Now What? Writing While Stuck

I think this happens to everyone - or at least anyone who writes without having first having plotted their whole novel. You write and things are coming along so well with your premise until suddenly you’ve written everything you’ve already figured out. Now what? 

I know someone who said every time she had to ask herself that, she killed off a character. I don’t think that works for every story - or even most stories - but if you’re stuck, there’s something to her advice. If you’re stuck, make something happen

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Ambient sounds for writers

Find the right place to write your novel… 

Nature

Arctic ocean

Blizzard in village

Blizzard in pine forest

Blizzard from cave

Blizzard in road

Beach

Cave

Ocean storm

Ocean rocks with rain

River campfire

Forest in the morning

Forest at night

Forest creek

Rainforest creek

Rain on roof window

Rain on tarp tent

Rain on metal roof

Rain on window

Rain on pool

Rain on car at night

Seaside storm

Swamp at night

Sandstorm

Thunderstorm

Underwater

Wasteland

Winter creek

Winter wind

Winter wind in forest

Howling wind

Places

Barn with rain

Coffee shop

Restaurant with customers

Restaurant with few customers

Factory

Highway

Garden

Garden with pond and waterfall

Fireplace in log living room

Office 

Call center

Street market

Study room from victorian house with rain

Trailer with rain

Tent with rain

Jacuzzi with rain

Temple

Temple in afternoon

Server room

Fishing dock

Windmill

War

Fictional places

Chloe’s room (Life is Strange)

Blackwell dorm (Life is Strange)

Two Whales Diner (Life is Strange)

Star Wars apartment (Star Wars)

Star Wars penthouse (Star Wars)

Tatooine (Star Wars)

Coruscant with rain (Star Wars)

Yoda’s hut with rain ( Star Wars)

Luke’s home (Star Wars)

Death Star hangar (Star wars)

Blade Runner city (Blade Runner)

Azkaban prison (Harry Potter)

Hogwarts library with rain (Harry Potter)

Ravenclaw common room (Harry Potter)

Hufflepuff common room (Harry Potter)

Slytherin common room (Harry Potter)

Gryffindor common room (Harry Potter)

Hagrid’s hut (Harry Potter)

Hobbit-hole house (The Hobbit)

Diamond City (Fallout 4)

Cloud City beach (Bioshock)

Founding Fathers Garden (Bioshock)

Things

Dishwasher

Washing machine

Fireplace

Transportation

Boat engine room

Cruising boat

Train ride

Train ride in the rain

Train station

Plane trip

Private jet cabin

Airplane cabin

Airport lobby

First class jet

Sailboat

Submarine

Historical

Fireplace in medieval tavern

Medieval town

Medieval docks

Medieval city

Pirate ship in tropical port

Ship on rough sea

Ship cabin

Ship sleeping quarter

Titanic first class dining room

Old west saloon

Sci-fi

Spaceship bedroom

Space station

Cyberpunk tearoom

Cyberpunk street with rain

Futuristic server room

Futuristic apartment with typing

Futuristic rooftop garden 

Steampunk balcony rain

Post-apocalyptic

Harbor with rain

City with rain

City ruins turned swamp

Rusty sewers

Train station

Lighthouse

Horror

Haunted mansion

Haunted road to tavern

Halloween

Stormy night

Asylum

Creepy forest

Cornfield

World

New York

Paris

Paris bistro

Tokyo street

Chinese hotel lobby

Asian street at nightfall

Asian night market

Cantonese restaurant

Coffee shop in Japan

Coffee shop in Paris

Coffee shop in Korea

British library

Trips, rides and walkings

Trondheim - Bodø

Amsterdam - Brussels

Glasgow - Edinburgh

Oxford - Marylebone

Seoul - Busan

Gangneung - Yeongju

Hiroshima

Tokyo metro

Osaka - Kyoto

Osaka - Kobe

London

São Paulo

Seoul

Tokyo

Bangkok

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

Alps

New York

Hong Kong

Taipei

Writing on Domestic Abuse

Anonymous asked: “How do you bring out the emotion in a story about domestic abuse?”

