How-To: Survive Nanowrimo

Also known as Survival of the Fittest.

30 Days. 50,000 Words. (I wish every single one of you good luck.)

Nanowrimo is here! And that means writers all over the world are boarding up their windows, locking their doors, and ignoring all further social interaction or human contact. Starting today, writers will start their long journey of 50,000 words by the end of the month. That adds up to about 1,667 words a day! Phew, that’s a lot of work!  Continue reading

Putting Yourself Inside the Story (Better Known as Second-Person)

The other day I did a post on first-person vs. third-person. And lately, I have this sudden interest in second-person, so I figured I should cover all the point of views.

Second-person is a point of view that fits in between first-person and third-person. It basically puts you, the reader, inside the story. It is as if you are the main character and everything around you is. . . well, actually around you. In second-person books, you aren’t the outsider that looks into the inside and watches. Now you are the main character.

It is actually a really interesting point of view to use, though I don’t think I could ever read a second-person book, much less write one.

Stuff like, “You lean closer to hear what they are talking about, but they spot you snooping, and they stop speaking almost immediately,” is second-person. Can you imagine that? Being put into the story?

I think the problem some people might have is decisions. When the writer/author, is writing the book, they usually don’t make decisions based on what the reader might choose. So, second-person obviously isn’t the real you. Still, it’s a pretty unique point of view.

Though, I think first-person makes you seem more like you’re the main character. You wouldn’t talk about yourself saying, “You went to the store the other day.” No, you say, “I went to the store yesterday.” But I guess it’s just the matter of placing you inside the story. Kind of like the author referring to you as he/she writers it.

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I have never read a book about second-person, but I would like to see how it feels one day. It wouldn’t hurt to try something new in the world of literature.

Finding Time to Write

Writing just is not getting any easier.

One of the hardest things to overcome as a writer is finding the time to write. Because, truth is, life is in the way. Jobs, family, friends, college, and anything else in your life that just keeps blocking your keyboard, the way to your imagination and writing. We do not all have the time to write ten thousand words a day. Which is exactly why there are tips and tricks to finding the time to write.

Here are some tips to finding the time to write:

1. Commitment. As a writer, there is a lot you have to commit to. It is almost like selling your soul to the Devil once you release your imagination and become a writer. There is no going back. Which is why as a writer, you have to be committed. There are no buts or ands in the world of writing.

Taking the pledge as a writer means always sticking to what you do best. Which is writing. You always have to remember that. Staying committed will lead to success. But if you do not commit yourself to the world of writing, well, let’s just say you will not be too successful.

2. Your schedule. Our schedules are constantly packed tight. Meetings at work, going out with friends, or just being lazy for once. What you can do is you can tweak your schedule a little (just a little) to make a little time slot to write. Take some time out of exercising at the gym or catching up with friends to commit yourself to writing an hour a day. Though your schedule might be packed from one end to the other, you need to find just a few minutes in a day to type up a storm cloud of words.

3. Set a goal. Goals are always good. Setting a goal is always a good idea. After finding the time in your schedule to write (see above), you will need to set a goal. How many words you want to write, how long you want to write, and what you are going to write today and what you want to accomplish. Making a goal of writing five thousand words in an hour and successfully completing one chapter will bring you closer and closer to slapping “The End” onto your novel or short story.

You can also set a bigger goal. Such as when you would like to finish your book. If you want it finished by December, sort out how many words you will have to write a day to be able to reach your goal on time. There is nothing like succeeding. And, let’s not forget, if you fail, try, try again.

4. There are going to be those days. You are a writer. You are going to have those days when you feel lazy, or burnt out, or your inspiration seems to have been sucked right out of you. And that’s okay. You do not always have to write. Take a break, a deep breath, and just relax. If you go too fast, you are going to tire yourself and your brain out. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

Take a day, or a week, off. Replenish yourself until you feel better and ready to write again.

5. When life gets in the way. That is another obstacle, isn’t it? Life gets in the way with everything. We cannot spend an entire week on our laptops writing or scribbling away at our notebooks without life coming back and snatching you away. Don’t become a social recluse or ignore family and friends just because you want to write. If life gets in the way, do not ignore it.

6. Words. Ah, yes, words. Aren’t words what make us writers? You are going to need words, so always keep a dictionary or your phone near you in case you need to look up a synonym for beautiful or you need a word that means repulsive.

7. Write. This is probably the most important advice of all. There is nothing else to say except write.

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Also, I would like to thank the Dollar Shave Club for this amazing opportunity. I really appreciate it.

If you have not heard of the Dollar Shave Club, they are this amazing organization that supply razors (handles included) for a low monthly fee ($1, $6, $9.) How it works is: You pick out a razor, then select your monthly fee, and the Dollar Shave Club will send the razors to your door. It’s simple, easy, and no trouble.

The Dollar Shave Club shaves both time and money, and that’s super-awesome in my opinion. 🙂

Young Adult – A Genre

Ever find yourself wondering into the Young-adult section in your local bookstore?

Young-adult is just another one of those popular shelves in Barnes and Nobles or any other local bookstore. The young adult age range is from twelve to eighteen, from preteen to teenager. Though, you should never feel ashamed if you are past your teen years.

Young-adult books are constantly being read and reread, and it seems as though young-adult just continues to bloom and blossom in popularity and numbers. Books such as The Giver, Harry Potter, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson are a few examples of popular young-adult books.

Young-adult books flourish in ranks. No doubt.

