Advice

Becoming a murderer | Gtl writing tips

Every writer will see the headline of this post and go “Ah…” because we’ve all been in the situation where we have to choose if we should kill a character and how. I mean, finding a way to kill my characters is what I live for, but sometimes it becomes pretty obvious that the killing is not necessary.

Since I’ve been on hiatus since the beginning of the year, I will be coming back with this refreshing post about murder. It’s my pleasure in advance.

I am writing a story where I have an option to kill either one character or two. Both characters will have a big impact on the main character’s life and if either dies, life would be hell for the main.

With these options I can decide on how high I am on the evil author scale. I can be at the very bottom and kill no one (lol what) or I can be slightly higher and only kill one. Or I can be the ultimate evil author, the one where readers end up in balls of life contemplation at the end of their books. Yeah, that one.

But honestly, I would rather make my characters suffer only for them to be happy later on. If I killed both the characters then the main will be in too much misery to move on with the remainder of his life.

That is one point I have. When you want to kill a character you should think of the reasons to do so. Is it necessary? Will it make some’s life improve or will it make a character start to see the world differently? Will it turn the character into the villain that we all need?

Killing shouldn’t just be done for the reason of killing (no matter how fun) but should be put into serious consideration. Gosh I’m starting to sound like a doctor. I’ve always thought about that when I want to kill a character. I’ve also seen it on social media a lot.

How will killing someone in your story make it progress?

Everything happens for a reason. This great life advice also helps when you are writing a story. Make it reasonable. Kill within reason.

Don’t just throw lightning at a character for the sake of them dying.

Think it through and make sure your writing leaves a good impact on your readers.

Before this starts sounding like a How to murder 101 class, let’s end it here. If you have any questions about your characters, please leave it in the comments below and I will come back to you, or better; write a post about it!

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Advice

When there’s too much on your plate | Gtl writing tips

Starting a blog is easy. Just think of an idea, put it in writing and then publish.

Writing a book is even easier. Same concept but it gets more complicated when it comes to publishing.

What about YouTube?

My daily life consists of me trying to convince myself that I am great at multitasking and starting a new project when I know I already have enough. My brain seems to think that I am some kind of superhero that can do all the things that I really can’t manage all at once. For example, starting another blog, or starting a YouTube channel, and writing ten novels all at the same time, and learning a new language!

This is what most of last year consisted of.

It took me a while to figure out that I had too much on my plate and that a few had to go.

As a creative, I find it very difficult to stay idle. My brain likes to keep busy (although my Tumblr addiction can say otherwise), learn new things and just not rest. Which is the reason for today’s blog.

Being creative is hard. It’s very difficult to try to force your brain to stop doing what it does best. Which is to think, to come up with new ideas, to create. So instead of working you brain overtime and doing so many things that you get both physically and mentally exhausted, here’s what I did to release some mental pressure and to get myself more creative in the new year.

Priority check.

Since it was pretty obvious that the many things that I was doing were making it hard for me to improve what I liked. I started neglecting what I actually loved. My writing started to feel terrible and my blogging started lagging.

So what I did was think really hard about what I saw as a priority. What what the most important for me and what wasn’t. So I put the idea of being a YouTuber aside and decided to concentrate on my writing.

Now, the only worries I have are about what I should be posting on my blog and whether or not I should be killing a character. I just realised that I am much less stressed out now about making everything work out online because I am not trying to do everything all at once.

I think that later on I will start a YouTube channel, but right now I will be improving my writing skills and writing high quality blogs.

Do what has to be done.

And that is planning.

I will be dead honest, I hate planning. I hate having to sit down and thinking about the future when I can be thinking about now.

Scribbling, erasing, screaming, researching, repeat. That is my process for writing. Both my stories and my blogs.

Researching is the worst, especially since Google never has what I am looking for when I am looking for it. And the library is too far away and the sun is scorching! So yeah, the researching part is what drains me more than anything. But I do it anyways.

I jot my ideas down and try to make sense of what was in my head. I use about ten percent of the ideas that I write down, but that doesn’t matter. I’ll put the ideas away and then later on I’ll find one of the other ideas to be useful.

I know it’s daunting.

Turning your ideas into art. Trying to prove to people that you love what you do and what you do is what you want.
Writing blogs for me is scary because there are times when they don’t receive the reaction that I had expected. The number of people that saw the post are way less than I had anticipated. That brings me down when I feel the most motivated, but I still don’t stop. I tell myself that someday someone will realise how hard I am trying and all this doubt will disappear.

