A Boy, A Scar and an Epic Fantasy

I also fell in love with the Harry Potter series during its infancy. My mom bought the two installations of the book during her London trip with her boss, but I did not pay it no mind. I was a college student interested in Mills & Boon, what was my mom thinking buying this children’s books for us? When I exhausted all the Penny Jordan and Carol Mortimer romances, I finally gave Harry Potter my full attention – almost a year after my mom bought it. And I was hooked. I regretted not reading it sooner. Even while re-reading it now, I am still drawn inside a magical world that no other book can do for me. Sadly, since I’ve read the series nearly a hundred times, watching it on screen is like watching a severely truncated movie. I have never watched a single Harry Potter movie from start to finish. And when the casts inevitability became adults, the last movie became painful because Harry was still a young adult in my head.

I have to admit that JK’s success should be an inspiration for us new writers as we have a high probability of getting rejected, not only by editors and publishers, but also by our target audience. What’s hard is convincing ourselves that self-doubt means poor work and productivity as we are already anticipating world-shattering rejection. So what if we got rejected? So what if we the world did not receive our beloved masterpiece with the same love and affection that we gave to our books? Shouldn’t we all be concerned of (heaven forbid) spending our twilight years regretting for the thousandth time that we did not write our book? Sure we may not be as successful as JK Rowling is, her stars are only hers and hers alone. But our stars already said that we should be writers, and that should give us all the push that we need to pick up a pen and paper (as with my case), or let our fingers dance over the keyboard and see our book through from start to finish.

Catching Fireflies

I would be remiss in talking about children’s book authors without mentioning J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series. The first Harry Potter book was published when I was barely 30 years old. Still, I was drawn to the description and scooped it up without hesitation. This was long before the hype would begin – the midnight sales with thousands of people dressed as wizards, the movies, the awards. I didn’t know yet that it would be a series of books and that I would pre-order them months in advance and anxiously track the package as it made its way to my doorstep on release day. I didn’t yet know that I would read the first book and fall in love with the idea of writing all over again. I didn’t know that it would rekindle a dream.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone depending on which side…

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NaNoWriMo and Novel Writing Tips from the Pros

NaNoWriMo is here again, and you can see a lot of writers gearing up to write their drafts of 50,000+ words to beat the November 30 deadline. I would like to be able to proudly say that I am going to be one of them, but I am not. I am not that confident enough, and I know that I still have a lot to learn. Not to mention I do not have the right resources. We only have one PC in the house, and it’s currently being used as a tool for therapy by someone who is suffering from depression. However, that does not stop me from enjoying some writing tips designed for people to survive NaNoWriMo because these tips can actually be really helpful for someone like me who is writing a book for the first time.

I have been stuck in a pool of green light, seeing so many successful authors with so many followers in their blogs and great feedback on their books. They are doing what I love, and they have made a name for themselves by going after what they want to do. I’m still in the newbie stage, and most of the blogs I follow have already reached their master stage. As a result, I have avoided looking into these blogs, not realizing that these blog authors would want to extend a helping hand to those who would like to get started on writing. For letting my envy and jealousy get the better of me, I missed several posts that would have made me start my book painlessly and effortlessly. If I had been less inclined to listen to my green monster, I would have made some crucial changes in my book that would have lessened the need for editing later. The sad part is, since someone is using the PC, I am writing the book in the traditional way – through pen and paper. You guessed it, editing will be headache.

Getting Into It

So now, here I am, soaking up all the information that I could get for writing the book. I’ve already made a post on one aspect, which is the point of view, but that it something that should have come out later. I made it because it was at the top of my WordPress reader’s feed, and it got me into thinking that maybe there are many other tips that I could use for my book. True enough, there are several, and the one major thing that I’m kicking my self in the butt over is Kristen’s blog on how to write a novel for NaNo that will have less revisions and high probability of finishing and publishing. In context to her NaNo tips is Bob Mayer’s post about adding conflict to your story that centers character agenda.

What I Missed

Kristen talked about three key elements that a novel should have. They are:

  • The Protagonist – which is the main character of your story
  • Active Goal – something that makes the character tick, so to speak
  • The Antagonist – someone who will do everything in their power to make it hard for your protagonist to achieve her goal

All these three could be surmised in a synopsis of your book, something I totally skipped doing since I am itching to write. I neglected doing a synopsis because I was thinking, hell I already have a story in my head, what do I need a synopsis for. Now I know. Your synopsis will help you focus on these three key elements. As long as you have your synopsis, staying in track will be easy.
NaNoWriMo Survival Kit by Bob Mayer

Bob’s outstanding blog fully explained exactly what these three key elements should have, which are glued together through the introduction of a conflict. It’s easy for someone to create a book all Disneyfied and free of any problems. It’s a natural tendency for people to wish and live in a world that is without any problems and conflict. However, what makes a great movie and book interesting and exciting is the presence of a thing that can both destroy the lives as well as solidify the connection between a book’s characters. What we new writers need to figure out is how to introduce the conflict smoothly with a natural transition so that the story will stick to the synopsis and not sound so convoluted and confusing.

