WIP Wednesday 2 [NaNoWriMo 2017]

We have completed week two of NaNoWriMo! Time flies when you’re having fun… we’re having fun, right?

WIP Wednesday

What am I working on?

I’m still hanging onto The Librarian. The title is definitely going to change, but I’m keeping it as is for now.

What’s the easiest part of writing this novel?

The fact that this is the first draft. That may be a dumb reason to have this be “easy,” but I’m going without an outline here. Each scene I write I realize is going to end up getting cut… but I’m still writing. So there’s that.

What’s the hardest part of writing this novel?

The middle. I need a lot of research. I’m pretty much at the climax of my novel right now and I have to say that it’s pretty anti-climactic because I have no idea what I’m doing… editing this thing is going to be fun.

Also, I reached 10k words on November 10th. According to my NaNo stats, my wordiest day was 10,096 words on November 10, 2016. So I beat my record by getting 10,103 words on November 10, 2017. Yay!

The reason I’m saying this was the hardest because while the 10k was fine, it was the afterward that was hard. The following day I wrote 1,000 out of my 2,000-word goal. Then I skipped a day of writing and then barely made it to 2,000 words the day after. I’m not complaining, I’m happy with my word count. But I clearly burnt myself out after writing for 5+ hours of 10,000 words.

NaNoWriMo Stats

Day 8: 2,043
Day 9: 3,022
Day 10: 10,103
Day 11: 1,087
Day 12: 0
Day 13: 1,535
Day 14: 2,315
Total Week Two Words: 20,105
Total Words: 40,180

Still hanging in there.

I have 10,000 more words left to write to hit 50,000 words. I don’t know if my story is going to end before then or not. Still, I want to complete the story (not just hit the word count) by Thanksgiving. This means I have a week to complete this first draft, to write at least another 10,000 words.

Here’s to week three.

How is NaNo treating you so far? What are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
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8 Tips For Writing A Fantasy Novel

I’m no expert on writing fantasy. But I have written my fair share of the fantasy genre. I’ve written a couple of (totally not flushed out) short stories and I have written a novel or two with a few other ideas.

And when I say fantasy I mean I’ve written about mages. I’ve written about wizards and elves. I’ve written about superheroes. I’m all over the place with it.

I’m giving these tips because this is what I’ve learned along the way (and we can pretend I’m some sort of expert on writing fantasy), but also because I’m writing fantasy for NaNoWriMo.

So, here we go!

8 Tips to writing Fantasy

1. Keep it “real”

Fiction is fake, fantasy is out of this world. Still, there’s a little bit of truth in everything we write. Sometimes we base characters off of ourselves or someone we know. Sometimes we take places and warp them just a little bit to fit in a fictional land or some stories are based on real-life places.

You can always create and base elements of your story on real-life people or places. Take a myth or lore into your hands and add a twist to it. Research is your friend.

2. Mythical creatures

Like I said in the above point, you can do a lot with real-life people or places or even creatures. Unicorns and dragons don’t exist, but they can in the fantasy world. Dragons especially usually have big parts in the fantasy world. However, while you can make them your own in your world, you can also do research on them.

It took me a long time to realize that mermaids are not in fact like Ariel in The Little Mermaid. They are, supposedly, not nice creatures. It shattered my childhood, but I used that information to my advantage in one of my fantasy novels.

3. Magic

J.K. Rowling created the spells in Harry Potter using the Latin language. It’s not Latin exactly, but she twisted it around so that the spells were her own and they could kind of be “translated.”

I’m not saying you have to create a magic system just like Rowling did, but it should still make a little bit of sense.

4. Know your world inside and out

If you’re writing the kind of fantasy where you need your own Middle Earth area, you have to know the world as though you’ve been there in real life… as though you’ve lived there all your life.

Create a map. Do they speak another language? Do they have a different currency? What kinds of food do they eat? What are the seasons like? You may not need to know all of that, but it’s helpful to know anyway.

5. Use a map

Maps are important. Your fantasy novel may not need a map necessarily, unless it’s Middle Earth, but creating a map for yourself won’t hurt. It’ll help you keep track of all the areas which in turn will help you write it and allow your readers to understand.

6. Create character names that can be easily read and pronounced

Yeah. I don’t know what Flbergsted is. There are plenty of fantasy name generators out there on the Internet. Use your vowels wisely.

Sometimes I take names of people I know and spell them backward. For example, Rachel would be Lehcar. Even then you still have to mix some letters around to make them comprehensible, but most names work backward.

7. Do your research

There’s no wrong way to write a book, but research never hurts. There are so many sub-genres of fantasy. Some are way more complicated than others.

There’s a lot on the Internet and there is so many fantasy writing craft books out there. Not to mention fantasy novels in general that you can read. Just brush up on your fantasy knowledge.

