Book Blogger Tip Tuesday #28

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Reward yourself for reaching daily goals, it’ll help incentivize yourself to keep reaching them, but don’t just reward yourself for the sake of it, discipline yourself to be a better worker.

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Book Blogger Tip Thursday #27

Money

If you are not already published, understand that while you are aiming to be, it is hard (extremely so), so you still need a job rather than waiting to become a millionaire to pay the water bill.

 

Writing: Dialogue

Introduction

Unless your entire cast of characters is made up of mutes or fish, you’re going to encounter dialogue. Sometimes it’s hard to write normal flowing conversations between the puppets we control. Nothing is natural when it’s already planned and written. But enough flimsy philosophical thoughts let’s talk talking.

Back to the basics

The easiest way to make your dialogue come to life is by learning how to grammatically write dialogue. So here are a few rules to remember:
a) Use a new indented line every time you have a new speaker
b) Always use speech marks before and after dialogue – (this is with the exception of when a character is speaking for a very long time across multiple paragraphs. Use an opening speech mark for each new paragraph and only use a closing speech mark at the end.

Making it flow

You need to understand one thing, people usually don’t speak to each other in full sentences. Characters are human (even if they are really ten-foot aliens) and thus, they lie, they hide things and are difficult in conversation. Including a bit of that personality into their dialogue adds conflict and interest to your story.

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Adding description

Picture the last time you had a conversation: most likely you weren’t just standing nose to nose with your conversing partner, talking in robotic monotone. So why should your characters? People move and express themselves and it’s important to show that. The constant repetition of ‘he said, she said’ is monotonous and boring, you need to spice up your dialogue with description and movement. Having stilted, short sentences between characters, continuously for two pages is the easiest way to make a reader’s eyes wander. You need variety, short and to the point sentences, amongst long proses as well as description in between.

Conclusion

It’s all about practice and even finding examples of great dialogue in everyday life. So, keep writing and keep listening (without seeming too creepy). Good luck Xx

Further Reading

How to write dialogue: 7 steps for great conversation

Planning: Snowflake Method

Introduction

Every book starts somewhere, usually as a bundle of nonsense in a writer’s head, but at some point, those words need to be put down on a page and a plan needs to be formed. Now, I know a lot of people may want to write without a plan, I know I was once one of these people because, of course, I already know everything that’ll happen in my story.
…No…no you don’t.
Story ideas sometimes don’t pan out as you envisioned, you will drop ideas and bring in new ones throughout because you didn’t think it through properly. Writing out a plan will help at least remind you of where you are going.
The planning technique I use is the snowflake method, which is essentially expanding and branching out from one sentence into a whole plan (like a snowflake).

Step 1: One sentence Summary
Write your elevator pitch, preferably less than 15 words which sums up your entire story.

Step 2: Expand into five sentences
Now expand that one sentence into five, covering the following story beats:

Sentence 1: Explain the setting and introduce the lead characters
Sentence 2: Explain the first quarter of the book, up to the first disaster, where the hero commits to the story
Sentence 3: Explain the second quarter of the book, up to the second disaster, where the hero changes his mode of operations
Sentence 4: Explain the third quarter of the book, up to the third disaster, which forces the hero to commit to the ending
Sentence 5: Explain the fourth quarter of the book, where the hero has the final confrontation, and either wins or loses or both

Step 3: Expand once more
For each of those sentences, expand them into a paragraph totaling about a page long, it doesn’t need to be completely detailed just yet.

Step 4: Starting to work on the characters
Now you have a good idea about your plot, we need to start work on your characters. Start putting down the basic for each of your major characters:
• The character’s name
• A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
• The character’s motivation (Abstract)
• The character’s goal (Concrete)
• The character’s conflict
• The character’s epiphany

If at this point (or any point) you realise you need to revise over your plot outline to fit into your characters’ storylines better, you should do now. Better do it now while planning than later in edits.

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Step 5: Expand on your characters
Write up a one-page description of each major characters and half a page on any character you consider relevant to do so for, these should be from the POV of the characters to show what they are going through and how they change.

