Over the summer, I attended a Creative Writing Program in the Poconos. Three weeks of intensive writing … what could be better? I had a blast, and I also learned some great techniques for writing a successful novel. These tips have assisted me with the book that I’m working on, and I hope that they will help you as well!
Besides for characters and setting, one of the most important elements of a novel is a quest. What’s that, you may ask? A quest is a journey that your character will go on to discover either something physical, or something about themselves. A quest gives your story a certain “flow”.
There are five parts to creating a successful quest:
First, you must have a “quester”, which is the person who goes on the quest. Though lots of stories have the protagonist be the “quester”, there is no rule that says that more people can’t join along! In “The Hobbit”, for example, Bilbo goes on a quest with others. It’s up to you to decide how many and who should embark on this journey.
The second part of developing a quest is having somewhere to go! Where is your character going? What is their goal?
Next, your character has to face some challenges, or else your book is, well … boring. The average number of challenges in a quest is three, but you can definitely add more! The first challenge should be something that your character can easily overcome. It should be something they accomplish with ease, something that will boost their confidence and make them say, “Hey! Maybe I can do this!” Your second challenge should be a bit more difficult. The character should suffer some physical or emotional damage, but nothing drastic that prevents them from continuing on their quest. For example, if your character is fighting a dragon, you’ll want to give them a cut or have their shirt torn. The last challenge should be when the character achieves (or fails at!) their goal.
The fourth step, after your character reaches their goal, is to have them discover the real reason for their journey. They may have thought they were traveling for one purpose, but it will end up being another. For example, in the Divergent trilogy, Tris thinks she is going past the fence to save her people, but really, she ends up discovering the true meaning of self sacrifice. (And then she dies?! I still can’t get over that!)
Lastly, you’ll want to have redemption. The redemption is when your character redeems themselves, and moves on in life. It is the closing of your story. It brings your novel to a full circle.
I know it’s a lot to take in, so let’s review!
1) Identify a “quester”.
2) Decide where your “quester” is going.
3) Create at least three challenges your “quester” will face.
4) Reveal the real reason your character went on this journey.
5) Redeem your character and close off the story.
I hope these tips are helpful!
Prompt from Hannah: Your character is handed some kind of weapon. Describe the character’s reaction, and what he or she does with it.
Write for 10 minutes. Post your piece to comments.
in every stroke of
the infinitely finite
paper – in every line
there lies mistake,
as it is unavoidable
to the untrained eye- but the artist
has the burden of knowing; of the torturous feeling
It is unavoidable
It cannot be erased
and yet we continue to erase
and friction continues to build
until the paper
The editorial board serves as officers for the creative writing club.
Board Member Duties:
-Editing student pieces
-Providing prompts for the blog each month
-Writing an essay for the blog each month
2014-2015 Editorial Board
My name is Téa (pronounced tā’-uh) and I’m a junior. I skipped the fifth grade so I’m a year ahead at 15 and my birthday is November 16th. I moved here from St. Louis, Missouri when I was nine so I find the fall colors very inspiring. Another inspiration to me is music, my first and most important love, and I love to sing. What I like about it is all of the emotion that can be translated through a song and that’s how I also came to love writing. I am a very emotional, compassionate and empathetic person so written word in any form, a song, a poem, a novel, a short story, is really important to me. If a piece really speaks to me or touches my heart it stays with me forever and, no matter how short, contributes to me as a person and how I look at the world and life.
Born into a Brazilian-Jewish family, I am fascinated by different cultures and traditions. I like traveling and meeting new people. I have also been dancing for over 12 years, and I love it! But of course, nothing takes the place of writing. I love writing because it is a way of expressing myself that holds so much power. As a teacher of mine once said, “Writing is magic to those who use it – you can say anything you’d like without once opening your mouth.”
I am currently fifteen years old and have a second degree black belt in Taekwondo. I enjoy drawing portraits and hope to be a mathematician or computer engineer in the future. I have been a writer since I can remember in my fifteen years of life. I still take out old books full of short stories that I’ve either finished or have long forgotten about and reminisce on how much I loved to write then, only to realize that my love for writing has grown day by day. For me, writing has never been a hobby; it’s always been a way of life, a gateway to another dimension filled with space begging for me to fill with my ideas. Writing is something that I was born to do, and will continue to do for the rest of my life.
