders with documents, it has photos from that amazing tropical vacation last year, it typically offers internet and all social media there are. News, blogs, videos and what else does not a computer give us? Pretty much everything. I was just going to suggest food, but then I remembered that we nowadays can order food online straight to the door within an hour, so… Yes. 
 
When I bring up my notebook with those bent overused edges, I immediately get into a mood of focus. There are less distractions and all I can think of is the written words and what goes on in my imagination. Which often is a dramatically comedic story as I try to plot it all out in my notebook. It is so nice to just write and write when I get into this flow. It is as if the pencil is living its own life and I can go on forever until it is almost three o’clock in the morning and I receive an upset glare by the little light still on to help my eyes out. 

Memories
 
Sure, when reaching those last pages of a notebook, it should be set aside to the trashcan (recycling one). That is to speak if we are done with the notebook. If there are a few pages left which I have noted on but have not worked with regarding unwritten stories, I just tear them from the book and put them in the next one. They will be loose but surely among new ideas I will write down. 
 
Sometimes I may be better and sometimes worse at this whole thing ”throwing” notebooks. When I lift out my box filled with notebooks I sometimes get slightly nostalgic, finding notes from 2009 about fanfic ideas from my first fandom. Even at points I can get baffled at what ideas I had, sometimes impressed and at points embarrassed. At least it is fun to see how my personal opinions have grown and what type of characters I am most pleased to develop. I thought I was all grown and knew it all by what age I was in back in those days. Turns out… I apparently did not. And it makes me know that I will probably grow a lot from the person I am today, even if I must embrace her now as well. 
 
Easier to Design
 
Yes, with an inc pencil it is not easy to change our minds. ”Oh, crap, that is a sentence I regret or want to change.” I do not really have to reveal that what we must do is to rewrite the sentence below, draw a line over the previous one or fill in with words. Basic stuff I dare to think an elder toddler must know of. But, I want to point out this part of drawing lines between sections, maybe even paint a little house or a filled heart somewhere on the page. Put arrows a bit everywhere as to emphasize what we mean a bit extra. Yes, the options are enormous and surely as of today, we get to do most of this at the notes on our computers too. But, yet a but, it takes longer time than just moving our pencil a bit differently for half a moment. We do not really have to search in menus to find an icon looking like a pencil or so to do this. 
 
I think that if someone would open one of my notebooks, their eyebrows would raise higher on their foreheads for every turning page. That not only have I stolen lyrics from the most passionate songs to quote in the beginning – I quickly go into a painted blue print of my dream house. Then I have a full page of numbers, me trying to calculate my salary or taxes, then on the third page I have different events I want to have in a fanfic. Perhaps a complete other screenplay is plotted on the following pages. Then there is a page of what I need to do during that day. On the following one we find my goals of a lifetime to again meet fanfiction writing on the next one. To make things worse, I always write my fanfiction notes in whatever language. When I talk (to myself) I mixture Norwegian, Swedish, English, Spanish and Italian. So, we can only imagine how those notes looks like. Surely, every single sentence is a mixture of all languages and unless we speak them – we will not have a clue of what they say.
 
And then at the last page I may have painted the features of my hand pressed against the paper. 

 

So to speak…
 
When someone speaks of their laptop, I agree with confessing that it is my little baby. I know my laptop better than the back of my hand. After all, it contains all of my stories which I have noted in notebooks. But a notebook is a notebook. I always bring one with me wherever I go. If I so happen to get a sudden idea that I will not have a use for a notebook while vacationing, mostly because I aim to save weight in my suitcases, I will still in the end of the day end up going to a local gift shop to buy me one. I simply cannot spend a week without a notebook. My fingers will itch until I get a pencil in my hand and a notebook to write down what ideas have come to my mind in the meantime. 
 
Only clear disadvantage I can find is the heaviness of a notebook. Perhaps not by a single one, but after a few years there will be a pile of notebooks. While a computer can search for whatever document we are searching for, I do sigh when I collapse beside the pile of notebooks. It is just to open up the one at the top and start browsing until I reach the one containing what I am searching for. Regardless, my love for notebooks remain. 🙂  Side note: Perhaps I should write a post about how to structure this? (To avoid going through them all over and over again?) Well, I know that I surely need one of those assisting texts. 
 

