Weekend Writing Prompt

Worldbuilding

Maybe this is because I’m deep into a Brandon Sanderson kick, but I thought I’d focus this time on worldbuilding instead of character.

Scope

What is the size of your world? Even if you’re not doing speculative fiction, It will help if you define the size and shape of your world. Draw it out, if it helps. What are the boundaries? Which parts of the world will your characters spend the most time in? Each POV will have its own world. Where do they overlap? You may find that you need an additional POV to move the story forward.

Happy writing!

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Weekend Writing Exercise

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Imagine that your two main characters are arranging to meet for the first time in a crowded place. How would they describe themselves so that they would be recognized? What do they say they look like? What do they wear? How do they act? How accurate are they in how they perceive themselves? Would the other person be able to recognize them from their description? How do they perceive the other?

This exercise lets you dig deeper into the appearance and demeanor of your character, while giving you a look at their psychology as well.

(Song) Writing Exercises

Still working on your book? I am! I still need an ending. Here’s a few exercises to try based on Christmas songs.

Jingle Bells – music, movement, this song has a lot of sensory details. What can your character see, touch, hear, smell, feel? It is a good sensation or a bad one? Describe it without overwhelming your reader.

All I Want for Christmas is You – Who does your character want and why? Make that wanting drive the story. It could be romantic, but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe they want revenge! Maybe they want a parent or a friend.

Let it Snow – How does the weather affect your story? It can add a great element. Is it summer or winter? That will determine what your character is wearing and whether they’re comfortable outside.

Deck the Halls – How is the room decorated? Have you described the setting? You don’t have to give us every detail, but your readers want to know something. Is it messy, neat, does it smell inviting? Is there a comfy chair or a broken table? Give us the details.

Blue Christmas – This could be all about color, but it could also be about emotions. What is your character feeling? Show us, don’t just tell. And if you want to use some metaphors, that’s great.

Sleigh Ride – Get that character moving! Don’t leave them stuck in one location. New settings offer us a perspective on the story, a chance to encounter new types of characters and challenges.

I hope this list was helpful. Good luck with the writing!

Nano Prep #2

This is for all of you who are planning to write a book next month. It can be daunting to get started. Here’s an exercise I came up with to get you started thinking about your story.

  • What is your story about, in one sentence?
  • What is your story about, in one paragraph?
  • What is your story about, in one page?
  • Who is your main character? (more on this at a later date)
  • What genre is this book?
  • What is the setting? Date, place?
  • What is your intended audience?
  • What is the theme of your book? More here.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that I wanted to write a story about a couple trying to have a baby. My sentence description might be, “A couple in their thirties face a series of challenges trying to have a child of their own.” That sounds a little weak. Maybe I could change it into “A couple in their thirties must overcome a series of challenges in trying to conceive a child of their own.”

That’s better, but I could still expand on it some. Is my main character the man or the woman? Or is it a same sex couple?  So my sentence might read, “A woman and her partner must overcome a series of challenges in trying to conceive their own biological child.”

I could expand more on that, discuss what the challenges are, or maybe what kind of book this is, but that’s a place to start.

Then I need to discuss the genre. Is this science fiction or contemporary fiction? It’s probably not fantasy, horror, or mystery. Let’s go with plain contemporary fiction.

That helps me narrow done the setting. It’s present day. I’m most familiar with the US, and since I want to write about some cutting edge reproductive technology, a big city would be a good place to start. Maybe New York City.

And it’s pretty obvious that this would be geared to an adult audience.

But theme – that might take some thought. There are lots of way I could take this story. But let’s say that I want my readers to see that a challenge like this uncovers a lot of secrets in a relationship, that I want to describe a relationship that isn’t quite the way it seems on the surface. So my theme might be “Challenges uncover who we really are.” I may not be phrasing it just right, but that’s the general idea. Obviously, it will become more clear as I write it. But I hope you can see how this is done.

Now I could go back and rewrite my one sentence, moving on to a paragraph and then a page that details what my story is about. All this can be done now, before you really start to work in November.

Hope that helps! Good luck to you writers! Next time we’ll work on character.