Showing posts with label write. Show all posts
Showing posts with label write. Show all posts

Saturday, May 6, 2017

How To Make Characters Jump From Pages

I've been getting some questions about how to flesh out a character in a story. Writing a believable protagonist seems to be difficult for new writers but once you nail some basics, it becomes given. So I decided to write about some of the things that I do and consider when writing a new character.

1. Always introduce them first.


Nothing is worst for the reader than a character who is shoved in the story. Hey, it might work out fine but if you don't properly introduce him into the story, it might get hectic a bit further down the line. Now the way to do this, is to always have a scene that basically shows a bit of his personality and story as well. Start up a rumor upon his arrival, have them challenge the best, or bully the weak (in writing, please don't do this).

For example, let's say we want to introduce a bad ass character named "Flowers" -see the conflict at the very beginning? Bad ass conflicts with Flowers, so this should be a piece of cake (no pun intended... and this has nothing to do with the fact that I'm hungry)! Upon his arrival in the world or the place that the protagonist is, have them cause a stir, no one knows how to deal with this character who simply oozes badassry. Have them wear a top hat, and whenever they say something clever they flick it a bit.

Now, let's say this takes place in a tavern or an inn, and there is a fight. A bandit is bullying an old man, and every one just plays along and is laughing at this, to which Flowers intervenes, he flicks his top hat and says "My, what have we here? A bandit who knows no honor and good manners; what a surprise".

How does the bandit respond? By throwing a fist at our own Mr. Flowers, who quickly dodges, hold his arm and twists it, pushing him to the ground. Mr Flowers smirks and then twists even harder. "Would you like I teach you some?" he says as he glazes into the old man and winks at him.

"Who are you?" The old man asks, stuttering and nervous for some reason.

"Captain Flowers, at your service." he says as he loosened his grip on the bandit, and makes his way towards the exit.

"You're a Pirate? Here? I'm afraid you are in for trouble for assisting me . . . you see this place is ravaged by the likes of him," the old man says, pointing at the bandit.

"I know. I'm counting on it," Flowers says before he disappears.

Now, look at what we achieved with this short little scene that introduced a character that is simply too big to ignore as part of the scenery, we have established that he is the captain of a Pirate Crew, and that although he makes a living off of stealing ships and other... piracy things, he doesn't tolerate bandits -a thing that has apparently pushed him to come to a place where its full of them.

The reader will wonder about the goals of Mr. Flowers, why did he come here, and why the hell is his name so funny.

2. No character speaks the same.


This is a bit obvious, a character must have a unique tone to him, the way he says the letter "R" for example, and contrary to popular belief, dialog needs not to be perfect. "A charcatere, might speak however he desires, and is allowed to make mitsakes -I did that on purpose-" though don't think this is an excuse for bad grammar, it is literally quite the opposite. A Pirate for example would go like "Aye Captain, I be seeing a big and pretty island next to me eyes!" and the Captain could punch him straight in the face "why don't you speak like a normal person?" well, normal is boring.

Think of real individuals that you meet on a daily basis, although they speak the same language, none have the same backstory. Thus, a character must always be driven by a motivation. Something he lacks that he is after... whether that is revenge, power, lust or greed is up to you to decide, but seriously think about the key characteristics that differentiate your best friend from the rest and build it up from there.

3. How about you do an arc for each main character?


Seriously, you can do this as a subplot where they need to go back to the character's roots or home town just to figure out what went wrong/right in their life and try to see things from their perspective. It's a great way to add depth and weight to your book because the more time you spend flushing out the characters, the tougher it is for your readers when you kill them! Um... Sorry, reflexes...

By the time I finish properly introducing my characters, I'll sometimes be at the 40K mark depending on what I'm writing, but in the case of my current WIP, I did a character arc halfway through the book while shrouding her in mystery. Even her damn name changed everything for the protagonist. You can take your time with this really, but if you want to have that human connection to establish, readers have to know someone's why before they understand the how.

I've rambled quite enough, so if you got any questions on this, shoot me an email or find me on Twitter (where I'm most active) @infrangilis or you could just leave a comment here! I promise I'll respond, even if you tweet "The Penguin Overlord is watching you." at me. No but really, don't tweet that please.

