I’ve plans to complete a novel by the end of the year for a competition. And while the story has changed from one idea to another, I’m excited to actually get to work to make this happen. What’s helpful is that I have most of a first draft completed – even if I need to rewrite a lot of it.
But that’s just how writing works, isn’t it? A lot of rewrites.
There are a few things that I’ll be using to help push me forward and improve my writing skills: NaNoWriMo, blogging, finding local events for writers… and using a lot of lunch break time. However, none of these things are going to help me if I don’t have my thoughts together on the plotline, character backstories, and a bit of world planning.
So what are some of the best way to boost your writing and ensure you will be able to write a believable story, something that will ensnare your readers and refuse to let them go? Here are a few things that I do when writing that help a bit with this:
- Keep a writer’s journal. I have a bit of a journal obsession, but that’s mostly because I use them to write all of my story ideas into. Also, they’re pretty, but that’s not as important. It can be like Meagan’s creativity journal or it can just be a list of random things that pop in your head at various moments.
- Research subjects related to your story. If your story is set in 18th century London, then find out how people lived in that time and what world events were going on at the time. Details like that are crucial and would really affect the plotline. If you are setting the story in a fantasy world with, say, pirates, learn about life on the seas and what pirates really did. Know the limits of the human body. I find it’s easy to keep all of this information together by creating a Google doc and linking each subject to helpful websites (make sure they are credible!).
- Bounce ideas off of friends. Something that may sound like a great idea to you may actually not be very believable or relatable to the readers. If you’re a little hesitant about anything, getting a second opinion won’t hurt.
- Know where your story is going. Start writing with at least an idea of the plot and where the main characters are going to end up. I like making a sort of diagram with major plot points and scenes. The little pieces in between fall into place when I am writing.
- Read books in the same genre or time period. This not only gives you an idea of what things work, but it also gives you a chance to get into the mindset for your own novel. Just remember – don’t take the ideas from these books!
- Think about what your characters would do in different scenarios. Characters can have a mind of their own at times. In order to really get to know them, think about how they would react in different situations. Take them outside the realm of your story and get a feel of who they really are. Not only will this help you with writing scenes a little easier, but they’ll be more believable because there is more depth to them.
What are some of your favorite things to do when writing? Do you have a writer’s journal or a research folder? Share and comment below!