Love, E

6 Ways To Get More Fanfic Readers

Good morning! Thursday morning and let’s kickstart this day! First week of September and we shall embrace fall 2018 with open arms. Now, sit down and bring a hot cup of coffee while together going through the topic of today – ”How to get fanfic readers?”


How To Get Fanfic Readers?

A few days ago I stumbled across my very first written fanfic. I tried to remember if I happened to be a bored teenager with an overly dramatic sense of daydreaming, or if fanfics back then tended to be just like that. I would probably say it is a combination of both. However, the story caused me to cringe and I had barely any courage to go on reading. This is obviously also because I have written it myself, and I carry this fear any person I know would find those stories. The freedom of writing precisely what goes on in my mind caused me to create different anonymous accounts, which I later carefully examined and compared.

I noticed very fast that some stories, some categories and some OTPs are attracting way more readers than others. How can that be? Let’s dig into this and I will share what I have learned through my years of both reading, analyzing and writing fanfics.

If we are out there and struggles with getting a higher number in readers on the fanfiction sites, I think I do have some genuine advice. After creating my very first account (which account containing stories I now cringe to) – I did rather quickly get my head around about what works and what does not work. So here it goes:

Engaging Summary

This is crucial. Also, admittedly a great way of learning how to pitch stories is to pretend our fanfiction is one to sell. The summary must be engaging and attract the audience right away. I cannot emphasis the importance of writing in perfection. If we forget a letter here or there, a misspelled word or odd sentence, we give the readers a reason not to open our fanfiction already there. Because, if we cannot even manage to spell 384 words correctly, then how could we possible be able to spell a story containing thousands of words? It is simply not believable.

I know the pride, the excitement and eager when finally posting our very first fanfiction. But by writing ”First fanfiction written by me,” it will result as nothing but a fun fact. It is definitely not something that in most cases do attract readers. Because a pro is a pro, knows what it does, how to deliver and very often do – deliver. If this is our first time out – it will probably be amateurish because we are – amateurs. By writing this as early as in a summary, we surely do lose a lot of traffic without even getting a chance of showing our written story. When we read stories, we can take a moment to analyze our behavior. Chances are high others work in the same ways. ”Why waste time reading clichés and misspellings, when I can go on to a professional author with experience?”

My personal favorite, “English is not my native language.” Another statement meant to scare readers away. I go more into this in another post, but this is pretty much nothing but an excuse in a tryout of pushing aside possible comments about what a bad grammar, language or amount of typos that exist. By saying this we kind of prepare to reply to an angry reader, ”Well, I told you it wasn’t my native tongue!” Like it is the reader’s fault we cannot bring out a proper sentence. Better to step up our game if we want to try writing in another language. And if we are ready to welcome a lot of constructive criticism to grow as writers, this is perhaps the way to go. But it definitely does scare readers away.

And then we can scratch a bit on the surface about how to write a proper summary. Let’s just assume we were to summarize Titanic. Most people have seen it and knows what it is about. We present it as either:

”Two members from different social classes fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage.”

And then I turned to my boyfriend and asked how he would sum up the movie.

”Two people meet on a ship.”

Now my boyfriend is a fantastic seller, but let’s face it, if we heard these two pitches – we would pick the first movie. Not the second, even if this happens to be the same one. To summarize the story well is so important. I cannot emphasis it enough. Another classic trap is the following:

”Two people meet on a ship, and things happen.”

Even worse:

”Two people meet on a ship, and things happen. What are they going to do?!?!?!?!”

(Oh, my god. Can’t you tell me?!)

The best way according to me is to within one sentence (three tops) being able to tease the conflict of the story/the concept and in this part reveal the genre, as that should be engraved within our words. We should get a bit of the tone, feeling and not being able to browse past this story. We must feel the need to open it and check it out. This is the only task the summary has.

Concept Is Enthralling

To pull a reader straight into our stories, we must have a bomb ass concept. It should be unique and differ from all other stories. Truly, any reader would get bored reading the same concept all over again, written by various authors. It simply gets boring.

For writers strolling with imagination of coming up with new concepts, an advice can be to write the precise opposite of what others do. It creates a curiosity among the audience and surely they will click on the story and wonder what the nut we are all about and where we will bring this one.

”The graver the conflict, the better the story.”

Personally I simply love to put out a grave conflict, and make it is as profound as possible. That way I really must use my creative side of my mind and solve the problem I caused in the storyline. However, the deeper the conflict goes, the better. This is known among screenwriters and I was happy not long ago when I came across the line. It really does point out so much within a simple sentence. Pretty much what a summary also should do.

