There’s a stereotype of children’s entertainment being overly simplified and poorly written, and unfortunately, that’s true for a lot of children’s shows. Every so often though, there comes someone who puts time and effort into what they create, because they understand that children can be just as smart and perceptive as adults.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of those shows, and today I want to talk about just a few of the things we writers – even adult writers – can learn from it.
I have a confession to make: I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I set it as one of my goals earlier this year, but as November grew closer, I realized that it wasn’t going to work out this year. I had a lot going on in terms of school and my personal life, and adding 50,000 words on top of that looked more like torture than a fun challenge.
When November 1 came and I saw many of my friends announcing their intentions to participate in NaNoWriMo, I couldn’t help feeling a little guilty. After all, I had told myself I would do it, and I’d gone back on that commitment. As the month wore on though, I got over my self-deprecation and realized that I actually enjoyed not being a part of NaNoWriMo this year.
That might sound like heresy to the writing community, but it’s the truth. I’m thankful that Past Maggie made the decision to pass on NaNoWriMo 2018. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good things that can come out of NaNoWriMo – self-discipline, connections with other writers, and a completed draft, to name a few. Those things come with sacrifices, however, and I’m of the mind that sometimes those sacrifices aren’t worth it.
As I mentioned last week, I’m taking a bit of a “sabbatical” from blogging for the next month in order to be able to restore myself creatively. I’m still posting weekly, but I’m focusing on things like linkups, blog tags, and so on – partly because I’ve been wanting to do them for a while, and partly because they don’t require as much creative energy from me.
This week, I’m participating in the Language of Worlds Linkup, which is hosted by Liv K. Fisher. The Language of Worlds is a bimontly character linkup (think like the Beautiful People linkup). It’s specifically tailored to Christian speculative fiction (sci-fi and fantasy), but it’s open to anyone who wants to participate. If you’re interested, you can read more about it on Liv’s blog.
I’ve never done this linkup before, but I decided to give it a try with Silas, a character from my fantasy work-in-progress that lacks a proper title. I won’t tell you much about him, since you’ll meet him in a minute, but here’s a quick overview: Silas is a bounty hunter that meets Myrina and Adrien in the course of their travels. He’s not very talkative, and can come off as a little mysterious, but here’s a peek into his character…
Anyone who’s ever written anything has probably sat down in front of their computer or notebook, all set to write, when they suddenly realize there’s a big problem – they’ve got nothing. All the ideas decided to flee the country as soon as they saw that blank page.
The typical solution is to just start writing anyway, even if it’s slow and painful at first. Even if you have to force the words out of your brain and onto the page, before you know it, writer’s block is a thing of the past.
At least, that’s usually what happens. But when writer’s block comes back day after day and the thought of sitting down to create something makes you feel hollow instead of joyful, it might be time to consider a different approach.
When you’re only one person and you’re trying to come up with an entire cast of characters, it’s hard to make sure they don’t all end up being clones of each other. Trust me, sometimes I look back at the “books” I wrote when I was eleven years old and I realize that all of my characters are the same people with different names.
When we think of a “smart” character, we usually think of the stereotypical maladjusted nerd, always spouting facts but is generally pretty useless. However, this isn’t the case in real life – people are smart in all kinds of different ways, not just in terms of what they learned (or didn’t learn) in school.
How do you write a cast of characters that are smart, but also unique? Based on books I’ve read and movies/TV shows I’ve watched, I’ve compiled a short list of different ways your characters can be smart. It’s not an exact science, but hopefully this gives you a place to start.
Most writers have heard of “Outside,” even if we’ve never seen it. Supposedly, it’s a mysterious place where this thing called “society” is, where people buy things in stores instead of buying them on Amazon, and they talk face-to-face instead of over text message. If you ask me, that sounds pretty terrifying.
In all seriousness, writers do have a reputation of being hermits who spend most of their days in the shelter of their home or local coffee shop (we have to fuel our creativity somehow). Oftentimes, this is with good reason: we need to be able to focus on our craft without other people interrupt us, and that’s much more likely to happen when we leave our safe writing bubble.
But what if the benefits outweigh the costs? We might embrace the hermit lifestyle, but we might be wise to step outside every so often – there are definitely some good reasons to do so.
Congrats on making it through this week AND through all of April! Go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back. It’s a busy time of year for many of us, but we’re all making it through.
Speaking of April, I compiled my 1 Second Everyday clips from the past month into a short, 30-second video. If you’re interested in seeing how my 1SE project is coming along, you can see my progress below!
I hope you’re all doing well and that you’ve enjoyed this last full week of April. I can’t believe the month has gone by so quickly, to be honest – it still feels like Easter was last week, but it’ll be May in just a few days. Still, I’m looking forward to next month – I’ll be celebrating my birthday, going to a concert, and finishing up my second year of college, which I’m excited about.
It’s been kind of a crazy week, but I’m really happy the weekend is here now. I’m looking forward to having time to relax, but also getting some work done too. This blog doesn’t write itself, after all!
Speaking of blogging, this week I wrote about some lessons I’ve learned from Pokémon, one of my favorite video games since childhood. I think there’s a lot that these simple games can teach us about life, but I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!
I also put out a survey for my blog this week, in case you missed it! It’s a short survey that just asks a few questions about you and what you like about my blog. Plus, there’s a chance you could win an Amazon.com gift card! Read all the details here.