The Bad Book Project #12 | Dialogue

This is the final post in this project in which I prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo in April *sad face*. I really enjoyed this project, I loved writing posts and the guest posts were just amazing. I just want to send out a huge thank you to Hannah, Trisha, Claudie, Savannah, Blaise and Tiana for helping me out and giving such good advice!

The fact that this is the last week also makes me slightly stressed because my preparations have been standing still for a week or so. I still need to work on my characters and elaborate my plot (3 words for one chapter is not enough outlining!).

The last topic I’d like to cover is dialogue, which is incredibly important for a book and its characters. For example, I like characters much more if they have a distinct voice. So here are some tips.

Know your characters. One tip that I really think is useful is from How to Write Convincing Dialogue. Think about how your best friend or mother or significant other would respond to a certain situation, this is quite easy if you know the person well enough. I can almost hear my friend talking to me in my head. And if you know your characters well enough, writing dialogue becomes almost as easy.

What is important when you want to find your character’s voice is to know what they know and who they are.

  • Are they intelligent? This affects the way in which a person speaks, they might have more elaborate arguments, fact-check their arguments, be a little more conservative with their opinions and so on. Their choice of words might also be different, they might use more difficult words to express themselves.
  • Are they extroverted or introverted? Introverts might speak less, but when they speak they often really know what they are talking about. My introverted self always stays in the background when having conversations, because I only want to “add” something valuable to the conversation. I don’t like talking for the sake of talking. I think many introverts are the same, so this is something to keep in mind.
  • Do they have an accent or are from abroad? This affects intonation and also their choice of words, they might not use words that don’t exist in their first language.
  • Do they use metaphors or references? In our modern world, it is quite usual to use references to modern media and characters from books, movies or series. So what you need to figure out is what are their interests? And if the person is a little dreamy, they might describe something more often with metaphors than others.
  • Are they sassy? Sarcastic? Witty? Positive? Negative?
  • And so on.

Some practical tips:

  • First write the dialogue and then the narrative. This makes it easier to see if the dialogue flows or not and removes the distraction of the narrative.
  • Mumble the dialogue to yourself.
  • Use body language to describe the way in which characters act. Body language is a surprisingly large part of communicating, so use that to your advantage. Just a simple frown might be way more useful and feel more natural than a sentence about how a person doesn’t believe what the other person says.
  • Don’t overdo it. Not everything has to be said, and repetition is not fun to read.
  • Make sure that the conversation adds something to the story. Oh, how often I read a dialogue in a book and then think: wait, what was the point of that?
  • Remove the obvious and unnecessary. It’s not fun to read a conversation that goes like this: Hi – Hi! – How are you? – I’m fine, how are you? – Good, good, a little busy. (and so on).
  • Give it a little flair! Make sure the characters express their own voice. Don’t let them say things they wouldn’t say. All of this comes back to knowing your characters well enough.
  • Don’t add too much subtext. I personally hate to read dialogues that are continuously disrupted by long descriptions of what a person does or what the surroundings look like.

I hope you enjoyed this project! I loved working on it. I might continue with a different but similar project in the future, so if you’ve got ideas or topics you’d like to read about, let me know.

What is your best tip on writing dialogue?

The Bad Book Project #11 | Writing style (by Tiana)

This is the one-but-last post for this project, and I am over my head in preparations for Camp NaNoWriMo. My floor is currently covered in note cards of every colour and I am working on the plot and the characters. In less than two weeks I’m going to start writing and I’m super excited! I’m also very excited to welcome Tiana from The Book Raven, who will talk about writing styles!


One of the most important parts of writing is your voice. That whisper deep inside you that aches to be poured out onto the page. It comes out in every little thing that you write, an email, a blog post, even a text, but the truest place where it reigns free is when writing a story. 

Creating an entire world with a small family of characters that interact with one another exactly the way you shape them to is the expression of what you see and believe in deep inside of you. Your hopes, your worries, your deepest thoughts and memories,  appear on the page without you ever knowing it and that is what creates your voice, your writing style. 

If you enjoy observing and creating vivid detail that will show in everything you write. 

