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  1. 4 points
    I've posted this before, but I am almost done my outline and I find this really inspirational. This chart is a reminder that it doesn't take that many words per day to get a novel going. A few hundred words a day and you'll have a novel draft in a matter of months. It can seem like a like long when you are staring at a screen, but its completely doable!
  2. 3 points
    Being Weird on Purpose - Writing Speculative Fiction, as presented by Candas Jane Dorsey. This was my favourite panel of the conference. She talked about speculative fiction - What it is, and some tips on how to do it well. Her talk was quite dense and I know I missed writing down a lot, but here are the key points. All fiction is speculative. Even if it takes place in this reality, it is never 100% accurate. Towns are made up, dialogue is constructed. Inner thoughts and feelings or real people are speculated on. Humans love allegories. We generalize from experience until we see meaning in patterns. Speculative fiction offers patterns. Allegories can bypass human defenses and biases Realistic fiction is actually quite new, and was not the default historically. The term 'speculative fiction' first was used to be more inclusive of other languages and cultures that use a variety of terms to describe the same sort of thing There are many lists of things not to do, but all the 'don't do this' rules can be broken by a clever writer - you can break the rule if you do it WELL Spec fic vs literary - In speculative fiction the journeys the characters understand (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc) are often longer, and they tend to have outcomes. A literary story may cut short or not be fully resolved. A quote from someone I missed - "Fantasy is a self-coherent narrative', meaning that it doesn't subvert the elements of a story, it moves in a predictable way (of course there are examples of more experimental stories, but generally speaking). 'Delaney's Levels of Subjunctivity' Subjunctivity - The relationship between something proposed or portrayed (especially in science fiction) and reality; degree of realism or probability. She talks about Delaney's three levels of Subjunctivity as a way of figuring out if something is speculative fiction or not. 1. Reportage level - This writing described things that did happen, factual events. This covers things like memoirs, newspapers, news reports (barring fake news of course) 2. Realistic Fiction - Things that 'could have happened'. The didn't, but they don't violate the rules of our reality. So this is things like from modern mainstream literary fiction to romance, high literature, pulp fiction, coming of age stories adventures. They may have made up towns or people, but the rules of the world and the setting are largely the same as our own. 3. 'Could NOT have happened' level - Elves do not exist, dragons do not fly. No matter how realistic the setting (urban fantasy for example), it is impossible for this story to have happened. As soon as a fantastic element is included, it infects the story with this level of subjunctivity. Think LOTR, Harry Potter, ghost stories, paranormal romance, magical realism, surrealism, horror, fantasy, etc. Sci fi fits into a strange place with several levels of subjunctivity. It sits at 'could not have happened' based on reality right now, but extrapolating trends could push it into 'has not happened', or even 'has not happened YET'. Spec fic, and especially fantasy, has internal rules. You have to change the rules of your world so the cool thing you want to happen falls into the 'could have happened' level. If it falls into the 'could not have happened' then your world is either poorly explained, or you have a plot hole. Our worldbuilding when we first start out, often is like fanfiction of our own world, its incomplete, not fully realized. You get the DnD style of characterization, Bob has 12 strength points. But WHY is Bob strong, what made him that way? Your worldbuilding too will have consequences, your characters shouldn't trip over cool ideas and mess up the plot. She talks a lot about the work of Samuel Delaney, who has several books and essays that Dorsey uses to teach this subject. With spec fic you can say things that are metaphorical in the real world, but are interpreted literally in fiction. Consider "She gave her heart up willingly" The background is equally as important as the foreground with spec fic - ie, the worldbuilding that is needed to explain how this world works. "The door dilated" is the sentence she gave as an example. That one word, dilated, tells us so much about the setting. Doors are different here, perhaps designed to accommodate a different shaped being. Humans don't need round doors after all. What can we infer about the world from that one word? "The red sun was high" - This tells us that maybe there is dust in the air, or a sunset. But that's not the whole sentence. Heinlein wrote, "The rest sun was high, the blue low." - This tells us a lot more, there's two suns, so its not earth. This world might have different gravity, plants, ways of life. Even the shadows would be different. So much worldbuilding with just a couple words. It is unnecessary then to explain that 'Bob lives in a binary star system' Your own language is such an important tool in spec fic, you can use it in a very short way to create a whole world. Another example "The city floated over the plain this week." - The addition of 'this week' tells us that not only does the city float, but it is mobile and doesn't stay in one place. Spec fic readers love the detective work of piecing together the details. This is another reason why info dumps are bad. It removes the mystery and feels so clunky. Exercises: 1. In your WIP, find a lump of exposition/info dumping, and see if you can find one adjective, one verb, and one noun (at least one of each) to tell this information in a descriptive sentence instead. Are there are ways to use the senses to make it all snap into place? 