Facing your fears and showing the world (even just your family) what you love can be difficult. The process to find out what you really enjoy doing can be just as difficult. So remember to never give up.

If you like doing more than one thing at once, just like me, and it is exhausting you then try to follow these simple steps to improving what you love and achieving all of your goals.

If you can manage doing many things at once without stressing, then I applaud you.

 

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Advice, Poetry

How to poem | Gtl writing tips

I consider myself to be a poet, but that’s what all writers considers themselves. Am I right?

No, but seriously. It was a while before I decided that I could write some decent poetry. I remember my father once found one of my poems insulting since I technically outed parents everywhere (I was still in primary school mind you) and I lost motivation for a while.

When I was in grade eight, I made a friend who taught me how to rhyme. It was very helpful and addicting for a while. I got more confident in the poems that I wrote and I started to enjoy writing again.

So you’re wondering how to poem like a pro? Here’s a tip from a self proclaimed poet.

Write.

That’s all for this post…

J.K. But that is part of the tip. If you want to write great poetry, just write. Don’t say you can’t write meaningful lines. Don’t say you can’t rhyme. Don’t say you can’t. Period.

What you say will happen. That’s what I was taught. I was told never to say negative things because if I say it, it will happen. So instead of saying negative things just say “I can poem” or at least “I’ll try my best”. That way you’ll be positive about it and you’ll be able to write much easier.

So what if there is someone who can write an award winning poem in one sitting? Well, there are others who take days, months even to finish their master piece. Writing poetry is not easy, but with a positive attitude it is doable.

My tip to all aspiring poets is to write.

That’s all I have to say.

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Advice

Fantasy vs Supernatural | Gtl writing tips

They are legit not the same thing.

Okay guys, let us calm down for like a while. Okay? This is going to be a bit shocking.

So I was writing a book on Penana a while back (still writing it, but that is besides the point) and I had to change genres because I decided that the journal should write itself. Easy, right? Not at all!

I went there thinking I was going to simply change the story from Suspence to Fantasy, and actually ended up having a headache instead. Sigh.

I had two options; Fantasy or Supernatural.

What is fantasy?

Well, it *a genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure, especially in a setting other than the real world. (According to google)

What is supernatural?

It is (of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.

You see, magic cannot be defined by science and is beyond the laws of nature. If the setting is different, unless it is another world completely, it will still abide by the two.

So you guys see why I was confused. My brain almost exploded as I tried to decided where my book belonged, because both the definitions fit my book.

Think of wizards, for example. Which category do they fall under? Would you be wrong if you said fantasy? Because wizards are magic, literally. But they are also beyond scientific understanding and the laws of nature do not apply to them, seeing that, naturally, people do not have magical abilities.

There is a long list of beings and happenings that I could explain, but that will lead to a lengthy blog post. So I’ll get to the point. When you decided to pick the genre for your story, don’t let the two genres confuse you. Choose the one which you believe better suits your story.

For example, if your character decides to go to a different place (Narnia, Hogwarts) then it is most likely fantasy. If your characters can do things that other normal human’s cannot (wizardry, telekinesis) then it is probably supernatural. Things like dragons, phoenixes will depend on the setting of the story, the characters, and other elements of the story.

Anyways, no one will tell you you’re wrong if you say that your story is one of the genres. It’s yours, do as you wish with it.

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Advice

National book lover’s day!

Today is Woman’s day here in South Africa and us women are enjoying the benefits. I mean, so are the men because today is a public holiday and all. What I did not know until the radio so graciously told us; today is also Book Lover’s day. Shocking. 

So I will dedicate this post to all the bookworms out there, even though my brain is on strike right now.

I might have not mentioned this before, but I have stopped reading. I don’t know why. It just happened. I woke up one day and I had stopped liking the whole reading process.

I’m trying to start again, because what kind of writer doesn’t like reading, right?

I’ve started reading a story called Magus on Penana. Like legit this morning I decided that I would be reading something. Force this brain out of intermission and get it doing what it does best; read.

I’ve realised that not reading is probably why I lack motivation and find my writing to be a bit suckish. 

It’s nothing I am proud of, really.

So I will try to read more and get the brain juices flowing again.

But if you are like me and find yourself struggling to get motivated, here are the few things that I do to get myself writing again.

Read, obviously.


Find a book that has a fascinating enough plot and start reading. Don’t try to read too much in detail, but try to read for enjoyment. Enjoy what you are doing. Take it as a break from your, otherwise, busy schedule.

Write, write, write!


