Stand Alone Novel

I have talked about the second book of my half blood series and how I feel like I don’t know how to write. This time, I’m having trouble separating this novel from the first one and the rest of the series. In part, I think it’s because this novel is a continuation. Perhaps I didn’t give myself enough time away from the series. Or perhaps it’s because the characters are so fresh in my mind that it’s making difficult to separate the plots from each other.

My mentality is like a train trying to go uphill. I think I can. I think I can, right? It starts lagging (like all my pc games do). Not the story (I think) just the way that I am able to keep writing and figure out all the tiny details of the plot. I’m not much of a planner and when I do plan, I always allow the story to breathe on its own. I don’t like to limit myself to the confines of an outline. Yet, I feel like the story just keeps going without a breather. Maybe I should have waited for longer to start the second book. But I don’t want to stop now.

To put it simply, I have never done anything like this before. This is the first series that I’m actually writing and it’s scary. I’ve bought reference books and read through them for plotting, description, characters, etc. I can gladly say that the series arc has always been fresh in my head. I know where I am going with this series. It’s how to get there that’s giving me problems.

I wish I could say that I found how to separate the two novels from each other but I haven’t. It’s a learning process; one that I fear and feel excited about. The doubts are still present but I’m pushing through. When I write a scene, I just can’t stop until it’s completed. I tend to rush the scene and end up skipping some description because I want to get to the juicy part. Lazy writing. Sure there’s always editing but I think, just like before, I’m trying to get everything done right.

In general, I think I need to start looking at more articles about writing a series and second books. I know that sometimes the second book isn’t all that great but I really want mine to be decent. Maybe taking a break is all I need. We’ll see. 

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Beta Reading

Recently, I was asked by a friend, let’s call him J, to read his story for him as a Beta reader. I’ve done beta reading before – changed some minor grammar issues – commented so, I like to say that I know what I’m doing. Plus the last 60 or so hours of college was all about reading, editing, and commenting on classmates’ work. I have experience under my belt. 

There are a few things I have to keep in mind when I read over someone else’s work.

1. I read through it first.

I like to take it all in before I start to analyze a story. Mostly because if I’m confused on something and I comment on it but later the information is there then, I made a mistake. I also think its nice to just read a story and think about it afterwards.

2. Use a red pen.

Normally when I print a story out then, I tend to use a red pen. There’s nothing special about a red pen, in essence, but it helps me get into the mindset of editor.y job is to look for grammacial errors, minor mispelled words, ect. 

3. Be honest but don’t be mean.

There’s a fine line between disliking something and being mean. At least that’s my opinion. In my comments, I’m honest. If I think something is cliche, I say it. However, I also include suggestions on how to fix or change whatever bothers me or I think needs to be changed. 

4. With a grain of salt

I always tell the author  to take my advice with a grain of salt. Ultimately, it is up to him/her to decide what theu want to change or keep. All I can do is tell him/her about my thoughts on their story. It also helps if the author has a lot if beta readers so if there’s an issue everyone notices then that issue should be worked on.

5. Track changes.

MS Word has an awesome button called track changes. I like this because the author can see what I have changed and kept. Google Docs and I believe Drive also have a feature that let’s you see changes. This way, the author can knownwhat was changed without having to compare the documents side by side. 

Lastly, my opinions and advice are my own. I don’t feel offended if an author disagrees with my comments. I’m just glad that they were willing to let me read their story.  

Character Motivation

What makes your character tick?

I have talked about having motivation to write but there’s an even bigger motivation that you have to keep in mind. Hence, the title. A few months ago I was told that one of my characters was lacking motivation. My reader couldn’t tell why (let’s call her Person A) she was putting herself in danger. Since Person A is the lead in this story, I knew that this was a very serious problem. How can I engage with the reader if they don’t know why my characters acts the way she does?

It’s not like I didn’t interrogate Person A until her ears bled. I knew all about her childhood trauma and even took step to mention that in the story. I even wrote a short story about her childhood trauma. That information ended up lacking and I’m very glad that someone pointed it out to me. An extra pair of eyes is always helpful.

The way I fixed this situation was by typing some lines that literally said why my character was putting her life in danger. I made it seem like she was also having her own moments of doubts before realizing her motivation. This might seem like the easiest – in my humble opinion- route to take but sometimes you can’t get away with it. Sometimes you just have to rethink your character or your plot. Actually, I hope this works out. If not, I have to go back and write an write a scene that gives more information about Person’s A motivation.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of types of motivation; inner and outer motivation, villain motivation, etc. Not only does motivation give a deeper sense of who the character is but it also helps move the plot forward. If the character has a clear goal then most of the plot should fall in. Motivation and plot go hand in hand.

So if your character’s motivation doesn’t come across, it’s best to take a step back and dig a bit deeper and ask why. I found this cool link here that has a lot of other links for character development and questionnaires. Enjoy.

Summer Accomplishment

For a long while, actually four years ago, I started writing this story on the side that I titled Crimson Queen. Sure with college and the writing classes and work, I could only get write so much. My attention was in my other novel and let’s just say that Crimson Queen wasn’t part of my priority list for the past four years. It also didn’t help that I took a break from writing . . . but enough of that.

I would like to officially announce that I have finally finished the last chapter for Crimson Queen. I might include an epilogue but I’m still debating on that. Sure it took me the entire summer to write one chapter but I wanted to do this story justice. Somehow, I couldn’t just type it up and be done with it. I gave this chapter a lot of thought because I wanted to get it right. I could have edited it later and revised but, in this case, I wanted to get it done as perfectly as I could have possible written it.

There’s a huge chance my editor/beta reader/fellow wattpad member will have me add a few things but that’s okay. The greatest part about today is that I didn’t quit. I could have permanently put the story in hiatus but I couldn’t do that to my characters. They would just pop up in my head before bed or when I was working on some other things.

Now I have to think if I want to publish this story. It’s a novella length story but I could make it into a larger piece. There’s so many things that I have to think about but it wouldn’t be possible if the last chapter hadn’t been written. I think today is the start of a very good day.

P.S. On the picture . . . yeah, I don’t think I should be modest right now.