Apply E.M. Forster's Five Elements to make your writing more balanced.

In Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster identifies five key elements of a novel: story, plot, people, pattern, and rhythm. The balance of these elements helps determine the overall “feel” of both non-fiction and fiction writing. Develop the habit of tracking how you are applying each of the five elements to ensure that your work is balanced and communicates the right message. At regular intervals in your writing process (e.g., every 5,000 words, twice a week, etc.), revisit these five elements and write down how you are applying them in your work.

Download the Five Elements worksheet (PDF)


How writers write

(A resource by Joseph Grammer, 6994 words to date.)

Habits! We all want them (even if we think we’re free spirits). Each author has her or his own process for putting pen to paper, so I thought it would be helpful to check out a few habits of some well-known writers.

Vladimir Nabokov

The legend himself, creator of such mind-tickling books as Lolita and Ada. The Russian émigré wrote standing up and jotted his sentences down on 3x5 index cards, which let him mix up the narrative as needed. Interesting that his poet in Pale Fire did the same thing… Anyway, check out his interview in The Paris Review.

Plus, there’s the health benefits of standing.

Jennifer Egan

The Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist tends to write her fiction in an Ikea chair and edit behind a desk. First drafts are on legal pads, with the notable exception of a chapter in A Visit From the Goon Squad that is told entirely in PowerPoint slides. She says, “A first draft takes about 10% of the total writing time, but in terms of importance it’s probably 50%.” Each of her 3-4 drafts reflects “20 rewrites of each individual part.” She shoots for 5-7 pages a day of original material. Read the rest.

Truman Capote

The eccentric master behind In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s took a horizontal approach to writing—he wrote lying down on a couch or bed. Cigarettes, coffee, and sherry were kept close at hand for creative stimulation of the chemical kind. Mr. Capote wrote two drafts in pencil longhand and a third draft on the typewriter, supine-style. Want to know what happens if you lie down all day and write?

David Foster Wallace

The loquacious and searing DFW called himself a “Five Draft Man”. Two handwritten drafts, two typed, and the final product. Hard to imagine the total word count he racked up while composing Infinite Jest

Haruki Murakami

Japan’s bestselling author is a model of self-discipline. Here’s an excerpt from his Paris Review interview:
When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation.
What a badass. I’m tempted to say something to the effect of ‘Holy Hard-Boiled Wonderland!’, but that would be awful. (See: paralipsis) (Also see his interview).

Interested in more authors’ writerly habits?

Check out Write To Done’s article.

Now write, writers! Idiosyncratically, conventionally, quickly, slowly—whatever. Just stick letters to pages.

Need some inspiration?

Here are all recent public snippets written in Twords.
THIS is some random words just to see how the word counter works.

it's all started when i was taken to the orphanage i was so alone i didn't want to play with other children all i want is my parents cause i believed that they still a live so i decided to run away and search for them unluckily we were in winter so i was going to die from the cold weather my eyes was so close to close i lost hope then i heard a strange voice saying ' aw don't die if you want to leave the orphanage and search for your parents be stronger and beat everybody' after hearing these voice i'd lost concession when i woke up i find my self in the orphanage the told me that headmaster's son carried me there and left a message tells ' if you want to be more stronger train everyday learn new things get new friends and when you think you are ready you know where to find me cause i believe in you ' after hearing this message i started crying but i decided to be stronger so i started training everyday after a year my body became stronger but my magic didn't appear yet but i din't give up i get some new friends kira and Kimiko and my rival Chris it passed six years i was training everyday i became stronger physically but my magic still didn't appear yet so i visited the master to ask him about that when i first met he asked me to take my clothes off to examine me after he did he seemed to be surprised and said ' my son you as strong power living inside you but you can't control it now it very hard for you cause you have lots of Mana so you make strong magic but cause it's a big quantity you can't use the magic all it will harm you and your friends take this book it have strong magical spells linked to fire and black magic cause i think you can control fire cause fire burns like emotions inside you so i think you can control it and come to visit me whenever you need me ' i took the book and tried to use hi spells but you know what happens the fire get out of control and i lost all my power and lost concession i stayed training everyday cause i'm not able to go to the academia cause i can't use magic yet so i spend the whole day training one day one of the monsters attached the orphanage unluckily there was no guards only me and the workers and the children and my friends where in the academia so i took my sword and start defending the children the monster was in the form of a wolf so he bit me and throw me and started to harm the children i was powerless i decide to give up but i remembered his words saying 'don't give up be the strongest ' and suddenly i feel strange power inside me and boom a big flame covering me and my sword's form changed i felt the power i was so so fast and don't know how i killed the monster with one attack he started yelling from pain then he burned up and transformed into ash that was the first time i used my fire and i got the title of fir master i was accepted in the academia two years passed now and i'm sixteen i became stronger in those two years as a wizard and we come back where i was beaten by Hana the flowersong tempest