I get this question a lot. Often I answer it privately, but today, I’ll be talking about it with a little help from a fellow writer, Chloe (@dahliarosales), author the coming mystery novel,  Find Her

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pick-me-ups for writers

for the self-conscious beginner: No one makes great things until the world intimately knows their mediocrity. Don’t think of your writing as terrible; think of it as preparing to contribute something great.

for the self-conscious late bloomer: Look at old writing as how far you’ve come. You can’t get to where you are today without covering all that past ground. For that, be proud.

for the perfectionist: Think about how much you complain about things you love—the mistakes and retcons in all your favorite series—and how you still love them anyway. Give yourself that same space.

for the realist: There will be people who hate your story even if it’s considered a classic. But there will be people who love your story, even if it is strange and unpopular.

for the fanfic writer: Your work isn’t lesser for not following canon. When you write, you’ve created a new work on its own. It can be, but does not have to be, limited by the source material. Canon is not the end-all, be-all. 

for the writer’s blocked: It doesn’t need to be perfect. Sometimes you have to move on and commit a few writing sins if it means you can create better things out of it.

for the lost: You started writing for a reason; remember that reason. It’s ok to move on. You are more than your writing. It will be here if you want to come back.

Writing a Relationship Your Readers Will Ship

Relationships, especially in beginner writer’s works, have a tendency to feel forced. Even in some popular and famous works of fiction, the relationship doesn’t feel natural. It seems like a boring afterthought which the writer added in at the last minute. Far too often, I find myself completely indifferent to a character’s romantic life. A good romance in a story will give the reader a bit of second-hand infatuation. They’ll root for the relationship, beg for it. If the romance is well written, you can make a reader smile and blush just by reading a few sentences. When done properly, it can even compensate for a weak and cliché plot.

But first, decide whether the romance is needed. If you’re adding a character to the plot simply for the sake of being a love interest, it’s probably not a needed romance. You can still add it, of course, but it will be much harder to keep your story focused on the central plot.


Step One
Make sure the characters have chemistry.

The characters should compliment each other’s personalities. If he’s loud, stubborn, and aggressively opinionated, a more tranquil and soft-spoken love interest would suit him well. Two headstrong people wouldn’t be likely to have a lasting relationship in real life, unless they (impossibly) agreed upon every subject. But, there should be some similarities. While opposites do attract, polar opposites will not and the whole relationship will feel forced. The characters should have something in common. It could be morals, a parallel backstory, the same motivations, whatever. As long as there’s a reason for them to be drawn to each other, there’s potential.

Step Two
Slow burn ships are fantastic.

Don’t make your characters fall in love right off the bat. There can be attraction, of course, but genuine feelings of true love don’t happen instantly. Your characters should become closer as people, feel at ease around each other, and truly know the other before they fall head-over-heels. The readers will crave the relationship far more, like dangling a treat right in front of a dog’s nose, but keep pulling it away. Teasing is a beautiful thing.

Find ways of showing (NOT TELLING) the characters are falling for each other. Have them stand up for one another, be protective. Have them break their own normal routine for the other. For example, a callous, guarded character could lower their walls for a moment if their love interest needs emotional support. These scenes can be awkward for the character changing their typical behavior and that discomfort can demonstrate how much they care for the other, altering their own selves for the other’s benefit.

Howeve, make sure that you combine these cute emotional moments with distance. Make the characters deny their true feelings or even distance themselves from their love interest upon discovering their feelings. The more the characters long for each other, the more the reader will long for them to be together. Build barriers between them for your characters to have to work to knock down. Keep them close, but maintain that distance until the moment is right.

Step Three
“_____” translates to “I love you”

The first example of I think of when I think of this is The Princess Bride, where the male protagonist tells his soulmate “as you wish” when he really means “I love you.”

This falls under the category of show, don’t tell. Hearing a character say “I love you” has become so boring. Unless it’s done in a surprising confession or unique way, it’s boring and stale.

Come up with a phrase that you can repeat in moments throughout the story until it has a meaning of love for the characters and both know exactly what the other means when it’s spoken.

Step Four
Taking a break can help create tension.

You know you loved someone if you leave them and feel awful. Apply this into the writing. Your characters can break up, then get back together in a joyous reunion.