Until next time,
Write on.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

What I accomplished in 2016 - Yearly




Happy New Year!


Okay, so let's start this with: happy new year everyone! I hope that the next year will bring you more joy than you could ever dream, and may you brim with not only confidence, creativity and focus, but also taste amazingly good food (food is life amirite?)!

So I thought a lot whether I should do a post about new year and at first, I didn't actually want to do it (being that I believe simply wishing new year resolutions is not only a waste of time but its like a comfort pill that we take at the start of every year for the sole purpose of feeling good about ourselves. So in the year 2016, I started around 14 different projects, and completely finished 9 of them, 6 of those are published currently.

Needless to say, I was already planning on making a list of everything I published during 2016, which is a good tracking measurement to be honest if not anything, and so I decided to share this with you! Call this the yearly review of what I have achieved (I'll also post the blurb or synopsis of every story along with the cover and link), but first let's begin with this:

Highlight of the Year:




Well, this kinda deserves its own post to be honest, and I was gonna plan on doing the moment this was done, but unfortunately, sometimes life sails in such a direction that you cannot possi... Okay fine, I'll do it pretty soon.

Anyways, this was seriously a great moment to me personally, I'll be sure to write about it next year (sorry, couldn't resist) but those aspiring authors was seriously the icing on the cake for me. To see such an enthusiasm for writing in such a small country is without a doubt something to be proud of, and I really hope I get to read their stories pretty soon!


Stories Published:


These are the titles that I completely managed to finish and are available for you to read right this moment! I tried to do this based on the order of when each got published, but oh well...


Minds: The Secret Society




In the fictional city of Ganea, a super detective by the name M exists. He is one of the most renowned detectives known for tackling cases that often others shy away from. But unfortunately, not even he, could escape the jaws of love.

Link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0173UW9YO


Dragon Tooth




Set foot upon the magical lands where Magic Guilds battle to the top! Dragon Tooth is one of three of the strongest guilds in the known lands. Follow a story of fantasy, principles and mighty battles!

Link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GP03GZY



Jack of Scurvy Bay





Jack of Scurvy Bay follows a young man's adventure and rise to power. His thirst for freedom and treasure drives him away from his home town, where they they often neglected any person who grew to have ambition. The authorities manage to catch and execute one of the most elusive pirates currently known in the world, and ironically, that thing is what sets Jack our hero to take on a life of piracy.

Link:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/665859



A Duck's Sacrifice




A Short Story intended for children, but then takes a very dark path. This is one of the first stories I ever wrote.

Link:
https://www.wattpad.com/216708795-a-duck%27s-sacrifice



Secret of the Moonlight




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.

Link:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/683013


Kind of the Land



A just King has struggled to have an heir to his kingdom, he is persuaded to summon a witch and gaze into the future, and see what happens. But needless to say, he didn't quite like what he saw, but regardless... Sometimes not even a king may alter destiny.

Link:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/691532


Other works (along with status):

These are some of the titles/stories that I began writing but either didn't publish yet or decided to cancel them all together. Keep in mind, a lot of these titles have been dissected and pieced in other stories or books that have been published.


New World: Beginning of a New Dawn
Status: 
On hold.

Description:
This is one of my favorite works as well. Back when I was mainly a scriptwriter, I had this idea and wrote the script to an amazing story (I'm biased here a bit...). It revolved around Sophon, an apprentice of a great leader that was recently executed by the Supreme Council and leads an open rebellion against them.


A Guilty Confession

Status:
Discarded.

Description:
This was the initial skeleton of Secret of the Moonlight and Minds, so think of it like it sacrificed itself to bring you two of my favorite stories so far!


Deathworker

Status:
To be started soon.

Description:
More info will be released soon.


A Tale of Horror (Title to be determined later)
Status:
Canceled.

Description:
I always wanted to write a horror flick. I started working on this story back in May, but decided to cancel it for the time being. It was about a girl trying to summon a demon simply to understand their world. Needless to say, things get quite out of hand very quickly.


Luna's Dream
Status:
Completed, will be published in early 2017.

Description:
It is a tale of a child that learns about Lucid Dreaming, and aims to master it in order to meet her late father. Soon though, she learns that her dreams are more than just dreams...


