…Is writing the second draft supposed to almost feel like you’re writing another story? Well, it doesn’t feel that extreme to me, but there’s a lot that needs to be added, changed, and polished. I don’t know why this seems strange. During this writing session there are times I feel like my first draft is a botched mess and the fact that I’m having to fill in details that were obviously necessary must mean my writing needs a massive amount of improvement, but harsh inner critic aside, I’m fully aware that writing will always be a practice. The best I can do is remain teachable, open, and devoted to the craft.
Just like music makes the mood for a social gathering, atmosphere and archetypes are key elements to the mood of any work of fiction. In art, mood and tone with colors range from cold to warms; I know in writing we have to explore all sorts of sensory details, so what I learned today, and also what I consider today’s triumph, is conveying a character’s demeanor with common attributes we associate with a Jungian archetype.
My first draft rendition of introducing this new group of characters reminded me how sinful it is to write cringy dialogue and that my characters should have purpose or just not exist at all. I don’t mean to be too hard on myself considering it’s the first draft, but I was disappointed to read this scene of diverse characters introducing themselves with a silly/comedic camaraderie and then turning out to be kind of overpowered later. I already know my anime-brain took the lead on this. Now current me has to deal with characters whose purpose is poorly translated. While keeping my focus on making sure the voices of these characters were definitive and believable with their personality, I thought more critically about the development of side characters.
Every character should have purpose. I had to redesign a character today, who started off one way, but I had to make her the opposite of what she initially was to improve her presence in the story.
I hate side characters without purpose. I’ve seen main characters without purpose and they make me livid, but side characters are just as bad because you don’t want the atmosphere your main character is in to be bland or not memorable. A side character without purpose and depth to their design is a nuisance. Even if the character is the comedic relief or specifically needed as a plot device for a single moment, the character should have purpose.
Okay, I sound like a broken record, don’t I? A character with purpose is a character designed with significant attachments to the setting, themes, and plot of the story. This doesn’t mean the character has to “belong” in the world you put them in; it means that their attributes affect what is happening in your world or story for a goddamn reason. Like, imagine reading a romantic story where the protagonist and their love interest are destined to be, but a character who is literally a nobody, doesn’t even have a name, starts spewing out the protagonist’s darkest secrets for no reason just so the love interest negatively reacts and every time the protagonist somehow gets their love interest to accept them again, the nobody just appears again to spew their shit and vanish into the darkness until they’re needed again. And when you get to THE END of this romantic story, even though it ends with “happily ever after”, the nobody is never explained! No! I hate that! I’ve even read fanfictions like that! I’ll never accept this unless the story is avant garde af (but even avant garde has more purpose than an underdeveloped character and that’s saying something)!
I don’t know why I’m heated about this…it’s because I’m thinking about characters without purpose in other stories…maybe. I don’t know. I am sure as hell determined to give my character’s purpose though. If I ever create a pointless character, it will be done to prove my point in the most spiteful way possible.
Words Written so far today: 1372 words Current Total Word Count: 104,317 words
Time for my vamp lady to get some attention and face some psychological trauma. Yay! The featured picture is an idea of how I visualize her for the most part.
I have to do a bit of research before I can continue writing though. I’m making today a major writing sprint sort of day hoping to at least reach the epilogue. I’m doing this back and forth thing where I’m letting the pressure get to me because it’s made me more adamant about writing, but at the same time I’m not going to kick my ass if I don’t reach the end by June 1st. It’s fine.
Word Count Today: 2822 words Current Word Total: 102,920 words
No research today.
Additional Work Needed:
Creating certain spells and incantations for characters
Should I create a new language? Will I hate myself if I do? Probably
Continuity checks on character arcs
I’m ultra proud of my writing sprint today.
I’ve broken 100k and I’m predicting I may reach 150k. That might be because a friend challenged me to reach it, but who knows how far it’ll go. Honestly, writing at the end of the second act is such an intense time for writing, at least for me. The momentum is nonstop. My imagination won’t stop. Nothing stops. I’m enjoying it. I’m even happier that I have an ending to keep my focus on. I see the finish line. I’m ready to cross it.
Tomorrow will be the last day of airplane travel. I’ll definitely be doing some writing before hand and on the way. I will admit, the pressure of the deadline is helping so much, but I’m also unsure if I’ll actually meet it lmao! I’m still going to try, but there’s still so much! My chapters are getting longer, my descriptions of my world are becoming more dense, and my characters are so much more fun to delve into and it’s fun to think about how I want the audience to take them in. This project is so much work.
I love it. No complaints whatsoever. I’mma reach that deadline, damn it.
First, let me just say I LOVE Jenna. Someone shared one of her videos on Tumblr and I just fell in love with the way she broke down her writing tips. She’s very frank and incredibly open-minded. I like watching a video from her or other authortubers before I jump into my own novel to get my head in the game. Enjoy!
Also, please consider checking out her book The Savior’s Champion and her other book Eve: The Awakening. I’ve added both to my reading list on Amazon. I’m ready to see her work for myself. FYI if you have Kindle Unlimited, Eve: The Awakening is free to read.
