Tag Archives: story

Should I give up my story?

I don’t know a single author who hadn’t abandon a project (even if it was just for a while) and asked himself, “Does my book worth it?”.

A novel is a very long, demanding project that will keep you busy for a long time. Sometimes, you find yourself at a dead-end. You realize that it wasn’t such a good project as you had thought, and that can be devastating.

Does it have everything a story needs?

This happens for different reasons. The most common is that you had lots of ideas, full written scenes in your head, but you’re trying to squeeze them into a story that doesn’t exist. A bunch of scenes, no matter how great they are, isn’t a story.

You don’t have a well-written plot with a strong conflict. Your characters aren’t developed enough – they don’t have a specific goal, their personality is a mystery, or you don’t know how they look like.

Sometimes, you had a good plan, and everything was going well. Then, you feel gradually less excited about the project and start to see its flaws.

Take it or leave it

As enraging as it can be (desperation is also possible), it is a perfectly normal process. Now, before you give up on everything, let’s stop and think about it.

If you already sold the story, you have to keep working on it, whether you like it or not. If not, you can stop for a bit and ask yourself some questions.

Many times, our emotions get in the way of pragmatism. That’s great for our characters, but it can harm our work. That’s why you need to ask yourself the following questions and think about them one at a time:

Do I really like this story?

Am I just tired?

Is the story that bad that it can’t be fixed?

Do I know how to fix it?

If it is that bad, you can drop it or put it aside. You can always come back to it later with fresh eyes and a new perspective. You may, in the future, find the solution you can’t see now.

If you don’t know how to fix it, you can ask for help. And if you’re simply not sure about what’s going on, you can also ask for help!

Give up is (not) an option

To become a good writer, you need to write! A lot! Not all your stories will be masterpieces, and that’s okay.

Think about your “not so good” works as training wheels. Finding solutions for them may not make them great, but it will definitely impact your next work.

Analyze all the pros and cons of keep working on that story and make sure of what you truly want. Remember: you can always change your mind.


Memoirs: Is my life that interesting?

Memoirs. We all have stories to tell. Yet, most of us don’t publish them.

Back in time, it was common to have a diary, but now, not even teenagers have it anymore. Yet, we have as many stories to tell as before.

What’s the conflict?

You can find, in the book market, thousands of memoirs, some with more success than others. If this is something interesting to you, as a writer, ask yourself: what they all have in common?

Most of the successful ones are about famous people that had a profound impact on the world. Yet, there are also many stories of ordinary people that had a huge problem and solved it. Familiar? Yes, it’s the conflict in any story!

So, answering the title question: is your life that interesting? I would ask: what’s the conflict?

Is it interesting enough?

It might be boring to read someone else’s story from the very beginning. Yet, you don’t need to tell everything from the day you were born. Everyone has a story to tell or a conflict in their life. A specific moment or happening that it is, indeed, interesting. You just need to choose right.

Think about some happening that may have changed you or the way you see the world—some specific time in your life, a problematic or extraordinary phase. Eventually, you can talk about the way some big external happening had an impact on you and your family. How did you deal with it? It can be a war, a natural catastrophe, an economic crisis…

It is, indeed, a story

Telling your story is like telling any other story. It must have emotion, description, character development… Use dialogues and all the tools you use in fiction novels. It will be way more exciting and have a bigger emotional impact. Your readers need to empathize with you and understand what you went through.

Use your own voice, don’t write it as an essay for college, but rather as a beautiful novel. This way, your readers will feel closer to you and your story.

If you want to write your memoirs, it’s because you have something to tell. And you should! However, as with any other genre, it takes hard work to be good. Choose carefully what you want to tell and read other people’s memoirs to inspire yourself.

No conflict, no story

The conflict is the center of any story. You have a conflict, and subsequently a story but NEVER, ever, the other way around.

When you’re thinking of writing a story, the first thing to think about is the conflict and your plot is to be built around it. If there is none if it seems not to be ideal for whatever you were imagining, then think again. You might not have a story there.

Usually, you have this sort of structure: you have a main character that has a goal, but there is something keeping him from reaching it, a problem to solve, then your character will take action to solve the aforementioned problem, usually other issues and difficulties will be showcased along the way (most provoked by his actions to solve the first one, the big one), then he solves the main problem and the story ends. Simple.

The “problem” might be something as simple as an argument, unrequited love or someone just trying to sabotage your character. It doesn’t need to be (but could very well be) a world-changing problem.

So, how to do it?

It’s actually quite simple and you don’t need to have a tremendous epiphany to start. Usually, when you’re thinking about a story, you have a character in mind. Now, think about a goal for that character. Something that makes them move, tick, or something they otherwise want very much.

Now, the problem. What will actively try or passively keeping him from reaching that goal? Or who? How? What is going to happen?

Now that you have the main part, you just need to think, about what your character is going to do to solve the problem or get rid of their obstacle. These actions will most likely raise new problems and new actions need to be taken to solve them.

And, with this, the hardest part of your job is done! Next, you develop your scenes, starting from this last point onwards to the main goal.

The characters make the story

The characters are the soul of a story. Without good characters, no matter how amazing your story could, or would be, your readers will not identified themselves with it and they’ll get tired.

For me, building the characters has always been the best part of writing a new book. It’s really exciting and sometimes I just start constructing them, the characters, and somehow, a new story is born. It’s just that simple! But I don’t think I realized the true importance of characters until I started writing a non-fictional book. It might seem kind of counter-intuitive but it’s the hard truth.

