Author Toolbox Blog Hop, first draft

First Draft: Leave It Be

This #authortoolboxbloghop coincides with the final episode of my First Draft series. This final instalment is all about what to do with your first draft when you write those monumental words… The End.

My advice is to leave it be. By that, I mean to put it away out of sight and forget about it (well, almost).

Some writers head straight into the editing process, but this doesn’t work for me. I have compiled some reasons why leaving your manuscript to brew for a little can be so beneficial.

A Well Earned Break

Writing is hard. If it wasn’t, everyone would be doing it. When I have finished an entire first draft, I know I have earned a breather.

Besides, writing the last part of your manuscript can feel like being on a runaway train; getting absorbed by the ending and ploughing ahead with momentum. We could all do with getting back to reality with family, friends, and our own thoughts.

Fresh Perspective

Coming back to your manuscript with fresh eyes is a brilliant thing. It helps with editing (knowing what the sentence should say and what it actually says are two different things), and you can critique yourself easier when you have detached yourself a little from your work.

A Chance to Start Something New

I don’t mean to dive head first into another story (unless that is your process, of course). I simply mean that it is useful to start thinking/note taking about a new story. A little bit of distraction is good for me. I feel like a month or so of a new story seems to help when I go back to my old one. It also breaks the monotomy.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Picture This

The Final Blog Series of 2019

This sounds ominious considering it is only September, but fear not, the final series will start on September 25th and run for 10 weeks until November 27th. That leaves me free in December for Christmassy goodness.

The final series, that will be called Picture This, is a picture prompt related series as you, the readers, requested.

I will find 10 pictures that spark inspiration in me and write short stories based on them.


I hope you stick around for the next series. Feel free to join in and share your stories with me.

Also, please note that I will be sharing posts for #authortoolboxbloghop every 3rd Wednesday (excluding Nov and Dec). These posts are writing experience related.


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first draft

First Draft: The Ending

This post has been on the back burner a long while. I actually wrote tips for a satisfying ending when I did the vote to ask my readers what series they’d like to see on Writerly Bookish Stuff. When the First Draft idea came out on top, I put it on the aside to include in the series… finally, here it is.

Tie Up Loose Ends

There needs to be some sort of conclusion to the conflicts that presented themselves during the narrative. Unresolved conflicts is highly unsatisfying for the reader.

Believability

The ending has to arrive naturally as a result of the story arc. You must not force the ending you want on your narrative or you will have unsatisfied readers.

Cliffhanger After Conclusion

A cliffhanger is not a conclusion. A cliffhanger is another story spur that carries the reader further on with the narrative i.e. into the next book. It cannot take the place of concluding certain conflicts to the story so far, even if the main arc is still ongoing.

Know When to Stop

This can be tough. Knowing when to start the beginning of the end is ultimately a gut instinct. Be aware if starting new conflicts that you have time to resolve them or if they can be part of the longer arc into subsequent books.


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First Draft: Beating Procrastination

Midway through the first draft is when I start to procrastinate. It doesn’t mean my story bores me, it means I’ve been at the same slog, pouring over the same story for a long time, and other stories start screaming at me to be written. Pinterest calls me, Youtube calls me, and I fall into the black hole that is social media.

Thankfully, I can recognise the signs now and try to nip them in the bud. Here are my tips to beat Procrastination.

Time schedule

The best way to beat procrastination is to have a writing schedule. If you only have thirty minutes to write, you are more likely to sit and write as much as you can in that time slot. If you don’t set a time limit, you may feel like you have all the time in the world to procrastinate a little, and then voila… your time is gone.

Disconnect the Internet

Social media, music sites, and Pinterest can be huge distractions. Try disconnecting the wifi, so you can do nothing but write your story.

Take a Break

Sometimes, procrastination is due to lack of inspiration or tiredness. Take a walk, go meet friends for a coffee, watch that episode on Netflix. A step away from your work may be just what you need to go back at it afresh.

Change Up Your Drafting Process

Are you procrastinating because your scene is particularly tough to write, or because you have you been focussing on one scene all week? Shake up your drafting process for a few hours and write out of sequence. The change of pace and scene may be just the ticket.


