A Little Idea I Had

Today, while going through some old documents, I came across an old story I wrote. It was one I was intending to turn into a book, and got around 10000 words into before I realised it was terribly cliche and I just wasn’t invested. The previous draft was just 25000 words long, and quite rushed. I had intended to rewrite it, but well, never happened.

The interesting thing is, I tend to reuse characters I like. And this book had several that reappear in my current writing. For the most part, it’s just names, but a few have similar descriptions and personalities. And as I’m currently pushing through writers block, I had a brilliant idea.

Less than an hour later, my random idea ended up being over 1000 words long. And for someone who struggles to get 500 down within a few hours, it’s surprising.

Basically, I thought: what if my current book characters read this old story and saw what they used to be?

So I wrote a little scene of them attending a book club and reading it. They were all very offended. It didn’t go anywhere, and I’m not going to use the scene. But hey, I wrote something, and that’s good.

One day I will post my random writings, but I want to get my first book written first to see where my characters end up.

~~ Ari

🙂

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When books inspire me

This seems to happen quite often, I read a good book, then want to write something with similar themes and ideas. Usually I write a few thousand words just to get it out of my system, then leave what I’ve done and return to my actual book.

However, I’ve been sitting on an idea for months. Which isn’t helped by the fact that many of the books I read involve it. However, if I was to pursue this idea, I would essentially need to write an entirely different book. And, considering I haven’t even got my first draft of my first book done, this really isn’t helping.

Given how much my mind wanders, I’ll be lucky to get anything published.

However, after draft 1 is finished, I’ll have to put it aside for a month or so anyway, as I’ll need a fresh perspective when returning to it. In the meantime, I’ll be starting something else, and then, well, I guess we’ll see what’s on my mind.

I have far too many book ideas written down, and neither the time nor patience to write them all. I honestly have no idea how writers can churn out a couple books per year. If you’re one of those people, I only have the greatest admiration for your ability to write so much.

Now I better stop procrastinating and get to work.

~~Ari

🙂

I almost made a terrible mistake…

I almost wrote something in just because I thought it belonged there, not because it worked in the story. What is this near mistake that would have been so utterly terrible if I stuck to my original plan and left it in? A romance.

Yep, a romance. I knew that two of my characters were to end up together, so I thought: hey, let’s make it happen in book 1. Then yesterday, while reviewing my plan, I realised that there’s no way it can work out. Hence, I pushed it back to book 2, where it actually makes sense.

Basically, I wasn’t giving my characters enough time to develop realistic chemistry. I was jumping from initial encounter straight to sexual tension. Problem. I hate reading books where a romance comes out of nowhere, and I was about to do it in my own writing!

Now that it’s been pushed back to the sequel, I can give them time to actually bond, have a friendship beforehand. It’s kind of a relief I caught myself before I started developing their relationship any further.

On a different note, I have an odd habit of getting attached to completely random side characters who only appear a couple times in the book. Which makes it problematic if anyone needs to get killed off.

~~Ari

🙂

The Woes of Choosing a Genre

Once upon a time, in the distant land of Australia, a young writer got an idea. That idea was to write a book, a book about assassins and one woman who accidentally got mixed in with them. The writer picked up her laptop with only one thing motivating her, the desire to write a story. Which was fine. The writer was happy, getting down her dark tale of misfortune peppered with her weird humour, all the while ignoring the publishing process. That could be handled later. But one day, something horrible happened. A friend asked the most dreaded question:

“What genre is it?”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, writing is so much more involved than I initially thought. And todays topic of contemplation is genres.

When I started writing, I decided I would finish the book first, then choose a genre. Because I didn’t want to accidentally limit myself by deciding my book wasn’t fitting the genre I chose and be forced to change it when I didn’t want to. Well, now I face the issue of choosing a genre that fits my writing.

There are hundreds of genres, sub genres and genre combinations. Which means there are hundreds of options to look through and choose from.

And of course, my book likely falls into more than one genre. Which ones do I choose? How will that affect the readers my book brings in? It’s difficult enough to find a list of all the different genres that exist, let alone figure out which ones my book falls under.

With all the things I need to google, no wonder I’m so slow at writing.

 

~~Ari

😊

Writing a Book is More Involved than I Initially Believed

Having hit the halfway point of my first draft, I realised that I ought to be thinking about more than just my book. Although actually getting published is still a long way off, there are things I need to start organising right now. Because knowing me, if it doesn’t get done early, it’s not getting done at all.

