Writing isn’t just about typing on a computer or scribbling some sentences on a notebook – it’s a wholesome process, a consuming project, a work of art that needs supplies and careful preparation to achieve its perfection. There are slow writers and there are fast writers – but the one thing that makes a good writer is constant production. I am talking about sticking to a plan and a schedule and having a work station that provides maximum inspiration and efficiency.
- Buy a cork board or whiteboard. Having one of these near your writing desk is crucial for productive writing. I keep my writing plan (more about this on a later post) on the top of my board and I fill the rest with important information that regards the book I am working on – a printed world map; a bunch of artwork that portrays my characters and landscapes; quotes and dialogue excerpts; my writing goal for the week, etc.
- Carry a good notebook around. I keep a Moleskine with me all the time and whenever I come up with an idea I will quickly write it and pin it to my board later. It’s important to safeguard the random ideas and thoughts regarding your book – these are what I call immediate thinking – these ideas are very different from the ones that you are forcing out whenever you’re brainstorming; they will always be much more creative and intelligent.
- Keep a dictionary nearby. If you prefer the old-school 1500 page tome, be my guest. However, in my opinion, google translate works as a charm nowadays and I always keep it open on my desktop whenever I’m typing. It’s fast, mostly accurate and efficient. What more could I want?
- Have a printer at hand. If you don’t have a printer at home, simply create a folder in your computer to store all documents that need later printing. However, if you do have a printer at home, make sure it’s close to your writing desk. Fantasy writing, as mentioned in previous blog posts, requires a lot of worldbuilding and the better way to quickly access your work and write some notes and modifications is to actually print them and study them.
- This is also a good time to invest in a good binder and some plastic dividers.
I normally use my dividers to separate writing and worldbuilding topics concerning the story I am working on. There are five primary subjects, but you can add as many as you wish.
a)The first divider usually has the basic information on my story – timelines, maps, appendixes and terminology.
b)I use the second divider to gather all information concerning the world my characters live in – this is actually basic information, like climate, language, customs, religious practices, holidays, etc.
c)The third divider is all about History – for each one of my novels (and when I mean novel, I automatically point towards the concept of the world the novel surrounds) I have a rigorous historical background that normally involves the creation of the world I describe and goes through the evolution of mankind and other magical races until we reach the timeline of the story line. This should be as detailed as possible – it’s pure, concise worldbuilding. Even if you don’t show all of it (and you should never, ever, show more than 30% of this historical background throughout your book), it will feed your imagination and offer you a sense of cohesion.
d)My fourth divider is about the story line itself. I try to detail it in the best way possible and I make shorter and lengthier versions, depending on the quantity of detail I would need. I make a single page plan with a rough plot line and then I start developing chapters, adding as much detail as possible.
e)The fifth divider is all about characters –back stories, physical descriptions, portraits, interviews, psychological traits, you name it. It will all be needed whenever you need to give a certain character more or less depth.
6. If you think music inspires you, plug your headphones in your laptop or buy some mini-columns and create a playlist with songs that can act as soundtrack for your story. Basic examples for fantasy writing are the soundtracks of Lord of the Rings, God of War, Final Fantasy saga, the Gladiator movie or the Avatar movie.