Step Five
Not every couple has a happy ending.

Sometimes, things don’t always work out for different reasons. An ending that leaves readers craving more can be a good move.

5

I made these as a way to compile all the geographical vocabulary that I thought was useful and interesting for writers. Some descriptors share categories, and some are simplified, but for the most part everything is in its proper place. Not all the words are as useable as others, and some might take tricky wording to pull off, but I hope these prove useful to all you writers out there!

(save the images to zoom in on the pics)

3

From the makers of the no-effort character checklist, I bring to you… The no-effort complete character sheet for lazy writers like you and me™! 

Because the extra effort I put in staying up until 3 am to do put this together can save us all a lot of effort filling out longer character sheets ^^

You’re supposed to print it out and fold it in half to make a little booklet but you can save ink and do it on your computer :P

Link to PDF on google drive (fixed typo)

Things to Do When You Can’t Seem to Write

Are the words just not coming? Try getting away from the screen for a few minutes.

Do Something Productive

  • Take care of the dishes – load or unload your dishwasher, or wash a sinkfull by hand. If you have to leave any to soak, try writing for a few minutes while they do.
  • Put away that basket of laundry you’ve been ignoring.
  • Clean your bathroom sink.
  • Put away any shoes, jackets, or other outerwear you left lying around.

Do Something Fun

  • Write/draw/paint in your journal, if you have one. Do a page, then try writing again.
  • Read a chapter of your current book.
  • Set a timer for five or ten minutes and play a simple game that will let your mind disengage–my go-to is Spider Solitaire.
  • Call/Skype/text a friend and have a chat for a few minutes.

Make Your Writing Space More Pleasant

  • Straighten up your desk. Throw out any scraps of paper that have served their purpose, but check to make sure you’re not tossing out story notes! Dust the surface off, and put away anything that belongs somewhere else.
  • Light a candle.
  • Get a glass of water, or make yourself tea or coffee.

Take Care of Yourself

  • Grab a small snack if you’re hungry.
  • Are your hands dry? Mine get terrible in winter. Moisturize!
  • Lips, too –grab that lip balm.
  • Feeling sluggish? Take a short walk or do some jumping jacks to get your energy level up.
  • Feeling grungy? Take a shower. “Inspirational” showers are my favorite, I get so many ideas in there.

If one of these doesn’t break you from your funk, try one from another category to switch things up. And if you still don’t find your writing mojo, maybe you need a longer break, or to pack it in for the day. Just remember, working hard is great, but forcing yourself to write can burn you out, so keep yourself in balance!

Beyond this, consider how these professions might vary depending on who the customers are - nobles, or lower class. Are they good at their job or just scraping by? Do they work with lots of other people or on their own? City or village?

For younger characters:

  • Apprentice to any of the above
  • Messenger/runner
  • Page/squire
  • Pickpocket
  • Shop assistant
  • Student
  • Looks after younger siblings

(Images all from Wikimedia Commons)

anonymous asked:

Hello! How would you write a dialogue in which a character is freaking out about something? I generally have them word vomit but I don't really like that style. If its too much could you show me an example as well?

Hi!

You could definitely word vomit – especially if your character is hysterical – but that’s not the only way to do it by any means. I know a few other ways.

1. Calmly.
This is strange, considering your character is freaking out, but the freak-out is internal – they’re shutting themselves off due to shock. In this case, they would be quiet, sane, and even if what they’re saying is illogical, it would probably sound reasonable.

“I was right there when she shot him. He dropped like a sack of flour. I figured he was gone as soon as the bullet hit his chest. So now I’ve decided I’m gonna go after her. Right now. And I’m gonna kill her.”
“What? You can’t do that!”
“Sure I can. She killed him, so I kill her. It’s called justice.”
“But- With just your bare hands?”
“The way I feel right now, my bare hands are more than enough.”

Notice how the character who just watched their friend die in front of them isn’t yelling, isn’t stuttering, isn’t getting angry or crying – they’re perfectly calm, almost to the point of complete emotional shutdown.