The red ballpoint pen danced across the page leaving Ink behind like a trail of blood. The women’s hand was fluid as she wrote, almost happy, but as the Ink spread she didn’t realise what problems her swirling message would cause. Even in the most simple of sentences who you are, bleeds into your work. 

If you care deeply about emotion and thoughts that too will show in all of your writing. 

There was something about him I could put my finger on, he was gorgeous, talented, everyone love him, but something was off. Whenever he smiled it didn’t quite reach his eyes. He was cordial enough but when you asked him something he’d get this look, a harshness that somehow crossed the barrier between anger and sadness. 

Even if you care deeply about getting straight to the point. 

She walked right up to the man and kissed him full on the mouth not caring who saw. When she was finished she looked to the corner and smiled, that other girlfriend of his sure didn’t know about her. 

However, many writers struggle with the idea of developing their writing style, their voice. Many get stuck thinking that what they have to say isn’t good enough at least the way they wish to say it and mimicking commences. Everyone wants to sound like their favorite bestselling author, but the truth is if everyone sounded like everyone else words would loose their meaning and the world become lost in the void of unoriginality. The reason we resonate with an author is because their voice tells the stories that we thought of in the back of our minds, but didn’t quite know the words to convey our truths. 

So, how do we go about developing our unique voices? How do we turn off the voices inside us that say our words could never be good enough? 

The answer: Just keep writing. 

Write everything you see. Write your thoughts. Write what worries you. Write what makes you happy. Write that random story that pops in your head when you’re about to go to bed at midnight. 

Our voices emerge when we let go of all our pressures and give in to what speaks to the mind. Our voice will continue to grow and change throughout life as we ourselves, grow and change. Your voice is who you are. To embrace it is to embrace yourself and that is what makes writing beautiful. 

So get to writing! Set your worries free and write what your passion takes you. Let who you are shine through your work and you will have a voice that can only be recognised as all your own. You have so many amazing things to say and I would hope that you would say them. Don’t be afraid to put into words what you know to be true. 

-Tiana Wolfe (thebookraven)


I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. Thank you Tiana for this wonderful piece! What is your best tip on developing a writing style?

I forgot to ask, are you still looking for a cabin for Camp NaNoWriMo? Me and Savannah (the book prophet) have some space left in ours.

The Bad Book Project #10 | In which I fail at outlining.

Welcome to week 10 of The Bad Book Project! You can check out the last posts in this series here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

So yes, this title quite clearly describes my problem. I have never outlined before and honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve been watching a few videos on this topic and thought about what I should write about and then it came. Nothing. Came. There are probably a whole bunch of people out there that can actually explain to you what you’re supposed to do and what works and what doesn’t, because I don’t know. I’m just winging it and this is what my process looks like right now:

  1. Make notes about everything that seems important and might be useful for the book.
  2. Gather your notes and read through them.
  3. Think of a structure for your story, for example the 3-act structure as explained last week, or The Hero’s Journey or Freytag’s Pyramid (google it).
  4. Write down all important (and less important) plot points, actions, conversations and basically everything that happens on separate note cards or post-its. You can use different colors for different type of points: for me red is family stuff, blue is friendship stuff and so on.
  5. Lay out your cards or post-its and set them in order.
  6. Keep in mind your structure and try to follow this structure when constructing your story.
  7. Fill in the blanks and plot holes.
  8. Divide the post-its/cards into chapters.
  9. Write everything down in a word document or some other program you like.

I am currently at step 1 of the process (*cries*), but I’ve got some cards already and I’m planning on bringing a notebook with me at all times for the coming week. Next weekend I’m going to continue with the cards process and hopefully finish the broad structure. Then I’m giving myself some time to finish it all up and start writing out the full structure. And hopefully I’ll be done before April starts…

I just found this method called Beats and Pre-production which is talked about in this video, and I really love the idea of writing everything out in paragraphs and adding pictures of cast, scene and atmosphere to it. This method seems easy and fun so I’m going to try to do that.

In my journey of finding the best way of outlining, the tip I have heard the most often is that you have to do what works for you. So that’s what I’m going to try.

What is your method of outlining?