As mentioned before, conflict is the story. And shall be mentioned teasingly in the summary. Sometimes a reader will follow the ride of our story simply because of the fantastic writing. But without a fantastic concept, the chance that the readers gets bored is huge. Also, revealing a great concept in the summary gives us more opportunities to ”fail” inside the story without losing the reader.

Note: In another post, I will go on about structuring the story.

The concept saves our butt when we by mistake have a typo, miss out on a character or simply are too slow to reach the presentation of the conflict. The opening pages are a first impression (or second, as the summary is the true first impression). Do not waste that impression. Really, do not.


Obsession Over Shipping – Know What Your Readers Want

I remember how it was in my teens. I have a friend who totally shipped two characters from Harry Potter. Another one had two members of One Direction as OTP and then myself, shipping people from this adventure franchise. To know what is “hot” out there and what people obsess about, is a great factor to increase our traffic as a fanfiction writer.

Another thing to consider is whether we want to have different accounts for different categories, or if we want to have various stories from different movies/books and franchises under the very same account.

A pro regarding to stick to one category:

  • Readers who worship the same movie/book will find that we are an expert within the section, therefore bigger chance of them following us. We are niching and when they follow us they get exactly what they want, and never alerts from other stories coming from other movies they are not really interested in reading.

A con regarding to stick to one category:

  • The audience may differ from when movies are released and be less in between. This means we fall out on an audience to other books or movies that are in their prime time.

It is good to have in the back of our mind that when people obsess over their OTP, they will literally go nuts and we will become their “idol” during that time. That is to say if we manage to gain them as readers. One important thing too is to know what people obsess about when it comes to sorts of concepts and shippings (not just books etc). Because chances are higher the audience is huge within that section. Knowing what people wants is the key.

Cliff-Hangers And Surprises

By leaving every single chapter with a major cliff-hanger we may irritate a reader. Unless it is done the right way. I think something we shall just cut out at once is the “dun dun dun,” moment. Honestly, it gets too over dramatized. We need to create a page turner, but nothing is worse when the chapter is plateau until the very last sentences just to lure the reader to the following chapter.

Now, we need to surprise the reader instead. Lead the reader one way and leave clues with the creative input of making the reader not really notice the clue. When the solution comes, the reader will be surprised – and impressed of the author. Suddenly we rise in their eyes and chances are bigger they will return for our next installment.

One thing to look out for is cliché cliff-hangers. Like we cause a major problem at the end of every single chapter and easily solves it at the beginning of the next. It should go slightly (much) deeper than that. I personally think a story can get very exciting with cliff-hangers but they always have to reach a solution. I think the greatest skill of art an author has it when it leaves the end as a cliff-hanger, making readers interpret the ending as a happy one but they cannot actually say it out loud as a fact. This leaves the audience into wanting more – and according to my opinion – it is the greatest compliment.


First Impression – Let the story take off from start

As mentioned in the summary, we have a first impression to make good. Suggestion is to let the story take off from start. Knowing where we are going and remember that we are judged by the first period of our story. Of course the story shall be one hundred percent right through, but the beginning is extra important. By reaching a turning point at the start, this will engage the reader at once. If another post, I will go through turning points and how we can achieve best possible result from this guide.

To emphasis the headline – “Let the story take off.” It is rather cozy and lovely with a depicted introduction. Of how beautifully it rains and all. We get a chance to guess the character and feel the tone of both the story and the skills of the author. However, when someone skillfully brings us just right into the story in a smooth way – I am beyond impressed. This is often real page turners. The tease is even more important, but jumping off right at once to dig the conflict deeper is what usually pulls the reader into continuing reading. This way the person will not be able to open the fanfic and go “Nah,” after the first few words. A mistake would be to think that once we have pulled them into opening our fanfic, they will simply stick to the finishing line ‘just because the summary was fantastic.’

Commitment

Decide to update frequently, or at least in the loop of a certain amount of time. Readers want to know we will not leave the story hanging forever. They want to check our status every once in a while and see an actual update. There is simply no apology for updating six months later and believe we still have the crowd intently following us. They will move on, and chances are even that whatever they were shipping has passed. For a new reader finding us, they may also give us up even before starting, as they see our low activity.