So far I have a solid protagonist, but my conflict is not exactly set so that in itself should warn me that my book is going to be slow and long-winded. Another nail in the coffin for me is the absence of the antagonist. If you do not have an antagonist, then how will you have a solid conflict? I already have formulated three antagonists in my head, but that’s the problem. They are just formulas in my head. They are not concrete, they are not well-thought off, and I have absolutely no idea how to push them into my story now that I am in my 7th chapter.

Can I do it without revisions? Like just insert them and then revise the beginning chapters again, making sure that I put a sticky note on the page where I want to put in my antagonist? So here’s the conflict for me, the writer. If I revise now, that would mean starting all over again, and probably dishing out other parts in the book that are (in my opinion so far) making my book come together. However, I have a feeling that the conflict is already there, but I just need to make it concrete and solid.

Getting My Point of Veiw

One of the things that will make a book stick to your mind and suck you in a story is how effectively a writer creates a P.O.V. or Point of View, something that can be difficult for me to employ since I started writing as a blogger who primarily gives information to my readers, mostly in an almost technical way. I can write something and address you directly, making sure that you know that I am talking to you, and wish to engage you in a conversation about what I just wrote.

Writing a book, however, is not the same thing for me. Instead of engaging you to participate in a thought or idea, I see a book as something that makes readers see what it’s like to live through another person – something that can be accomplished with a greatly executed P.O.V. I thought I got the general P.O.V. idea, but Kristen’s blog opened my eyes on several points that I didn’t think of.

First-Person Point of View

This is where the “I” becomes a good thing. 1st-person P.O.V. makes the novel more personal, more intimate. You have A front seat on what the main character is thinking about and , if done right, it can get you hooked in as if you’re the main character. It puts the spotlight solely on one person, diminishing other distractions from other casts in the book.

That being said, the fixation can be either very intense or very boring for some readers.

Third-Person Point of View

Two or more people get stage time in the book. The shifting from one perspective to another creates a complexity that adds depth to the story. The characters come alive because a writer can give you an inside look of every emotion and sensation of each character as they interact with one another.

Of course, the shifting can be very confusing, and the multiple perceptions can also be too overpowering.

Omniscient Point of View

This time, there is an “invisible narrator” in the story, someone who is telling you what a character should have felt, or must have felt on a given scene in the book. If you have a complex scene that is far too hard to express because of multiple occurrences, then this will be good.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of the first-person perspective. As Kristen points out, the many “I’s” can be too distracting. Since I am normally used to addressing my readers, it would be hard for me not to make the character feel like a modern-day Narcissus. Aside from that, I have an innate curiosity on what other people think about a current situation, which makes the third-person perspective appealing to me. What I need to figure out is how I will make this P.O.V. work easily so that my book will not turn out like a memoir of a schizophrenic. Omniscient does not appeal to me very much either, because having a character whose reactions and emotions told by a narrator is a tough act to follow through for an inexperienced writer like me. There is a huge risk of my book coming out like a thesis instead of a romance erotica. Imagine having to read through an genre like that with characters having no senses whatsoever. I shudder just thinking about it.

Now, aside from my grammar, I have to keep in mind that I stick to P.O.V. fundamentals… I hope I won’t get overwhelmed with too much information.

 

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Geiko Caveman. Geiko Caveman.

Monday, we talked about the Three Acts of a Writer’s Journey. The first hint we might be tipping into The Apprentice Phase is we hear the word P.O.V. and panic. What is THAT? Prisoners of Vietnam? Pets of Vegans? Pals of Viagra?

We ALL know writing a novel is FAR from easy. We just make it look that way 😉 .

Today, I’m putting on my editor’s hat. Many of you decided to become writers because you love to write. Duh. I’ll even bet most of you, back when you were in school, also made very good grades in English. Thus, you might assume that you naturally know how to write a novel that is fit for successful publication.

Maybe you do. But, if you are anything like me when I started out? You might not know as much as you think you do.

Why?

Our high…

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