2. For the people of the world of fairy, or Mordor, the things we see in the books are normal. They don't require extra information and backstory. For them, magic (as an example) is normal. From your WIP, find a secondary or background character and write a short scene in which they go about their day. All the extraordinary things of your setting are normal for them. Show them being comfortable in your world. 3. Interview your characters, ask them 'Where is the voice coming from" - Why do they say what they say, do what they do, what shaped them? They shouldn't be there to dress the set, no Red Shirts or Spear Carriers. 4. Interview your 'really cool idea' too (your worldbuilding premise, the 'what if' question you are asking). To make this idea work, what needs to be different from our world to this one? Pin down what research you need to do. What are the long term effects of the idea? What plot elements have to happen to cause the idea, and what are the consequences of those plot elements. 5. Put two characters in a fairly commonplace setting, and put them through the 3 levels of subjunctivity in short scenes, or even a few sentences. What happens, what needs to change? How do the characters change in response to changes in the setting? Example - "A kid is sitting under a tree reading a book." Example - Meeting to talk about writing here and now in this room is very different compared to meeting to talk in Cambodia in 1076 when the Khmer Rouge were executing all artists and thinkers. Changing the setting changes the danger the characters are in, the tension, the choices they've made to even BE in that place.
  3. 3 points
    First I think we want a distinction of what we are looking for, by summary you mean the 'back of the book blurb'? As opposed to a more detailed synopsis. The advice I've read says a good blurb should be focused on your main character - Who are they, what do they want, what obstacles are stopping them from getting it. If you've got two MCs they could get a paragraph each, but I wouldn't do more than two, there's only so much space. I've also read that as far as plot, you generally want to talk about the first 3rd of the book, the initial problem that is set up (because we know story problems tend to grow or get worse as the story progresses). That way you still have your hook, but you aren't giving away the ending. But if you are writing a synopsis, like for querying an agent, you'd want to include the ending and more of how the character arc develops, because you are selling them the whole story, not trying to entice them to read with the first 3rd. The synopsis might also be a lot longer, some people use synopsis to mean a 1-3 paragraph description of your story, others are looking for several PAGES.
  4. 3 points
    Today, June 1st, is the third birthday of Worldsmyths! Happy birthday, Worldsmyths! New artwork by @JayLee!
  5. 3 points
    This is good advice. But not necessarily the way it was intended. Usually it's seen as write the things you know from reality. Don't use things you have no experience with. Now, that is terribly unhelpful to fantasy and sci-fi writers who, by definition, have to write about things that we have no experience with since they don't exist, or don't exist yet. But we can still use this as a useful catch-phrase for writing, at least in a first draft. So here it goes: Write What You Know. You have a story idea in your head. Write that down because you know you have the idea. Don't worry about things that you don't know yet. If you haven't decided what technology your world has, or how big the country is that your story takes place in, don't sweat it. Write what you do know. Keep that pen, or those fingers, writing the things that you already have in your head. Write them until you don't have any of those things left. Then you can worry about sorting out the other stuff. I know this approach isn't for everyone, and that's fine. But, for me, I often get caught up in trying to make things make sense immediately, or trying to write things in order. But when there's something in my head further down the road in my story, I need to remember to write it down while I know it, or else I might forget it. Losing ideas can really set us back, so we should write what we know when we know it. Even if it has to be fixed later, or even tossed out entirely. Because if we don't write what we know, and fixate on what we don't know, we might actually be making more work for ourselves. Just a thought.
  6. 3 points
    I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with using "as", but it depends on the execution. If you are using it a lot, maybe you aren't varying your sentence structures enough. Or maybe you are combining 2 things via "as" that really can't happen at the same time. John smiled as he finished his beer. It's kinda hard to drink and smile at the same time. More likely, the character is doing one and then the other, and the wording should reflect that. Of larger concern is the use of prepositions in general. Again, this isn't something to avoid, but some writers overuse them. Consider this sentence: The keys are in the desk drawer. This sentence creates a relationship between the keys and their location (the drawer). Each prepositional phrase extends that relationship. The reader has to keep straight where everything is in relation to everything else. Let's look at another example: The keys are in Boston, in my mother's old house at 31 Main Street, up the stairs, on the left just past the bathroom, in the desk drawer behind a bunch of letters. This is an extreme example, but I think it illustrates why using too many prepositional phrases can be a problem. It's too much for the reader to keep track of. If you need more than 2 prepositions in a sentence, it's probably better to divide the sentence up. Sometimes prepositional phrases are unnecessary and can be cut. Example: Mike had told him that the keys were in the drawer. John searched every inch, even going so far as to dump everything onto the floor, but found no keys in the drawer. The last "in the drawer" can be cut. It has already been establish where John is looking. There's no need to repeat it. So yeah, there's nothing wrong with using "as" or any other preposition. As with most things, it's really a matter of how they are used.
