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 Writing

Stand Alone Novel

I have talked about the second book of my half blood series and how I feel like I don’t know how to write. This time, I’m having trouble separating this novel from the first one and the rest of the series. In part, I think it’s because this novel is a continuation. Perhaps I didn’t give myself enough time away from the series. Or perhaps it’s because the characters are so fresh in my mind that it’s making difficult to separate the plots from each other.

My mentality is like a train trying to go uphill. I think I can. I think I can, right? It starts lagging (like all my pc games do). Not the story (I think) just the way that I am able to keep writing and figure out all the tiny details of the plot. I’m not much of a planner and when I do plan, I always allow the story to breathe on its own. I don’t like to limit myself to the confines of an outline. Yet, I feel like the story just keeps going without a breather. Maybe I should have waited for longer to start the second book. But I don’t want to stop now.

To put it simply, I have never done anything like this before. This is the first series that I’m actually writing and it’s scary. I’ve bought reference books and read through them for plotting, description, characters, etc. I can gladly say that the series arc has always been fresh in my head. I know where I am going with this series. It’s how to get there that’s giving me problems.

I wish I could say that I found how to separate the two novels from each other but I haven’t. It’s a learning process; one that I fear and feel excited about. The doubts are still present but I’m pushing through. When I write a scene, I just can’t stop until it’s completed. I tend to rush the scene and end up skipping some description because I want to get to the juicy part. Lazy writing. Sure there’s always editing but I think, just like before, I’m trying to get everything done right.

In general, I think I need to start looking at more articles about writing a series and second books. I know that sometimes the second book isn’t all that great but I really want mine to be decent. Maybe taking a break is all I need. We’ll see. 

Posted in Writing

Second Book Doubts

Now that I’m writing the second book of my Half-Blood Series, I have somehow reverted back to the first time I ever wrote. I feel like I don’t know what I am doing. For the most part, I have outlined and know the basic idea of where I want this story to go. Yet, every time I write a sentence or two, I want to erase it and start over again. Is this a common problem? Is it just my mentality?

Before I mentioned that I like to hand write my stories because it allows me to edit multiple times and I am able to get all my ideas on paper even if I have to write the same scene differently. However, one of the problems I’m facing is that I don’t know what to write. Is it safe to assume that this is plot problem? I’m not so sure. I think it has to do with the fact that I want the second book to be perfect. I’m not treating it like a book in and of itself. In my head, I’m treating it as part of a series – which it is – but I need to think about it as its own stand alone story.

I know all of this and yet, it hasn’t gotten any easier. It doesn’t help that I keep editing some other chapters and focusing on something else. It’s a vicious cycle that I have fallen in. I’m also sure that it’s 100% my fault. If I really think about it, I think I just want to create a perfect book which is completely unrealistic. Some part of my brain wants to create a masterpiece that doesn’t need to be edited or revised. Yeah, that’s not going to happen and yet here I am.

I keep coming back to this. What if I am not prepared? Not mentally of course. I meant that what if my plot isn’t constructed very well? Could the story actually be lacking? My doubts are just getting used as an excuse to not write. Honestly, I think it is a bit of both. It’s my mentality and my plotting could use a little work. I didn’t think I would say this but I think I need to not care.

So what if my scenes don’t go together at first? Or that my description and setting are lacking? I shouldn’t be afraid of going back to the drawing board or starting over. I have started over many times with other stories and this time it shouldn’t be any different. After all, the first draft should never be perfect. That’s why we have editing and revising.

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.