Finish what we start, even if we think it sucks. We can always do our best in saving our work by changing parts of the story. Always have a notebook where we can write down the important scenes we want, certain dialogue or other crucial events in the storyline. These papers I always have beside me whenever I write, to know where I am heading and what emotions I need to build up for whatever event. If I want to achieve an intense breathtaking event by chapter 10, I always have it mind right from the very first word presented.

Another common thing is writer’s block. To avoid it or to get out of it, find it important to continue writing anyhow. If we are facing this page of our story when we feel uninspired and simply cannot put the words out right, skip it to the next chapter and write there. Eventually we will feel inspired and it will be much easier getting back and fill in the missing piece. That is what I do. If there is a part I just cannot get right, I skip it. Another thing I want to emphasis is the mental work discipline. To write even when we do not feel “motivated” or “inspired”. Sometimes we need to awaken this feeling ourselves. Also, by frequently uploading chapters – we will end up a lot on the first pages of the fanfic section. As this is the first thing many readers see when opening the site, chances are higher they will come across ours.

I also want to discuss the matter of keeping the characters in character. Some are OOC (out of character) and we may say so from the start. But nothing can be more annoying for a reader and eyerolling when finding the most stable character completely over-dramatizing. Character development however is king.

We follow the wave of our character, keep it within the lines and at the climax something makes the character go out of it in their development. Such moments make people go insane, in positive ways. They think suddenly their character did something heroic, romantic, heart-breaking or sad. It simply puts them to amazement. But by from the start making an otherwise stern iron person into an emotional wreck? While there may be someone liking this, I dare to advice that the great amount of readers will feel repellent to these types of stories. If they have a favorite character or OTP, they probably want to read about this and not a complete other thing. AU and OOC are great when clarifying it. If intending to not write an AU or OOC yet ending up like one – this does not look too good in the eye of a reader.

In the end of the day, fanfiction is as quoted “to unleash our imaginations.” But I think we owe it to each other to really do our best, do some research and put a lot of effort into this. At least if we want to publish it online for others’ enjoyment.


Now, off to write and we’ll see each other in another post next Thursday! 🙂

Love, E

8 Fanfic Mistakes Almost Everyone Faces

For some reason, it seems as fanfic readers all the time come across the very same mistakes. They are executed all over again, no matter if the fanfic is from early 2005 or written a week ago. Here they are. Throwing in an advising tone, I recommend a fanfic writer to think about them and if we may deserve to be accused of actually being guilty of this.

We are in 2018 and when by mistake coming across one of my first written fanfics, I noticed the 2010 mark. Meaning that I have been an active writer for eight years by now. Wow, time passes indeed. Therefore I would like to claim that I have my fair experience within the area and can thereby share what I have learnt when it comes to mistakes.

