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.

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Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

The Passive Voice

As I continue to work on my NaNoWriMo book, I came to the realization that I use a lot of passive words. “He was talking” and “It was snowing” are some of the examples that I mean by passive words. Instead, I should be using “He talked” and “It snowed”. While it’s true that I’m working on a rewrite and there is still time to edit afterwards, I still don’t want to fall into a habit of using “was walking” in my writing.

A good advice for NaNoWriMo is to kill your inner editor and just write. It’s good advice but I’m not going to following that. I’ve found myself going back into my writing and looking for any signs of passive voice. Normally, I would never do this because I don’t have to time to edit. I need to write. However, this year, I’m a bit more confident in my ability to type up 50k words which is the only reason why I’m doing this. Words are coming easier this time around.

So far, I’ve hit my daily word count and have written more than the recommended daily word count amount to hit 50k words. Now, I know all about the passive voice and avoiding it but I still find myself using those types of words/ sentences. It mostly has to deal with the fact that I’m just trying to get everything down and I’m not thinking about how it’s been written.

To be honest, I feel like a part of me is trying to cut down on the amount of editing I have to do when I finish writing the book. So, it could be one or the other or both. Now, when I do edit, I’m not exactly looking for every instances of passive voice. That comes later. At the moment, I’m focused on “was looking” and “was walking” type of words because I feel like those are the ones that stick like a sore thumb.

I also found that rereading what I wrote the day before helps me, not only get inspiration for the day, but also with editing. I read the words aloud and when it doesn’t sound right and if it doesn’t make sense, I go in and make the writing a bit clearer. If I do find passive words in there, I change that as well. However, I don’t edit all the time. If there is something I need to double check or research, I leave a comment to myself. I really try to avoid using the internet because one click and then I’m wasting my time ‘researching’ instead of writing.

Most importantly, I do know myself and the habits, whether good or bad, that I have. So, I try to manage the bad habits like ‘researching’ when I should be writing. So far, I think I have enough self control to only change the passive words that I find. I haven’t convinced myself yet that I need to go back and change a few scenes but that can change. I’ll be vigilante.

Posted in Resources, Writing

Building the Organization

In most of the stories that I write, I tend to have a group or organization of sorts. It’s typically a group the characters meet or join, or are a part of a group at the start. Regardless, there’s a group.

This also means that this group has to have a structure. They rules and regulations and leaders and chain of command. You get the picture. When I create a organization for whatever story, I like to start at the bottom. I’m going to use an organization for a story I worked on a while back. The story has stayed in my drawer for a long time but I do revisit it sometimes.

So, at the bottom I have the trainees. They are the new people, the new hires so to speak. They still need to go through training, hence the name.

Next, up the ladder are the recruits. These are the guys who have already completed their training. The training period is six months. If they can last for six months, they are recruits. While the naming of this part of the ladder could use a change, for now, they’re known as the recruits.

Above the recruits, you have the junior members. These guys have been in the organization for at least 2 to 3 years. They have seniority and most errands fall on them. They are the ones who help train the recruits.

Then, I have the Senior Members and the Instructors all on the same tier. Sometimes, these people are senior members and instructors. The Senior Members are responsible for training the junior members, and recruits. The instructors train the trainees and sometimes the recruits.

We have the Lieutenant next. This person is like the second in command. He gives out all the orders. He reports directly to the Captain.

The Captain is at the top of the tier for this organization.  The title is self explanatory. This person is the boss. All orders come from him. He doesn’t interact with the trainees, recruits or the junior members. Most of his time is occupied with reports and making sure supplies are going to where and who they need to go to. Below is the diagram I made.

Heirarchy

Now, this is a very simply. Plus, this also a  branch of a larger structure. The Captain answers to the region commander who then answers to the territory commander, etc. Any organization can be expanded with higher or lower tiers. However, I like to keep it small to start out with because otherwise, it gets confusing and.