8. Know your fantasy genre and subgenre

This kind of goes along with the point above. Fantasy is a vast genre and there are so many sub-genres to it. Like I said earlier in the post I’ve written many different kinds of fantasy. I go from Lord of the Rings style to X-Men style. Both are fantasy, but that’s just about all they have in common.

Do you write fantasy? If so, what sub-genre of fantasy do you typically write in? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

 

7 Ways To Avoid A Boring Middle For You And Your Readers [NaNoWriMo 2017]

Ever hear of the sagging middle? It’s when you get to that point in your novel that just seems to go on and on and on… yet nothing seems to be happening.

I think everyone, at some point or another, has a problem with the sagging middle. Even I, as an outliner, have trouble with it at times. Sometimes you don’t know where to go next in your outline or the outline changes so much that the middle gets deformed somehow.

In a way, it’s kind of like week two of NaNoWriMo. You end up in some sort of slump.

Either way, here are some tips to avoid that sagging middle. Or, at the very least, you can throw something in to keep the story going. There’s always editing later.

7 Ways to Avoid Sagging Middle

1. Make it short and sweet

Quality over quantity, right? Listen, if you get stuck in your middle, skip it. Don’t worry about it. If that bothers you, write anything there. If you have any thoughts, write it out and see how it goes.

This is what editing is for. I know editing typically takes words out, but there’s nothing wrong with adding something in. After all, you usually have multiple drafts of novels. You can add something in, take it out, add something else in just to take that out as well. You have to play around with it.

First drafts are supposed to be all over the place.

2. Question your protagonist’s or your antagonist’s goals

Everyone has second doubts. Everyone worries. Everyone regrets something at some point in their life. What has happened in your novel before the middle? Is there anything that you can use to make any of your characters have an internal conflict? Or maybe they can have tension with other characters?

Bring the antagonist around, have them run into the protagonist. What happens? How do they handle the situation?

3. Play with your characters

Introduce someone new. Have someone leave the group due to a fight or they have something else to take care of. Kill someone off, whether it’s an important character or a side character.

Anything can happen, especially if tension is high.

4. Change location or POV

Where are your characters and what are they doing? Did they finish what they needed to do? Let them leave. Have something else happen and they need to move on as soon as possible.

Changing POV is harder, of course. Unless you’re writing in that kind of style where you switch POV characters for each chapter or some other way. Still, you might be able to make it work somehow. You just have to be careful with it.

5. Throw a curve ball at your characters

This is the point of novel writing. You’re supposed to constantly throw lemons at your characters, especially your protagonist.

Depending on the situation you put before your characters, anything can happen. Something as simple as changing the weather can throw your characters off.

6. Start writing in the middle

Are you nervous about your middle sagging before you even start? Start in the middle. Throw your characters into something that you think may help get your novel to the end and go with it. This may be easier to do if you have an outline in mind, but it’s doable either way.

At the very least, you may get to know your characters a little better. You’ll figure out what you want the plot to accomplish.

7. Throw in a red herring

Red herrings are fun. They’re fake clues handed out for the mere sake of throwing your characters (and your readers) off the trail. Send your characters on a wild goose chase. As long as it leads to something else that will advance the plot or bring tension, it’s a great way to keep those pages turning.

Do you typically have trouble with a sagging middle? What do you do to get out of that slump? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

Short Story Sunday 186: Write On [NaNoWriMo]

Short Story Sunday 186: Write On

            “Uh, Riley?” Nate poked his head into my office and looked directly over at my desk, but I wasn’t sitting there.

No, I was sitting on the couch by the door with a box of Cheez-Its on my chest still in my pajamas. I had a cat curled up beside me on my left and right and a water bottle beside one of the cats. I smacked the cheese crackers loudly while staring blankly at the TV in front of me.

When Nate looked away from my empty desk and saw me slumped on the couch, he jumped back shocked and gasped. “Oh, um… Hey. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I groaned tossing in a couple more crackers into my mouth. One of the cats arched his back and stretched all the way out before curling back into a ball. He accidentally kicked my water bottle off the couch.

“Crap,” I muttered staring at it, but not bothering to move to pick it up. “I was just about to take a sip…”

Nate slowly bent down to pick up the water. He placed it back onto the couch eying me nervously. It was almost as though he was sticking his hand inside a tiger cage and he was expecting to get it ripped off from his body.

“Oh, thanks,” I smiled taking the bottle of him. I wiped some crumbs on my pants and then opened the water bottle taking a sip.

“Riley, are you alright? What’s going on?” Nate asked.

I looked away from my show and stared up at Nate confused. “What are you talking about?”

“This is…” Nate pointed to me and looked me up and down. I could tell he was trying to think of a way to word whatever he wanted to say delicately. “This is certainly a side of you I have never seen before.”

I shrugged my shoulders and turned back to the TV. I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do about that.

He looked over at my laptop. He put his hands on his hips looking back over at me. “Have you written anything at all today for NaNo?”