Somewhere along the way, I felt the need to stop and think about people who were part of my live, portrayed as characters and that was the only way I didn’t get stuck in the first chapter.

The characters move the story along, as what they think, what they do, or don’t do, will determine how the story will evolve. Every single piece of information about them will have an impact on your reader and the way he or she will see the story.

So, in the end, they are what truly matters most, so don’t even think about the many hours you spend building your characters, as lost of time. Create them, think about all the details, and even when they do not matter to the story at this time, they will help you to create a coherent person, a believable one and it might just save you a lot of time latter on.

Create great characters, and end up with great stories.

One Story, Multiple Stories

When you’re a writer, every single thought can be a potential idea for a story. You never know, which of those thoughts will actually make the story happen. They are simple, yet complex, plentiful and you can’t really use all of them, which turns out to be really frustrating.

So what should you do, when plenty of them seem good? How to work with it? How to deal with so much information? Should you try to merge or conciliate most of your ideas within a single story? Should you write different stories, and multiple ones at the same time? Should you ignore all the ideas that don’t seem to fit in with the story you’re currently writing? If so, how to choose the best ones?

There isn’t a definitive answer to these questions and, in the end, it’s your personal preference that matters and should prevail. However, there are plenty of reasons not to focus yourself on a single story or work. Let’s think about it, really.

When you spend all your energy on a single story, you mostly end up frustrated. It’s too much pressure that falls on a single goal and each requisite step to get there. Also, something that initially seemed to be a, or THE, great idea doesn’t always turn out to be that good when finally put on paper, or even be something that you’d love or want to work on, let alone finish. This feeling can be overwhelming and it ends up with you giving up your dream of writing.

In your writing career, many stories will never leave your computer or your desk and if you invest many a month, sometimes years in a single one of them, without having anything else… Well, it’s something that can really make you crazy, right?

Besides, it’s really boring to do the same thing all the time… Even if you really love your story and your ideas, there will come the day when you just can’t look at it anymore… It’s a natural process in any long term project and you can’t run from it. So, now what? After so many time spend writing it… What will you do? Give up? Of course not.

So, instead of putting all your efforts down on a single story, just one, instead try to have three or four ideas for different stories and just pick up the one that best fits your mood that day.

But! There are always a but, right? Please be careful, because this work methodology can also be a wonderful way of procrastinating. It needs constant attention on your end, to make sure you keep up with your work, stick to at least a semblance of a routine and change your plans any time it’s definitely needed.

Who says that you have to follow the very same schedule, for each of your stories, from the beginning until the end? 😉


1. O livro pode ser exposto para venda em diferentes sítios. Sem ela, apenas teria uma página de título.
Já lá vai o tempo em que a capa era apenas reflexo do capricho de quem comprava o livro e cuja principal função era proteger as páginas que cobria. Actualmente, uma capa diz muito sobre o livro e o autor.

2. Possibilita demonstrar visualmente, qual o género do livro.
Uma boa capa transmite imediatamente o género que livro que temos à nossa frente, podendo atrair mais facilmente o nosso público-alvo.

3. Pode mostrar imagens que são importantes no livro (uma personagem, um lugar, um objecto).
Muitas vezes, uma capa acaba por se tornar num símbolo marcante, associada a uma determinada obra ou autor e a um período histórico.

4. Ajuda a que o autor se destaque da concorrência.
A partir dos anos 20, a capa tornou-se numa forma de promoção do livro, num meio que se tornou mais e mais competitivo. Os livros são actualmente como outros tantos produtos, alvo de desejo, na nossa sociedade de consumo e uma capa colorida e chamativa apela ainda mais a esse espírito.

5. Demonstra profissionalismo.
Uma boa capa passa uma imagem profissional da obra e do seu autor, podendo transformar-se numa forma de potencializar a venda do livro.

6. Pode transmitir o sentido da história. (É triste, alegre…?)
A capa deve transmitir o espírito do livro, revelando um pouco daquilo que o leitor pode encontrar e instigando-o a descobrir o resto, adquirindo a obra. Deve funcionar como uma espécie de sinopse visual do livro.

1. You can display your book for sale in plenty of different places. Without it, you only have a title page.
A book cover is no longer just something an owner, on a whim, wants, in order to protect the paper inside. Nowadays, the cover can, and often does, say a lot about the book and its author.

2. You can let people know, visually, what genre your book is.
A good cover shows, or lets through, almost immediately, the genre of the book, easily attracting your audience, pulling them in.

3. You can display images that are paramount to the book (a character, a place, an object, etc.).
Many times, a cover ends up being a striking symbol of a specific book or author, or even a historical period.

4. You can stand out amongst your competition.
Starting in the 20’s, the cover became a way of promotion, in an environment that only got more and more competitive as time went on. Currently, a book is, like many other products, an object of desire in our consumer-based society, and a cheerful and appealing cover stimulates that drive even more.

5. It is a display of professionalism.
A good cover shows a professional image for the book and its author, enhancing the book’s sales numbers.

6. It can convey the sense of the story. (Is it sad, cheerful…?)
The cover should convey the book’s spirit, revealing a bit of it to the audience and making the potential reader get curious and want to discover more, possibly acquiring the book. The cover should, when masterfully done, work as a visual synopsis of the book.