Posted in Methods, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Can I really do it and How?

Writing a novel, much less 50,000 words in a month, can be a bit daunting. Every year/ NaNoWriMo month I ask myself I can really do it. I ask if I’m ready to commit to a project and to all those hours of writing. Every time, I ask myself “why not?”. Why don’t I just try? What do I have to loose?

Upon making that decision, I tend to start panicking because it means I have to prepare and block off hours of my time to even write. Then I find that I’m going about it the wrong way. While my goal may be 50k words, someone else might be 30k or 40k. It all depends. There was a time where I knew it was going to be a busy week so, I gave myself a different goal.

Campnanowrimo allows you to change your overall goal for the event. So, if you believe that you can only write 35k words then, it’s possible to track that progress. There’s also the option to have a writing buddy in case you want a partner in crime.

Once you decide you’re really going to do it, the next question is “how?”. How are you going to complete set set goal for NaNoWriMo? The answer depends on the person and commitment. Plus, each project is different. You could write an anthology, biography, poems, etc.

First, it’s important to figure out your end goal. How many words are you going to write in the month? Mine will be 50k words. My project will be to finish up the rest of a novel that I’m working on at the moment. I believe that 50k words should be enough to complete the story. That might change and 50k words may not be enough but, for right now, that’s what I have set. Set a manageable goal.

Next, what will you be using? I don’t plan on using any software. The story is posted on Wattpad and I’l be using their site to work on the story. I won’t be posting every day as I finish my daily goal but there is where I’ll have all the chapters. If I’m ever away from my phone or a computer, I don’t mind using pen and paper to write. I don’t find it a chore to type up what I hand wrote.

Third, while this doesn’t seem like a big deal, I feel like I should mention it. Check out the website for the event. CampNaNoWriMo has a resources and pep talks during the event to help writers. They have a twitter account with word sprints and topic starters last time I checked. Plus, when you input your daily goal, the website helps you track your progress and let’s you know how many words you must write to reach your goal in time.

Lastly, I won’t be going into too much detail on how to actually plan (or not) your project for April. That post is for another day. What I will say is that Camp NaNowriMo is about opportunity. It challenges you. Maybe it’s your first time participating maybe it’s your fifth, but overall, we all together to write and I really think that’s amazing.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.

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Posted in Methods, Resources, Writing

Filling in the Blanks

post filling in the blanksRecently, I found a post on Pinterest that I found very interesting. The post goes to say that writing dialogue first makes the scene easier and longer . The author goes to say that this method worked for him/her when he/she wanted to get some work done. Overall, I think that’s some decent advice.

Personally, it hasn’t been something I’ve tried consciously. I’ve done something similar where I write the basic lines of a scene and dialogue and then go back to fill in the blanks. My method made  me feel like I was too lazy to write everything out completely but seeing this post changes that.

Like many, I’ve always tried to put my best work on the page even if that means rewriting the same sentence a few hundred times. It doesn’t help that I know that that’s not how it works but I find myself doing it anyway. I’ve been trying to work on that, and while there has been progress, there are times when I tend to slip.

I (probably) won’t be using this method consciously right off the bat but I’m not going to write if off. It kind of feels like writing an outline more than anything else but that’s just how I feel. In part I believe because I’ve always associated going back and adding things to a manuscript as rewriting or even editing, I can’t immediately jump to using this method.

Overall, I’m always on the look out for advice and tips that will help me become a better writer. I always strive to grow my skills and abilities. Plus, it’s not like I’m opposed to trying new things. If the chance presents itself, I might just end up writing the dialogue first and the filling in the blanks later.

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 Methods, Writing

The Magic System – Part 2

Creating the magic system for you world can be a lot of work. It also takes a lot of time. Personally, I have never created a full magic system for any of my stories that require one. However, I have understood the rules of magic.

What can magic do?