2. Angrily.
Some people get angry when they lose control and freak out – it scares them, and the fear manifests itself as anger. This type particularly happens when they’re upset about something and other characters aren’t taking it seriously or are shrugging off their concerns.

“No! It’s happening tonight! We don’t have time to think, or weigh things, we need to fucking leave! Now!”
“We can’t. You know that, and you’d remember that, if you were thinking straight-”
“I am thinking straight! It’s you who’s fucked in the head. I don’t give a damn what you think we can and can’t do, we need to clear out of here, right this second.”

As you can see, this character is freaking out – their concerns may or may not have a firm foundation, but obviously they are concerned, and that concern is manifesting itself as fury.

3. By stuttering.
For some people, it’s hard to talk when they panic, because their minds race forward ahead of their mouths and they get tongue-tied. I typically see/use this with more anxious characters, or with characters who aren’t typically good at speaking anyways (in other words, who are uncomfortable with talking).

There are a couple of different ways to stutter:
a. Repeat the beginning of each word.

“I tr-tried to s-save him, but he wuh-wouldn’t l-let me … he knew it was g-going to happen. It’s my f-fault!”

(However, keep in mind that this kind of stuttering is more as if you’re character is crying and trying to talk through sobs and hiccups. Please use it sparingly – it can get old fast.)

b. Repeat words.

“No. No, I don’t know what’s going on, Ricky. Ricky, why would I have any idea? Don’t fucking look at me like that, Ricky. Don’t look at me like I’m lying.”

c. Insert filler sounds: “ah”, “uh”, “um”, and/or curse words.

“I, uh, I- fuck. I,ummm, I think maybe, ah, maybe we should leave?”

For more on stuttering – it can be hard to peg correctly – check out this post.

I hope this helps! If you need anything else, please feel free to ask. - @authors-haven

Writing a Character With Psychosis

If your character has psychosis, first, give yourself a pat on the back for taking a big step! Not very many people do this, and not very many people do it well. Here’s a small text post to try to help.
Hallucinations:

- Auditory hallucinations can come from inside the mind, too. You can hear people calling your name, and occasionally screaming or laughing. Someone who has knowledge of their condition will try their best to ignore them.

-Voices in the head can be anything from a ‘narrator’ narrating what they do, a friend, or a manipulative enemy. Sometimes you’ll hear choruses of things–your character can try to reason with their voices, but the less human the voices sound, the harder that can be.

-Voices can be very convincing, and your character can miss them if they disappear.

-Tactile hallucinations can be anything from feeling rain when there isn’t any to someone tapping on your shoulder to working at school with someone’s 'hands’ around your neck. They’re often the hardest to distinguish from reality.

-Seeing things can be realistic or unrealistic. You might have someone watching you the whole day, or seeing your cat when he’s actually dead, to bending down to pick a 'pencil’ up when it disappears. Seeing things float or flickering lights can be annoying to your character. Images distorting are not uncommon.

-Your character will be annoyed by these if they have identified their hallucinations as fake. Hallucinations detract from ones life and complicate ones day.

-Delusions can last for a long time or for a short time. Your character will be afraid, and a flight or fight response will be the majority of their actions. Feeling things chasing them is common, and certain objects might bring them comfort.

-Paranoia isn’t just with psychosis. If your character is aware of their psychosis, then they will distrust everything and possibly ask other people if things are real. Nothing is definite.

-Stigma against psychosis is very common, and stigma against medicine is too. Your character will probably be afraid of telling people.

-Medicine will take more than a month sometimes to completely kick in. Sometimes while it’s kicking in, stress will make it worse.

-This post is specifically for psychosis and hallucinations/delusions. I am not educated on schizophrenia, and am not making a generalization of that.

Long story short, please do other research. The world is plagued with books that exacerbate stigma and myths. Ask people who suffer from psychosis or used to. This is not meant to be your only resource, nor it is definite for all cases. Every case of psychosis is different, and you can’t say one thing happens for everyone. Thank you for reading!
TL;DR Just a resource if you want to write a character with psychosis, do other research too.

Painful Character Development

Have some painful character development ideas, because if I have to suffer, so do you.