Use writing prompts. They are the best way, I believe, to get motivated when all else fails. Find one and either try to incorporate it into your story, or write a different story! Make it short. Make it long! Go crazy with it. It’s fun.

Take a break.


Legit. Put your story down and try to focus on breathing normally again. Figuratively speaking, of course. Try not to make writing your story seem like chore. If it ain’t coming, then you deserve a break!

Watch a movie.


Movies were stories on paper before it was decided that they should be made into moving pictures. They have the same elements as a written story as well. The characters, protagonist, antagonist, climax, etc. All of these things can be found in your story, as well as that movie that you decided not to watch because it won’t be beneficial to your writing.

And if neither work, then maybe you should consider changing careers. Joking.

Don’t give up on what you love and always try to make yourself better. When things do not go your way, instead of giving up take it as the next challenge that you need to overcome.

Happy writing my fellow writers! Till next time.

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Advice

How dramas manage to make us cry and how to use it in your writing | Gtl writing tips

I don’t have a TV where I live at the moment, so all I can do is binge on dramas. Not good for my grades, but excellent to feed the drama craving. And also great for when I feel like crying. If you watch a lot of dramas, you agree with me there.

Dramas are able to make us cry in many ways. Whether because of a happy scene, or a sad scene. In this post, I will be giving you tips on how to make your readers cry as much as dramas make you cry.

1. What are feelings?
Do humans have feelings? Absolutely. So what do drama writers usually do? They exploit those feelings by making sure that they hit that soft spot of yours, repeatedly. Stab it with a sword and make sure that a happy ending is the last thing on your mind. And that is what you, as a writer, should also do. Exploit their weakness. Emotion.

2. Grow the reader character relationship.
You don’t like killing off your babies? Then you should not be trying to write a story. No, seriously. In drama land that one character that you have loved since the beginning will be stabbed to death, if not shot in the second last episode. Like, you have been with this character from the very beginning of the drama and you expected them to have a happy ending, because that is what the plot tells you. Everything that has been happening to that character has been positive. They were saved from being killed the first time, but when danger comes the second time, no one is there to save them.

When that character’s guardian (because there is always a guardian) realises what has happened and finds the lifeless body on the floor, you can’t help but also feel the pain. Because you were with the character from the beginning. You’ve seen what made them happy. You’ve seen what upset them. You even know how to make them laugh. But that is no longer of use, because said character is dead on the floor and the guardian is bawling their eyes out. So, as human as you are, when you see someone cry over something, while you were also trying to suppress your own tears, you will also start crying.

The point of this long story? Kill the character that the readers love the most. You will hate doing it. The readers will hate you. But at the end of the day, the readers will still come begging for more.

3. Make it quick.

Make the readers love the character and then go along and shoot them in the head. It’s so evil, it might actually work. Seriously. This goes with the previous point. If the readers know the character well and you suddenly kill them, the only way that they will know to handle the situation is by bawling their eyes out, of course.

4. Slow it down.

Have you ever watched a drama where a character was stabbed and now they are going on about what they wanted to do, who they wanted to kiss, and all the bad they wished they have never done? I mean, it becomes annoying after a while. Because after the initial shock of seeing their beloved character being stabbed, the readers lose all emotions. I mean, in dramas I end up sitting there wondering when the character will die already. But sometimes, this is very rare, I start to think that the character will actually live. I start to have a mini celebration in my head.

This is what you want your readers to feel. Hope. Give them that light in the darkness and then blow it out and leave them in a much darker place.

5. Close relationships.

That one character that you like in a drama, that you have been rooting for, that you were even starting to ship with the main character. What do drama writers do with those already loved characters? Make them betray the lead. No death here, just the shock of experiencing third degree backstabbing. This time I just cry because of the betrayal.

Why was it him/her? He was such a good friend/colleague. I shipped them! 

With this method, not only will the readers be completely devastated, but they will want to read more. Why? Because humans are curious. They will want to know what happened next. They will want to make sure that the betrayal was real and not just a hoax from the evil writer. This is really the best way to keep them reading. Make them want it.

6. Get the shipped to be a thing.

This is positive. Sorry to disappoint. This method is one that is used in every drama. Get a female lead. Get a male lead. Make them uninterested in each other for the first few chapters and then get them to start doing cute things that will make the readers ship them. Then make them hold hands and watch the readers go mad. I mean, after many suffocating episodes where the leads do romantic things together and then suddenly they hold hands, I end up crying because of the feels. The feels become so powerful that I have to pause and take a breather. That is how bad it becomes. Then make them hug. For the grand finale, make them kiss. The readers would have been waiting for it forever and when it happens, the accumulated feels will explode. Thus leaving the reader in a giggling, whizzing mess. True story.

