NaNoWriMo Prep

I’m actually staying ahead of this this time around. NaNoWriMo (or for those just joining us, National Novel Writing Month) is right around the corner - it starts November 1st. I usually don’t start posting about it until like a week before November, but that is NOT enough time for me. If I’m actually going to write a draft of a novel in a month, I’ve got to start thinking about it sooner (let’s be real, I should have started planning it in August, but we’re past that now). So, instead, I’m going to talk NaNoWriMo Prep. How do we prepare for a month of frantic writing? Is it possible?!

(Yes. I think maybe it is.) 

Looking back, I’ve participated in maybe 3 or 4 different years, I’ve “won” only 2. What did I have in those two years I didn’t bother to put together last year? Simple: a plan!

Now, I’m not much of a plotter. I’m really not, but nothing helps more than knowing where the novel is going. I’ve written a few other novels and even when I’m not “planning ahead” I actually still have to know what’s going to happen in the next two scenes to be successful. Maybe this isn’t how it is for everyone, but this is my way to success. Glean from it what you may. 

I start with the big picture first. What is the inciting incident in the beginning? What is the game-changer in the middle? Then, what happens at the end? When it’s early in planning, I can tell you what all three of those things are, but not how they’re connected or even how they have anything to do with each other. (Realistically, I sound like this: First, a monster shows up. Then, her best friend has commits murder. And at the end, they move out of town. It more than likely sounds like nonsense to just about everyone.) 

After, I’ve got the big-picture plan, I start with the first scene. I actually try writing it. I see if these are characters I can work with. If the first scene or two goes well, I start planning to get to the middle (while keeping the end in mind.) 

The thing to focus on now: what does the main character want? How does that create plot? You might already know this from the inciting incident, but if the inciting incident is just “something that happens to the character,” it means you need to figure out what this character wants in response to that incident. 

At this point, I try to come up with scenes that will connect the beginning to the middle. For each scene, I might write down a sentence. Maybe with a parenthetical to give me an idea of how I could end a chapter and tie it to the next one. (This is where it can get really detailed. I follow this plan a lot less closely once I start writing, but I use it as a guide to keep the story going so it can get to the end and be somewhat coherent.) My plotting process ends in a really long series of bullet points. It’s not perfect. It will have to change a lot in revision, but from talking to people, I’ve learned it keeps my stories focused. There are less tangents. Everything ends up being important. The outline keeps me from forgetting too many characters. In the end, it works. Or at least, it works for me. 

September newsletter! Writing tips, book reviews, and bibliophile gossip by Gaia B Amman

These are the tidbits of advice that went live on the blog this month. Have a question? Just ask ^_^ (anons ok).

Want this newsletter once a month in your mailbox? Subscribe at www.gaiabamman.com 

-Avoiding clichés: are you being trite?
-Indie published vs traditional: will you make the right choice?
-Narration point of view: are you doing it right?
-Illustrations in your novel: yes or no?
-Building a readership: advice for authors
-What’s the point of Amazon reviews?
-My opinion on bisexuals and how they fit in my books
-Are your characters well developed?
-Seven tips to write one shots
-Writing the perfect query letter to get an agent or publisher
-Writing outlines or…how to avoid getting stuck mid-way through your novel

Like my advice? Get the Indie Author Guide for free here (#writersunite!)

The Italian saga is complete!

Book 4, the last installment of the Italian Saga, will be released on November 6th! Growth, struggle, romance, and side-splitting laughter in Italy <3

A few comments from the Advanced Copy Readers so far: “Read it in a day, then started over”, “Tears were flowing”, “Such a truthful, entertaining, and empowering read!”, “Lyrical, deep, emotional. I traveled to Italy from my couch”

Preorder now!

Save the date for the book launch party!

Saturday November 12, from 6-8 pm!Booze, books, chats, sassy conversations, free audiobooks, books for sale (in limited amounts, feel free to bring your own copies), book signing, and free hugs! Save the date, location to be determined <3

What’s next?

Leda’s adventures are not over! A new series will follow her as she gets into college and ponders about science, happiness, the meaning of life and, of course, love, making all possible mistakes ;) 


The projected release date for book 1 in the new series is November 2017!

The saga was featured on the Review Room!

I could not put this book down for the life of me. I felt my eyes growing heavy so, instead of laying down, I sat upright on the couch and opened my eyes really wide so I could get to a good stopping point. There are none.

I gave this book 5 hearts! I will forever recommend this until the end of my days. Had me belly-laughing, rooting for the characters, and deep in thought for how much sense this book made. Amman perfectly captured the troubles of growing up.

