The last 10 years

Inspirational, Nanowrimo, Writing
Today's goal is to learn more about your setting with an eye towards things that specifically influence your story. The idea is that elements from the history you create today will be implemented in your novel and might help give it a better shape and you some more knowledge on the locale. So grab a pen and paper and write about what's happened in your chosen setting over the last ten years. Depending on your story, this setting could be as large as a world or as small as a single nobleman's house. What's important is that you find a character who was old enough to be fully aware and have knowledge of the world during the last ten years, and get them to explain the history to you in…
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Diving into your character’s mind

Nanowrimo, Workshops, Writing
Hopefully by now you have a fairly solid main character to work with if nothing else. You want to know that character as well as you possibly can before you start writing your actual novel. This is particularly important if all you have is a character, because an entire novel can spring up naturally around a good character you know well. Their family, friends and lovers can become characters and their lives can become plots. You can either discover a period of their life worth writing about, or you can learn how they react to things and throw them an entirely new challenge that will test their strengths. Every writer uses different techniques to get into their character's minds. Some use character interviews, others create detailed character charts. Some even…
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Creating Goals That Match Your Definition of Success

Goal setting, Inspirational, Writing
In light of the upcoming new year, I've been talking a lot about success lately. I've talked about how to define your success and how to identify the keys to your success. Now that you have an idea of what your success looks like, it's time to figure out how you're going to move towards that goal in 2013. Every writer needs goals. Without goals, you have no idea where you're going--and no idea what accomplishments to celebrate. But creating your own success--and nobody else is going to do this for you, so it's crucial you focus on this--doesn't come from a list of goals chosen at random. It comes from a list that is designed to get you closer to your own definition of success, based on the keys…
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Identifying the Keys to Your Success

Goal setting, Inspirational, Writing
The keys to your success are the stepping stones on your journey. These things are usually the same for anyone pursuing the kind of success you are. For example, a fiction writer's keys to success includes writing short stories and submitting regularly. A freelance writer's list might include researching a variety of topics and querying a variety of markets about different articles. While each individual's goals will be more specific than this because everyone's exact definition of success is different, the keys to success will be almost identical for people aiming to reach the same career or financial/emotional place in their lives. Today I'd like you to consider what the keys to your success might be. While the most important thing is to look inward and ask yourself how you…
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Bringing your Ideas Together

Nanowrimo, Workshops, Writing, Writing
Earlier this week we went over a few ways to find ideas for your Nanowrimo novel. With any luck you successfully used one of the brainstorming techniques I mentioned on Monday and came up with a few ideas or managed to flesh out an idea you already had. Today I'd like to help you organize those ideas. While having a mind map or a right brain left brain list is great and either can be used as a basic guide, a linear list of ideas--or a few lists consisting of different categories of ideas--is sometimes more helpful. Personally, my mind maps tend to be horribly disorganized and messy, so I myself will be doing this exercise as soon as I finish writing this post. First, you need to find a…
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Creating a Plan B

Every blogger--or other writer who's actually expected to produce something regularly--should have a plan B for when things hit the fan. Rather than a small white pill, the plan B for a writer should be a back up of writing: a collection of spare blog posts, article drafts, half-finished fanfiction chapters ready to be rounded out at any moment, or whatever else you're expected to publish on a regular basis. I haven't always been the greatest at this. For the last two weeks I've missed blog posts due to crisis situations--and because I didn't have a plan B. I should have had at least three spare blog posts on hand. I didn't, and therefore my blog sat unloved for a day. So last week, instead of beating myself up over…
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Fiction Prompt January 20th

Prompts, Short Fiction
While I am hoping to use several of these prompts to create standalone flash fiction, writing responses to these prompts from the PoV of one of my novel characters is a really good way to build character. Today I've got not only a prompt for you, but a small response to it that I wrote from the PoV (point of view, for those of you who don't know) of Riana, the main character in Moonshadow's Guardian. Today's prompt: Guilt My response: It's been thousands of years since I protected Eternia, but I will never forgive myself for failing her. She was just a little girl the first time we met. I remember her cute smile, her little head all covered in long black hair like a curtain. I remember her…
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And Now For Something Completely Different

Journalling, Prompts, Short Fiction, Workshops, Writing, Writing: The Process
Today, or sometime this weekend, I would like you to do something completely different--something I'm trying for the first time, too--and write two Dear Diary entries. The interesting part? One will be the character whose diary you've already been working on this month, and the other will be a character of your choosing. It doesn't have to be somebody who will be in the main story you're working on. It might be more beneficial to you if it can be, because you'll get more used to their voice as well, but if it's not plausible at the time you're writing in, don't force it. On this particular day in your character's life, they've met somebody new and intriguing. Have them describe in as much detail as they usually would the…
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Prompt of the Week: Illness

Prompts, Short Fiction, Writing
Today's Prompt is: Illness My response: The halls of the Great Temple of Memories were never so quiet as on the day High Priestess Evelyn died. The songs of worship were not sung on that day, seventh day of the seventh month. The priests prayed in silence. The doors of the great temple were not opened that day. The air in the temple hung heavy over the heads of healthy priests. A young girl carried an iron kettle in one hand and a clay mug in the other. She wore black today instead of the colour of her Goddess. Today was not an ordinary day. Today was a day of mourning. She walked quietly in padded slippers down the huge halls. It was said this place was built by giants.…
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Conflict 101

Novels, Workshops, Writing
Today's exercise is very important but shouldn't take too long. There is no recommended reading today, but I'd highly recommend looking through some of Limyaael's Fantasy Rants. Conflict is the thing that drives your story. It is your character trying to overcome obstacles. Conflict can be man/nature, man/other man, man/woman, or man/himself. The best stories have multiple layers of conflict and tension between characters, and between characters and their environment. Today you're going to figure out the conflict behind your plot. Questions Remember that this is largely a brainstorming exercise. Don't be afraid to branch off in different directions and follow your line of thought to its natural conclusion. These questions should help you figure out your plot. 1. Who is your main character? What is their main goal? Your…
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