How to write the end of your Novel.

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This is the last day of NaNoWriMo and while I have already finished I know there are lots of you out there still typing as fast as you can. This post is being dedicated to those of you still writing, still trying to finish that novel of yours. Me and probably dozens of others are behind you today, don’t worry about how much words you have left just keep writing.
This will probably not be my best post since there is quite the difference between writing a story and writing a blog post. (I’m sure you can guess which one I’m better practices in right now.)

So now let’s talk about bringing your story to a close.
Things you want your story ending to do.
• First things first, you will need to close up any loose plot threads such as your character arch and your love thread. If anything is going to be closed after your main plot then make sure it is interesting enough that your readers will want to read it.
• The next thing to understand is that as our English teachers say the last part of the story sums up the whole story. Ok so maybe the last part is not this really weird synopsis but what it does do is remind your reader where the story started and how far it has come. You might do this by mentioning the character that died and the plans your characters have for the future. This is kind of just to insure that readers think back on the story after they’re done reading it.
• Now the last thing you want your end to do is remind your readers of your story theme.
I don’t know what your theme is but my theme was that you get to choose who you are and it became one of the most important parts of my ending. Your theme is the thing your story was trying to tell the reader so the ending is he perfect place to remind your readers of it.

Things you don’t want to do in your story ending.
• One good thing to avoid is to bring in new information that wasn’t even hinted at earlier, because if you surprise a reader completely out of the blue they will most likely just get upset. If you want to drop one last minute surprise such as, oh you’re adopted or, ps. she’s been unfaithful then make sure you have hinted at it earlier. (Well maybe just put in a note to do so when you edit. This is NaNoWriMo after all.)
• Don’t suddenly go from showing to telling. I understand that you have something you need to explain but you should please do this either through action or dialog. The big problem I have noticed is that in the end people start info dumping. Perhaps the Villain has a grandiose speech or your MC uses internal monologue to explain his entire plan. Let me ask you something. If you have been avoiding telling your entire story long why should you stop now? Find another way to explain it.
• Stop the flashback. People want to stay focused on the story at this point and how it ends so flash backs will nothing but a distraction at this point.

Guest Post: Managing Your NaNoNumbers

I have never written a guest post before, especially not for Enette here, so I guess I’ll start off by saying hello! I’m Ayli from Ayli’s Offerings, and I’ll be standing IMG_6613in for Enette while she’s lost in the wordcave. She should be back any day now…

But until then, let’s talk about NaNoWriMo!

I am very far from a NaNo veteran, but I’ve taken part in it a couple times now, and I’ve had both successes and failures in this time. What I’ve learned from those failures that made those successes so much easier to achieve is that time management is key and your inner editor is your absolute worst enemy; destroy them at all costs, and then mourn the loss once your first draft is complete and you realize you have no idea how to clean up the mess you’ve made.

Jumping back to that first point: I cannot possibly emphasize enough how important it is to manage your time when attempting NaNoWriMo. Unless you are the most pampered individual of the highest class, I’m willing to bet you’ve got a responsibility or two that you can’t just shuck for a whole month without consequence. Maybe you’re a student, maybe you’ve got a job, maybe you’re a parent or a care-giver of any sort. Regardless of what it is, you’re going to have to learn to work around it, and that can be a pretty complicated task when you keep in mind you have to write 1.6k words a day.

Now, once the event’s started and we’re jumping into things, this can start to feel impossible. However, that is more often than not a result of us over complicating things for ourselves, so let’s simplify this. To start, clear your schedule of everything except what you absolutely have to do, i.e. your responsibilities that can’t be blown off. Once you’ve got that list whittled down, look at the rest of the time you have available. You see that? That blank space right there? Slap some writing time in there. Ignore social media, forget about that new show you’ve been meaning to check out, and just write. Turn off your WiFi and throw your phone out the window; if you’re going to participate, you have to commit. (DISCLAIMER: Neither I nor Enette can be held responsible for any damages received in the act of, and I quote, “throw[ing] your phone out the window.”)