Step 6: Take a break and come back
Take a week and let the plan rest. Now you have a clearer idea of where your characters are going you should now be able to write a longer plot synopsis hopefully around 4 pages long. Expand each paragraph into just less than a page essentially and it gives you a chance to fix any little things and work out any plot holes.

Step 7: Expand, expand and expand again
Go back to your characters and make character charts, you can easily find these online, but most importantly know how your characters will have changed from the start to the end of your story. Make sure everything is as long as it needs to be, and you’ve explained everything as fully as possible.

Step 8: Write out your scenes
You know where it’s going now, and this is when I like to write out the scenes that are going to take place, but this depends on how you write, a list of scenes maybe a waste of time if you work well enough from a synopsis.

Conclusion

By now you should have a fully-fledged plan, now all you need to do is write a first draft. Good luck Xx

Further Reading
https://www.storyplanner.com/story/plan/snowflake-method-outline

The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel

A 3-minute Guide To The Snowflake Method By Randy Ingermanson

Writing: How To Use the Snowflake Technique to Write A Novel

Planning: How to Villain

Introduction

What is a hero without its villain? Well nothing. A story needs a conflict and that conflict usually comes in the form of a moustache-twiddling, cloak wearing, masked man. But an antagonist can be anything, don’t feel it’s necessary to include a personification of your antagonist if it works well enough as something vaguer. But most of the time you will need your villains to even have heroes.

 

What makes an antagonist terrifying?

How to make a villain menacing is simple: Make them human.

Okay maybe it’s a bit more complicated than that.

No one is evil for evil’s sake, everyone has their reasons and needs. Your villains should be created with the same quality of care as your main characters.

No one just wants power or money, its what those things give the villain that make them go to such terrifying lengths to get them. And if you want to make an antagonist absolutely scary make sure they are completely fixed upon their convictions and why they need what they’re after, because that then makes it easier for the reader to understand that – oh yeah, they will murder everyone if the hero cannot stop them.

However, a villain can of course waver in their conviction, they can be torn between what they know to be right and what they want. I think this can help make a villain more relatable if you give them time to grow almost mirroring the hero. Show them doing, every day thing like having a family. Let them have a vulnerability or even show the world as the villain sees it, so the reader may be tempted to even side with them.

But this can make your villain less terrifying so its really up to you which route you want to go down: Terrifying with less internal conflict or internal conflict with less external conflict. Making the reader sympathise with the villain versus making them love to hate them.

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Let them be a Villain

Do not fall into the trap of only saying what a villain does. A hero or group of good guys who constantly evade any sort of damage from the villain both dramatically reduces the stakes but also the threat level of an antagonist. Show the threat and let someone die. This helps so when the hero still fights against the villain, it shows both your main character’s strength but the also that the fear is still real because if the villain has done it once, they’ll do it again.

Without this, the audience will catch on and won’t fear the villain and like I said, there is no story without conflict so why would a book reader continue to read a book that isn’t a book.

A way of doing this is to escalate the villain’s crimes throughout the book, so start small and ramp it up throughout the book to stop the reader from becoming desensitized to them. The height of this should be just before the climax. This is where the villain wins, where the hero loses the most. Allow the villain to invade or win the competition or kill the hero’s brother, just to hammer home how badly not only the hero needs to win, but how badly the reader wants the hero to win.

 

Conclusion

Above all don’t be lazy, your villain isn’t a prop for the hero, it’s a character as much as the rest of them and should be created as such. Love how hateable they are! Good Luck Xx

 

Further Reading

https://thewritepractice.com/menacing-antagonist/

https://mythcreants.com/blog/how-to-make-your-villain-threatening/

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/how-to-make-the-villain-in-your-story-more-human/

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/how-to-create-a-great-villain/

http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2012/12/12-tips-on-how-to-write-antagonists.html

http://writerswrite.co.za/10-essential-tips-for-writing-antagonists/