This is an important question I like to answer. Can magic raise the dead? If so, why aren’t zombies roaming around? Is this type of necromancy magic forbidden? What is the penalty of being caught performing such magic? Have a lot of magic users tried?

These question bring to mind a certain character where his family or someone close to him/her has died. if such magic existed, would they go out and find a way to raise the dead or find someone to do it for them? That simple fact – whether or not magic can raise the dead – cane create an entire story for that character. I also think about the popular manga, Fullmetal Alchemist, by Hiromu Arakawa. After failed attempt to resurrect their mother by using alchemy, the boys lose body parts and go on a journey to find a way to restore their bodies.

Can magic turn copper into gold? Or can magic users turn anything in general into gold?

It’s the transmutation question. This questions brings to mind a thief/peddler who is not really good at magic but he does have a small gift to transmute certain things to appear like gold. With the system I created, this is possible. However, I put in place limitations.

The transmuted object will always return to its original form. The effect is not permanent otherwise the economy wouldn’t exactly work.

What does magic require?

For example, if someone tries casting a spell, do they need certain ingredients? Can those ingredients be replaced? Do they need candles? Or perhaps a magic circle? Does it need the person’s willpower? What fuels magic? Does it burn away people’s life-force? Does it need “mana” or other forms of energy?

With this, remaining consistent is key. Otherwise readers might feel like there’s nothing concrete. There’s only so far suspense of disbelief will stretch.

Any limitations on magic?

This questions goes back to the beginning. It’s important to know what magic can’t do. There are times when I need to start backwards. I need to place limitations on what magic can do because otherwise there might be plot holes. Why couldn’t a character do this spell at the end when he could do it at the beginning without any problem?

The rules are up to you to decide. Personally, I like to keep things consistent. It also helps to keep a notebook with all the rules for magic. If I ever need to go back and double check something, I have a place to go for easy access.

Finally, beta readers are a good resource to use. Those who read your story will, hopefully, point out things that don’t make sense.

Posted in Methods, Resources, Writing

Developing The Magic System – Part 1

There are a lot of how-to and tips on how to write a magic system for a story. It may be fantasy, it might not. In Part 1, I will focus on the questions I tend to ask myself when creating first. The questions about what magic can do, consequences, etc. will be addressed later.

To begin with, the first question you must ask yourself before anything else is:

Do you have magic in your world?

Assuming you are here because you do have magic in the world, then the next question you need to answer is:

Where does the magic come from?

Does it come from the earth? Mystical beings? Through study? What is the origin of magic?

Next, how do the people in your world access magic? Do they have to have special devices? Tombs? Spellbooks? Focus?

Once you’ve established this all of this. The next step is to think about who can use this magic. Can magic be used by anyone? Peasants? Nobility? How does this impact society? Are those with magic elevated in status or not?

Do people practice in the open, in school, or in hiding? These questions will impact how magic interacts with your world.

Some other questions that I like to ask myself when I create a magic system are: how widespread is magic? Are there specific regions that only have magic or the entire continent/ kingdom? Does every citizen in these regions accept magic or do they mistrust it?

How are magic users treated? This also has to deal with their social status and whether or not they have to hide their magic. If people do have to hide their magic, what caused this? Was there a specific event?

Do the magic users have their own government? Most importantly, who governs them? Is there a special task force that steps in when magic goes wrong? Does this government have their own power? Or are they overseen by a ‘non-magic’ user group?

What is allowed? Meaning, what can magic users do? Is there a specific rule that says, you cannot reanimate dead bodies? Or bring back the dead? Is this even possible at all?

These are a lot of questions and perhaps you might not have all the information and it can feel overwhelming. While these might not be all the questions available, I believe these are some questions just to get you started on exploring your magic system.

Lastly, I would like to add that these questions also help with world building. Society, trade, class systems, etc. are all affected by just one element. Every society, world, the regions of your story are different. There are endless possibilities but it’s up to you to make yours unique.

Thanks for reading. Part 2 will be up next Monday.