Of course, not all of your time is going to end up devoted to writing, but it’s important to prioritize it. Don’t make any plans that could jeopardize your word count. If you want to get anything done, write first, then use whatever time is left over for recreational purposes. Even though I was joking above, I did mean it when I said you have to commit.

Moving on to that second point I mentioned earlier: Your inner editor will be the death of your word count. Believe me, I know the frustration of writing something absolutely sloppy and horrendous, and feeling as if you can’t continue without setting everything up perfectly. I am literally in the process of rewriting a story of mine for NaNoWriMo; I get it. But you also have to keep in mind this is a first draft. First drafts are never perfect, nor are they meant to be. They’re essentially the equivalent of a rough sketch; they aren’t meant to be a masterpiece, they’re just supposed to convey the basic idea of what you’re going for. So give your inner editor a platter of cookies and a pat on the head, then lock ’em up tight; they’re not doing you any favors right now. If you’re writing this month, write with reckless abandon. Don’t worry about style or the wow factor, just worry about getting the story out of you, and then worry about making it good.

Another method I’ve seen work for a lot of people, just to get them motivated to write (that I’m not gonna lie, I’ve used once or twice), is the rewards system. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: you tell yourself, “Okay, if I write X amount of words I can spend Y amount of time doing [insert something you’d likely rather be doing],” and then you hold yourself to it. It’s important, though, to keep the value of Y relatively small; too much pampering can damage your work flow, and I find this system is much more effective if you place small rewards in between every 500 or so words, rather than just placing some large prize at the end of the full 1,667 foot long word-tunnel.

The last bit of advice I’m going to offer you before I inevitably end up rambling is to keep yourself inspired. I know, a lot easier said than done, but when I decide to lose myself in my work, I try to surround myself with things that put me in the mood to create. My recreation involves reading books and stories that, when I put them down, make me want to work on my own worlds and characters. My recreation involves watching movies, shows, and even playthroughs of video games that give me that same sense of wonder or attachment that I want my own stories to give people, and it gets me excited. My recreation even involves things like sketching and listening to music because they’re capable of putting me into that state of mind where all I want is to zone out and just make something, and that’s very important to the process. Keeping yourself in a state of euphoria can greatly lighten the work load and make it feel less like you’re forcing the words and more like you’re just expressing yourself.

But I’ll leave that topic there, which means this is all for me for now! If you’re currently behind on your word count, try not to sweat it. The month is still young; you’ve got more than enough time to catch up. And even if you don’t make it, it’s not worth crying about it. Just think, you wrote something this month, and that’s more than some people have done. You made actual progress, and that is awesome! Keep at it, you. Only great things can come of this.

How’s NaNoWriMo currently going for you guys out there? What are the biggest challenges you’ve had to face so far? Locking away my inner editor is definitely my greatest struggle, so what’s yours? The comment section exists for a reason, and I’m sure both Enette and I would love to know.

Until the conversation continues,

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(I know Enette doesn’t sign off her posts, but it makes me greatly uncomfortable not doing that now, so I’m going to do it anyway. Peace!)

The three main plot points.

Plot points take the main character’s understanding of the conflict and how to deal with it and changes it.IMG_6315
It brings the character new information and propels the story along a new road.

For the next few weeks I will be talking about the different plot points and story structure.
This is all my own personal way of planning a novel and how it basically works is I start with the basic plot points and then add scenes around that until I have a decent story.

Before I start with the three act structure and the three main plot points that go with it I normally ask myself two questions.
1. What does my character’s day to day life look before the story starts?
This is not really a plot point but it is where most stories start. Stories start here because it gives you a chance to introduce your characters before they need to handle tough situations.
So what does your character’s normal look like? If you are planning to turn this into the first scene of your story just make sure that there is still conflict and a little bit of tension in it so that there is that draw into your story.
2. What does your character’s life look like at the end of the story?
Your main character has walked into a new life and overcome challenges. They have change their life as they know it, so what does their happily ever after look like.
I prefer it when this last bit of story is not too happy but still a victory. How happy you want it is completely up to you but just remember that your character will have changed. They have completed their character arc so what are they like now?