Click here to read the full review.

My edit

Originally posted by degatosyotrosmisterios

If you want me to edit the first 200 words of your novel, send them to gaia.b.amman at gmail dot com with subject 200 words. I am trudging through an endless queue, but I will get to it! Specify if you want your name mentioned or not. Edits are postedon my blog on Thursdays.

This month:

-A writer’s life
-Teen angst: working on the hook
-Sunrise bloomed over the marshy shore

September book reviews

These are the books I read and reviewed this month, check them out on Goodreads ^_^

-Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

-The Beginning of Everything

Thank you to everyone who came out to the book signing events in the past month! 

Have a wonderful fall,

GBA

Who is Gaia B Amman?

Gaia B Amman is a lost chaffy (small, round, and loves salad)…

…but is also the author of The Italian Saga a series of YA novels taking place in Italy. All of her books were number one releases on Amazon. Get them here or order them at your favorite bookstore ^_^

Super easy world creator!

I was looking for an easy map creator that makes beautiful maps for a while now to make a visually stunning map to go along with my book. And now, after such a long search i have finally found one that suits my needs! Because i like it so much, i thought i’d share it with you guys! Just go to inkarnate.com and start creating! I have to warn you though, it is still in beta so a lot still needs to be added, but already it looks great and is easy to use!

I mean just look how beautiful some of these maps are!

And it is so much fun too! Someone even created a game of thrones map that is simply amazing!

So check it out and start creating your visual aid for your story. I promise you, it really is super easy and you will make one in no time!

You can find the site here: inkarnate

I’m sick of people telling writers not to use an idea because it’s “overused” or “not original.”

A huge part of writing is making the idea your own.

Do you want to write about vampires?! THEN FOR GOD’S SAKE, WRITE ABOUT VAMPIRES!

Oh, dystopian futures are overused? PUT YOUR OWN SPIN ON IT!

Guys, don’t let people stomp on your ideas. A story is a bunch of puzzle pieces that everyone has access to - but it’s your choice how you put them together. How you put it together and how you present it makes that idea uniquely yours, even if it’s a familiar concept.

Your idea isn’t lame.

Own it.

Make it yours.

How to create romantic couples with chemistry

Writing couples is both enchanting and exhausting. How do you make people ship your couple? How do you make them an OTP? How do you make your couple matter to the story? Or matter at all? To answer all these questions, I’ll explain three major must-have characteristics for couples:

1. Realism

Falling in love is a slow process. It’s different from person to person. People are flawed. Relationships are flawed. People make mistakes. People fear rejection. Not everyone will find their soulmate exactly when they need most. People show love in different ways. People are not flirty all the time. Realism is important. Development is essential. When writing a couple, visualize yourself as one of the characters (or both). Imagine their love story as if it was happening to you in real life. See how different it goes? Maybe not as fast and a thousand times clumsier, but also charming and interesting.

Example of strong realism: Carl and Ellie (UP), they take a lifetime to mature their love and mutual respect. Neither are perfect. The relationship goes through bad times, but their love only grows.

Originally posted by disneypixar

Example of weak realism: Caine and Jupiter (Jupiter Ascending), they fall in love in two or three days, not enough scenes are dedicated to developing the relationship. In the end, it feels strange. 

Originally posted by vampkhaleesi

2. Balance

Give your couple opposite but complementary features. This is basically the Yin-yang symbolism that a lot of stories shows. If one character is all love-and-peaceful, maybe the other is a furnace of anger. If one traveled the whole world, maybe the other never left their village. If one is a millionaire, maybe the other is homeless. If one is short with dark hair, maybe the other is tall with light hair. However, no matter how opposite they are, always keep the balance. One shouldn’t overshadow the other. They must shine together, but also as individuals.

Example of strong balance: Fix-it Felix Jr. and Sargent Calhoun (Wreck-It Ralph), they belong to different worlds, they would probably never meet. He is a sweet pie that always tries his best, a peacemaker. She is, on the other hand, an explosion, a warrior. They are both relevant in achieving victory. Also, both are the heroes of their own games.

Originally posted by 100-yardstare

Example of weak balance: Sasuke and Sakura (Naruto), he is way more powerful than her, he doesn’t respect her as a ninja, he doesn’t like working with her. He tried killing her more than once and was never sorry about that. She accepts being overshadowed. She lacks character development compared to Sasuke. There is no opposite-complementary features tying them. It’s unbalanced.

