Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

Backwards to a Goal – Method 2

I’ve been talking about a few methods of how to develope an idea for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. We only have a week left before it truly starts. So, like promised, today I’ll touch upon working backwards to a goal. This specifically is having an ending to a story and working backwards to figure out how you, the writer, is going to get there.

I’ll be the first to say that starting with the end is tricky because more often than not, you don’t have the ending planned from the beginning. Should you not try this method? It depends. Personally, there are times when the ending suddenly comes to me right as I start writing act two. Then, it’s a simple matter of figuring out what scenes are going to lead up to the end.

All of this works specifically if you have the end in mind so this post will address that situation. Act three is important. This is where the characters may or may not have closure, might be a cliff hanger, or neatly wraps up a series. Knowing how it all ends helps the writer focus on the writing and can keep the story concise.

So, the question remains, how do we work backwards for a goal?

A good question to ask is how did the character get there? What did they have to do to be in that moment in time? This queation is meant to get thise gears turning. It works like retracing your steps only it’s not for you. I tend to write the steps in bullet points so its easier to visualize.

Once those bullet point come in mind then it gets simpler. What came before that scene? What about the one before that? And the before that? You see where I’m going with this?

This method can also work even if you didn’t have the ending in mind at the beginning. Maybe you started at the beginning and, as you wrote, the ending solidified. Now, all that is left is to figure out those steps in between. The writing becomes focused with purpose.

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that scenes and endings don’t always appear so suddenly. A lot of it comes from the writer writing and thinking what’s going to happen next. Keeping thinking, keep imagining what will happen next. Let the gears turn. And as always, have fun and take breaks to prevent from becoming frustrated with the lack of progress or if the execution isn’t as you intended. Take a deep breath and plan on.

Advertisements
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 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, Writing

Dealing with Boredom

Earlier this week I sat down to write the daily 1,667 words needed to complete Camp NaNoWriMo and I didn’t want to. Just the thought of writing filled me with dread. I couldn’t really pinpoint the feeling.

It was then that I asked myself a question. Why didn’t I want to write? I was doing so well before. After a few moments of thinking to myself, I knew the answer. The story was boring. I was bored because the story felt boring to me. The characters were at a stand still. They were looking for clues but weren’t getting anywhere. I wasn’t getting anywhere.

I knew that I didn’t want to stop writing Crimson Queen. I’d told myself that I wanted to complete most of the story this month. If not most, then all. I didn’t want to change my goal completely.

Coming to terms with this, I looked back at all my plot and character notes. While some of it had changed, the intention and direction was still there. I still so much content left to write.

So, I finished the scene I started the day before. After doing this, I forced myself to move on to the next scene. I needed to move forward. And so I did. Saying this, I wasn’t always capable of skipping a scene and moving on to the next one. It took baby steps like summarising, leaving comments for myself to go back to, and even writing a different version of the scene all together. It was enough to get me to this point.

Once I had a ‘fresh’ start, I wasn’t bored anymore. I was excited. Writing the daily goal for that day didn’t take very long. My fingers ached by the end of it but I was done. Goal complete.

Looking back at it, I’ve come to realize how far I have come since starting out. Being able to skip scene is huge for me. I was the type of writer who had to get every word perfect. The scene had to be perfect. I could not and would not move on until it was. I remembered getting so fustrated and stressed out because the words weren’t coming out like they were suppose to. It got to a point where I stopped writing the story altogether for weeks on end and focused on something else.

I am very grateful that I am not that writer anymore. I have the strength to move forward and focus on the scenes I want to write. Sure, I still have to remind myself that I can always come back to something but that doesn’t always happen. Then I start asking myself, ‘would I regret not finishing this story?’ and the answer is ‘yes’ all the time. It’s the small things that keep me going and I know that I am not alone. I just can’t let my struggles stop me.

Posted in updates, Writing

Progression

After a very long month, I was finally able to sent out my 8k words to Sarah from Lopt & Cropt. At the end of last year, I entered a contest on the blog, A Writer’s Path. I was the winner of said contest and having 8k words edited by a professional was one of the prizes.

Sarah provided a free sample edit before I sent over the 8k words. Thanks to her wonderful feedback, I got a broader feel and sense to my story (Clan of Ash). While I planned to send my 8k words to her immediately after her initial edit of 15-20 pages of my manuscript, I didn’t. Instead, I focused on NaNoWriMo which is where I wrote Clan of Blood, the sequel to Clan of Ash. Let me tell you, that broadened my view of the story even more.

In essence, this caused me to look back at the 8k words I was going to send Sarah. I ended up rewriting almost the entirety of those 8k words with a few exception. I did copy pasted a couple of sentences here and there the plot for those scenes stayed the same. They were just rewritten in a better way. I even discovered a minor plot hole that I fixed right up. That being said, I have to make a couple of more changes down the line but I already have a few ideas on how to remedy that.

Even as I wait for Sarah’s response, my work doesn’t stop. While I didn’t make any new year’s resolution, I did make goals for myself. One of those goals is to completely finish rewriting Crimson Queen. Slowly but surely, I will.