  7. 3 points
    Project: The Pirate Witches of Deadwater (Middle Grade Fantasy Novel) Goal: Rough outline done by May (which is about now), first draft of 30k-40k hopefully done by the end of June, then editing until complete. I hope that's sometime before NaNo this fall. Summary: After a string of foster-homes 12-year old Beata discovers she has inherited a house together with a distant cousin in the pirate-witch village of Deadwater. The village is in decline because the witches are old and childless, and a developer try to seize the opportunity and turn Deadwater into a hot summer-vacation spot with hotels and casinos. Beata's house has a ghost (like houses do) and hopes it's her dead mother trying to communicate, but finds it's her cousin's mother; a witch trapped on a ghost ship in another dimension because the magic anchors to bring her back were stolen. Beata finds it's really difficult to rebel in a pirate-witch village, take orders from a bossy apparition and hardest of all: find a summer-job that doesn't involve collecting leeches. How hard could it be when the only other kid in the village managed to get a sweet gig as a bread-delivery man and won't stop bragging about it? She also has to help her cousin pass the magic entrance exam for the prestigious village council called The Crew, which will give them a lot of advantages and might be their only way to avoid having to sell their house. The end: By the use of very old knot-magic Beata manages to pull the ghost ship back into the real world, with both the lost witch and an incredible pirate treasure onboard. Beata earns the empty chair in The Crew and saves the house, while the treasure saves the village.
  8. 3 points
    Project: The New Trilogy, Book 1 The New Queen. Book 2 The New Priestess. Book 3 The New . . .not sure yet. Goals: Finish first draft of Book 1 and publish by the end of October. Start Book 2 for NaNoWriMo this year. Summary: I created an original world that blends folk lore from around the world, though what's presented in the book is predominantly anglo-saxon, celtic, and Germanic inspired with a little sprinkling from the middle east and eastern Europe. In this mythical other world the daughter of a witch is traded to a goblin by her mother for a rare magical ingredient that will help save the lives of her coven and many other innocents (thought has crossed my mind of writing this up as a separate novel that is sort of a prequel to the trilogy, like The Hobbit to LoTR). Shortly after acquiring the child the Goblin is killed by a slightly delirious Fae fleeing his exiled people who were forced into the eastern mountains and deep underground long ago. He adopts the human infant who grows up among the court until she's about twenty. At that point a seer informs the queen that a gathering darkness threatens every life in the realm ( I still haven't settled on a name for the Fae country -_-') and the human Berry is key to preserving the land, though how is unclear. It's important she travel South before it's too late and do so with the Prince (who has just turned 100 and is officially an adult though he's still pretty immature in a lot of ways) and her adoptive father. Unfortunately, Berry's father was just sent North as a spy and can't be conveniently reached because he's spying on allies and if he's caught spying it could push the two countries into another war since the new king in the North doesn't like the Fae as much as his predecessor. phew. That's about it without going into spoilers.
  9. 3 points
    I forgot I posted this, so maybe I should answer it myself. The coastal village of my WIP is called Deadwater, and I'd visit the broken ship of the first pirate-witches who settled there: Matilda and Grumpy Octavia. The part of the ship with the captain's quarters is now the meeting hall and has an observational deck. Then I'd walk on the beach to see what kind of stuff floated ashore since the currents are affected by magic and lots of fun stuff end up at the shore-line almost every day (finders keepers!). The Bone Witch House, constructed by old whale bones and fossils, is a must, and then I'll probably go with the Captain of the village on her daily "inspections" of the small brewery before heading out to the big evening barbecue on the beach.
  10. 2 points
    One of the things about writing any sort of fiction, and I feel like this especially true with many genres of fiction, is that there are sort of established conventions and tropes. Now I want to say right off I think that tropes and cliches are not bad things because they are well used for a reason. But even with that they can get a little bit predictable and stale. I've been playing a game called Horizon Zero Dawn which is sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy. Without getting too detailed its story is more or less your classic heroic journey to save the world, but with a really interesting sci-fi twist to it. For instance, instead of the Gods you instead have these ultra-advanced AIs who fill a similar role as uber powerful plot devices. So here's the question I have for all y'all. What is your favorite trope or convention and what do you think was your favorite way you've seen it adapted or reimagined?