1. Amateur Summary
How many times have we seen the sentence: ”English is not my first language,” in the summary? What it does is that it repels readers big time. Because those words reveal that if we obviously need to excuse the language, it probably means our story will be filled with bad grammar and basically a bad flow. So I would recommend that even if so be it, do not give that away as if we are writing it on our forehead. Simply do not. First of all, we scare readers away with those words. And secondly – what do we really want to say by telling people this? If we want an excuse for bad grammar, readers in general will never approve of that anyway. If it is bad grammar or a poorly written story they do not care how much of a native speaker we are or not.
Then we have the classic every section has tons of: ”Summary sucks, but I promise my story is better. Pls read.” So, we cannot write a proper and engaging summary in three lines but somehow want to convince the reader we are capable of writing a 50k+ story that will be thrilling all through? (I may go into a proper summary and how to attract readers in another post). But nailing a perfect summary is crucial to gain the greatest size of an audience – if that is what we aim for. A poorly written summary makes people go ”Nah,” and choose another one. Right now I checked in one of the categories which I tend to work within, and found this rather quick: ”*Liza* is a 10 year old seller. She’s manipulative and knows how to win debates. What happens when she joins a certain Mr Johnson on an adventure? (Description sounds cheesy but this story is going to be awesome, I swear).
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And maybe, maybe, maybe – this story is the one which could deserve the noble prize in literature. However, after spending more than two months searching among fanfics and obsessing about whatever shipping one may have – we figure out that when an author writes something like this, chances are about 99% the story actually will suck. So for the love of God, do not ever write down this in our summaries.
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Before going on to the next example I want to point out the ”Pls read,” part. When shorting down words like that it seems slightly amateurish too. Like we are chatting with a friend in desperation. Because writing ”Please read,” is desperate. Really, it does not work. If we feel that inwardly, that please let someone read this, the best way to go is having a spot on summary that just captures the reader at once. The reader simply cannot let the story pass but just have to check it out. Now that is how to write a summary, which I also will get back to this in another post.
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Another interesting one is ”REVIEW PLEASE,” by either having this already in a summary (which I find fascinating to press a reader to review before even knowing what there is to review), or in an author’s note. Again, it seems amateurish and desperate to write such in a summary. As if we need confirmation and have a lack of acknowledgement. Like a child on a family gathering walking among every relative to show off a paining it has made. ”Look Grandma, Grandpa, Daddy, Mommy and all what I have done. Isn’t it amazing?!” and everybody has to nod in agreement even if the image only contains an ugly drawing of a house but it really looks like an alien getting killed by a tree – everybody smiles warmly and encourages the child to continue drawing this fantastically. So this is basically the same sensation when people ask for reviews this way. Of course I am alright with authors asking for reviews, but there are different ways of doing so. Writing in caps lock sounds more of a demand rather than nicely putting out that you would appreciate it. But do not forget it is up to a reader if he or she decides to leave a few words.
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”Don’t like, don’t read!” I can admit I never read these types of stories. Because what those words literally say are: My story probably stinks and I do not want you to tell me about it, I just want you to get hell out of here. I find it kind of rude and at the time I did open those I quickly learned that the author had a negative tone. Typically the story was not the best either. If we do our best and write a proper story, chances are tiny that someone will come and tell us it sucks. Not many people enjoys being mean and spreading negativity, so the risk of receiving bad critic in a review is small. Usually when losing a reader they simply just leave without notice. I can admit that the only times I have crossed negative reviews have been in stories that are totally out of character, has no story line and simply makes no sense. Unless we do that and actually try our best at giving fans a story, they will not give us hate.
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Another one to look out for when writing our summary is ”This is my first fanfic.” It is no surprise that everything requires experience and to be a pro demands a lot of trying and failing. When I check my first fanfic I do a face-palm, because it sucks. Oh dear lord what it sucks. I have no clue what the hell I am doing, yet I remember well that when I wrote it I truly believed it was a masterpiece. This still happens to me as for today. After wrapping up a fanfic and with pride putting it out there, it takes a year or so before my nose twitches. We grow quickly and always increase our skills. The first fanfic will rarely be the best we write and therefore by marketing our first fanfic as the first, is in rare cases the best idea. Compare it to soccer and you are about to begin a game. Which player would you choose? The one playing since it began to walk or the one who has never seen a football before? When a reader is in search of a story I would bet my money that this person looks for one which seems to be well executed.
Alright, now I hope we know what to avoid when doing a summary to our masterpieces. Going on to…
2. Not Coming Up With Something Unique 
Too often when going through a category/shipping we find ourselves wrapped in the same storylines all over again. Everybody writes about the same conflict and in the end of the day we cannot separate the stories we have read as they all are quite similar. Often this happens when a franchise leave with a cliffhanger and the audience interprets in a particular way. Surely it is what is popular and probably what the readers want to see as well.
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An idea can be to put our own twist on it. By that I mean that we shall twist the conflict somewhat. For example I will drive the whole moment from Fast and Furious when we at the end of Fast Five found out that Letty probably was alive – man fanfics boomed in the category – and all wanted to write the stories of when Dom hunted her down. Many got quite similar with a start of Dom finding out, him freaking out and then tracking down the captured Letty to rescue the damsel in distress (which her character actually is the opposite of). After beginning the third story we all knew what was going to happen throughout the story and really did not need to finish reading it without knowing how it will dissolve. To avoid this I suggest to plan the story out well and have a few twists and surprises to differ from the other stories aiming for the same outcome.
The best according to me are the authors who manage to bring in something completely unique. A unique concept that we can sum up in one or two sentences and put in our summary. Usually those writers tend to be the most successful ones as far as what I have come across.
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In addition, I want to bring up the importance of having a clear conflict. What is the problem? Why are we writing a story? The better the conflict is defined, the better the story. Or rather, and I quote this: ”The graver the conflict the better the story.” (Do not remember the source but snapped it up from a screenwriter). And it is true. Not many people have the energy to read a story about our favorite character simply going grocery store shopping.