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The genre is usually tied with a sub-genre. YA fantasy, YA science-fiction, YA (insert sub-genre here). Either way, it is a genre.

The young adult genre will most likely appeal to teens, but it’s fine to be too old to be considered a “young adult” and still read the genre. But YA books are mostly made for teenagers. The book(s) will usually have a teen protagonist. Almost always. And it will usually have problems that teens can relate with (except for being slaughtered in the Hunger Games.)

Boyfriends/girlfriends, drugs, drama, parties, and school. Isn’t that what teenagers usually do? (Not implying that teens do drugs.) Anyway, there needs to be something in young-adult books that connect the reader with the main protagonist. Something that they can say, “Hey, I can relate to that.”

It’s all about the connection between the reader and the narrator, the main character. It is all about being able to understand the feelings and emotions and problems that the protagonist goes through.

The thing about writing young-adult books, is being able to make the protagonists seem like teenagers. Teenagers usually don’t sound completely wise and perfect. They shouldn’t, in fact. When writing a young-adult book, keep in mind that you should be able to execute a believable narrator.

Young-adult a genre among dozens of other genres. And there is always a new book in the young-adult section of your local bookstore to discover.

Characteristics For Characters

Humble. Kind. Trustworthy. Caring.

These are all characteristics, or traits. Characteristics distinguish us, and book characters, by giving them unique qualities and attributes. Characteristics are the things that make us who we are, whether we be loving or modest, it’s a characteristic. And when it comes to creating a book, movie, or play character, characteristics are an important part of doing so.

When we create a book character, or rather read about a book character, we want them to have this uniqueness to them, something that makes them different from the others. Each character should be different. Otherwise, if they were all the same, it would just come out as boring and. . . dull, as simply put. There is nothing better than having a character that is special in their own way, something that we can distinguish from the rest of the characters. We want our characters to be honest, and/or caring, and many other things.

We want our characters to be one of a kind.

If every book, movie, and/or play had the exact same character, wouldn’t it get tiring? Wouldn’t you be bored? Wouldn’t you eventually lose interest? That is exactly why we need characteristics for our characters. And trust me when I say, there are plenty of characteristics to make an array of different characters.

Smart. Courageous. Brave. Determined. The list goes on and on and on. There is no possible way for me to list every single characteristic, but I have listed a few of them in this post already. There’s a possibility that we can never run out of characteristics to make our characters.

We all want to open up a book to the first page, and know that the story will be different. Different plot, different characters, different genres. We do not want every book to have a character that is kind, caring, and intelligent. Why not have a distinct variety of characters? Unless the book’s sole purpose is to have each and every character be completely the same, then we need to have the unique individuals.

There is no reason not to.

I mean, depending on the book, the character might need to be brave, or clever, or both. The character might need to charming, but clumsy, and the villain might need to arrogant and caustic. The girl might need to be compassionate, and decisive, because, let’s face it, a lot of people do not like indecisive characters.

Books might need elegant queens, idealistic villains, and humble servants. Each character needs characteristics to make them them. We need good characteristics for heroes and the good ones, and bad, or misunderstood, characteristics for villains. It depends on the book you read or write, or the movie you watch.

And this is not just in book or movie characters. We have characteristics too. These are what make us unique. Maybe I got you thinking about your own characteristics, your own traits. Or maybe you’re thinking about a book you might be writing or reading, and you are thinking about the characters.

Whatever it be, they should be unique.

Characteristics

“Then” and “Than”

Then and than. Homonyms. 

Two totally different meanings, but they sound almost exactly alike. The words then and than are very similar in spelling and sound. There’s only one letter off that doesn’t make them the same. They’re not the same, different from each other. Still, why do some people mix up the two words? I browse the internet a lot for a lot of different things, and sometimes I happen to come upon the mixed of words of then and than. I do not have a huge fit, even though I’m a Grammar Nazi –

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– it just bothers me that the word isn’t correct. It is a possibility that the person wasn’t paying attention, or maybe he/she just typed in the wrong letter when they were writing really fast. Or maybe they just don’t know the difference. I think, though, that once you figure out the different meanings and can easily tell the difference.

“Then” refers to a time when something takes, or has taken, place. “Then she met him,” “Then it all changed,” “Then we had pizza”. Once you pick up on it, it’s easy to remember. It just sort of prints into your brain, and then voila, you know “then”. And now I feel like I’m giving a Language Arts lesson in a classroom. . . I don’t think that’s supposed to happen.

“Than” compares to something. “She was braver than the other contestant,” and “the teacher was smarter than the younger kids”, and so on. 

See? Totally different, yet so similar. It’s easy to confuse the words, especially when you are writing in a rush, than then you don’t really catch that mix-up. There are a few times that I have written something, looked back, and saw that I messed up then with than, or the other way around. It’s not always something you think about, it could just be a mistake. Perhaps next time you write something (blog post, facebook status, novel, etc.), you won’t have to wonder if you mixed up those words. It’s easy to remember once you understand the difference. 

Who knew that two words could be so alike, yet so different. Kind of like identical twins. They look the same, but they have different personalities, tastes in fashion, wants and needs. The list goes on and on. Identical twins are actually a great example of then and than. 

There are many other words that sound the same but have different meanings. There’s their, they’re, and there, here and hear, write and right. I could go on and on all day of the different words sounding alike. There are probably hundreds of thousands of those darn homonyms, and I’ll never be able to count them all. But hey, at least I got then and than out of the way! 

Simple as that. 

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