Plot points.
Each plot point occurs in a certain part of the three act structure. To plan this right I have created my own plotting board but because it’s already filled I will simply be showing you an example of how it will look on paper.
As the picture will show you I have taken my paper and divided it into quarters. plot #1
The first quarter in the first act, the second and third is the second act and the last one is the third act.
Inciting incident.
Now the first main plot point is well known as the inciting incident.
It is where your MC is introduced to a question. It is the place in the story where your character is taken out of the ordinary and given a new opportunity.
Examples.
Every story has an inciting incident so I can give you an example from every book I’ve ever read but for the purpose of this post I will simply be giving you the well known stories.
In the hunger games it is when Prims name is pulled in the reaping.
In Harry Potter it is when Hagrid comes to get Harry.
In paper towns it is when Margo takes Quentin out that first night.
The one thing these examples have in common is that it takes the main character out of their normal life and puts them in new circumstances with new possibilities.

Things your Inciting incident should do.
1. Change your main characters life.
This can be for better like in Harry potter or it could be for worse like it did in the hunger games.
The point of the matter is that there should be change.
2. Focus on what your character wants.
As writers we like to talk about what a character wants and what they will do to get that. The inciting incident should really put focus on this even if your main character didn’t even know they wanted it.
If I use Hunger games as an example again then the inciting incident highlights Katniss’s desire of keeping her family and friends alive.
3. Force your main character to react.
When the inciting incident happens your main character can’t just stand there, they have to do something about it.

The inciting incident falls at the end of act one.
You have shown your character and the struggles with their normal life but now change is starting and they are thrown into the second act.

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The second main plot point is the midpoint.
Midpoint.
Just like the inciting incident the midpoint will shake your character and their understanding of the story. The difference is that the inciting incident put’s your character in reaction mode while the midpoint is where your main character starts taking charge.
It makes your character go from reaction to action. Your main character starts taking deliberate action against the antagonist instead of just trying to protect themselves.
They are no longer confused and they are no longer just trying to survive. They are now attacking the enemy head on.

The midpoint should provide:
1. New information.
2. New determination.
3. New challenge.

The midpoint as the name states goes in the middle of the story which happens to be the middle of the second act.

plot #3

Now the third and last plot point will be…
The darkest hour
This is where all the action your main character did in response to the Midpoint seems useless. It appears as if your MC is losing and all is lost.
This is the part where the mentor dies and they are all dragged off to prison or something like that.
Example
Who here has watched the last twilight movie?
In the battle in that movie they show us an alternate future where everyone dies and I remember sitting in that cinema with my heart pounding as it seemed like all the hard work they had done up until then had been chucked out of the window.
That is what the darkest hour is. It is that moment when they realize something and that changes their perception of the story but this time for the worse.

The darkest hour falls about 75% into the story.

plotting #4
Now you have your three main plot points so what you do next is ask yourself how do I get from one plot point to the next.
How do you go from your darkest hour to your happily ever after?
How do you get from your normal life to your inciting incident?
What kind of action does your main character take after the midpoint?

If you have any scene ideas but don’t know where to put them, write them down and stick them to your board anyway because you can worry about placement later.

As always I hope this helps. Next week I will be talking about character arcs so come back for that because I’m really excited about it.

Do you have your own plotting methods? If so do share.
Would you like me to write a proper tutorial post on my plotting board?
How well are you peppered for NaNoWriMo so far?

All you need to know about creating magic systems

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Magic is one of my favourite things about writing fantasy. When I decided to write a post on it I simultaneously squealed with excitement and chewed my nails in fear.
That’s quite the picture isn’t it?
The thing about magic is that it’s such a wide topic that I’m not sure if I can fit it all into one post.
But it’s part of how I plan my novel which is why I simply need to write about it now.
Maybe in the future I will write a post series about it but for now I will simply see how much clear information I can cram into one post.

