Writing For Consistency: Finding Your Creative Voice | Learn with Wattpad | Ninya Tippett | Skillshare

Writing For Consistency: Finding Your Creative Voice | Learn with Wattpad

Ninya Tippett, Writer, Wattpad

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5 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:31
    • 2. Identifying Your Voice

      4:52
    • 3. Using a Creative Brief

      6:07
    • 4. Writing Your Story Overview

      4:36
    • 5. Wrapping Up

      1:48
56 students are watching this class

About This Class

Join one of Wattpad's most successful writers Ninya Tippett for a fun, bite-sized class on identifying and writing with your creative voice.

While writing is a creative art form, using a structure is essential for execution. In this 20-minute class, Ninya takes one of her top stories on Wattpad and walks through how she turned one creative idea into a full serialized story using a creative brief to organize her ideas. You'll also learn how to identify your voice in writing that makes your work unique.

Whether you're a writer looking for a fun exercise, or just starting out with a fun idea in your head, this class will help you turn that idea into the beginnings of a story based upon your creative inspiration.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hi. I'm Ninya Tippett and for the last few years I had been writing and publishing my stories in Wattpad, the biggest online writing community out there today. I've had my success with contemporary romance stories such as The Mischievous Ms. Maxfield, which to this date has 37 million reads on it. I tend to write stories primarily with strong female leads. This is something that I've come to know about my writing from so much reader feedback. Writing is both creative and structured, and while a lot of it is a creative art form, you really need a structure to be there, to put all the pieces together so you can execute on the story. In this class today, we're going to be talking about your creative voice and the different ways that you can identify this. We're going to be talking about the creative brief and how that can really help you structure your creative ideas so that you can actually produce a fully fleshed out story at the end of it. Anyone can come to this class whether you were already a successful writer or whether you're just coming in to look for ideas and how to even get started. You don't have to have a fully fleshed out story to start with, this is us just taking a creative trigger that you might have had, whether it's an idea for a scene or a title, and then just working your way through a process that will give you a starting point to write the rest of your story. 2. Identifying Your Voice: Many of you might be curious to find out what's working for me, what draws the readers to my kind of stories. I would say that it would have to be primarily the kind of stories that I write, because that is my brand of writing, that is my creative voice. It's important to know what you're really good at and to know what people look for in your stories. Writing comes from inspiration and creativity and these are two things that require passion to really evolve and endure. It has to be something that you really enjoy. It's very important to know that what you're doing is something that you would also like to read. What story you're writing is something that you as a reader would also enjoy reading. I would say this to any aspiring writer out there that you have to start with what you're passionate about, with what you enjoy the most. One big question that you might have is, how do you figure out what your writing voice is? There's a lot of ways you can approach to this. There is no specific technical way really to do it. But I find that, if I asked myself these five questions, I tend to have a pretty good idea of what my writing voice is. It gives me a good picture, a good overview of what my story really is. I'll be going through these questions with you so that you also know what my answers are to these things and hopefully that will give you a good idea of what to look for or how to approach these questions. So, question number one, what do you write about? This maybe something that you may not know right away because you haven't really published anything or posted anything out there for people to read, but you can always ask yourself, what you enjoy reading at the very least or what you have written so far when you do take a pen and paper somewhere and just write down your thoughts. What I really enjoyed writing the most is romance. I've pegged that down. Over the years, I've tried different stories and I've found that this is what I've really come back to. This is what I enjoy writing and this is what I'm actually good at. Question number two, what do your leaders love about your writing? So, my metaphors are my quirky stamp in my writing, whether it's just me describing a setting or an emotional moment or even just describing the facial features of my character. Question number three, what kind of stories get you going? I talked about passion earlier and I have to say you have to fuel that fire. So, you have to work with stories that you were excited about, that you're passionate about. I really enjoy transition stories where characters evolve and that evolution is usually contributed to by a lot of different internal and external factors, love being one of those factors. Question number four, what is your favorite style of telling a story? This may sound a little bit technical and daunting to some, but there is really no specific approach to this. It's nothing technical. It's just a matter of figuring out little techniques that you know work well for