Not only that but there are times when I don’t even need to know who is above the Captain. When the story calls for it then I’ll go ahead and develop it. Sure, it’s nice to have everything figure out but that can be a pit fall. I find that it doesn’t allow much for flexibility. However, every writer is different. What might work for others might not work for you.

Lastly, I think the hardest part of creating an organization is finding an appropriate name for this organization. There are a lot of generators out there that can help out. Or perhaps the name is already set in stone. For this organization specifically, I don’t really have a name for. The story this is from hasn’t developed quite well enough that not having a name will be a problem.

Thanks for reading. Until next time,

Kassandra.

 

Posted in Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt – Gray Eyes

And just like that, the man I’d been kissing moments ago became the most dangerous man on the planet.

His face flashed across the platform’s screen. Somewhere behind me, the train screeched to a halt. Shoulders moved past me but all I could look at was at those gray eyes.

The picture was terrible. His face was blurred, distorted. Anybody who didn’t know him wouldn’t recognize him. I guess I didn’t know him as well as I thought.

It been only moments ago, when we said goodbye, that I was looking at those same gray eyes.

“Suspect is charged with arson, theft, murder, kidnapping . . .”

The list just went on and on. Apparently, he was behind the recent Ouji attack where a government building had exploded. The news didn’t say it but it the building had been a research facility. I should know. I used to work there until recently. That was where I first met him.

Terrorist was what the media called him. Yeah, with a rep list like that I would do and yet, was it really him? Was this the same guy who brought me dinner when I worked late? Or gave me a ride because my car wouldn’t start?

He had even helped me buy groceries. It couldn’t be him and yet, how could I not know those gray eyes. They looked like a thunder storm. The way the sky once moved, the way it is portrayed in videos.

“Train to Zanx will depart in five minutes. Train to Zanx . . .”

Had it all been a lie? Was that just one of his many personas? It would make sense. If it was true, everything he ever said and did would be a lie.

My gut twisted. It was a lie. Pressure build behind my eyes. I blinked rapidly. Oh, well. It was nice while it lasted. It didn’t mean anything, not really. I knew it wouldn’t last. That was obvious.

Somewhere close by, heavy footsteps approached. They came to a stop around me.

“Miss Alex Wight. Please come with us.”

I turned to the voice that had spoken. Surrounding me, there were seven individuals in tactical armor. They all point their weapons at me. The woman who had spoken stepped forward. She had cuffs in her hands.

“What is all this for?” I asked.

Most of the platform was empty but there were a few who loitered around waiting for the next train. They kept a wide berth from us.

“You’re charged with aiding a terrorist,” the woman answered, “please come with us.”

I shoved my hands in my pockets. And just like that, I was a suspect.

Posted in updates, Writing

Finding the Middle

Another week comes to an end. Progress has been slow but there has been progress. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a post Monday. I got caught up with errands and school work. I promised myself I’ll do better.

I did go back and take a look at Crimson Queen, the story I worked on for Camp NaNoWriMo. Reading through, I realized that the beginning worked. The middle on the other hand didn’t. There was no direction. So, I went back through it and wrote down the main plot points that I found. There was a couple of them but they were just buried under unnecessary scenes/ words.

Moving forward, I need to fill in the blanks to get from one point to another. That “filling” has to be relevant to the story and has to contribute. Otherwise, the words become unnecessary and I don’t want that. Plus, I have the information, the filling if you will, I just have to find a way to add everything together.

With school going on now, I have to steal time to write until I get a schedule down. It’s going slower than I would like to. For sure this upcoming week, there’s going to be a post Monday. Wednesday is still writing prompt day. I’m having really fun with those prompts. They’re different but I need a way to get out of my comfort zone. I need to write something I wouldn’t normally write. Is there a website for random writing prompts? I definitely have to look for that.

If anyone has any suggest, send a message/ comment and I’ll see what I can do. Thanks for reading.