There are key elements in all magic systems that form the base of how it works.
The first would obviously be the wielder. (The person who does magic)
And the second is the rules that the magic must follow. (The How to part)
The third would be the effect of the magic. (How the magic touches the world.)

These three together is called a system.
You develop a system by answering questions until you have all three key elements.

The wielder. Who is doing the magic?
Different systems handle this differently so I’m going to give you a list of examples but what kind of magic wielder you need depend on what you feel will work best for your story.

Natural born.
As the name implies these are the people who are born with power. In these cases it’s normally because of their bloodline.
If you are going to choose natural born as your magic system then ask yourself how many people are born with this power? What social class are they normally?

The chosen ones.
Sometimes magic chooses its own wielder. In Eragon the dragon egg hatched for him and only him.
If chosen ones are a part of your magic system then ask yourself what characteristics does someone have to have to be chosen by the magic?

The searcher.
Normally if searchers are a part of your system then anyone can do magic but these are the only ones to practice it.
These are the ones who is capable of doing magic for no other reason than they practiced.
If searchers are a part of your system give a reason why people don’t practice magic anymore despite the fact that they can.

Everybody
In one of my all time favourite book series, Codex Alera everyone has powers.
Everyone uses magic and it has become a part of their daily lives.
If you chose to make everybody a magic wielder then remember that it will affect the way people live.

The super natural.
This is your more normal werewolf, fairies, ogres, old hags, and trolls sort of magic.
If you use the super natural ask how the normal people see them? Are they monster or are they gods?

The only
Sometimes in an entire race only one has magic. This is the one divine magic user.
If you choose this one you must once again ask how people view this person.
One of these must have given you some sort of idea. It might even have given you two. That’s a good thing because a lot of these can be paired up together. If you like two of these and they can work together then go for it.

The rules of magic.
A lot of people go around saying that magic is a free thing that shouldn’t contained with rules but let me make it simple. Without rules magic will be able to defeat the villain in two seconds flat and that’s just lazy writing.
Every magic system ever has certain rules even if some of them are a little vague.
In Harry Potter you can see that there are certain rules for magic.
• You need a wand.
• You need to say the spell.
• You cannot make food.

See? Rules.
All magic systems have either rules like this or restrictions of some kind.

The first question you need to answer when developing your magic rules is where does the magic come from?
What is the source of your magic?

Different sources of magic.
• Inside the wielder.
Sometime power comes from inside of the wielder ready to be poured into the world.
• From a special object.
Magic can come from special objects. It can be anything from a wand to a tree.
• From a regular object.
Sometimes the magic is held in normal objects where the wielder takes it from and uses.
• Everywhere.
This power source is closely related to the power from regular objects because it is everywhere. The wielder takes it out of the sky or the plants and use it as they wish.

The second question that you need to answer is what do you have to do to use the magic.
I can’t give you a bulletin list of methods here because this is something you need to figure out yourself.
Think in terms of A+B=C
In Harry potter it is wand+ magic spell= magic
In Brandon Sandersons MistBorn it is metal+ burning it = alomancy.
So what is it that your magic wielders need to do in order to use magic.

What is the cost of using magic?
Nothing comes without a price.
In a lot of stories the price of using magic is being exhausted or burning yourself out. Severe cases can often include death.