For starters, I need to rethink my blog design. What I have right now was haphazardly chosen late one night when I decided to start blogging. I think it’s about time to revisit the settings. Speaking of which, I have little to no images to post alongside my blog posts, and knowing how visual enhancement can improve a post, I need to get some images asap. I don’t quite know what pictures to take, maybe some books or sketches, but all I know is that I want all my pictures to be my own.

Second point, I need to expand my social database beyond a blog. If i’m going to cross over from randomly writing a story to becoming a published author, simply writing on a blog every few weeks is not enough. I think a website is in order, maybe a Facebook page or Instagram. Furthermore, I need to decide whether I want to use my real last name or come up with a pseudo name to write under.

On to my actual book. Title and overall series title have already been decided upon, and I have a few ideas for a cover. But I need to begin researching how exactly I’m going to publish. Definitely self published initially. Yet, there’s more to it than simply deciding the route I want to take. I have to scout a path, get to know the way, research an optimal mode of transport and check out what I’m in for.

Ah, so much to do.  The idea of actually publishing is a little daunting, luckily I’ve got a good half a year minimum to psych myself up to it.

Any recommendations for a good website builder? And what do you reckon, pseudo name or real name?

~~ Ari

🙂

Character Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths and weaknesses, every character has to have them. When I first began writing, I told myself that no character would be flawless, and every character would have something redeemable about them.

Flaws in characters create realism, conflict, and encourage change and growth. A main character with inner turmoil to overcome is much more interesting than one who is practically perfect in every way. The last thing I wanted to end up with was an entourage of Mary Sues.

Characters need strengths too, including antagonists. It not only makes a villain type character more realistic, but also much more interesting. Sure, it’s easy to hate a guy who eats puppies for breakfast and wants to blow up the world because he’s EVIL, but he’s just a typical villain who will probably be forgotten shortly after the book is put down. A one dimensional villain is as bad as a one dimensional protagonist.

Whereas somebody who believes they are doing good but are inadvertently opposing the protagonist, is much more interesting. There’s more for the reader to question, and there’s a build up in tension as the reader does not know how the two will react when they come face to face.

I wanted to insure every one of my characters had an element of grey to them. With that mindset, I began planning. Turns out, writing flawed characters is easy for me. A bit too easy in fact. Because when I sat down and took a look at them all, I found out I had accidentally forgotten to give half of them any strengths. I had basically written a bunch of very unlikable people. Oops. A few good hours of planning later, and the problem has been solved, mostly. I still have one character who I’m unsure about, but he hasn’t appeared in my draft yet, so I’m hoping that his actions and interactions with others will develop him past what I have on paper. It worked with several others, so fingers crossed it works with him.

 

~~Ari

😊

Word Counts

I think I have an obsession with counting how many words I’ve written.

While I realise that how many words I put down on paper doesn’t matter that much so long as I tell the story well without bloating it with unnecessary scenes, I can’t help but frequently check how long my chapters are. That little word counter in the corner of a Word document is the equivalent of a clock during an exam for me. Which means I basically stare at it instead of actually writing. I turn off my internet, music and keep my phone well away from me, and yet I still get distracted.

If I could write as fast as I find ways to procrastinate, I would be done my first draft by now. Probably my second too.

But I must say, it is rather interesting researching word counts in famous books, especially since I’m not entirely sure how long mine should be. I read somewhere that publishers prefer books to be between 80000 and 100000 words, so I’ve been using those figures as a very rough guide, and have come to the conclusion that I would like my book to be around 1000000 words. It’s helpful to see physical copies of books and know how many words are in them. In this regard, the Harry Potter books have been a great help.

And then there’s the issue of my chapter word counts, because they are terribly inconsistent!

On average, one chapter is around 4000 words, yet I’ve had ones that were only 3000 and ones that were well over 7000. Basically, I jump around a fair bit. However, I’m trying to stick with shorter chapters, and any long ones are broken up into sections.

Shorter chapters, for me at least, tend to be more appealing, as I like to read an entire chapter in one go and books with long chapters make is terribly difficult to do so at times. At least breaking up longer chapters offers places where a reader can take a break without being in the middle of something important.

So while keeping a tab on my word count is important, I probably ought to stop doing it every couple hundred words.

~~ Ari

😊