at least i could post the coloring cause it was already in the drafts

How to Write a Novel

Have you ever had a brilliant idea for a novel? You sat down to write, and the first two/three chapters came out fast as lightning, but then it stopped. You got stuck. “Writer’s block.” Right?

I finished my first “novel” (novella length) when I was 14, and since then have brought 5, going on 6 different novels at least as far as a complete first draft. I’m told this is considered unusually productive.

I understand that the same writing process doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re stuck trying to be productive, or don’t understand how people can finish books, you might find it useful to have a look into my writing process. If you have a process that works for you, ignore this. If you’re stuck trying to get anywhere on a project, read on.

1. Daydreaming

Ah! But this is productive daydreaming. Every time you think of something that seems like it could be part of a story, write it down. Preferably in a specific place. Simply the act of gathering these ideas will help you think of more of them. Soon you cannot bear to have a cool idea without writing it down.

2. Isolating the story

Not all ideas will work equally well together. After I have a lot of fragments, I start to pick out all the ones that seem like they work together in the same setting. They have typically a type or aesthetic. At this stage maybe make a Pinterest board or some other type of aesthetic compilation. Cautionary: do not reupload photos that do not belong to you.

3. Pastebin

Next I set up a sort of “pastebin” (usually a notepad file) into which I can dump all the related fragments. I put everything there I can think of. Plot events, character details, all jumbled together. Building this bank or repository usually goes on for several months. If I feel compelled to start writing, I just put it here. Everything here and earlier can be done simultaneously while working on another project.

4. Assembly

When I finally feel like I have enough ideas, as well as a solid idea of the aesthetic of the novel, I take the pastebin contents into a separate document and start to assemble them a summary. I consider this the official beginning of the project. This is also the point at which I start to list and define my characters and start to strike out ideas which have turned out to be irrelevant.

5. Plotting

I  use the program Scrivener for this, which is truly invaluable. This can be done without Scrivener, though, and I did it before Scrivener, it was just more difficult. Write each separate event of the story on a different notecard and experiment with arranging them until you find the correct order of events. Be sure to consider cause/effect relationships. If there is anything implicit that has to take place between point A and point B in your plot, write up a card for it. If you have any favored plot structures like the Hero’s Journey or the Midpoint Reversal, now is the time to consider them. Notecards can be color-coded by subplot or POV or anything you like.

6. Begin!

At this point I open up a word document and start to write. For most chapters I usually start by creating a bullet-like list of things that happen, in order to make sure I hit all my goals for the chapter. This can include setting details, foreshadowing, character development goals, that snappy line of dialogue you just thought of, whatever. Don’t delete these (except the ones you decide not to use). Save them somewhere. Scrivener makes this easy. The bullet lists can prove invaluable in helping you rewrite. You can also rearrange your notecards at any time during the draft and add new ones.

7. The Grind

Word count goals are pretty effective at keeping me motivated to progress. If you feel so inclined, join Nanowrimo or use some other program to help you turn out fast word count. Sharing with others helps with motivation too. If you don’t have a writing group to support you, find a child who likes being read to. Read your shitty draft out loud to them. Provided it’s child appropriate, of course. Nothing is more motivating than a kid demanding to know what happens next. Don’t forget to: get physical exercise! Drink water! Have something else going on in your life! I’m serious. Don’t spend more than like 20 minutes staring at a page without writing anything. Get up.

8. Starting Over

Midway through you might find some humongous flaw, or discover that your vision for the story has changed completely. This is okay! Rewrite your summary. Scrap your first draft entirely (well, don’t throw anything away, but you know what I mean) and start over from your notes. Use the chapter bullet points that you developed while writing the first draft. Try not to look at your old draft while rewriting or your brain will get in a rut and you will make the same mistakes again.

9. Finished!

Once I am done with my first draft, I put together a list of all the things I want to change. Outside input helps a lot with this. As in the previous step, I build another summary. I get my chapter bullet lists and modify them as I go to include and remind me of the changes I need to make. These lists and the original summary really help you remember the original vision for the story. Sometimes you can look at what you’ve written and all you see is text. The notes will help you dissect it again. If you haven’t started over from scratch yet, now is the time to do so. If you have already done so, then your overall plot structure ought to be sound, and chapter-by-chapter level edits should be okay.