  11. 2 points
    This morning when I woke up, I tried to hop on the Discord only to find that the whole of Discord was down for me. Then I realized how much I really look forward to chatting with everyone, both about writing and about other things. So I just thought I'd give a shout out to everyone on the Discord for being awesome folks. Even when we don't all agree, we're generally able to move things along without too much permanent drama or damage. Yay us!
  12. 2 points
    I'm always fascinated by what happens after a trope is resolved. The band of adventurers defeats the villain and saves the kingdom. What happens next? (See The Afterward by E.K. Johnston). Kids go through a mirror or a wardrobe and end up in a magical world, but then get spat back into their usual lives. What happens next? (See Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire or A Tyranny of Queens by Foz Meadows). This sort of thing. Also, Chosen Ones. What if the Chosen One refuses to save the world? (One of my friends still hasn't published her wonderful book on the subject, but I know she will one day). What if the story isn't about the Chosen One at all, what if it's about their parents or their sibling or their significant other? What if the story is about whoever (or whatever) chooses the Chosen Ones? What if the story about a Chosen One who wants to stop being Chosen and break free to live their own life without the constraints of destiny, and that's the point of whatever quest they undertake? I have no real examples, but a lot of ideas.
  13. 2 points
  14. 2 points
    There's a certain practical sense to using orphans. Not just the freedom, but they're generally far less content, so they're more likely to want to run away, end up in trouble, change the status quo, etc. People with good family home lives that aren't disrupted are less likely to end up in an adventure worth talking about. At least, that's my interpretation of things.
  15. 2 points
    (I didn't know what section to put this in, so bear with me.) I know I've dithered back and forth on this, but I think that it really will be best in the big scope of things for me to focus on transcribing my handwritten work right now instead of finishing any particular story. While this might set me back as far as writing goes, I can't just think about myself. The need to declutter my house is very important to my whole family right now, so that's 9 other people who are working to dejunk as well. I'm moving into a space that will be much smaller, and I will have to get rid of a lot of things. Now, I'm certainly not going to get rid of my writing; that would be like cutting off an arm or something, but if I can transcribe everything a thumb drive will take up a lot less space than several hulking binders and three folder-holders full of duo-tangs. I have maybe a year to do this, maybe less. So, if people want to encourage me on Discord or anything, just remind me to transcribe something. ๐Ÿ˜„ I would greatly appreciate this.
  16. 2 points
    I've been doing some brainstorming for a story and got to thinking about how rare it is for natural disasters to be a significant part of the setting. Sanderson uses nature quite a bit, though more in the background outside of his Stormlight Archive. Stuff like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes aren't often seen in fantasy. Even less so avalanches, mudslides, floods and wildfires. I guess these tend to be viewed as isolated events and not something to build a setting around, but looking at our world, there are lots of areas that experience each of these things on a regular basis. Still, I suppose they could seem random if the story isn't built on them in some way. Like you've got a war between two armies and suddenly there's an earthquake. That would feel pretty random and arbitrary. I'm really trying to push hard toward the strange with this story, so I'm trying to make nature a big part of it. Thus far I've got two areas where nature plays a role. The first is a vast tundra, in the middle of which lives one of the protagonists. Her people live within a small oasis of land where winter is held back by their "god", but that power is fading. They have legends that tell of the green lands beyond the tundra and the protagonist will need to find those lands if she hopes to save her people. The other area is one I'm still figuring out (I'm working on the map now), but I'm thinking that the southern west coast will be a heavy hurricane zone, similar to the southern US east coast. There are gods who raise cities to shelter their followers and protect them from the storms, but anyone living outside those cities or traveling between them would be at risk. I may put a Mississippi-like river in that area and have it flood on a regular basis. These aren't huge plot elements like the storms in Sanderson's books, but I feel like they give the setting a bit more character and diversity. I'm going to keep digging into the setting and see what else I can come up with. So what are some ways that you have used nature in your stories/settings? Are they more background, or do they play a role in the plot?