Fortier: Blood & Moon


Status:
Completed, will be published in early 2017.

Description:
Fortier is the story of Alfred Zeidan, a vicious, deadly and renowned vampire that secluded himself away from everyone for hundreds of years, until a message reaches him from his father calling for his return.
Part of him knew that this was about the Bertrams, another family of vampires that are fierce rivals and sworn enemies of the Zeidans, in fact the sole reason why he shunned the world he grew up with was because of the fighting and long standing feud between the two families.

But alas, he returns... for better or worst.


Titans: War for the World



Status:
Main Project, will be published in early 2017.

Description:
A dark epic fantasy that takes place in a world where might is the separator of the brave and the cowardly. Ancient history texts speak of prominent Titans who long controlled the world. It was not until King Magmar the First that their rule came to be challenged.

Needless to say, the Magmar dynasty prides itself in being the sole reason why mankind has flourished for as long as it did, casting away the false rulers for eternity . . . or so they thought.

Achievements Unlocked:

  1. Published my first novel.
  2. Nominated for multiple awards on Wattpad.
  3. Featured on Wattpad.
  4. Participated in Writers of the Future
  5. Met Chaker Khazaal
  6. Try out different sort of writing platforms (Wattpad, Smashwords, Amazon, Channillo -soon I swear-)
Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

To Anyone Who Could Be A Writer

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I've always wanted to write this post, and also forgive the lack of posts but I have a lot of good news coming your way! But for now, I felt that the time was right for me to write a message to anyone who could be a writer.

Writing is a form of art, and it has many categories you see, if you are already doing the work, that means you should definitely consider getting the most out of it. So to all of those who simply dream of becoming great poets or authors I say: wake up, it's time to get to work. The thing about writing is that it's a habit and not something you do every once in a while. In the words of Mr. Chaker Khazaal (the most influential Arab of the world) "writing is like praying, you shouldn't give an excuse as to why you're not doing it".

In my humble journey, I've been blessed to have met a lot of great individuals who have amazing talent, hopes and aspirations... But it's funny that these are the ones who are filled with doubt and consumed by the idea that for some reason they're not good enough. But what are they comparing themselves to? Traditionally published books go through at least a dozen rounds of editing, where every round consists of the following:

  1. Developmental Editing
  2. Copy Editing
  3. Proofreading 
If you believe that your work is sub-par to them, well of course it's going to be, since you are competing and comparing your own style of writing to others, it doesn't work that way. That's why we write the stories we want to read. WE the authors are the ones creating whatever world we want to create. We are the ones researching the materials we want to shed light on, so to compare yourself to another writer or more so your book to another is the worst crime you can commit to yourself. 

Some will love your work, others will not -that is a given, and that's the beauty of sharing your work with others, they're allowed to disagree with you, but you aren't allowed to quit because of it since the more you write the better you get. Think of it this way: every mistake you make, is one that you won't repeat in your future, so grind, write, make mistakes and learn from them!

That's all for now, 

Until next time,
Write on.

Monday, October 24, 2016

When I Met Chaker Khazaal The Most Influential Arab in the World

(Sorry for the low resolution picture, I seriously should've wiped the front camera)

On Wednesday 19th of October 2016, I met someone who I have wanted to meet for quite some time now. Not only an author, a journalist, speaker and champion for human rights and refugees, but also the most influential Arab in the world, Mr. Chaker Khazaal.

I went there, filled with questions, and I didn't hesitate to ask. Immediately, I said "do you feel a certain pressure about your title of being the most influential Arab in the world?" to which he answered "I don't think about it really, it's nice to be get these rewards of course, but that isn't why I do what I do. In the end, you just wake up and go to work."

He was extremely humble, down to earth and just simply amazing. Words cannot describe the feeling and sensation that you get by just being around him, you just feel incredible, invincible even. That maybe, all those voices in your head that fill you with doubt, get quashed by his aura. His story, is one worthy of remembrance.

So what happened then? I pounded him with one question after another, and I felt like he was my big brother, to whom I was just complaining about the hardships of publishing a book in the middle east, and what I got from him was to just keep on trying, and to never be ashamed of my work.