 

 

The Bad Book Project #9 | Outlining (by Blaise)

Hey, everyone! Also welcome to my new followers! I’m back without any broken bones, with some more bruises, but beside that I’m totally fine. Skiing was so much fun, I had the best time! I might be doing a little update thingie this Tuesday so keep your eyes out for that post. I’ll also be posting my wrap-up and tbr then (I read so many books during my vacation :D). Here comes the post you’ve been waiting on, this is the 9th week of The Bad Book Project and I am really glad to be saying that Blaise from The Book Boulevard wrote the post below about outlining! You can check out the last posts in this series here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.


Hello everyone! My name is Blaise and I would like to thank Lia for inviting me over to her blog ❤ Today I’ll be chatting with you a little about outlining.

For some people, outlining just doesn’t work.  For a long time, that was the case for me.

And then – I saw the light? Not really. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. For others (like myself), outlining is incredibly useful. But there are a million different ways to outline, and different people respond differently to different methods.

It’s this weird thing called individuality, I guess?

Well, I’d just like to share three outlining methods that work for me in the hopes that maybe one of them will work for you.

  1. Set-Up, Conflict, Resolution

This method takes the concept of the 3-act structure and makes it go the route of Inception. Act 1 sets up the conflict. This is where you put all your pieces into play: the necessary backstory and worldbuilding, the major players (characters), and the primary conflict. Act 2 plays out the body of the conflict. This is where everything escalates—the characters’ conflicts increase, the development gets intense, the question of will-they-or-won’t-they-succeed is pushed to its limits. Act 3 then offers the resolution to that—it brings you to your climax, where the conflict concludes and your character development comes to a head.

That’s your big structure.

The idea behind this is that each act also has a set-up, conflict, resolution cycle. And that each of those parts includes a set-up, conflict, resolution cycle. So on and so forth, ad infinitum.

If you look at the hero’s journey and the cyclical nature of stories, this makes a lot of sense. You need to set up a conflict for that conflict to happen and be resolved. Ideally, each resolution then sets up the next conflict, and so on. Taking notes in this cyclical manner can keep you from losing track of your central conflict (which can be difficult, especially in particularly complex stories)

2. Cause-and-Effect, or What if?

This is as simple as it gets. Event A happens. What is the natural follow-up to that?

Write it down and put it aside.

Write down all the next few things, and put those aside, too.

Now, think of an Event B that wouldn’t happen as a result of Event A, and make it plausible. What elements can you adjust in Event A to make Event B possible, though perhaps not probable.

This method is great for two things: 1) it really stretches your creative muscles to think of how cause-and-effect can propel your story forward, and 2) it makes sure that you don’t have any non-sequiturs. This keeps you focused on the relationship between events, which will keep your story flowing smoothly.

After all, you want everything to make sense, right?

3. Effect-and-Cause

Or you can do the reverse of the previous step, and focus on the effect rather than the cause.

In this method, you start at the end of the story, with the last scene or the climax. You pick.

And then you work backwards: what one event must happen for that climax/scene to happen? No ifs, ands, or buts, what can that climax not happen without? The emphasis here is important because the difference in direction is powerful.

Rather than thinking about how to make the effect happen by changing the cause, you have to think about what cause is absolutely necessary to make the effect happen. Does that make sense? Don’t worry, it does to me.

The other useful thing about this particular strategy is that it can be really helpful in finding the right place to start your story. This is something a lot of writers struggle with, especially in terms of starting too early. With this strategy, you only go back so far until the inciting incident happens – the cause that results in the whole story happening.

The big thing to note here is that these three techniques are all closely related, in part because there are certain elements all plots share.

The key about outlining is finding the particular frame that helps you organise the story in your head, which is partially why not all methods work for everyone. For me, for example, the technical outline methods (A, I, a, i, etc) don’t work for me. But these three methods do tend to.

I hope you find this helpful!

Happy writing ❤


I hope you found this post helpful! Thank you so much Blaise for your wonderful post!