Different kind of costs.
• Physical.
Physical costs are your regular voodoo sort of thing where you cut yourself up or bleed to death for a spell.
It works well as a cost because it is one of the more obvious costs because you give up your physical form and health for magic.
• Power exchange.
As I already mentioned some people are exhausted by magic. This is a really popular cost among those who’s magic source is within the wielder themselves
It actually follow some laws of science in the form of if you want something to happen you are going to need to put energy into it.
• Withdrawal.
It sounds a little bad but this is one of my favourite kinds of costs because it isn’t a direct cost that comes from the little A+B equation, but instead it’s more of a side effect.
How it works is that while you are using magic you are “high.”
What they are doing doesn’t matter so much as the fact that it makes them more then normal.
But when you go back to normal is when the withdrawal comes in.
Suddenly you feel as if your senses have been shut off and you are incapacitated.
• Cursed.
Sometimes having magic is a curse. The price you pay to do magic is a constant annoyance for you.
• Mentality.
This one isn’t very common but sometimes having so much magic at your finger tips is a dangerous thing that destroys the mind and leaves the wielder a husk of the person they used to be.
The effect of magic.
Despite the fact that I’m sure you already figured out what you want your magic to do I think it’s time I ask anyway.
What does your magic do?
What your magic does is what I like to call the effect but there are all kinds of effects.
Different kinds of magic.
• You get the elemental magic.
This magic is based on what was once considered the 4 elements. Fire, water, air & earth.
You don’t need to use only those four you can add as many elements as you want such as steel or forest.
• You get Mental magic.
You use this magic to mess with people’s heads. It’s as easy as that.
• Physical magic.
This is the kind of magic that brings something new into the world.
With this magic you create something new.
It’s the kind of magic I’m going to be using in my next novel.
• Special abilities.
These are things such as super strength and x-ray eyes.
• Assorted.
This is basically Harry potter kind of magic, which has a little bit of everything.
• Attributes.
These are things such as fangs and wings. It’s something that can be counted as a part of the magic wielder.
While I’m sure there is more but these are the only ones could think of right now. That’s another good thing about magic, people can tell you whatever they want and it isn’t necessarily true. What I’m doing in this post is giving you ideas and basic information, what you chose to do with it depends on you.

Now while how magic appears does count as effect there is another form of effect I want to talk about. How has magic changed the world?
Why would we make candles if all of us can create light out of nothing?
What would our clothes look like if all of us can fly?

Now that you know what exactly your magic does and who wields it ask yourself how it affects the world around it.

Another way that magic effect the world building process is the question, how is magic wielders treated?
In some stories they are the nobility while in others they are the ones being hunted.

Where do your magic wielders fall into the social system?

If your magic wielders are anything but nobility ask yourself why they haven’t taken over the world yet. Why do they put up with us normal people?
Another important question is where does your magic wielders learn magic?
Let’s face it, we all just thought Hogwarts!
Unfortunately unless you are writing fan fiction your magic wielders cannot attend Hogwarts.
But if you think that is what you would like to do then how about you create your own magic academy?
Each magic academy has their own special system that I think will have to be left for a different post.
Other ways of learning magic.
• One on one between the Hero and mentor.
• Learning from books.
• Taught by family as a child.
• Instinctual.
• Spirits that are explaining everything.

 

So that’s the crash course of magic systems.

I hope this helped you in some way or another.

In which book is your favourite magic system?

Have you ever created a magic system that you are ridiculously proud of?

Is there anything you think I left out of this post?

How to create a true villain

Villains I’ll admit is not my strong suit, but if there is one thing I know about it’s conflict.IMG_5958
Isn’t that what the villain is for? To create conflict?
While I would love to just ramble on about conflict, that is not what this post about. This post is about Villains… and the conflict they represent.
Villains are a convenient way to put trouble onto your hero’s lap. Stories normally go like this. Villain wants something, hero doesn’t want villain to have something and they end up fighting.
But aside from that obvious conflict there are the internal conflicts that the villain offers as well.
I want to use Harry Potter as an example here because Voldemort offers both external and internal conflict for Harry.-
External because they have to fight him and solve riddles and do all the heroic things that we love them for.
Internal because Harry sees a part of Voldemort in himself, Harry is forced to ask just how good his intentions are and just how much he and Voldemort is alike.
He is given tough choices that involve people’s lives and he’s given the blame for many people’s deaths. These are the kind of conflict that messes with the hero’s head. The sorts of things that make them doubt themselves. This is internal conflict.

So now that you know the roles a good villain plays I think it’s time to go look at the different kinds of villains.

• Unemotional human villain.
• Emotional human villain.
• Unemotional concept villain.
• Emotional concept villain.