And then, I told him about the doubts that I had in my mind, and how it sometimes feels crazy and hectic. Sometimes, the inner doubts that one can have, are his only demons and obstacles to success... And then, he told to first, sign a copy of my book, and then READ him a part of it. It was an amazing exercise to be honest, and one that definitely helped. In his own words "I hope by doing this, you'll remember what you have done."

So in the end, I'd like to just say to every aspiring author out there, and to anyone who is having doubts about sharing their work... Just power through it! Remember who you are, be okay with making mistakes, learn from them and be the very best that you can be. Because in this day and age, we do not have the luxury of having an excuse why we didn't do something.

If you'd like to check out Chaker's book (which I totally recommend by the way, go over to www.chakerkhazaal.com

And to Chaker, I say: It was an honor meeting you, and I hope that we will meet again soon (and this time, have you sign my copy of 'Confessions of a War Child').

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The 3 Stages of Writing a Book



I decided to write this blog because a lot of aspiring authors assume that they're done with the book once they've finished writing it, and this couldn't be further from the truth.

First of all, writing is a process, and that includes a pre, during and post as any normal process has. A book, is no different in that regard. Now if you're going after a traditional publishing path then you'll be pardoned some of the work as the publisher will take care of editing and marketing for you (not all though, make sure you clear this with them) but if you're self-publishing, then you need to do it all.

1- Pre

Before you even begin writing the book, you have to take a number of things into consideration.

a. Do you have a readership base? If you don't, then you should definitely consider starting a blog, vlog, or sharing some of your stories on Wattpad in order to build an audience for yourself. Going into this blindly will affect your sales tremendously, as contrary to popular belief, books don't market themselves and they won't magically begin to sell when you hit 'publish'.

b. Outline the book, this could be as simple as a couple of sentences for each chapter. A general overview of the events that will take place in your book. For some, this is the most exciting phase of writing a book. Now, I understand that you'll probably hear a lot of advice telling you NOT to plot or outline, but keep in mind... those writers have written a lot that they do this step without them realizing it. (Stephen King being one of them).

2- During

This next step is what you'd expect: writing the damn thing. Have a daily quota and force yourself through it. Just write, chances are the first draft is not gonna be good but it doesn't have to be. You should NEVER share the first draft with anyone by the way (even your significant other). This is a very sacred stage during the writing process, and by the time you edit it about five times, you'll probably be more proud of it than ashamed. Remember, writer's block is bullshit and is a testimony of either lack of will, or lack of planning. Naturally, if you don't know where the story is going, you'll be stuck.

A good tip also, would be to share quotes or samples with your readers, just keep teasing them until the final release date.

3- Post

This is the step that has me consumed all day pretty much since the release of my debut novel. You gotta prepare lots of things. Get advanced reviews ready and send emails to your local bookstores. If you can't write an email to tell them about your book, you probably can't write it in the first place, and in my experience, local bookstores WANT to help writers. Just have a good cover, and edit, edit and edit.

I hope you find this useful, and if you have any questions or want to mention anything that I missed, be sure to leave it in the comments!

Until next time,
Write on.


Monday, April 18, 2016

5 Tips On How To Build A Convincing World


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One of the main issues that writers face when writing fiction is world building. It may be a writer's ultimate demise to be honest, however there are a couple of tips and tricks that you can use in order to make the world your writing about sound convincing. 

1- Explain everything. Whether it involves magic, or a mysterious old knight who was banished from his village for bringing dishonor to it by commanding a band of warriors and challenging the throne. Give lots of back information but make sure that it is not an info dump. Explain the complexiity through simple means. Be it a foreigner who doesn't know the traditions of a country (to which is explained to) or through flashbacks. 

2- Either start with everyone knowing, or everyone is shocked to know. If your world contains magic, you might want to start in a way that it is something that has been absorbed by the community all along and everyone is aware of it. You can then explain the limitations (I'll to it in a minute) through either combat or carefuly crafted dialog. 

3- Limitations. Always have golden rules that cannot be broken, and put imitations to hinder the characters from being overpowered. For example, a wizard's strengh may be determined by his energy, willpower or some sort of mana mechanism. 

