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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 is Originality?

Is originality in writing a completely new concept. Or a new view on an existing concept. I would say it is the latter. Nothing is new under the sun, every book has borrowed from somewhere. And so does your work too. 

So, where does creativity come in? In how we display the world, how we explore it. What do we think of it. That is originality, since no person would have the same viewpoint. And this is where we differ. Each writer looks at things differently, would approach certain subjects differently. Otherwise, there would be a lot of ripoffs as it is. Since almost every story has borrowed elements from here and there. 

As such, originality is all about you. Your opinion, your idea of a theme. Even for a retelling, every retelling has its differences. Every retelling examines a story differently. Just look at Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge and A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. Those are retellings of the exact same fairytale but they have a lot of differences too. And this is where creativity and originality comes in. 

So, don’t worry about your story idea not being original. Present it your own way, or tackle it at an angle no one else has thought of yet. Regardless of whether it’s original or not it will shine in its own way. 

Even for works that are inspired by many things, think of it this way. You are merely inspired, not extracting plotlines and exact sentences. You can make your own twist, you can change things. Because creativity is found when you insert something of your own and make it fit. 

So, don’t worry about it being original or purely you. It is all about your opinion, the way you see the story and the world. It is basically also an interpretation of a certain work, genre or theme. 

If you have a different view on originality, please leave it down below. Originality, is a rather difficult topic to discuss and I would like to hear your views. 

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On Finishing A Novel 

I typed the last word of my first novel a few weeks ago. And I knew what came next. Editing. But I decide that it should be saved for another day. And I know it is the hardest thing to ever accomplish for a writer. 

Finishing a novel can be one of the greatest joys, I was so happy when I typed the last sentence of my first novel. After three failed tries, this was the charm. I made it to the end, after two years of struggling to finish a work. 

There isn’t a joy much like finishing your first novel, no matter how much you know needs to be revised again. Or edited again. But the joy cannot be shaked off, it’s not something everyone can do. Not something everyone can actually finish. And it takes an insane amount of determination to be writing and at the same time, not give in and try to edit the words. That can be done later.  

This is more of a personal experience, since I do count finishing a novel as a milestone. But I think that with my three failed tries and attempts before getting something, there are some tips I would give to those who are still in the midst of this. And what I feel is helpful advice. 

#1 If It Doesn’t Work, Don’t Push It 

This is the best advice I could give you, if you feel as though that work doesn’t work well together. Or you simply cannot find the inspiration to push on, forget about it. Just drop it and leave it at the side. Don’t push yourself, or the work. Chances are, you are going to stuff it down the drawer at the end. You aren’t going to flip it and look through. 

Just follow your heart when your Just tell you it’s time to stop. Trust me, you wouldn’t end up having too many wasted words and time.

#2 Take Your Time 

Take your time, don’t rush it. When you are writing your first work, you are simply testing the waters here. Don’t push yourself or you will burn out. I was writing at a slow pace for a long time, before it picked up last year and this year. My schedule was insane, and it was insane to push myself so much. But at the end of it, I found myself being able to meet it and finally finish a work. Now, I’m slowing things down for my exams and just taking a more leisure pace here. 

But just take your time, I barely survived that insane schedule I set myself too. And plan your work out, you wouldn’t want to end up forgetting an important detail or hit a wall you can never overcome. 

#3 Forget About The Past 

Don’t worry how bad your words at the beginning are. There are still a lot more things you need to cover, such as foreshadowing, plotting. All this also needs to be added in, and chances are, unless you have written it all. You probably wouldn’t know. And all those hard work with editing the sentences would once more go to naught, and starting from scratch all over again. It makes a lot more sense to focus on finishing a work, before focusing on all the smaller details. 

Overall, this are generally my input on finishing a novel. Through years of experience, failed attempts this are what I managed to gather. But if you feel differently, please tell me. 

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Making Characters Realistic

Realistic characters are really difficult to create, and really difficult to handle. Even if they lack the sort of heroism that most protagonists have, but when they are done well I like them a lot more than before. 

Why? 

Because it means that they aren’t immune, they also have an awareness about them. It makes them relatable, because they do not want to lose their head. If they selflessly sacrificed themselves each time for the other, I will be more likely to end up scratching my head as to what it happening. And I would find them to be Jesus instead of real people I can love and believe in. 

So, what are my tips for making characters a little more believable. 

#1 Making Then Choose 

There is nothing more difficult than handling this, since a lot of times we would have a really good relationship with all the main characters. We find them likeable. But moral dilemmas would happen, dilemmas about what to choose and whether they should simply just accept and move on or fight it. 

It is giving them two difficult choices with endings that can turn out to be less than ideal. It can be endings that has a risk. And that is what makes them believable, when they are making a tough decision. When they know that there is no easy way out and there is no way to eat the cake and still have it. And having them to make a choice, a personal sacrifice to either this or that. 

#2 Making Them Suffer The Consequences 

Every action would have a consequence, that is something that we cannot change. And it cannot have them only have a light slap on the wrist and that’s it. 

I really like books which don’t let the characters off easy, they suffer but they survive. That is the whole point of being a main character, who wants to read about a main character who has a perfect life with almost no obstacles. No problems. 

That would be boring isn’t it? So make it hard, make them lose something precious to them. Make them suffer through the ordeal. As we said, something that does not kill us makes us stronger. 

#3 Knowing their mistakes and redeeming themselves

It is important that mistakes are fleshed out, mistakes are brought up. And redemption is earned not given. I would prefer that most characters know their actions would have an impact on the surroundings. That it won’t end in happily ever after for them. And I like happy endings which are earned rather than given. 

And that the characters need to work for their redemption, they need to do a lot just to have that. People are quick to hate and slow to forgive, and making characters take a long time to earn makes it believable and plausible. Or perhaps an apology from a character that never feels as though he has done anything wrong. 

Having them do all this makes it really believable as we all have done something wrong in our lives, we all have disappointed someone. So, isn’t it correct to have them redeem themselves and try to earn it. That makes it a lot more believable than just apologizing and it’s all forgotten. That would be impossible. 

These are all my tips when it comes to making characters more believable. If you have any more, feel free to leave them below, I really want to hear from you regarding this. 

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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.