Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

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I had a couple of interesting discussions to say the least with a couple of friends about NaNoWriMo and generally, they were quite pissed off at me at the end. Let me explain...

What is it?

First, if you don't know what it is, NaNoWriMo is basically this ritual during the month of November where writers take a pledge to write and finish an entire novel. Yeah, one month, one novel. It couldn't be better than as if you were ordering food from your favorite restaurant (what? I'm a bit hungry at the moment, don't mind the metaphor).

So, my friends asked me if I was going to "take the pledge" this time seeing as I'm already working on my second book and stuff, and they were next to shocked when I told them "I hate it."

Look, I get it, the whole idea and concept behind this is to motivate writers to simply write and get them practicing and whatever. But the fact of the matter is, a good novel cannot be written in one month! Holy shit, if you could do that why not write a book every single month as opposed to focusing on only one? And don't start with the "that's not the point" bull...

I write about 1.5K words a day (and on a good day I write about 3K), so in theory I should be able to do this quite easily. But my problem with this is, that writers who plan on participating often plan the book ahead. They plot it out extremely well and then it's simply a matter of finishing a draft. Good? Yeah I guess. So if you can plot a book so well as to finish it in one month, why are you not doing it as a standard practice?

Why I hate it?

I think it's really demeaning for other writers when they hear about NaNoWriMo. Shouldn't every month be considered a month of writing? It seriously belittles the amount of research, hard work, re-write and editing that authors do when it comes to writing. It is just not as simple as they make it sound to be. Finishing a novel in one month? Seriously? And the excuses that you get "I would write a book every month if I had the time" - Ah! They lose simply by pleading to that excuse.

In the end, I'm really not against NaNoWriMo or anyone who participates in it, in fact power to them for actually getting a draft completed in such a short time but I just don't see myself putting that much pressure on myself (books... you see are really evil). I just have a problem with the message that they portray to the rest of the world.

These are totally my own opinion, and if you disagree with me, then let me know. Leave a comment, or tweet me. Let's talk about it.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tips on Character Development

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One of the questions that I get sometimes is how to create complex characters that don't all sound the same, and if you're wondering (but Mo, it's just text! What is this sound you speak of) I hope you had your fun... you freakin legend.

Anyways, in all seriousness, having a number of characters in a story is accompanied by a lot of different factors and risks. For example, think about your friends in real life, and how even when two people sometimes act the same, and even have the same voice tone but they have that one thing that separates them from the rest. 

No two persons can be alike in a story. This can be translated in the way they say their dialog or key personality traits. Let's take Vendel from Titans (You can check it on Wattpad by the way). Even when technically she is the main protagonist, most readers find her extremely annoying and childish. It's the way she approaches problems and the first impression that she gives.

The first scene that we are introduced to Vendel is when she's attending a class, daydreaming about joining the military. What happens next? She almost gets killed for simply not keeping her mouth shut. Now let's pause for a moment and wonder how many people you know, get in trouble for simply not keeping their mouth shut? A bunch, I'm sure.

That is different than say another character who is calculative and is not impulsive at all, and observes the situation and all options (you can even show the reader what he's thinking) while analyzing the best course of action to take from there. For example, lets say you have two characters: Adam, and Eve (I know... just bear with me) and Adam is impulsive and acts solely on instinct while Eve is the calculative one, and they both happen to see a thief.

Adam would stop him, and simply report him to the authority. He would say something along the lines "How dare you steal the work of others! How selfish can you truly be?".

While Eve, would interrupt him and say "Cut it out! Don't you care why he stole in the first place? What if he was stealing this for his family?"

Now, just like this, we are creating a moral dilemma as well as fleshing out the characters. Who is right and who is wrong? Adam technically wasn't wrong in that stealing is bad, but Eve is the sort of person who would notice the thief's stench and torn cloths and make the assumption that he was stealing because he had no other choice.

Consider this a lot, the base trait of every certain character is extremely important and cannot be altered. A weak person cannot be strong just like that. They must be hardened or the opposite. A cold hearted person might be softer if he (for example) sentences someone to death and later on learns that they were innocent (the opposite is true as well).

You can always use character sheets if you struggle with this, but if you keep each character true to their base trait, you should be more than fine.

Until next time,

Write on!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

5 Hidden Pokemon Go Tips

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Okay, so I know that my blog is mainly for writing usually (and the weekly Tuesdays will not change) but I decided to do a bonus post seeing as I'm really addicted to Pokemon Go. Now, I know there are a lot of people who talked about tips and hidden features, but I'm writing this out of my own personal experience.