  17. 2 points
    Echo is frequently quite thoughtless. She gets an idea in her head and she goes with it, and despite her humble beginnings she is not afraid to push it through no matter what the objections. This trait, while it does deliver results (her main and often hectoring defence of it), also delivers great bloodshed. Oh, and don't ever hand her any kind of weapon, even for her to look. She'll be fiddling with it and will have your eye out. Ao - he's a little bit of a side-switcher. Consumed with a desire to be adored, he is intelligent, elegant, and scathing of those he considers beneath him, which is pretty much anyone whose manor house is smaller than his, or whose countenance doesn't exhibit the sort of rarified eloquence that his does. His words cut like barbs. Always armed with the last word on who's who (and who isn't) in society, he believes himself to be almost a work of art. One need only gaze upon him to know pure beauty and he's not afraid to let everyone know it. Ixawod is a good guy, but he's from a rich background, handsome, a little arrogant and entitled. But don't worry. A good dose of war and killing soon puts him in his place. He is Echo's lover for a time, but is not particularly faithful to her. He moves in the same circles as Ao. Faraday Foxtrot-Brown: a canny lady and a journalist, she and her jotting minions control dukes, justices of the peace, industry captains, everybody, mostly through fear of a withering writeup. She's great company - she'll show you the glittering highs of the town - but don't ever trust her; she is deeply and fundamentally deceitful. Sir Gaunt - he's chivalrous to the extreme. However he is quite physically weak and prone to asthmatics. Nobody can really get their head around how the hell he got accepted into the ranks of gallantry other than the fact that he looks like a child's drawing of a knight. Varyonet: little more than a vicious street thug, she has always had to fight for every last scrap. Unpitying in everything she does, being on the same side as her in battle is no guarantee of amity; bore her, make too much noise, or just get in her way and she'll cut your throat or embed a crossbow quarrel in your forehead. It is only through a weird obsession with Echo - possibly after she becomes pregnant with Ixawod's baby, and tied into the postpartum depression she suffers - plus some other luck, that she ends up on their side in the various conflicts. Humpty Doughty. He's an antag for book 2. An old school-fellow of Ixawod's, he's a complex guy. Dropped on his head as a small boy, he was left with mild learning disabilities and since then has taken to carrying an egg around. On a good day - when they're not bullying him, for instance - the egg remains unharmed but on a bad day, it will be crushed in his fat pink hand. Draw your own conclusions from that, but all I will say is that he sends a shadow throughout the land, and that even Hammerstyle (below) keeps him at a respectful distance. Hammerstyle, my antag from book one, doesn't have any flaws, unless you count being too ambitious, too energetic, and being just a bit too much for the average person. But those are really their flaws, not his. He's got it all - tall, broad-shouldered, a rockin' lion's-mane hairdo - and he throws the awesomest parties. He has no flaws. He's amazing. Critique him at your peril ๐Ÿ™‚
  18. 2 points
    Kai from my unnamed project is really bad talking with people. She doesn't get all the rules and is very oblivious to stuff like sarcasm and lying, people find her slightly awkward and offputting. While some of this is just how she is, she is very dismissive and quick to judge which can affect how she interacts with people. Normally she just has to concentrate very hard on making sure she understands what the other person is saying, and she's going to learn to not judge people as quickly. It's very plot relevant since the first half of her plot mostly consist of her trying to track down her father, so talking to people and knowing if they are lying is a very big deal. However, Kieran from The Caerellรญ Chronicles might be more flaw than person. At the beginning at least. He's selfish, and disconnected, and quick to give up as soon as something gets hard. Obviously these don't eclipse his personality otherwise the audience wouldn't like him, but they're pretty prevalent. To begin with, Kieran doesn't deal with them because he doesn't really see that they're flaws. Once he does notice them as bad things, he makes a conscious effort to consider other people's thoughts and feelings, to ground himself more, and persevere.
  19. 2 points
  20. 2 points
  21. 2 points
    June Writing Challenge Prompt: Masquerade or 'Pick a Sentence' prompts We have two prompts to choose from this month. The first is to include a scene featuring a ball, masquerade, or dance. This can be anything from a simple village party to a grand event hosted by an Empress. The second prompt is 'Pick a Sentence'. Below are three sentences, start a story with one! Change the sentence as needed to fit your style/POV, but keep to the general spirit of it. -The echoes of screaming birds resonated throughout the valley. -The moon shone down onto the mist-laden castle, endowing an ethereal illumination upon its face, as reverberations of a crowded in ghostly array about the battlements. -โ€œThe Elves! The Elves are attacking!โ€ Deadline: Saturday, June 30th by 11:59 PM GMT-5 Word count: 5,000 words max Submissions: To submit to the challenge, please submit to the library, under the "flash plus" category. Please make sure to use the tag "monthly writing challenge" where it asks for a tag in the form. You're welcome to write and submit something brand new for the challenge or use something old/from your current WIP as long as it fits the challenge prompt. If you have any questions, please send @Jedi Knight Muse or @Penguinball a PM. Please reply to this post with the link to your library submission.