Originally posted by fuck-yea-naruhina-and-sasusaku

3. Synergy

Make them work together. Make them accomplish common goals. Make them a power duo. Make them laugh of the same jokes. Make it easy and natural for them to be together, talking, sharing and having a good time. Make their conversations flow. Make it easy to touch, and stare, and embrace, and kiss. Make their mind and body work together.

Example of strong synergy: Cat Noir and Ladybug/Adrien and Marinette (Miraculous Ladybug), they are the heroes of Paris. No, they are partners in saving the world. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable when they interact, fight and save each other. It feels right. It feels natural. You crave for interactions.

Originally posted by miraculousgifs

Example of weak synergy: Kim Tan and Eun-Sang (The Heirs), they are the type of couple that are always fighting, but sometimes indulge in a passionate kiss. However, there’s no synergy between these characters. They are never on the same page. They are never partners. The magic of their relationship never sparkles. Even their kisses are uncomfortable to watch.

Originally posted by shoujo-no-sekai

Now, think of your favorite couples (even non-canon ones) and try spotting the realism, the balance and the synergy in them. If you ship it,I’m pretty sure it’s there. 

Try applying these characteristics to your next writing.

mythcreants.com
Five Signs Your Story Is Sexist – Against Men
Patriarchy enforces strict standards of masculinity that are impossible to meet. But because masculine traits are glorified, it’s easy to lose sight of how toxic they are to men. As storytellers, we may think we’ve created strong central characters when really we’ve brought destructive stereotypes to life. Here are five signs you’re stuffing your male characters in the “man box.”

Something that took forever for me to learn with fanfiction dialogue.

it’s okay to make your character stumble over, and to think about their words.

It’s okay to give characters speech patterns and let me tell you why;

It’s natural.

Every single person has a speech pattern. We all speak differently, we speak like our personalities and it’s a good way to get to know a character.

Something I’ve noticed in YA books in the characters speaking without filler words like ‘well’, ‘anyway’, ‘like’, ‘literally’.

And remember: it’s okay to use these! Make your dialogue more realistic, and more human!

Sometimes, people talk slower, and have to think about what they want to say.

Sometimes, people stumble over their words because they’re anxious.

Sometimes, people talk really fast and blur their words together because they’re afraid to forget what they want to say!

Selective people prefer not to talk at all, and like to stay mute for their own safety or comfort, and the best you can do is respect them for choosing it.

It’s okay to use phrases like, ‘yknow’, ‘uh’, ‘uhm’, ‘mhm’ because it’s how we speak in the real world.

It’s okay to have characters hum in thought, or use their body to portray that they’re thinking!

Some people fiddle with something in their hands while thinking!

Some people bite their lips in thought.

Some people hum under their breath while they think.

Silent ways of telling the reader that your character is thinking words that they’re not ready to say yet!!

It’s okay to have your character repeat words and or phrases when excited and when they can’t contain it! Sometimes, we just get so excited, that we aren’t thinking about how many times we say things.

It’s okay to write a character repeating themselves, especially if they want to get their point across to someone/if someone didn’t understand their point in the first place.

Non-verbal replies!!!

Shrugging of the shoulders, incoherent mumbles, hand gestures, use the power of writing to describe a reply or phrase with facial expressions, or physical movement!! Silence is okay too, if it’s needed!

Silence can speak just as much as words!

Dialogue is important.

Dialogue that flows and is human is i m p o r t a n t!!

On Editing

This was forwarded to me by a former colleague who attended a course on how to publish/edit a book. You probably already know most of these tips, but there might be something you’ll find helpful, who knows…

QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING FIRST PHASE OF EDITING

GENERAL STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK (what the story is and how it is being told):

  • What is the book about? What is the driving force behind the narrative?
  • Who is the audience for this book?
  • Is it based on real experience?
  • Does the story work? Are there any parts that feel unconvincing or where the narrative drags? 
  • Are there any parts I don’t understand?
  • What is the trajectory or the shape of the story?
  • Does the story start in the right place?
  • How quickly do I become immersed in the book?
  • Are there any points where my immersion in the story is broken, or I lose interest?
  • Do I believe in what I’m reading?
  • How satisfying is the ending? Does it feel inevitable?
  • Does it feel like anything is missing?
  • Is there anything extraneous (characters, detail, unnecessary plot points)?
  • What is the narrative point of view (first person, second person, third person)? Does it change? Is it consistent? Does it work? What might be lost or gained if the story were told another way?
  • Is the tense consistent? If it changes, is it necessary?
  • Does coincidence feature as a plot device? If so, is there another way to engineer the same events?

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