Novel Update

I’ve finally gotten back into working on the second book for my novel that’s currently being edited. It’s fun. I’ve really missed the characters, and I can see how much they’ve developed since the first chapter of the first book.

Originally I was going to write and publish the series as one big book, but I was instructed (thankfully) by my Dad to split them up…because the book would be enormous and who knew how long it would take for me to complete a three part book. So now the book is a three part series…or trilogy…or whatever you wanna call it. It’s less stressful.

I always told myself, after reading a few trilogies…which disappointed me…that I would only write them if it was planned from the start. It was very clear to me when an author only intended on having a single book, but was pushed by publishing companies to write more novels featuring their characters to help bring in big bucks.

I didn’t want to be that author who lets down their readers because I was writing for money. I write because I enjoy it. I started writing for myself, without any specific audience in mind. Now I try to think about my audience a little bit.

Once my novel is published I might share some of my character illustrations, but I personally don’t like to see cover art where there are people on the front. It really bothers me. I like to imagine what the characters look like based off of the descriptions given. I’ve done illustrations of pretty much all my characters…that I’ve ever had. I’ve debated creating graphic novel versions of some of my work. I may do it. I may not. We’ll see.

I’m still playing around with cover ideas in my head. I’m not going to attempt to do the cover art myself. I’m good at art…but I’ve never done that sort of thing and I didn’t go to graphic design school. I just finished my English degree…all I did was read.

Speaking of reading, have any of you seen this manga I bought recently. The illustrations were breath taking and I bought it for my birthday…and somehow while I was moving I misplaced it. I’m pretty bummed out.

I’m supposed to be going to some free thing at the gym today. Not really up for it. My Mom was hassling me to go outside and enjoy the weather…but instead I stayed in and translated then covered this extremely awesome Russian song.

Enjoy the sunshine!

–R.

 

 

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Review Anxiety

I don’t know what else to call it. I’m just a student, but I’d say this feels a lot like leaving your new baby in the care of someone else for the first time.

It’s not the first time I’ve let other read my work and give me feedback, but it is the first time in a very, very long time. I’m anxiously waiting to know what they think…and praying that they like it.

It’s hard to share your writing with people, and it doesn’t get easier over time. Some times you become more comfortable with the person you’re sharing your work with, but even then it can be terrifying.

When I handed over my manuscript I wanted to vomit. I suppose the timing is a bit weird since I’m also pretty stressed out because of school still but whatever. Life is full of transitions and trials. It’s one thing after another.

While you’re waiting for your feedback it can be helpful to occupy yourself with another project. Keep writing!

–R.

You Won’t Know Unless You Try

Well today I was productive…in a way I didn’t predict. I decided to throw myself out there and do a handful of auditions. I figured it would be a great chance to get some experience. It wasn’t writing related…well it sort of is, as I do tend to read my scripts aloud. It was a lot of fun though.

So, my tip of the day is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You’ll never know what you’re capable of unless you try.

–R.

Fourteen Pgs. of Character Notes…And Writing Tips for Detailing Characters!

Fourteen pages of character notes. Wow. I don’t know how that happened but I’m glad it did.

I always try to give as much depth and detail to my characters as I can. I believe that the more I invest in a character, the more attached I will become and that attachment is what makes that character seem more real (that’s a lot of mores). Its great because my characters go from being an idea to becoming like a close, life-long friend (until you know…that scene where they get silenced by the pen aka they die).

It’s a fun process honestly, even though I’ll admit it takes time. Despite the time it takes to do it is a lot more fun than just naming a character and throwing them into your story. A name is only a fraction of a person, there are many other things that make us who we are.

A lot of the time I like to draw pictures of my characters: the facial expressions they might make in different scenario’s, what clothing they might wear, what their hair looks like, their height, the colour of their eyes.

It can be really helpful, but of course I know that not everyone likes to draw. What I used to do on my drawings was create a list beside my character. The list usually looked like…

  1. Name: Bob Robert Bobbinlee
  2. Age: 22
  3. Likes: cows, cats, cookies and cake
  4. Dislikes: anything that doesn’t start with the letter C (is for cookie)
  5. Family: Mama Bobbetta, Father Bobert, Juliettabobo Boblee, Bobafett
  6. Friends: Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum (yes I was talking to my 4 year old niece recently…any watching Pokémon)

What I’ve begun doing now is creating this same list in a table on Microsoft word.

