Posted in Resources, Writing

Unnecessary Characters – Are they necessary?

 

unnecessary characters
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One of the things I try to look out for in my writing is unnecessary characters. Sure, as writers, we must populate the story but when is it too much? How can we identify these unnecessary characters?

I like to use the sexy lamp test. This test doesn’t apply only to the relevance of a female character, it applies to other characters as well. If you can replace a character with someone else – or a lamp in this case – they aren’t necessary. The test can also be applied to your main characters.

If, for some reason, you really want a certain character in the story because they bring something unique then, maybe the character needs more work. Flesh them out. Every character has some sort of motivation that gets them through the day and if after all that, the character still doesn’t work then, cut them. You can always recycle them for later.

 

 

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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.

 

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 NaNoWriMo, Writing

A New Schedule

It’s the start of a new month and that means Camp NaNoWriMo has ended for the moment. Yours truly was able to reach 50k words. While I didn’t exactly finish writing the entire story, the plot did move to the third act where a lot of reveals and betrayals happen. I call it the more exciting part of this story in particular.

Saying, I won’t go back and look at what I wrote. Instead, I’ll keep writing at my own space towards the finish. Sue to the original draft, I have a lot of it already prepared. For the most part, the last section of the story has been written and set in stone. Some of the events might change but the results will be the same.

New stuff is starting this month. Not only did I start school again (well it’s a certification program), I also plan to post 3x a week. It’s a lot that I’m putting on my plate but I think I can manage.

Mondays, I plan to post some helpful tips on world building, helpful websites, among other stuff. Wednesdays will be for writing prompts. The post won’t be super long. The purpose for this is to get me to write different sort of scenarios and genres. It will be a good learning experience. Lastly, Fridays will stay the same. The posts will mostly be about progress, exciting news, etc.

I will start the new schedule the following week. It’s going to be tough starting it out but I’ll manage to do it.

For those who finished all 50k words for Camp NaNoWriMo, congratulations! For those who didn’t, congratulations as well! Taking the time and effort says a lot about you. For that I applaud you.