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

First Person vs. Third Person

Today I want to discuss the point-of-views that writers use. The most common types of P.O.V.’s are first person and third person. There are a lot of perks and quirks and disadvantages to writing/reading in first or third person.

Point-of-view is HUGE when it comes to reading and/or writing a book. It determines a lot when it comes down to the very core of point of view. Once you start with one point of view, it’s hard to switch to the other in the middle of the book. You might find that you enjoy writing in first-person more than third-person, but you already have half a book done. So, it’s very important to figure out which P.O.V. you prefer.

Figure out which point-of-view you prefer before you start writing. Though it’s never too late to switch to first-person or third-person when drafting and revising, it will be too late if you send it off to be published and you discover how much you really wanted it to be a different point-of-view.

point of view

First person has come to be really popular the past decade, with books such as If I Stay, The Fault in Our Stars, and Twilight being some of the most popular ones. First person uses terms such as: “I went to the store,” and “I fell asleep.”
Notice how they use I such as when you speak to someone about something you did.

First person lets the reader experience more feelings and more background to the character(s) at hand. You are able to delve into the character’s head and experience everything they experience through their eyes. You understand what they feel, what they see, what they smell (sometimes,) and that’s first person.

You don’t say, “John sang at the karaoke bar.” (That would just be weird to speak in third-person in reality.) Because, you really say, “I sang at the karaoke bar.” It’s just like talking about yourself, in a way.

The only thing is, when you read first-person, you’re stuck with that person. You’re stuck in the character’s head, and there’s no way out.

You also get a limited view in first-person.

1st person

On the other hand, third person is like being an outside-viewer, almost like observing from afar. You see some things you naturally wouldn’t see in first person. Books such as The Maze Runner, The Last Song, and Eleanor and Park are a few examples of third-person.

Third person gives you an outer-perspective. One where you experience things the main characters might not. You also might find out some secrets of things that the character won’t know until later.

You are also not stuck in one person’s head. You get to see all the characters’, and what they are doing and/or feeling. It is as if you are in the clouds, looking down upon the characters’. You see and experience everything in this whole new perspective.

I have always found that I like first-person better, but I have recently started branching out to third-person. It might be a good idea to try one out yourself. Even if you despise third-person, you should try and read a book in third-person. Perhaps it was just the writing, or the characters, but some third-person books can be as amazing as, or even better than first-person.

The same goes for writers and readers who do not enjoy first-person. Some readers and writers get annoyed at how “He said” is replaced with “I said.”

It’s not an easy job writing, and it only makes it harder if you do not enjoy the perspective you are writing in. It is up to you on whether or not you prefer to write first-person or third-person. It is what makes you feel better and more comfortable when writing.

As a writer, it’s important to find what brings you comfort and relaxation when writing. Find what you are comfortable with, and stick with it, because some writers cannot stand writing in first-person. Others cannot stand writing in third-person.

Find which one you like the most, but also, do not forget to try other perspectives. You might find how much you enjoy first-person or third-person better than the other.

I have also written a post on second-person.

Dealing With Writer’s Block

There is only way to describe writer’s block. . .

It isn’t easy. It isn’t fun.

At least once in your writing career, you will find yourself facing writer’s block. And it won’t be easy. You’re bound to hit the brick wall sooner or later. And it will suck, bad.

Writer's Block

What’s the cure to writer’s block? I’m still figuring that out. You might never experience the stone wall that will one day appear in front of you. Or maybe, you will. And when you do, you are going to be so frustrated and angry and annoyed that it seems writer’s block will never go away. An incurable unfamiliarity, you think. But one day you’ll figure it out.

It is only through the wisdom and experience of writer’s block that you might never have it again. A trial that will tire you out, take away your inspiration and your alacrity will. . . disappear. There is no other way to put it.

Just think: you had it all. The plot, the characters, the setting, and then it all comes crumbling down. All because you slam into an invisible barrier called writer’s block. And you’re allowed to hate it. Writer’s block is hate-able. Not at all hard to despise and hate.

You’re a writer, right? So why should you experience writer’s block?

Easy. Writer’s block is a common “disease” that spreads around in writers’. You suffer for a bit, then you pull yourself together. You have to. After all, it’s no good to sit around and whine about writer’s block. There is a way to fix the problem, to make it all better and make the big scary wall go away.

