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.

 

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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

Character Creation – part 1

Sometimes a character pops into my head before the actual story. There might be a small scene around the character but nothing is concrete. I don’t plan for this to happen, it just does.

So, what do I do when I have an idea of a character? For starters, I tend to know the character’s sex. I don’t know the character’s gender until way later.

Next, I think about what kind of world would this character live in? Futuristic? Fantasy? Modern day?

Once, I decide that, I look at the situation they are in. Do they struggle to pay for basic essentials? Are they on the run? Are they a gun for hire? Maybe they are a detective/ investigator.

If I can’t think of an answer, I mix and match. Would this character fit in an urban setting? Would it make sense if they were on the run? Nothing is is ever concrete at the beginning. Characters are like clay. They can be modeled as many times as they need to.

As the character takes shape, pieces tend to fall into place. A character now has a sword and a gun. The only place they drink their coffee is from a run down shop on a corner of a not so nice street. For character creation, I think it’s helpful to start with the little things.

What would their room look like? It’s a clean? Messy? Undisturbed? Do they use mouth wash? What snacks do they eat? Do they drink too much coffee? What does a normal day for them look like? What kind of clothes do they wear? Where do they buy their clothes?

There are a lot of character creating questionnaires out there and I’ve found some of them very useful. However, I don’t always need to use them. Sure it’s important to know if your character has any family, siblings, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or a pet, but I found that somethings, character creation gets bog down with those sorts of questions.

At times, it feels like a job to me and it’s no longer fun. The character just slips from my mind and it never goes anywhere. I like to mull it over a bit. Keep it a secret if you will before putting it down on paper.

Posted in Resources, Writing

Endings – the First Draft

Writing the ending of a story can be tough. Knowing how the story is going to end is just as tough. There is no clear-cut way to figure how your story is going to end. Maybe you have it all planned out from the start. Maybe you didn’t figure out the ending until halfway through the story. Or maybe, you don’t have any idea how it’s going to end. Sure, there might be ideas floating around in your head but nothing is concrete and that’s okay.

Personally, I don’t usually figure out the ending until I get to the point where I can’t write anymore. Granted, this doesn’t happen to me often. Most often than not, I have some idea of how the novel is going to end.

Now, the good thing about writing the first draft is that nothing has to be perfect. The most important part is that it’s the first draft. This means that there’s going to be many more drafts of the same story. While the concept will stay the same and in some cases it won’t, everything else will change.

For the purpose of this post, I’ll stick with figuring out the ending for the first draft of the story. It’s not a novel just yet because the purpose of the first draft is to simply put the idea down on paper. That way, the idea has finally gotten out of your system and you can focus on writing the actual novel. I would also like to add that this isn’t about writing a satisfied ending.

When writing the ending of the story, what I do is make a list of all the potential ways to resolve the issue/problem/goal that has been the main focus of the story. Making a flow chart of the events leading up to the turning point/climax can be very helpful.

While you might not ever use one or any of those resolutions to the conflict, at least you started thinking about it. The process is to help your brain to think productively and creatively.

Once that list has been formed, try to figure out how to get from point A to point B. What would need to happen for that outcome to occur? It’s good to keep in mind that nothing is concrete. As much as you want the story/ending to be perfect, it won’t be. It’s not meant to be. At least not yet. Start with small steps and then take the bigger steps. Write those multiple endings/solutions and pick one that works . . . for the moment. There’s nothing stopping you from changing it after the first draft.

Even as a last resort, skipping the end is an option too. There is only one story that I skipped the ending. I didn’t necessarily write it out. However, I knew how I wanted the story to end. While this is nitpicking, at least, for me, I knew how it was going to end. It’s what worked for me.

At the end of the day, find what works for you. Every writer is different.

 

Posted in NaNoWriMo, updates, Writing

Writing the Muddle

We’ve reached the second week of November which also makes it the second week of NaNoWriMo. So far, I have met my daily writing goals every day. I must admit there were times when I was typing up words just to increase my word count when a few words sufficed. Needless to say, Clan of Blood (the current title) is going to have a lot of edits.

Currently, I have written past any scenes that I had planned out before hand. There are two events that I know I can write next. However, I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen after those two scenes. A part of me feels like I’m dragging this story out because I’m more focused on the word count than the actual plot. Yet, another part reminds me that there’s still plenty of days and words left to finish writing Clan of Blood.

While writing the entire book is my goal for this NaNoWriMo, I’m not going to force myself on this path. I don’t want to restrict myself on adding anything or skipping over a scene because I’m only focusing on the end – that I need to reach the end of the novel by November 30th.

As I write this, I realize that I’m having trouble writing the middle. Or how I’ve heard it referred to ‘the muddle’.  I find the middle hard to write. Maybe it’s because the plot isn’t quite working or I haven’t planned it out correctly. Or maybe it’s got nothing to do with any of that. I’m having trouble mostly because the ending isn’t clear to me just yet. Granted, I haven’t really thought about it and that should be (and is) the next step for me.

However, I’ve written other novels, and with those, I’ve learned a few tricks. I tend to ask myself. ‘How can I make the characters struggle a bit more?’ I can’t make it too easy because otherwise there wouldn’t be interesting. Life is a struggle even on the page.

I also think about how to raise the tension which also comes hand in hand with conflict. With dynamic characters that have opposite goals and/or contradicting view points, having conflict isn’t that difficult. One person wants to use the amulet to seal a demon portal. The other person wants to use the amulet to remove a curse and the amulet only has one usage.

The middle could also be used to add subplots, include obstacles, etc. The one thing that I tend to keep in mind is how to get to the end. I want the scenes in the book to matter. They have to all lead to the end. Even though they may twist and turn, everything must count because what’s the use of adding something if it doesn’t play into the story? Every scene has to move the story forward. Otherwise, the story stops and it doesn’t go anywhere. I like to avoid that at all cost. If I’m not interested in writing and it gets boring for me then why would my readers want to read it? At least, that’s what I think.

And ultimately, it’s a rough draft. It can be a very rough first draft and that’s okay. Things can be changed later, they can be deleted, other things can be added, that’s the beauty (and horror) of editing. Just write. And worry about everything else later.