Also here’s a “small” update on my writing. I am not going to write the book I’ve been planning to write for 8 weeks (oops), just before my break I got an entirely new idea and decided to go with that. I was so completely stuck, I just couldn’t figure out what to do with the plot and then this idea came and I loved it. It is completely different, it’s a contemporary YA book about a girl named Linde who lost her mom. This is my current synopsis:

Linde has two fathers, of which one is a woman (transgender) and the other an alcoholic. She also has a blind little brother. And a dead mother.
After the tragic death of her mother, Linde is crushed. Her world is speedingly falling apart. Four years after her death, Linde’s life is not yet back to normal, and then she meets Jonah, the semi-popular kid who seems too normal for her world.
Together they decide to follow in Linde’s mother’s footsteps and finish her unfinished journey. But then Linde’s family wants to tag along.

It’s about family, friends and love and about grief and finding yourself. I love it! And it’s much easier because it’s mainly set in the Netherlands (so no worldbuilding, yay) and I can use my own experiences.

I don’t know how it works yet but I believe you can now join Cabins in Camp NaNoWriMo, so if you want to write together, please let me know (and please explain to me how it works because I’m lost here). You can find me here.

The Bad Book Project #8 | Building a Society

Welcome back to my 12-week project in which I attempt to prepare for writing my own novel in Camp NaNoWriMo this April. You can check out the last posts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. This week I will be talking about worldbuilding, and more specifically about building a society.

Building a world inside your head sounds like an amazing but difficult thing to do, still, there are so many writers who do it and succeed wonderfully at it. So study the worlds other writers have built. Take a look at your favourite books and see how the world it is set in is constructed.

When you build your own it is important to know how a society is built, there is more than just leaders and followers. So let’s take a look at society itself and how we can then use that information to make one ourselves.

1. The leader. What important is to consider who is in charge in the society, in my country, it is a complex situation with both a king and a parliament and a constitution. So ask yourself these questions: who is in charge? Is there more than one person in power? Who gets to decide who is in charge? What type of leader is it? I came across this interesting article about different organisations and how these influence society.  It can depend on what type of book you are planning on writing, but it can be useful to find out how these leaders are flawed, what their strengths are and especially what the society itself thinks of the leader.

2. The laws. Not only the laws that are written down, that decide who gets punished and who doesn’t, but also laws of physics, maybe even magic are interesting. This all depends on what you are planning on writing about. You of course don’t need to develop an entire law book but the basics can be quite important. What are the laws and who enforces these laws? Are there police officers or maybe something else?

3. The mindset of the society. If I were to go to another part of the world, the people there would have a different mindset. There are two major mindsets: the one is focused on the individual, the other on the community. The first one values individual growth and development, and in such a society people will be acting different than in a society that values the growth of the community as a group. Another distinction can be made with the more laid-back society or the “it’s always rush hour” type of society (or the 24/7 society). The second one likes everything to be planned out and the first would be more than fine if you were half an hour late to a meeting.

4. Social groups. A society is build up from layers: the poor, the rich, and all that is in between. There are also layers of social status, which have a lot to do with jobs and often knowledge. However well a society is doing, there are also the less fortunate ones, not everybody can be rich. So takes these into account when you’re writing. Your characters might come from different social layers and they might do things a little different. You can also think about what the people in these different layers think about each other, do the rich despise the poor, ignore them, hate them, or do they help them?

5. The flaws. Every society has its flaws. Even an utopia can feel like a dystopia for others. Find out what goes wrong in your society and why. Each society has strengths, but they also have weaknesses.

I hope this post has helped you build your own society for your book. Here’s another tip: I absolutely love this video on world-building from TED-ex, it provides you with all the aspects of what you’ll have to think about when creating your fictional world. And it provides a great starting point for your plot.

Good luck on creating your own society, I hope these tips helped you get started!

The Bad Book Project #7 | World Building (by Savannah)

Welcome back to my 12-week project in which I attempt to prepare for writing my own novel in Camp NaNoWriMo this April. You can check out the last posts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. This week’s post is about world building and it is written by one of my favourite blogger friends Savannah, I hope you love it as much as I do!


Hello everybody! My name is Savannah and I’m a blogger over at The Book Prophet. Today, I’m here to talk to you about World Building and the easiest (and best) ways you can create the world in your novel.

