Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

And . . . Go!

Camp NaNoWriMo isn’t going as I expected. Due to Easter, I’m behind about a thousand words. I’ve been catching up gradually but I haven’t exactly caught up. I’m not worried about not being on target. I believe I can still catch up and finish on time.

The story is progressing as expected. A few changes have been made some conversations because they simply didn’t make sense. It’s also probably because I didn’t know what I wanted to reveal in those conversations and they didn’t have a point. They didn’t do anything for the world or story. I needed to change that. I tend to only keep conversations that move the story forward in some shape or form.

Another thing I encountered while writing was the lack of characterization of one of my major characters. While he is a warrior and a devoted knight to the Church, I don’t think I was portraying him that way. He seemed bland or maybe it was just me. Either way, I needed change him.

Lastly, there’s one ‘issue’ I’ve been mulling over. While Crimson Queen is third person, I have the opportunity to change POV once in a while. There’s information I want to include that the main character wouldn’t know but I don’t know if it’s needed or not. I don’t want the reader to feel that I’m just dropping information on them all of a sudden. I think I’ll just add the information and see how that works for the story.

Decisions, decisions.

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Posted in Writing

Making your Reader Care

“Why should I care about the main character?”

This is a comment I received a few weeks ago on one of my stories. It was for Clan of Ash to be precise. For a while, and even now, the comment still lingers in the back of my head. I’ve read plenty of articles and blogs, over the years, on tips/advice/questions on how to make your readers care. A few of these were:

-Don’t make your character perfect. He/she needs a flaw.

-Make them relatable.

-What does your character want?

-What are the obstacles?

-Is he/she an underdog?

Even then, I never thought that I would be asked that question (why should I care?) It took me by surprised and left me reeling. I’d thought it was clear. But if I really think about it, maybe, I wasn’t as clear as I thought. It was clear to me but not the reader. I set up my main character with an impossible task and he grits his teeth and does because otherwise, they’ll kill him.

One of the most important things I came to realize is, it’s a process. Sure, hooking your readers and making a likable/relatable character at eh beginning is important. However, you have to keep “working” on your character throughout the story. Make your readers worry about them. Make them root for them.

There’s no ‘one way’ to do this. I remember some articles talked about having tension and conflict, twist and turns, in your story helps develop your character. It does and that way, readers see your characters struggle against the odds/ obstacles in order to reach their goal.

The key word is struggle. Nothing in life is ever easy or simple. Characters in stories shouldn’t have it easy. Otherwise, what’s the point of having the story? There would be no story. In essence, that’s what I need to keep in mind. I need to present the problem to the readers and have them “watch” the character try to resolve this problem.

As mentioned above, there’s no clear way to do this. There’s no ‘how-to’ or step-by-step guide. Sometimes, you wing it and try to have it all made sense. Luckily, there are beta readers out there that can point all the stuff you missed.

 

Posted in NaNoWriMo, updates, Writing

NaNoWriMo – Skipping Scenes

Day three and 5k words down, 45k to go. For some reason, it’s getting harder and harder to write those 1,600 or so words each day. It probably has to do with the fact that I don’t usually write the same amount of words each day. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m still working on rewriting Crimson Queen through the month of November or that I’m updating my Wattpad story on a weekly basis. I seem to have put too much on my plate. What can I say? I’m an overachiever at times.

I almost want to count my word count of those stories but I won’t. Personally, I think that would be cheating on my part. It’s just this mentality that I have where all 50k words must be part of one story as oppose to other projects. It’s just my way of thinking. For better or worse, I’m going to keep doing this until I can’t anymore.

Today, however, I will say that I was surprised by my story. Let me explain. As I struggled to continue the story from where I stop yesterday, a different and unrelated scene came to my head. It had nothing to do with the main story. I still don’t know if I’ll include it in the final draft but I’m not worried about that. I just knew that my mind wasn’t as exhausted after a long work week as I thought it would be and proved to me that there were still some creative juices up there. I put these creative juices to good use.

Writing a story doesn’t have to be linear. It is okay to skip around or take a break from the main story. When a story becomes painful to write and pulling out air is the next stage, something has to change. I’ve had this happened to me many times. I’ve gotten so stressed out about continuing the story that I don’t give myself a chance to take a deep breath and step back. Today, however, it was different.

