Do you have a writing ritual? And by that I mean, do you have to follow a set of steps before you can begin your writing? If you are thinking of them share them in the comments! And if you are scared I’ll go first…
I live somewhere cold, so if there are not socks on my feet nothing will get accomplished. The best space to get stuff done is right on my bed, it is the comfiest spot and where the perfect amount of sunlight can shine down on me. A water bottle also needs to be close by because I know I will get thirsty but I also know I will get up for nothing until the task is complete!
So what, if anything do you do before you clear your mind and get to writing. Do you need a cup of tea or your favorite music playing? Is your comfortable space the coffee shop down the street? Your rituals can get you body ready to write and can make the process all that much more enjoyable!
As we approach the new year, it’s like we are coming to a new chapter and some may even look at it as chapter one. I know it sounds cheesy but the new year gives people inspiration to start their lives in a new light. So in that honor we will be discussing how you can write your chapter.
Your first chapter needs to be the ultimate hook! Something that will captivate 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! One other tip is to keep track of what your doing, sometimes an easy organizer of your thoughts works like this one:
Weather (pun intended) we like it or not the holiday season is right around the corner! It’s practically here (in Grinch voice)!
And for some of us that means snow! Now, if you are trying to spark some creativity for your holiday novel one great way to do that is through imagery. Looking at photos can make us believe we are there and feeling the surroundings. So if you live in someplace that may not get snow, spark that feeling with some of these images!
There are so many tools to use to spark your imagination! Just by going online and typing themes of your book into the search bar and looking at the images can open a whole new door to your novel!
And I am not just here to show you pictures of snow because there can be so much more in a holiday novel. Maybe you live in a place that has too much snow and your characters take a tropical vacation for the holidays?
The possibilities are endless! Maybe you use your own photos to spark something! Just remember that you can spark your creativity through almost anything!
There’s a whole world of monsters that you can utilize in your next novel, and what better time to focus on them while during the spooky season! People tend to focus on popular monsters while writing but today we will focus on a lesser known monster…Aqrabuamelu (Scorpion Men).
Now yes, I already know what you’re thinking of you’ve seen The Scorpion King with Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson you are probably familiar with this monster, however we will now be doing a deeper dive so get ready!
This particular creature comes from Mesopitamian mythology and features the torso of a man with the lower body of a scorpion. Just like a real scorpion it is said that their tales were filled with venom, however unlike our typical scorpions these creatures were also said to have god-like powers and were excellent archers.
According to Mesopitamian legend, they were created by Tiamat (goddess of the sea) and they guarded the gates of heaven, as they stood so tall their heads touched the clouds.
So, you have all of this potential new information about a new creature…how do you use it in your next novel?
Share your twist on the legend
Go back in time and have your character encounter an Aqrabuamelu
POV of an Aqrabuamelu
Let your ideas run wild! ANd remember there is always more research to be done.
What happens when you have a word you want to say but there’s no word for it…you make one up! So many authors dating back to Shakespeare have done just that, and oftentimes you use words that you don’t even know an author invented! If the time comes and no exact word does the trick for what you’re trying to say, invent one!
Just to give you some examples, here is a list of words that you may use from time to time that authors invented.
“Tween”: J. R. R. Tolkein, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (1954)
“Nerd”: Dr. Seuss, ‘If I Ran the Zoo’ (1950)
“Piehole”: Stephen King, ‘Christine’ (1983)
And those are just to name a few! Now of course authors can invent an abundance of names and places etc. However, these authors invented words that we use often in our vocabulary. Who knows we could be saying your word next! So if you find a whole in your story’s diction don’t be discouraged to mess around with creating your own word (just make sure it hasn’t already been used in another meaning).
Are you feeling a little tired but you know you have to carry on with your work? I am here to say that it’s okay to take a break! Here are some great ways to take a break that will get you ready to get back to work!
Take a walk
Get some fresh air and move your body. It doesn’t have to be a long walk, but clear your mind, pop an audiobook or your favorite song and just relax. Any form of exercise will be beneficial during a break.
If you’re feeling a little tense from sitting in a chair for a few hours, get up and stretch! Loosen up your muscles for a few minutes…trust me they will thank you later!
Call a friend
Take your mind off the task at hand and catch up with a friend. THis can be a great way to put you in a good mood and share what you’re working on. Maybe you can use them for some creative inspiration.
Cook a healthy meal/snack
Take care of your body and give it fuel! Knock out two birds with one stone and get ready for your meal, or prepare yourself a healthy snack. This will get your brain ready to work extra hard for you.
Remember to incorporate breaks into your routine, they can help you in the long run!
With so much information at our disposal don’t forget to use it when writing your novel. Think of research as a necessary step when planning out your novel. Even if you are writing a romantic comedy there’s always research to be done!
You can crack open a book, head to google or even go out on an experience when it comes to research. Even if you are writing about going on a hot air balloon and you’ve done it before, look up the history of the hot air balloon or some fun facts, you never know when you can incorporate it into your writing. And just redoing that experience and going on a hot air balloon again you can open your eyes to how you want it to play in your novel.
Don’t underestimate the power of research even if you think you know enough for your writing. It can open an avenue you didn’t even know was there!
One of the authors we work with, Mimi Matthews does hours of research on historical fashion alone before finishing a novel. Have a look here!
They may have opened the book because of the title or the cover, but the author bio is what connects you to your readers. You want to entice them just enough to buy your book and get to know you a little.
As with writing anything, there are some soft guidelines you can follow when it’s your first time writing something. So for an author bio it goes as follows:
Keep it short.
I know you’ve all seen author bio’s so you know that keeping it brief is key. The book is where you let all your words fly out.
To sound more professional, use a third person voice when writing.
Nail down your one liner.
The hook, line and sinker is your one liner. Craft it carefully by sharing about yourself and something fun!
Share yourself a little. Enclude interesting facts that may go along with your book. But don’t oversell yourself. You can include your alma mater but dont go crazy on the list of achievements, that’s what google is for.
Use a professional photo.
This should go without saying, but you should not use a mirror selfie or a goofy family photo for your author bio. Take the time to get one professionally done, it will make all the difference.
You want to write a science fiction book ,but you keep getting stumped on character names. You created a whole new beautiful world and need the names to reflect that, so how do you come up with them? That is what we will be discussing today!
Take a name you already know. Think of your favorite name in whatever language and modify it a little. Play around with the endings and beginning until it sounds like the perfect name for your character.
Good ole name generator. Sometimes you need a little boost to get things started, and that’s where a name generator comes in handy. Fantasy name generator have more than just fantasy, but click on what you’re looking for and they can generate male and female names for you! Another good one is Donjon, they also have lots of genres and categories to choose from.
Go back to the roots. Crack open a latin or greek dictionary and use root words to come up with a name!
Tell us how you come up with your unique character names!
Do it for you and the rest will follow! Don’t be so hung up on being heard. You write for yourself after all, because you enjoy it. When you put all your work into a piece and you share it with the world, believe in yourself. Believe that you wrote something worth the time to read and people will read it!
Do the best that you can, and it will show. Your voice will be heard when the time is right. But in the meantime keep writing and keep trying to be the best that you can be! Sometimes the weekend can get the best of us but if anything, Monday can be a fresh start.
Read some more of our posts for writing inspiration, and writing advice!