Monday, March 26, 2012


What's your opinion on cliffhangers?
Fun to write, a pain to read. 

Cliffhangers, I think they’re amazing to keep people interested, or rather curious, about a story. It’s the cliffhangers that keep me reading chapter after chapter when I’m reading a book. Every single time I’m reading, I tell myself I’m going to stop once I finish the chapter I am on, but over and over again I find myself reading the next chapter as well. And then when I’m at that chapter, again I decide to stop when I finish that one, but then the same happens and so on and on. I’m hopeless when it comes to putting a book aside when it has cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. 

I don’t mind cliffhangers in a book not as much as the ones on Wattpad. That’s for the sole reason that in a book-book, you can read the next chapter right away whereas you have to wait when it’s a story you’re reading on Wattpad – unless it’s a finished story of course. 

Cliffhangers are important, necessary even, but it’s not good either when there are too many of them. I know that I hate it when every single chapter ends with a cliffhanger. 

Then there’s also the question of what a good cliffhanger is. To me, a good cliffhanger is one that keeps you wondering what will happen - but not like when a sentence just has been cut off, I really hate those endings. Throughout the whole chapter there’ll be this building up to something you really want to know, and then just when you think you’ll find out, it ends and you have to read the next chapter to find out – that’s a good cliffhanger to me. It’s also way better when a cliffhanger isn’t just put there because the author wanted to end with a cliffhanger. I think you can see a reasonable difference between the cliffhangers that have use, and the ones that are only there because the author thinks it’ll keep the readers more interested. 

Personally, I like to add a cliffhanger to my stories as well, because sometimes it just makes the story more interesting. Sometimes a chapter just ‘begs’ for a cliffhanger and it wouldn’t be fair not to add it. Plus, I think it’s always fun to read the comments to a chapter that ends with a cliffhanger – even when it’s not my story. 

To tell it in short, cliffhangers can be useful and are necessary from time to time, but I’d rather not read them when I know I’ll have to wait for the next chapter – I’m just impatient like that when it comes to reading.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Character Names

How do you come up with character names?
Trial & Error

Finding the right names for your characters, now that’s a process of trial and error for me. 
There’s so much you need to take in consideration when you’re naming your characters. For example: Where and when does the story take place? What are the parents of your character like? Does he/she have siblings? If so, then perhaps you should come up with names that match – sort of. I think it’s rather rare to find siblings of which one has this very plain name and the other has one of those less common names. 

Most of the times, we look for names with meaning and names that go with the story. So, at first I’ll be going through endless lists of names online, pick the ones I like and write them down. 

Usually I just write my story while the characters are still left unnamed. It’s rather funny to read it afterwards with the referrals like “guy walks that way” or “girl does this”, I even go as far as naming them A, B, C, D, … And then when I have a list of names and my characters have been gaining personalities, I go through the lists and imagine my character with a certain name. It’s easy to eliminate the names that don’t match your character, however, when you end up with only a couple of names left, it’s rather hard to pick one. Then again, sometimes you can start writing and knowing it right from the start that your character is a Jenny, Keara, Anna or some uncommon foreign name. 

When I began my first story, I only named my characters minutes before I uploaded to Wattpad. Then, after a couple of uploads I realized that I had made a rushed decision and by then it was too late to choose other names. But, as the chapters continued and the story evolved, the characters’ names didn’t really matter anymore since they grew as persons and admit it, in real life you have to learn to live with your own name, no? You don’t get to choose it either. 

So, as powerful as a name might seem, in the end it’s only a name.

 [Of course there are stories where names are really important, so what I’m referring to is only of matter for the stories where the name of a character isn’t part of the plot]

Monday, March 19, 2012

Book Series

What do you think of book series?
Plot Is Important

Some books are just meant to be part of a series, whereas other stories don’t have the potential or the need to. 

Personally, I really like series. That’s mainly because I always wonder what will happen next and how the characters will change once a book is finished, or simply because I really like the characters and want to read more about them. 

There are books out there that are amazing, but somehow they become part of a series and the characters go through one thing after the other and after a while it can become ‘too much’. These books and characters lose their credibility because they’re too far-stretched and just not interesting anymore. No matter how much I like the characters, when this happens with books in a series, I’ll give up on the series, no matter how sad that really is. 

Sometimes it’s better to stop a story ‘at its best’. You have stories that get sequels because the first book became popular, but I think that it’s better to have one amazing book that will leave people talking about it, rather than creating a second, third and fourth adventure that isn’t nearly as good. 

A good way to keep a series alive is to make each book a different story, told by a different person or at a different point in time. But maybe the most important part is: keep your readers entertained, interested and don’t give everything away in the first book. Make sure that by the end of a book the reader has at least a couple of questions that he/she would like to see get answered in the next book.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Getting My Book Out There #2

Step 1: Write (read

Step 2: Save it for later

Here’s what I did once I finished writing the epilogue. 

I did a quick spell-check in Word to catch some of the most obvious mistakes and then I didn’t read it again. The story was finished and I didn’t want to ruin that feeling of achievement. I had finished a book and it felt great. Starting to dissect my own writing in search for ways to improve the story would’ve killed my euphoria, so I didn’t do such a thing.  I still read and enjoyed the comments I received on my story, but I didn’t really do anything with the story itself. 

After a few weeks, I realized that the comments I received actually made me want to read my own story. I wanted to know what the story was like when you read it as a ‘reader’ instead of the ‘writer’ but this turned out to be more difficult than expected. To me, it was surprisingly hard to let myself get sucked into the story without noticing small mistakes here and there, to want to make small changes to the way I worded things. I attempted this several times, but in the end I knew it wasn’t going to work. So, until I came up with a solution, I would save my story for later and get back to it when it wasn’t as fresh in my mind anymore.