Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Next Big Thing

So, you want to write a great novel or the next best TV series? Well, there is one important element to begin it all that stands in your way. Story ideas. Are they easy for you? Or do you get frustrated in trying to come up with ideas for your novel or script? I'll admit, I'm half and half. I can easily come up with a story idea, concept, or small scene, but to flesh it out into a well-developed, strong story? A little more challenging. Creating a sold story idea takes time and an intensive amount of thought.

Today I'll share with you some ways you can come up with great stories ideas. Some of these I've experienced for myself, others I found on reading blog posts from other sites but I consider to be helpful.

First of all, determine WHAT kind of story you are going to write. Are you writing a short story? A novel? Perhaps a screenplay.

Your genre is obviously a very important piece to the frame of the puzzle. In order to determine this, think about what kind of books you read and enjoy the most or what movies you find yourself renting a lot. More than likely you'll understand and feel comfortable with that particular genre and will be able to bring out the most of your passion. By setting these limits for yourself, you can better concentrate on getting a base idea.

Do you need to set these limits in the first step? Of course not. Perhaps an idea will just come to you and from there you can determine how you wish to write it. However, if you're not sure about your idea, you may enjoy the more structured aspect of this first step.

Now, here are some fun ways to come up with a good plot. I may specify that I'm thinking "do this" for a screenplay or "do that" for a novel, but they can all go either way! :)

Let's center our attention on books for the moment. A personal goal in my writing is to take an original story and add a twist to it, something unexpected. Let's take that idea with some well-known literature; what would've happened if Dorothy had followed the red brick road instead of the yellow brick road? What if Edmund was the first to travel through the wardrobe? What if Frodo had not been the one chosen to carry the One Ring to Mordor? Would Dorothy have ever met Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion and found the great Oz? Would Peter, Susan, and Lucy been captured and killed by the White Witch? Who would've ended up carrying the One Ring, and would they have succeeded? Those are just a few questions to get you started, because there are so many more you can come up with if you think about it!

Another way I find inspiration that relates slightly to this is fanfiction. I like to add characters and plots to a favorite story or movie and see what happens. I don't always write this down, sometimes I just daydream about it, but this creative angle is an incredible boost to my inspiration. Pretty soon, you may find yourself developing a whole different story. However, I caution with this. Make sure you do not plagiarize the story your own stemmed from. Don't be afraid to find inspiration from your favorite authors, but analyze! Make your own!
Let's go back to the twist. Think of something that happened in your life, whether it was a big or small event, everyday moment, heartbreak, disappointment, or love. Twist it and think, "What would've happened if it had gone this way instead? Is there a story there?"

Now, let's take screenplays. A great way to find script ideas is to what? You guessed it: watch movies! Watch lots of movies, or watch TV shows if you want to write the next hit sitcom or TV series. Observe what makes the story work. Is it the characters? The action? The witty comedy? A different idea I've gotten from researching this myself is trying to watch silent movies or watching a movie with the sound turned off. Sound odd? Well, it did to me at first, but then I really thought about it and realized this is a great exercise. More than likely you'll be able to follow the plot fairly well, and you'll really be able to recognize what makes the story flow from a physical perspective, how the characters relate to each other, and how setting affects a story, ect.

Another great way to develop a screenplay is to read good screenplays. Learn how different playwrights use their own technique in a script and discover which way fits you best. Observe how the characters are developed and how the plot moves along. Also, read bad screenplays and learn what DOESN'T work.

The other day I wrote down a list of questions I would ask myself for a movie or TV show I would watch to critique what I thought about it. (I geared this particular list for a tv show.) This is also a great exercise that relates back to what I said about observing what makes the show work, and let me tell you, I had the best time digging deeper into the reasons why I loved what I watch. You could do this exercise for books as well. (If you're interested in doing this yourself but aren't confident in what kind of questions you'd use, let me know and I'll include my own list in a future post - I'd also be willing to include an answered set of my own.)

So shut off your computer, put away your phone, grab a pencil and piece of paper and go some place where you feel the most inspired, and THINK. I hope you find yourself coming up with story ideas that make you excited.

Let me know: What techniques and exercises do YOU use to create ideas?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Character Introductions: Deryk and Hugo

The last two male character introductions for my WIP, The Descendants of Drasia. My apologies for the fact that this was so late. I know I promised to publish this earlier, but I ended up getting bronchitis and then immediately after I started feeling better after two weeks I traveled to see my new nephew, so needless to say I'm just starting to get back on my feet! Thank you for coming to read this however. :) Let's get to it!

Character Introduction: Deryk

Before I begin, I will say Deryk has been one of my mysterious, slightly frustrating characters. I don't mean this as in I have a difficulty writing him, but throughout the book his background keeps changing on me. However, I think I'm set on what I have now, but just know it is subject to change before the book is entirely finished, haha.