As you might know, World Building is crucial to any book, especially fantasy and sci-fi. When you’re creating an entirely different world instead of putting your own spin on the present world, it can become overwhelming and difficult. I am a fantasy lover myself, so my ultimate love as a writer is fantasy. Though, it can be 2x more difficult to develop an entire world, there are no limits to what you can create. The most important thing you should remember is to let your imagination go wild and free.

I will talk about the most crucial things that most people don’t think about when first developing their world. The things you overlook may be something that a reader is looking for. Let’s delve right into it.

Think about the basics. Whenever you’re developing a new world, you have to think about the basic infrastructure of your world. This applies to all kinds of novels from fantasy to contemporary. You need to know the most basic things, such as food, shelter, and clothing. First you need to ask yourself questions that readers may ask when starting a novel. Who has power in this world? What kind of food do the inhabitants eat? Where do they get this food? What is the atmosphere like here? What kinds of clothing do the inhabitants wear? What do their homes look like? Where do the inhabitants work and get educated? Asking yourself the most simplistic questions can make all the difference in your final product. The little things are what make your world more vivid and realistic.

Create Social, Political, Cultural, and Religious Groups. In the real world (and fantasy worlds) everybody has their own beliefs. Whether it’s a belief that a king should rule over everybody in the land or a God with the head of a Ram ruling the wind, the inhabitants in your world should believe in something. Whether it’s political or religious, having groups with certain beliefs make your world all the more real. It unites and divides people, and is the central cause of chaos and peace.

Create a world that supports the story, not the other way around. By this I mean that in order to create a world that is realistic and organic, you need to make sure it ties into the story well. You can’t have an entire world developed without a story to tell first. An example would be having a rogue assassin on Mars who kills the people with the most power. First you need to figure out who your assassin is, what that character’s story is going to be like, and whether or not you’ll have dual point of views. Once you decide that, as well as the places they’ll be exploring on the way there, then you can start delving into the world-building. You don’t want to create an entire world and then not have half of that world unexplored or even mentioned in your final product. Then it was just a waste of your time. You don’t have to do this, but it’s recommended.

Write what you know. So you may be wondering “How do I write what I know if I’m writing a book that takes place in a fictional world?” Well, let’s say you live in Canada where it’s pretty much cold 24/7 and 7 foot tall creatures with antlers live in your backyard. Why not incorporate something like that in your fictional world? If you experience cold weather all the time, why not write about it? You’ll definitely be able to write about how it feels to have numb toes and fingers, how it looks when new snow settles and ice glazes over tree branches. Use your surroundings as an advantage! Add a moose with glittering fur and antlers that glow in the dark while you’re at it! When you write about something you already know well, and then you’re writing will be much less forced and your descriptions can be more detailed than they would normally be if you were describing a beach setting, although you’ve never been to a beach in your life. Not only can you use nature as your inspiration, but you can use almost anything as a starting point. Does your shower sometimes make a weird noise when you turn it on? BAM! There’s the noise your glittering moose with glow in the dark antlers makes when it’s scared or intimidated. All of these little details are crucial in the final product, which is the world your novel takes place in.

Make your world diverse. This could be filed into characters, but I think it applies to world building in a sense as well. The world isn’t black and white, there are grays and blues and yellows and greens and reds and every color imaginable. You need to express that in your world, through your characters and their cultures. You can’t make every heroine white and slim and beautiful. That’s just not how the world works; I don’t care where you are. One of the newest ‘trends’ in YA novels recently are making books more diverse. There shouldn’t be a need for a trend like this. Books should be diverse without having to be classified as diverse. In this day and age books (and media in every shape and form) should have black males and females, Asians, Trans, and everybody in between because that’s the world we live in. It should be represented without being made a big deal out of. Do this with your fantasy world, do this with your contemporary romances, and do it with your god-forsaken historical fiction novels because it’s real.

Simple interactions between characters. This has to do with characters as well, but it works to make your world more real and it creates more depth. Everything from the way people present themselves to how they talk and move around others. This all makes a difference when looking at the bigger picture of religion and culture in your novel. Let’s say one social group shows respect for their elders by giving them a small gift once a year, while another group does this by gathering in a circle and praying for their good health. It all connects to form the larger picture that is your fictional world.