  1. What would your character what their last words to be, and who would they want to say them to?
  2. If your characters’ loved ones were in danger but they only had time to save one of their lives, who would they choose?
  3. Your character is given the choice to either die an excruciatingly painful death or have one of their loved ones die in a painless way. Do they save their loved one’s life or their own?
  4. Your character has the opportunity to fix one of their most grievous mistakes, but doing so will ensure that they never meet at least one of their loved ones and they will not have any memory of their relationship with those loved ones. Do they take the chance to fix the mistake anyway?
  5. What are your character’s deepest regrets?
  6. Are there any events in your character’s life that they feel wholly negative about, no silver lining whatsoever?
  7. Does your character have any unfulfilled dreams that can never come true?
  8. How was your character first introduced to the concept of death? How did they react?
  9. Does your character have any negative associations with otherwise neutral or positive things–i.e., not liking a certain television show because their parents always argued during the time that it came on and the character watched it as a (failed) attempt to distract themselves.

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anonymous asked:

Do you have any advice on how to write a grieving character? Thank you!!

Hi!

Grieving isn’t pretty. It isn’t always dramatic, either – while some people certainly do go home and throw their favorite vase against the wall, some people retreat into themselves and become emotionally unresponsive (that’s what I do). Violence or anger is more likely to occur if the death is sudden – so is retreating into an emotional shell, really, because it’s often a result of shock. But both can occur outside of a sudden death – cancer isn’t always sudden, but many people still become angry when their loved one is diagnosed with or dies because of it. Basically, if the death feels unfair in any way – if it’s sudden, or if it feels like it happened too early, such as in the case of cancer or of some sort of cardiac disaster (a heart attack, a stroke, etc) – it’s more likely to provoke anger or shock, depending on your character’s temperament and attachment to the dying/dead character.

That was just a general disclaimer. Now, onto the meat of grieving!

Firstly, grieving can begin before the person is technically dead – you don’t have to wait for the person to go flatline and physically stop breathing for your other characters to feel a sense of loss. If your character suffered a medical disaster or an accident that rendered them comatose, or if your character is obviously fighting a losing battle (again, terminal cancer comes to mind), your other characters could start grieving them even though they’re still breathing and their heart is still beating. However, the likelihood is that your characters won’t be able to really start working through the five stages of grief until your character actually does physically die, because rarely does death really hit home until it has occurred.

Speaking of the five stages of grief, those are important! They’re as follows:

  • Denial/Isolation: your characters can’t believe your dead character is really dead. This is a defense mechanism of sorts for your mind – a way to delay at least some of the pain, and give yourself time to process what’s happened (although that processing happens subconsciously, because on the surface you’re denying that anything’s happened at all). If the dead character fought a long battle with an illness before death, this stage may be expedited by the fact that your characters had time to process the character’s dying as it was happening. If the death was sudden in any way, this stage may be prolonged, because it will be harder to comprehend something that happened so quickly, and shock will be more likely to occur.
  • Anger: the pain your characters were masking in the denial stage starts to come to the surface, and as a response to the pain, your characters get angry (just as many other vulnerable emotions, such as fear, are expressed as anger – anger is a tough emotion, as opposed to fear and grief, so most people subconsciously opt for anger because it makes them feel less vulnerable). They may feel they’ve been robbed of your dead character’s companionship. Their anger may manifest itself in many different ways: isolation, irritability, or self-destructive behavior, to name a few. Their anger may also direct itself at various places: the medical professionals who failed to save your dead character’s life, God for taking your dead character, even the dead character him/herself, if they could in any way be responsible for their own death (if they were driving intoxicated, if they never ate healthily and suffered a heart attack, etc.).
  • Bargaining: before death, this stage may manifest itself as “please God, just let them live and I’ll tithe my ten percent and go to church every Sunday”, or “please, [Dying character’s name], just hold on and get better and we’ll [do that thing the dying character has always wanted to do]”. (Keep in mind that most people have an astounding impulse to be religious during a time of crisis, whether they’ve been religious in the past or not.) After death, this stage may manifest itself in the “could’ve-should’ve-would’ve” philosophy: “if only we’d taken them to the doctor sooner”, “I should’ve made him stay home”, “I knew there was something wrong with him!”, and so on. This stage is generally an attempt to regain control of the situation – your characters feel like they’re taking some kind of action by offering a proposition, or by placing blame.
  • Depression: there are two types of depression associated with grief. In the first (which is almost more similar to anxiety) your characters worry more about others: what if I haven’t been there for people when they needed me, how are we going to pay for the funeral/burial services, and so on. Basically it deals more with the practical aspects of the character’s death. The second type is more introspective – your characters may retreat into themselves and analyze old memories of your dead character, and their feelings on everything that’s happened. This type is private, and your characters probably won’t share much about their thoughts if they experience it.
  • Acceptance: this stage is marked by withdrawal and calm – it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from depression. It’s not a stage of joyous frolicking and exclaiming, “It’s okay! I understand everything about [Dead Character’s] death!”. Your characters may still not understand the purpose of your dead character’s death, but understanding and acceptance are not synonyms, nor are they mutually inclusive. The important thing about this stage is that your characters can make peace with the death, and can move on.

