Writing Update!

Why hello, seems it’s been a while since I posted something other than a review here. But, I would like to officially announce something that has been in the works for the last year or so. While I was an intern at Walt Disney World, I collected information bits and tips about the parks that I’d now like to share with the rest of you. I am in the process of formatting, illustrating, and publishing the first edition, a guide to the Magic Kingdom. I’ll keep things updated here as they progress!

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FanFiction: A Writing Springboard

So, back several years ago I stumbled across this lovely website by the name of FanFiction.net. It’s basically a place where tons of writers come and post their takes on previously created TV shows, movies, anime, etc. We all have that one show where you think “What if this had gone differently? What if they’d done that?” Well, fanfiction is the place to explore that.

This is the place where I kind of got my start writing creatively. Granted, I definitely had written other stories before then, but that was where I began to refine my skills and do better as a writer. Fanfiction has a few benefits to it, especially when you’re beginning. One of the hardest things to do is create believable characters, and with fanfiction, you can take pre-existing characters and write them into your own story. It’s a place where you can build your skills creating a reasonable plot.

Also, there’s so many people on that site who would much rather read than write, and due to the review system it helps you to refine your writing even more with their tips. Granted, you’ll also get the generic praise “Oh my gosh, this is sooooo good! Please write more!” and also the pointless criticism (or ‘flame’ as it’s called), but either way, feedback is still valuable.

One thing to worry about with fanfiction though, is that due to the fact that you are using characters that aren’t your own, you can’t get any money from them. You can’t take your story off the net, change the character’s names around, and then pitch it to an agent or publishing house. It has been done once before that I can think of, but that was quite the situation, and honestly not really worth the hassle.

Anyways, I would highly encourage those of you just beginning, or those who want to develop their storytelling and plot creation skills, to check it out. It’s addictive for sure, but it’s well worth it.

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By the way, my username on there is Vampy Kitten.

What was your name again?

Once again, another late-night post, but I’m not really complaining. I don’t know why I always feel like writing at night, it’s kinda weird actually since I’m a morning person. But whatever.

Anyways, tonight I thought I’d get into what can sometimes be the hardest part of creating a new plot or storyline: what to call your characters and what to call the book itself.

I kind of like naming characters, I find it quite fun. For the most part, I end up trying to give the name meaning relevant to where (I think) the character is going to go in his or her tale. Looking up name meanings is usually my first step, and once I’ve found a good one that I think fits, I head on over to a last name generator. I don’t give as much focus to the last name besides researching what nationality it is and things like that.

The unfortunate part is, that really only works if I’m writing characters in a modern-day setting. When you’re working with a past setting or one in the future, that has to be taken into consideration. Look up names that were common in your time period if it has already passed, and if you’re going futuristic, that’s where it gets tricky. Just as the names from even ten or twenty years ago are different, future names are probably going to be at least a bit different than ours. Maybe not completely, but a slight variation is pretty much unavoidable. For the main story I’m currently working on, I have a time frame about two hundred years in the future, and as a result have had to create most of my names from scratch or draw them from unlikely sources.

Another thing to think about with your story is “what the heck am I going to call this?” A title has to be at least a bit unique in order to stand out on that shelf in the library or on websites like GoodReads, catching someone’s attention as best as possible. Also, if someone is trying to search for your book and it comes up with a common title, it’ll just be that much harder to find.

In my opinion, it’s definitely easier to find a name after you’ve planned or written out the entire course of the story. I’m one of those people that writes and adds as they go rather than outlines everything first, so you can see why that would make sense. To find the right title, think about exactly what your book is about, what themes have become prominent in its story. Is is a chick-lit style book that’s cutesy and romantic, or a sci-fi/action page-turner? Both have completely different ideas and should have completely different titles.

For both character names and book titles, I like to keep a running list of ones I’ve thought of that I like. I might not use them for a while, there are a few that have been on the list for upwards of at least a year without use, but when the time comes they’ll be there for consideration.

Hope you’ve enjoyed yet another tidbit of what I’ve learned as a writer over the years. Your time is much appreciated, and I hope you’ve liked what you’ve read. See you all later 🙂

Random Drabbling

Hello dear readers! I do realize it’s a bit late tonight, but I am in the mood to write, and therefore must do so.

I’ve shared some tricks I use to get over writer’s block before, but I’d like to explain this particular one in more depth since I use it the most. A lot of time I’ll be writing a story and an idea for this wonderful, suspenseful, action-packed sequence comes my way. Of course, it now takes all of the focus off of what I was writing, and the only way to get back on track is to jot down the idea. But when I can’t think of anything to write at all, going back to those ideas and fleshing them out into real scenes can be very useful. Sometimes it helps to get ideas flowing, other times it gives me incentive to bridge the gap between where the story is now and where the scene is.

Here’s one that I wrote a bit of time ago.

Of course they’d send me on relocation, Alex thought to herself as she grabbed all the items she’d probably need. It wouldn’t do to miss something important. Either way, I just wish this kid could keep herself out of trouble…

Dressed in clothes to disguise her stature – baggy black cargo pants, a dark t-shirt, a plain black hoodie, and black and white converse – Alex snatched her now-filled satchel and darted into the garage. Slinging her pack onto her back and tapping the garage door opener, she tugged on the helmet and hopped on her bike, garage door sliding up as she did so. Gunning the engine, she flashed out of the driveway, weaving her way down the street and around the bend.

