Category: video

How to Reinforce Your Characters with Detailed Worldbuilding

What does the world of your novel look like? Sometimes you have a great story idea, or really cool characters, but for some reason, your writing just seems to fall flat. Watch this video to get some tips on how detailed world-building can help you add depth to your characters and your plot. 

If you don’t include a lot of detail when you’re creating the world of your story, your characters may seem two-dimensional.

One writing trick is to show more about your characters by putting them in specific settings and letting the objects or landscape around them tell readers something about the characters themselves. 

You can also use your setting to enhance or create a specific mood in your novel, or alert your readers that an important plot point is about to happen. It can also influence how your readers feel when they’re reading your novel.

Treating your setting as something that shows how your characters feel, not just the place they happen to be in, can help deepen your writing and make your readers more invested in your story.

What do baking and writing have in common? More than you might think!

In this video, NaNoWriMo staffers explore the similarities between baking and writing as they cook up some delicious desserts (and try to resolve a lengthy debate at NaNoWriMo HQ about whether madeleines are cakes or cookies.): 

 1. In both baking and writing, you might be a planner, a pantser, or somewhere in between. 

 2. Even if you’re prepared, you may encounter unexpected obstacles. 

 3. Conditions won’t always be optimal. Go for it anyway! 

 4. Sometimes, working with friends can help you meet your goals. 

 5. Whatever your creative style, the important part is making something that you like!

5 Writing Dares (featuring the Traveling Shovel of Death)

Start writing NOW with these five dares, whether you’re in the middle of your project or looking for a way to begin. All dares provided by the Dare Machine on NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program website. 

1. Your character discovers an inanimate object that laughs. 

2. Create a human character based on your pet. 

3. Make a character climb a tree. 

4. Give one of your characters amnesia. 

5. Have a character find an unlucky penny. 

Plus one extra non-writing dare for us to watch out for! 

Darer: Communications Manager Katharine Gripp

Balancer: YWP Director Marya Brennan

3 Tips for Writing Magic in Fantasy

One of the most interesting parts of any fantasy book is how magic works in the world the author has created. If you’re a fantasy writer, check out these tips on creating magic when you’re world-building. 

1. Make your magic have consistent rules. 

Magic in fantasy is a lot like science in sci-fi. It doesn’t need to make perfect sense, but it does need to make logical sense in the context of the world. You can make your magic systems as complex as you want, but however much or little detail you provide, magic should adhere to the rules. It can be strange to us, but it should be consistent. 

2. Make your magic have limitations. 

Even with supernatural or extremely powerful characters, it’s more interesting to read about them when they have some kind of limitation or obstacle that they have to overcome. For example, wizards in Harry Potter need to memorize spells and (usually) have their wands to channel their power. Fairies and gods are often bound by strict rules and need to work through humans. In some stories, magic users have to fuel their power with their own physical strength. Decide what the boundaries of your characters’ magical powers are. 

3. Decide how much your characters know about magic in your world. 

How do your characters describe, interact with, or respond to magic? Is magic common or rare? Are magic users respected, or do they have to keep their powers hidden? How does magic complement or conflict with other things that your readers might already be familiar with, like electricity or religious practices? What’s the history of magic in your world? 

Find more tips on the “Fantasy Genre Lounge” forum on NaNoWriMo.

Watch the 2018 Night of Writing Dangerously Live Stream!

Sunday, November 18, 2018, 5:00 PM PST—11:00 PM PST

It’s the last year for our epic night of literary abandon! We’re bringing the whole event to you, live-streamed from the Julia Morgan Ballroom in downtown San Francisco. 

We’re sad to leave this event behind after 12 years, but we’ll try our best to come up with something equally awesome next year. We know a lot of you who wanted to attend weren’t able to make it, which is why we decided to bring the Night of Writing Dangerously to you! 

You can view the elegant ballroom, dress up in your own Noir-themed outfits, write along with our word sprints, and cheer on the Wrimos who reach 50K and ring the bell! 

Want to start a new writing project during Camp NaNoWriMo this July but feeling a little nervous to try? Join our Young Writers Program Director Marya and Communications Manager Katharine to learn some tips sourced from veteran Wrimos.