Keep in mind that while I’ve listed these stages in what is regarded as their general order, every person (and character) grieves differently – they may experience these emotions in a different order than that above. They may also go through one or several of the stages more than once, or cycle through the first four of them multiple times before reaching the fifth. Some characters may not even reach the fifth at all – depending on the circumstances of the death and the character’s attachment to your dead character, they may never fully accept your dead character’s death. The stages above are just a general framework for grieving.

Also, keep in mind that if your character’s death was tied in any way to traumatic incidents for your other characters, it may complicate the grieving process for those other characters, because the character’s death will be tied to other painful or triggering memories.

I hope this helps! If you need anything else, please feel free to ask. - @authors-haven

Creating plots with the zigzag method

I’ve learned this method years ago and I’ve been using it ever since. The zigzag plot creator starts like this: 

A crescent zigzag. 

You can have as many up and downs as you want. I’ve drawn six to keep it simple. Alright, this zigzag is your storyline and every corner is an important event that will change everything:

Every down represents a bad thing happening to your main characters, taking them further away from their goal. Every up is a good event, taking them closer to their goal:

So, when the zigzag goes down, something bad must happen. When the zigzag goes up, something good must happen. The reason why we drew a crescent zigzag is because every down must be worse than the previous, and every up must be better than the previous. As the zigzag advances, events become more serious and relevant. 

Let’s apply the zigzag method. My storyline is a detective trying to catch a serial killer in a futuristic city. Minutes later, this is what I’ve got:

Start: Detective, our protagonist, is just promoted

Down #1: Mass suicide happens in town, detective gets the case, the whole town thinks it might have been a religious suicide act, but detective suspects that someone single-handed killed all those people

Up #1: Detective finds clue about a possible killer

Down #2: A bigger mass murder happens, a true massacre, it’s a definitely a murder

Up #2: Detective finds the killer’s trail

Down #3: Thinking he is ahead of time, close to catching the killer, detective ends up dead in another mass murder

Up #3: Because of his notes and discoveries, the police is able to find the killer before they leave town

From this point on you can play with zigzag as much as you want. For example, changing the orientation of the zigzag for a bad ending:

Lots of ups and downs:

Or just a few:

It’s up to you (see what I did there?).

You can plot any type of story with the zigzag method. It’s a visual and easy process for a very complex task.

iamkidfish  asked:

I saw your post about tips for writing love stories and it was really helpful! While the romance between my two characters is not the main plot it is certainly a big deal. I realized that I might have fallen victim to insta love and I was wondering how to avoid writing insta love?

Insta love is basically when the characters fall in love with each other without the backing of actually knowing each other and sharing experiences. So here’s a list on how to avoid it:

1. Instant attraction is different from insta love. Just like in real life, what people see first is on the outside, which might then spark them to learn about what’s inside. So you may have a character be attracted to another character the second they lay eyes on them, and that’s okay. It’s actually a pretty good start to a romantic relationship.

