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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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Turning An Idea Into A Novel

An idea is this spark of inspiration we have in our heads, not all of it would be a good thing. Some might be so elusive that you never manage to find the real core of the novel. Some would be easy to find. But before you write that idea into a novel, it is best to figure a couple things out first. 

But this is mostly a guide for those who have a lot of trouble trying to start a story. Or often find it leading nowhere. For me, pantsing wasn’t always the best as often somewhere in the middle, it lead to nowhere at all. And when I planned just a little, it helped me keep on track. 

#1 An Idea Cannot Sustain A Novel 

There is so much more to it, characters, plot, themes, you need all this. You cannot just rely on the premise to get by. There is still a lot more that you can do, and a lot more that you can choose to do. An idea is only a small fragment, and the beginning spark. You need so much more than that to last through a novel. 

#2 Know That An Idea Doesn’t Always Work

Sometimes this happens, sometimes we cannot help it in the least. We can only say that we have done our best, but not all ideas are workable. I threw out quite a few from my early days which had very little reason to exist. And the whole entire core of the story made little sense to me. The idea can eventually become hard to develop and you just cannot find that spark. It is okay. As a writer, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. You can leave it alone, since you simply don’t find the kind of inspiration to keep on going. 

#3 Let Yourself Experiment 

There isn’t a need to be sticking it into one way, you can choose other methods. You can choose to look through another angle. Sometimes you just don’t have the benefit of getting the first try right. Then try again, and again. Writing isn’t just done once, it can be done over and over again to your satisfaction. If one way doesn’t work, try another. Or take a break then come back. And experimenting can let yourself know what could work as a novel. 

Overall, this are all my tips on turning an idea into a novel. I think that the idea only starts to push you into writing a novel, but it will not give all the tools to finish one. If you have anything to add, please leave it below. 

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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.