Its pretty easy to do, you just go to insert, then click table…etc.

So now I keep my images and my charts separate, giving me more room to add written details about my characters. This is especially helpful when I have side characters. Usually I don’t know the personality of a side character. Some times I might just have some character who until named is called “Book Store Clerk.” The first thing I like to do is to draw this character out (or imagine what they might look like), then I take that image and I create a detailed character chart, similar to the list above but in chart form…and because it isn’t on the same page as my drawing I can add even more detail.

Using the same example from above:

Name Bob Robert Bobbinlee
Age 22
Appearance Hair: Crimson

Eyes: Crimson

Height: Average

Special Features: Tattoo of the letter C

Personality Hot-headed, sweet-tooth, perfectionist, crazy about cats and cows, creative, incredible cook
Family Mother: Bobbetta

Father: Bobert

Siblings: Juliettabobo, Boblee and Bobafett

Friends Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum

 

Partner (or partners for them playa’s) Cloe Ver
Pet Cactus the Cat and Carver the Cow
Hobbies Reading, eating and baking cookies and cake, chillin’ like a villain with his squad…I mean crew.

 

Occupation/Education Book Store Clerk

 

Fears The letter Z…because he isn’t sure if it should be Zed or Zee even though he’s Canadian. He just…doesn’t know.

 

Dreams Publish a Children’s Cook Book

See, its that simple, and even though some of these details won’t end up being in you story, they are details that are significant to who your character really is. Once you know this much about your character they begin to take on a life of their own, and as an author I have to say that is one of my favourite things that happen while I’m writing.

Whether you like to draw or not, this is a method that I highly recommend. It’s easy to set up and once you get going it can be a lot of fun. Before you know it you’ve got fourteen pages of characters and this amazingly long chart!

Also, if you are a tech-savvy person you can even scan a drawing of your character and place the image into the appearance box on the table. I’ve never done this but I’m definitely going to give it a try. The idea just came to mind.


 

I hope that this post was helpful!

If you’ve never tried to do this sort of detailing with your characters I highly recommend it. Its both fun and rewarding.

If you have any different ways of detailing and developing characters (or you’ve written a post with another writing tip) feel free to share in the comment section. I’m sure, myself and many people would appreciate it!

Happy writing everyone!

— R.

 

Writing Tip: Character Backgrounds

Sometimes I like to create extremely detailed backgrounds for my characters. Though I don’t go into as much detail as I did with my very first novel, I still put a lot of work into making my characters “come to life.”

For my first novel I went through things such as my characters favourite colours, the foods they liked to eat, their family members, their pets (if they had any), their preferred styles of clothing, their favourite genres…etc. I gave them birthdays (I even celebrated them), and full names and talked about them to my family and friends as though they were actual people. Sometimes I would go through my day pretending to be them in certain situations (I don’t recommend this…unless you want to be more confident playing basketball).

The amount of work I put into that novel (which became a 6 book series) was…well it was fun but it did distract me from things like school and that wasn’t okay. Plus some of the stuff was a little…let’s just say much. I was only thirteen then, and I didn’t have a laptop or a cellphone so…I had spare time to be imaginative.

Anyway, now instead of writing out complete profiles for characters, I only write out things that are of extreme importance to me. Things that have an effect on the story and my characters progression throughout. It still takes work, and it still takes time but it is worth it. Trust me.

I’d like to caution you not to…well put too much into your characters back story. A complicated back story is hard to express throughout the novel without it a) stressing you out and b) making the character hard to follow and also…a bit annoying.

It’s alright to have a tragic back story for your characters, but do so in a delicate fashion. Don’t just throw things into the story because it’s “dramatic” and “heart-wrenching.” As a book lover and an author…I find that stuff irritating.

