Posted in NaNo, On Writing

NaNo Prep: Expanding Ideas

The second step of my NaNo prep is to expand on the idea I’ve come up with. There are a few methods that I use to expand on my ideas. Occasionally I will use one over the others but for the most part I use a bit of each of them.

Expanding With Word Clouds

This is basically the same as my last post except I already have an idea of what I’m writing instead of trying to figure it out.

When I use this method it is usually to write non-fiction. Each cloud outside of the central cloud is used as either a secondary topic or an expansion on a secondary topic.

Expanding With Lists

Similar to word clouds, this method involves word association. However, instead of placing each item in its own cloud, you write them into an unordered list. Once you have completed your list, you can organize it so that it is more fluid.

Again, this is a method that I use when writing non-fiction. However, when I already have a basic plot for a story, I will use this method to organize it.

Expanding With Conflicts

For this method you need to add conflicts to your idea. Occasionally for this method I will pair it with the “What If” game. For instance “What if zombies appeared?” or “What if the main character finds out they are ill?”

Once a conflict is added, it must then be made worse with a complication. For instance, the main character finds out they are ill. This can be made complicated by it being a hereditary disease and the main character is adopted. Perhaps they always knew they were adopted and never felt the need to find their birth family or maybe they never knew they were adopted.

This is one of my favourite methods for planning fiction as it allows plots to form organically.

Expanding With Questions

This is probably my favourite method of idea expansion because I find it the most fun. Quite literally the only thing you have to do is ask a question and answer it. Each answer should bring up another question. This builds up the idea because you are constantly answering new questions.

While the other methods work for fiction and non-fiction outlines, this method is my preferred one for world building. It may help me with plots and outlines but I find it usually builds more backstory than main story.

 

Let me know in the comments if these helped you with your NaNo planning or if you laugh in the face of outlines and are planning to pants.

Advertisements
Posted in NaNo, On Writing

NaNo Prep: Word Clouds

One of my favourite methods of pre-writing is word clouds (also known as mind maps, word nets, and clustering). I find that this is the best way for me to come up with subplots which are connected to the main idea without overshadowing it or being too unlikely. It also helps me if I have a very rough idea (such as a genre) and I want to narrow it down into a writable plot.

To start, take your idea and write it in the middle of a sheet of paper. Then, draw a cloud around it. This is what I like to affectionately call “the beginning”.

As you think about the beginning, write down all of the ideas you associate with it. Circle these ideas and connect them to the beginning with lines. (To see an example, look at the image down below.)

If you think of things associated with an idea but not the beginning, write those down and connect them to the idea. If you think of something associated with several ideas, connect it to all of the ideas you associate it with. It is also perfectly ok to start a new cloud from an idea if you find yourself running out of room on the original page or if one idea has more associations than all the others.

Continue making these clouds and connections until you have either run out of ideas or feel you have enough ideas to create an outline.

Word Clouds

 

Posted in On Writing

NaNo Prep: Planning or Pantsing

I am a planner. I have been my entire life. I make plans then back up plans and I’ve even been known to make back up plans for my back up plans. So I guess you could say that I over plan.

In my writing I have found that if I have my plans fully set out then the words flow faster and easier than when I’m pantsing. If I know my characters and all of their backstories, they come alive on the page. If I know my world then it becomes pictures instead of words.

When I attempt to pants through my stories and posts the words stutter worse than a stalled car engine. The characters are zombies and the settings are wastelands. I end up spending more time worrying about the story than writing it.

Other writers have the opposite problem as me. When they plan their stories they find themselves too restricted by the plans. Characters sound forced and worlds become encyclopedia entries. When these writers pants, their words catch fire and light up with passion.

However most writers find themselves somewhere in the middle of both extremes. Part planner and part pantser, they find themselves with a loose plan that can change with the story. Perhaps they have fleshed out characters but limited plot. Or they may have a world but no characters. Too much planning and they are restricted; but too much pantsing and they don’t know what to write. So they hover in that grey area of the in-between.

None of these options is inherently bad. It is all in how you put together your final work and the method in which your words flow best.

And it is the words that count.

Posted in A.P. Roberts

Getting Back Into The Habit

I use to write a lot. And by a lot I mean that I would write at least 500 words on a bad day. Lately I’ve been lucky to write 100 words in a week. This is not what I want in my life. I want to be able to write. I want the words to flow out of my hands and onto the paper in front of me. I want to see blank pages filled with words.

But I’m severely out of practice and have been for the last few years. Which is why I need to practice my writing and blogging with a bit of rambling.

Continue reading “Getting Back Into The Habit”

Posted in A.P. Roberts

Back After Two Years

TW: If you are easily triggered by talk of harassment, anxiety or mental illness, please take care of yourself and don’t read the rest of this post.

After more than two years in a self-imposed hiatus, I’m back. At least, I’m hoping that I’m back though I don’t know how long or how often I’ll be able to post.

There were some events which happened in my life over the last few years which severely impacted my mental health. This also impacted my work, my home life and my writing. In all honesty, there was not a part of my life that was not affected by these events.

Continue reading “Back After Two Years”

Posted in A.P. Roberts, On Writing, Reality in Fiction, Useful Sites

Reality in Fiction: Transplants Part Two

Warning: This post is the continuation of last week’s post. It was even more difficult for me to get through as some of these issues are still current in my SO’s health. If you have questions, please ask. As well, if you have opinions or information, please feel free to share in the comments.

