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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.

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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. 

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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.  

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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. 

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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. 

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How to break rules well

To me, there are no hard and fast rules about writing well. It all comes down to the fact on how you break those rules. And how you make it work into the novel. 

I have a personal belief that all writing rules are meant to be broken, and they are merely guidelines for us to follow. Most of this guidelines at the beginning would help our work. But one of these days, given that we as writers would always think out of the box, we would eventually break them one way or another. 

I’m fine whether you are reading this while working on your first work, or how many manuscripts. Since I’m giving you a few tips on breaking rules well, and making it work cohesively with your story. 

So, here are some tips on how you should consider breaking rules. 

#1 It must be necessary 

If it is necessary, by all means break it. If your feel as though your story could do with that twist, by all means use it to your advantage. But do note that there might be better alternatives, and should it come to seeing which is the alternatives is better, I would suggest you take everything into account first, and consider other alternatives before doing this. Since it isn’t as easy to break rules than following them, as you need to understand the craft very very well. 

#2 It must have a good reason 

This is above all, everything must come with a logical and good reason, you can break all the rules and no one can tell you not too. But you have to know whether it is the logical way to go, or are you simply doing it for the sake of unpredictability, which can backfire quite badly. Since readers are smarter than that, and they will know whether it was broken because the author simply wanted it to be complex or whether there is a logically good reason behind it.

#3 Execution 

You must execute it well, how you break the rules has to be executed well in the book. Otherwise, it feels sloppy and cheap rather than anything else. And execution can make or break a book usually, either where the book always have characters saying things at the wrong time. Or where it feels so cheap to have pulled it off or have a happy ever after when it was feeling like a tragedy after it all. That kind of thing. 

So, here are my tips on what you should consider before breaking a rule and making it work. If you feel as though there is more to be added, leave a comment below I always greatly welcome comments. 

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Is is okay to work on this manuscripts at the same time?

For me it is always okay. Because if I focus solely on one I would eventually face a burnout. I’m not kidding. Since I would hit a block which I cannot get through or end up just losing interest in that novel. 

So for me, I have to work on two to three manuscripts simultaneously to keep the momentum. That each chapter is relatively fresh and possibly reveals new twists or a new way of seeing a character. I cannot just work on one single work at a time, I need to at least have two to three. It was one thing which proved to have worked for me, since I’m on the verge of finishing my first novel after seriously writing for nearly two years. 

But there are many downsides. I have many times where I needed to look back because I simply could not even remember certain details. But that can remedied by notes, or some ideas for future chapters. I usually do that from keeping myself from forgetting. 

I also have a routine time where I would work on each story, sometimes some have more time, others have shorter depending on how much progress I have made or how long that story is. Or how fast I want it complete? It seems that the only way I can write is that I simply set goals for myself and don’t make excuses, and also habit. 

To work on two manuscripts is also to divert your attention. It can be difficult, it can be daunting. But for some writers like me it works because it retains my interest. Since every day I am not staring at the same manuscript over and over, I can quickly find a way to begin. Or sometimes I just add a sentence. 

Another reason why I also do this is that I would be constantly thinking about each story on a deeper level and I probably wouldn’t discard it once the novel is finished. 

Even though progress can be really slow, but I use this method because to me it’s a way that forces me to write and think at the same time. I also encounter a lot less writers block, since I probably wouldn’t just constantly be thinking about how a plot twist would work then realise that it doesn’t. And whatever I come back to the work with, is that I am always a better writer.