How do I do Nano

Anyway, this month I have decided to take part on Nanowrimo, you can find me here. For once, I have decided to do so because it just so happened to have coincided with an idea that I got on Oct 30, while I was writing a novel that was getting scrapped.

But after almost ten days of Nano, I have managed to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. Here are some of the tips which I have.

#1 Find Plenty Of Inspiration

When I was doing Nano, I spent a lot of time reading and watching anime. It certainly helped me, since it took me almost 2 hours to finish 2,500 words. Keeping inspiration or looking at new things helped to keep you inspired and enable you to create. Otherwise, you might just hit a dry spell. And when you do, you might find better ideas than the ones you did before.

#2 Set aside a large chunk of time just to write

Yes, I set aside a specific amount of time when there was no one bothering me or asking me to do things. It really helped in ensuring that I continued to write at the pace I did. Or at least in solitude. I need a quiet place to write. And the more I did, the easier it got to write even more. And hence, a large amount of time alone allows you to focus and concentrate.

#3 Turn Off Your Inner Editor

I have to say, that by the tenth day mark, my Nano novel is a hot mess and has plenty of inconsistency. I just went with whatever made sense and a lot of things changed within those ten days. I just resolved myself to shut down my inner editor otherwise, I will be editing and rewriting everything. And well, it is important when you have to write 50,000 words.

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How Important Is Pacing?

Pacing needs to be just right, there is something that we cannot deny. I have read and dropped many books due to poor pacing, such as reveals happening too late in the story or something. Which tells me that pacing is important.

The right kind of pacing does depend on the story. Here are some questions which I think can help with deciding the pace you’re moving at. And to decide whether a story might need revision.

#1 Is There Breathing Space?

It is extremely important for many books, you cannot have too many reveals at one go. Have a moment where the reader can take a break from the non stop action. There are plenty of ways to make the breathing space seem less like fluff, but ensure that there is enough space so that it does not overwhelm the reader.

#2 Is something happening?

Usually this applies to a book around the first half, since I have read books that seemed to have zero plot movement for the first half or moves at a snail’s pace. And then, there are authors who save everything for the last book in a series, creating what everyone calls middle book syndrome where almost nothing happens but setting things up.

Pacing doesn’t need to be fast, but it must be able to move and reveal certain things about the character or perhaps a certain development. Something has to happen otherwise why is it even a book if the main characters do not go through a journey.

#3 Are all the characters still the same?

For me, character development need not always be good. And also, they need not to have grown, but something must be revealed about them and changes them. It doesn’t always have to be their personality, perhaps their attitude towards a certain issue. Or perhaps their perspective.

Or if you tend to write characters who don’t grow but have plenty of depth, and different aspects to his character that just need time to be revealed.

If your character at the beginning is still the same person, without anything that gives them more depth, then I will say that it may need some work.

So overall, this is how I judge pacing of a story. However, do tell if you have another opinion.

The Benefits Of Writing At Your Own Pace

I am a writer who does everything at my pace. I haven’t taken part in Nanowrimo, and nor will I think it is necessary to do so. By doing everything at my own pace, there are some benefits which I have found out too.

#1 A Better First Draft

If I write it all at once, my first draft may be littered with errors and most definitely plenty of plot holes that I need to clean up. But if I choose to take a slower time to think through all the details, or making rather major changes, I do end up with a better first draft. Or at least a draft where I know what I must do next, without me staring at the computer screen. No draft is perfect, but I do prefer having less work to clean up even if it means spreading the writing quite a bit. And well, Nanowrimo sounded a tad too stressful for me. And I probably didn’t want to write a book which I may have to rewrite all over again since I’m churning out words instead of thinking a little bit more before I write.

#2 It Allows You Space

Sometimes certain works just don’t work out, or you’re debating whether you should be continuing to write it. That happens from time to time, and sometimes you just need to have that space to ponder a little. And with my style, I tend to be writing more than one work at the same time. And when I do doubt my ideas a little bit, I listen to those thoughts and find out why.

Sometimes it can make me change several things or go to do research, since it has to be done sometimes. And when you’re not rushing frantically, it is likely to find loose holes in your story and start thinking of ways to fix it or make a really important note to remind yourself.

#3 More Discovery Can Be Done

This is especially so if you’re writing historical fiction or in fact any work that requires you to research a little bit into the world. Political situations, turmoil and various other issues. Sometimes you just cannot move on without knowing that little detail. And sometimes you can spend a day or two getting to really know a character. That always does wonders for me, where I end up researching semi-useless stuff which ends up becoming useful in the long run.

