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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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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Author Toolbox Blog Hop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop: Dealing With Self Doubt

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*This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop

I’m yet to meet a writer who hasn’t experienced some sort of self doubt. Am I good enough? Is my story original? Doubting yourself is natural, especially when you have poured your heart and soul into your writing. We all want our work to be appreciated and enjoyed, no matter what our medium.

I am here to tell you five important points that I want you to remember:

1. No one can write your story, but you. Your originality will translate if you let it. Don’t compare yourself to others, because you can never be them, nor they you.

2. Consistency, hard work, and perseverance are the best traits to have for success. As long as you produce something that you are proud of, then you have already won.

3. There isn’t a right or wrong way to write. Some writers plan every detail, some are pantsers. Some writers produce a first draft in one month, some two years. Do what works for you.

4. Even the most revered authors get crappy reviews. JK Rowling has 1* reviews for Harry Potter on Goodreads. You can’t please everyone, and to be honest, you shouldn’t try to. Taste is subjective.

5. Finally, writing is not a competition. When writers stop competing and start boosting each other, then we can finally see how unique and individual everyone’s process and story is.

That last point is why I signed up for #authortoolboxbloghop. I love the idea of writers producing content to help each other and encourage each other.

Self doubt is natural, but surround yourself with people and resources to give you the strength to keep plodding on with your story.


You can find the list of links for the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants here.


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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.

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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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