Hello Nanowrimo/Writing Updates

I will be posting a lot more writing updates this month as it is Nanowrimo (hooray!).

So, for my first update I recently did some character designs for a novel that I’m working on. I’d only attempted to draw these characters once before, which was months ago. I’m definitely satisfied with my current take on them. I actually put them in Halloween costumes since I drew the most recent one near the end of October.

As for my other projects I made the decision to redo the illustrations for my children’s book. This was kind of a last minute decision, but I want to be satisfied with my work and I wasn’t happy with how the other drawings turned out. They didn’t really come to life the way I’d wanted them too. I also am taking a children’s literature course right now, and after looking through a lot of the illustrations in these children’s books I just found that the first ones I did were…almost lazy, and in reality the images should draw more attention…they should be more animated. So, back to the rough sketches for round two. Hoping they’ll turn out the way I want them. Once the illustrations are to my liking, I’ll be publishing.

With the rate I’m going at with my novels, the children’s book will most likely come out first…which is completely opposite of what I thought. Originally the book I’d started like…three years ago, I thought I’d be publishing first. As for the one I did character designs for, I hadn’t even planned on extending it into a novel. It began as a short story. So…sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, but I feel like everything has lined up nicely.

Well, those are my updates for now. More are to come. I don’t know if I’ll post them daily or weekly, but whenever I update I will do my best to inform you all.

It’s midnight, so I’d better go to sleep. I’ve dedicated tomorrow to doing chores and homework before my class…so…yah. Hopefully I can squeeze in some writing while I’m waiting for my laundry but you know…homework is a thing. I have to get it done eventually.

Keep writing!

— R.

Novel Update

On Saturday I got a lot of writing done and I was finally able to complete the chapter I’d been stuck on. I can’t even remember what had stumped me in the first place but I managed to continue where I had left off. Not once did I believe I had writers block and it’s my professor’s advice that helped with that.

My creative writing professor said that writers block does not actually exist until you begin believing in it. She explained that once you say something it comes to being. She told us that if we become stuck or we are struggling in a certain area of our work that we should simply work on something else. She explained that this was better than not writing at all because as long as someone is writing they are unable to say that they’ve got writers block.

Although I’m not fully sure about the mid-section, where I continued that chapter I am 100% satisfied with the way it ended. It allowed me to move certain characters into position for the climax as well as set up important events.

I thought sharing my professor’s words on writers block would be great because while I was stuck on that chapter, I’d been working on other projects, such as my class portfolio and not once did the idea of writers block pop into my head: I was always writing.

I will update again soon. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

— 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.

 

Robert Daniels: Undefined

The following was inspired by a writing exercise from The English Emporium. Check them out, they’ve got a lot of great resources for students, teachers, and writers.

Every year since Robert Daniels had entered school, he had never been defined by a label. He wasn’t a jock, even though he did play sports, he wasn’t a geek, even though he indulged in science fiction comic books and he wasn’t a hipster, even though he was very good at being ironic. Robert Daniels was undefined, and therefore he felt that he was nobody. This year however, Robert decided that he was going to get a label. He devised a plan that would hopefully help him crawl up the social ladder. Robert was going to spend the first week back at high school being, whoever he wanted to be.

 

If you are interested in hearing more about this story, please let me know in the comment section.

Till next time,

 

Orion.

Using Multiple First Person P.O.V’s

Books that have more than one first person P.O.V (point of view) are a bit uncommon, especially when it comes to Young Adult fiction genres. The reasoning for this is because a lot of authors find it difficult to write for more than one leading character using a first person narrator. If you have ever thought of writing a book that uses more than one first person P.O.V here are some tips that might help you to get started.

            BONUS: writing exercise at the bottom.

  1. Don’t use too many characters to tell the story:  Too many characters are too hard to follow, not only for the reader but for the writer. Sometimes it can make the story more complicated than it needs to be. The highest amount of characters when writing in first person P.O.V should be four. Going over four characters can make the reader either lose interest or make the story challenging to understand.
  2. Make sure each character has purpose: To do this try asking yourself questions like: what makes this character important? Are they helping the flow of the story?
  3. Don’t change characters within a chapter: This is something that really bothered me when I was younger…actually it still bugs me today. Changing characters within a chapter is extremely irritating for readers. This is because they aren’t able to automatically indicate which character is speaking. This causes a lot of confusion for the reader, and sometimes will cause them to lose interest in the story itself.
  4. Each character should have a distinct voice: To help tell characters apart in each chapter, give them their own specific characteristics, especially in their speech. Make sure that they appear different to the reader.

 

Writing Exercise: Everyone reacts differently, even in the same situation. For this exercise we will be using two characters: a young girl (friend or sister), and a middle aged man (father or teacher). The story should be at least two pages long (typed 2 pages, written one page front and back). Here is the situation: A seven year old boy, named Julian, is hospitalized after being hit by a car on his way home from school.

After you are done writing the reaction for both characters look and see that your stories have the following:

  1. The two character have a distinctly different voice.
  2. The characters reactions are different.
  3. The characters personality suits their age.
  4. The language used in the text fit the age of the character.
  5. The story is an appropriate length.
  6. There is an atmosphere and tone.

If you would like to share your pieces (one or both), feel free to leave a link in the comment section below. Also, don’t be afraid to share your own tips on writing for multiple first person P.O.V’s.

I hope that this blog was helpful, and got you doing a little bit of writing. Before I conclude, I’ve got a question for you. Which point of you do you prefer to write in: First person, second person, or third person? Why?

 

Till next time,

 

Orion.