first draft

First Draft: Crafting Protagonists

A protagonist is the main character of your story. No, your protagonist doesn’t have to be a hero, an anti-hero works just as well, but I do have pointers on how to successfully craft your protagonist to drive your narrative.

Likability

But you just said they don’t need to be a hero, KJ?

Yes, I did. Likability doesn’t necessary mean the reader thinks they’d be best friends with the protagonist, just that they can understand where the protagonist is coming from, can root for them in some way, and will want to stick with them on their journey.

Believability

In my reading and writing experience this can make or break a book. A believable character is one who is a real reflection of a flawed human being. We all have good and bad traits, we all can make a bad decision or listen to the wrong advice.

Your protagonist has to be relatable to the reader. A bad decision here and there doesn’t have to hinder your narrative, but a perfect character just isn’t believable. Try to steer clear of black and white personalities, a little of the grey areas work best.

Persuasive Backstory

This point links into the above point. If you thrust your protagonist into your world without rhyme or reason, the reader will not invest in them. Why are you telling their story? What in their background led them to this point? Are they totally out of their comfort zone and why?

Motivation

Every protagonist needs motivation, otherwise the story falls flat. The character needs a reason for their actions. Why do they do what they do? Motivation can range from survival to love to revenge.


Who are your favourite characters and why? I’m sure you can benefit from studying them and see if you can ring your protagonist to life in similar ways?


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Author Toolbox Blog Hop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

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I was approached by the creator of #authortoolboxbloghop, Raimey Gallant, about joining in with approximately 30 other authors to share tips, experiences, and advice for other writers to benefit from.

The #authortoolboxbloghop is actually on every 3rd Wednesday of the month for interacting, commenting, and sharing some of the other bloggers posts via social media, but many posts will be live a few days before. I shall be posting on the Tuesday before.

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

You can find the list of all participating authors here and some have been joining in with this blog hop already, so go check out their related posts.

The next #authortoolboxbloghop is Wednesday 21st August. I shall post my contribution on Monday 19th August.

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Book Reviews

3 in 1 Review

Always You by Elizabeth Grey 3/5

I know this is free to encourage you to read it, and then continue onto the main series, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I didn’t like character. It is well written and a good introduction, just not the story for me.

We’ll Meet Again by Cathy Bramley 4/5

I didn’t realise this book contained 2 short stories. The first one was a lovely tale set around the time of the D-Day landings about an injured soldier and one of the nurses. It felt real and had the message of happiness after sadness.

The second story is about a woman finding ber place and discovering what she truly wants after divorce. It’s nice to read a women’s fiction story that is based on the woman’s strength rather than a love interest.

Just a Matter of Time by Charity Tahmaseb 4/5

Interesting concept that could easily be expanded into a something bigger. Well written and makes you think. There’s not enough hours in the day… or is someone leeching off you?


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J. Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review


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100% K.J Chapman

Writing Hiatus

I have decided to take a writing hiatus until September. After managing 5k during CampNaNo, I haven’t been able to get anything written and I’ve been feeling this constant, nagging guilt like I should be doing something else.

My daughter is off school for the holidays, and with family taking precedent, I am allowing myself to put Zombies and Budgie Smugglers aside until she is back to school.

I may get some handwritten bits and bobs down, but I have taken the pressure off myself for the month. No more writing guilt!

However, the blog posts will continue. Next week, is episode 5 of my First Draft series and it is all about crafting protagonists. Teaser Tueaday will be put on the back burner until September as no writing means no teasers. I am currently, thinking up a post to replace it.


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first draft

First Draft: World Building

Where your story takes place is just as important as every other aspect of story telling. Creating a well rounded world helps your reader visualise the story better and it adds another level – hidden depth – to your story.

World building is a lot more than just describing the setting. Here are my tips on what to think about for successful world building:

Landscape

Is your story set on Earth, in space, or a fictional, fantasy world with two suns and a red sky? The reader wants to feel immersed and be able to visual your world.

Laws / Magic Systems

This can include the basic authority hierarchy as in a government system, or the laws of magic and wizardry. You set the limits in your world, and setting limits is extremely important.

For example, JK. Rowling had a wizarding government that created and executed laws so she could keep the use of magic within a realistic, manageable realm with actions and consequences.

Religion

Does religion factor in your story? Do you need to create a new religion for your fictional world? It is always a good idea to think about this, even if you don’t think religion plays a role in your narrative. It may affect other characters or play into the historical side to your world.

History

Is there folk lore or myth in your narrative that dates back in your world’s history? Was there a tyrant King that changed the economy for the worse, or a heroine Queen who saved the people from a dictatorship? Backstory is an important factor in a believable, well rounded world.

Era

Era is more than just stating what decade or century your tale is set in. It is about staying true to the time period in regards to technology, etiquette, and society etc.

Language

A lot of authors struggle when it comes to language, especially if they have to make up a whole new tongue. Knowing your language helps you weave it effortlessly through your narrative without it becoming jarring for the reader.

This topic also follows on from the point above- era. Knowing your era and the language used helps with consistency and realism.


I hope these points have given you some food for thought. As you can tell, they all link into each other, and that is exactly what you want in your world: consistency continuity, and believability.


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first draft

First Draft: Point of View and Tense

Thanks for joining me for another instalment of my First Draft series. This instalment is all about point of view (POV) and tense.

What is POV?

The point of view refers to the narrator. Who is telling the story?

3 Types of POV

First person: The narrator is telling you their own story. ‘The room was just how I had left it.’

Second person: The narrator is telling the story to another character or the reader using the word ‘you’. ‘You enter the room and see nothing has changed.’

Third person: The narrator tells the story of another, as an outsider. ‘The room was just how he had left it.’

I like to write in first person. All my books are in qfirst person. In Thrown to The Blue, I have 2 POVs, both in first person. That was a lot of fun to write.

What is tense?

Narrative tense is when your story is happening/ or has happened. Past or present.

Types of Tense

Past tense: You are telling the story as if it has already happened. ‘I jumped in the car and sped off.’

Present tense: You are telling the story as if it is happening right now. ‘I jump in the car and speed off.’

You will find that there are preferred POVs in regards to tenses. Third person past tense is preferred by many writers. I write in first person present tense. I find the intimacy of first person blends with the immediacy of present tense, the same way the unlimited view point of third person works well with the flexibility of past tense.


There is no right or wrong when choosing POV and tense, as long as you are consistent in your choice throughout.


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Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

CampNaNo ends in tomorrow, and I have resigned myself to the fact that I won’t reach my target of 9k. However, I’ve written 5k this month so far. I will probably squeeze a couple hundred more in today, but I am okay will the progress I have made this month.

Here is a teaser from one of my latest writing sessions:


Join me tomorrow for a post all about POV.


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