Sunday 17th September
This post is about my writing. I've been writing stories for as long as I can remember; it's something that's deeply embedded in my personality. I'm currently working on two projects; a historic romance, and a fantasy fiction, and in this blog post I will be discussing how I get ready to write, how I write, and advice for writing novels.
Getting ready for writing:
- Getting cosy
Knitted cardigan, thick leggings, baggy t-shirt, and fluffy socks; the ultimate writing dress code. I need to be comfy when I write, and I can't get comfy in jeans (despite wearing them all the time), but I also need to get out of my pjs. I can't write in my pjs because that's too comfy, if that makes sense? If I'm in my pjs then all I want to do is just chill out in bed with a book and a cup of tea. Being in a pair of leggings and a baggy top is enough to be relaxed without losing all motivation!
- The perfect cup of tea
PG tips, a dash of soy milk, and one and a half teaspoons of sugar.
Everyone needs snacks while writing, but what snacks are the best? Sweet popcorn, oreos, chocolate (dairy free, of course), hula hoops, party rings, etc. anything that I can just nibble on.
- The right environment
There are three different environments I like writing in: my dining room, my bedroom, and Starbucks. My dining room is probably the best because I can have the whole room and the huge table to myself, it's near the kitchen, and it means I get exercise when I have to go to the loo upstairs! My bedroom is super cosy (if I do say so myself) and sometimes I just like to snuggle under the covers and do some writing. Admittedly, it's not great because it can stump my motivation, but also I get pins and needles! Starbucks is a great place to write because it means I get out the house and I can get a decent cup of coffee. It allows zero distraction, and the chairs are really comfy.
When I'm writing, whether it's creative or academic, it's vital I get a break. A habit I developed from my days of studying (GCSEs, A-Levels, and university) was to write for 30 minutes then have a 10 minute break. After a while I tend to get so involved in my writing it will go from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, and sometimes I'll be writing for an hour before I want to stop for a break. It's important to have a break, but if you're on a writing roll after having your 30 minutes writing/10 minutes break, there should be no stopping you; when your brain runs out of ideas and you hit writer's block, that's when you need a break.
Music is a huge part of my life; I can't go a day without listening to music. When I write I have to listen to movie soundtracks because if I listen to any other genre I will end up singing along, especially if I'm listening to country music! The different paces of music within the soundtrack inspire and influence me; fast pace songs help with action scenes, slow paced songs help with sad scenes (usually a death/dying scene) and/or they can help with romantic scenes, and upbeat songs help with comedic scenes sassy dialogue. If I've hit writer's block I like to just listen to the song and try and visualise different scenes that can happen if this were the soundtrack to that scene.
I could easily lie and say "Oh I don't need any help with planning, I know exactly what I'm doing" but I can't. It's not easy to plan a novel. What's easy is coming up with an idea; the difficult part is turning that seed into a beautiful flower that will bloom into a fantastic tale full of twists, turns, intriguing characters, interesting plot lines, and enough action to keep the reader glued to the pages. Writing is a skill, and one you must excel at in order to get ahead.
The books I used for my writing are:
- Writing Fiction for Dummies
- Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies
- A Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction; Philip Athans
- First Draft in 30 Days; Karen Wiesner
- On Writing; Stephen King
These books are absolutely fantastic for writing help, they offer the basic structure and advice you need to be able to start your writing. Once you have the structure, you are then able to start piecing together your plans into categories to help you order your work.
Writing romance fiction:
I'm currently writing a historic romance novel based in WW2, and here's my advice for how to structure your planning if you're looking to write a novel of a similar genre.
Historic novels require a lot of research about the era you are writing in. You need to make sure you know as much that is relevant about the time period you're setting your novel in to avoid any historic inaccuracies, because these will be picked up!
You've got your beginning, middle, and end, but you also need to ensure every action has a reaction and it gets resolved. A good tip to remember is to add a new action before the previous one has been resolved. Keep your readers on their toes!
Go in detail with your main characters (protagonists, antagonists, etc), and then do a simple character profile for the minor characters who don't appear too much in the book.
Time to get writing!
Writing fantasy fiction:
I'm also writing a fantasy fiction series alongside my historic romance novel, which requires so much planning and research. It'll probably take me at least the next five years to plan it properly before I can even think about writing my first draft!
Similar to the research for historic romance novels, but this time you need to go into much more detail if you are making up your own world, which is what I'm doing.
I think it's more important to think about your plot before you create your world because it'll make it easier for you to know which parts of your world you need to include as parts of the plot and which parts are just mentioned or the characters pass through them.
This is the part where you either plan your setting, or you begin to create your own world!
Once you've decided on your setting, now you get to create your characters. Remember to think about the different cultural groups, and us all of your research to help you.
Put pen to paper or fingers to the keys and away you go!
So there you go, this is how I prepare for my writing. I hope this had been somewhat either entertaining, informing, or helpful. Maybe all three? Do you have any writing rituals or ways to plan your writing?
Drop me a comment!