Nanoprep: Character Worksheet (2016)

Hey guys! NaNoWriMo is almost here!! Can you even believe it?

I haven’t spent as much time Nanoprepping as I probably should have this year, given I was trying desperately to finish writing the Queen of Thieves before November. Somehow I finished it over a week early (woo!), so that’s giving me some extra time to figure out everything.

For this year’s Nano project, I’ll be writing the sequel to Haven, which is pretty exciting, let me tell yah. SAVAGES is going to be a fun, although very dark YA project, which actually kind of works since QoT was really dark too and I’m already in the mindset for that!

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Top 5 NaNoprep Tips

Alright guys, it’s Nanoprep time.

Ready to get serious? Ready to get down and dirty with the nitty gritty details? I hope so!

Nanoprep is all about getting ready to commit yourself to 50k in November, which is by no means a small feat. You have to either write 1600 words a day, or choose your battles and write a LOT more than that to make it. It’s a ton of work, but it is SO worth it. So let’s go over my top 5 tips for your best Nanoprep yet!

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NaNo Prep 2016

Hey guys!

It’s that time of year again. NaNoWriMo is right around the corner! Are you participating this year? I know I am! I’ve been dying to start the sequel to Haven, so what’s a better time to start than during NaNo when I HAVE to write 50 thousand words?! Though the task is daunting, I’m up for the challenge.

So, nanoers, if you’ve been following my blog for some time, you know I have lots of posts about NaNoWriMo. Let’s start with those:

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Character vs Plot driven novels

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Generally I find there are 2 types of novels, or two types of ways you can plot/write a novel. These two types can be summed up as Character or Plot driven novels. So which is better? Which tells a better story? Which do you prefer to read?

These are all questions I’ve been asking myself lately. Let’s start out by comparing them.

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NaNoWriMo Week 1

So how is everyone doing this week?! The first week of NaNo is up (technically was on Sunday), so how are your word counts looking? Are you still in the zone? Does the inspiration just FLOW FROM YOUR PORES or are you starting to flag a little?

Let’s be honest, a lot of people fall into one or all of these categories or have at least some point during the week. So to show everyone that you’re not alone, I’ve decided to give some thoughts on how each day has gone for me!

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Nanowrimo Prep: Character Worksheet Exercise

Welcome back to Nanoprep everyone!

Today I thought we’d do something a liiiittle different. Instead of my blathering on about things, I thought it’d be fun to do a character worksheet together! But Kat, what is a character worksheet, you may ask? Well my young (or old?) friend, it is basically a bio about your character. You could do it about the villain in your story, your protagonist, his/her best friend, family members, etc.

For this little exercise I will be using Pen and Muse‘s character worksheet that you can easily find here. Be sure to check them out, as they’re both very smart ladies with great advice!

For the purpose of this exercise I’m going to use my character Haven (MC of Haven, duh lol) instead of Selene (who’s from the story I’ll be writing for Nano). The reason for this is, Selene is a terrible example. She has some memory loss issues that could prevent me from answering these questions to their fullest potential. So Haven it is!

So I’m going to jump right to it, and occasionally I’ll put some comments in italics if I have anything helpful to add.

Main Characters name: Haven Delyth Fyre

Age: 19

Physical Appearance: Haven has amber eyes, and long wavy brown hair that ends in red at the tips. She has olive skin, a striking jaw line and a heart shaped face.

Generally I don’t go more into a physical appearance than this, especially when writing. The looks of a characters should come up organically, not all at once. No one wants to read a long fancy paragraph description on the bridge of your characters nose or the way their hair looks in the morning sun. Your writing should be brief and descriptive enough that your reader knows what your character looks like, and fills in the blanks with their own imagination.

Personality Traits: Haven is introverted in the beginning, emotional, spoiled, and ignorant to the world outside herself and her castle. She’s been very much so kept in a bubble most of her life, easily giving up on activities, classes and training when it suits her. However, this all changes when she is made Queen. Haven becomes reckless, selfless, confident and a leader.

Generally I don’t like to focus on how a character begins so much as their transition to how they end up. I think a changing character is very important to a novel, and makes them less of a Mary-Sue and more of a unique and dynamic person.

Favorite Things: Her 3 guard friends are most certainly her favorite thing in the world. Without them, she wouldn’t be who she is, past and present. She also loves the beauty of nature, her horse Wren and the castle gardens.

Flaws: Gives up easily, ignorant, reckless.

