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Showing content with the highest reputation on 06/01/2019 in all areas

  1. 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. :)
  2. 2 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.
  3. 1 point
    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
  4. 1 point
    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.
  5. 1 point
    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.
  6. 1 point
    I never did get around to answering this very well for myself after I posted it. Work got in the way, but I'm off for the summer now so I'm able to think again. My main characters, Fred and Taz, would fall into the low end of the poverty scale, so they never had many toys. But, being as Fred possesses the gift of Animal Speaking she charms animals into friendship and so the two of them never lacked for companions to play with. For Taz it was normal to wake up with all manner of creatures sneaking into bed with them and playing games with rats, cats, stray dogs, squirrels, birds, and even some fish. She doesn't encounter actual toys until she's nearly 11 and honestly doesn't have a desire to play with the charmed ones. Most other children on the upper scales of poverty and into middle class have access to the charmed toys. Those toys have spells stitched or carved into them that make them move in limited ways. The spells on these toys have to be recharged frequently but it's a simple spell working that most everyone, including children, learn fairly early. But eventually the stitching or carving wears out and can't hold magic anymore, so the toy becomes a permanent stationary object. High class children, especially those in families who supported Mexico in the war, had access to actual mechanicals. Due to Mexico's fascination with melding metal and magic, they first experimented with the process on toys that had inner mechanics (clockwork gears, magic charged batteries) and stumbled upon a way to inscribe a primitive sort of "life" that could interact and play in more ways than toys with simple charms. They later weaponized the process to create their military-grade automatons. In the present story such toys are banned and most were destroyed along with the blueprints on how to infuse metal with magic, but some were hidden away to tinker with and reverse engineer in secret.
  7. 1 point
    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.
  8. 1 point
    I'm leaning towards mixing POVs for this project. The majority of it will continue in the vein of book one with Taz's first person past tense POV, but I think I need to have a couple other perspectives mixed in, so those I'm going to do as third person past tense and see how they work out. First person has always been more natural for me, but there are limitations that really hamper the story if I stick with it completely. I'm looking forward to writing the third person chapters, it might be a welcome break from the usual story and I can delve into different parts of my world with them since they have wider experience compared to Taz. Especially when it comes to the War with Mexico, because I have backstory on that and no way to insert most of it from Taz's perspective. I guess that pretty much answers the bonus question. I think bringing in the extra POV's will broaden the story and allow different perspectives and histories to come too light. It's a bit hard to accomplish that solely through the eyes of a ten year-old, no matter how observant she is.
  9. 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.
  10. 1 point
    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.
  11. 1 point
    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.
  12. 1 point
    Oh, that's a cool name for a genre, more or less, since I don't know how it would sound in your language. 😄 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.
  13. 1 point
    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. 😄 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. 🙂
  14. 1 point
    *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 😐 Oh No. I need a distraction, quick someone have an emergency so I don't have to start writing!
  15. 1 point
    My novel idea came from my May project about a bunch of witches opening a summer camp, and I realised that if I write a stand-alone prequel to that, this could be a middle grade series... which made me really nervous since I have never thought about series before. I've plotted way more beforehand than I usually do, because Middle Grade came with some very different challenges. The story needed a very strong thread going through, like solid from start to finish, which made the plotting trickier than usual since I'm mostly a carefree plantser-type. It has taken up a lot of my time for the last couple of weeks and everything else has just fallen by the wayside. One of these days I really should vaccuum the house... Apart from the plot I've notes on the world-building and I wrote a legend for the history (I'll see if I get it done for the WS-challenge), and right now I'm actually ready to write my middle. If I can stop procrastinating. This is the scary part, to go from pre-writing to actual writing, where all the hopes and dreams of writing the story I picture in my head crashes and burns.
  16. 1 point
    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...
  17. 1 point
    To update where my preparation is at, I've opened various documents and closed them to try again later >_< I remembered that I've got a big Question of which side of the war a major character is on, and I need to figure that out before I rework the outline. I'm hoping to have enough brain capacity in the next few days to look at it. It involves some trickery and some double crossing and switching sides and its all a tangle in my head. My plan to tackle it is to write out the list of characters, the potential sides for them to be on, and the consequences of each.
  18. 1 point
    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.