My novel in progress, Spirit Strings, explores several metaphysical concepts, one of them being the chakras. Chakras are centers of energy that follow the spine and are often correlated with kundalini energy. I feel like hearing about the chakras is something that everyone relatively knows about, but delving into the intricacies of what they are and their origin gets a bit overwhelming.
That’s why when I write articles on the chakras, I try to keep it general, yet blunt. However, I want to discuss the details of the research I’ve done so far and how it’s helped me be more thoughtful about characterization.
(Disclaimer: the chakra pictures aren’t mine. I don’t take ownership of any of them.)
My article titled “Root Chakra and Grounding Crystals and Gemstones” has a list of stones for those who already know what the root chakra is, are into crystal healing meditation, and want to become more grounded. The metaphysical properties of the stones have some common themes: protection and balancing (specifically yin/yang or feminine/masculine energy).
Writing advice: Conflict is so important for our characters, whether it be internal or external, so they’re relatable and their development throughout the story is actually intriguing. You also gain this secondhand empowerment when they assert a sense of identity after the trials they go through or when they solidify any new or old philosophies they had about the life they live. That’s what grounding is all about, really.
The next article in the chakra series is “Sacral Chakra and Emotional Health Crystals and Gemstones” where the metaphysical themes the stones have in common are: stability and embracing personal power. I also like to mention any metaphysical/new age vendors that sell crystals/gemstones for chakra balancing. If you happen to be one, send me a message, please! I’ll mention you!
Writing advice: Similar to conflict, instability can be intriguing in stories too. Some of us like the over-emotional characters or relate to the ones that are insecure to a fault. They’re versatile in any genre and can be sculpted in any way. When I think of a character who has a blocked or overactive sacral chakra, I think about what they’ll need to go through or what events in their environment need to happen to encourage them to realize their purpose and get themselves together. A character tapping into their own creative power, especially when that power is triggered by an emotional hook is pretty mesmerizing. (However, I do think this can also be overdone when “the power of friendship” makes someone invincible. Like really? Kill this cliché.)
Writing advice: Think about the last person who made you feel great about yourself. Now think about the last person who made you feel like shit about yourself. Yeah, so humanity is interconnected and the human will does sort of an ebb and flow with our confidence. It’s all based on action. So when an event or a character causes something, there is a reaction and action to follow. Similar to the sacral chakra, events of causation encourages the embrace of personal power, but it also helps differentiate if the people we are acting for are bringing that personal power to its purest state of authenticity or transforming it into something else. Willpower can be manipulated, which is why my article offers stones that help people contemplate what kind of karmic hooks are in their lives. Characters in stories have to do the same (I know my main character does! She gets manipulated into joining a cult!).
Writing advice: The heart is where our dreams either prosper or wither away. Many writers talk about how it’s important that your characters have goals and ambitions. It’s important because it is the most relatable aspect of a character, if you ask me. Whether the goal is noble, selfish, mundane, or extravagant, their goal is what encourages the audience to follow the character on their journey. As they pursue that goal, there are some people they’re going to harmonize with and some people who are going to kick their ass (literally and figuratively). They may even be the same people. For someone to harmonize with who they are and find others they connect with, they have to reflect, heal, and cope with the pain they’re enduring. The desperado archetype often goes through this as they’re running from their past, but end up running into something or someone that makes them face it. They’ll probably hate it, but desperadoes are already mopey, so a little more angst won’t hurt.
That’s all I have for the stones. I still need to write a list for the throat chakra, third eye chakra, and crown chakra. However, I want to mention that those seven chakra aren’t the only chakras AND IT DRIVES ME NUTS THAT PEOPLE DON’T TALK ABOUT THEM MORE! There are subpersonal or transpersonal chakras that are fascinating to learn about. I recently wrote an article called, “The Chakra More People Should Talk About: The Earth Star Chakra“. I shared it with the chakra subreddit and, not surprising, some people had no idea what it was. Guess how it helped me with writing characters?
Writing advice: I called this the “learn from history” chakra in my article because it’s the energy center that not only gives you the insight to identify harmful patterns in your life, but also encourages you to apply the knowledge you gain from learning about your past to your present reality. Isn’t this exactly what most of our characters are expected to do? And when they don’t learn, the circumstances of their actions screw them over again. This is not only relatable, it borders on cliché. It’s one of those “good” clichés I think because audiences often expect characters to stop making stupid decisions that disempower them (unless it’s quite funny and they cleverly escape out of the crappy situation they put themselves in). But honestly, the earth star chakra is all the lower chakras wrapped up into one and it’s an energy we all resonate with, which is another thing the earth star chakra does! It’s an energy many of us understand and you connect or harmonize with those who get that as well, just like a main character crosses paths or journeys with characters that get them.
All in all, chakras are awesome. I can’t wait to write more crystals and gemstones like the rock-loving freak I am, but I wanted to share this because the study of metaphysics and the philosophies that come with it are mesmerizing. It’s the heart of my science-fantasy novel, truly. Go to my homepage if you want to read a summary of the story. Hope you enjoyed this read. I’ll share the findings behind more of my research soon!
If you read my articles on the chakras, thank you so much. Every read and tip I get supports me financially.