Writing My Characters

21 Jan

Recently I got a question about how I write my characters. Since I write character-driven stories, characters are important. They have to be real, complex, and relatable. I never put pen to paper if I don’t know who they are. If I haven’t had a shrink session with them in my head, then I can’t write them well. It might be that I have them answer questions, but sometimes I get images, scenes that show me who they are. It’s can be a vibe.

The key to transferring this vibe to the reader is by giving them crumbs instead of the entire cookie. My characters have secrets, or things they’d rather not want others to know for some reason and that’s what I hint at. I don’t necessarily share the secrets, maybe not even any of the secrets, but I sure as hell hint at them. Readers are smart. Spelling things out usually annoys rather than helps.

Currently, I’m writing a main character who is also an antagonist. She is bad. I mean really bad. She has power and wants to keep it, if not get more. She kills without blinking. Now it is extra important that the reader UNDERSTANDS her. Otherwise they won’t accept her behaviour or care about what she experiences. This novel is a puzzle of her and slowly but surely the reader gets to know her. Characters need to grip you, otherwise why would you care? That’s why I can’t read plot-driven novels. I lose interest. I don’t care enough to read on.

Basically I write my characters with great interest and as if they are a puzzle that readers need to put together with clues. Subtle clues. The plot allows room for that, in fact, it helps the character show us who she is. There also has to be a contrast. My character is evil, sure, but she is also fragile and can’t stand violence against women even if that makes her a bit of hypocrite. Conflict is in every novel but there should also be conflict in characters if you want them to be interesting, no matter how small that conflict is.

Make things difficult, and let them show you what they’re made of.

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Time for Action

20 Jan

Nobody who has ever written thought that writing is easy. When on top of the desire to write, you also have a desire to get published, it’s even harder. It’s like climbing a mountain while being pulled back on an invisible string every now and then. Every finished novel is a personal victory, but life and rejection can pull you back, further away from your dream.

I read about it so many times, it’s part talent, part luck to break into the industry. Well, I think the luck I ordered got lost in the mail. I’ve been taking an unwanted break with publishing because I started a new job two years ago, but now I’m querying a novel that I hadn’t gotten around to querying yet. It’s a novel that’s inspired by the Adams family and is about a woman who can see how everyone dies everytime she touches them. She lives a secluded life, therefore, but then something prompts her to visit a nearby town and she gets entangled in the mysterious house on the hill. Her life is turned upside down and she makes friends and enemies. The novel also has a romance that makes even me swoon. It’s a story I’m very passionate about. I’m so happy I can finally query it.

It’s important to keep writing and keep trying. It’s also important to have hope, but that part gets a bit harder each time. Self-doubt is an ugly monster that you don’t want under your bed. But it also makes me realise it’s time for action. I’ve gotten a hang of my job, so I can afford to focus on my writing now. What a relief, because I hated not having an outlet for my creativity. I ordered a few books on writing (like I don’t have enough) that are bit more motivational and less about technique, as well as on how to try and actually experience success with your novel. It still doesn’t make me lucky, but it will happen one day. I just wish that day was here sooner than later.

Make a Plan

22 Oct

Nothing can be as motivating as to actually write down what you want and what you’re going to do to achieve it. Writing in itself is an easy goal. You sit down, you write. Getting published is another story. It is a story that contains a lot of conflict and the resolution isn’t in sight for who knows how long.

Make a plan. That way you know you’re doing all you can and you actually get a clearer image of what you CAN do. Whether it’s attending writing courses, joining a writer’s website, collecting beta readers, creating deadlines for novels/revisions, writing down a list of agents you will query and when. All of it can help you stop feeling like you’re a leaf in the wind, no control over the direction in which you’re going. You are the writer, you have some control. In the meantime, enjoy the ride and celebrate every little victory.

eLearning-Script-Writting-Tips

Being a confident writer

20 Oct

It’s funny. We live in a world that demands perfection, but when we seem proud of our achievements we’re arrogant. Arrogance is bad. Perfection is good. Well, what if that so-called arrogance is in fact confidence? Confidence is good, right?