1- There are two good ways to catch Pokemon very quickly. Once you click on it, starting throwing the ball at him repeatedly (before the screen is loaded). There is about 90% chance that the ball will hit with a 'Nice', 'Great' or even 'Excellent' sometimes. And well, the other is simply Curveballs (which give you an additional 10exp).

NOTE: I'll probably have a gif by tonight to show how to do the Curveball and well... I call it the "Fast Throw". So definitely check this post later on.

2- Taking over gyms, with friends. Grab a friend or two when you plan on going on a Gym rampage. If all of you fight at the same time, you can actually cooperate and fight the Gym Pokemon together (making the battle much MUCH easier).

3- Properly defending a Gym. When you plan to defend a Gym with your friends, make sure that everyone puts a certain type that is opposite to what comes next. For example (Fire - Water - Electric - Ground). If you stretch this long enough, it'll drag the fight endlessly, and your opponents will simply give up due to the strategy needed to take the Gym.

4- 10K Eggs. Do not start hatching these eggs at a low level, instead wait until you are above level 15 (basically that's when you can get 1K+ CP rare Pokemon). This will probably put you ahead of a lot of people as well, transforming you into a beast of a trainer.

5- Pokemon with Special Moves. You might think the only plus to catching duplicates of the same Pokemon that you have is to simply transfer them back and get that 1 candy that you so deserve, but actually some Pokemon are way more useful than the rest. Just pay attention to their special moves (which can be vital during a battle).

BONUS TIP 6- Team Mystic rocks.

That's all, if you would like me to continue and write another 5 tips, don't forget to share and comment!

[EDIT] One of the tips was debunked actually right after I posted this, it is about the special/rare Pokemon that have a blue aura behind them.



See the blue aura behind Squirtle? It turns out that it doesn't mean that it's a rare kind of Squirtle, but actually just a recently caught one (if you sort your Pokemon by most Recent, you'll be able to confirm this - courtesy of Bruce Kraemer).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tips on Story Writing - Inner Conflict


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For this week's post, I thought I would... Oh right... I guess I have to explain why I missed a couple of blogs right? Okay... Here goes... Pokemon Go. Alright, now that we got that out of the way, let's get to this week's post!

Story writing can involve a lot of different factors, it's not simply just outlining correctly or writing interesting characters and develop them well, there are some things as well.

The world you create!

I know I've talked about this a couple of times before, but I really cannot stress this enough. Even the most basic things would give life to your story. Let's talk about zombies (because who doesn't like zombies right? I mean, thank god Twilight didn't have zombies in it).

Say for example you're writing a story about a zombie outbreak. Now consider the current world status about every issue out there. No matter how silly or idiotic a concept may seem to you, it may very well appeal to someone else (some will try to control it, in order to generate money from it, and others will follow because of their kind hearts which are easily misled).

What the hell am I talking about? Organizations. I am welling to bet that SHOULD a zombie outbreak occur nowadays in the 21st century and after a load of games that prepared us for that possibility... we would have people speak for zombie rights (not hinting at anything, just trying to make a point).

There would just have to be people speaking for how we should contain zombies and that we may not have the technology to save them now, but it might be possible to conjure a cure in the future, and so we should not remember zombies as the wild beasts that they are but the loving people who they once were.

Who knows, they may be right, and I may even side with them, but that's not the point here. It's about how to create an inner conflict in the reader. On one side, zombies are killing people, and trying to rescue them may actually cause a death or two (or you know... mass extinction of the human race) but the reader cannot help but feel like there has to be a cure!

By providing two sides into every situation, you are getting the reader to subconsciously make choices and form opinions. What decision are they supporting? Who are the characters who take this cause as their burden? These can prove to be a vital ingredient to a story.

I hope you find this useful.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tips on World Building - The Skeleton

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I decided to do a segment on World Building, which is by far one of the most important aspects of any story, regardless what genre it is. I'll be sharing tips as well on how to make an imaginary world believable in a set of posts, so the first part is:

The skeleton.

Before you start any story, an important aspect to consider is how the world is shaped, what is it called, what is the dominant religion, how wealth is distributed and so on.

Knowing the cities and villages of a continent can give you clear directions on where the characters are going, and what they should do. That is why before I write a story, I draw a little map on my whiteboard and name the countries, cities, villages, forts whatever the landscape will have. Always keep in mind that, wealth is never shared equally. If there is a wealthy person, then that is because someone got poor because of him.

If you need any tips, pay attention to the current world state of our own little planet. That is:

1- People will always disagree.
2- There will always be an organization to protect something (environment, earth day and so on...).
3- For someone to be rich, another must be poor.
4- Power corrupts, so the ones in charge have a huge chance of being complete assholes.
5- There is no evil. A good person may do an evil deed, and vice versa (it just depends).
6- Humans fear the unknown. If your world has humans, then they ought to behave like them too.