3. Abandoning The Story
This unfortunately happens too often and many experienced readers may not even open our story until a few chapters into it. They may also even wait to see the response of others and if it is well received. There are just too many authors giving up on their story and leaving it hanging. I find it highly important to finish whatever we start, as it shows our commitment and that the audience can trust us. By doing so, each time we finish a story, it will result in higher rates from the beginning of our following stories. As the reader knows we will upload until it is finished and not leave it at a cliffhanger after just one chapter. Or worse – in the middle of it. To avoid this setup I like to recommend having a notebook nearby or a program on the computer where we can write a short page with notes of the complete storyline. Starting a story without a plan is according to me impossible. At least if aiming for a good outcome.
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Before we start a story it can be necessary to sit down and make a detailed plan on what we want to achieve, a little dialogue and actions, some characteristic events and highlight the climax of our fanfic. How can we build up the thrilling emotion to its maximum? Also, this keeps our authors motivated to continue writing because we are so keen on writing this particular climax and give it to our readers. And we must not feel discouraged if the readers do not pick up the story at once. But keep going and deliver a good story. Readers may find this story years after it is published and fall head over heels in love with it in the future. Therefore my recommendation of reaching the end.

4. Typos/Grammar Mistakes
Not only can too many typos and too many grammar mistakes disturb the eye of a reader. It can also cause confusion at points when it becomes another word/meaning. Look out for this!
5. Do Not Tell, Show
As easy as the title. When a character constantly speaks what it thinks or what it feels… let’s imagine that happening in a movie? Do not those type of movies suck? It leaves absolutely no mystery at all and in general it is not believable. It definitely kills the vibe and thrill of a story.
So instead of doing this, show. Show by actions that a character cares for another one. Show by its behavior what it thinks and what the opinion of something is. Describe the person’s reaction rather than letting the dialogue do all the information we get. I think any dialogue should be when we cannot possibly cause a thrill without having a bit of dialogue. I agree with the opinion that dialogue should strengthen the events rather than the opposite.

6. Jumping Into It Too Quickly/Not Have A Plan
In another post I will help out with focusing on a proper plan, but I will shorten down the basics here. I suppose we all have opened a story and thought about how this is going to be such a great read. We hit the pillow to fluff it and let our back sink into it while keeping the phone, iPad or whatever readable item in a strong grip in front of our eyes. We have just come across the greatest summary, just what we searched for! But after the first few pages the story has reached its peak and the rest is plateau. It is apparent that the author misses a plan and just creates a bit of ”local” unnecessary drama and as result the storyline becomes worse than boring.
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Unfortunately, this seems to be not so uncommon. In fact I cannot count how many times I have met these… It is such a disappointment. Every time I notice that I have just faced yet another one of those stories I make a mental note to perhaps send this particular author a notebook and a working inc pencil. I cannot stress the importance of proper planning.
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Jumping into the climax of the story too quickly kills the thrill. With this, if we are writing a love story of an OTP, the readers probably want a good exciting story that keeps them on the edge of their seats. They cannot wait for that special kiss or when they finally end up together. Then it becomes too bad when we give them what they want right from start. Because when we have reached it there is no real point in continuing the story.
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An example from the daily life. We are hungry. We long for food. So we sit down on a restaurant and there are two hours until the main course is served. We are given small pieces of bread in the meantime to keep us there. So we will probably sit there those two hours in anticipation of this main course plus the hour in addition to finish the plate. Versus if we enter and sit down, get served right at once and we are probably out in half an hour. Do you see the connection I try to make? It is the same with writing. Because I dare to guess not many people will sit there for two and half hours just to stare after feeling full and the plate has gone to the dishes. Right?
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This also joins the problem of some authors writing either too long stories or too short chapters. Some writers just love the idea of going several hundreds of thousands of words and present new conflict after conflict. While some can be a cozy little soap opera episode kind of like, some stories just get tiring. We need to try to define what we want to deliver and say (again, referring to having a plan).
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Not much becomes more frustrating than short chapters. We can easy tell when an author wants to fish for reviews and I suppose splitting a story into more chapters ”than necessary” is a way to go. However it kinds of make one snap out of the the trance from the story when we constantly have to switch page. Some writers give chapters of 10k+ in words. I suppose that in my opinion the perfect chapter contains between 2000-10 000 words. But really, there is no right or wrong and everybody does of course as it pleases. Although if it can be to any help, writing too short are not even always within the guidelines on several fanfic sites. And another note from experienced readers is that the first impression of the author’s story can get destroyed by the thought of wondering how much an author really can manage deliver in such short chapters. Just a note!

