Friday, September 5, 2014

Shop Talk: Writing Resources

For the past year, I've been half-assedly trying to write a novel. I know my characters (for the most part, at least – I'm sure they'll reveal more of themselves to me as time goes on), and I have a very vague, general sense of what happens and how my main character grows. I have 7,000+ words saved in a file named "DRAFT 5," and I think I might scrap 6,500 of them.

So I'm reworking some things, while also keeping in mind that, as Terry Pratchett says, "The first draft is just you telling yourself the story." I thought I might put together a master post of links and resources that I'm personally finding helpful in structuring a plot and "long-distance writing." Maybe this will inspire others to make progress (or get back to work) on their original story...

Resources for creating a compelling character
What do YOU want to see in YA? A 4-page long discussion on the NaNoWriMo forums.
Relationships that I Want to See More of in Fiction. Because love doesn't have to be the end-all fix for everything.
Boys I Want to See in YA. Resist the temptation to write a swoony bad boy!
Characters don't have to be likable. They just have to be compelling. Interesting advice from Courtney Summers.
What motivates your characters? Get inspired with these questions.
Character Flaws. All characters need 'em. Here's a short list of ideas.

Resources for developing a well-crafted story
Outlining Your Novel (with some useful links, including a 30-min exercise from Alicia Rasley).
Seven Extremely Good Reasons to Write the Ending First. Know where you're going!
Tips for writing a good ending. More advice from Amanda Patterson.
Major Writing Errors: How to Fix Them. Avoid happy beginnings, stories without fear, and loaded dialogue.
10 Storytelling Elements. For those of us who can't remember what a story actually and technically is.
Camp NaNoWriMo: How to Make Sure Your Plot is Compelling. Advice from Drusilla Campbell.
What to do when you've lost your motivation. First, don't feel bad. Next, figure out why you've lost your muse.
I have characters but no plot! A selection of helpful links to build out your plot.

Besides forcing myself to be more thoughtful about what makes for a good book, one of the reasons I started this blog was so that I could interact with other writers and learn how to strengthen my own writing skills. It's encouraging to know that the things I struggle with are fairly prevalent and that there is never just one right answer when it comes to writing. We all seem to be in this universal exploration of words and characters and places and themes, trying to figure out how to craft something that hits home.

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