1. Who is Deryk?

Deryk is a wanderer. The wanderers go wherever they choose, giving heed to no boundaries or laws, but merely live their lives you could say as "spur of the moment." They go where they want and do whatever they want. Many consider the wanderers to be selfish, dangerous people, and in many cases they are, but yet there are also many who use their lifestyle to bring good to others.
Most wanderers habit traveling the whole earth, but Deryk is slightly different from many wanderers in the fact that he has not traveled beyond the boundaries of Drasia and Oedria, but within the past two years has settled himself to the forest lining the boundaries of the two lands.

Being the only child in a motherless home and a bitter father, Deryk has had to learn to survive depending on his own will and strength. The journey has not left him scarless, but he shows an exceeding amount of resilience. He is not bitter to those who have caused him grief in the past but instead dwells in the present.

2. How do Deryk and Marta tie in together?

Deryk stumbles across Marta's camp in the forest and their acquaintance has a rocky beginning. (Learn more about Marta here: Though their personalities seem to clash dramatically, the two young forest-dwellers find themselves invaluable to each other as they attempt to uncover the mystery of strange beasts that seem to be traveling down into the lands from the mountains. Over time they discover their pasts may not be so different from each other, but their conflicting present choices will forever affect their future.

3. How old is Deryk?

Deryk is twenty years old. He was born the night of the great battle.

4. What does he look like?

Deryk is 5'10 and of average build - he's fairly slim but is much stronger than he appears to be. He has brown hair that is often rather ruffled up and dark brown eyes. His charming half-smile is often seen as a cocky smirk, but on other occasions the very meaning of comforting assurance. See pictures posted at the end of this post for more detail.

Deryk also wears a necklace around his neck. The pendant is the animal tooth of his first kill, which plays a significant role in the story which I shall not reveal!

5. In three words describe his personality.

I can think of so many, it's hard to narrow down. I'll try these three for starters: Cocky. Courageous. Kindhearted.

6. Would I describe him as a likable character?

Absolutely. He has just enough mischievous and charm to make him irritatingly lovable, in my opinion. Deryk is the sort of man who always seem to be there when you need him most, though you may have to watch your back everywhere else. He's cocky, but part of that is a characteristic he developed as a young boy to hide his grief. His antics and incessant talking gets on Marta's nerves at times, but when the circumstances are bad and the pain hurts the most, he is dependable, attentive, and caring. Many might look and consider him a perfect target for terrorization because of his smaller build and quiet face, but pity the fools who try to get one over on him. Never threaten a man with both a sword and quiver full of arrows.

Craig Horner looks so much like what I've envisioned for Deryk. Unfortunately I can't seem to find a lot of good quality pictures of him, but here are a few that work:

Character Introduction: Hugo

1. Who is Hugo?

Hugo is the year-older brother of Ellyn who ran away from his home when he was fifteen years old, and the family, including Luka, thought him to be dead. Only Ellyn held onto hope that he was still alive. In reality, Hugo had only gone to the castle, naught a mile from Cindreth, and quick-learning abilities and exceptional skill with a sword earned him the honored title of a knight within three years, making him the youngest and most inexperienced of all the knights of Drasia. He kept his background a secret, claiming to be an orphan, so as to keep his whereabouts hidden from his family and also cut any relationship from them in case it was ever revealed he came from a family of dragon riders. Luka is the first to come to the knowledge of the truth about Hugo, which hurts him deeply seeing as how his bitterness for the knights of Drasia causes him to feel like the boy who was once like his brother betrayed him.

2. How old is Hugo?

Hugo is nineteen years old.

3. What does he look like?

Hugo stands at about 6' and has dark brown hair and deep brown eyes, similar to his sister Ellyn's. He has a strong build for a young man of nineteen. See pictures attached for more detail.

4. In three words describe his personality.

Reckless. Ambitious. Eager.

5. Would I describe him as a likable character?

Hugo's part is slightly smaller in the part, though his role does build as the story progresses. We don't learn a lot about him, but Hugo is likable. He has some grief, which makes him interesting, and he has hidden courage that is commendable. His mischievous nature and teasing attitude can make him very fun to write.

Henry Cavill reminds me quite a bit of Hugo, though he is a little old, so imagine someone a few years younger and you've got it. :)

Here is the link to my pinterest board for this WIP, The Descendants of Drasia: The Prequel :)

Friday, April 5, 2013


Just want to say sorry to all of you readers for the delay in posts and the character introductions! Life's been a little busy lately, plus my next-planned character introduction needed more work than I realized, and I've been a little lazy. (*gasp* So bad of me.) I intend to get it out here on the blog by the end of this weekend, however, so keep an eye out for it! =]