Saturday, October 31, 2009

Snowflake Method, Step 2

After you have created a single sentence to describe the novel you intend of writing the next step is to expand that story to a full paragraph. This time describing the:
  • Story setup
  • Major disasters
  • Ending of the Novel
For mine, step one (since I have changed my story since I posted the last time, so here's the new one)

A girl tries to live a normal life, which is really hard when her mother's a witch who's also an assassin.

Step 2:

All she wants is to be normal, but how is that possible when she's the daughter of an assassin isn't easy, especially when her mother's not a regular assassin. Her mother is a witch specialising in "difficult" slayings, and now she wants her daughter to follow in the family business. Only trouble is, Ash has no powers, or so everyone thinks. When her mother is hired to do a hit on a teenage boy, Ash is told that she has to get close to him. When something goes wrong and Ash is injured she finds out how much magic she really has, and she has to make the choice of going into the family business or being one of the hunted.

Wow, I think there's more of my story there than I thought I had created, maybe I'll actually have a chance at completing NanoWriMo come Sunday. Here's hoping.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm doomed...

two days away from Nano and I've chosen to dump the fragment of an idea that was floating around in my head and go with another story idea (once again nothing but a minute fragment and character who's already trying to run things)... I hope this isn't any indication as to how November is going to go...

Oh well, an idea is still better than nothing, right?

Give them what they want... But, what's that?

I've just started a new job at a small restaurant and I'm astonished that the people I work with can get a person's order as soon as they step through the door. It just shows that some peoples tastes never change, but is it the same with readers? There are so many novels out there of varying genres that it makes you think if there's a perfect reader for every novel written (and that doesn't include the writer).

When creating a story who are you really writing it for? You? Your mother? The little old lady that lives at the end of the street who always smells of cats? It's easy enough to write something that the writer's passionate about, but will the reader feel the same way? After all, with the hope of getting that story into publication, isn't the real person you're writing the story for going to be the reader?

But how do you know what the reader wants? Take a trip to the book store, see what people are reading (not just the type of story... cough, vampire, cough), what characters draw people in? Does the reader like intricate plots that keeps them guessing from beginning to end?

It's not that easy to identify what people want, especially in the terms of novels. There's only one way to know what readers want, and that's to become a reader yourself. If you know what you like or don't like and see how published writer's put things, then chances are that you've already discovered what they want.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creating the Story... First step

Well, still with nothing but a fragment of an idea and NanoWriMo starting in less than a week makes me think about how to develop this idea.

There is a good method to developing a story, it is the Snowflake Method, which takes a look at ten steps of story development. To create an indepth and interesting story takes time, especially when I've got a mind that is always thinking and changing ideas that I'm developing.

What is the first step? Step one is to: write a one-sentence summary of the story. Don't worry about character names or descriptions as Randy Ingermanson suggests that the shorter and more succinct sententences work the best.

Well, what is a one-sentence summary of the story I'm planning to do?

A girl discovers she's half-demon and has to protect herself from the hunters.

I know, not much at the moment. Like I said, it was a fragment of an idea which I'm hoping to develop before the start of November. Hey, I've still got four days... that's three more than I need, isn't it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

A week to go, what to write?

NanoWriMo is drawing closer and I have a little problem... I have absolutely no idea what to write. I've got a tidbit of an idea and a character that's nagging to be set free, but that really doesn't form a novel.

Where do ideas come from? At the moment that is a big question. I'd better get to work thinking about this next big masterpiece before all I'm left with in November is "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breaking Stereotypes

What makes a character interesting? While I was out yesterday I ran into a scene where someone skateboarded in front of my car (luckily I was already stopped at the lights). What made this person interesting? It had nothing to do with the skateboard, or the fact that he passed by my car, what made him unique was the fact he was in his early 50s.

Interesting characters are unpredictable, relateable... human. Just like the elderly skater, you can't really predict what someone will do or how they will behave. Sometimes they just jump out at you.

If a character doesn't have its own unique quality, they will lose focus and become uninteresting. Unoriginal characters tend to be little more than placeholders in a story. You can still move them, but there's no real depth. Just like in real life, sometimes you just need to let the character choose where to go and make their own mistakes.

