I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW-Europe RP forums. We’re headed into the Icecrown arcs and will soon be facing the final parts of Part III!
In related news: The Unexiled will be going out in a few hours.
And now, I’m going to go lay down again. I’ve got some godawful sinus infection. ><
I’ve just noticed that this will be my one-hundredth post on this site. I’m amazed I’ve kept it up this long. Normally me and blogs last a week at most. So, in honor of actually making it to 100 posts, I’ve decided to offer a little bit of hard-earned advice to other writers out there, especially other WoW fanfic writers.
So…you’ve decided to sit down and write a story. Congratulations! Here are a few things I’ve learned that have helped me keep my own stories organized, especially when they’re longer than a few pages.
1) Know your characters. Know early on how many major characters you’re going to have and what their personalities will be like. Try to keep this roster reasonable; I’ve found that having more than seven major characters can be tricky.
2) Don’t be afraid to let your characters change a bit and speak to you. Sometimes, you’re going to find yourself in a situation where you want something to happen or one of your characters to do something that goes totally against the grain. Sometimes, you’ll spend days, weeks, even months trying to make it work. And, sometimes, you’ll find that it doesn’t work out at all. In cases like this, you’ll need to decide if the event you want to happen could be done differently. This leads to…
3) Plan your work and work your plan. Have an outline prepared ahead of time or a synopsis of what you want to happen to whom, where, when, and why. However, don’t be afraid to revise this mid-way through writing if you find out that one of your characters isn’t going to play well in a given scenario.
4) Know what you’re writing. And, be prepared to back up your reasoning. This applies especially in fanfics. Know the universe. Know the classes. Know the religious/moral philosophies. Know them well and don’t be afraid to adapt or rebel against them. However, if you go that path, know that other characters in the universe will react to it.
5) Don’t be afraid of controversy. Sometimes controversial characters are called for. Other times, they’re a nice flavoring. Trust me, when every character is the same, things get boring. In Alayne’s Story, I have two characters who are homosexual. I realize that not everyone likes that or even cares but it adds another layer to the characters in general.
6) Write a little every day. Set aside an hour or two to work on your stories every day. If you’re married or living with someone, explain to them that you need to write and that you would appreciate it if they could turn off the TV/listen to music on their headset/not sit next to you/whatever. Also, as a corollary to this, don’t put direct copies of people you know into your story. Yes, you’ll draw from their traits and all but don’t insert them into the story directly. This never pans out well.
7) Take breaks when needed. You’re not a machine. Every day is not going to be filled with inspiration for you. There will be some times when you just can’t write that day. That’s fine. While I just said “write every day” understand that life happens. Sometimes, you can’t write that day. Instead, try to make up for it later if you can.
8 ) Have an end-game in mind, even for open-ended stories. I frequently get asked “will Alayne’s Story ever end?” The answer is “yes.” Eventually, it will end. I don’t know exactly when but eventually it will come to a close. I already have the closing chapters mapped out. However, for each major section (Part I, Part II, Part III) I have a specific closer in mind for that section. Once I reach that point, even if I’ve had a brilliant idea, I put my pencil down.
9) Write first, edit later. For me, writing and editing are two different tasks. Don’t get caught up in the write — edit — rewrite — edit — rewrite loop while you’re still working on the rough draft. Instead, if you’re showing the rough draft to anyone, remind them that it is a rough draft.
10) Find someone who can edit for you. It’s incredibly difficult to proofread your own work. Yes, spellcheck and grammar check can do wonders here but, honestly, you’re still going to miss things. Instead, try to find someone who speaks the same language as you and knows how to edit for spelling and grammar. I’m still hoping that this person will drop into my lap soon for Alayne’s Story. Also, your editor should have boundaries. They’re there to proofread for mistakes (plot holes, misspellings, poor wordings, etc). They are not there to say “it would be cool if this happened…” You’re the writer. They’re the editor. If they have a great idea, sure, they can share it with you. However, they should never change the draft themselves without a sign-off from you.