4- Craft good shocks, not unbelievable ones. Having your protagonist suddenly discover that they have that ONE legendary spell that can take every opponent down just when they are in a pinch is somewhat annoying and shocks the readers out of the world. "But couldn't he have used it before?" these sort of questions if they leak into your readers, you lose them.

5- Everyone loves exploring. I found that one of the bst ways to make the readers fall for your world, is to have your protagonist at one point explore the world! Discover different cultures and have complex societies with their own certain rules. You can be wild. Have a city where slaves are the masters even though they are slaves. Did I make sense? No. Does it matter? Nope. 

That's all for now,

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!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Book Review: Manuel of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Colheo

http://www.santjordi-asociados.com/sites/default/files/Warrior%20of%20Light.jpg

I've been a fan of this author for a very long time, since the Alchemist. His story alone is enough to inspire every author in the world to believe in himself and just go for his dreams. Anyways, I've read this a long time ago and thought I would share with you my opinion.

Manuel of the Warrior of Light is an incredible piece written by Paulo Colheo, and it follows the events surrounding a person who meets an angel like figure that he instantly connects with, and spends a long time trying to look for her again. Years and years pass and the guy had finally moved on, but eventually, he goes to the place where they would meet (having came to terms with the fact that he would never see her again) and behold. She is waiting for him.

Not a day older, she hadn't aged at all. When he asks about her, she responds by giving him a notebook that is empty, and she asks him to write about the Warrior of Light.

This book not only is helpful, but the intro alone is enough to send shivers down your spine. It's not a 'book' per say, but a book of quotes and their explanation as to how an ideal individual would behave, think and feel in a world like ours.

If I had to make a bold statement, I would say that this book is his personal views and hard learned lessons that he wanted to pass on to every person who was dear to him.

All and all, the Manuel of the Warrior of Light is sure to give you a pleasant read throughout, and you are bound to see yourself in some of the quotes as clear as the sun (during daytime... I know... just in case).

4.5/5

Until next time,
Write on

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Answering Your Writing Questions - Part 1

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For this week, I decided to take to Twitter, and answer five questions from the popular hashtag #AskAuthor. Keep in mind these will be my opinion only. I'll try to answer to the best of my abilities, but it will be just that. My opinion. Which you might agree with, and you might not. It's fine.

Q.1 What are you reading right now, and how is it impacting your writing?
I've actually just finished reading "Paladin" by Sally Slater, which has been a phenomenal read to be honest. I've finished that book in 2 days and it left me wanting more. To be honest, had I not finished writing Dragon Tooth, I would not have read it (whenever I'm writing a specific genre, I don't like to read anything related as to not have my mind be affected by the tiniest bits). While it was just an incredible read in something that I found very interesting (the politics, the choices... the characters seemed all too real) and I had a little taste how it feels to kill a character from the other side (my oh my, how pissed I was!).
Q.2 How do you come up with a title for your book?
Well, some writers really struggle when it comes to coming up with a title for their book, but I don't, honestly. You just gotta relax and let it flow, write, write and write. The title will come to you eventually. It might be just as you finished writing it, or sometimes even before you started it. When it came to Secret of the Moonlight(which you can read for FREE on Wattpad!) for example, the title was ready way before I wrote even a sentence. While Dragon Tooth, came to me when I finished the first chapter. Remember, your title has to be unique and catchy. Something that grabs attention. Try to also avoid silly names or parodying another popular book... for example (Throne of Games). Always remember to Google your title, before settling on it.
Q.3 When writing a novel, do you first make an outline? If so, do you stick to it? 
 I find that an outline definitely helps me power through anything I write because ultimately I know where I'm going. But even when that sometimes can be too restrictive, I don't feel burdened by it so occasionally, I might change a few details here and there as I'm writing (if it makes total sense, and not just because I want to change something) but I would say I stick to the outline about 85% of the time. I've had a lot of instances where I wanted to reverse something, but I just fought the urge because I knew that everything that happened was playing to a bigger end. It's much more easier to create a well founded story, rich with twists from the planning board.
Q.4 Is Blogging Still Relevant for Writers and Authors?
 Absolutely, blogging I think is a very important aspect and step in building a readership and have somewhere that anyone can go back to the writer and read more from him. It means a lot to readers actually, and almost every famous and established writer does this (George R R Martins as well!).
Q.5 A few beta-readers keep suggesting to change particular scenes in my novel and I'm not sure what to do...
It's very important to listen to your beta readers, but also to know who to approach. Someone who reads non-fiction would give you horrible advice when it comes to fiction for example. You gotta ensure that the beta reader is actually a fanatic of the genre you are going into. But still, it generally means something no matter what. The best advice I can give regarding this will be in the form of a quote by Neil Gaiman "When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."