Since her charge was currently compromised in her position, Alex’s responsibility was to bring her to the safe-house where her guardian was waiting. The socialite currently had a temporary guardian so that James could throw the pursuers off the girl’s trail. She whipped down the side streets and onto the freeway, closing the few miles between herself and the girl as quickly as possible.

“Call Trent,” Alex ordered as she concentrated on the road.

“Calling…” the electronic voice replied, Trent’s number popping up in the corner of her visor.

“Yello?” answered a familiar voice once he picked up.

“Trent? It’s Alex, I’m gonna need you on standby,” she said, peeling off the freeway and down the street towards the girl’s current residence.

“Location?” Trent asked, all traces of his fun-loving nature fading at the tone of Alex’s voice.

“Lydia’s house,” she replied with a sigh.

“Get herself into trouble again?”

“Pretty much.”

“My question is when is she going to learn that she needs to keep her head down while we solve this mess.”

“I really don’t know.”

Finishing the conversation, Alex cut the communication line and turned the corner to Lydia’s current whereabouts. She roared up the the sidewalk, hastily parking the bike and running up to the gate. After attempting to open the gate with the code – apparently it’d been changed since she used it last – Alex decided to go without technology and vaulted over the gate. This, of course, set off a few alarms, but Alex really couldn’t care less at this point.

Lydia had been relaxing out in the back with James accompanying her when Alex found them.

“James, time’s up,” Alex told him quietly, though her voice was muffled by the helmet she hadn’t cared to take off.

“Where to? Is the safe-house secured?” he breathed, barely close enough for Alex to hear.

With a nod, James turned to the spoiled socialite complaining about the spotty sunshine.

“Miss, it seems that your mother requires you at the country club for some opinions,” James told her.

“Now? Ugh. She always has the worst timing,” Lydia whined, before tossing the magazine she’d been reading on the side table and getting up.

Slinging her purse over her shoulder, Lydia followed James out, Alex having darted off just before to conceal the bike. She was supposed to stay anonymous for now, and to provide support if needed. It wasn’t long before the stretch was pulling out of the driveway. However, as they were about to leave, the front two tires blew out simultaneously.

That was from bullets… Alex realized.

“James! They’re here!” she called, the connection she’d establish transmitting the warning.

“You sure?” he asked back.

“Your front two tires don’t blow out at the same time by themselves.”

“Get the girl, take her with you. You can dodge trackers easier.”

“Understood. She’s wearing kevlar correct?”

Hearing a confirmation, Alex revved the engine, driving up the driveway right next to the limo door. Opening it, she shouted to the girl inside.

“Get on!”

Once she’d tossed Lydia a helmet, the stupefied girl unsure of what to do, Alex simply pulled the girl on and made sure the helmet was on her head. Confirming that she wouldn’t fall off, Alex peeled off the property, several bullets following in her wake.

I usually don’t write action scenes (should probably work on that eheh), or spy fics for that matter, but for some reason the beginning of a chase scene just really wanted to be written.

Well, I’d love to hear more about what you guys like to write, your writing style, stuff like that. Thanks for reading 🙂

Three steps to better characters

Hello there fellow writers/readers! I’m on spring break this week, so my mood has been drastically improved with all of this time to get everything done. I hope your week has been going just as well!

Today I’d like to take a stab at what are essentially the lifeblood of a story, characters. This part can make or break your story just as much as the plot itself, so don’t be afraid to put a lot, and I mean A LOT, of effort into them. When you are able to created beautiful characters that are so real they could live next door to you, then you’ve mastered the art. But for those of us who haven’t, including myself at times, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • No one is perfect. No one. Not even your superhuman, scientifically-engineered-to-be-perfect character in your newest sci-fi fic. They will have a drawback, an achilles heel, somewhere, otherwise it would be impossible for them to encounter plausible opposition. Whether it’s a longing for a relationship in a romance that gets your guy/gal into a questionable partnership or a lack of humanity in the aforementioned sci-fi story, they will need something that can bring them down. Any character that hinges on mary-sue status (perfect character with no faults or downfalls) needs to either be revamped into a better idea or thrown into the furnace of discarded ideas.
  • Characters don’t have just one side to them. There’s a part that everyone sees, maybe part of them only their family sees, and things they will not tell anyone at all. Revealing everything at once to your reader could not only be overwhelming but is impractical and can lose their attention quite quickly.
  • There is always a motivation somewhere for whatever actions your characters are taking. They can’t do something ‘just because’, since even if they say that, there was a reason somewhere.
    • This can get especially important with your villains. Are they completely, 100% evil and insane and just doing what they’re doing because? Are they reluctantly following orders? Are they legitimately thinking that they’re doing the right thing?

This isn’t a foolproof list of things to consider when creating new people, but hopefully I’ve given you a few starting points to build the next protagonist, antagonist, or side character in your story.

Happy writing! 🙂