And during this long periods, it can be a good thing to really know your character better. And also develop the plot just that little better. Some of us plan better when we have something to start with. I’m one of those who might just jump into a story with a premise but end up planning a little bit on the way or keeping copious notes about the world.

Writing at a slower pace often means plenty of time to discover, perhaps something isn’t working out, or it feels off. Or when you realise you made a mistake in your ignorance(that happened to me too before). And that means time to really ponder all the other possible solutions instead or to gain better insight into the topic you’re researching.

I guess for a writer who has done this for almost two years and finds that it really works, which is why I prefer to write at my own pace. Do tell what you think about pace, whether you’re a writer who churns out thousands of words a day or one who struggles to even reach 500. I really want to hear from you what you think.

Developing A Character

For me, developing a character isn’t about using character sheets. It is neither about using spreadsheets. Both those methods never worked for me and for me, if you are a writer who finds yourself doing badly at it, then this is a post for you. 

When I write characters, to develop them, I usually use these three methods. Which I always find interesting, as it highlights and interesting aspect of a certain character. Or a certain reason why they carry around certain objects, chooses to dress in a certain way. 

To me, characters sometimes cannot be left to a structured street. It has to be organic, free of any influence at all. And here’s what I do. 

#1 Write Dialogue In Their Voice 

Sometimes you don’t need to go so deep into their heads, dialogue is enough. This works especially for characters who view the world in a completely different light, or are incredibly witty that the dialogue is more than enough to tell that. And this can be your eyes only, and can help to figure out some aspects which works so well for me. 

#2 Write Notes Like A Biography

Whenever I want to write a character, sometimes I do this. Sometimes the characters may only have a couple chapters, how do I show and outline their personality well enough. I write notes, like a biography except that it can be written hilariously, or in any way you want to. It can be like a journal, reflecting your character’s voice, perspective. Or it can be how you view them. It can be also about their personality. This isn’t just about listing down all facts, you can go into detail for some of them, and they can be quite fun. It all just depends on how you write them, and they can stay private and never see the light of day. 

#3 Try Writing Letters 

This is the best way for me to develop relationships, especially when I start chuckling at how it will be. These sort of things can reveal a lot of aspects of their relationships, and give it a deeper depth. And help you in characterization around certain characters, when they are around some others. 

Or perhaps whether it was strained at some point, another where one knew a lot more about. I would say that this depends a lot on how you write, how your characters are. 

This are basically all my tips to develop characters, this are really what works for me. I’m not a full planner, the way I plan is organic and free. Since I find myself finding that certain aspects of a character sheet are redundant and some are missing which I needed so desperately. Do tell if you have any other tips, or differing opinions. There are many ways to develop your characters, and this is just one of them. 

How I Do Foreshadowing?

On this topic, it has become a favourite of mine to write about. Why? Because I love to foreshadow, it seems as though certain aspects of a character being suggested from the very beginning was my favourite. Be it whether it was through a short one sentence description. But I prefer it to useless details which take up space. 

Foreshadowing can be about major plot points or developments, it also develops a character. Not every character shows their true self or feelings the first time we meet them, they always end up revealing more or hiding something. And this is why I like foreshadowing and symbolism, it makes some of the apparently useless description to becoming an important clue. 

Mannerisms, speech patterns, dressing. It tells a lot about the characters just from that one paragraph, and hence I prefer to use details to foreshadow. Or certain behaviours when they are put into an uncomfortable situation too. And it makes all those descriptions seem less like a waste of space, or the sagging middle to be nothing but filler. 

Esspecially when you are handling a mysterious main character, where I choose not to reveal some details of his life but keep it hidden. Because it isn’t relevant just yet, but will become relevant eventually. 

Foreshadowing can be used well, if it has a reason. Either a twist or a possible reveal, and the joy is that a reader can go back and say, I should have noticed it earlier. But how successful it is, it would depend on your skill or how unexpected your twist is. 

But generally, here are my tips for foreshadowing: 

#1 Be Subtle 

Can’t stress how this important this is, you do not want the reader to know am I right? Or make it too obvious? Make is subtle, hidden away but it’s there should there be any need. Just a little bit is enough, don’t hint too much or the chances of the reader figuring it out before it comes will be high.