That's it for this post, if you'd like to see more questions, feel free to throw them at me at m@infrangilis.com or simply leave a comment. I plan on doing this a bit more frequently.

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, January 19, 2016

5 Things To Do To Organize Your Writing

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Keeping my ideas organized has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a writer by the way, by profession, this is something that everyone should do.

I find that being organized adds a lot of value and impact in the long run, and there are a number of ways I keep mine in check:

1- I have a big board in my room that is full of markings and future plans. No matter how silly you think the idea is, always write it down. Chances are, in the future you'll come to a point eventually when you are stuck and need ideas (where this will be perfect. You can mash up a couple of ideas that fit and flesh your story out more).

2- I have a mini-fridge (worst investment I have ever made by the way) that I use for this as well, I use magnets to hang one-page outlines on it. Create a challenge for yourself, create as many one page outlines as you can, or you can write your goals or ideas for future scenes in your novel/story. Hanging them will give you the urge to finish them just so you can feel the rush of taking one out. Food, and beverages won't hurt too.

3- I have the "Book of Secrets" which is a notebook that I always keep close to me, and write all ideas, tips, and observations regarding anything I encounter in it. Someone once said "if you write it, you don't have to remember it" which is the perfect excuse to do this (for the lazy ones). You'll always encounter challenges, or be taught lessons whether its from YouTube videos (yes Jenna Moreci, we're looking at you) or random lists on the internet. Even quotes on Twitter too (#amWriting #writerTips).

4- I keep a separate document for large projects that is basically a 'cheat sheet'. For Dragon Tooth, I have "Dragon Tooth: World Information" which lists all the guilds and characters in the story. Having a one place go to like this will definitely keep you in track or how the story is going. This will help tremendously when you take those long breaks (which we all know you take).

5- Outline, outline, and outline! Outline your entire story, novel, book or script. Anything that needs writing, needs outlining. It makes you focused and determined to finish because you know how it ends basically. One will never understand the importance of this step unless they start writing a novel of around 70K words and they lost track of the events that took place previously and have to re-re-re-read the entire thing again just to ensure there are not plot holes.

These are my top five methods of how to organize my writing. Always remember: it's better to write it, than to remember it.

This is all for now, if you have any questions, remember you can drop me a line anytime and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Write on,
InfranGilis

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Spark of Writing - How To Get Inspired To Write

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Being inspired to write can be one of the most difficult tasks ever. Sometimes, the spark is just not there and anything you write isn't up to par with your standards and expectations. 

Well, so what. Keep on writing, even if its annoying at first, it is almost never as bad as you think. For me personally, I listen to some soft music, turn off all the lights, light a candle and focus a blue light on my keyboard. That seems to do the trick and get me inspired.

Other times, ideas just pop in my head and I would link them to real life events or even personal experiences and just go from there. If the story doesn't excite me, then I don't write it. I shelve it until I can combine it with something better and have it be more awesome. 

A perfect example would have to be "Minds: the Secret Society" where the story initially followed a strange path with it being just a silly story about me killing people. But, it then evolved as something in real life happened, and I could just see it fit in really nicely with Minds. I then re-wrote it and now it is what it is. 

The inspiration has to come from within, for example, if I don't have a story or something in particular that I want to deliver to my readers, then the story is just words on paper. It doesn't have life or essence. 

Explore, read and delve deep in every topic that interests you, whether it's the news or anything similar. Chances are that you will be able to get a sense of a story when stumbling upon things that give you that spark of interest and sets you on the path to conquer greatness!

