For the past few weeks I’ve been up to my eyeballs in writing. I’ve finally found my groove for the latest novel and each day is seeing more words added to the word count.
But, now that chapter 8 is successfully taken care of I thought I’d share some of the mantras I’ve been repeating to myself every day while I write, along with other lessons and discoveries, that have helped my writing considerably.
#1 You Are Not The Main Character.
It might sound like an easy thought to remember during the writing process, especially when the main character is a different gender or just a wildly contrasting person to yourself. However, it’s always been helpful for me while I write to compare what a fictional character feels against what I would feel in the same situation. It’s a helpful guide to keep responses realistic and genuine. The problem for me arose when I started doing that a little too much with my main character and soon found myself writing as if I was the main character and what I would do in those situations. After one bad scene with horrible dialogue, I paused the writing and tried to figure out the issue. It came to me in time and now I keep reminding myself at least once a day, “You are not the main character.” I’ve written a more in depth timeline for the MC along with several secrets he wouldn’t want to get out and a few goals and dreams he has so I can know him more intimately and how he will act, and now the story is back in progress.
#2 Maps Help.
The story I’m writing is in the fantasy genre and takes place within a massive fortified city. This sprawling city has everything; canals, docks, churches and cathedrals, a palace, a noble quarter, a market district, a fishing district, an Academy for magi, and so so much more. While writing it can sometimes become disorientating to keep up with where each character is and the routes they take to move around the city. That is why, even though it was time consuming, I spent an entire day mapping out my fantasy world at the start of the project. Not just my city, but my whole world– entire kingdoms and countries. I figured I should create their boundaries and capitals since I was always referencing them, and that’s only helped to enhance the story. I can’t tell you how much more helpful it is to have something physical to refer to for my writing. Instead of just saying “the characters went east to the other side of the city“, I can cite the avenue(Baker’s street) they use to cross the bridge(beggar’s crossing) over the canal(the Stream of Tears) as they pass the special brewery(Goldman’s Ale) next to that one tavern(The Silver Mug) on their way to the parade(Flower Festival). So helpful.
#3 All Hail Pinterest.
Ah, pinterest; the website with a never-ending supply of pictures about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. While I credit pinterest for having great writing prompts– and I mean GREAT— they also are full of inspiration for me. Ex: most of the city in which my novel takes place is built with baked red bricks, but other parts of the city have paved cobble stone while yet other parts are made of yet other materials. I came up with this from browsing pics of fantasy cities on pinterest. I have a board on pinterest labeled Characters and on it is nothing but pictures of characters I use. Some of the characters in this novel can be found on that board, so if I ever come up with a blank of what their hairstyle is or what kind of clothes they would wear, I turn to pinterest and am never let down. Clothes? Settings? Characters? Synonyms? Colors? Materials? Anything! Check out pinterest. All Hail.
#4 Build And Keep Your Momentum.
It can be hard, when first starting a new writing project, to get yourself motivated each and every day and produce consistent results, but it’s not impossible. Taking time each night to prepare for the next day and remove as many obstacles to writing as possible is the first step to cranking out copious amounts of words. Take the time now to lessen the distractions and plant yourself solidly within your work. Once you’ve accomplished this, don’t stop, even for a day, or you’ll find that your momentum slips quickly. Like, really really quickly. With the numerous health issues I deal with, this is by far the hardest for me to maintain. But it’s also the most important. It is so hard for me to pick the momentum back up and get back to cranking out scenes each day. If I have one bad day or a day of visiting with my doctors where I can’t write, you can be sure my story and momentum suffer. If I could, I’d rent a cabin in the Georgia mountains and become recluse while I write. No distractions, no hobbies, no nothing. Just focused writing till the end. Wouldn’t that be dreamy?