Monday, February 22, 2010
Good question. It is true that every book needs it’s funny and light moments, especially in a story that is somewhat darker. We wouldn’t want our readers to get completely depressed when they’re reading our story. Whenever I have a darker part in my story, I always try to release the tension just a little with something light.
You don’t have to be a comedian to be able to write funny stuff. Though a sense of humor does help. It depends on your story what kind of light moments you can use. For instance in my story I have a fairy that accompanies my two main characters. In dark situations I often use her to lighten up the mood a little, by doing something unexpected which makes the characters laugh because they were so nervous themselves.
It also helps to have a character with a certain character trait that you can use in dark situations. For instance you have this serious character who has big feet and always stumbles at the wrong moments. Or a character who always manages to say the wrong things at wrong times. Or a character who takes everything a little too serious.
To avoid making it sound unrealistic, the funny moments have to suit the characters and the situation. When a character is running for her life through a graveyard, a flying monkey could be funny, but it doesn’t really fit (alright I’m exaggerating here but I hope you get my point). If you have two characters who could possibly have a thing for each other it’s also fun to use little sweet and romantic, or even awkward moments during dark scenes. Like their hands brush or one of the characters is frightened by a sudden sound and grabs the other’s arm. Stuff like that.
I hope I explained it alright and this helps you along a bit.
Without visually seeing the characters, how do you explain who they are physically, mentally and emotionally?
In order to let your readers know your characters, you have to know them yourself first. Get to know enough detail about them that you can. What kind of person is he/she? Are they scared often? Do they have issues, or past experiences which can explain why they’re doing something? In my story one of my characters has a father who always expected too much of him and didn’t love him. So he ran away from home and tries to sabotage his father’s plans. It also explains some other things in my stories, like why he clings to the one person he grew to love and will do anything for her.
Try to picture the character in your head. Let it take a while if the image doesn’t come at first. Make him up one thing at a time like hair color, eye color, clothes etc. Try to draw your character even if you can’t draw well. That way you can really see him and describe him better in your story.
It helps if you’re writing through the eyes of your character of course, but if not then you could try to write down certain traits of the person. Like he always acts without thinking when in danger. Or he’s mortally afraid of heights. Or he’s extremely loyal to his friends. Make these traits come back a few times in the story, so the readers will understand him. Also think of why he’s like this. You could make the reader know this as well, but sometimes it just helps to know it yourself.
The same as mentally really. Think about what emotions are strongest with him. Has he got a temper? Does he fall in love easily? Is he afraid to show his emotions and why? Let this shimmer through in your story. I think that’s the best way to get your reader to slowly know your character. Think about who he is, and how he’ll react in every situation. Because different characters should react differently.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
It’s a question that I see all the time, in lots of variations. The answer is: Yes you can.
As long as you have a good idea, some good solid characters (see Character Building) and lots of willpower you’ll get there. Truth is, anybody can write. Sure talent helps, imagination helps but at the end of the day, if you just try hard enough, everybody can write.
The thing that divides the published pro’s from most of the amateurs (awful word I know) is writing. Haha. No I mean it.
There are people lucky enough to have writing as their actual job. And do you know what they do all day? They write.
The key to writing a novel is to keep writing. You can learn all the tricks in the book, you can have a fantastic plot, lovable characters, but if you don’t write constantly, the novel will never be finished.
So my advice of the day: Write at every moment that you can. You have to want to write. Try writing every day for at least an hour. There will be days that you’ll write only half a page and days you’ll write five or six. But no matter what you have to keep going!
Stay true & Keep writing!
Because where will your story begin?
Here are some options:
1. Begin with the action. This can either be something that will happen in the future, after which you’ll go to where all this actually began (prologue) or something that happened in the past. You can begin with action and then continue with: It wasn’t always like this. Or: Just three days ago ..
2. Begin with something mysterious happening. Something the reader has no idea what it is, but they want to find out.
3. Begin with something the antagonist is doing. This will create a sense of dread for the reader. They already care about the protagonist, before having read anything about the character at all.