  22. 2 points
  23. 2 points
  24. 2 points
  25. 2 points
    I learned this a long time ago, sadly, and I really wish I had just followed through and transcribed what I could. The stories I'm thinking of are the early ones that I've mentioned 1,000 times, the ones that I wrote when I was a kid and were terrible, both story-wise and spelling/grammar-wise. I did try to transcribe them a few times, but I didn't get very far because I kept getting hung up on things that, as I tried to type them up, my brain was just saying "oh my god, this is so bad, I should not be doing this," and I wish I hadn't listened. So, basically, be glad you're doing this, because like you said, you can appreciate the things you're writing in the present much more, and also see how far you've come. I can really only do that based on what little memory I have of those stories at this point.
  26. 2 points
    You can do it! I'm a big fan of decluttering. This may benefit your writing in the long run- in the process of going through and transcribing you may find old ideas that you lost! ๐Ÿ™‚
  27. 2 points
    Charic has low self esteem and likes to brag and tell exaggerated tales of his exploits so I think he might have some charisma based powers and/or minor psychic abilities to make people believe him, Persuasion check winning. Depends how I want to play it, at the beginning of his character arc he would probably be shorter/less impressive but at the end of his arc once he gets over a bunch of issues he would look closer to how he is physically. Mailyra would look different physically for sure, for most of her character she is feeling broken and beaten down and bitter and cynical. I can picture her developing some kind of exoskeleton, maybe with spikes Her powers in my world are to do with brewing potions, she can identify the properties of reagents and strengthen their effects. It's an important part of her that she lost in my story, so she would probably get that back
  28. 2 points
    I say know what you write, i.e. do research your subjects thoroughly. From the perspective of a writer having interest in different historical periods and countries, this functions best.
  29. 2 points
    I think I would skip ahead in my books and visit Granny Ness' witch camp in the Rockies. Of all the witches who disappeared/escaped after the War with Mexico Granny Ness was by far the most feared and still has a standing warrant out for her execution. She's one of those few witches who has delved so deep into magic that she's become attuned with its very core essence, and it with her. She keeps a hidden camp far up in the dragon infested Rockies, only reachable by traveling hidden roads and paths half in this world and half in the next. Her camp is a sprawling nomadic collection of witches and their families in a series of caves and floating houses on a lake where she rules it all uncontested. I would love to spend the day with her taking a walk through the camp and around the mountain just listening. She's older than any other character, possibly by a couple hundred years if some of the stories are true. I bet she has more than a little bit of wisdom and history to drop on willing ears.
  30. 2 points
    I'm still struggling with getting a better overview of my novel outline, so to avoid having to roll out a huge piece of paper on my floor and fill it in by hand (Ugh!) I did a bit of googling today for outlining Middle Grade novels. Turns out that J.K. Rowling has a way of outlining that looked good, which was super-easy to emulate with the Web-layout and tables in my word processor. The blog post connected to it wasn't giving me much, but the image of the transcribed outline for some of the chapters in The Order of the Phoenix was very helpful: https://writelikerowling.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/transcribed-rowling-outline.png It really worked well for me, because I could see gaps in my outline and it was easier to see what I could add to lean chapters. So today I learned about, and copied, the J.K. Rowling method. :)
  31. 2 points
    I do like genres as a way for the internet-era writers to promote themselves and to find like-minded, but yeah, it's tricky to put down a genre on one's own story sometimes. So easy to get tangled up in the genre-jungle these days. Occasionally I have to go with a short pitch instead, like "storybook witches in the modern suburbs" or something like that. :) It was interesting to hear that you skip worldbuilding for story, and vice versa. I've heard that some writers write almost their entire first drafts with only dialogue, and then add stuff in editing, so the ways to write a story are numerous. Everyone works differently and that is so fascinating to hear about.
  32. 2 points
    Oh, that's a cool name for a genre, more or less, since I don't know how it would sound in your language. ๐Ÿ˜„ I still don't know what genre I write. One day I hope someone can help me solve the mystery that is genre. Anyhow, I find that if I world build first, I never get to the story, so I write the story first, and I've never finished and revised enough to get to the world building portion. I have done world building for table top role-play and such though, so the experience isn't new to me. It's just very tertiary when it comes to my writing.