your stories. For me, I would say that the use of the first-person point of view is the most effective way of telling the story. It really makes the characters accessible to the readers. It makes them relatable. I like to go into a character psyche and really live through the experience of what they're going through. Question number five, if your writing was a person, what would be its top five attributes? This is just a fun way of having a different perspective on your writing. If he could describe it in a way that's more interesting, I say do it. So for me, I would say that my writing can be really one, sassy in an intellectual way and it can get two, emotionally charged and it's often filled with dry humor, quotable quotes and strong female leads. I think it's really important to get to know your writing really well, so that you can be confident about it and you can write more of it and if you can write more of it, you can be more consistent. I really believe that consistency can lead to resonance and there is nothing more consistent than a style that sticks with your readers. 3. Using a Creative Brief: So, we've talked a lot about the creative side to writing and I think that once you've got a good grasp on your writing voice, it's time to just take it to the next step where we give it a little bit more structure, a little more organization so that we can actually get started. I find that one of the best tools to use in taking this next step is using the creative brief. A creative brief is a systematic guideline that just prompts you to develop your story idea and to structure in general plot. It just helps you package a story either for yourself or for a client later on, and it can be a story that you can write now or in the future. So you might ask, how can it be creative if it's so structured? Don't think of the creative brief as a cage for your story. It's just a way to organize your thoughts, get those brilliant ideas into paper, and to actually start producing a story. All right. So now, we're going to just do a quick overview of what a creative brief looks like, and there will be a general one available in the resources that later on you can go through it yourself, but we're just going to address the pertinent parts so that you know what these are for. So, the first part is to create your story title. This doesn't have to be your final title, this can be your working title. I find that it just really helps you keep a focus on what the story is about. When I wrote The Mischievous Mrs. Maxfield, I actually started with the title The Mischievous Mrs. Maxfield. I did not have a very clear idea of what the story is going to be completely, but keeping that title in the back of my head really helped me shape the character because I just had an idea of what this person is like based on the title. The second part is to create an introduction. This will really only come up if you are writing for a brand. This is just a short summarized explanation of what your partnership with a brand is about and what this means to your readers. The third part is to create a story description or a blurb. For me personally, this is the most exciting part. This is like me telling somebody what the story is about. This is what you would find in the back of a book or on the inside cover, and you can really accomplish a lot with the blurb. This is where you can really hint at a lot of things, set the tone of your story, you can be as mysterious as you'd like. This also saves you a lot of time in establishing the tone or the theme of your story. From the get-go when someone reads this blurb, they know that you're writing a chiclet romance or you could be writing a romantic suspense. Now, the fourth part is where you write your story overview. This can be intimidating to some because this is pretty much you writing the whole story, but you're just not encumbered by a lot of details or fine editing. This is where you are telling the story in a more summarized version, but you can also still throw in a lot of different scenes or a lot of different lines that may come to you so that later on you can use them, if they have a spot in the story. But at least it's there, you've saved it, you haven't wasted it. You can get as detailed as you'd like if you already have a very vivid picture of it in your mind, but don't be too limited by that. You can spend a couple of sentences just describing a scene and then moving on to the next. Usually, I find that I could write a short paragraph to describe what chapter one would be, and that's because I'm mostly just focusing on the scenes that I want to include and specific elements that I want to make sure I don't miss. So, the first part would be your story theme. Again, this can be very general or very specific. It could be a story about first love, it could be a story about family loss. The next thing would be your story categories and this could be you writing a romance, this could be you writing teen fiction, fan fiction to name a few. Word count is just the number of words that you want to work with, it could be a short 10,000-word story or you can make it into a full length novel and do 50,000 words. Word count can come into play as well when you are thinking about the kind of readers that you have. If you're very mobile, always reading on the go, you may just want to keep in mind to keep the chapters shorter and sweeter as well. So, it's really knowing your audience and knowing what market is out there reading your story. Story rating. This is where you gauge what kind of content you have and whether it's suitable for certain readers. Your story can be very general patronage or PG 13 or even mature. This is just a way to make sure that