You can make a road plan. Plan out where you are going with your story, where the characters’ are going. Figure it out, and the retched writer’s block might not be so bad.

Still, you’ll have your moments.

I Got Nothing

Emma Stone

It is going to take time, but all you have to do is force that wall back and make it through. You’ll figure it out and soon you won’t even remember writer’s block. It is a matter of time, though, before you get through it. At first, you will be upset. Then you will lose all your inspiration, and after that, you will want to scream at your blank computer screen. Calm down, though. Writer’s block isn’t so bad.

Sometimes when you write so fast and furious and it’s nonstop, you run out of fuel. There’s a thing that gets you going when writing, and you might just drain all of that out of your system after writing 30,000 words in a week. So take a step away from the computer, tablet, or typewriter, whatever you write on, and take a deep breath. Take a little break from writing. Pile up on some books to get your inspiration and motivation going until you are oozing ideas and a fabulous writing attitude (sorry for the mental image.)

Just take a minute to breath, away from Microsoft Word, or some other writing program you use. Relax and let all your brain muscles relax, drink in what you’ve accomplished, and don’t worry about how many more words you have to write. Or your deadline when writing a novel. It won’t help. Inhale, exhale, inhale; you will feel better in no time.

Have you ever had that steam come out of you when reading? Where you read through three hundred to five hundred books in only two days? That’s what you might have lost back when writer’s block hit you upside the head, instead, in this case, it was writing. Refuel your system, and writer’s block will disappear for now. Just do not overdo it like last time.

You also have to understand what writer’s block is. Writer’s block is when you do not know what to write, or how to continue your story. You might open the floodgates for a few days and the story will practically write itself, until you burn out.

Don’t neglect your writing. Best to press the pause button until you are ready to press play again.

For me, it’s been the past year I have had writer’s block. My ideas are squash (translation: they suck), and all my stories fall right through the floor, into the pit of my other hundreds of thousands of book ideas that failed to impress me and inspire the wheels in my brain to work. Perhaps I need to take my own advice. Perhaps I need to take a step back and stop trying so hard to write something good. I have been forcing myself to write something magnificent, something intelligent with amazing characters and sinister villains and witty dialogue.

Don’t force an idea. Let the story evolve and write itself. Let it bloom from a seed to a beautiful flower in your mind until you are ready to sit down, place your callused fingers on the keyboard, and write like never before. All of the writer’s block is gone. For now. Hopefully forever.

Go toward writer’s block with a headstrong attitude and surpass the challenge before you.

Character Development

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
― Helen Keller

Character development is an important part of writing or reading a novel. It may start as soon as the first page is turned, or it might not be shown until the end of the book. Either way, characters of a book, whether it be written or read, should always be developed further. Character development is creating a character’s background, personality, appearance, and further changing them as they go through hardships and tough trials. That is how character development is. 

We develop our characters by describing them. Appearance, personality, background, their past, and their physical and mental shape. All characters should developed in books. As we follow them throughout the book, characters will be revealed. It can be a slow process, finding out the character’s personality and describing their appearance, their attitude towards things that seem almost impossible, or hard. 

We cannot go through a book that does not have character development. Is it possible to read a book and not know anything about the character that we are reading about? No. We have to know what they look like, how they act, their internal and external motivations and conflicts. We need to know to them, personality-wise. It would be no fun to read through and entire book and in the end, not understand the character, or characters, at all! 

Background is also important. All characters have a past, ones that they will either be ashamed of and hide away, or ones that they are happy to have. If characters have constant struggles with their past, we, the readers, should understand sooner of later what those struggles are. What caused the character to be ashamed of their past? What made them the way they are now? 

It can be a slow process, tiny clips of their past being revealed, one day becoming a puzzle solved. After all, characters should be puzzled if there are characters that have inner-conflict with themselves because of their past. It should develop further. . . 

And wouldn’t we like to know if the character has red or brown hair? Hazel or blue eyes? Maybe a mix of both? Characters’ appearances should further develop until they are described. Hair color, eye color, skin color. These are all important developments so that we can have a mental picture of what the character look likes. Otherwise we just go through the entire book not really finding out what the character looks like. 

