With this blog we encourage writers to write, and keep writing. That is how you get better and find your inner most thoughts and ideas. But what happens when you write and write and don’t finish? What do you do with the work?
Well…we have some tips for you on how you can use your unfinished work to your advantage!
As a writer, many of your pieces may have the same tone, setting, or even characters. Go through your old works and see what pieces can fit together. I never said this was going to be an easy task…but it could be a fun one!
Learn from them.
While this task might be the easiest, and the most obvious it can still be a challenge. Ask yourself why you never finished a certain piece. Then keep asking yourself questions. See if there is any similarity to your answers with your pieces, then devise a solution.
Pick up from where you left off. Sometimes all an unfinished piece needs is time! Clear your head and try to keep the momentum going! There is no better way to grow as a writer than to finish your work, leaving no rock unturned!
I challenge you to try these tasks. And in the future, before you are about to throw in the towel, ask yourself why you are stopping. And NEVER delete your work! It is unique to you and can help you grow. It was part of your adventure and can become your beginning if you work at it.
Considering this is a literary focused blog we write a lot about how to help and inspire writers/authors. However, sometimes we neglect to focus on the inspiration that is right in front of us. Our families and friends can be instrumental to finding ourselves and sparking creativity. Talk with them, learn with them, and good things may come.
This is not to say that you might also get a headache, but in all seriousness there is no better way to learn than with and by those around you.
Here you will find some tips, advice, and thoughts to hopefully help you in writing your next friends to lovers romance!
Don’t forget the roots! It’s a friends to lovers romance after all, so try and make the friendship a big part of the story. The friendship is the upclimb, where the conflict and tension builds, so don’t ignore the friendship aspect. Find a way to establish a friendship that is unique. Avoid ‘love at first sight’ and try to create a different kind of connection. Do they have a routine they follow when they are together? Did it start off as playful banter or jokes turned compassion?
Awkward is okay. Let’s face it, how can anyone go from being friends to lovers without there being a little awkwardness in between. But, it is up to you to choose the kind of awkward. Whether it be cute, sexy ,or comedic depends on how you built the characters.
Make the reader care. Off the bat the reader doesn’t want to already think everything will work out between the two characters. Hint at the beginning the connection between the characters, but don’t give them a full on romance from the start. Trust your reader to pick up on the little things, and let there be some doubt- a risk involved where the two characters might not be able to work it out.
These are just a few tips and some helpful advice to get the ball rolling on your friends to lovers romance. Please share any additional tips you may have. And check out some of our authors’ very own friends to lovers novels to give you some inspiration!
Your first chapter needs to be the ultimate hook! Something that will encaptivate publishers, agents, and readers (no pressure). But don’t worry, that’s why you’re here…read on to discover the writers chapter one checklist.
Disclaimer: Everyone’s books are different so every first chapter will be. There is no perfect formula to a first chapter but there are key elements.
Introduce the protagonist.
First things first, we need to know the main character. We don’t need to know descriptive details just yet but enough to know a little bit about them. And don’t forget…for every great protagonist comes a great antagonist.
Establish a point of view.
What is your story’s point of view? Will you be writing in third person limited, third person omniscient, first person or another POV? Pick one and stick to it!
Set the genre.
From the first chapter the reader should truly understand what genre they are reading. Is it a romance, science fiction, thriller and so forth?
Introduce the conflict.
What is going to keep the reader engaged? Why are they reading this story? Introducing the conflict in the first chapter gives the reader something to look forward to and makes them continue to chapter two.
Don’t overwhelm the reader.
Try not to throw in too much information in the first chapter. They still have a whole book to read after all! So limit the characters and places you mention in the first chapter.
And as always..have fun! This is your novel and there’s no right way to write a first chapter, just helpful tips! And if you have any worth sharing let us know!
I was recently watching Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitts Creek Farewell on Netflix, and I strongly recommend it to any fans out there, but they made a lot of really great points in terms of character development.
No one knows better than authors and writers how important a good backstory is. And for a show like Schitts Creek, from the first episode until the last, you are still learning new things about the characters and I think that is what made it so addicting and real. In the documentary they discuss how they worked on the backstory for weeks before they started filming because they didn’t want to move on until they knew exactly who these characters really were.
As writers and authors I encourage you to do that with your work. List out your characters attributes and their individual backstories to fully understand who they are, perhaps before you even start writing. As readers we want to consume an emotional investment on the characters, and in order to do that we need more than x, y, and z! We need to fill in the cracks!
Think about it as if you were casting your own show for your book. How would the character portray themselves in a room, what would they wear, and how would they talk? All of these things play such an important role in a reader’s mind.
And as always have fun in creating them! They are a piece of your own imagination afterall!