7. Over-Describing A Character
A wild guess – when a reader comes across our story and has clicked on it, chances are high that this person is obsessing over a shipping. He or she is going through a period of time when he or she will spend nights awake reading fanfics until sunrise. Maybe even forgetting to eat (not good!) that when someone calls that dinner is ready, this person will bring it on a plate into its bedroom to bunker up. This means that it probably knows all about the characters and the universe, unless we write an AU (Alternative Universe). Spending several paragraphs depicting every single little detail of a character or environment are two unnecessary things. It is here among tons of other rules that an original story differs from a fanfic.
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One typical thing when describing the overly hot character is telling the reader about what kind of clothing the character wears, what make-up or hairstyle etc. Remember that ”hot” is defined in various ways. As they say, attractiveness lays in the viewer’s eye. One afternoon when I for example sat on a beach near the ocean on a towel, I was reading a fanfic that had caught my fullest attention every free minute I had over during the past days. Suddenly out of nowhere the author decides to inform about how this hot well known character looks like. Note that it did not precisely agree to how it looks in the movies. As the author presumably described the hottest version of this one, I could not agree less and had to stop reading. Because it completely destroyed the mental picture I had over the story.
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Therefore I register to describe them with cautious fingers typing on the keyboard. Just saying that someone appears in a certain way let the readers get an image in their minds which is true to them. And so on the story becomes the best version it possibly can be. That way it is different, unique and what everybody wants to see for each individual reading it. A mistake would be to put out every single detail – according to my opinion. I think it is better to leave a little to the person’s imaginations. Additionally, the majority of the audience knows the characters as the back of their hands. No need to point it all out because it is ”unnecessary” facts.
8. Out Of Character
Following the previous title I quote again, ”Fans know the characters as the back of their hand.” Which means that they will notice at once when the character is not following its pattern. Nothing makes a story worse than when a character is not acting like itself. Unless there is a reason why. Keeping the character in character is an art and talent, yet the most important task when wanting to achieve a bombass fanfic.
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A fan can tell rather quickly if we know the characters/fandom well or not. A major checkpoint to this is definitely if the characters are true or not. To give us a good example I can inform about the many times I have read fanfics which takes place in 1700s France. The F-word simply does not suit. And the general way of how we speak and utter words today occurred differently back then and to make the story believable I think one should follow what was suitable back then.
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Not only dialogue is the single focus but also actions. What is believable for a character to execute during the 1700s? This can be switched the opposite way. Is is believable that a character is acting like one from the 1700s when she or he lives in Manhattan during the 21st century? It can really be something to look over. Different genres, universes and characters require different language in our stories.
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Another thing worth mentioning is character development. Something I have examined extra carefully lately as I have dug into screenwriting. Without really thinking over it before I noticed that my stories actually do have it. And I figured out the pattern that the better character development, the higher success my stories had. In another post I can go through the whole stage-points I think every writer should know about. But here I can let you know this wrapped-up-information I think every/most stories should contain:
  1. Introduce character.
  2. Conflict.
  3. Debating on the offer.
  4. Deciding to do it.
  5. Everything goes well.
  6. Everything seems to go wrong and all readers wonder how in the world we as writers will solve it.
  7. The character must face and overcome its weakness to achieve its goal.
  8. The end.
It can sound cliche, as most feel good stories go down this road. But there is a reason why. It works. And the best stories in my opinion are the ones managing this pattern with a twist, with surprises along the way and such a grand surprise at the end. Those who have the talent, or are well planned ahead, that when readers are at point 6 they sit there and musingly rub their foreheads – wondering if they really will reach a happy ending. Because how can possibly the author solve the grand problem it has caused? And then the reader should have missed the tiny traces the author has left along the story to be able to wrap it up graciously towards the end, resulting in the reader having its jaw on the floor in awe. THOSE, are the best authors if you ask me.

To Sum Up
There is no right and wrong and we must not get discouraged of this text. It is supposed to help us to grow as writers and everybody can always get better. Including me. From my very own experience these are my words in forms of advice and tips of how to increase better skills in writing, particularly fanfics. Good luck and go writing!
Love, E
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