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.

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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.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Uncategorized, Writing

Preparation Complete

Preparing for April has been very smooth. In part, it has to do with the fact that I’m rewriting a story I’ve already written. At this point, I have a good idea of where I want the story to go.

Even before the rewrite, I knew where the story was going. That was always present in my mind. The character development, background information, and subplots, on the other hand, need a bit more work. That is what I’m focusing on in rewriting the story.

Of course, preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo or just preparing to write a novel or even the other half of a story can be tough. You can prepare so many things but at the end of the day, you could scrape the entire thing. It’s happened to me more times than I can count.

While I can prepare for all situations of what might occur when I’m writing, I have a bit of confidence that I won’t loose my way, so to speak. IMHP (in my humble opinion), I believe that rewriting a novel might be easier than first starting out. Here are three of my reasons.

First, at least I have a basis of the story. I’ve put my thoughts and ideas down on paper. It doesn’t have to be great but at least I have something written down. I might not use everything or even anything at all but that’s okay.

Second, it’s something you can proofread/mark up. I like to print out the story and mark it up with a red pen. I write my comments on it and I have something visual to go back to whenever I need it. Personally, I’m not a big fan of editing on a screen. I have always found it more useful to me to write out corrections and comments.

Lastly, at least the story exists. It is out there and that just makes it all the better. This motivates me to work to make the story better. It’s the process that solidifies the main storyline and other aspects I want to include.

In essence, everyone has their own methods on how they do things. Finding what works for you is just another step in the process.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, updates, Writing

The Half Way Point

We’re a bit past half through November and let’s not mention the lack of winter in Texas. The important thing to remember is that NaNoWriMo is half way done . . . and that is terrifying.

While I have reached my daily goal since day one, I find my story to be lacking. While I have the overall story planned, all the bits in between aren’t exactly there.

I’ve always been someone who plans some of the story before writing and someone who makes things up along the way. The problem with that is I underestimated the second book in the series. While Clan of Blood is its own book, it’s also part of a larger story. This is why I feel I should have planned out the story a bit more.

Now, there’s no use in regretting what wasn’t done. That’s not going to get me anywhere. It’s definitely a lesson I’ve learned.

As of now, the middle is slowing me down. I’m not bored, not at all, but I don’t know how to continue the main story. The subplots are there but I don’t want to derail the story and focus only on the subplots. Even though I know that subplots should feed into the main story, and I know how the subplots in Clan of Blood connect to everything else, for some reason, I’m having trouble putting it all in words. It’s like I forgot how to use words or something.

While my idea map has helped put everything into a diagram of sorts, I haven’t quite been able to plan ahead. I’m probably making this into a big deal because the editing part of my brain isn’t quite shut off. However, in the long run, it’ll be good for me to be aware that a lot of the story has to change in the edit. Clan of Ash, the first book, went through tons of edits too but unlike that time, there wasn’t a lot of pressure. Now, I feel like there is.

But it’s not like I can quit. I don’t want all that work and effort to go to waste. Plus, I need to write the second book. I love the story and the characters. I’m just afraid that I won’t do them justice. It’s just one of the many fears I have when it comes to writing in general. The idea seems so cool but the execution isn’t all there.

There’s so much doubt but I know I can get through this. I’ve struggled before and pulled through. For the moment, I’ll focus more on the scenes than the story as a whole. I won’t be abandoning the story. I’ll concentrate on the smaller parts that make up the story and try to connect them. Writing this, the ending is becoming a bit clearer. However, I don’t think that I’ll be able to fully finish the story in just 50k words.

As I type this post, the idea of just skipping everything and focusing on the main points seems better and better. If it comes down to it, I might just take that route. Or, I might not. It depends on how far I can go with what I have planned out.

*takes a deep breath* Don’t worry about being perfect. Just write.

Posted in Methods, Writing

Plot and Subplot

Just recently, I have started working on my second book in a five part series I plan to write. My beta readers are busy reading through the first book and so it’s a good opportunity to start writing the second. Unlike most people, I don’t exactly outline the entire book. I like to let the story breathe on its own and expand toward places I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. So, I faced a dilemma.

I knew the effects I wanted to write about; the ripples of the events that happened in the first book. I made an entire list of those effects and I thought I was ready. I was on the second notebook page when I realized that I had no idea what this story was going to be about. My list of effects was beside me but it wasn’t a story. There wasn’t anything connecting these points. They were just scenes and without a connector, it wasn’t a story.

I went back to the writing board. What was my story about? I wanted to follow the themes of revenge and family but how could I incorporate this into a story? Somewhere online I read that books in a serious should more or less be a stand alone book. While they might be part of a series, it has to have its own story despite having the same cast. Thinking about my plot made me think about the overall plot of my series. I knew what I wanted to accomplish in the last book but I needed to build up to that point. How could I get to point A to point D?

The answer came to be while I was sitting at work. My effects list was in front of me and I knew that most of them were all character based. One way or another, the characters had to face that effect and deal with it. One point in particular caught my attention. The cult in my book needed more of a presence and it was in that moment that I realized that they could be the center of the story. They were the driving force.

And so, I had my plot.

It doesn’t always work that way but what helped me was that I concentrated on one detail that I could expand and luckily it worked out. This exercise, so to speak, made me realize that subplots can’t drive the story because then, without an overall connection, there is no story. If you ever have trouble coming up with a plot, shot down a few points that must happen in the story and then ask yourself: how does my character (s) get from this moment to that moment? They you fill out the details.

Take from other readings and writings that you might have done over the course of your life. The what-if game is also very helpful because it allows you freedom to think about different scenarios that you wouldn’t necessarily put into writing. Overall, it’s important to remember that each book in a series builds the plot as a whole and each piece must work together to get you to the end. But in the end, take it one chapter at a time.