Knowing When to Quit

When writing, I don’t normally think of the ending. As a matter of fact, I don’t always know the ending. The end doesn’t pop into my head until I’m in the middle of my story. Until then, writing becomes more about discovering what the story is about. For some, that might not be the case. You might already know the ending from the beginning but most often than not, the ending doesn’t turn out the way we envisioned it and that’s okay. The story is always changing.

So, what if the ending doesn’t ever show up? The story grags on and on. The piece becomes longer and longer. A longer piece isn’t so scary but it gets to the point where the drive and motivation to continue evaporates. A few tips I learned along the way are as follow:
1. Plan
You don’t have to have an outline per say but it’s a good idea to know what your character(s) want. Will they achieve this goal at the end? Will they fail? Or maybe they realize that goal isn’t what they wanted. Know your character and the story can write itself and the ending won’t be too far away.
2. Write the ending first.
You might have an idea for a story but you’re having trouble starting. A little exercise I learned is to write the ending. Picture how you want the story to end. That way, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and you won’t be bogged down with the details of a started story.
3. Just stop writing.
While this is probably the most obvious, it also doesn’t make sense completely. Sometimes you just have to put down your pen or stop typing and sit back. Take a break. More often than not, you’re just word vomiting. The content might not be related or necessary to the story. Read over what you wrote and figure out where the story stops making sense.
4. Quit.
This is probably the last thing you want to hear. Writing is as important as breathing and eating. It’s a part of who we are. However, saying that, it’s important to know that sometimes a story won’t work out. It doesn’t mean you can’t come back to it but it does mean that you need to close that document or put it in a drawer and forget about it for a few months or years. A story is not always ready to be written and that’s okay.

Do you ever have trouble knowing where your story is going to end? How do you plan the ending? Do you know it first? Don’t forget to share your thoughts and opinions
Until next time, Kassandra.

Plot and Subplot

Are you having trouble coming up with a plot?

Just recently, I have started working on my second book in a five part series I plan to write. My beta readers are busy reading through the first book and so it’s a good opportunity to start writing the second. Unlike most people, I don’t exactly outline the entire book. I like to let the story breathe on its own and expand toward places I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. So, I faced a dilemma.

I knew the effects I wanted to write about; the ripples of the events that happened in the first book. I made an entire list of those effects and I thought I was ready. I was on the second notebook page when I realized that I had no idea what this story was going to be about. My list of effects was beside me but it wasn’t a story. There wasn’t anything connecting these points. They were just scenes and without a connector, it wasn’t a story.

I went back to the writing board. What was my story about? I wanted to follow the themes of revenge and family but how could I incorporate this into a story? Somewhere online I read that books in a serious should more or less be a stand alone book. While they might be part of a series, it has to have its own story despite having the same cast. Thinking about my plot made me think about the overall plot of my series. I knew what I wanted to accomplish in the last book but I needed to build up to that point. How could I get to point A to point D?

The answer came to be while I was sitting at work. My effects list was in front of me and I knew that most of them were all character based. One way or another, the characters had to face that effect and deal with it. One point in particular caught my attention. The cult in my book needed more of a presence and it was in that moment that I realized that they could be the center of the story. They were the driving force.

And so, I had my plot.

It doesn’t always work that way but what helped me was that I concentrated on one detail that I could expand and luckily it worked out. This exercise, so to speak, made me realize that subplots can’t drive the story because then, without an overall connection, there is no story. If you ever have trouble coming up with a plot, shot down a few points that must happen in the story and then ask yourself: how does my character (s) get from this moment to that moment? They you fill out the details.

Take from other readings and writings that you might have done over the course of your life. The what-if game is also very helpful because it allows you freedom to think about different scenarios that you wouldn’t necessarily put into writing. Overall, it’s important to remember that each book in a series builds the plot as a whole and each piece must work together to get you to the end. But in the end, take it one chapter at a time.

Magazine Shopping

Ever thought about creating your character by using a magazine?

Need Motivation?

Recently, I’ve been trying to finish Crimson Queen on Wattpad as well as The Vampire Prince goes to High School and Spirit Guardians. Despite the fact that financials and life got in the way, for the most part, I’ve been uploading chapters consecutively. This has pushed me to keep writing every day and to try to publish a chapter every week. Those weekly goals that I set for myself, not only helps me write every day but it also helps me finish my books.

For those of you who have been writing a story or multiple ones and haven’t really finished them for a while, it’s understandable. You’ve been busy. Whatever the case may be, here are a few things that I have helped me write every day and get me closer to putting the story down to rest. While this is my process and you might not upload to wattpad, the process can be applied to regular writing.

  1. I set a deadline for myself.

I made a Wattpad account a few years ago and I upload a few stories that I probably won’t ever traditionally published (though I might self publish after they’ve been edited). In order to get noticed on wattpad, I knew I had to be involved in clubs and commenting on other user’s stories. The amount of this varies from person to person. But the most important thing that I had to do was to upload chapters. So, I set a goal for myself. I would publish a chapter every Friday. With Spirit Guardians, I was able to have thirteen chapters up in no time. My story was progressing and I had gotten a huge chunk of my story out of the way. It got me closer to my self made deadline.

2. I made an outline.

Before I posted my chapters, I made a loose outline of what I wanted the chapters to be about. I broke down those chapters by scenes and each day, I wrote those scenes out until the chapter was finished. Being prepared and knowing what to write about helped the process of meeting that weekly deadline. Another outline was made about the plot of my story but plotting tips is for another day.

3. I didn’t panic.

Even if I didn’t have time to write a scene one day and type it up, I didn’t panic. Stressing out isn’t helpful. Making a daily planner with times blocked out for specific tasks helped me stay organize. I planned around events, lunch, school, work, etc. If I ever became overwhelmed, I took a deep breath and relaxed. Managing my day with life and writing was difficult which is why it took practice. I knew that I might not succeed the first time and that was okay. Practice makes perfect and once I got into the groove, meeting that weekly deadline got easier.

While there are more tips out there to meet deadlines, the most important thing to remember is that your story it your baby. Treat it kindly. If you need time to think about what’s going to happen next, it’s fine. Keeping a journal with all those notes helps a lot and sometimes new ideas can spiral from them. Stay positive and always remember that you don’t write a story once, there are many more drafts in the future. Don’t let writing become a chore.

What process, if any, do you use? Have you had to tweak it over the course of your writing?