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10 Tips To Be A Better Writer (#1-5)

Taylor Normann

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  1. Self-Explanatory but before you begin writing it is a good idea to read. Read a variety of books that interest you and can help foster your own style by observing how other writers in the same genre distinguish their works.  If you intend to write a fantasy novel then I would recommended to read a bunch of titles under fantasy because there is more than one way to write fantasy. Example: Are you writing a school based fantasy? Read Harry Potter. An immersive fantasy world with a dark threat? Lord Of the Rings. A modern setting with a secret magical society?  There are a lot of Urban Fantasy stories that got you covered.
  2. After you’ve read copious amounts of selected genre now is the time for studying. If you’re writing a historical-fiction then it’s a good idea to do careful research into the time period the story is taking place. Science-fiction writers should study new scientific theories and have a good grasps on some sciences. Example: your sci-fi story deals with genetically mutated subjects then a thorough knowledge of genetics and biology in general is a must, same for space travel, and living on non-earth planets. Fantasy Authors cannot skip this step either! More than likely your fantasy story will feature nonhuman magical creatures, you may think you know enough about them to write a decent story and you probably can but they’ll be cookie-cutter. Intensively investigate legends and myths surrounding these fantasy creatures, look at several cultures interpretation of the particular fantasy creature and select bits and pieces to make yours unique.
  3.   Alright! You’ve read a lot of stories and you’ve done your research now is the time to write, right? No. Now, step 3 and 4, you can do 4 before 3 and vice versa this is simply up to each individual author. Step 3 is character design, character design can be as detailed as you want but here are some basic questions that should be answered. Be sure to leave room for character growth! Very rarely is it fun to read a story with a main cast of characters that end the same as they started
    1. What is the Characters Name? (Is it important to the plot, allegorical, mean something in the characters language?)
    2. What is their sex?
    3. Talent/skill (Learned or naturally gifted?)
    4. Occupation (Or lack thereof)
    5. Status in Society (Ex: Noble, middle class, poor, rich, homeless)
    6. Nationality (How is their nationality treated by the culture they live in, are they the dominant or minority?)
    7. Family (Their place in the family like firstborn, the runt, are they the father or mother? How does their family treat them?)
    8. Physical Features (Does it play a part in how the world views them? Does it help them feel like an individual or an outcast?)
    9. Personality (This can be affected by their parents, their society, culture, or life experiences. Add some faults too!)
    10. Their want vs. need. (This can be the whole plot of the story and what they want vs. what they need isn’t always the same thing.)
  4. World building is next on the list. This can be a skipped step if you’re writing a historical fiction novel or a book set in our world.Be careful because this can be the second most fun step after character building and can really get in detail. You might not get to reveal everything you’ve built into your world but it’s important that you as the author know it anyway to aid in the world’s believability. Again, like character building these will be basic questions to ask yourself when creating a world for both fantasy and sci-fi genres. Each questions has sub questions that can be asked and this whole rabbit hole can be spiraled down for eternity. In addition, it’s called world building but honestly it’s more like country building because you’ll need to repeat these steps until you have at least 3-5 decent kingdoms, countries, or alien planets.Geography, the most important question! This will heavily influence everything else. Ex: Harsh, mountainous, desert, lush, coastal, island, dry, grassland, forested, or does it have multiple geographies? A Mountainous and coastal, a forest island, etc.)
    1. 1.Government (Is it an oligarchy, democratic, monarchy, theocracy, dictatorship, etc? Even if they don’t use the same names or terms in your world it’s still good to know which system they use. Can’t overthrow an evil government if you don’t know how it works.)
    2. Religion. What type of religion they have is influenced by their environment, a plentiful region with lots of crops and rain will likely have a kind religion while a harsh unforgiving region will likely have a cruel religious system. Is the religion mono or polytheistic? If so, what are each of the gods characteristics and dominions? How much does the religion affect everyday lives? How much power does it hold in the government?
    3. Culture. Beating a dead horse here but again it’ll be influenced by their environment.            4. Architecture! What style of buildings do they have? What are they made out of? A cold region will have thick buildings to keep in the heat and block out the cold while a coastal region might have more windows to let the cool sea breeze through.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5.The citizens clothing, what does the poor wear, the nobility or rich and those in between? Soft flowing fabrics for warm climates and husky insulating styles for chilly climates. This can also be influenced by religion and morals, are they covered head to toe for modesty, or promote freedom by showing as much skin as they’re comfortable with?                                                                                                                      6.Morals, what does the society value in a person? Honesty, kindness, strength, etc? What myths or legends exist to teach that lesson to children. How do they treat their children, men, women, those they consider lesser or better?                                                                    7.Relations with other Worlds/Countries/Kingdoms. Are they enemies, why? Trade partners, what can they offer your society and what can your society offer them? Do they have a good relationship, strained relationship, or apathetic? How do they view your society and how does your society view them?                                                                                                                                                                                               8.Technology. This will be the main difference between fantasy and sci-fi. How advanced is their tech if it takes place in the future? If its fantasy how has magic influenced their society’s tech. How do they travel? What everyday devices do they have? What is considered a rich or poor-man’s version? For example if they have an enchantment to fly they would not need to invent cars. If they have flying cars, do they need rockets to travel to the moon?
  5. Outline! Outline! Outline! Outlining is basically taking your story and writing a map of how it should progress and major destinations to stop at along the way! I cannot stress enough the value of this step. An outline can be as detailed or as sparse as you need, it’s up to the author but there should still be one. With an outline you eliminate at least one source of writer’s block, not knowing what to write next. It’s there; after x comes y and after that comes z. Most kinks are ironed out in this stage and if something doesn’t fit you can edit or cut it out now rather then halfway through the novel and realizing you left a major plot hole or the novel isn’t flowing right. Look up templates online and find a method that works for you. Some may say that they don’t need this step and I’m going to need to lay some cold hard truth, of the population of writers that can write a whole novel without a single outline that number is like 2%, 6% if I’m being generous. Even veteran writers swear by outlines so don’t feel like you’re above using them.
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10 Tips To Be A Better Writer (#1-5)