7. Or you could just…

Kill one of the leads before they get to kiss or be official. Back to killing again. I must not like happy endings. Or rather, dramas have ruined how I see happy endings.

Either way, dramas always find a way to make us cry. That is actually how they manage to get us hooked. They attack our emotions. Be it positively or negatively, they will try at anything to make the water works a show no one would want to miss.

Be that writer. See feelings and have the intense need to destroy them.

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Advice

How to name your characters.

You have the plot, you have the characters, you have the backgrounds, but you still do not have the names.It can be quite daunting coming up with the names of characters. In my opinion it is one of the harder parts of writing a story. It may take days, and sometimes even weeks for you to come up with a name. If you are lucky, the name that you have always been waiting for will pop into your head as soon as you come up with the character.

But that is not all the time.

So what can you actually do when you want that perfect name?

  1. Refer to your own country.

What I mean by this is that instead of thinking of the more common names first, think about names from your native language. For example, I am from South Africa where there are eleven official languages. What I usually do is think of the meaning that I want my character’s name to have and then try to find names in one of the languages that sounds good and is easy to pronounce.

  1. Google the name you are looking for.

So, you just found out that the name you are looking for is either unpronounceable in your language, or doesn’t have the feel that you are looking for. Worry not, your best friend Google will save the day! Just go to Google and type in something along the lines of:

Feminine names meaning ­­(e.g love)

Google will give you many pages worth of baby naming sites and other websites that will help you find the name you are looking for. If you decided that none of the given names are to your liking, then just search for something else. I usually just type in feminine or masculine names and then browse through them all and try to pick one that sounds the most like what I am looking for. Sometimes the most unexpected name will catch my attention, and it is mostly the one that will suite the character the most.

  1. Use a dictionary.

Yes, laugh it out. How silly can this get, right? Well I used to look through the dictionary a lot when I wanted a name when I was younger. I would open a random page and then try to find a word that sounds nice and also has a great meaning. If it does not sound name-like enough, just add a few letters, or change some sounds and make it suite you characters.

  1. Give your character a random name.

Sounds fun right? Let’s say the perfect name pops up in your head and you really like it. Well, then that’s fine. If anything, it’s great. Then it was meant to be. You can also make up names from thin air. Some actual people do have names whereby their parents used the first letters of their relatives and a wonderful name was made. Sometimes they add two words together. You can also do that if you see fit. Just make sure that the name does not mean something vulgar in another language.

  1. Research.

So you have a name. Yay! Make sure you do enough research about it, though. There are some names that also exist in other languages. For example the name Nari. I first found out that it was Korean and it means lily flower. Pretty, right? But then I typed it on the google search bar and tried to learn more about it. I found out that it is also Japanese and it means thunder. I mean, Thunder is an awesome name! But imagine having your character’s name mean something extremely negative in another language?

  1. The name should go well with your plot, era and the character’s background.

This is part of the research, but it is mostly the research of your story. Make sure that you understand what type of era your character is living in. Some names were not there in some eras. So people who know better will point it out. As insightful as it will be, it will also get annoying quickly if readers keep on pointing out the same thing.

Your plot, remember that? Yeah, the name should also go well with it. Sometimes the character’s name can explain their life in a way, or be the opposite of the life that they are living. Like if you name your character Hunter. It can be implying on the person’s strength rather than their good hunting skills. That would be too obvious anyways.

And the character’s background. I read somewhere that you, as the writer, do not name the characters. Sorry, kid, but the character’s parents name them. So you have to remember who the character’s parents are, where they grew up and the type of place that they live in. Just like in real life, all of those factors will influence the parents choice when naming their child. E.g. they could name their child Success because they were not very successful in life, and the name is what they wish for their son/daughter to have.

The country also counts as the background of the character. If your character is from Nigeria then, naturally they should have a Nigerian surname. If they have a different, let’s say South African, surname then there has to be a good reason behind that.

Some extra tips.

Make sure that the names you choose are easily pronounceable. Readers get easily annoyed. So if they stumble upon a name they cannot say, then they’ll skip it. Then no one will really remember you character.

Names are forever. That sounds so deep, but it’s true. If you name your character then the name will stick forever. It will become hard for you to change it. So try taking this like naming a child. If you give your child a name, you won’t want to change it five years later, right? Have the same mindset when naming your characters.

Have fun with it. It is, after all, your story, right?

 

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