• 5 Things To Know While Writing! NaPoWriMo Week 2!

    And here we see the Bookhorse in her natural habitat. We will bury her in our fanfics. Source.

    Hello fellow writers! ABagOVicodin here to give you a quick update on National Pony Writing Month! We're on the second week, which means that you should be around 25,000 words if you're going for the 50k goal! I just want to let everyone know that today is the last day to send me your author name, ideas or fanfics you will be writing, and word goal. I do this purely for my own sanity so that I could keep track of all the entrants.

    On December 1, I want all entrants to email [email protected] the links to your stories, your final word count, and your author name again so that I can have them in a final wrap up post. It is at this time that I will raffle off the gift cards. But enough about that! Let's talk more about basic writing structure and the 5 things you need to keep in mind while writing after the break!

    #1: The Setting

    Your setting is one of the most important parts of your story, since it helps the reader visualize what is happening with each page or paragraph. There are a multiple amount of ways to convey your setting, from being vague to explaining every detail, but keep in mind that it's different for every writer and every story you're trying to tell. Being vague will work for more of a grimdark or comedy story, since the unexpected is what drives those types of genres. While sometimes, being descriptive will help with a sad story, since it helps show the focused character's pain. Keep in mind the main setting that you are going to use (Twilight's Library, Ponyville), but also keep in mind the places that your story might go. Your reader might get lost if you switch to a different setting without conveying it, but you also might bore them if you decide to spend too much time on the setting rather than the characters. It's a balancing act.

    #2: The Characters

    I know it may seem obvious, but too many stories (and even some episodes) can ruin the experience for the reader if the characterization falls flat. But just like with your setting, it's a balancing act. A good writer is capable of taking advantage of a character's flaws, pushing them while also remaining hesitant since too far of a push could make you look like you're intentionally making the character look bad. Here are a few examples off the top of my head: having Rarity say "Darling" after every sentence. Making Pinkie random and break the fourth wall for no other reason than hilarity. Giving Fluttershy no presence in a story even though she was written in the scene. My best recommendation would be to cut down on characters that serve no purpose, and know why you are using your characters. Would Rainbow or Twilight be more interested in a Daring Do adventure? Would they both want to go? Would they want to try and out-Daring Do each other to impress her? You get the picture.

    #3: The Point

    There has to be a point to a story if you want to write it. What's the main idea behind it? Do you just want to throw two characters together and see what happens? Did you just want to write 50k words and not care what it is? Or did you see a story and thought that you could do it better? These are all acceptable answers for your stories. While I understand that many of you want to write simply for the goal and the challenge, but if you want to continue writing into the future, the point of the story is one of the main things that readers and reviewers will analyze. There's nothing a reader hates more than feeling their time was wasted, and if there's no point to your story, then it will be hard to acquire recommendations. This doesn't mean that your story has to be the "Mona Lisa" or "The Odyssey". There are many stories that have either simple points or one-note jokes. That doesn't make them objectively bad. Matter of fact, if the writer knows that the point of their story is something simple, then it's easier to convey the idea well.

    #4: The Ending

    There's nothing worse than picking up your story one particular day and forgetting where the story was supposed to go. There are some writers that want to start off with an idea and write until they reach the ending, but when you don't know your ending, the story can go in a myriad of ways. While this can be good for some stories, not every ending is a good ending and with some stories that are updated chapters at a time, it might be too late to change (retcon) where the ending is going to go and still keep your readers. I know many readers that don't even bother to read "Incomplete" stories on Fimfiction because they aren't guaranteed an ending. Like I said previously with wasting reader's time, if you know where you want your ending to go, then it will be that much easier to both write and conclude your stories.

    #5: Your Audience (thank you to Blueshift for the suggestion)

    This is sort of a hard thing to explain, but I'll do my best. Your audience expects a story to play out in a certain way, and you need to be careful of that. If you seem to check all the boxes for a story of your genre (comedy), then the story could fall flat because a joke that's expected is really not a joke at all. Any type of implication that you make in the story can also be a landmine if it's never brought up again, since that is essentially wasted time and false hoping for something in the story that was never planned, but accidentally "hinted" as if it's planned. Along with that, your audience could instantly be turned off of your story from anything, whether they are right or not. It's recommended to stay away from alicorn OCs, edgy and perfect characters, and like I said before, information dumps. Your audience wants to get straight into the ponies, so you could most likely lose your readers if you explain an environment for pages and pages and leave the main character at the end.

    But again, these are merely tips to keep the writing going. There is not a one size fits all method to writing. I've heard many writers say that once you learn how to write, you can break the rules of writing, and I completely agree. Do you guys have any tips or things that you keep in mind while you are writing? Is there something that you absolutely have to know before you dig into a story? Let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading, and I'll see you guys soon!