Unemotional human villains.
These are some of the greatest villains of all time. Their sole purpose for being a villain can come from emotion but most of the time they are cold and calculating.
When you anger them they stay calm and create a good plan to get back at you.
Often these villains are labelled as psychopaths but they don’t always have to be.
If you plan on creating this kind of villain I suggest you do research on personality types so you can get an idea of the characteristics you want your villain to have.

Emotional human villains.
Despite the fact that these characters are a lot less twisted they can still be great villains and are often very much loved by the internet.
The difference between these and the unemotional is that they act on their emotions a lot like you probably do.
They are also more focused on their emotional needs.
If you tell an unemotional villain that they are a good for nothing they probably won’t care much. Not because they are confidant or anything but just because they don’t care.
But when you tell an emotional villain that they are a good for nothing chances are they will take it to hart and act out on how they feel about it.

Unemotional concept Villain.
A concept villain is not a person but a thing.
It’s not really a single one villain. It’s not always something with a name even it’s just something that your main character or hero has to defeat.
A good example of an unemotional concept villain is an army. The individual men in the army don’t matter much and it’s more about defeating all of them at once.
Why it’s a good example of unemotional is because it isn’t based of emotion. Or at least it isn’t coming over as emotional.
Other good examples of an unemotional villain are a disease or money problems.

Emotional concept villain.
This is also not a person but a thing instead. Where it differs with the unemotional concept villain is that it is based of emotion.
An example would be a mob.
Where soldiers are normally seen as a wall of steel a mob is seen as an angry fire.
So an emotional concept villain is one big group of people or circumstances that is based of emotion.
Other good examples are racism or depression.

 
How to create a human Villain.
“Every villain is a hero in his own mind.”Evil
Who hasn’t heard that quote before?
This is something that is said so much that it has begun to lose all meaning. Sometimes it reminds you that you need to give your Villain motivation but I want to take it one step further.
Who is your villain?
I’m not asking you what their evil plan is or why they are doing what they are doing. I’m asking you what are the characteristics of your Villain.
Knowing your villain is nearly as important as knowing your main character so ask yourself these questions.

 
• What was your villains past like?
• What is your Villains present like?
• What does your villain want and why?
• Is there anyone your Villain cares for whether it’s a lover, family or friend.
• Does your Villain have any secrets?
• What does your Villain do for fun?
• Describe how your Villain walks.

I know that last one is a little odd but how people walk says a lot about them and that moment that you see a character simply being himself is when he becomes real to you.

Now you know a bit more about your villain’s personal life, but there is even more you need to put into your villain.
The inability to make friends with your MC.
Your villain and your MC shouldn’t be able to be friends in another life. They should dislike each other and test each other.
Now it’s time to put them next to each other and see how they react.
More questions to ask
• What does your Villain stand for vs. What does your MC stand for?
• What angers your Villain vs. What angers your MC?
• How does your Villain react to anger vs. How does your MC react to anger
• What is your Villains sense of humour vs. What is you MC’s sense of humour.

Exercise.
Draw four boxes and label them fears, flaws quirks and strengths.
Now fill these in with details of your villain.
Preferably give each box about three of each but if you think of more give more as long as you don’t leave any box empty.

This exercise helps you see the villain as someone with their own characteristics instead of just someone who is in the book to oppose your MC.

Turning this character into a Villain.
After answering the questions what was your villain’s past like and what does your villain want you should have some idea of what this villain is going to do and why they are going to do it.
If you don’t, take a few moments to figure that out.

What your MC wants and what your villain wants should always be conflicting.
Now that you know what your Villain wants you need to decide how they are going to try to achieve this.
I talked last week about character goals and just as I said there a goal is not a goal if your character is not doing something to achieve it.
The same goes for your Villain’s plans. Give the plan steps and details.

Exercise.
Brainstorm a couple of things you think your Villain will be doing along the way in the story.
Will the villain kill a side character? Burn down a town? Have a verbal battle with the MC?

Getting some concrete details and steps for your Villain is important because he needs to provide a challenge to your MC which isn’t going to happen if everything he does is half baked and without a plan.

