I wanted to do at least one journal about writing this month, even though I'm no expert.
I feel like writing is one of the most unseen and perhaps even most under appreciated forms of art these days. Writing is virtually everywhere, yet it's very much overlooked. People tend to think about writing as just the stuff you read in books, but what about blogs and journals? What about your favorite game, movie, show, or anime? What about your favorite comic? Would you even like your favorite character that much if it didn't come with that backstory that made you feel so much for it?
Yes, that's writing. All of it.
As for my own experience; I've always been fascinated by storytelling. I could watch and read anything, as long as it had a good plot and characters I could care about. I think the true skill of a writer is to make (nearly) everything interesting.
To start writing
To start writing isn't that hard. It really isn't. All you need is a computer (or a typewriter, if you wan't to go retro) and a bit of time to write.
There are in essence two types of storytellers. The planned ones and the spontaneous ones. The first type plans out the story (or at least all major plot points) and then starts writing. The second one takes a more free approach to the art and just starts writing with no idea how the story ends. Note that both of them are proven to work out. And that, regardless of your approach, you're always gonna need some amount of editing at the end.
And then there's another group of people that wants to write, but never actually starts, judging by the many people that ask me about how the hell I start writing. To them I'd like to say; just start writing
. It doesn't matter if it sucks. You don't have to show your bad first drafts to anyone... but you need
that first draft to be written. If you have written down something, no matter how bad, you have something to edit. If you never write anything down, you can't edit it. So ditch the perfectionism. Just start writing!
To keep writing
For some people it isn't a challenge to start writing, but to keep
I guess it's for that reason that events like NaNoWriMo have come into existence. To keep people motivated to at least write for a whole month. There are various reasons people get stuck, and various ways to prevent this. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks:
Write out the major plot points of your story before you start. This might help you to keep direction and not end up stuck somewhere you didn't see coming.
When to pick up writing after a while inactivity, re-read older chapters to get back into the story's vibe again.
For that same reason, don't stop writing at the end of a chapter, but rather in the middle of an action scene.
When you have multiple characters, write about a character more suitable to your mood at that moment.
You don't always have to write chronologically. Proper editing can fix a lot.
Use music to get into the mood of whatever type of setting you're writing.
Find some friends or fellow-writers you can share your ideas and progress with. It might help you to keep you motivated.
Chill out regularly. There's nothing as bad for your motivation as being stressed constantly.
Good characters are about the most important thing in writing fiction. It's through their eyes you look at the world, and it's their progress that'll keep you interested in it for the long run. There are many types of characters (archetypes), and on top of that different mediums request a different way of creating characters. For example; a comic asks for a much more exaggerated visual representation of a character, than a novel does. So there isn't really one perfect way of writing a character.
There are however a few things universal that you might keep in mind. The first is to know as much as possible about the character. What does he/she like? What are his/her goals in life? You don't have to spill out all of this information into the story (nobody likes info dumps) but just knowing will help you a lot. See a character as a person; as your best friend. The more you know about this person, the easier it is to make this person believable. And even though your story might take place in a fictional universe, believably is very important if we want to relate to this character.
The second important thing is to ditch the Mary Sue
character. Mary Sue is the nickname for a perfect character that has no flaws or whatsoever, most often being a perfect representation of the writer itself, or a cool character they want as a lover or want to hang around with. I think most writers have been guilty of having created one, for the reason that they're oddly satisfying to write. But as satisfying they might be to write about, just as hateful are they to read about, because we don't want to read about perfect people we can't relate with. We want to read about people with flaws, just like us, that struggle in one way or another to overcome them. Create imperfect characters, not perfect ones. It's a lot more rewarding.
The helpful stuff
Because we all know that's what you came for
Here's some insight on characters and character dynamic.
There's a lot more, and a lot more depth to it as well, but I'll save that for some other time.
7 Types of Character to Use in Your Novel7 Types of Character to Use in Your Novel
Anybody Can Write a Novel
Chapter 3 “Characters” – Section 1 “Character Types”
With Links to Supplementary Material
If we're thinking of a story as a theatrical play, you now have a great many things ready for your production to begin. You have your setting (comprised of the Story-type, Timeline, and Maps
5 Tips for Establishing Character Voices5 Tips for Establishing Character Voices
Anybody Can Write a Novel
Chapter 7 “From Story to Art” – Section 9 “Speech and Voice”
With Links to Supplementary Material
After you finish your first draft in all of its rough, unpolished, corny, sappy, unorganized glory, you will likely note something rather disturbing about your characters. They all sound the same. And, upon further analysis, you may even discover that they all sound like you. Fear not! This is to be expected, and but another factor to be adjusted and improved in the many drafts to come.
Tip 1: Annotate how each character's speech pattern differs from your own.
When a child is young, it is often difficult to attribute them with much of a unique personality, so long as they are parroting everything their parents say. Similarly, separating a character's speech p
To Create a CharacterAre you starting a story? Do you have an incomplete, flawed, or no character at all? It's happened to me many times and in my struggles to perfect my creations, I have learned a few things. I present you with seven easy steps with a challenge each to get you thinking.
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Let's start
Step 1: Past
When creating a character, you must first establish a past. Even a person with amnesia has a past, they just don't remember it. Pasts are important, they show what shaped the person and why they are the way they are today.
If your character has a scar, why? If they have amnesia, why? If they have a phobia of water, why?
Remember one thing: there is always a reason.
Challenge: Write a brief story (vignette) of your character's past to familiarize yourself with the way things were.
Step 2: Appearance
You may have a certain idea, a vague idea, or no idea at all as to how your character will look. First, think of their
Here are some (check)lists that can help you think about who your characters are.
Character Profile Form
Meaning of name:
Origin of name:
Socioeconomic level as a child:
Socioeconomic level as an adult:
Most important childhood event that still affects him/her:
Other memories/events that still affects him/her and why/how:
Past failures s/he would be embarrassed to have people know about and why:
Biggest role model:
Biggest disillusions from childhood:
Big-Ass Character Sheet (Updating)
Verse: (The universe your character belongs to. Can be original or fanfiction. [Ex: Original : The name of your book, movie, game or whatever. Fanfiction: Pokemon, Star Trek, Naruto, ect.)
Date: (The date this sheet was completed.)
Full Name: (Self explanatory)
Pronunciation: (Self explanatory)
Nickname/Alias: (Does your character have a pet name, fake identity, or any other thing they like to go by? Put it here.)
Meaning: ([Ex: Emily means "admiring" and William means "protector"] If you aren't sure your character's name has a meaning look it up, I'm sure you'll find something. If it's a fantasy name you made yourself, give it a meaning.)
Origin: (How did you come up with your character's name?)
Title: (Do have a title along with their name? [Ex: Sir, Captain, Ms.])
Pet Name: (What do other people call your character? [kid, squirt, babe, ect] May be insulting, endearing, or a combination of both. May have more than one, if other characters call them different things.
ID Number: (A num
Other sources you might want to check out JosephBlakeParker
has a whole gallery of tips and tricks on writing. illuminara
also has a whole folder dedicated to writing guides Dramatica
offers quite the amount of theory on writing. Might be a little on the technical side, but certainly worth looking at
The blog Men with pens
offers some interesting articles on fiction writing.
The book Framed Ink
provides quite a lot of info on visual/cinematic storytelling. It's more of use for comic/manga makers than novel writers, though.
Stephen King's On writing
And of course there's Pinterest
, where there's a huge amount of free blog articles about writing collected in all kinds of folders
... and I'm sure there are many, many more.
Please share your resources in the comments