One tiny detail can paint an entire picture for us about the characters. 

Character development is a long process. Usually, if it is in a series, we learn something new about the character(s), whatever it be. Characters can be developed by an explanation, an action, or something that makes them do something, which will make them grow to become a more realistic person. The characters we read about or write about should expand as we dive deeper into the printed pages. Character development is an essential of writing a novel.

Character Development

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

The Many Different Characters of Fiction

Without characters, we wouldn’t have books, movies, or plays. But in this case, we’re talking about book characters. 

Let’s face it, characters are great. Most of them, anyway. Characters are the people we follow through the pages of a book, the people we journey with through thick and thin. We know everything they know, sometimes even more. And we always cry when a sad part comes up, or laugh when there’s an especially funny moment during the chapter. I mean, what could we do without characters? 

Books wouldn’t even exist. Except for maybe school books and encyclopedias and dictionaries. But we wouldn’t have those amazing books where we hide from our troubles and enter a totally different world, one where anything can happen. Characters are one of the most important things in fiction and non-fiction. In fact, they are a necessity when it comes to writing a novel. 

Characters are wonderful, and we can do anything we want with them. When writing a book, we can make the character unique and different in their own way. We can make them perfect or flawed, prissy or tomboyish. We can even make them intelligent and perceptive, or a complete bonehead at that. Characters can be anything we want them to be. As long as we have imagination and creativity to guide us along the way. 

They are made when an author dreams up an individual, and adds a personality, appearance, and a story to go along with it. I think an important part of having a character is that sooner or later they should experience a physical, mental, or emotional change. It’s called development, and each and every character of fiction or non-fiction deserves to experience just that. Development. 

Yet, there isn’t just a hero and a villain. There’s so much more than that. I am pretty sure that everyone has read at least one book that has more than just the hero and villain. There’s a lot more to it, and that’s exactly what I want to talk about in today’s post. 

First off, we have the protagonist. The hero/heroine, the main character. The protagonist is the person we follow from the beginning to the end. They are the one that the story revolves around, and they are important to the story. We can’t have a story without them. 

The protagonist can be the one that saves the day, whether it be visible or hidden from the beginning. They’re the ones that usually fight and win and prosper after defeating the evil side. We might know that they’re going to be the hero, sometimes it’s a little more shadowed from the reader’s eyes. Without the protagonist, there would be no story. 

Then we have the antagonist, the evil one, the villain. The very bane to the existence of the protagonist. They destroy, demolish, obliterate, and ruin everything. At least until the hero arrives and saves the day (which may or may not happen.) But either way, the antagonist is just another way of saying wickedly evil. 

Usually, the antagonist will do something, destroy something, or perhaps do something very, very bad. They are necessary to the story, usually. It just depends on the story. Anyway, without the antagonist, we don’t have a good story. There (usually) absolutely has to be something to motivate the antagonist. The Hades to our Hercules. 

But I am just going to go ahead and say it. It’s sometimes hard to hate the antagonist. I mean, come on, who can hate Heath Ledger as the Joker? (Rest In Peace, Heath Ledger) 

Joker

There’s a lot more characters in books. Maybe more than one protagonist, or more than one antagonist. We have a range of characters that doesn’t limit us to just two characters, a hero and a villain. In books, we also have minor characters. They are not the main character, they are not the villain. They are simply on the sidelines, but they are there for a reason. 

In dramas, we have the deuteragonist, the second most important characters. I am not very experienced in the drama department, so I cannot write about something I don’t know much about. We also have the tritagonist, which translates as the third most important characters. Pretty interesting, huh?

I love minor characters though, and I am sure that a lot of people will agree with me on this one. Batman is the protagonist, but we still love Robin (he might not be a minor character, but the story doesn’t revolve around him.) Robin’s pretty great. There’s not many sidekicks that get their own comic series. 

I can go on and on and on all day about the many different characters of fiction and non-fiction, never stopping until I name each and every one of them. But this post has got to end sooner or later. But hopefully I got you thinking about how important characters are. There isn’t just the major characters that the story revolves around. There are the minor characters, quietly waiting in the shadows until they can have a little spotlight moment. 

Characters are great, and we cannot help but love most of them.