POST-TRANSPLANT

Recovery is different for every transplant but in each instance recovery can take time. Most transplants require patients to be hospitalized for at least a few days post-transplant so that the doctors can closely monitor their recovery process.

Each patient reacts to recovery in a different way. Some patients may find they recover at a fairy quick pace without many incidents. Other patients may find they recovery quickly at the beginning but start to slow down the further into their recovery that they get. There are patients who find their recovery is a slow process which may require another transplant before they reach full health. And, sadly, there are patients who may never recover their health after transplant. All of these occurrences are normal.

Continue reading “Reality in Fiction: Transplants Part Two”

Posted in A.P. Roberts, On Writing, Reality in Fiction, Useful Sites

Reality in Fiction: Transplants Part One

Warning: This post was difficult for me to write due to the subject being so close to my heart. I apologize in advance if this is not edited to my normal quality as I had a difficult time reading it through. As well, if there is anything you feel I have missed, please let me know. I am planning a part 2 for transplants to include more information I gathered over the last few years.

The first thing to remember about transplants is that every transplant is different and every transplant patient has a different experience. Both transplant and recovery can vary greatly from patient to patient.

FINDING OUT

Patients who require transplants usually find out about their need because they become very ill. In fact, it can be obvious from looking at the patient that there is something wrong. They go to the doctor because of these symptoms and are given tests to find out the problem. Once the doctor figures out why the symptoms are present in the patient, they may refer the patient to a specialist. It may be the family doctor or the specialist who diagnoses the specific issue that requires transplant.

Continue reading “Reality in Fiction: Transplants Part One”

Posted in On Writing, Reality in Fiction, Useful Sites

Reality in Fiction: Absent Parents

There are an untold number of stories on the internet where teenagers have absent parents. While this can give the writer of the story more leeway into what their young characters can do, it is also very unrealistic.

This is not to say that there are no parents out there who leave their children alone for long periods of time. Nor am I saying that there are no parents who care as little for their children as they do for a stranger. What I am saying is that these scenarios are not the norm and constitute bad parenting.

If parents leave their under-aged children alone, there must be a reason. For instance, the parent may work away from home or during the evenings. Single parents may need to work several jobs. Other parents may be neglectful because they never wanted kids or they want to party.

Regardless of the reason for the under-aged children being left alone, there are consequences.

Continue reading “Reality in Fiction: Absent Parents”

Posted in On Writing, Reality in Fiction, Useful Sites

Reality in Fiction: Grief

There are many things which can be grieved and what connects them all is loss. People will grieve the loss of a job just as much as they will grieve the loss of a person. If it involves a loss, then it also involves grief.

Loss can be grieved in any number of ways. The grief may be express quickly which will also begin the healing process quickly or the grief may take years to be expressed in which case the healing may never come.

Unfortunately, there are many stories where the writer forgets that their character is grieving. When the writer forgets about the character’s loss, the character also forgets about their loss. This means that the character does not deal with their grief.

If grief is not dealt with, it can get worse. Grief can turn into depression or complicated grief which may require professional help.

The most well-known stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages can overlap, repeat, or skip; and there is no set timeline nor set order for the stages.

Continue reading “Reality in Fiction: Grief”

Posted in Blogging 101, Challenges, Writing

Should Have Called Ahead

“I’m telling you Emma, it doesn’t look as if anyone works here. It probably went out of business when my grandfather died.” Carrianne went behind the desk and started looking through some papers. “There doesn’t seem to be any guests booked in at all for the last year.”

“That’s because you’re looking at the wrong books. Everything is on computer now.” A brown-haired girl pulled out the top drawer of the desk, revealing a laptop. “And why are you going through the paperwork? Normally people call ahead if they want to stay here.”

“Well, this wasn’t really planned and I didn’t have the number. Mum just told me to come here and speak with the council.” Carrianne said with a shrug. “Besides, I was told that I inherited the Flowering Rose from my grandfather. I thought that it had gone out of business since I had no idea it existed until now.”

“It didn’t go out of business. We took care of it since you were too busy.” The brunette shook her head. “Goddess, you think you are so much better than us don’t you? Why are you even here? We don’t need you. The Rose got on fine without you.”

“What are you talking about? I didn’t even know about this place until Mom got sick. She told me that my grandfather gave me the Flowering Rose in his will. I thought that I should at least come and check the place out.”

“Oh please, you and your mom think you’re too good for Winterwood. You come here to get what you want and leave as soon as it gets tough. You own the Rose but you’ve never done anything for it. You never even come to visit. So why are you here now?”

“I told you. I didn’t know about the Flowering Rose until Mom got sick.” Carrianne enunciated each word to a painful degree. “If it was up to me, I would sell it to someone who would take care of it. But I have no control over who owns it right now.”

The girl shook her head. “Yeah right, tell me another tale while you’re at it. You own the place. You have all the control.”

“The deed is in trust with the council. I need to meet with them before I get control. And Mom warned me that I may need to complete some other things as well before they will give me the deed.” Carrianne folded her arms and leaned against the desk. “I wish I had control but I don’t. So, do you mind telling me who you are and if there is a free room my friend and I can stay in while we get this sorted?”

“I’m Marny and I don’t think there are any rooms. You should have called ahead like everyone else.”

 


 

 

Blogging 101 asked us to make a prompt our own. The prompt I chose was today’s writing prompt from The Daily Post: “Shoulda Woulda Coulda.”