2. Let them get to know each other. Share struggles or moments of vulnerability. Let them flirt, ramp up the attraction, and get them to a point where they feel close to one another. This requires a bit of time. Of course, depending on who your characters are, this could take merely a few hours, but there needs to be some time between “Hey look at that cutie” and “I would die for them.”

3. Know your characters. What makes them open up to a possible romantic partner? Why are they attracted to this person? Why do they trust them and want to be with them? If you have legitimate answers, then that can explain a quick bond between two people which can lead to a quicker romantic fling that doesn’t count as an insta love.

4. Think about if your characters romantic progressions make sense and are healthy. It’s best to do this from the perspective of a best friend. If you find yourself going “oooh gurl, why u doin that” then maybe that’s not a romance your audience can root for. If outsiders think a relationship is moving too fast with too little footing, it might be lust, not love.

Hope this helps!

Struggling to Start a Novel

Anonymous asked: “I really want to start writing a book that I’ve had ideas for rolling around in my mind for a while now. The only problem is I can’t find the motivation to start writing and I’m struggling with getting started. It feels like my imagination is dying!”

Starting a novel can sometimes be intimidating. It’s not physically difficult, but mentally you might face some unexpected roadblocks. I can’t say this is something I’ve ever particularly worried about, but it happens. You get in your head and psych yourself out. You love the idea you’ve been working on and feel there’s a lot riding on it when it comes to putting it on the page. 

The secret to getting over this feeling: take a deep breath and remind yourself that this isn’t the first chapter, this is the first draft. No one will know what you’re writing or if you’re writing anything great. In fact, you can even tell yourself, your idea’s not perfect. It needs work still. Even say, this is just for fun. We’ll see where this goes

Keep reading

Creating Likeable Characters

Sometimes it’s difficult to make your characters likeable as they are tested and are pushed to further and further lengths. Sometimes they have to make hard decisions, and sometimes the pressure gets to them and they mess up, hurt another character or an innocent bystander. How can you keep them likeable throughout the whole plotline?

- Keep their motivations pure.
It almost always comes back to the heart – if their heart is pure, and that’s established early-on, the audience is more likely to root for them.

- Give them flaws – make them human.
Not every character has to have some huge problem, like an addiction or a traumatic past or a disability – if your entire cast does, it’s no problem, but it’s not necessary. But every character has to have some flaw(s), whether it’s cheating at card games because he can’t stand to lose or being too-closed minded or closing off when she gets too emotional. If your character doesn’t have a flaw, they start to come off as too perfect, too angelic, pretentious.

- Give them permission to mess up.
This ties in with flaws – if your character is inclined to make a bad decision at any point in the plot, don’t steer him away from it because “oh no he’s my protagonist and he must be Good and Whole and Pure and All-Knowing”. Let him walk into that ambush despite the sick feeling in his stomach and get half his army killed; let her rush into a confrontation with a bully and get into a fight with another girl who has a switchblade. Let your characters mess up – it shows that they’re human.

- But if your character messes up, let them own up to it eventually.
The general who killed half his army by ignoring the unease in the back of his mind might cry over their makeshift graves long after the rest of the platoon is asleep; the girl sitting in the infirmary might feel remorse for knocking her opponent’s block off. Or your characters might argue and might be stubborn and might not apologize for weeks. But let them apologize eventually. This goes back to the heart, and what the character knows is right.

- Relationships with other characters are vital.
That’s not to say a loner character can’t be likeable – but the audience’s perception of a loner character is determined by the thoughts/words of other characters. Characters all color each other and define parts of each other, just like people do to each other in real life. If your character is a jerk to other characters and other characters don’t like him (especially if the characters who dislike him are likeable), the audience won’t like him either. The character’s image depends not just on himself, but on his supporting cast.

Hope this helps! - @authors-haven

Four Temperaments Chart

I’ve been looking at ways of writing character groups that work; one of the classics is the Freudian Trio, (like Kirk, Spock, and Bones in Star Trek TOS) but since I’m working in an ancient world setting, the Four Temperament Ensemble, being based on ancient Greek concepts, seems to make more sense. I found some charts on the internet, but none had all the info, so I added some color coding and additional notes to one that was pretty good.

These go back at least as far as Hippocrates, c. 460 – c. 370 BC.