Last time we spoke at great length, I was ranting and raving about anti-heroes and what it takes to write one. I thought it was time we take on the opposite of the anti-hero: the anti-villain.
There’s a big difference between these two archetypes. The anti-hero is the character who is striving for goodness but does a few bad things along the way. No matter what, the reader is still rooting for this person to get their life together and get to their goal! However, the anti-villain is the character who has a goal in mind, favorable characteristics, or has a sappy backstory that makes you feel sorry for them…but they still are not-so-good and we kind of don’t want them to get in the way of our hero getting what they want/deserve. They aren’t entirely evil as some would think villains are or can be.
What does it take to craft the ideal anti-villain? Let’s chat about it!
CONNECT THEM TO YOUR HERO Voldemort killed Harry’s parents and left him with a scar; boom – connection. Black Jack Randall is Claire’s husband’s ancestor and has a fascination for Jamie; boom – connection. Scar is a part of the family (although, outcast) on Pride Rock; boom – connection.
Having a connection to the hero assists in the hero’s character development. Whether that ends up being a good thing or a bad thing is up to you. Plus, backstory is imperative to any character’s existence. We must know where they came from in order to understand who they are today.
NARROW DOWN WHICH ONE THEY ARE There is a list of types of bad guys all over; but what makes this particular not-so-bad guy bad?
First, we have the well-intentioned extremist. This is the one who has a goal in mind, it’s a good one, but they can’t seem to get to that goal without going to the extreme. And we mean in a bad, bad way. The most common thought in the AV’s head is: “this is for the greater good.” Which, I guess it could be, but did they really have to go ahead and try to kill a crazy amount of people to get there? No. A great example of this (that isn’t Thanos) in literature is Melisandre in A Song of Ice and Fire. She firmly believes that Stannis Baratheon is Azor Ahai reborn, and would kill as many needed to get him the throne. Even Stannis can be considered an extremist of sorts.
Then there’s the noble baddie. This one sounds like it’s not going to be as terrible,right? Well, lo and behold, this one is. There’s a reason behind their attempt at evilness and a particular code they would rather not break. What usually happens is – this individual is trying to be the bad guy; says they are going to do these terrible things…but when it comes down to actually doing anything, they have a harder time following through. An example of this one is Crowley from Good Omens. What do you get when a demon is on a mission to spread sin for a very long time? Well, he ends up being fond of his target and doesn’t want them to die by Apocalypse.
My personal favorite is the villain in name only. This one is exactly what it sounds like: a person who is simply opposing the hero. They aren’t evil, they simply challenge the hero and are their opposite. If the tables were turned, we would probably view that character as the hero and vice versa on their counterpart. A classic example of this would be in the original stories of Sherlock Holmes. Anytime Sherlock discovers the perpetrator is simply a victim of circumstance, and explain themselves to Mr. Holmes…they usually are let go without consequence. It was simply a story to tell about a bad guy who wasn’t all that bad.
Last but not least, we have the woobie villain. I didn’t know where the name came from, so I had to look into it a bit. First, a “woobie” is a name for the type of character who make you feel extremely sorry for them. I know exactly who you’re thinking of when it comes to an example of this, and no, I will not say her name. (Carrie.) But what do you do when you have a character who is terribly torn down and can’t take it anymore? They become the antagonist. While the name I will not mention (Carrie) is an example of this, I want to highlight another classic “I feel terribly sorry for her” villainess…Elphaba. If you don’t know her story, then you don’t have a heart. But seriously, go read the book or watch the play. It’ll make you mad to watch the 1939 Wizard of Oz.
If I had to pick my ideal anti-villain archetype, it would have to be the woobie. Backstory is vital to this villain, granted it is for all characters, but something about building a really strong connection with the villain and understanding where they are coming from when they turn evil…that’s the good stuff. Like the monster from Frankenstein or…Carrie, I guess.
Do you have any well-crafted anti-villains? Or do you have a favorite in mind? We would love to hear about it!
It happens to the best of us…we say we are going to read, read, read and then once life catches up to us or we aren’t feeling inspired the reading stops. And it may take a while to get back into the swing of things.
But don’t worry! Follow some of these tips to put you back in the reading mood!
Listen to recommendations.
Sometimes things truly go in one ear and out the other, but try and listen to what your fellow readers have to say! Give one of their recommendations a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Pick up an old favorite.
Go back to a book you know you love to put you back into the mood. After you finish it you may be more eager to try something new.
Celebrity reading lists.
If you have a favorite celebrity like Reese Witherspoon or Oprah take a look at their reading list. It could spark some inspiration!
Judge a book by its cover.
I know. I know. But sometimes it’s necessary! Take a good stroll through the bookstore or browse a website and just see what catches your eye. You want to look for something that you know you will open!
