Year-long NaNo discussion

42 views
General > Advice + Advanced Discussion

Comments Showing 1-34 of 34 (34 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
Hello! So per the suggestion of myself (and others) I'm creating a folder where you can ask writerly questions and have others answer! Or vice versa. ;)

I'll start. I have difficulty with having multiple characters. I typically end up with my narrator being a hermit and talking to maybe one character per 50 pages (which is kinda a bummer because I like writing dialogue). I just don't know how to keep characters + add in secondary. It's sooo hard. I love writing large casts, but it just don't happen. :P

Oh and yeah, I'm an introvert with only a few friends (who are introverts or live an hour away), so ... I have no idea where my problem stems from. ;)


message 2: by Merenwen (new)

Merenwen Inglorion | 389 comments Awesome. :D


message 3: by Merenwen (new)

Merenwen Inglorion | 389 comments What's the difficulty? Writing close POV with multiple characters, or deciding which character voice should be dominant?? Or do you have trouble making the dialogue different?


message 4: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
Merenwen wrote: "What's the difficulty? Writing close POV with multiple characters, or deciding which character voice should be dominant?? Or do you have trouble making the dialogue different?"

Ehhh. I'm having a hard time explaining it. I just ... I get bored with secondary characters (even when I develop them) + I don't know how to write realistic friend scenes/dialogue.


message 5: by Merenwen (new)

Merenwen Inglorion | 389 comments Hmm, let's see if I can help...
A handy rule to follow when writing relationships in general: everyone has their own motives. They're not just there to give the MC that final weapon/key they need to save the world. They could be there for tacos, and once it's clear the MC sure as heck isn't giving it to them, they could leave, betray, or otherwise be at odds with him/her. :P

I do a few things when writing friend scenes/dialogue: 1) model it off of my/others' relationship with their siblings, arguments and all 2) model it off of my wish/idea of ideal friendship with some grit thrown it so it isn't all fluff and rainbows 3) people watch. People aren't all sunshine and roses all the time, even out in public. 4) Movies! Granted, these aren't always the best source of studying relationships, but it's a start. :P


message 6: by Merenwen (new)

Merenwen Inglorion | 389 comments What do you get bored with? Is it just they're not really into the action/whatever Important task the MC is, or do you just, like, not care for anyone other than the MC?

Ugh, should've asked this first...


message 7: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
Merenwen wrote: "Hmm, let's see if I can help...
A handy rule to follow when writing relationships in general: everyone has their own motives. They're not just there to give the MC that final weapon/key they need t..."


Yeah, thanks! I feel like that helps. I often fall into the trap of them not having their own motivations. (Mmmm, tacos sound good, TBH...)

I don't know. I think that there's not a variety. My "ideal" friendships that I write are all, well, the same. And I guess that I get frustrated that I don't spend as much time on their lives as my MC (I love to do this! Just usually NaNo doesn't have the time...). Sorry, don't really think that that helped you any.


message 8: by Merenwen (last edited Apr 29, 2018 05:08PM) (new)

Merenwen Inglorion | 389 comments Alyssa wrote: "My "ideal" friendships that I write are all, well, the same. And I guess that I get frustrated that I don't spend as much time on their lives as my MC (I love to do this! Just usually NaNo doesn't have the time...). Sorry,"

Maybe some C.S. Lewis quotes will help?_?
"... In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets..."
"Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one." "
So say there's three friends, A B and C. Friend A could bring something out of C that B doesn't/could never hope to, or friend B could have a connection to friend A that C doesn't, etc.
There was another quote he had to that extent (it was tied in with the first quote, I think), but I couldn't find it...

You don't want to spend as much time discovering the lives of Minors as much as Mains; it can get very frustrating very quickly (I wanted to kill off a few characters, I got so annoyed), and it's time consuming.
I find that abbreviated questionnaires (like this or this) work well for charries that might become important later on, and only one or two of those questions for one-off characters. Sometimes all I need is a good physical description. Or I just need to know that a particular hairstyle (which, of course, the MC has) annoys the heck out of them/reminds them of a traumatic event, and conflict happens. :P


message 9: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
Ooooh, that's great advice! Thanks!!!


message 10: by Inkspill (new)

Inkspill (runinkspill) Hello again - just reposting my question here from the other thread, asking:

Gotta question: how do you all work?

Do you go to your writing space with an idea / story in mind?

or

Is it like a freeflow session, where you just write and then extract the parts that are useful?

