Posted in Methods, Resources, Writing

Plot Twist – Revisited

plot twist ideas

Plot Twist Ideas

What is a Plot Twist?

A plot twist is a literary device where the author subverts knowledge that a reader already knows or think they have figured out. It’s used to disrupt the flow of the story in a new direction. It’s also used to prevent stories from being predictable.

My two cents

In my writing, I don’t tend to think about plot twists from the start. At times, I don’t think about them at all. It just so happens that as I write, I suddenly think of a twist an include that in the novel. Usually, I think of this as something that just developed from my writing as opposed to purposely knowing I was going to put that plot twist in the story.

I believe that to purposely put in a plot twist, you have to know from the beginning that there is a plot twist. Or at least, had a vague idea of one, otherwise it would seem like the whole idea was shoe-horned in. There’s a fine line between coincidence (and it just happened to turn out that way) and forcing something to happen that shouldn’t. In those instances, the plot twist doesn’t seem natural.

Plot twists aren’t necessary, in my opinion, to make a good story. There might be surprising turn of events but I don’t consider that a plot twist specifically. I feel most plot twist are used in crime/ mystery fiction. Much like romance, there is a certain formula those genre novels follow. IMHO, plot twists are part of that formula.

Whether a novel needs a plot twist or not, is up to the author. Is there such thing as too many plot twists? I would say no but use it sparingly. As a reader, my heart can’t take too many roller coasters so, please be mindful. As an author, I’d use it sparingly when I intentionally use a plot twist.

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Posted in Methods, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Where to Start?

Now that I’ve decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo (some of you may have too), it’s time to decide where to start. This is where the time to decide what project to work on for the month comes in. My project for April is currently ongoing at the moment and I do have a few chapters written. Camp NaNoWriMo will be used to write 50k words of that story. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any planning to do.

For those who don’t have a project in mind, I’ll offer some advice. In my humble opinion, I feel that Camp NaNoWriMo is all about writing (I’ve probably already said this before and I’ll continue to say it). It doesn’t really matter what you write, only that you’re writing. We all have a story inside of us and that doesn’t necessarily mean that this story will or should be share with anyone else. Maybe it’s a story you have to write for yourself.

The story can be anything. If you want to try your hand at fan fiction, go ahead. If it’s mystery, or romance, or science fiction then, go for it. It’s not going to be perfect – it never is – but at least you’re going to try and that’s all that matters.

Most of the writers I’ve met keep an idea journal with them. What’s to stop you from choosing an idea from there? However, in case that you can’t seem to choose something, there are tons of story idea generators out there. A quick search online gives you a lot of websites. Choose ones that interests you.

Once you have a story in mind, what I like to do is to keep a separate notebook or folder for this story. This is where I place all my notes so that I don’t loose anything and they’re easy to find. The method of developing the stories and generating ideas differs from person to person. I tend to think (daydream) scenes with my characters or maybe it’s just a phrases but I take note of everything because I might use it later. The scenes I think about don’t always make it into the writing itself but it is a place to start.

Now, what I won’t go into is naming the characters. It must be done. What I will say is that it’s okay for character names to change. For now, especially for Camp NaNoWriMo, use a name and, if later you don’t like it or doesn’t fit well, change it. The name doens’t have to be perfect right off the bat. I literally used “the Vampire Prince” has a name for almost half of my story on wattpad because I finally figured out a name for the Prince. It can be done.

The next “step” is a little tricky. We have to figure out what’s going to happen at the beginning, middle, and end. Planning is probably the second hardest thing, I believe, when writing. Editing is the first hardest then, writing. So, how are we going to plan?

For starters, there isn’t a correct way. It depends on how you write. Do you need a detail plan or do you just mostly wing it and see where that leads you? This is where having scenes in mind can come in handy. If you have a scene, you can figure out how the characters are going to arrive at that point. Maybe that scene is how the story starts. Planning is a lot of brainstorming and trying to fit it all together.