I don’t mind if Bob’s parent’s were tragically killed in a car accident when he was little and that he has to live with his abusive grandfather, who hates him because his daughter married Bob’s father without her father’s blessing. Bob’s dream is to become a jockey but his grandfather is against it because he doesn’t think Bob will make much money. That’s a back story that has some depth and explanation…it’s saying “Yah this character’s an orphan and his grandpa’s a jerk” without adding in unnecessary background drama that does absolutely nothing for the story.

For example, Bob’s grandfather’s great-uncle Hank was trampled by a team of horses right in front of him. Bob also has a prosthetic leg because of the car accident. He has horrible flash backs about his first love being run over by a drunk driver while they were racing each other across the street. Bob’s claustrophobic and his grandfather is dying of a rare disease that eats away at your bones…or something.

Do not do that! Please! I am begging you!

I’ve read so many short stories by young people and they throw in so much of this…”drama” thinking that it’s good. This isn’t anime guys! Stop! Just stop! I’m trying to help you…please no over dramatic, tragic back stories. Please….

Well that’s all for now.

Write on!

— R.

This is why we don’t procrastinate…

So I finally typed up my essays and I’m still short words after all that editing. My time is limited… I thought about how much stuff I still had to do and my head began racing.

This is why we don’t procrastinate. This is why we start the essay the day we get it versus a month later.

We’ll never learn though.

At least I started them a week before they were due. Why I chose to finish editing them and typing them up the same week as the due date…beats me. This is basically my last week of school before exams. If I can get all my work done today and tomorrow then I’ll be free to relax for a day or two before I jump into exam mode.

Good luck to anyone else going through this…end of the year essay madness. Why not give these assignments to us in February? I’d rather hand them in, in March…or like have several small assignments versus one big one and an exam. Ugh…maybe I need to take a break. I feel burnt out right now.

Sorry to complain to you guys but I suddenly felt like I was gonna start screaming or something because I can’t seem to think of what else to add to my essays right now. This is why I hate having assignments all due on the same day. It forces me to go back and forth between them. It’s like trying to write two different novels at the same time. It shouldn’t be done…but in this case I’m being marked so it has to be done.

Oh well…I’ll keep doing my best. I’ll probably grab dinner, and take a nap. Then I’ll get to work again whenever I wake up. I’m really worn out right now…. I don’t think school work has made me exhausted before.

Random Writing Tip on Designing Characters

Boy with Hat

I find that what really helps me when designing characters is to actually draw them out. Especially if they’re a main character. I know that this doesn’t work for everyone, but I find this extremely helpful.

To do this, you don’t even need to be a talented artistic. It’s your vision of what the characters look like.

I find this much more useful than forcing my characters to look like a person in a picture that I found off of Google…that sort of thing takes away from my imagination. I’ve been sketching my characters from the beginning. I used to make music videos about them as well (which sadly are no longer available because my dad took apart the old computer and I have no idea of how to turn it back on. Plus I think the old monitor is at my grandparents now?).

Anyway, just thought I’d share this quick tip to any potential writers out there who might want to see their characters “face-to-face.”

I hope that you’re all enjoying your weekends so far.

— O. Ryder.

Ugh…I Have a Cold.

I’d like to apologise for not blogging as often in these last couple of weeks. I’m still getting over a cold and am trying to adjust to being back at school again. Yah, I’m so done with this cold. I’d like to go an entire day without coughing or sneezing…and I’d love to be able to actually breathe. Hopefully it’ll be gone tomorrow. I’m feeling a lot better today.

As for my writing, I’ve done a couple of songs and poems but I haven’t done work on my novel since my sketches. Researching for this is extremely important to me. I might force myself to put something on paper after my lecture today. I’d really like to get back to work…though I’ve got school work to do and that’s unfortunately more important than my own personal projects *sigh*.

Anyway, I will try and post more often once I’m feeling better…and hopefully I’ll have a novel update for you or a tip to share.

Well…here’s a life tip for you, if your hat still smells like campfire, find some loose change and toss it in the washing machine. If you don’t wear it, you’ll get a nasty cold and won’t want to do anything with your life until it goes away. Also, always be sure to have a box of tissues handy. Those things are actually really important…we really take tissues and toilet paper for granted. It’s only when you need them and they aren’t around that you realize how much you need them in your life.