It’s important in life to have faith in yourself, because if you don’t, who will? It’s also important to know your strenghts and weaknesses and work on whatever it is you need to work on in order to improve and have a fighting chance. Before any of that, though, give yourself a fighting chance by believing in yourself and acknowledging what you’re good at! Focussing on your strengths is also a big part of improvement. thUEYPWFZX

So writers, please. Be a confident writer and go for it. Your novel is more afraid of you than you are of it. Face the world with your characters right behind you and know that you are good…

…and getting better.

The Power Of Daydreaming

8 Oct

As a child, and I suppose as an adult as well, daydreaming is kind of frowned upon. It is a sign of being frivolous and it is encouraged that one is always firmly set in this world. Well, I never got that. This world can be pretty boring, or annoying, or stressful. There are so many other worlds that are for more interesting, which is also why we turn to books.

Not only that, but daydreaming has always been the first step of writing a novel for me. It is very rare that a character just stumbles into my mind. Usually I have to crack open the door first. Some people also get inspired by actual dreams, which I think is amazing and only happened to me once. Most of the time when I’m working on a novel it helps to take a while and lie on bed or sit on the sofa and daydream about the next events and usually all I have to do is write them down next. It helps to work out possible problems (plotholes, for example) in advance, as well.

If you’re a writer, and even if your not, it’s good to daydream because it restores brain cells. So next time somebody comments on your daydreaming, inform them that you’re restoring your brain and plotting your novel at the same time. And if they’re not careful, they might end up as a victim in your book.

Motivation, Where Are You?

5 Oct

The Writer sits behind her laptop, biting her nails and compulsively checking her email. It has been a few weeks since she queried two agents. When will they get back at her? And there it is, the ping of DREAD. Because the ping could be the doorway that leads to all her dreams, or it can extend the journey even more.

And there it is. A NO. Again. It’s not a harh no, it’s a not a no that informs you that you’re completely rubbish. Yet, that makes it even harder. To be so close and yet so far removed from The Dream.

We all go through it, and yet we go on. How can we not? We are writers. At the same time, though, it’s extremely hard to stay motivated enough to pour your soul out onto the pages and build a bond with new characters. Especially when your dayjob already demands a certain level of perfection from you. So how can you keep firing at every novel with all you’ve got when you’re covered in cuts and bruises and really just want to go to bed?

Google is your friend. Other than actual humans who NEED to give you peptalks, Google will help you next. If you look for brilliant authors whose works were initially rejected, or famous novels that were rejected A LOT, then you actually find plenty examples. Examples that will give you hope and make you realise that when you stick to your guns and you believe in your novels, you can make it. And keep in mind that with each novel that you write and receive feedback on, you grow as an author. So if you don’t get your bookdeal with this novel, then maybe with the next one. Keep writing, keep improving and especially KEEP ENJOYING the process. If you’re going to be in the spotlight some day, you might as well make sure that you have enough experience to SHINE.

Shine-for-progress

 

New Story High

10 Jun

That first tingle of excitement you get when a new story falls onto your keyboard. With trembling fingers you write the words, excited by these new characters, the thrilling story. Like an obsession, you keep writing deep into the night until you realise you have to get up early in the morning. But…you have to finish this sentence, just one. No, wait, just this paragraph. This page. And before you know it you’ve written three versions and you’re a ghost now, because you forgot to eat, sleep, and drink water.

Slight exaggeration perhaps, but that’s what it feels like when you’ve fallen in love with a new story. It’s much like falling in love with a person. Except in this case you don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s too soon to call, or other social boundaries. You are in full control, the story is at your fingertips and sometimes that means sleep is left tapping on the window of your imagination, trying to remind you that you need it.

Still, despite the fact that sunlight will be your enemy in the next few weeks, it’s worth it when you can finish the first draft as soon as possible. Your characters will earn a break, while you reread the draft and they’ll be all bright-eyed and bushy tailed for round two.

Stories need a lot of attention in the beginning, much like a baby, and especially your passion. You need to be excited and thrilled, because that’s what keeps the momentum going and that’s how you’ll finish this first draft. Speed is of the essence or you’ll find that your characters have taken up residence somewhere other than your head and it will be even harder to write.

Be in love with your story. Be an addict. Just remember, you know, to live a little bit on the side as well. 😉

 

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