Lastly, if you’re new to Camp NaNoWriMo and/or writing, try both ways. Write down a sequence of events. It doesn’t have to be too in depth. Rough ideas or scenes help too. I find using flashcards for this helps. With the scenes on each flashcard, you can rearrange them how you like without deleting, copy and pasting, or starting over on a document. You don’t have to be a newbie to do this either. When I’m not too sure on which scene should go first, I take out some flashcards and lay them out in front of me.

Overall, find an idea and try brainstorming about it. The idea might change but the more you think about, the more it can help. April isn’t here yet so, you have time. Be flexible in your thinking and planning.

As always, thanks for reading.

Posted in Methods, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Can I really do it and How?

Writing a novel, much less 50,000 words in a month, can be a bit daunting. Every year/ NaNoWriMo month I ask myself I can really do it. I ask if I’m ready to commit to a project and to all those hours of writing. Every time, I ask myself “why not?”. Why don’t I just try? What do I have to loose?

Upon making that decision, I tend to start panicking because it means I have to prepare and block off hours of my time to even write. Then I find that I’m going about it the wrong way. While my goal may be 50k words, someone else might be 30k or 40k. It all depends. There was a time where I knew it was going to be a busy week so, I gave myself a different goal.

Campnanowrimo allows you to change your overall goal for the event. So, if you believe that you can only write 35k words then, it’s possible to track that progress. There’s also the option to have a writing buddy in case you want a partner in crime.

Once you decide you’re really going to do it, the next question is “how?”. How are you going to complete set set goal for NaNoWriMo? The answer depends on the person and commitment. Plus, each project is different. You could write an anthology, biography, poems, etc.

First, it’s important to figure out your end goal. How many words are you going to write in the month? Mine will be 50k words. My project will be to finish up the rest of a novel that I’m working on at the moment. I believe that 50k words should be enough to complete the story. That might change and 50k words may not be enough but, for right now, that’s what I have set. Set a manageable goal.

Next, what will you be using? I don’t plan on using any software. The story is posted on Wattpad and I’l be using their site to work on the story. I won’t be posting every day as I finish my daily goal but there is where I’ll have all the chapters. If I’m ever away from my phone or a computer, I don’t mind using pen and paper to write. I don’t find it a chore to type up what I hand wrote.

Third, while this doesn’t seem like a big deal, I feel like I should mention it. Check out the website for the event. CampNaNoWriMo has a resources and pep talks during the event to help writers. They have a twitter account with word sprints and topic starters last time I checked. Plus, when you input your daily goal, the website helps you track your progress and let’s you know how many words you must write to reach your goal in time.

Lastly, I won’t be going into too much detail on how to actually plan (or not) your project for April. That post is for another day. What I will say is that Camp NaNowriMo is about opportunity. It challenges you. Maybe it’s your first time participating maybe it’s your fifth, but overall, we all together to write and I really think that’s amazing.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.

Posted in Methods, Resources, Writing

Filling in the Blanks

post filling in the blanksRecently, I found a post on Pinterest that I found very interesting. The post goes to say that writing dialogue first makes the scene easier and longer . The author goes to say that this method worked for him/her when he/she wanted to get some work done. Overall, I think that’s some decent advice.

Personally, it hasn’t been something I’ve tried consciously. I’ve done something similar where I write the basic lines of a scene and dialogue and then go back to fill in the blanks. My method made  me feel like I was too lazy to write everything out completely but seeing this post changes that.

Like many, I’ve always tried to put my best work on the page even if that means rewriting the same sentence a few hundred times. It doesn’t help that I know that that’s not how it works but I find myself doing it anyway. I’ve been trying to work on that, and while there has been progress, there are times when I tend to slip.

I (probably) won’t be using this method consciously right off the bat but I’m not going to write if off. It kind of feels like writing an outline more than anything else but that’s just how I feel. In part I believe because I’ve always associated going back and adding things to a manuscript as rewriting or even editing, I can’t immediately jump to using this method.

Overall, I’m always on the look out for advice and tips that will help me become a better writer. I always strive to grow my skills and abilities. Plus, it’s not like I’m opposed to trying new things. If the chance presents itself, I might just end up writing the dialogue first and the filling in the blanks later.