  33. 2 points
    I quite enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles, so the imagery there of writing being like a puzzle really struck a chord and further refined what I was saying! Thank you so much for adding your thoughts on this!! Now I will be able to make that link whenever I do puzzles, so hopefully that will help me in the future to be more mindful of my writing. To be honest, the thought of making an outline would paralyze me. ๐Ÿ˜„ So, while we don't have the same method, we can probably realize that each other's ways wouldn't work for us, and that's perfectly fine too. It strengthens the argument that there isn't a single RIGHT way to write, and that is one of the beauties of writing. I wasn't trying to determine how people should right; I was just trying to give people another way to look at the know what you write saying, and maybe lessen the pressure a bit by diverting it to another meaning. ๐Ÿ™‚
  34. 2 points
    *double take on post* Wait a second, I don't remember posting this.,.. Oh wait I didn't. We are just in the same mind set. I just finished as much of my outline as I care to do and now I have no more excuses or barriers keeping me from starting this story and I'm like ๐Ÿ˜ Oh No. I need a distraction, quick someone have an emergency so I don't have to start writing!
  35. 2 points
    I am still refining my process with each thing I write, and what I'm learning is that for me, writing is a LOT easier when I know the story pretty well as I'm drafting it. If I go in completely blind and pants it and let the story lead me, I end up with a huge messy draft that needs a lot of work (see: the things I wrote for Camp NaNo last year). So writing what I know means I have to be familiar with the characters, what they want, how they intend to get it, and then the story flows out more organically, and doesn't require as much editing. Well, it will still need a lot of editing, but generally when I have the shape of the story in my head, it won't have as many structural problems on the other side. I differ from @Mynoris's post in that I don't just dive in with the few bits of information I already know, I take my time outlining and getting to know the characters and absorbing the story before I start, so the 'what I know' pile of knowledge is larger. Both are valid ways of doing this, and really depends on where your weak spots are. If starting (and finishing!) a story is tough, then diving in as soon as the idea is born is good. If you are like me and are paralyzed by a first draft that needs a lot of editing, getting to know the story better before starting is useful.
  36. 2 points
    I really like this, Mynoris, and it gave me the image that writing really is like a puzzle. Early, you see the pieces that fit together because of strong details, and then you have the ones that are more indistinct. They need to be in the puzzle eventually, but you don't have to worry about them immediately. It's so easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about all the pieces at the same time, and a lot of those indistinct pieces will get clearer the more I write and they will eventually find a good place. And like Tangwystle said, strenghts (the stuff you do know) can be really powerful bits that will shadow weaknesses. The passion you have for certain areas of your story, that joy will shine through for the reader and make it more interesting to read. Just because something is a staple trope in a particular genre, like riding horses, doing something completely different can be really fun. Example: I wanted to write about pirates because there are aspects of them I find really interesting. However, I know nothing about old ships/boats, and the research is just way too massive for me (i.e. I don't have the proper passion about the minute details of a ship). So I made my characters descendants of pirates who settled down on land, but they still live by the code and steal/pirate stuff in their own way. That way I can explore the things that do intrigue me about pirates (their independence, lawlessness, irreverence, kinship, lingo and democracy... along with some awesome coats and hats!) without having to spend years and years reading about ships. I just need to spend enough time on them for some in-world history, and can avoid that whole scrubbing the deck and careening and eat moldy hardtack biscuits...
  37. 2 points
    I think about something an artist friend taught me. There was this really good manga artist we were discussing. I was lamenting my inability to draw and she pointed out that the artist (I can't remember who now sorry) can't draw hands. I was stunned, but she started showing me more of the art. Very often hands were left cut out of the scene or obscured by angles, and when they weren't the character had gloves on. Gloves are easier to draw than hands, at least for that artist. So, when people say, write what you know, I kind of think about it from that perspective of focusing the reader's attention on the elements that are strongest for you, be that science, magic, character, or plot. For example, a lot of fantasy writers have never ridden a horse. They may not know that it's important at the end of the day to brush your horse down and check its hooves for debris that may have gotten lodged between shoe and hoof. But, that doesn't matter because they just leave that part and sort of gloss over the horses as a mode of transportation. When you focus on writing something you know about, you can pull a reader in by sharing with them the thing that is most interesting to you about your writing. It won't appeal to every reader, but it will appeal to many. At least, that's been my experience.
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    Home is where you park the car, even if the home still needs work. Words to add: 1,075 New total: 28,003 @Penguinball I might count the editing. I'm 15 chapters (43,477 words) into editing a 130,000-word novel along with the one I'm rewriting from scratch. Counting research would be cheating. The current novel involves the Race for Space. I work as a guide in a Museum dedicated to that. So, I can combine studying for my job with novel research - over 40 hours per week. ๐Ÿ˜
  41. 2 points
    I was hoping the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh would have had more ideas, but all they had were early modern toys and creepy dolls ๐Ÿ˜ž There aren't really children in the stories I've written so far so it hasn't come up, but when it does I'll go to the games you see on a playground, tag, hide and go seek, rhyming games. I feel like everyone can relate to that.
