National Novel Writing Month

Well, it’s National Novel Writing Month! If you’ve got a book in mind, now would be a great time to start it. Don’t rush yourself. Remember: if you start writing a novel today and finish in 21 days, you’re bound to have some mistakes.

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The Ultmate Character Guide

When you’re writing a book, you want good, developed characters(don’t you?). So here is a guide to help you:

Protagonist

  • “Good character”
  • Sometimes (but not always) the main character
  • Opposite of the Antagonist
  • Must not be evil

Antagonist

  • Must be the evil villain or is not “the” antagonist!
  • (sigh) Can’t be good, must be evil.

Now, those are just the main characters. Every book must have:

Protagonist

Antagonist

Any other characters, as many as required.

Depending on the type of person your protagonist is, they can be interesting or extremely boring. But if your antagonist is boring, you are

a) in a lot of trouble with me

b) Not just about to have an interesting book

c) boring.

Your book must also have a main character.

Is the main character the…

Protagonist?

Even the antagonist?.

Your main character might be a “mini-protagonist”

Or a “mini-antagonist”?

Maybe on neither side, just a neutral bystander.

Or not having decided their side

So, short chapter writers…

Well, I was just thinking, and I came up with, “don’t have two-quintillion(yes, it is a word) two sentence chapters hanging around”.

“Why not?” you ask.

Because if that’s how long your chapter is, things will go something like:

“Emma!” Rachael shouted. Emma came over. “What?” “The sun is up!” Rachael said.

instead of:

“Emma!” Rachael peered over the tops of hills, just in time to see Emma making her way over, holding her coat in one hand, and Rachael’s hat in the other. Rachael sprinted over to her, a smile on her face. “What?” Emma shouted over the wind. “The sun is up!” her sister called back. They were both smiling now. Emma looked happier than Rachael had seen her.

Never space your letters with  more  than  one  space. It’s annoying and, though it makes chapters longer, look at this:

“Emma!”  Rachael  peered  over  the  tops  of  hills,  just  in  time  to  see  Emma  making  her  way  over,  holding  her  coat  in  one  hand,  and  Rachael’s  hat  in  the  other.  Rachael  sprinted  over  to  her,  a  smile  on  her  face.  “What?”  Emma  shouted  over  the  wind.  “The  sun  is  up!”  her  sister  called  back.  They  were  both  smiling  now. Emma  looked  happier  than  Rachael  had  seen  her.

They[both passages] are the exact same thing, but one  is  double  spaced. Now imagine this:

” E m m a !”   R a c h a e l   p e e r e d   o v e r   t h e   t o p s   o f   h i l l s ,   j u s t   i n   t i m e   t o   s e e   E m m a   m a k i n g

h e r   w a y   o v e r ,   h o l d i n g   h e r   c o a t   i n   o n e   h a n d ,   a n d   R a c h a e l ‘ s   h a t   i n   t h e   o t h e r .

R a c h a e l   s p r i n t e d   o v e r   t o   h e r ,   a   s m i l e   o n   h e r  f a c e .  ” W  h a t ? ”   E m m a   s h o u t e d   o v e r

t h e   w i n d .   ” T h e   s u n   i s   u p ! ”   h e r   s i s t e r  c a l l e d   b a c k .   T h e y   w e r e   b o t h   s m i l i n g   n o w .

E   m m a   l o o k e d   h a p p i e r   t h a n   R a c h a e l   h a d   s e e n   h e r.

Triple between-word-spacing and a space between each letter. Certainly takes up more space, but imagine reading a whole book like that (and typing it!)

So. Short Chapters. Make them longer by adding detail.

A long name for your characters won’t cut it. Also, imagine this:

Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California for the only thing you call her would be like this:

Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California stepped out of the fog and gave Bella a sad look. “What, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California?” Bella asked. “The town is convinced the queen is still on their side,” said Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California. “What did you do?” Bella demanded. “Nothing.” Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California looked very depressed. “Don’t worry, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California.” Bella said. “I’ll convince them.” Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California looked doubtful. “Are you sure?” “Yes, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California. I am.” “But–“Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California started, but Bella cut her off. “Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California…” Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California sighed. “Fine,” she said.”I guess…it might work.” “Okay,” Bella said, suddenly getting a delighted expression on her face. “Come on, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California,” she said, walking towards Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California’s helicopter. “What?” Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California asked. “You’re coming with me, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California!” Bella cried, grabbing Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California’s wrist. “We’ll persuade them!” And, together, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California and Bella took to the sky, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California flying them.