Taking your human Villain from semi evil to EVIL.
While I have no doubt that your villain is scary and would have me quaking in my boots, sometimes you just need that little extra and other times you want to make sure your villain is redeemable.

The unforgivable sins.
People don’t like it when someone is being deliberately cruel but can forgive nearly anything if they think the situation justifies it.
If your reader can see themselves doing the same thing in your villain’s case then there might be a chance of forgiveness.
Now that this has been said the only things most people can’t see themselves doing no matter the circumstance are these two unforgivable sins.
1. Rape.
2. Child abuse.
The question that remains is how far is your villain willing to go for what they want?
Where does your Villain draw the line?
What would it take to make them cross it and what would happen if they do?

How to create a concept villain.
A concept villain as I already said isn’t a character but instead something your MC is facing and that stands in their way.
It cannot count as an antagonist since it is not a person.

Do not think these are any less dangerous though, it just takes a little more creativity to get right.
The best way to normally handle a concept villain is to create a human villain to symbolize it.
These are normally distant figures that hardly even know your Hero exists. Some king on top of a throne that symbolizes the suffering of a nation.
Some rebel leader that shows how harsh the world can be.
It can even just be a negative person in your MC’s life that symbolizes the MC’s battle with depression.
These Villains are distant because while they are called the villain they aren’t the thing your MC is really fighting. They are just the end goal.
If they are overthrown then your MC will have won. Not because he has beaten some person but because he has finally brought an end to the problem.

Questions for concept Villains.
• What is your concept?
• Who will be portraying it?
• Why does this person portray the concept?
• How could this concept be beaten?
How does this fit in with my post series?
Last week I covered character goals but as I already said what you MC wants should clash with what your villain wants because that is how you create conflict.
Once you know what your character wants and what is standing in their way you are already halfway there.

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Now that I have officially written nearly six A4 pages on villains I really do hope that I helped you in some manner.
Who are some of your favourite villains and why are they your favourite?
Have you ever written any amazing Villains yourself?

Why character goals is the second step to planning a novel

I’m currently busy with a post series on how to plan a novel, and last week I told you how I plan my main characters.
Now while a main character is one of the fundamental parts of writing a novel it isn’t a story on its own. You can have a character and still have no clue what this character is supposed to do.
Today I want to fix that, I want to help you figure out what should happen in your story.
Because we already have a character we’ll start with that.

The first thing you want to know is what your character wants and why they want it. So based of what you know so far ask yourself these three questions.
1. What was your character’s past like?
2. How do they feel about it?
3. What is your character’s plan’s for the future?

Knowing what your character wants and why is important because it not only reveals character but also gives you a start to a story.
It shows your reader where they can expect it to go.

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A goal is only a goal if your character is taking steps to achieving it.

Now the thing is you need to turn that want into a goal for your character.
This means that there needs to be steps taken towards it because without the steps toward it it’s just a dream and completely useless.

Hardly ever does a character’s plan work though.
It is your job as a writer to make sure that your character suffers. (Grim I know but true.)
There has to be something that stands in your character’s way.
The things that stand in your character’s way can be embodied in a person (the villain), it can simply be the circumstances or it can be a part of the character self.
The best thing to do is make it a mix of all three.
Just remember that a story is the push and pulls between two or more forces, it is tension and struggle. Not an easy victory.
Make life for your character hard and put obstacles in their way.

Occasionally the things that are put in your character’s way can change their goal.
Normally this is at points in your novel such as the inciting incident, midpoint climax and occasionally the climax itself.
This happens because a lot of the times characters finds out new information that changes everything for them.
For whatever reason your character changes goals just remember to make your character takes steps to achieving this goal and putting something in their way.

So now you might have a basic idea of what is going to happen in your story now put it on paper.

Activity.
Write a paragraph that explains what will happen in your story.
Give it a beginning middle and end.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know everything yet because if you did you would be writing your novel right now.
So instead just write down what you do know and see where that leads you.

I hope that this post about goals where useful to you and that you would come back next week when I write about the other half of the story, the villain.