Our world is a big place full of mysteries and luckily i live in one in our world there is a secret community that lives in the shadows protecting the world from the monsters as the heroes existence the monsters exist too this why the chosen people to hold the knowledge built the academy a place where the knowledge is shared a place to make the future protectors a place where they be ready to defend the world as the legends say" at the beginning of everything there was all kind of creators human angels elf ghouls demons and monsters they lived in peace everyone in his own land but on day the demons make an army and started to destroy the other lands the humans and the other races where too week to defend their selves against the power of demons but they didn't give up they tried but most of the races are exterminated expect humans and in the last battle a strong worrier half human and half elf used a forbidden magic that destroyed the demons and turned them to a monsters lives in the shadows but with a big cost and it was his life the legend says before his death he left a message tells that the demons will come back again and those monsters won't leave us live calmly they will try to exterminate us even their new forms took this script the chosen one will open it in the right time after those words he died the humanity grown day by day and the story was forgotten and the humans lived in peace but in the shadow the monsters are attacking so here comes the turn of the academia she was built to prepare the chosen one and to make an army to defend the human race even if it was secret lots of people come to it to study about magic and the history of our race luckily my parents were one of those but now they have gone since they went to that quest and know on knows about them anything so they were treated as dead people and this what they said to me but i believe in my heart that they still a live somewhere i was only eight so i was token to an orphanage linked to the academy so i decided to be the strongest and find my parents but it's not easy unluckily i have a lots of Mana the magical power so every magic i control i failed at controlling it expect the fire cause i think it's like me his fir is used to protect others and to light the way into darkness but i wish that everyone understand it us i do they treat me us a loser cause i can control fire only but i'll show them that i can be the strongest welcome to my world to my story the story that tells my tail

he's attacking me with a strong magical attack and i can't do anything all i'm doing is guarding damn it if i only could find a chance to use my strongest skill then suddenly a strong explosion happen and my enemy lost concession but who did that attack then a strange girl appeared she is so beautiful she is not tall but her face is beautiful her eyes are tinkling her lips are i don't know how to describe them but she stole my heart she was wearing a tiny gray skirt and a blue T-shirt they look awesome with her rose hair i think i fall in love from first sight whole on a minute she intercept my battle i stood up in front of her and said how dare you intercept my battle i was going to win anyway why did you do that now i won't get any reward she look to me and said with a calm voice i'm sorry but i applied to the same quest too further more you was in trouble and i saved you and this how you treat me you are really an idiot i yelled on front of her huh what the hell are you talking about i wasn't in trouble i was only waiting for a chance to show my skills i can accept that you took the same quest but didn't you know me i 'm Harouki the known as the fire master how could i be in trouble that battle was nothing to me she smiled and her smile was like heaven then she said nice to meet you fire master Harouki but i didn't listened about you ever before by the way i'm Hana known as the flowersong tempest i think you heard about me didn't you i just staid staring at her is she saying the truth is she was then this is mean she is really flowersong tempest the fifth strongest person in the school that's mean if i beat her now i can get closer to my dream of being the strongest student in the academy then around the world to be the hero that all the people believe in then i screamed if that's true then this is my luck day hana let's have a fight and see who is the strongest and if i beat you have to give me your place in the strongest student she started laughing and said i refuse i have no time to such kids game do you think that you can beat go away i don't have time to this things i need to train see you later idiot then she started to leave so i said are afraid that you an't beat me your so weak are you scared or what hhhhh the cower have more courage then you she turned to me and she really look angry her face is totally red but she is so beautiful then she said did you say that i'm coward prepare yourself to die did you say you want to fight me right then let's start i'll clean the wall with your face after she ends her words i took me sword then she said game over after that i wasn't able to see anything but i think she is behind me what a speed the she hit my neck and i lost concession then said laughing this all you have die you weak hhhhh bye bye

Got Emma back home and now thinking about what i want to accomplish with the blog. First and formost I want to make a living doing it. Just be self employed doing a travel and photography page would be a complete dream for me. Hard to see how to make it happen though. Why I must simply start writing here to get myself in the mindset to get my thoughts out on paper. Digitally as it where. It's something I must do.

Had my first brainstorming session for ideas about topics to write about. It actually went well. Going with the flow of thoughts really seemed to do the trick. Also, I set up a simple text doc on my dropbox so I can always have a place to write those ideas down.

The first true writing piece I hope to do will be about Geocaching. I did some first time research on the subject and found some good stuff about it. Also, I took an idea I heard on a Podcast that I used to follow about Wikipedia. "Yes, read what they state, but pay more attention to the sources listed" Good advice. Just that little trick I found several cool bits of info about the history of Geocaching. Starting with the very first recorded Geocache. That was something I had never know before. That little bit of info will really add to the value of my article. Well I think it will at least.

My own issues will really be my biggest obstacle for me to make my dream. I have got to get over these issues to make myself be better. Don't take everything like its the freaking end of the world and just do what needs to be done.

I have good ideas, they just need to be put down. Down in a way to allow me to get my point across. Every day I will make this happen. Every day I will get to my goal count on here. As I go, it will shift from writing like a diary to something expected from a article. During this change the style of writing will improve. Tense will keep in line with the beginning. Words like I and Me will fade away. Everyday the improvement will happen. Word by word. Sentence by sentence it will happen. Grammar will improve.

Struggling now. Currently at 417 words. Finding those last words to write are difficult. Even harder doing in a way that says something in the process. My ideas are all over the place. Getting those thoughts in order will likely be the hardest of all things to overcome. Simply not giving in the frustration of setting in front of the screen while the mind suddenly goes quiet. Something that shouldn't happen since the mind seems to have so many ideas at other times.

Just don't give up.