11) Stick to a schedule. Set a reasonable goal for yourself each week and strive to meet it. Understand if you can’t meet it but don’t let failure become a recurring habit. For example, with Alayne’s Story, I set a goal of 5 pages written per week. That’s what the progress bar on the side of the site means. For The Unexiled, I set a goal of one finished scene per week.
12) Write for yourself. While it’s good to hear nice things about your work, write because it’s something you want to do; not something you want to be known for. If you’re writing strictly to get respect, you may not have the stamina to deal with the inevitable dry periods and writer’s blocks that come up.
And now, with that said, back to work on The Unexiled.
I was supposed to send this out last night. Honestly, I forgot to do it. I will send it out next Friday because I’d like to include the scene I’m working on now and possibly the scene planned after it. So, my apologies for forgetting.
Now, to get ready to eat and go raid. I hope I can hear over Vent well enough. My ears are closing up because my loving husband has shared his cold with me. ><
I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW-Europe RP forums. This week’s update starts the beginning of the final chapters for Part III.
And, if my calendar is correct, The Unexiled should go out this week as well.
Now, a quick note on things: I’m going to warn you that The Unexiled may get erratic again. Not because I’m lost or having trouble with this draft. I’m actually confident that this one IS the final draft. However, I really want to finish Part III and that’s going to mean more time on Alayne’s Story and less on The Unexiled. My normal schedule, of late, has been to work on Alayne’s Story Monday – Wednesday and on The Unexiled on Thursday – Saturday with Sunday off as my “take a break and not stress over it” day. I am considering changing that so that I work on Alayne’s Story Monday – Friday and The Unexiled on Saturday and Sunday (with odd points during the week when I’m stumped on Alayne’s Story and just need to do something else). So, that means that it may take me longer to get enough material on The Unexiled to be worth sending out.
What it boils down to is that I may swap The Unexiled to a once-per-month ship-out instead of every other week.
Anyhow, I’m going to finish cleaning my apartment and go grab lunch now.
I hate winter. I really do. Especially when it’s cold. And snowy. And there’s ice that almost falls on my head.
Winter and I are not friends.
The only good thing about winter is that it forces me to stay indoors on my computer more so I get more writing done. However, there is a downside to that. Since the air is so cold, my skin dries out until I seem to have scales instead of flesh. Then I wind up spending more time scratching the backs of my hands raw or slathering them in oinment to try to get them to look less reptilian.
On top of that, I’m often so distracted by how friggin’ cold I am that I don’t get much more writing done.
Anyhow, back to work. Just needed to vent about the cold. ><
I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW-Europe RP forum. This week’s update completes the Ulduar arc.
And now…Icecrown awaits the Disorder of Azeroth. Both the land itself and the citadel that dominate it will play heavily into the next major arc. Everything is about to focus on the final battle for Part III. I’m working hard on getting it ready and laid out well. I’m really, really, really hoping to get Part III finished before Cataclysm comes out because I’m going to change my schedule again if that happens. The Unexiled will be worked on Monday through Friday and I’ll spend my weekends editing Parts I, II, and III of Alayne’s Story.
Anyhow, back to work.
Sometimes, life sucks.
Right now, I’m in the middle of completely redoing a project me and one of my coworkers spent two weeks on. Because of this, I missed getting to watch the Super Bowl and missed seeing my team win after 40+ years of not even being able to dream they’d make it.
That’s right: I’m a Saints fan. I have been ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
At any rate, I’ve managed to finish the update to Alayne’s Story for this week already (yay!) and I’ll have plenty of time to work on The Unexiled (another yay!). It would have been nice to get to see the Super Bowl yesterday but life doesn’t work out that way.
Ah well. Back to work.
I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW-Europe RP forums. This week’s update is a short one because the next scene spans several pages — enough to make it an update in its own right. We’re finally getting towards the end of the Ulduar arc. And, now that all of the information about the Lich King is out, I can finalize my plans for that and finally get things in order for the Part IV transition.
In other, related news, The Unexiled will go out tonight. I’m making substantial progress on it and, if I can keep the momentum going, I’m hoping to have the damned thing finished soon.
Anyhow, back to lunch and then on to work.