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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first draft

First Draft: Forming the Idea

So, you have an idea that you think you can turn into a full story? Firstly, congratulations. Secondly, I hope you’re ready for hardwork.

Writing a book isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be if you strive for perfection. However, having an idea that you feel you can see through to completion is the first step.

I’m a pantser, and that means I do not have a detailed plot before I sit down to write. I write by the seat of my pants. I let my ideas come organically as the words flow and I get to know my characters. However, when I first get an idea, I do let it roll around in my head for a good few months, gathering more possible narrative ideas, character voices etc. I think of it as a snowball getting bigger and bigger as it rolls around and more snow sticks to it.

Whether you are a pantser or a plotter, I highly recommend you do this with your idea – before anything gets to paper, before you start to outline, or crack on with your first page – be well acquainted.

Once I’m at this point, I crack out a notebook and write down everything and anything. My brainstorm over the last couple of months gets emptied onto paper. Every last bit, whether it is makes sense or not. If I like it, if I think it might work, I’ll write it down. It all gets dumped in my notebook for later use.

Once again, I feel this is good practise for plotters and pantsers. Your notes don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to use 99% of them, but it is worth having them written down physically in the long run.

I feel this is the initial process of forming the idea. The idea is a spark that needs to be fanned to turn into a flame. At this stage, you can plot and outline further, or like me, sit down and start typing, but as long as you have fanned that spark a little, your flame will keep burning.


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first draft

New Blog Series

It’s new blog series time! Let me tell you a little more about what I have in store…

The series is called First Draft because each week I will focus on a different topic to do with writing the first draft. This is the series idea that was chosen by my readers as one they wanted to see on Writerly Bookish Stuff.

I have chosen my topics and scheduled them, ready for kick off on July 17th!

July 17th: Forming the Idea

July 24th: Naming Characters

July 31st: Point of View

August 7th: World Building

August 14th: Crafting Protagonists

August 21st: Crafting Antagonists

August 28th: Character Development

September 4th: Beating Procrastination

September 11th: The Ending

September 17th: Leave it Be

I hope that discussing these topics will be of help to some. I am working from my own drafting experience, so please understand that your process may be different to mine, but I will try to cover most bases, and hopefully, there may be some tips that you can take away from each instalment.


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Sharing Sundays

Sharing Sundays

This week, I’m bringing a Youtuber to your attention. Emily Bourne has a channel on Youtube where she discusses everything writerly.

Here’s a look at one of her videos: What is Writer’s Block?

Her videos are fun and informative for budding writers, so head over and let her know I sent you her way.


Do you have/know of any blogs, vlogs, or social media pages you think I’d be interested in? Let me know.


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Weekly Quotes

Writerly Wisdom

Writerly Wisdom

Honestly, I think there’s a cycle to the popularity of fantasy and fairytales that usually coincides with times of unrest or hardship in our own world. By retelling these legends or immersing ourselves in fantasy realms, we can safely explore the very real, very day-to-day darkness of our own lives.

– Sarah.J.Maas


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