If we gave Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California just “Elizabeth”, it would be:

Elizabeth stepped out of the fog and gave Bella a sad look. “What, Elizabeth?” Bella asked. “The town is convinced the queen is still on their side,” said Elizabeth. “What did you do?” Bella demanded. “Nothing.” Elizabeth looked very depressed. “Don’t worry, Elizabeth.” Bella said. “I’ll convince them.” Elizabeth looked doubtful. “Are you sure?” “Yes, Elizabeth. I am.” “But–“Elizabeth started, but Bella cut her off. “Elizabeth…” Elizabeth sighed. “Fine,” she said.”I guess…it might work.” “Okay,” Bella said, suddenly getting a delighted expression on her face. “Come on, Elizabeth,” she said, walking towards Elizabeth. “What?” Elizabeth asked. “You’re coming with me, Elizabeth!” Bella cried, grabbing Elizabeth’s wrist. “We’ll persuade them!” And, together, Elizabeth and Bella took to the sky, Elizabeth flying them.

Also, if I’d writ the first Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California thing in the ” l o n g   f o r m a t” we’d have some longness on our hands.

So (I seem to keep losing our point here) use dialogue to make your story longer. Like my Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California thing. Using dialogue, the characters’ talking makes it longer without (sometimes) contributing to the plot.

Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California stepped out of the fog and gave Bella a sad look. “What, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California?” Bella asked. “The town is convinced the queen is still on their side,” said Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California. “What did you do?” Bella demanded. “Nothing.” Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California looked very depressed. “Don’t worry, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California.” Bella said. “I’ll convince them.” Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California looked doubtful. “Are you sure?” “Yes, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California. I am.” “But–“Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California started, but Bella cut her off. “Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California…” Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California sighed. “Fine,” she said.”I guess…it might work.” “Okay,” Bella said, suddenly getting a delighted expression on her face. “Come on, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California,” she said, walking towards Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California’s helicopter. “What?” Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California asked. “You’re coming with me, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California!” Bella cried, grabbing Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California’s wrist. “We’ll persuade them!” And, together, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California and Bella took to the sky, Elizabeth Maybelle Evaliana Smithsonian from California flying them.

Imagine that being your name. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!

What could be better than a two and a half page chapter?

That’s what I was thinking when I finished the two and a half page chapter. It needs expansion. It was in a size 20 font, so there were about 26 lines per page, but it was still tiny. I want to revise it and make it longer (I found two typos in the first 2 paragraphs).I am going to expand it (at the end of it there’s a very short section of dialogue between the main character and a supporting character) and make it like…longer.

I want to write! vol. I

Starting now, I have a thing called “I want to write!” for people who want to write a book, but they have absolutely no idea how to write it, or what to write about.

The Plot

When you’re planning a plot, you may feel stuck at times–like if you don’t know what to make the main antagonist do that’s completely evil (and you want the evilest thing you can think of)–you may improvise. A lot. Maybe, your main character Lisette is doing something that can certify as senseless because you improvised. Then when you’re finished writing your first draft, you see that part and say How does that fit in with the plot????. Then you will change it and be like “Wait…” when you reread and see that, unfortunately, that doesn’t fit in. My tip: reread and then rewrite. It will save you endless time and trouble.

The MAIN Antagonist…

main-(MAIN) (adj)1. of highest importance or the common part (mainland) The main point -mainly, main

… a.k.a. s/he who does not change. The villain is the character who you plan and write, no detours! (Meaning that you don’t plan some complex scene in which your main antagonist begs for mercy and becomes one of the “good guys” of the story-unless you want to disappoint your readers. I love hating villains, and, honestly, I’ll put the book in which the above happens down in disgust as I find it very difficult to process that the main antagonist is no longer evil and I… well, you get the point.)

See here to read more on villains.

Do you get the point?

Good. Make the villain’s assistant the traitor.

Now give them a reason to betray.

If you’ve already sent the book in which the above happens out to publishers and it’s published (or in the pile, waiting to be published) tough luck on revising it.

Are you writing a book? Well… If you’re writing a book, you haven’t introduced your villain yet, and are still planning the villain out, you have hope.

About the editing-the-scene-so-the-assistant-betrays-the-villain-instead-of-the-villain-betraying-the-assistant part.

If you’ve made a big deal about, like “the green haired villain will set aside control of the kingdom of her home to help the brave souls who dared intrude upon her kingdom of wonderfully bright, and shiny mowed lawns” and your main antagonist has green hair (and is the only one with it), then change “green” to the color of the assistant’s hair.”The blond haired villain will set aside control of the kingdom of her home to help the brave souls who dared intrude upon her kingdom of wonderfully bright. and shiny mowed lawns” could be there instead. Or brown hair, black hair, red hair, whatever.

Now that you have all this down, you should write her/him a scene.

Maybe five pages, not much. When you’re finished, read it over and edit and revise it. Finally, give it to someone who’s opinion you trust. Ask them what was good and what was bad. Etc.

Maybe write another page. Keep adding until (maybe) you have a whole chapter.

I once read a book in whicvh the advice I advised in this post was misused. Guess they didn’t listen to me!