  42. 2 points
    My ongoing novel to finish is titled The Second Shuttle Boat. It is contemporary second chance romance. I have just a few difficult chapters left. I am not sure if I succeed to finish it in June. Then, in July Camp Nano I have another novel to finish, Sword Angel, the first volume in a series titled The Price of Freedom. That is a pirate series, historical adventures.
  43. 2 points
    GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL! Words to add: 1,221 New total: 25,697
  44. 2 points
    Subtlety can be considered an extension of "Show, Don't Tell". It is the art of saying something without saying it, implying rather than stating. One of my favorite books on writing, "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman, has this to say about subtlety: "Although the focus of this book is what can be wrong in a manuscript, if we were to stop and ask what best signals the proficient writer, the answer would be subtlety. Subtlety is the mark of confidence and is thus by far the hardest thing for a writer to achieve. A writer who is confident need not prove anything, need not try to grab attention with spates of stylism or hyperbole or melodrama. A writer who is subtle is in no rush; he can pace himself, prolong tension, suspense and even dialogue for hundreds of pages. He can hint, foreshadow ever so slightly, set things up hundreds of pages in advance. He will often leave things unsaid, may even employ a bit of confusion, and often allow you to come to your own conclusions." "The unsubtle writer will condescend to the reader, hit him over the head with obvious information, tell him things he already knows and generally repeat things (sometimes to the word)." "...the unsubtle writer will often tell in addition to show" The varying degrees to which you imply things within your story is a measure of subtlety. You may want to be less subtle when steering the reader toward a red herring, while you might want to employ a larger degree of subtlety when foreshadowing something that will prove to be critically important later in the story. How do you employ subtlety within your story? What things do you imply that you want the reader to pick up on, either at the time or later in the story? How do you use subtlety to get the reader to go where you want them to go, to come to the conclusions you want them to have?
  45. 1 point
    I wrote words! Total: 16.769 as of June 13th.
  46. 1 point
    Just as a visual idea of how much I'm going through, and why it will save me some shelf-space:
  47. 1 point
    I wrote words!New total: [12,280] words
  48. 1 point
    This sounds like a very fun exercise! Makes you give a lot of thought into what makes a character tick. For Kai, since she's faceblind, I think she'd unfortunately not have a face anymore. Other than that, she's very physically aware of herself. Aside from the slight exaggeration or played down aspect of herself that we all have sometimes, how hard her hair is to control and how strong she is respectively, she'd be very much the same physically. I'm not sure what her power or weakness would be. One of her key characteristics is that she doesn't understand people and very much prefers to be around animals. I feel like that would have something to do with it. Matias would be extremely happy about finally having a completely comfortable body, when it comes to gender at least. He'd be shorter than in reality since he thinks of himself as short, a side effect of just happening to be surrounded by tall people. Because he's very dedicated and singularly focused, his power would probably have something to do with that. Perhaps enhanced durability or focus, something similar to the healing touch from Trauma Centre. I think his weakness would also be related to that too, since it's also a problem for him sometimes. Rinn from In Orbit isn't the type to give much thought to her physical form. The Entity would probably have do a bit more work, drawing strings between what she's good at and what qualities she thinks you need to be good at those. So given her skills in building robotics, detective work, and sprinting to late meetings, she'd be very deft and fast, especially with her hands. Probably much more so than in reality. Appearance-wise, she'd look very similar. Given everything that happens around her, I'd say Rinn's weakness would just be incredibly bad luck. One of her defining character traits, to herself, is actually not having a power, so if she did have one, it would be something subtle that arguably isn't a power. I'm not sure if she would have one. Kira I think would be the most similar to how she is in In Orbit. Physically she would look very similar, but things about her would be less defined. She'd blend in a little more, everything about her being more ambiguous since she's always been relatively detached from her physical self. She'd be very comfortable with everything being less defined and comfortable about her. Her power would be the same as in the story too. She can sense natural sound-based/musical patterns around her, and manipulate the amplitude and frequency of soundwaves. Music is a very important part of her life and sense of self, so her weakness would probably be related to a lack of it.
  49. 1 point
    I wrote words!Words to add: [138] ๏ปฟword๏ปฟs
  50. 1 point
    I wrote words!words to add: 1481 words