Progress Report

Or: A Retrospective on My Writing Journey

Nearly a decade after starting my first “real” story (i.e. the first one I realized I wanted to finish, no matter what), I am still not finished with a complete draft. That might be depressing to some who aspire to finish their newest tale in under a year, but I knew when I started that I was undertaking a large task in attempting it: the story includes an enormous cast of characters, creating their world from the ground up, setting up a history of at least two hundred years, putting political systems in place (and the different monarchs use very different systems of ruling!!), learning about military campaigns…. The list never really ends, and the stories of minor characters have moved beyond my control, so that now when I mention it to friends in-the-know, I lovingly call it “The Epic.”

I didn’t set out to spend ten years trying to write the thing ( I probably would have balked at even starting if I’d known!) At the time, I wrote to keep myself awake through long midnight shifts at my job. The story grew out of an idea for fanfiction that quickly passed the bounds of those characters, and as I begin coming up with their names and feeling out their story, I realized that I had something unique, and for the first time started to consider myself a writer, and not just someone who liked to write. Continue reading

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My Favorite Villain: Making the Bad Guy

“We often find the hero and villain have the same goal, but are using different methods to reach it.”

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That quote was used in a panel of writers talking about anti-heroes and villains at the annual North Texas Teen Book Festival. All the authors had one thing in common: they’d written tales with the villain – an anti-hero – as the protagonist. They explored the reasons why they had chosen to write stories from the “bad guy’s” point of view, and went over their favorite villains and anti-heroes.

I have two favorite “villains” about whom the above quote happens to be true. One is from a book series, and one is from an anime. *spoilers ahead!* Not every villain has to share a goal or vision with the hero, but oftentimes adding comedic (or tragic) irony to the conflict in your story causes it to have greater depth and complexity.

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How to Write a Book (And Finish It) by Teen guest, Elizabeth Pau

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Most aspiring authors have been at the point where they have twenty different, brilliant ideas for book plots and try to write every single story all at once.

Or maybe some of you have an idea for one book and start writing without a plot or any sort of idea of where the book is going to end up  you just have a few ideas of what you want to include in your book.

The problem with these tactics, is that:

  1. If you start too many stories at once, you will end up mixing the characters’ personalities and possibly even confusing the plots (not to mention no one has time to finish 17 different novels)

and

  1. If you write a book with tons of events with no real goal in mind, your readers are going to be very confused.

Or maybe those tactics work for you just fine. In that case you can stop reading this right now.

But for those who want to write a book but just aren’t sure how…  

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How Being Mindful Can Help You Write Better Characters

You can never stop being a writer.

You can stop writing, but there is a part of your brain that never sleeps, never stops observing, never stops scribing.

This is an unconscious process for many of us, but to write novels that clutch people’s hearts, we must tap into that thought process. Today, I’m going to give you four lenses you can use to observe the world and enrich your writing. So let’s get started!

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