4. Begin with a description of the country or world it’s set in. Be careful with beginning a story like this! The beginning needs to get readers hooked, so if it’s only slightly boring, or let’s say not interesting enough, they’ll stop reading.
5. Begin at the beginning. Began at the point in the protagonist’s life where you want to reader to get to know them. For instance I’m writing a story about a girl who loves fantasy and has a big imagination who is zapped to another world. I wanted to begin the story on earth, where the readers could meet her and her family. This way they would know what she lost and why she wants to go back so badly. You see her change in the other world because you knew her on Earth. It makes you more involved.
Either of these beginnings is fine, it’s up to you to choose which one you like best. Or perhaps an entirely different one, that I forgot to mention here!
Still, writing a beginning can be difficult and sometimes even impossible. If you can’t do it right now, be sure to write down your idea. Or perhaps begin somewhere in the story (near the beginning if possible) and then write the beginning later, when the surge of the new idea has calmed a little. I do recommend to start writing, otherwise you’ll forget things about your idea and trust me that’s really frustrating.
On the other hand there are also writers who enjoy writing beginnings or don’t have a problem with it. If so, lucky you!
Personally I enjoy writing beginnings because I get the sense that I’m creating a new world there and then, which will expand to places I cannot foresee.
Stay true to yourself & keep writing.
In a story the characters have things thrown in their way, keeping them from their goal. These are often a combination of external obstacles, often caused by the antagonist, and internal conflicts that keeps the characters from doing what they have to do.
This brings conflict and difficulty that he character has to overcome. Nothing should be easy for the character. This makes the story interesting and makes us care about the character because we’re worried about what’s going to happen to them next and if they’re going to make it.
Making people care about your characters is the most important things that a writer needs to accomplish.
Let me give you an example of some qualities that a character can posses which makes the reader like them, be annoyed by them or even start to dislike them. When you find it difficult to create a character, think about some traits of people you know and how they got them. Here’s what I found:
Whenever I’m ill, hurt or just plain miserable, my brother always manages to make me laugh till I feel I’ll die. This is a great character trait which will make people love him. On the other hand he can brood and ponder about every little thing, which can get annoying. My father never gets angry and always listens to what I have to say, but he’s always too late everywhere.
It’s important to think about why characters have certain traits. For instance I’m incredibly sloppy. I like to think it’s because I’m a creative genius (*cough cough*) but actually it’s because my father used to clean up after me when I was little, so I forget to do it myself now that I’m older.
Characters need to have a flaw. It makes them human (even alien and fantasy characters need flaws or you’re human readers won’t be able to relate to them).
In short: it’s important to remember that characters have both bad and good qualities. They have flaws. And it takes time and situation to develop these traits.
Tips: Once you have a character, place him in different situations and think about how they’ll react. It’s also great to try to interview them, ask them about anything and you’ll really learn your own character. If you’re still having a hard time, study the people around you carefully and steal some traits here and there.
Stay true & keep writing.
If you're looking at this blog, most likely you're a writer just like me. You're probably a newbie as well, just looking for some tips and idea's to improve your writing.
Perhaps you're stuck and just looking for some help or you're searching for some answers to all the questions every beginning writer has.
I've been writing for more than eight years now, but I still consider myself a newbie. Why? 'Cause there's always more to learn. You're never finished. You'll never be able to say: this is it. Now I know everything there is to know about writing. But you can come close.
I'm not a published writer (yet). I've got some nice impersonal rejection letters though, before I realized that I had sent in my manuscript when it wasn't ready yet. Right now I'm focusing on finishing my third book. Then I'll go back to the first, rewrite it (a lot) and I'll try again.
On this blog I'll try to share with you all of the tricks of writing I've learned over the years and wished someone would have told me when I was just starting. So I hope this blog will give you advice and inspiration to keep going!
Feel free to comment, give tips, ask questions I'll answer personal or over the blog (If I think everyone could benefit from it) or just enjoy reading what I'm going to post here!
Lots of love to everyone!
Stay true to yourself.