I'm using the first method, thinking it will save me a lot of time in the long run if I etch out the story first - but my wordcount is low - not sure if this matters - it possible it would be helpful to discuss this

BTW - interesting discussion - just scanned through and will come back when I have more time - see you


message 11: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
I know that I already responded on the other thread, but I'll add something else here. I think that (unfortunately) you'll just have to experiment with lots of different ways. Maybe when you reach that rut, you'll just have to walk away for a few days or even weeks, and just come back. Maybe you'll just have to wade through ugly writer's block. But most likely, there's a way that you just haven't found yet that is the one for you! Keep trying some different styles, even if it's incredibly, awfully boring!


message 12: by Lena, Mage (new)

Lena (lenakarynn) | 1268 comments Mod
I usually sit down when I have a few minutes and just force myself to write, even if I'm not feeling inspired and have no idea where I'm going with the story (not knowing where I'm going is my own fault though--hardcore pantser here!).


message 13: by Inkspill (new)

Inkspill (runinkspill) all you're posts got me thinking, I did a touch better this week, will keep at it and try different ways.

the toughest part is I got a sense of the idea but it's not quite in my reach - so frustrating

gotta ask Shine, how d'you catch your dreams, me the moment I wake up it's gone - no memory, not a trace


message 14: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
Inkspill wrote: "all you're posts got me thinking, I did a touch better this week, will keep at it and try different ways.

the toughest part is I got a sense of the idea but it's not quite in my reach - so frustra..."


Argh, I know! It's so frustrating!


message 15: by Merenwen (last edited May 04, 2018 11:20PM) (new)

Merenwen Inglorion | 389 comments Inkspill wrote: "all you're posts got me thinking, I did a touch better this week, will keep at it and try different ways.

the toughest part is I got a sense of the idea but it's not quite in my reach - so frustra..."


Agh, ikr? Some encouragement:

description

I have three or four small(ish) dream journals filled out. Part of the trick--for me at least--is having a pen, book and light right by your head/somewhere you can reach with minimal movement. The more you move, the more excited you are, the faster it's gone (think rain on a window; your wakefulness is a towel, the dream is the rain).
Don't get hung up on details, just jot down things that will help you remember the basic flow of the dream and try to identify things that parallel RL stories (eg if there's a damsel that reminds you of Cinderella, don't worry about making her unique or anything, just write "Cinderella"; your brain will recall the things that made you pin that name on her and how it felt in the dream) (at least that's what happens with me).
I say "try to identify" but you don't want to be thinking about this when you dream; you'll wake up. Think of it like a movie, and you're either reporting on it or acting in it.
Not sure if this'll help any, but the only way I can further explain how I remember things is...a lot more rambling... :P


message 16: by Inkspill (new)

Inkspill (runinkspill) Merenwen wrote: "I have three or four small(ish) dream journals filled out. "

Wow!!!

Merenwen wrote: "Part of the trick ... The more you move, the more excited you are, the faster it's gone ... "

Never thought about it - makes sense though

Merenwen wrote: "Don't get hung up on details, just jot down things that will help you remember the basic ... "

Ok, so, broad strokes

Merenwen wrote: "Not sure if this'll help ... "

Interesting suggestions - dreams is something I completely take for granted, wouldn't have considered it for writing material - thanks :))


message 17: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
Just curious ... do any of you listen to music while you write? What kind? Or do you like the silence of the empty void??? lol


message 18: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
Cool! LOVE Skillet and Red!!! (listened to Red one year for my novel...) I've only heard the Thor soundtracks, not the others.


message 19: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
Great. Just what I need!!!


message 20: by Karen (new)

Karen Yee (karenyee) | 16 comments I have seen some books that are titled: "
The _________________ Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to ____________. They are intended to help create more vivid writing and there are 6 of them. They seem to be guides to help with descriptions. I'm a new writer and struggle with descriptions. Has anyone else used these and were they helpful?


message 21: by Polly (new)

Polly (PollyWogBookBlog) | 2 comments Karen wrote: "I have seen some books that are titled: "
The _________________ Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to ____________. They are intended to help create more vivid writing and there are 6 of them. They seem t..."


Hi Karen

What sort of descriptions do you mean? Scenery? Interactions between characters?

A book I keep coming back to is "Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434." You're probably not thinking of writing a screenplay, but I find that the ideas described in the book are applicable to storylines in general.

Although, if you were writing a screenplay you wouldn't have to worry much about description ;)


message 22: by Karen (new)

Karen Yee (karenyee) | 16 comments Not sure how you do the italics response of a previous post, but responding to Polly.

I'm meaning scenery, emotional interactions between characters, using weather - plantlife - animal reactions - etc as foreshadowing of a scene that is coming up. I can see in my mind what I want to do, but the words don't work on the page. I'm thinking of getting this series of books, but am wondering if anyone has used them?


message 23: by Polly (last edited Jan 31, 2019 03:25PM) (new)

Polly (PollyWogBookBlog) | 2 comments Karen wrote: "Not sure how you do the italics response of a previous post, but responding to Polly.

I'm meaning scenery, emotional interactions between characters, using weather - plantlife - animal reactions -..."


There's a small 'reply' button in the bottom right-hand corner of each comment. The italicized response is automatically inserted into your reply. If you just use 'comment' it won't automatically show the italicized response :)

To go back to your question, I've used something similar but found that I was putting effort into things that weren't necessarily the main story. What has helped me is going back to the question, 'how does this serve the story/plot overall?'