I hope these tips help you cut down on procrastination and get the words written.


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August Update

This month has been a bizarre one, what with the kids being off school, me taking a writing hiatus, yet at the same time, joining the #authortoolboxbloghop.

Let me break down my month for you:

Writing

As you may know, I was struggling to get anything written with my daughter off school and my 1 year old son to entertain. I was feeling guilty for not having written, and I decided a hiatus was what I needed for the holidays. It seems that knowing I don’t have to write takes away the guilt of not doing it. I’m still on my hiatus until Sept 5th.

Blogging

My hiatus didn’t extend to Writerly Bookish Stuff. I still posted my First Draft series each week, but with the hiatus, I had no new teasers for my Teaser Tuesday posts.

However, I was approached by Raimey Gallant to join the Author Toolbox Blog Hop every 3rd Wednesday of the month, and I jumped at the chance. Keep your eyes peeled for those posts.

Reading

I read a lot of short stories this month, and I reviewed them in 2 posts.

3 in 1 Book Review Part 1

3 in 1 Book Review Part 2

What’s Next?

First things first, I shall be setting back to writing Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. I am being kinder on myself and not setting a deadline. It will be done when it is done.

I shall continue on with #authortoolboxbloghop . This month’s post will be joined with my First Draft series post as the concept is the same: writing tips and advice.

I am currently reading Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. I need to give myself more reading time as I let it fall to the bottom of my to do list.


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First Draft: Character Development

I was looking forward to writing this post as character development is one of my favourite things about writing. I also enjoy reading well rounded characters who go on a journey, not just physically but emotionally.

Today, I am going to share my top 5 tips for character development:

Details and Actions

The reader needs to know and understand your character. I don’t recommend info dumps of description etc, but drip feeding little nuggets about your character throughout the narrative works perfectly. Showing your character’s personality by actions rather than telling is more organic for the reader.

Become One with Your Character

You need to get in your character’s head. If you know them inside and out and understand how they would act, then this will translate to the reader.

Don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to knowing your character. Even if you don’t include every aspect of their life, just knowing it will aid your writing.

Find their Voice

This is more than simply writing dialogue and giving them an accent. Voice can be a distinctive part of the character’s story. Do they swear a lot? Are they sarcastic? Perhaps their lack of filter gets them in hot water time and time again. Defining their voice is important in making them memorable, and voice can be so distinctive that it actually aids or hinders the narrative.

Actions and Consequences

This is an important point to cover to show the progression of your character over the course of the narrative.

How have the things they have been through affected their outlook or how they react? Would they react differently to a certain situation at the end of the book than they would at the beginning? This development should be at the forefront of your mind as you progress with your character’s story arc.

Internal Conflict

No one is perfect, so why would your character be? Internal conflicts such as anxiety or resentment can be used to drive/ influence the narrative. Overcoming an internal conflict is a great character arc and shows progression and growth.


Do you have any tips for character development and writing memorable characters?


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First Draft: Crafting Antagonists

In last week’s episode, I covered crafting protagonists, so I couldn’t very well forget about the other side of the coin, the thorn in our protagonist’s shoe… the antagonist.

I enjoy crafting antagonists. As a reader, I love to read a well rounded antagonist, and I look to recreate that in my own stories.

Here are my tips on crafting antagonists:

Motive

I believe this is a vital point. A villain believes they are the hero of their own story, right? Let the reader know why your antagonist is the ‘bad’ guy of the narrative.

Their reasoning can be skewed or a twisted version of what is right, but it is still a motive.

History/ Back Story

What in their history led them to this moment? This closely links in with motive. What turn of events/ incidents made them believe that what they are doing is right? It can be a lot of little moments that finally broke them, or one major trauma. As long as you show the reader the why, they will more readily accept your antagonist.

Believability

Just like I explained in the crafting protagonists post, your antagonist needs to have realistic flaws and good traits. An angry man, hell bent on world domination with no hobbies, loves, or other interests is like a stereotypical, cartoon villain. Just like your protagonist, your antagonist’s motivation can be love. It may be twisted, but it is love all the same. Every person has light and dark in them.


Do you like crafting your antagonists? What are your tried and tested tips to achieving a well rounded, believable character?


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