Conflict: the bread and butter of a story

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As July approaches, my sister and I are hard at work planning out her story. By this point, I should say our story but that still feels weird. I don’t believe I will ever consider this story as mine because I had no say in the idea development. Saying that, if collaborating helps my sister finally write her story then I’m more than happy to do that.

Recently, we discussed the source of conflict of the novel. While we don’t have the most of the middle and the ending planned, we still wanted to plan out what would drive the story forward and what kind of obstacles the main character, Nina, would face. I like to term this discussion as: “how do I make the life of a character more difficult?”

First, we started with the external conflict. This conflict derives from external forces. Meaning, the conflict comes from outside forces like a flat tire on a way to a job interview. Or a jealous co-worker secretly sabotaging the main character’s report. It can also be two people arguing.

Now, Internal conflict comes from within the main character. I like to think of these as feelings or simple terms: the inner struggle. e.g. stopping to help someone who fell or hurry to an important appointment. Or pay your bills early or buy that book you have no room on yourself for. It’s also choosing right from wrong. Depending on the character and/or situation, right and wrong can be different.

Not only did my sister and myself identify where the conflict was coming from, we were also able to expand on those ideas. Furthermore, Nina, the MC, will be overwhelm with her new position and current one and she believes there’s been a mistake and waits for the moment where someone else replaces her. This leads to her work being sloppy and incompetent and it further leads to confrontation with the boss and others in the managerial positions.

I’m happy to say that Nina’s life will be very, very difficult.

On a different side note: two of my reviews are up. One of them is called Tubocity. The game is an endless runner as you try to see how far can you get as you jump and swipe your way past obstacles.

The other game is called Picture Perfect Crossword. It is exactly what is sounds like. Players are given a picture to name. They select letters at the bottom of the screen to fill out the crossword puzzle.

Of Surprises and Collaboration

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It has been a very productive week. A few unexpected surprises came knocking but they were all taken with a stride.

First, I would like to announce that my plans for Camp NaNoWriMo have changed. As of right now, I will no longer be writing my fantasy novel I titled “Blue Moon”. The reason for this has nothing to do with having no idea what to write about or even the desire to write. No, this has to deal with my sister.

Long story short, she was the person responsible for uncovering my innate desire to write stories. She’s the one who got me into writing. While she hasn’t been as active in writing as I have, I still envy all her ideas because I think they’re amazing and why couldn’t think of that. She is after all my twin and the youngest (well middle child because we have a young brother). So, now and again, she sends me updates on her stories and I give her feedback.

One story in particular she wants to really write has been given her trouble and she just needs the motivation to write. What did I do? I volunteered to help. My Camp NaNoWriMo this year will be a collaboration with my sister.

While I have collaborated with other people (strangers) it hasn’t been really successful. It was definitely communication and the plot was almost nowhere to be found. I’m not exactly sure how this time will turn out. It should be better. It’s not like she’s a stranger to me. However, I’m if-y about my role in all of this. Yes, I’ll be writing the story too but I don’t want to be the ‘leader’. I think it would be best if she came up with the plot and I helped guide her.

My goal is to be the guiding hand. I’ll take a step back and have her dictate where she wants the story to go and if she gets stuck, I’ll make something up. I’ll build bridges so she can get to the next scene.

The other bit of news is that my review for Chronology  has been posted. It’s a mobile game where you play as The Inventor to try to unravel the mystery of the present state of the future. The game allows you go travel to the past and present to overcome the obstacles.

The third piece of news is that I have successfully been creating character sheets for a long standing story I have titled ‘Shadow Beasts’. I’ve planned and written the story in script format for T.V. Actually, I decided to create a television show for my brother because I didn’t like any of the cartoons/shows he was watching.

The idea has evolved and changed over the years and with each revision, I’m starting to get closer and closer to the final product I envisioned. There’s even hope that it might be developed into an actual show by a friend who has started up his own animation studio of sorts. Nothing is in the works or set in stone. It’s just talks for now but it is something I’m thinking about and I’m certainly hopeful.

Early Year Accomplishments

 

318093a6c0732513e5aac1dba5fd352cIt’s not really a secret – I think – that I haven’t been reading as much as I should. However, that has changed. I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolution or anything like that. My goal, as ever, is to keep writing and working on my books. Perhaps its because I hadn’t found a book that I really liked or sucked me in but good news is that I found some. Well, two to be exact.

It’s not like I went out to buy any new books. I had bought them before (a few months ago) and only now got to read them. Turns out, it was a good idea to look through my kindle and bookcase. Now, I won’t go into a review of each book but I would just like to say that I am proud of myself. I managed to finish two books in less than two weeks.

That still doesn’t beat my record of reading four books over two days but I think it’s progress. Besides, who doesn’t need a small pat on the back once in a while? I hope to continue my streak of reading and I’m currently working towards reading a third book this year. I don’t want to make it my goal to read every book on my kindle and the four books I recently bought at half-price books but I do intend to read a lot more than I have.

I’ve mentioned that I had stopped reading because I had spent all my undergraduate years reading for school and it took the fun out of it. Or maybe I didn’t but that’s the case. Yes, I know. Its a poor excuse. However, I do plan on reading those four paperbacks that I bought and more of the books on my kindle. While it won’t be a goal, it’ll be somewhat similar. I want to form a habit of sort and if I treat reading like something that I have to do then it won’t be fun and I won’t follow through.

Plus, I told my concerned BF that ‘No, I’m not planning to stop working on my books. I’m doing research.’ Reading is research. Because, these authors are published and if I can absorb their techniques into my own writing then they’re doing something right and I want to be part of that.

On top of it all, I forgot how fun it was to read. Scary, right? I don’t use reading as an escape, not really. It’s more like exploring new worlds and meeting new people. It’s amazing and I’m glad I got back into it again. I have high hopes of getting back into reading a lot more than I have.

Wish me luck.

P.S. The books I read are: The Keepers (Alchemy Series) by Donna Augustine and Blood Blade (Skinners) by Marcus Pelegrimas

Advice and Inspiration

My plot has been going down the drain day by day and it has shown in my writing and in my blog posts. However, thanks to Akaluv, I started to give thought about my plot in the way of chapters. I te…

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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.