Quirks/Character Traits: Very unobservant. Throughout the book this becomes a bit of a theme (or joke), as Haven does not observe the little things.

Love Interest: (Ahem, not giving this away but there is one.)

What does your MC really want? Haven’s main goal is to save her people and destroy the evil Queen Kadia before she destroys them.

What changes about your character through your story? Throughout Haven’s story, she goes from a quiet introvert to a mostly confident queen. (I don’t want to spoil more than this.)

Father/Mother/Siblings and their ages: Her father is King Keane Fyre (50), her mother is Queen Denica Fyre (40s), her two brothers (both in their twenties) are deceased as well, and her only living relative is her younger sister Astrid, who is about 15 when the main story takes place.

Friends/Ages: Blythe (22), Lareina (20), Malka (21), Emeril (22), and Toma (40s)

Enemies/Forces against the MC: Evil Queen Kadia and her army.

Keep in mind while I’m writing this I’m trying to keep out major plot points, some characters, and most spoilers considering Haven isn’t out yet. If I was making this solely for myself, it would be much more detailed. So I expect it to should be a little more detailed for the rest of you. 😉

So what did everyone think of this exercise? Yay or nay? If you did give it a go, feel free to drop a comment on how you did (or post your character sheet if you really want to!). If you didn’t do it, why not? If you answer that you don’t have the time for this, how on earth are you going to make time for Nano? JUST SAYING.

Well that’s all for me today ladies and gents!

Stay classy internet!

Nanowrimo Prep: Opening Scene

For those of you who’ve been following along with this little segment, welcome back!

If you haven’t been, take a look at what we’ve been talking about. Here are all the links you’ll need:

Nanowrimo: Early prep time!

Nanowrimo Prep: Why I’m going to have a designated do NOT write day

Nanowrimo Prep: Snack time!

Nanowrimo Prep: Outlining

If you’re wondering what Nanowrimo is, I urge you to check out those links for more explanation! But, now let’s get on with the show!

If you’re prepping for Nano, you’ve been thinking about a few things (or should be). You may be asking questions like: Where do I start? Do I outline or not? How am I going to find the time to write 50k in one month? Well, this series in to help you answer all these burning questions BEFORE Nano starts! In this post we’ll be covering your starting scene. This is VERY important and will help you set the feel for your book, as well as motivate you to go on!

I urge everyone participating in Nano to spend some time thinking about this opening scene. Since you’re all writers, I’m sure you spend some portion of your day thinking about scenes in your books or books to-be! I know I spend at least an hour or two (mostly on the bus to work or before bed). Now is the time to redirect that brain power to your opening scene.

If you already have ideas, GREAT! If you don’t, here are some suggestions I have for you:

  • Start with something interesting. WOW how could I be anymore clear? I know, it sounds obvious, but a lot of people will start out with something that doesn’t draw in the mind of a reader let alone their own interest.
  • Don’t start with a fight scene. It’s tempting, I know. I love writing fight/battle sequences, but if you do, YOU may be inspired but whoever is reading it later will have no idea who they’re voting for because they’re not connected with your character yet. I recommend waiting until chapter 2 to bring out the battle moves.
  • Perfect your opening line. Like a query letter, starting your story off with a good line will propel you into the story, hook a reader and get you down to business.
  • Don’t over describe. I hate this. Don’t do it. I don’t need to know every detail about the room they’re in. I want to know your protagonist, not the color of the drapes.
  • Don’t introduce too many characters. I would limit yourself to two or three maximum. There’s nothing worse than being assaulted with a hundred characters/names/places that leave you breathlessly wondering WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE?!

For a few examples, I’ll tell you guys about opening scenes I’ve written into my books:

  • Sanctum starts out with Skye interrogating her latest lead. She’s trying to find someone and oh boy will she ever find him or kill this guy trying. It’s not a fight, but it tells you how serious Skye is about finding her brother. I introduce what her motives are (family killed) and who she’s after (evil brother). Personally I find it’s a good start, that leads to this guy telling her what she wants to know. She then follows this lead to a underground Metahuman fight club and that’s where the first chapter ends. Interesting right? Well I think so!
  • Haven starts out a bit more tame! You can actually read the first chapter on the World’s Best Story website if you’re looking for more info or inspiration. But basically the opening scene is with Haven in her room before her coronation. It’s mostly just interesting thought going on, but it introduces you to her power (can’t die) and the situation at hand (about to rule a kingdom that she never expected to rule). It proceeds to her coronation followed by receiving an arrow to the heart, which she quickly recovers from. All of this introduces you to my protagonist. You also get to meet more characters, but not in great enough detail to confuse you (I hope).
  • The Aldar Dominion‘s opening scene is about the two main characters this time, Selene and Rikkard. It focuses on Selene, dangling out of a hovercraft ready to infiltrate a laboratory of sorts. It’s a good look at Selene’s character (sassy and reckless) as well as Rikkard’s (dour and bossy), while throwing you right into their lives (which involve being international smugglers).