Try a new method.
If you have only picked up a paperback book, switch it up! Listen to an audiobook or try an ebook out and see if you like it better.
I get in my own rut from time to time, but I like to use these tips for myself to put me back in my reading game! Try them out and see if they work for you!
The Anti-Hero We are living in a time where escaping the confines of our home is what we want to do more than anything. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc. can only provide so much entertainment. The plots become predictable, the characters lose their shine…yada, yada. You know the drill. My favorite stories, both on the screen and between the pages, are the ones following the “most loved” character wrestle their moral high ground, and ultimately fail. These characters feel real. I feel like I know them, have met them in my day-to-day life. Truth is: I probably have and so have you. Instead of listing off characters you can base your own character off of, how about we talk about making your character unique to you?
BACKSTORY IS VITAL Backstory to characters who strive for the ultimate good makes sense. But what about the characters who are angry? Or who are evil? Do not forget one of the more important things in writing: evil can be created. Explore that. Whatever was done to this character can introduce so many more things about them, such as personality traits, nervous ticks, complex behaviors, and beliefs. Your reader doesn’t need to know this information right away, too. Write it out on a new document on your computer and in your notebook before you begin your tale. Uncovering the backstory as the story progresses is the best part about the antihero.
ANGRY OR NOT; THE OUTCOME OF THEIR ACTIONS ARE… Good! For them, at least. It’s a satisfaction for them to do the things they do, because they feel it’s right. They may hurt some people along the way, mentally or physically, but they have a goal in mind. This character could be ruthless. This is what sets them apart from your regular hero. It’s also what sets them apart from being a total villain. They don’t want good for everyone, they want good for them. Which, once their background seeps into the story, sympathy will be created for them by the reader (if they have heart, that is.)
REDEEMING QUALITIES BUILD SYMPATHY Okay, so what if the character in question likes to kill people. Simply because they like to do that doesn’t mean they don’t have a soft spot for Grandma or Grandpa who raised them through their chaotic upbringing. They’ll always make it home for dinner every night, so they don’t upset them. See that? That’s a redeeming quality. Piling up the negative can be emotionally exhausting. Not everyone is as terrible as that. I can think of a few, but we won’t go there. Overall, if the character has a laundry list of negative qualities and zero good ones and they still win in the end, that’s going to be one upsetting story and you’re going to have a laundry list of unhappy readers. Give them traits to make them likable. You’ll have your readers’ hearts in your hands.
YOUR ANTIHERO IS HUMAN (OR CLOSE TO IT) Point is, we are flawed. You and me. Your antihero should be too. Lean towards realism. They have their own moral code, their own inner conflict, and they will always face difficult decisions to meet their end goal. Don’t we all? That’s what makes us each unique in our own personal journey so why not give that to your antihero as well. We aren’t all terrible…right?
So, get to it! We’re done here. Nothing more, nothing less. Antiheroes are far more fun than regular heroes. It’s nice to see a good two-shoes every once in awhile, but I like characters who commit heinous acts (to a certain degree!) and have purpose to their wrongdoings. Who are some of your favorite antiheroes in the literary world? My all-time favorite will always be Dexter Morgan. Not because of Michael C. Hall’s adaptation (although, major plus, albeit), but because of Jeff Lindsay’s creation of him. A serial killer with conscience? Absolutely brilliant.
I, like most people, say I love to read but never have time to pick up the right book and finish it. And while there is no right and wrong way to read, I have noticed some key tricks to make myself a better reader.
Make a list.
There might be some power in checking off a box, because I know I am more productive when a list is involved. So create a list of all the books you want to read that month or year and get checking!
Read several books at once.
For me I know as soon as a book starts to feel boring I put it down and never return. However, if you read several books at once and create options for yourself there will be more of a chance you will open the book up again.
And feel free to mix it up! Read a book and also have an audiobook on hand for an alternative option. It can be very refreshing from print books to relax your eyes and get a fresh look on a book.
Try before you buy.
Read the Kindle or Amazon sample before you buy a book. Get a taste for the writing style to determine if it’s a book you would enjoy until the end. Maybe even read a few reviews, but watch out for spoilers!
If you are a blogger or someone who likes to share their reading findings, I find that it is easier to take notes while reading rather than afterwards. It may seem like this process takes longer, but it is better than going back into the passage to look for something you thought you read. Plus, taking notes is a great way to retain what you just read!
Take note of your down time.
Find the right time to read for you. On a lunch break, right before bed, or on your commute to work. There is no bad time to read, but you also have to accept that sometimes you may not find the time. For me I noticed that I could be replacing my screen time with reading a book. You might have to find a new balance but once you do reading will be much easier!
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