These are only the first ingredients of the world you're building, other things to consider are basically how much control do the common people have, do they have an activist hero fighting for their rights or equality? How secure their everyday life is?

Stay tuned for more!

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

3 Tips on Self Publishing - How to Publish Your Book For Free!

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As the release date of Dragon Tooth is right around the corner, I thought I could share some tips that I picked up along the way with you guys.

First, self-publishing is done through CreateSpace which is an amazon company that basically lets you publish your book for free. What's the catch? There really isn't. Since it'll be POD (print on demand) meaning that once an order is made, a book is printed and shipped directly to the buyer. You get your cut, they get theirs, everyone's happy.

So here are my top 3 tips for self-publishing authors:

1- Keywords are important. These are the secret recipe that your future readers will use to find your book. It's always important to research this fully. Never underestimate those annoying boxes that you need to fill. I think that CreateSpace lets you add five tags, so make sure to use them wisely!

For example, you can use this link to identify the top results for Amazon's Science Fiction/Fantasy keywords, so definitely check this link:

Amazon KDP Top Keywords - Fiction

2- Make your title standout. Okay, I know that this is more easier said than done, but consider having a unique title for your book. Something that would instantly grab anyone's attention. Many authors opt to include keywords from popular TV shows and books and just play around with them, and while that might get you their attention, you would come off not only as uninspiring but rather desperate as well.

Integrate some top keywords that you can find into it, by all means. But no "Throne Games" or "Hairy Pot" please.

3- Edit, edit and edit. I really cannot stress this enough. Get a professional editor to go through your manuscript no matter what happens. There are always editors who charge way less than any company would and these guys would be the go to in my opinion. If you are going to compete with traditionally published authors, you cannot afford to leave silly mistakes in it.

And trust me, it happens. Most likely since you are so accustomed to what you are writing, your brain doesn't see what's on the paper (or document) but sees what you want to see. Either that's a premise of another short story that I'm gonna write, or it's some scientific thing.

Or I don't know, perhaps it's both.

Until next time,
Write on!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Short Story: Secret of the Moonlight

Hey everyone! I'm really excited to let you know that you can read Secret of the Moonlight exclusively (and free) on Wattpad! This the third short story that I had previously planned to release but I figured, just to publish it so you guys can enjoy it and get a sense of what to expect in anything I write! I will leave you with the cover, and the link to read it on Wattpad!

(P.S I will probably add a new page where you can download posters of any stories you like, so if there is anything on your mind, now is the time).



Blurb: 

A number of unsolved cases demand the attention of a famous detective, known for tackling a lot of mysterious with success. His success rate has garnered him enough reputation that criminals fear. Isabelle is the girlfriend of Calvin Greyson, son of the well-known Jack Grayson, and after he receives a threatening letter, she runs off to the police to seek their help.

Until next time,
Write on!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

3 Things You Need To Know Before Writing Anything


There are a lot of challenges that can halt your progress when starting a new project, whether it is a short story, a novel or even a blog that you want to start. So I decided to talk about some of the common issues and how to best deal with them and get something achieved.

1. Plan your project!
This is literally the most important aspect of every project you want to start, even if it doesn't involve writing even. Stories are the same, there is not a single writer who doesn't do this before starting a project. For some, an outline works while for others they feel its too restrictive and doesn't give the writer the freedom to do what they want (assuming they want to change things when writing). But the fact of the matter is, even those who don't outline usually have a seperate document that helps them remember all the important details that need to be stated. It can be a list of every character in the story (which is updated as the writing is going) or even just a rough draft. Always remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

2. Have content at the ready!
If you're planning a blog, launch it when you have enough content to cover at least three months ahead. This will give you the option to edit whatever you want (if there is an important event that you need to blog, you can simply push the schedule ahead a bit). This will do wonders, seriously. It'll give you a breathing point for those times when you are most likely too busy to write. You don't have to freak out, you're covered. But have a goal of writing one post a week at the very least.

In terms of stories or novels, write down any idea that you have on paper. I always have at my disposal these half finished stories which are based on a single idea. Just note it down, it'll make sense later on for when you feel something is terribly missing somewhere but you can't identify it. I did this with Minds: the Secret Society, and quite recently Secret of the Moonlight where I used a part I had already written and merged the stories together (and they make perfect sense as well).

3. Know where you are going!
Whether it is noting down goals, or plot lines, if you don't know to which port you are sailing, you will never arrive. Have a destination, or a meaning behind whatever project you want to start. Ask yourself what do you want the readers to get out of after finishing the story/blog? This will do wonders to improve your writing.