Now that you hopefully have some ideas about where to start, I’d love to have some comments with your suggestions for others or tell me about how you’re going to start your story this year! My next blog post should be later this week, and will be more about the writing process or what I’m going to be writing about. There’s less than a month until November guys!!! SO CLOSE! I hope y’all are ready 😉

Stay classy internet!

Nanowrimo: Early prep time!

If you don’t know what Nanowrimo is and you’re a writer, WOW WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!

So let me explain… Nanowrimo (or National Novel Writing Month) is basically this awesome global event that happens in November every year. It’s for writers of any caliber to join; it’s free, it’s easy, but it DOES take some preparation! Which is why I’m starting early (teehee). The goal of Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words in one month (1,600-1,700 words a day). It can be a daunting task but once you get going it can be easy! (So I hear.) The good thing about this global event, is that you have motivation, you have people to push you, you have collateral in the form of internet friends who will yell at you to get your life together and JUST DO IT! (Oh, Shia hehe).

For myself, this will be my VERY FIRST YEAR!!! OMG!!! Well the first year I’m LEGIT going to do it if it kills me. I’ve tried in the past, but most of the time I just fall short after a few days and stop trying. BUT THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT! This year I have over a month to prepare, so I will prevail!

What I’m doing to prep is this:

  1. Writing a LOT. Wow sounds like brain surgery right? NO. I try to write a lot and keep “in the zone” so that I’m continuously motivated and inspired to KEEP writing. I don’t want to get to November and just start writing then, because I will most likely crash and burn from lack of previous commitment. It’s easier to keep going once you’re started than to start at all.
  2. Outlining. From prepping my brain, to prepping my story, this is something you SHOULD DO. I know people who just want to jump in and let the story take itself away and that’s great if it works for you, but if you’re not in that small percentage; THAT IS HOW YOU FAIL. That is how you get stuck somewhere and don’t know where to go. That is how you stop writing 2 days into Nanowrimo! NO MORE! We will outline to our hearts content! (And in great detail!)
  3. Ready the troops! Really, how do you expect to write anything if you don’t KNOW who you’re writing about? Know your characters, their enemies, and most of all know your protagonist! For a helpful character sheet to get you started, try this one.
  4. Get in the zone. Read, and read a lot. Read books that inspire you. Listen to music that inspires you. WRITE things that inspire you. Do whatever it takes so that on November 1st you are dying to put words on that page!
  5. Put things in perspective. Think about it. 50,000, writing between 1,600 and 1,700 words a day is not a lot. It is doable. Which is why writing a LOT puts you into practice. I can VERY EASILY get through 5-6k in a day. Keep in mind that’s while I’m at work, between taking calls (I work at a callcenter, BLEH). That’s also between my other work, blogging and social networking. Not to mention socializing with coworkers. If you write a lot, you’ll be ready to keep writing, I promise you!
  6. Knowing how to start. This goes along with outlining, but realistically it also needs to be a point of its own. If you don’t know how you’re going to start your story, you’re never going to get started. SO, take the time to think about your story, think about the scene you want it to start on. Think about it on the bus, on the way home, at work, before you go to sleep – solidify it in your brain so you don’t only start, but you get off to a GREAT start.

Well I think that about covers the steps I’m using to prep so far… More are bound to be added closer to the date. Such as; food prep, plans, making sure I have non-writing related outings to give me a break and having time to talk to other writers to get inspiration too.

There’s also this neat little thing where you can meet up with people in your area who are participating in Nanowrimo. I think that is a WONDERFUL idea and will hook you up with people all over who will be going through the same stuff as you, so don’t be afraid to get involved! You can find a location/group near you on the Nanowrimo website.

For more tips on prepping for Nanowrimo, head over to Pen and Muse to get some ideas! These two lovely ladies are experienced Nanowrimers and they know their stuff!

Until next time,

Stay classy internet!