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: 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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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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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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June Update

June is fast becoming a fleeting memory. Seriously, it just whizzed by. However, my family and I did have a lovely mini break at a holiday park, so thumbs up to June.

Reading

I have been in a reading slump of late, so I chose to read non fiction in June.

I read 3 short books on frugal living/ cooking. I did a 3 in 1 book review that you can find here.

Writing

I’ve still been plodding along with Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. Now that I have signed up for July’s CampNaNo, I know I should be finished (or very close to) by August. CampNaNo is great at motivating me.

Blogging

The Character Interview series came to an end on Wednesday. I have been spending the last 2 weeks, writing and scheduling my next series that will start on July 17th. There will be more on that series in an upcoming post.

What’s Next?

Like I said, I’m doing CampNaNo in July. 9k words is my goal. If things go well, there may be a cover and blurb reveal soon.

I hope to read at least 1 novel during July and a couple more non fiction books. I am behind on my Goodreads challenge, and I can’t stand it.


Stay tuned for my new blog series update.


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