10. Space.

When I’m done with either the second draft, or what I call “1.5″ (which is a story that I had to start over in the middle), I need some space. At this point you need to take at least several months away from your novel to “see it with fresh eyes”. Work on something else.

11. Feedback

Feedback essential for rewriting at the chapter level. For a beginner, you will need to get feedback before doing any rewriting at all because you might have trouble identifying the flaws in your first draft. Feedback is hard to get. I know. Try to arrange editing swaps with other writers. Even the experience of editing other people’s novels can help you spot mistakes in your own. Never take anyone’s advice for your story at face value. Only you know what you are trying to say - other people can guess wrong. Try to figure out what led them to the wrong conclusion.

Note that revision can be a never-ending process if  you let it. At some point you have to move on - whether that is publication or whatever you have in mind for your novel.

I haven’t yet published, and since there are many other blogs who have and are more qualified to talk about the publishing process, I’ll leave that to them. Here are some of my other writing posts:

Lazy Writing and the Hero of Destiny

Line-level Edits for Cleaner Writing

Video Games and Plot Structure

Villain Motivations

youtube

This video explores the similarities and differences between two of Miyazaki’s most well known works: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke. How are they similar? How are they different? What can we learn from that?

Thanks for watching my first video!


For a text transcript, look below. 

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I’ve gotten more than a few questions on how i made the kagune for my Tokyo ghoul cosplay and even though its actually unfinished I’ve decided to make this tutorial anyway and probably just edit it later with the updated version! SO since this is a really long ass post click the read more for the tutorial.

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27. Misguided

Please read and enjoy, like/reblog, and leave me a message either here or on Fanfiction :)

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10499678/27/It-Was-Always-You

COMMENTS: I was super frustrated with this. This is definitely my least personal favorite; I literally went through four or five drafts of this before I said “fuck it” and went a completely different route (no pun intended with the story haha). This basically pissed me off and I’m still not completely happy with it. .___.

NOTE: I AM ALSO GOING AWAY ON VACATION FROM TOMORROW TO AUGUST 3RD but the posts will still be updated through Tumblr’s awesome scheduling queue thing. <3

WARNING: slight M

.o27.
Misguided

“No, you idiot, turn left! Put your signal on! Turn left!” Sakura shrieked, pointing to the left while struggling to reach over and take the wheel.

“Sakura, sit back down,” Sasuke snarled. “I told you, I know where we’re going.”

“No you don’t! Turn left now—fuck, you just missed it. Now we’re going to have to make a U-turn, and in this traffic nobody’s going to let you in. We’re practically stuck.” Sakura sighed, slunking back down into her seat. She blew a raspberry, which elevated the small trickle of hair in front of her face until it fell uselessly back down. “You’ll regret not listening to me when we can’t make it to Naruto’s party in time.”

“I regret bringing you,” Sasuke muttered, his hands gripped tightly on the wheel. Sakura had always been feisty, even before they started dating—Sasuke had the notion that he could tame her, but as Itachi would say, he was definitely proved wrong—and as much as he loved her, it sometimes pissed him the fuck off.

“Don’t be mean,” Sakura growled. She huffed, crossing her arms over her chest. She didn’t say anything for a while, and when Sasuke peeked over he saw that the seatbelt nearly tucked itself right between her breasts, separating them nicely. When he saw Sakura turn, he averted his gaze back towards the road, strumming his fingers on the leather wheel as they drove down the street.

“Can’t you get directions on your phone?” Sasuke asked. “They have a GPS, right?”

“I tried that. There’s no signal. So we can’t even let Hinata know that we won’t make it to their housewarming party. And I was so excited. We were going to paint each other’s nails and read Cosmo. Hey—“ Sakura began, sitting up. She looked out the window to see that they had gone off the main street and were now heading down a dirt road neither of them were familiar with.

“Great,” she muttered. “Lost and without signal. Good job, smartass.”

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Rough draft for my “Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind are really similar, or: The best movie ever was actually made twice, kinda” script


So I mentioned the other day that I might try to make a video essay over the break, because I want to try out my video making skills. I spit balled some possible essay topics, and this is the one I like. But I wanted to put out the rough draft of the script before I start recording to get some feedback. 

So if there’s anything I’ve missed or seems off or wrong or poorly worded, PLEASE let me know. I’d much rather fix it now than later. 

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