Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep #1: Characters

Camp NaNoWriMo is two weeks away so get out your notebook and laptop, and get ready to write! Since I have done lots of blog posts on how to get story ideas and all that, I decided to do one on characters instead, just to change things up a bit. If you want to see my previous blog posts on how to get story ideas, I will link them below so definitely check them out!

Step #1: Creating Your Character

First things first, you got to create your character. You have to give them a name, an age, eyes, a nose and other physical appearances. If you are having trouble coming up with a name or an appearance for your character, then here are a few ways to help you fuel some ideas:

  • Pinterest (Search “Writing Characters” and “Writing Character Descriptions”)
  • Celebrities! Use your favourite actors, actresses, writers, athletes, etc, etc for some inspiration.
  • Family and Friends

Step #2: Getting to Know Your Character

Now that you know the basis of your character, and what they look like, now it is time to understand your character on a deeper level. Discover your characters backstory, their family and friends, as well as their personality. Are the ambitious? Are they sarcastic? Are they quiet? This is the time to really get to know your character so you can portray them in a 3D way. Here are some things you NEED to include when planning your character:

  • Weaknesses
  • Strengths
  • Fears
  • Relationships
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Emotional or Logical
  • Dreams
  • Regrets
  • Reflection on self

Step #3: Determine Your Character’s Goal/Needs:

It is very important to figure out what your character is striving for so you know how to move your plot. It is also essential to know what your character needs in order to achieve this, as well as be content. If your character doesn’t any goals or needs, the story isn’t going to be that interesting!

Ex: Katniss volunteers in her sister’s place for the Hunger Games – Goal: To keep her sister safe

Step #4: Establish a Character Arc

Every character is flawed, just like every person in the world. So while all characters start flawed and end flawed, there should be a few things that they change to help them become a better person. Make sure you establish this character arc because it is so, so, so important that your character has made some growth by the end of the story!

Ex. Your character is afraid of the monsters under their bed, but by the end of the book they have conquered that fear.

That is all for this Camp NaNoWriMo Prep and I hope you enjoyed. If you need some help with story ideas, then definitely check out the following blog posts:

https://mylifewithbooksblog.com/2016/11/02/how-to-come-up-with-story-ideas/

https://mylifewithbooksblog.com/2017/04/13/where-to-find-story-inspiration/

What To Do After Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is over, and now you are probably thinking, now what? Well, here are a few suggestions and some tips, to help you figure out what to do next.

Option #1: Decide How Important the Story is

Sometimes we write stories that we just don’t feel connected to, and believe me, this happens to me all the time. You may be really excited to write something, but then half way through you realize it isn’t really working or you just aren’t enjoying it as much as you hoped. If it isn’t something you want to continue with, save it, because maybe someday you will come back to it. If it is something you love though, definitely look at making it better!

Option #2: Keep On Writing

You may have achieved your goal of ten, twenty, thirty, or maybe even fifty thousand words, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you finished your story. If you still have more story inside you, keep on writing! My goal was pretty small, being only ten thousand words, and I am definitely not finished it so I know what I will be busy with for the next few months.

Option #3: Second Draft

Maybe you did achieve your goal and you are completely done your first draft which is awesome! But that also means you have a second draft to write. I used to never write a second draft for anything, whether it was a NaNoWriMo project or just a short story, but trust me, it helps so much. If you didn’t plan on writing a second draft, definitely reconsider and maybe spend another few months writing it to make your story even better and cleaner.

Option #4: Take a Break

After writing a lot for an entire month, it can be a lot on your creative brain, so if you feel like you need to, take a break. There is no shame in taking a step back and taking some time away from what you just wrote. I find that it helps to take a break after I write a lot, or finished something, because when you go back maybe a few weeks later, you will be able to see any little or big mistakes you made.

Option #5: Enter it in a Contest

Writing contests are amazing because not only can you win cash prizes, but you can sometimes also get some feedback on your story. Maybe you finished Camp NaNoWriMo feeling really confident with your story, so edit it a bit and then send it in to a few different contests to see what happens! If you need some writing contests to enter, check out a blog post I wrote not too long ago where I list writing contests with no entry fees.https://mylifewithbooksblog.com/2017/03/29/writing-contests-to-enter-no-entry-fee/

Those are five suggestions on what you can do after Camp NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: April 2017 Wrap Up!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep #4

Tomorrow Camp NaNoWriMo begins so here are a few writing tips to help you get motivated for a month full of writing.

