Posted in Methods, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Plotting Subplots

I’ve made up my mind on what story I’ll be working on for National Novel Writing Month this November. Unlike the other times before, I won’t be starting from scratch. Instead, I’ll be rewriting an entire novel. This novel is currently on Watford and I absolutely don’t like it. It’s terrible and I just made things up as I went and that somehow made a story.

So, since I already have the majority of it already written, I can use that to help me write. I believe I mentioned beforehand how I might have read something where it’s better to rewrite a story as opposed to editing first. I’ve found myself agreeing to this logic. Knowing myself, I know that most of the time I’ll end up rewriting whole sections of the story and calling it editing. To avoid that, I’ll just rewrite from the start then edit.

Now, I know the main plot for my story (the vampire Prince goes to high school). I might change the title later but for now, it’ll stay that way. However, I need to plot out my subplots. I use the same method as I do to figure out how to plot a novel. The first thing I do is to list my supporting characters. Then, I figure out what they want.

For example, one of my characters named  Carlos wants to  let the public know that vampires take advantage of the system because everyone is afraid to speak out and demand  justice. So, what does he do? He technically joins  ” vigilantee” organization that broadcasts messages over vampire wrongdoings, etc.

Knowing all of this, I use the information to feed conflict into the story. My main character, Rin, finds herself in a position where she needs to cooperate with the vampire Prince and this “vigilantee” group doesn’t like that. They believe vampire and humans shouldn’t mix. Run feels pressure from everyone.

That it but one subplot that runs through the story. I have plenty more to work with. The trick is to figure out the purpose your characters have in the story. What do they contribute? This is true to the characters surrounding your main character. Do they want to help or hinder? Are the rivals? What obstacles, if any, do they present? Use character motivation to your advantage. If goals conflict, that makes for perfect conflict.

Personally, I don’t fill out character sheets for anyone. They sort of tend to develop on their own. But this might not be true for everyone. Find out what works for you and stick to it. Out on a word document, on paper, online, whatever works for you. Just have it written down somewhere so you can always go back and refresh your memory.

A good trick I found was to draw a line with plot points that I know will happen in the story. Then, I add more points as my subplot surface. This method gives me something visual to look at and it’s not only in my head. I can easily erase and move around points of I have to.

As always, thanks for reading? For those  participating in NaNoWriMo, how do you prepare? Why are your methods?

Posted in Methods, Writing

Plot and Structure & NaNoWriMo

We’ve reached the first week of October and you know what that means? There’s only about 30 days left until the start of National Novel Writing Month in November. This is a very exciting month for me. Unlike during the summer, I will attempt to write the complete 50,000 words in November.

I don’t consider myself an experience participant of NaNoWriMo because surprises hide behind every corner and I can’t say that I will accomplish the goal. However, I will work really hard to meet that goal despite all the other responsibilities that I have.

Although I don’t call myself  an expert, I do have some wisdom to share – if you can call it that. Whether this is your first time participating or not, I feel like there’s a lingering fear (or maybe it’s just me) that I will come across a wall and have nothing to write about or that my muse packed her bags and left me in the middle of the month. So, in order to avoid that, I have a few tricks that have gotten me through tough writing situations.

A. Who is the story about?

B.What do they want?

C. How are they going to get it?

This is all about the main character. What does s/he want in life? Is it to win a basketball game? Is it to date a friend? Having an idea of what your character wants can lead the writing for quite a while. Plus, knowing what they want and forming an idea of how the character can achieve that goal is a great place to start.

Once these questions are answered – and they might not be answered at the beginning. Sometimes it takes a few chapters – then take a look at what obstacles the character has to face in order to accomplish this goal.

D. What are the obstacles?

E. Who is their rival towards accomplishing this goal?

I use these questions to get me started and then I write it down on a timeline of sorts. This helps me know where the story is headed and how to get there. Even having an idea of how it is going to end helps a lot. If I know that much then, I can work backwards and figure out how the character is going to get there.

Of course, I’m not saying that you need to know what your character likes for breakfast on most days. All I’m saying is that knowing what your character wants is a good lead to figuring out how the story is going to unfold.

Posted in Methods, NaNoWriMo, Resources, updates, Writing

Scrapping for Ideas

Over the weekend, I decided that I will be participating n July’s Camp NaNoWriMo. My reason for this is due to the fact that I haven’t been writing as much as I should. Using July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I want to trick myself into writing more that I have been. This month, however, I won’t be aiming towards 50k words. Instead, I’ll be aiming towards 30k words this month. If, for whatever reason, I write more than 30k words than my goal was successful. With everything that is going on right now. I don’t have that much free time.

Saying this, I don’t really have anything planned for this month. I do have a few story ideas floating around and prepared but I’m not sure if those are novel ready. So, this poses the question: how am I going to reach 30k words or more without having a lot prepared.

First off, I’m going to wing it. I don’t normally do this because I typically have a sense of where the story is going to go. For this story in general, I have the basic idea for it but I don’t know where to go from the beginning. There’s a vague idea floating in my head but nothing is concrete.

