forum to my fellow writers
Started by @tomat brightness_7

people_alt 76 followers

@tomat brightness_7

this will be a set of advice from a person who finished his first draft of a fantasy novel, and written a fantasy novella. but first, let him let out his excitement:

ashashhshsaahhaah I did it. six years, three notebooks, probably ten times more pens. the first draft is here blue on white, every page. aaaaaaaaaahagahga who would have thought that this day would come? I look back on my doubts, weaknesess, powerlessness. I grab them by its neck and laugh in its face. 'you thought you could stop me from writing', I say, 'from never reaching the end? you thought you could make me never move forward? oh how wrong you were. I ran from you but you never scared me. I ran because you wanted me to stay. I ran so you could exhaust yourself from chasing me. guess what. even when I stopped to take my breath, you never made me stagnant. with every word written I proved you wrong. I fear not the future. eheuehueheue'

ok now time for some tips for you!

(best advice you have to start with)

  1. First draft is only for bringing your idea to reality. Not your story - idea.
    Most beginning writers tend to write their first drafts in a way that you would see in an already edited book. It's not wrong, but it's inefficient in the long run. You may find yourself thinking the next 5 minutes about how to make this sentence perfectly logically aligned with the rest, but the truth is, you don't need that. As long as you understand what is going on and what has to happen in this scene then you don't have to put so much work in constructing beautifully written sentences. Leave this for the second draft. Of course, if you feel the writer's flow in your hands then use it until it runs out. But if you fell like you're standing in one place, check point 2. And save thinking for later. Your only task is to materialize your idea, write down the characters, worldbuilding, map out all the events and think what kind of sufferings do you want to put your heroes through.

  2. Square brackets are your friends. Spouses even. Marry them.
    Or use any other kind of tag that can tell you that you omitted this scene for now. Instead of spending your precious time thinking and writing some crappy dialogue, you can just write [Character A persuades B into joining their team]. And boom, you continue with your flow, no more staring at the ceiling. You'll come back to this scene later. Who knows what you may change, maybe you'll cut this scene out entirely anyway? Then you'll dispose of just that one bracked sentence and not a whole paragraph of tiring work that you did some night 6 months ago. There's just so many scenes written by me in 2018 that don't exist in my story now. This is a mistake that I don't want to make ever again.

  3. Do not go back before you're finished.
    Which means, do not edit what you've written before you finish the whole thing. Editing obviously slows down your drafting. That connects to cutting out scenes I mentioned in the point 2 but this also applies to correcting previous events to match the changes you made recently. For example, you give your character some trauma in chapter 10, and then you go all up to chapter 20, and then you think that maybe this kind of pain wasn't good enough for them. Don't change what you've written in chapter 10, just continue writing with that new trauma in mind. You can mark the moment you made this decision on your margin or in your document's comments, just for your information.

  4. Know when to force yourself.
    When you become tired while writing, is it because the scene doesn't flow? Is it way past your bedtime? It's important to find balance between going easy and all out. I like to ask myself a few questions if I don't feel like writing.
    • Am I experiencing physical discomfort (such as eye pain, backache, hunger etc.)? If yes, take a break. Stretch your body for at least 10 minutes, eat or drink something, take a shower or go to the toilet, stare at the horizon. Aftter that continue your writing and see if you feel better.
    • Am I feeling sleepy? If it's past your bedtime, you should go sleep. A well-rested writer is a clever writer. Trust me. And if you really want to continue this scene, write down keywords, phrases or a plan of events that will help you get back on track next time.
    • Am I feeling excited about this scene? If yes, write. Try to bring it to an end. Even if it means that you'll have a whole chapter filled with square brackets. Especially if it's a core event of your book. And if this is just some minor scene that may be cut out later, write a short summary and skip it.
  5. Daydream a lot. Always ask yourself "what if"?
    I can't count how many "what if"s improved my book. What if this character makes a different decision? What if I delete this scene/event/character/arc? What will happen if the main villain is only the true villain's puppet? And of course the famous: what is the worst thing that could happen? Ask, and then daydream. Daydream in the shower, while getting ready to sleep, cleaning your room, making breakfast. Explore all the alternative endings that you can write.

  6. Ask others.
    I have two trusted widely-read friends I send "hypothetical situations" to. I describe to them a scene I have problem with with as much detail as I can (I am quite shy about sharing such things as character names and anything specific so I just use nicknames such as "daddy" or "kitten") and ask them for an opinion or a solution. Almost everytime they help me get out of my block. I ocasionally post discussions here on Notebook as well. If you can't figure out what to do about your problems, try reaching out to someone who can help.

  7. Write everything down.
    Especially if you wake up in the middle of the night with a life changing idea. Please do not make my mistake. Even if you think you'll remember that for later, act like you won't. Materialize your thought as soon as you come up with it. You never know what will come in handy when you're in the time of need.

  8. Find what motivates you and use it when needed.
    What motivates me best is spending time with my significant other, reading my favorite stories, listening to reviews of bad books, and dreaming inspiring dreams (but that's kind of random and not reliable). Explore activities that bring you joy and look for this feeling of motivation inside you. Then go back to those things when you find yourself unable to open your google docs.

  9. Read.
    The best thing you can do when you're not writing is reading. Gather inspiration from other authors and stories, look out for some plot holes or mistakes, find what sparks joy and what doesn't. Take a leaf out of your favorite artists' book. Make notes on margins about how you feel about this particular scene. Write down your favorite quotes. Everytime you read, you learn how to make your scenes better or what to avoid. Read popular books of your genre to find out what your future readers would like. And explore other genres, because widening your horizons is important too.

  10. Take breaks when you feel like writing doesn't bring you feelings anymore.
    There were some times when I just sat and stared at my crooked handwriting and just. Nothing helped. I had 6 unfinished stories and couldn't get to writing any of them. I took a 2 months break. During that time I tried to explore my other interests, such as drawing, music, watching TV series. I was worried that such a break will affect my writing or it could make things worse, but I slowly started to adapt myself again to my pen and notebook. It took some time to get back to the situation from before. But I did. I needed that break to realize why I chose to be a writer in the first place.

I hope that I was able to help some of you, and if you have any questions I'll try to make time to answer them! Now I plan to leave my novel to rest a while and I'll start my second draft in a few months or so. Wish me luck I guess. And to all of you, I believe in you. You are writers and I can't wait to read your stories. I really hope we'll meet somewhere in the future! Best wishes from tomat :3