Tip #1: Have a Compelling Problem

We already have read hundreds of stories where the princess is rescued by the prince, so create a character and story with a compelling and new problem. Maybe their problem is that they are given a clock that is counting down till the end of the world! Just make it unique and something that gets a reader, and you, excited.

Tip #2: Have Flawed Characters

Nobody is perfect, even if they are a prince or princess in a happy, magical world. Everyone has flaws whether it is they are too proud or just have a chip in their tooth. If your character is too perfect, than your readers will not be able to relate on any level to them.

Tip #3: Stick With It!

Camp NaNoWriMo is a time for you to just write. It is not meant to be perfect so just get out the words. Have too many grammar mistakes, forget a comma, or have too many long sentences! You can edit all of later so just write.

Writing Prompts:

  • She smirked as she tossed another teddy bear into the roaring flames.
  • Her garden was more lethal than pretty.
  • They were known as The Faceless, and they knew everything.

That is all for my very last Camp NaNoWriMo Prep and I hope you enjoyed!

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep #3

Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, so here is my third post on helpful tips to help you come up with an idea, and also meet your word count!

Tip #1: Dreams and Daydreams

If you are like me, and have crazy, adventurous dreams, then there is a chance they could become something more than dreams. Sure, dreams can be confusing and down right insane, but that’s where you come in to smooth out all the details! Just make sure you write them down whenever you have them, because they could easily spark an idea for a story.

Tip #2: Find a Writing Prompt and Go With It

I love writing prompts, especially for writing short stories but they work for any type of creative writing. Writing prompts are very intriguing because it is a short, simple sentence that you have to take and amplify. I like to think of writing prompts as the skeleton of a story, and then you add the rest to make the skeleton into a live person (yes, that was a weird analogy). If you are feeling stumped when it comes to writing, then definitely search up so writing prompts!

Tip #3: “What If”

When I was younger, I said “what if” so many times that it drove my mother crazy. Now that I am a tiny bit older, and write, I can apply allll my what ifs to a story. What if dinosaurs ruled the earth still? What if everyone had magic? What if fairy tale characters/creatures accidently got exposed to our world? There are so many what ifs that you could never run out of ideas!

Writing Prompt: You bump into a genie who offers you three wishes. What are they and why?

That is all for this Camp NaNoWriMo Prep and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the first and second blog post from this prep series, and also check out my last blog post: April 2017 TBR!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep #2!

Here is my part two of Camp NaNoWriMo prepping and if you don’t know what Camp NaNoWriMo is, it is an event that takes place twice a year, in April and July. During these two months, you have exactly one month to complete a word goal of your choice. Basically you try to write as much as you can, you can connect with other writer’s and also collect some prizes from sponsors! I really love taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo so I am super excited.

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  • Tip #1: Outline!
  • During Camp NaNoWriMo, you are trying to pump out as many words as you can so it helps a lot to outline. You don’t have to go crazy with it, but make sure you know where your story is going in the long run because otherwise, it is going to be a lot harder to get your story into words if you don’t know how those words connect.
  • Tip #2: Avoid Prologues
  • Unless it has a very significant role in your story, try and stay away from prologues. They can be boring and have no real contribution to your story which makes the reader lose interest very quickly. If you can, avert prologues at all cost!
  • Tip #3: Never Use More Than Said to Carry Dialogue
  • Obviously you can also use asked or answered, but try and stay away from the really fancy verbs such as surmised or theorized because for one, some people might have no clue what the words means and two, it just drags out dialogue for no reason! You can definitely throw in a different verb to shake it up every once and a while, but be careful of overusing them.

Writing Prompt: There’s a wedding that needs to be stopped…

Writing Quote: Writing is the painting of the voice. – Voltaire

That is all I have for today and I hope you enjoyed another part of Camp NaNoWriMo Prep. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep #1

Camp NaNoWriMo is less than a month away so until then I will be posting lots of writing prep blog posts to help all of you get ready for this long writing journey ahead!

writing-cycle

Tip #1: Break Up Your Writing Time!

If you have trouble for writing for a long time, it can be helpful to break up your writing time throughout the day. When it comes to NaNoWriMo, the more time you spend writing the better, so if you want to try and get 2 hours of writing in a day try and break up your writing blocks to 30-45 minutes and have one in the morning, afternoon and evening. If you can write for a long time though then definitely just keep on writing!

Tip #2: Use a Thesaurus

If you don’t have a wide vocabulary (like myself) then it is handy to have thesaurus.com open or a thesaurus book nearby. Using more complex words than happy, sad, etc, can make your writing much more stronger which in the long run, will be very beneficial.

Tip #3: Write As If You Are On Deadline!