Secondly, I’m going to write random scenes. I’m going to have my characters is conversations with others that could pertain to the plot. Maybe as I write these conversations, inspiration will strike and Camp NaNoWriMo will go smoothly. Fingers crossed. And, I never know. Inspiration might strike at random.

Next, I might actually do some plotting when I have the time. This won’t be too elaborate or too in depth but it might help. I don’t want to get stressed over writing 30k this month. So, while I will put effort into completing my goal, I don’t want to force myself to do it. When it’s forced, it’s not fun anymore and I always try to have fun when I write. I want to enjoy it.

Lastly, I might even go back to the original draft and steal ideas from that. The story I’m writing for this Camp NaNoWriMo, I worked on it a few years back. It never went anywhere because I didn’t like the direction it was going so, I basically stopped writing. This time around, I’m trying to revamp the story. I really liked the characters and the magic system I created for this world so I want to keep using. If worst come to worst, I might even think about combining ideas together. I’ve done that before and it has worked. It might work this time too.

Now, while I usually post world-building posts on Mondays, for this month, it might change or it might not. Depends on the day and what I have to do. I’ll try sticking to the schedule I set up because I think it was working really well with a few exceptions. If anything changes, I’ll announce it.

Thanks for reading and, for those participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, good luck. Don’t forget to share some tips. I’m going to need all the help I can get.

 

Posted in Methods, Resources, Writing

Lore – Before or After?

I believe that no matter what type of story you write, there’s going to be lore involved. The story/world that you create is going to have history. I don’t mean history of how you came up with the idea. I mean, history as in the world and everyone in that world is going to have a past.

Lore is one of the last things I think about through the creative process. Typically, I tend to dream up of a certain type of character and try to place them in all types of settings until I find one that they fit in. I don’t think about the lore until much later. It usually comes into fruition all on its own.

As the story develops, the ‘truth’ of the world starts to unravel bit by bit. I find it easier to let the lore develop on its own. If I need something to be held true like a kingdom invaded a thousand years ago or something along those lines then, I just have that happen.

The way I tend to create the lore is by starting out with general concepts. I look at the big picture like a major event. After I have some of that figure out, I look closer at the details. I mentioned an invading army before. With looking at the details, I figure out why the army invaded, what was the cause, who invaded who, etc.

Personally, I think having an overall concept of what you like the lore to be is a good place to start. There’s nothing concrete and the details/concepts can be molded to whatever it needs to be for the story.

At times, when I set something in stone before the story, I find it difficult to incorporate it into the story. For some reason, my brain is stuck in that little box I created before and I end up stressing myself. It’s good to have some flexibility when writing lore and everything else. Sometimes, inspiration strikes when you least expect it.

 

Posted in Methods, Writing

The Magic System – Part 2

Creating the magic system for you world can be a lot of work. It also takes a lot of time. Personally, I have never created a full magic system for any of my stories that require one. However, I have understood the rules of magic.

What can magic do?

This is an important question I like to answer. Can magic raise the dead? If so, why aren’t zombies roaming around? Is this type of necromancy magic forbidden? What is the penalty of being caught performing such magic? Have a lot of magic users tried?

These question bring to mind a certain character where his family or someone close to him/her has died. if such magic existed, would they go out and find a way to raise the dead or find someone to do it for them? That simple fact – whether or not magic can raise the dead – cane create an entire story for that character. I also think about the popular manga, Fullmetal Alchemist, by Hiromu Arakawa. After failed attempt to resurrect their mother by using alchemy, the boys lose body parts and go on a journey to find a way to restore their bodies.

Can magic turn copper into gold? Or can magic users turn anything in general into gold?

It’s the transmutation question. This questions brings to mind a thief/peddler who is not really good at magic but he does have a small gift to transmute certain things to appear like gold. With the system I created, this is possible. However, I put in place limitations.

The transmuted object will always return to its original form. The effect is not permanent otherwise the economy wouldn’t exactly work.

What does magic require?

For example, if someone tries casting a spell, do they need certain ingredients? Can those ingredients be replaced? Do they need candles? Or perhaps a magic circle? Does it need the person’s willpower? What fuels magic? Does it burn away people’s life-force? Does it need “mana” or other forms of energy?

With this, remaining consistent is key. Otherwise readers might feel like there’s nothing concrete. There’s only so far suspense of disbelief will stretch.

Any limitations on magic?

This questions goes back to the beginning. It’s important to know what magic can’t do. There are times when I need to start backwards. I need to place limitations on what magic can do because otherwise there might be plot holes. Why couldn’t a character do this spell at the end when he could do it at the beginning without any problem?

The rules are up to you to decide. Personally, I like to keep things consistent. It also helps to keep a notebook with all the rules for magic. If I ever need to go back and double check something, I have a place to go for easy access.

Finally, beta readers are a good resource to use. Those who read your story will, hopefully, point out things that don’t make sense.