Use real-world history and mythology. When you write your novel (present in either a fantasy realm or modern times) it’s a good idea to do research. I know, research is a pain, but you learn stuff and it helps a ton when you are constructing an image or event in your book. You can use real-world laws and economics in your story (with or without putting a twist on it) to make your world have the extra amount of depth that we (readers and writers alike) all crave in a good book. There are so many amazing books out there that have used mythology and historical events to their advantage whenever creating their world. And it always works, so why not do that as well?

Imagine your world at its worst. When there’s a good book with a good plot, something always has to go wrong. It’s only normal, so you need to imagine what would happen in your imaginary world if the worst of the worst came to pass. Just envision the worst possible thing that could occur in your world and fathom the impact it would have on your characters as well as the plot of your novel. This will allow you to understand not only your world better, but your characters as well. This works for whatever sort of novel you’re writing.

These are some of the main tips I have for those of you that are finding it difficult to develop your world, whether it takes place in a fictional universe or our universe. If you’re interested in reading about some more tips on world-building, visit this link here.

I would like to thank Lia for giving me the chance to write this post, and for all of you for reading through it all. Good Luck to all of you who are currently in the middle of writing the next great literary masterpiece of our generation.

lots-of-love


I think this post was super helpful! My head is already filled with new ideas to expand the world my book is set in! Was it helpful for you? Thank you Savannah for writing this amazing post 🙂

 

The Bad Book Project #6 | The Plot

Welcome back to my 12-week project in which I attempt to prepare for writing my own novel in Camp NaNoWriMo this April. You can check out the last posts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. This week’s post will be about plotting. I’ll just warn you beforehand this is not something I am an expert on, my plot has so many holes right now you could almost sell it has high-fashion jeans.

I have been reading about this topic and it’s definitely not the easiest one, but I have thought of some tips (or found them online).

A plot should consist of three parts: the beginning, the end and all that is in between. So if you know where you begin and you know where you want to end, you can figure out a way to get there. The journey in a book can be on a small scale (for example a character development), on a big scale (for example a journey to save someone or something) and all that is in between. I think there can be three levels of plot:

  • The personal development. E.g. A character that is very shy might learn to use their voice, or a character might learn that their whole idea of the world is wrong.
  • The interpersonal development. Characters might become friends, enemies or lovers.
  • The major story line. What is it that the characters want to achieve: fall in love, have the best summer possible, defeat the evil king of Roananrike, learn to use magic to save their mother, save the galaxy. Anything is possible.

What I think is important is that each of these three plots need a beginning and an end and these can be different per character. If you have multiple characters they can have different goals that then lead to confrontations and problems. What is holding them back from achieving their goals? Do they know beforehand what their goals are or is that something that they find out in the end? Goals can also change throughout the story.

There should be a balance between environment and character. It cannot be that all the development in the story is based on the character’s motivation or based on something that happened which is outside of the character’s reach. Moving forward should be a combination of the character wanting to do something and things happening that make the character behave in a certain way. Often if I read a book in which a character only acts a certain way because they “have to”, because that is expected of them, it gets really boring and annoying.

I would like to give as example of a set-up for a story the Eight Point Story Arc (click link for more info), which consists of the Stasis (the beginning and baseline), the Trigger (what happens to start the real story), the Quest (the purpose and journey), the Surprise (what gives the story a spin), the Critical Choice (in which the MC’s decision makes the decision to do something important for the story; the point of no return), the Climax (building the tension), the Reversal (the final “battle”), and the Resolution (in which all is resolved). As is described in this story arc, a quest or journey has surprises, triggers and choices that will eventually lead to the climax and resolution of this journey or quest. So think of it as a maze, you know where you start and where you have to end up, but there are things hidden in this maze you didn’t know beforehand. In that maze you might meet other people, find monsters, pretty lagoons, shifting walls and points-of-no-return.

So create story lines for all of your characters, and integrate them so they form one big web of adventure, struggle, confrontation, peaks,

I don’t know if this is helpful at all but I hope it was. Sorry for my absence on Friday, I was going to post my weekly Down The TBR Hole post but I felt absolutely horrible (don’t worry I feel a lot better right now).

What is your best tip for developing your plot?