Write On,
InfranGilis

Friday, September 4, 2015

How To Write A Compelling Story


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Many writers struggle when writing a story and they just can't seem to get the plot, lessons and values carefully embedded in a story. Often, the stories are just predictable and throughout this blog, I'll hopefully go through how you can surprise the audience even when having a cliche.

This will focus on fiction, but it can easily be used and adjusted to suit any genre there is.

1- You should power and jump straight in! 

Most writers spend tremendous amount of time trying to explain the world they have created that they bore the reader with details they don't need the instant they pick the book. Jump right in! Explain the world through the progression of the story... the rules, the fights, the conflicts. Introduce the world through the actions and have them integrated IN the story. The best example I can think of is to have an outsider, and have your character take them through the basics.

Example:

Person A is from another continent and doesn't know anything about the customs and rules of <City>. He gets in trouble and does something that is socially unacceptable, and gets saved by Person B (a citizen) who then goes on to explain to him the rules.

It's still challenging however to embed this in the story without sounding boring. So, what you can do is make it more exciting to the reader and have Person A joke and ridicule their methods and how they live. Your readers will be able to relate better to the character this way.

2- Write complex imperfect characters!

Write imperfect characters! Because perfection = boredom in fiction. You want to have your character someone who the reader can relate to, just think about it, how many perfect people have you met so far? None!

Also, give your character a tone, motives, objectives and even hidden agendas so that the reader gets confused as to what they are hiding. Don't introduce lots of characters and then kill them (*cough*...) just use any character that you have already. It's much better to keep the story to as little characters as you can.

Often heroes are so overpowered that the bad guys don't have that much of a chance anyways, however do something different... make your protagonist the underdog for a change or have them go through hell. Have an opponent play at his weaknesses and just when their about to lose, their best friend ends up betraying them! Readers love these occurrences because they want to see how the character reacts. Have your readers care for your character... and you have succeeded at creating a complex character.

3- Always end with a bang!

Often called cliff-hangers. Always end a chapter while the reader wants to read more. Just when there is a huge reveal... just when someone powerful enough comes sending the bad guy flying... stuff that would make the reader thirst for more. For me personally, I always try to end each POV with a "bang" making the reader anticipate everything on every little end.

Don't be afraid to end the chapter in the heart of the action as well as ending it with an upset.  It's often a good idea to break the chapter into parts to control the pace, as sometimes when the pace is high enough the writer just powers through the story out of excitement but unfortunately it ends up being a disappointment, because the reader kept anticipating bigger and more exciting events to happen.

Build excitement, when the pace is getting too high.

4- Plot, plot, plot, and plot!

Before even writing, you must have a plot written down, even if its just one sentence... for example the plot for Mario is that "a princess gets kidnapped, and Mario sets out to save her". Try to establish the purpose of the story early one in order to get lots of room for twists. For example, you could build the story so that Mario is desperate to go save the princess at all costs. Going through all challenges and enemies on his way, but as soon as he finds the princess... she confesses that she does not want to go back. She wasn't kidnapped... she left.

See? That makes the writer able to write compelling and disturbing twists if he knows what the reader is anticipating and expecting, it makes it easier to break those thoughts surprising them with more and keeping them on their toes.

5- Don't be afraid to KILL your characters!

Yes, you heard me right. Don't be afraid to kill your characters. I know it's difficult and that I am a horrible person to even suggest it, but believe me the cliche of having a person always survive a situation no matter how bad it seems just takes the realism out of it. It makes the reader predict how the story will end just because you wouldn't let the person die!

Sometimes, no matter how bad the situation is, the hero is in the wrong place at the wrong time however, the audience doesn't even feel a thing because they know the "hero" will always survive. Take Game Of Thrones here for a second... can you predict who lives or dies? Exactly. It should be real, if the character does something, goes somewhere or does anything completely stupid... chances are they are gonna die. And it's that realism that I believe every fiction has to include.

Why? Because first of all, the idea of death is real enough for every reader, and once they see that your book is no different, they will start to care for the characters more because at any moment, they might just die!

I have to be honest here, I have killed more characters than I can remember, and every time I do it, I feel horrible... which reminds me that I am actually a good guy because I felt the death of the character I had just killed off in the most horrible way possible... Well, it's the thought that counts!

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.