My name is Hannah I’m fourteen years old and I’m in the 10th grade. I’m an avid reader, and a big fan of Orson Scott Card, Eion Colfer, Elsie Chapman, Alexander Gordon Smith, Brandon Sanderson, Rick Riordan, Marissa Meyer, and many other authors. I am currently a self-published author myself; I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the past two years and have published the two novels the Soar and the Pauraque’s Game as a part of a series called “the Chronicles of Argon”, and I’m planning on writing the third book—Shadows in the Skies—during this approaching NaNoWriMo. I’ve always considered writing as my talent, passion, and life-long career. My favorite genres to write are sci-fi, adventure, and action, which usually go hand-in-hand. I’m more than happy to be a part of the Scribbles Editorial Board this year, and I can’t wait for all of the memorable times we’re going to have together!
Hey everyone! Welcome back to the new school year and the CWC. For all you new members out there be ready to grab up a pen and a journal, open a new Word document, or get a few sticky pads and a pencil, because you are about to be thrown into a world of creative writing! I have been in this amazing club for going on three years now, and a FLVS student for five! I’ve been in the Sunshine state of Florida for almost thirteen years, and aside from the oven hot summers, it’s been a nice place to be! I’ll be sixteen in just a few weeks now, am in love with drawing, animals, and of course, writing!
For me writing has always been a type of company. I am in constant connection to characters I call my children, and it really is a craft of overwhelming passion, dedication, and staying power. For a writer they’re good and bad days. Sometimes my fingers grow brains of their own over a keyboard and other times it’s as if they ignore every command I wish I could give them. There is still a need no matter how dull some days sitting in front of a blank document can get to stick around, it’s an addiction really, one that is not easy to kick and not really desired to drop. It’s a relationship with heaven and hell, and I have always believed when the gift to enter both of those worlds together is given to a person it isn’t possible to ever ignore the calling. To me writing is a lifestyle, something I build myself around that that builds around me.
Prompt from Cheyenne: You see a painting in a museum that you are drawn to. Despite being told to not touch anything in the museum, you are compelled to place your hand on it. What happens when you touch this painting?
Write for 10 minutes. Post your work to comments.
Okay, I’m really into music. I mean, who isn’t; right? Us teenagers, we can’t get enough of it; it’s the only thing that understands us. Why do we feel that way? This is because the adolescent age is very busy, at least on the inside. We are going through finding ourselves which means we go through a lot of phases whether it is fashion, music taste, friend choices and so on. This also makes us very emotional so we automatically connect with things we feel relate to us or our feelings.
Everyone hears a song differently. It can be the same song but no two people will hear it the same because every person is different with different personalities as a result of life experiences which includes every single thing we take into our brains. The message and feeling we get from a song will always be different and have different effects on us, adding to who we are.
This is why music is a great source of inspiration for writing. It draws out so much emotion from us and can say so much. If a picture is a million words, a song is a billion. Though it is always awesome when it comes naturally it is very easy to turn a song into a wonderful piece of writing and I do it myself all the time. A few examples of songs I’ve used are A World Alone by Lorde, Sirens by Cher Lloyd and Same Mistakes by One Direction. (All great songs; check ‘em out!) Just makes sure that the song means something to you. You can’t take some Carrie Underwood song and copy down each detail she mentioned. Here’s what you can do:
1. Go through your music library and make a playlist of your favorite songs.
2. Listen through it and take note of ones that have a significant emotional effect on you. You don’t have to be crying, as long as you feel it.
3. Listen to those again and if you get something STOP AND WRITE IT DOWN.
When you use songs for inspiration it can add emotion to your work. When I say emotion I don’t mean sad emotion, I mean any motion. It can be ecstasy, emptiness, admiration, grief, joyous revelation or pure fright. The thing is songs can give you different things. It can give you a character. It can give you a scene. It can give you just a single line to write around. As you can see, the possibilities are limitless and, if it’s right, a song will never fail you.
Prompt from Rosalind: Your character has a job interview this morning. What time do they have to be there? What are they planning on wearing? Where are they interviewing? How are they feeling? Why?
Write for 10 minutes. Post your work to comments!
Just like last week’s exercise, your main character is at a party. Describe your character’s physical features and the features of everyone else there.
Write for 10 minutes. Post your work to comments.