you are catering to the right kind of audience. Next thing is defining your timelines and deliverables. When you are writing for a brand, this can be really critical and this is usually also predetermined for you. But if you're writing for yourself, I say still give yourself deadlines. It really helps you build discipline as a writer, it keeps you consistent in terms of delivering content to your readers, and the more consistent you are, the more readers will stick to your work because they know that they can always count on a new chapter every week. 4. Writing Your Story Overview: Now that we've gone over the creative brief and the different parts that make it up, we're actually going to ride along with me now as I go through a creative brief for a story that I was commissioned to write for the movie, The Age of Adeline. So, I think this will give us a good example, a good starting point of how you can take a creative brief into an actual story. Now we're going to create a new story. Just because I already have the cover for this story, we're going to just upload it now. The title of this story is Designs of Destiny. Now, the summary part here is where we write our story description or our blurb. So, now we've been able to upload the book cover, put in the title, and then also write out the story description or the blurb. Now we're going to proceed to putting together part one of this story. So, now we're in the first three sentences of part one. If you're not quite sure with what you do next, you can always save this as a draft first. We're doing this example through the WordPad mobile app because it's really convenient, and this really enables you to create your outline without having to do a formal sit-down, cover out two hours out of your day kind of thing. For those who are more comfortable writing in the desktops, you can also use the full WardPad site, and create the rest of your story in there as well. It offers all the same features. When this project first came to me, it came with a creative brief that was already predetermined by the brand. Now, this story is based off of the movie, The Age of Adeline. The theme that they were looking for in a story from me was a story that was set in a specific time period with a little bit of magic realism thrown into it, that factor being that the main character is unable to die. So, the story category for Design for Destiny is it's a romance with handed magic realism to it. So, the brand was looking for a story with about 15,000 words with four different parts. So, I just divvied up the word count a little bit across all four chapters. The rating for the story is non-mature, which meant that we had to make sure we did not have very explicit violent or sexual scenes. For the timeline in deliverables, I had to make sure that I had a chapter per week with roughly 3,000-4,000 words a chapter. So, this story is designed to be serialized, which meant we had to post a chapter pretty much every week. The reason for this is really to build momentum towards the release of the movie. We wanted to engage readers, get a lot of people familiar with the story to get them introduced to it so that by the time the story was done, we already had a lot of people really engaged in it and now very eager to see what the film is all about. So, now we're going to go into the story overview, and I'm going to show you what I've written for this story. There are four different chapters, and I've broken it down per chapter and what scenes are going to be going into each chapter. So, the first chapter is just where I really establish the character, what Charlotte is going through in the story. Some of these chapter specific overviews have detailed scenes to them, and I stuck to most of the scenes in the story, but there were a couple of things that I just found logistically didn't make sense when I was writing the story. So, you can make adjustments to it. It's a good guideline, but it doesn't have to be fixed in stone that you have to follow this specific scene when it doesn't even make sense when you're actually writing the whole chapter out. 5. Wrapping Up: Writing is an art, born out of creativity and structure, and we've covered both of those things in this class. You need a creative part of it to come up with the brilliant ideas, that you would want to someday get into a story. On the other hand, you need a structure to get it organized to package your story together. So, that you have an actual full story to put forward for readers to read. Use the structure as well to make sure that you don't waste any ideas, because a scene or an idea that you might have can be used for the specific story, or it can be used for something else later as well. I hope that by the end of this class, you will have realized to never take for granted the power of consistent content. So, always keep in mind to first start writing the kind of stories that you really enjoy, that you're very passionate about and never think of pinning down your creative voice as caging your artistry. You can always evolve when you're writing, but the important part is for you to know where you're going to be going with it later. You need a starting point and that is what this whole class is all about. You've seen me use that creative brief and the story example designs of destiny in this class. If you wanted to take a closer look to really see what we did with that story, they are going to be available as a resource for this class. I want you to create a story overview based upon a lost love and you can definitely use the creative brief to help you outline the story. It's all up to you, you have the tools. You just have to adapt them to what you need and make them your own.