“Nope,”

“Why not?”

“Don’t wanna,”

“Why?”

“I suck. The novel sucks. The words aren’t flowing as well as they did when the challenge first began. It’s stupid. I’m stupid.” I grumbled still not taking my eyes off of the TV.

Nate wagged an index finger in the air a sly grin forming across his lips. “Ah, I see what this is.”

I turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow. What did he know? Nothing, probably.

“I read about this on that website I found the first day you started this challenge.” Nate explained. He took out his cell phone and looked at something. “According to my calendar, we’re two days into week two of November. You’re experiencing the NaNo Week Two Slump.”

I kept a steady gaze on his face. I had to admit that I was impressed by his research. So far, he had gone above and beyond to encourage me to continue writing. He brought me a coffee multiple times during the day, every day. He loaded me up with sugar like doughnuts and candy, and he had even cooked dinner most nights so I could continue writing or just take a break. He really was one of a kind.

“Apparently, this happens to pretty much everyone who participates in NaNo.” Nate explained as though I didn’t know. This wasn’t my first year participating in the challenge.

“You just need a little coaxing.” Nate bent down and picked up the remote. He turned off the TV, ignoring my protests, which startled the two cats.

He took away my snack and picked up the cats shooing them away. “No more cuddling, no more moping.” He grabbed my water bottle and put it on m desk turning on my laptop. “You can keep going.”

“But I have no idea where my novel is even going.” I groaned.

“So write a different scene.” Nate came back over to me and took my by the hands. He pulled me off the couch grunting as I let my body go limp. “Come on, Riley!”

“I don’t wanna…”

“I heard that if you write a different scene or just try to plan out different scenarios, your mind will get back on track.” Nate said and then took a deep breath. He was a lot stronger than me, but he was still out of breath as he pushed me, with my heels dug into the ground, towards my desk.

He sat me down at my desk and I glared at him.

“You’re stupid.” I said.

“The website also mentioned to not get offended if you spoke profanities at me.” Nate said cockily.

“I hate you.”

“Great,” Nate clapped his hands together. “I’m going to make you another cup of coffee, so finish that water and hydrate. Then you can get started on catching up.”

I took another sip of my water—because I was thirsty, not because he told me to—and then leaned back in my chair. I stared at my screen as my novel popped up on the screen. I had never exited out of it the day before. I just closed my laptop and walked away pouting.

“How many words do you need to write in order to be on par?” Nate asked.

I glanced down at the word count in the bottom left corner of the screen. “I need to write about 2,500 words…” I muttered.

“That doesn’t sound too bad.” Nate nodded his head. “I know you can do it.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. Why did he have to be so perky about it?

“Listen, if you write 2,500 words, I’ll make broccoli cheddar soup for dinner.” Nate said with a wink.

I softened my gaze at me. I certainly didn’t feel like cooking, so having Nate make dinner was good to hear. Plus, broccoli cheddar soup was my favorite. It was definitely a good incentive.

“If you write 2,500 words plus a little more,” Nate continued, “then we can go out for ice cream afterwards. I think you would use some sun and fresh air, so it will be a win-win for everybody.”

I perked up and smiled, but immediately frowned again. I didn’t want Nate to think that his bribery was working, but judging by his own grin he definitely noticed me get excited. I mean, who could say no to ice cream?

I started typing away on my novel that I didn’t even hear the door click closed as Nate left to give me privacy.

Words: 1,111

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below and we’ll chat!

WIP Wednesday 1 [NaNoWriMo 2017]

I’m adding a new feature to my blog! It’s just what the title suggests, WIP Wednesday – or Work In Progres Wednesday.

This will be something that will be posted on one Wednesday a month, most likely in the middle of the month. For November, though, I’ll be posting it every Wednesday to give an update on my NaNo novel for you guys.

With that said, here’s the first one.

WIP Wednesday

What am I working on?

The Librarian. I’m not sure if this will be a full novel or just a novella, but I plan on publishing it to Wattpad in January 2018.

What’s the easiest part of writing this novel?

The actual writing. Even though I don’t have an outline this time around, I haven’t written a novel in such a long time. It feels good!

What’s the hardest part of writing this novel?

The plot. While the words have been flowing well, I still don’t have an outline. As I write, I’ve been getting more and more ideas. And those ideas require research. A lot of research. I mean, this is a topic I never thought I would ever write about. So we’ll see how it goes.

NaNoWriMo Stats

Day 1: 4,094
Day 2: 2,017
Day 3: 4,573
Day 4: 2,052
Day 5: 2,384
Day 6: 2,034
Day 7: 2,921
Total Words: 20,075

So far so good.

I’m proud that I was able to reach 20k words, almost halfway there, in week one. On Friday, November 10th, Kris and I are going to be doing a 10k day! So I’m hoping that by the time the weekend officially begins, I’ll have 35k or so words.

How is NaNo treating you so far? What are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!