In NaNoWriMo you are on a deadline but if you don’t finish by the end of the month that’s okay because at least you tried. But if you write as if your book needs to be finished and handed into your agent by the end of the month, you may feel the urge to write more and more and more.

Helpful Writing Websites: http://www.writersdigest.com/ , http://writingfix.com/ , http://www.teenink.com/

Writing Quote: Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted – Jules Renard

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

NaNoWriMo is rapidly approaching us which means we have to stretch our fingers and pack our survival bags for this 50,000 word journey.

  1. Drinks and Snacks – I am not a big eater while I am writing but I love to have my tea beside me. So whether you want coffee for those late nights or cookies, make sure you have your supply stocked and ready for this writing storm.
  2. Your Notebook – I personally write all my notes in my notebook so I need that beside me to see where to take my story next. If you have your notes on your computer pull them up or print them out. You really just want to have them laying out in front of you so you can easily check back on your information.
  3. Soundtrack – If you can listen to music while writing you better start putting together your playlist. I like to sometimes write to low volume music and my playlist usually consists of Hamilton and an assortment of pop and indie music.
  4. Motivational Items – This is highly highly important because there will be a time where you hit a spot while writing and you loose all your motivation to keep writing. To help prevent this, search up some motivational quotes and tape them all around your writing area. Another way to motivate yourself is to print out some of your favourite pieces you’ve written and when you feel stumped, just give those a read and you will remember why you love writing in the first place.

That is all for my NaNoWriMo survival guide and I hope it helped you prepare for this busy, writing filled month ahead of us! If you are participating in NaNoWriMo(which you should) then comment down below!

 

NaNoWriMo Prep #3

Sorry I have been off the past week, I was super busy and found no time to even write a single blog post. Sadly, it is only getting busier but I am still going to try and post 6/7 days a week! Anyways, NaNoWriMo is next week, ahhh!!! I am honestly so excited and cannot wait to get started. For today’s NaNoWriMo prep, I will be sharing some tips and tricks on “first chapters” because those are extremely important.

When it comes to writing your first chapters, keep these things in mind:

-Start as far as you can into the action

-Have a great, intriguing opening line but also follow through with a great second line and so on

-Avoid clichés

-Make each chapter have a beginning, middle and end like a story

-End chapters on cliffhangers. You want your reader wanting to read more

When it comes to world building in your first chapters, you don’t want to go overboard but you do want to paint a pretty clear picture for your readers. Here are some tips to remember:

-Show what your character is seeing

-Again, make sure it has a role

-Avoid to much backstory or a simple list description

-Don’t try and explain to much in one chapter. You have plenty of time to show readers your world.

Those are a few tips on how to get through a first draft and I will most likely be posting one more writing prep so keep your eyes open!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up!

So Camp NaNoWriMo is over and I am really sad because I had so much fun writing this month! I was doing really really well with my writing and I was even ahead 9000 words but then everything started going downhill…I don’t mean that I hit writer’s block or anything I just mean that I went on an unexpected trip for an entire week without my computer…so yeah I did not complete my 50000 words. I’m okay with that, just because I was away but it would have been nice to finish. I ended with 40000 words so that isn’t too bad and I will definitely be continuing with my story. Just because NaNoWriMo is over until November does not mean you need to stop writing! Keep writing! Anyways, overall I am pretty proud with what I wrote and I hope you guys all had a fantastic Camp NaNoWriMo and I will be back with more NaNoWriMo blog posts in November so get excited!

Camp NaNoWriMo Writing Tips #4

Ahh Camp NaNoWriMo is almost over and I am starting to loose motivation so I decided to make another one of these writing tip posts in case any of you are doubting your work!

Writing Tip #1 – Running out of ideas for a story? Look at a picture and write about it. A picture tells a thousand words so you should easily be able to get your ideas flowing by doing this.

Writing Tip #2 – To improve your vocabulary which is very important for a writer, subscribe to online vocab building websites because you will be able to do activities that teach you knew words that you may be able to use in your story!

Writing Tip #3 – Doubting yourself? Give yourself a writing goal to achieve every week and if you complete it reward yourself. Example: Say your goal by the end of the week is 10,000 words and if you complete it then treat yourself to a chocolate bar, or an 10 minute longer break during writing. Whatever you want.

Writing Prompt of the Day – It was like nothing happened. He didn’t remember a thing and I was off the hook, or so I thought…(From WritingPrompt.com)

Writing Quote of the Day – “Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.” – Holly Gerth

Hope you guys liked this post and I hoped it help! If you have any writing questions don’t hesitate to ask!