However, everyone is different. For myself, I find those sort of resources cause me to spend more energy on things that aren't as relevant to the storyline overall. With that said, having a lot of different descriptions can be good, and it's better to have too much rather than not enough; fluff can be cut out later. If you think it's helpful to your writing process you're probably right :)


message 24: by Karen (new)

Karen Yee (karenyee) | 16 comments Good afternoon everyone. I have another question that has cropped up for me. I have set myself a goal to write for an hour an day. However, it seems like my mind doesn't always have enough in it to write for an hour. For example, I just sat down to write. Smoked the keyboard for 35 minutes and got the next scene down that I had running in my mind. However, now it almost feels like I need to let the next scene develop mentally before I write again.

Does anyone else have this type of writing style? I have to sort of let my character do her thing in my mind before I can put it down. Should I be pushing myself harder?


message 25: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
Hi Karen!

Yes, I definitely can relate to that struggle. In stroke with that, I have a hard time setting a defined time for writing. Often times my stories need to "curate" before I can write them (however I mostly am a complete pantser when it comes to writing).

In my opinion - and I've seen this across the internet so it must be true, lol - you should give yourself a little time. Don't force it. Of course, if you have deadlines or what not, then sometimes you must. Writing is a rocky road and it will take quite a lot of time to quite find your groove with it; with what does and doesn't work for you.

Best of luck! Hope I've helped! :)


message 26: by Karen (new)

Karen Yee (karenyee) | 16 comments Thanks Alyssa -

I’m not forcing the hour on myself right now. Letting my brain write more in itself. Then I will write it down. I’d sure like to find a way to have my material on my phone and on my computer so that if I get inspired away from home I can write. What do you all think? Google drive, Evernote, what? I have an IPhone.


message 27: by Oceane (new)

Oceane McAllister (therealqueenofnarnia) | 592 comments Karen wrote: "Thanks Alyssa -

I’m not forcing the hour on myself right now. Letting my brain write more in itself. Then I will write it down. I’d sure like to find a way to have my material on my phone and on m..."


Hello, Karen! Just dropping into this conversation. I use Google Docs for my writing, so I simply downloaded the app to my phone as well, that way I can just click it and add/edit what needs immediate attention. For me, this works best.


message 28: by Karen (new)

Karen Yee (karenyee) | 16 comments Thanks. Great idea.


message 29: by Oceane (new)

Oceane McAllister (therealqueenofnarnia) | 592 comments Karen wrote: "Thanks. Great idea."

No problem. :)


MK ( MaKayla) ✨ (mike3) | 12 comments Hello everyone , I'm "new" here . I joined last year but I completely forgot about this.
Recently I saw my writer friends talking about their word count on Goodreads, I cringed because my writing has been suffering.
In the last month it doesnt have the draw that it did in past . Writing was begining to feel taxing ,it left me feeling exhausted .

Has anyone had this happen to them before ? What did you do to bring back your writing spirit ? I really miss it . 💔


message 31: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Dragina | 1745 comments We consider that writers block. :P Or loss of inspiration. Go to the best place you find inspiration and let your imagination free. Whether it's movies, nature, books, Pintrest, places, or people find it and imagine again. ^.^


MK ( MaKayla) ✨ (mike3) | 12 comments Elizabeth wrote: "We consider that writers block. :P Or loss of inspiration. Go to the best place you find inspiration and let your imagination free. Whether it's movies, nature, books, Pintrest, places, or people f..."
Hmm writers block was what I thought it was . Thanks so much Elizabeth . I think I may have been pushing myslef a bit too hard .


message 33: by Alyssa, Time Lord (new)

Alyssa | 821 comments Mod
MK ( Makayla) wrote: "Hello everyone , I'm "new" here . I joined last year but I completely forgot about this.
Recently I saw my writer friends talking about their word count on Goodreads, I cringed because my writing h..."


Hi Makayla! I can completely relate with you ... that's been me the last few months. :/ I think it sounds like burnout (rather than writer's block, imo).

I think that you can do two things. One: force yourself to write. This one is ... hard. Maybe work on a project that you've had sitting up on the shelf or maybe it's something for school/work/etc or WHATEVER. Just write.

The other, and admittingly better one, is: Take a step back. Even if you haven't written for a while, step back. Make a conscious decision that you are going to. Find things that really get your creative juices flowing (as Elizabeth said - music, books, movies, etc). You are just burning-out. (googling writer's burnout might help you. It sounds just like what you're describing)

Sometimes, we just go through dry spots with writing :/

Hope at least some of that made sense! :)


message 34: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Dragina | 1745 comments No problem Makayla!! :D

And yes, I completely agree with you Alyssa. Stepping back and forcing myself to write has helped in many situations.


back to top