National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow, and I thought I’d share some tips for a successful month.
Also, I’ll be including videos on more of my posts.
Don’t feel like you have to stick to the 50k goal if that’s too daunting for you. You can edit your goal or create a new goal for the same project. Also, your outline and summary counts if you’re working on that too. It all goes towards that final book.
Keep your inspiration flowing with some good wiring playlists, whether it’s your favourite artists, or some emotional, instrumental music. My YouTube and Spotify has some playlists if you want to check them out.
Writing sprints are a great way to help keep you focussed, so be sure to find some sprints either via the site or through other writing groups.
As writers, we can be a complex bunch, and we write for many reasons. One of my main reasons is some form of therapy to process my emotions or dreams. This form of expression through art isn’t new, and writing can get a lot of emotions out in a way that makes it meaningful to me as a mental health sufferer.
I don’t often talk about it on here or my bookish social media because I want to keep things light. But sometimes, I need to just point things out.
Recently, I offered to be a beta reader for a couple of writers I knew through TikTok. They were both super nice, but one manuscript, I couldn’t finish because of life changes, and the other I took longer than I planned. When I explained this and apologised, they were both so understanding.
They both said I could reach out whenever if I was struggling or just wanted to talk. Sometimes people say that to be nice, but I got the sense they meant it. Either way, it was nice to hear since I have been going through a rough time since spring.
My mum is going through cancer treatment, and though we had some very good news that the treatment is working, it’s still hard for her with the side effects and being very limited in what she can do. Last week was particularly stressful because I have a foster kitten, Nix, who is in a very bad way and has been in and out of the vet’s for over two weeks now. Then my dad had his COVID vaccination and had the usual reaction so was limited in what he could do.
When it rains it pours.
All this is temporary, but with my mind not being able to cope with too much going on, I just stalled for a whole week. It was Mum, kitten, work. That was all I could manage.
Magic systems are more than just world building in fantasy fiction. As a writer, you make the rules and can use your magic system as part of the plot.
Here are things to consider for your magic system when planning your story…
Create a challenge for your characters like newly discovered magic, opening a magical room, translating a magic book.
Represent something emotional for your MC. Maybe trauma locked away their powers. Maybe an estranged parent has answers.
Establish a social hierarchy. More power could mean more respected or feared. Certain abilities might be good or bad in society.
Tools to complete a bigger task. Maybe a specific power will achieve the final goal. Maybe a certain combination of abilities is the only way to solve a problem.
Secret magic. Perhaps magic is banned, so any magic users have to hide it. Someone could dabble in dark magic and they have to keep it a secret.
A race. There could be something special that multiple people are trying to find.
Base your magic system on something real. Manipulating natural energy or elements can make it easy to set limits and exceptions.
Magical conduits like devices, runes, spells, etc. can have specific magical effects on things or people around them.
There are probably more, but these are some of the main things that I have in various WIPS.
My favourite is connecting emotion to magic. I have a character who fears her magic because her mother couldn’t maintain control, and my MC is worried she’ll end up the same. Another WIP has merging magic that is only possible with a strong emotional connection like family, friends and extra fun when it’s between lovers.
In one WIP, I imagine the magic as a way to combine magic, science, and religion in that one all powerful being (a sort of star) released a massive amount of energy that created the universe. This being then created worlds and more masses of energy that are like stars from a science perspective but are also similar to angels. Each ability has a scientific explanation or theory behind it, such as creating wormholes like portals, breaking down and reforming physical matter for shifting, bending light, etc. Sure, much of it is pushing it in relation to exact science, but it helps me as the writer decide what is and isn’t possible.
One WIP has stones that hold the power of the elements, and only specific people can use them through special devices. The stones are also used for everyday things like light, heat, showers, helping plants grow, and powering airships.
Oops. I meant to give this one last check yesterday before posting it, since I post my writing ranting on Wednesdays. This week has been a bit weird with final prep for summer camp at work and family health stuff getting to me. Actually, this is perfect way to introduce todays post because it’s something I work on when I don’t have much.
The Fourth Wall is a new mini series I’ve started based on a TikTok video I made about my MC accidentally hearing me as the writer. I thought it would make a few short and fun pieces to have for various characters where they overhear me or tumble into my world if it suits the story’s magic system, which in some cases, it does.
It’s also a way to get an interest in my novels as prequel chapters since they’re set not long before the mains story and don’t spoil anything. I have some other short stories planned for various WIPs as non-spoiler backstories, and some bonus chapters from other POVs. But they’re something to share after I’ve published to keep people interested in between each book in the series.
Mostly, these started when I got into writing slumps or in the middle of planning. They helped with world-building and fleshing out my characters or detailing past events that don’t need whole scenes or chapters in the main book.
I have my debut novel about to go through the publication process once I’ve chosen my editor and made some decisions on art, etc. My Fourth Wall story with Clair will be available before publication as a glimpse into her life. Also, it’s something fun to write during a busy few days where I need to write but can’t focus on the main novel.