For the second half of my daily writing goal, I typed up an emotionally charged scene between my two main characters. My fingers flew across the keyboard and my wrists started to hurt but I didn’t stop. This scene was important to me and my characters. I had to put it on ‘paper’ before I forgot. While the story didn’t progress much, I got to try an extra seven hundred words just for writing an unplanned scene. The words just poured out of me and I didn’t care if it related to the main story or not. I was skipping scenes and that was fine.

If writing unplanned scenes is something that gets me to write and discover my characters and more of my plot then so be it because eventually, those scenes can link together to become a cohesive story.  Some scenes may not be used but at least I wrote something. I gave the writer and creator inside me an opportunity to create and step away from the story that had started to ‘bog’ me down.

It works with writer’s block too. You’re not sure how the story will progress so why not put your characters in another situation, in another scene, and see what happens? It doesn’t even have to be part of the story. Not really. What if they would have done something completely different at the beginning of the story? Where would they be now? How would the rest of the story work out? Not only do you get distance from the current story and give your mind a break, but it might just help get those creative juices flowing again.

You’re still writing. You’re using those characters and world. Nothing has changed. Not really. It almost feels like writing fanfiction. Almost.

In the end, different methods work for different people. One way may work better for one person than another. It’s all a matter of how you write. Will I be using these extra words towards my daily word count? Yes I will.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, updates, Writing

Consequences and Plot

In my last post, I wrote about consequnces. In this post, I’ll expand on what I mean and what that means going forward with writing the second installment of the Half-Blood series.

I’d like to think that the ending of the first book set up the premise for the second book. Not only did an authority figure die, our heroes were saved – if you consider eternal servitude as saved. Nonetheless, their actions have drastically changed their lives and the lives of many more people. Their actions have consequences and I’m excited to write about those consequences.

Without giving too much away, a successor rises up to uncover the truth of his predecessor’s death and enact revenge if need be. He has a purpose and his investigation interrupts the main character’s lives. Now I have tension and conflict that I can build up through the story. Now, this isn’t the entire plot. This is a subplot that will run through the story.

The true plot of the story is to discover who’s behind a deadly virus infected certain people and finding a cure. For now, that’s what I’m going with. NaNoWriMo will give me the opportunity to play with this idea a bit more. Now, my main characters, Renelle and Alastair have to join forces again but they aren’t on friendly terms.

And all of this comes from all the events of the first book. Renelle saved Alastair and now they both serve the people who wanted to kill Alastair (that’s the shorten version). There’s a lot of bent-up feelings going around.

I plan to start the story by placing the characters in their new words. E.g. Renelle under servitude. The successor looking into his predecessor’s death. The term “domino effect” applies here perfectly. One action leads to an outcome and that to another so it’s all connected. You can’t really pinpoint where it all started. Because of the planning I did beforehand, this is all playing into a larger story arc that spans across the series. This is all leading towards the end.

While I forsee a lot of agony and frustration, I am excited to continue expanding the story and world that I have built.

Posted in Methods, updates, Writing

Writing Admiration

While rewriting a portion of Crimson Queen, I came to a realization that the relationship between the main character and her deceased father wasn’t good enough. Sure, I had some flashback moments added before said point, but it was only at that moment when it really hit me. The relationship between the two is the reason that the main character won’t escape even though she’s on death row. She can’t abandon the people her father protected and yet, looking back at the previous chapters, I didn’t get that feeling between the two.

I might need another set of eyes on this but, for the most part, I think it is safe to say that their relationship needs work. My main character, Lucinda,  admires her father but I’m afraid I might have not shown enough. It’s one of those things that I just have to go back and add more information to but, at the same time,  I’m not sure if that will be enough.

Yesterday, I took to the web to try and find some tips about how to go about doing this but it seemed like I didn’t get anywhere. All I came across was sample letters of how to write a letter of admiration. However, it wasn’t as unfruitful as I thought it would be. One thing I notice about the letters was that they contained examples of deeds/actions.

That’s something I could take to my writing. It’ll need to be casual, has to flow well with what I want to write. Plus, the flashbacks are short so they need to be concise but informative. Of course, this is a draft so there is always room for improvement. Heck, I might receive a ray of inspiration and write a perfect flashback. I’m not counting on this but it might happen.

In the meantime, I’ll keep writing the story and move forward with my realization. At least, I notice this issue early on so I can keep that in mind while I write.

On a sidenote, the free editing services I got is turning out well. I’m waiting for Sarah to get back to me with the first 20 pages of my manuscript. She provides this service for all new, potential clients. After this, we’re going to move forward with my 8k words.

I’ll keep you guys posted. Until next time,

Kassandra