I plan to do more of these posts as well. Also, for next week, I'll be taking some questions from Twitter and answer them. These will be completely random, and I'll prepare a hashtag as well in case you want to ask me something (I'll probably check the questions sent to my email first). This can be anything from self-publishing tips, or hacks to questions regarding book covers and blurbs!

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Writing a Short Story VS Writing Novel

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There are many different aspects to consider when writing a short story, and a novel. They are two completely different genres which require their own unique style in story telling. Personally, I think of short stories as exercises which one can do in order to get in that culture of finishing a piece, whether its 1K words, or 10K words or even a 100K one.

One of the main challenges when writing a novel is to actually flush it out in a way that is still engaging. Any sentence you write should build up for something larger or give hints towards something that needs explaining; you simply cannot get away with writing fillers in a novel (stuff completely irreverent to the story just for the sake of increasing the word count).

In short stories, you can actually get away with a lot of things, for example you can skip an entire battle or a change in sequence... moving forward with the story in just around 500 words (something that cannot be forgiven in a novel). Some might argue that this does not reflect good practices, to which I say, who the hell sets the rules for writers? We ourselves do.

Think of it like this: in a short story, you can sum up a huge event with its outcome and just proceed to the aftermath. In a novel, you have to explicitly describe everything that happened, no excuses!

Writing short stories is always fun, as you essentially get the culture of actually finishing a project, and that momentum is what gets you going when you're writing a novel. You will never improve if you keep writing in your comfort zone... you have to extend it and explore different genres in order to increase your vocabulary.

Until next time,
Write On.

Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Tips For Aspiring Writers

So, I've been working since 2013 on a short novel called "Dragon Tooth" and recently finished chapter 4 out of 6 planned. As I gave this to a few close friends to see what they thought of so far, I've had a lot of questions about the experience of writing this since 2013. Normally, the first question raised is "Are you nuts? Since 2013?" and my answer is yes, but... it comes with benefits as well. I thought I would share with you a couple of tips for anyone who is thinking about/is writing a novel.

1- Plot it all out. Often, writers do the mistake of taking the story for granted thinking "It's all in my head". Well, you're wrong and it shouldn't be just in your head. It'll all be incredibly easy once you plot it all out and write it all down. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, just the basics of how the story begins, progresses and ends. A writer should always know how their story will eventually plan out.

2- Do NOT edit what you write. Okay, I have to explain. Writing and editing are two different things, and they are different. Of course you should get it edited but not as you write. Concentrate on getting the novel done FIRST and then go back editing it as much as 2 or even 3 times. What this does is, it builds a strange trap for the writer that whatever he is writing needs to be edited and often hinders the process of getting it done. Yes, your un-edited copy will suck, but that's the beauty of it, you're not supposed to show it to other people until you have edited it at least 2 times.

3- Create compelling characters. Readers have many different tastes because they are different human beings naturally. Your novel can't be the same guy but under a different name everytime. Have someone wicked who lies, cheats, and even kills people just because he feels like it. Then give yourself the challenge to humanize the character in a way that readers will show sympathy towards him for being who he is!

4- "Show and don't tell". Okay, this is one of the golden rules in writing, and it doesn't matter if it's a script, a screenplay OR a novel. One of the biggest mistakes amature writers make is how they actually describe actions and emotions. They TELL the reader what the character is feeling instead of showing it. Example? Here:

"The man quickly stood up and punched the wall." - Weak.

"The man pulled away from his chair in an instant, clutched his fists and drove them into the wall. Cold sweated, there he stood." - Yes!

Notice how you get to FEEL the emotion and not just read it? Also note that we could add more dramatic effect while describing the action afterwards.

5- Too much dialog! Never think that a good story has good dialog alone. A good story consists of believable characters, where they each have charactaristics, motives and hidden goals or agendas. The reader should understand the point of the dialog. Never forget that its a very important tool writers use to explain the world or the struggle to the readers. Yes yes, here's your example:

"Why are you doing this?!" Person A said.

"I want to go south, because the princess is there and I want to save her, I thought you knew that" Person B replied.

"But you didn't answer the question, why do this?"

"Because there is something more to this than you think."

Okay, that wasn't so bad. But what if we actually use words to explain more about the hidden motive that you and I both know Person B has?

"Why are you doing this?!" Person A said, as he kept eying PERSON B.

"To save the princess. Why else?" Person B replied with a tone that brook no argument.

"You're not answering the question Person B...", Person A said.

Person B turned his face and a smirk wore his face as he exited the hall.

Muuuch better. A little mystery is always healthy and will do wonders to the story. It's always better to give the reader the ability to invest emotionally in the characters. Who would they root for? Person A or Person B? What is Person B trying to gain by saving the princess? All these are healthy questions that the reader will think of, and of course if you can instil an idea in someone's mind, you can easily break it afterwards.