Creating characters they don't follow the norm (aren't stereotypes) can be as simple as observing the world around you, looking at each quirk and trait that people will help to create some interesting characters (or just crazy if the person you observe is just plain loopy).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Where has the time gone this year? It's on the final countdown till the end of October and I still have no idea what I'm going to write about for NanoWriMo, well, except for a rough outline and a very determined character that wants to get out.

What is NanoWriMo? It is a worldwide phenomenon where people (writers and non-writers alike) take up the challenge to write a novel (well, at least 50K worth of words) in the month of November. This site has a better description than I could ever use: What is NanoWriMo

Why would someone want to do something so stupid? It could be to see what happens when a person is fixed on too much caffeine with little sleep. Or, it could be that person doesn't have much of a social life. I can probably count myself in both of those reasons, but the real reason is the challenge and accomplishment. This whole deal forces encourages me to get off my arse and actually complete something, and besides, I'm pretty sure lack of sleep and caffeine overdoses contribute to even more interesting story lines.

Now I just have to plot out whatever it is I'm going to write, or I could just wing it... how hard can it be to write a coherent story in a month without having any clue as to where I should begin?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Character quirks, or a quirky character

Tonight I was informed of a little habit I have when it comes to addressing people, for some reason (and I didn't know I was doing this) I always address people in the third person.

Who'd have thought, little old me actually has a trait that some can find annoying while others call it psychotic, but this is just being human.

How does one place such little quirks ("traits") into a characters behaviour in a novel without making that character appear overly quirky? What is it about some characters that you absolutely love? They all have these little traits, habits, quirks... psychotic tendencies... that the reader can identify with and grow to love.

So, me with my third person address, is something you just have to love... as long as I don't start addressing myself in the third person.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Finding the time to write

Sometime it's an impossible task to actually find any time to write. A suggestion for writing is to write every day, but how the hell can someone who has a full-time job (and yes writers still have to work) possibly do that?

One suggestion is to find a time of day that you can be alone. For me, this is either before or after my shifts (mostly when the house is asleep and I won't have people pestering me to do some "actual" work).

Take some time out of life, even if it's only half an hour to write something, anything. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, or even make sense.

Now, I just have to listen to my own advise because I've been a bit lazy and now I spend most of my time reading blogs (and believe it or not, I hadn't even read any before October, now I'm addicted... sort of like reality television) instead of doing something constructive.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What is Haven?

There are a lot of things Scar doesn't believe in - magic, monsters, a passing grade in history. That all changes the night of her fifteenth birthday (well, except the passing history thing) when she finds out her whole like has been a lie. She is dragged into a world of darkness - a world where the creatures of the night are real. Told she isn't human, she is forced to attend a school designed for vampires, witches and werewolves.

Now she's learning brand new things. Breaking a witch's Frisbee can really piss them off, challenging a werewolf to a foot race is a bad idea - if you want to live, vampires can hold serious grudges and throw mean left hooks, and the hardest secrets to keep are often the most crucial.

But she has a secret. She is a Dhampir, part-human, part-other, masquerading as a vampire.

When Scar starts seeing visions of attacks, the students begin to disappear. After a video surfaces of her at one of the crime scenes, making her the prime suspect, her very survival might be at stake. Now she must race to prove her innocence before her true nature is exposed.

The only problem is, she's not entirely sure she's innocent.

HAVEN is a complete 75,000 word young adult urban fantasy novel and is FIGHT CLUB meets HARRY POTTER with vampires. It will appeal to fans of BUFFY and SUPERNATURAL.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There's gotta be a first

The first blog post is like the first sentence of a novel. It's got to be good enough to hook the reader to keep them coming back for more. The same silly questions lingers in the mind as one ponders over the perfect beginning. Will it be good enough? Will people want to read it? Will I be talking to myself (like I probably am at the moment)? Nothing seems to be right.

Well, who am I? I'm a 27 year old writer of Young Adult urban fantasy and horror from Australia. I decided to (finally) start a blog to chronicle the long and determined path to publication.
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