I used to be the kind of writer who would tear off scraps of paper to write story ideas on, then tape those papers to the wall in a collage of words. Every time I discovered something new and interesting about the world, I would take note of it and weave it into my stories. That wall of words became my inspiration board. I didn’t need Pinterest back then. Whenever I wanted a character name, I only had to refer to the endless lists of names I had taped to the wall. If I needed to know what healing plant would be useful in a certain situation, the notes on my writing wall held the answer. I even had answers to questions about attire, occupation, and architecture.
Before I had a writing wall, I had writing notebooks. In these, I wrote down every book idea I had, but since there were so many, I needed a better way to access them. Thus the inspiration wall came into being, and it still exists to this day. I don’t use it much anymore, though, unless it’s for an occasional character name. Nowadays, I keep my ideas fairly organized in small notebooks that are easy to reference. When I’m ready to write the ideas, I copy them down into documents on my computer and begin the first draft.
Strangely enough, I haven’t really been able to connect with a book idea since I finished my first fantasy series. I suspect that may be because every book I’ve tried to write after that has been in third person point of view. It’s almost like I haven’t wanted to taint the memory of my first series, the only books that I have written in first person. I think that perhaps I am naturally better at writing in first person POV than any other POV. The only projects that I have ever been truly enthusiastic about have been written in first person: my first book series and an Aetherlight story that I wrote about one of my favorite OCs, Zaiden Darkmere. (If I haven’t mentioned Zaiden here before, I apologize profusely. He deserves to be mentioned at least monthly.)
Since then, I haven’t dared to attempt first person point of view again. I don’t know why. It is evidently my strong suit, so why do I insist upon writing in third person for all my current projects?? Do I want to practice and get better at writing in third person? That might be it. But even if I am getting better at it (which is honestly difficult for me to discern, but I hope I am?), I’m just not connecting with the stories.
So! I originally intended to write this blog post about various tactics I want to attempt in my future writing projects, and the first of those will be a good ol’ fantasy story written in first person point of view. I have a vague idea for a new project that I want to attempt. It has a theme and everything, and I am actually quite enthusiastic about it.
One day, I would also like to attempt omniscient POV. I have a feeling I might enjoy it. I may run into multiple obstacles, but at least it would give me a chance to practice humor and dramatic irony. In past projects, I have noticed that I occasionally slip into omniscient POV at the end of a chapter to drop some foreshadowing or a key hint that the readers need to know. This may not be the best tactic, but it’s quite fun. (Think of the chapter endings in The Mysterious Benedict Society as an example—though that book was written in omniscient third, I believe.)
In addition, I need to learn how to write silly/funny/foolish characters. I take my characters very seriously—sometimes too seriously. I don’t like to write them taking unnecessary risks or making mistakes because such characters in other books annoy me to no end. But evidently, people exist in the world who aren’t as overly cautious as I am, the kind of people who break their limbs and chip their teeth and laugh when they tell the stories. I need to harness that kind of chaotic energy if I’m going to actually grow as a writer.
I need characters who will mess everything up and infuriate the sensible characters but are still charming anyway. I need lovable troublemakers, endearing scoundrels, winsome instigators. I need characters who will stir up drama and disregard the rules without batting an eyelash.
I have written one or two troublemaker characters in my time, but I have never let them actually cause problems. Maybe now is the time to start.
Also, found family subplots? Underrated. I need to attempt one someday. Morally gray characters? Gotta work on that one a bit. Experimenting with different character voices? It’s usually hit or miss when I do that. I should practice.
There are so many different tactics I want to attempt in future projects. It’s both exciting and daunting. Before I move on to new books, however, I intend to focus my energy on publishing my first fantasy book, Ashen Blaze. That was the book that resulted from the inspiration wall, and that is the book that I love most out of all the projects I have ever completed.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next week, friends.