#2 Using A Red Herring 

We all know what a red herring is, it is a seemingly important detail that isn’t important meant to throw the reader off. It can be employed when it calls for it, but at the same time hint it that it is also likely that the red herring isn’t all that important throughout and when it is revealed, it becomes possible and readers realise that from start to finish the hints of the most important clue were there but the ones which was in extremely important light was not. 

#3 Make everything relevant 

It is very important to know that all clues should serve a purpose, perhaps to push the protagonist and having them to find an even more important clue. Throwing the readers off, or even in fact being the bridge to how it would make sense. And this is important, as everything must have its place in a book and nothing should become utterly irrelevant. 

This is generally what I view foreshadowing must have. If you have anything to add, please tell me below if I haven’t covered everything.  

What Inspires My writing?

Inspiration is what inspires us to write. Without it, we all wouldn’t have picked up writing in the first place. It all comes down to this one thing: that crazy story idea which we cannot stop thinking about before pushing us to write. 

A lot of things inspire my writing, but I will list them down here what shapes my works the most and what defined it what it is today. I won’t be listing all forms, but just the most important ones.  

Even though I review novels, it isn’t the one that inspires it the most. And most often than not even for novels which has a large place in my heart it doesn’t really inspire my works as much as it seems. 

For me, here are my two greatest inspirations (I just couldn’t settle on the third, and it didn’t have as heavy an impact as the previous two). 

#1 Anime And Manga 

I’ll admit this, I have read plenty of anime and manga whenever I have the time. And this shapes my work quite a bit too. Seeing as how much my works takes after the style of anime, I use arcs to measure the length of a story and I rarely plan books differently. 

I also love to focus on characters and finding comedy within really dark works. So, anime and manga to me is quite perfect given that most have long arcs, balances out comedy and the really dark moments. And tends to be a lot more well planned than most novels. And sometimes holds a lot more deeper meanings, I originally stayed away but now I realise that I liked it even more than novels. 

Most importantly, in anime, I learned a lot of foreshadowing and how they can be utilized and even used to the best of its ability. And sometimes, it is using traits that has been present from the start of the series to speculate what future events are. 

I would say that for me, I learned quite a lot from anime which helped shaped my works. 

#2 Music

Music had really inspired my writing and shaped characters quite a bit. And also a lot of plots too. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me now that I see that I listen to mostly anime soundtracks, which can help to set a certain tone or mood. Most of the time I find music with a certain darker undertone to be really enjoyable. And soundtracks of anime that I like to, since a lot of the songs does represent the story well. 

And a lot of time, I also can be seen singing to myself to seeing scenes play out in my head according to soundtracks. 

These two are mostly what influenced my works the most, and I want hear what inspires your work below. 

What Makes A Fantastic Antagonist?

To me, a villain can make a book as much it can break it. A horrible villain is one whose motivations are nil, or are just plain horrible. Or if it passes the logic test, simply doesn’t have any reason to why he would pursue it. 

My favourite kind of villain are those who simply use the wrong methods but have a dream that could have been achievable. Or really makes the protagonist doubt himself and his beliefs. 

A villain should simply stand on the other end against the protagonist. He should always have a goal. He should always have a real motivation, and one which can be explained through his back story. 

So, here are some of my tips when it comes to making a villain.

#1 Figure Out His Personality

This is the first and foremost you should do, a villain can be extremely sympathetic should he be characterized well enough. Such as his motivations for it sometimes he could also be seen doing something good. Sometimes he has pity, because the person reminded him of someone who showed him warmth in the past. Their personality can also be what pushes them onto the dark path in the first place. 

#2 Linking His Back story to his actions 

Each one of us sometimes does decisions because of something we have experienced. And most of us have certain traits that we picked up from our past selves. So, this is important. A logical motivation can be supported by his experiences and push him to the brink. And at the same time make it plausible that he could have become a hero instead, or he could have chosen not to do all the horrendous deeds he has done. 

Motives are everything basically to a villain. And they should justify what they have become, and why they became like that. Their personality is one driving force, and their backstory simply justifies the rest. 

#3 Include Some Redeemable Traits 

This is important too, since no one can be completed black or made of nothing but the black abyss. There has to be something good about them, even if it is only a semblance of it. But it is still good. And that is important to making a villain more believable, that they simply made the wrong choices at the wrong time. 

This are all my tips on making a fantastic villain. And really, it all comes down to personality and backstory in my opinion. Even the opposition of beliefs too. But if you have any other opinions, leave it here. I would love to hear from you about what you think makes a fantastic villain.