Rebel’s Writing Tips: 5 Guidelines for Checking Your First Draft

So you’ve done it.  Your first draft of your new novel is done, and you’re ready to embark on the journey of editing.  Maybe it’s your billionth time editing, or maybe you’ve never actually checked your first drafts ever before.  Either way, an arduous journey awaits you, and you’re going to dive in.  Only one problem: where do you even start and how do you actually edit your first draft in a way that can potentially improve it?

You would not be alone asking these questions, as these are issues that plague every author.  Knowing what to look for or what to do when you’re looking at your first draft is difficult at best, especially if it’s not something you usually do.  Thankfully, though, there are some foundations you can adapt to your editing process that will help you fix issues and improve on what you already have.  Today, I would like to share with you my five guidelines where this is concerned, and hopefully these will help ease your own experience with editing your 2nd and beyond drafts.

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Rebel’s Writing Tips: Coming Up with a Story

Everyone has a story they’re just dying to tell, right?  For experienced storytellers, stories are much like breathing.  Epic conflicts, dynamic characters, and fantastical worlds come naturally at any moment.  They might not be perfect at first, but the ideas flow fairly easily.  However, this sense of natural story-telling ability does not exist for everyone.  Every once in a while you will find someone who wants to tell a story but just has no story to tell.  Perhaps they made an original character they like but don’t know what to do with them.  Alternatively, perhaps their skills lie in another field (like art) and they want to delve into animation, webcomics, or something else.  Whatever the reason, not having a story can be a real struggle when you need one for whatever project you’re working on.

Thankfully, if you are one of those people struggling to come up with a story, not all hope is lost.  There are quite a number of ways you can go about finding a story to tell, and today I am here to walk you through some of those ways!  So cease your flailing, and let’s talk about four methods you can use to find a story to tell.

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Rebel’s Writing Guide: Showing VS. Telling for Character Backstory

“Show don’t tell” is a phrase you might have heard often in primary school English classes.  If your education was like mine, though, the statement was never very well-explained.  Rather, most of my teachers would expect you to pick it up naturally based on whether you were told you wrote something correctly or not.  Suffice to say, it is not a sentiment that was always conveyed well and was difficult learn.

For many creative writers, this renders the criticism of something being “telling over showing” hard to address, as many do not have the experience to readily notice the difference.  However, today I would like to rectify this situation a bit with some more concrete showcases of what it means to “tell” and what it means to “show” when it comes to writing.  Specifically, today I want to tackle an aspect where I feel people struggle the most: character backstory.  If you are a writer who’d like to try and get a better grasp on showing vs. telling, you’ve come to the right place.  So sit back, and let’s dive in!

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Rebel’s Writing Tips: Misc. Story No-Nos

Sometimes there are certain bad habits in writing that are really hard to talk about and categorize.  It’s just hard to find time to mention them; each topic, like world-building and exposition, has a bunch of more important components to speak on.  Nevertheless, there are habits that should be discussed and pointed out, as they can often be habits that ruin a potentially good story.  Today, I would like to share three of these and explain why they are bad habits to have.  If you aren’t an experienced story writer, I hope you’ll take these points to heart and learn from them.

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Rebel’s Writing Tips: Balancing an Intense World with a Story

Let’s say you’ve followed all my tips and tricks for world-building and now have the most robust and epic world for your story.  You’ve got a handful of cultures, you’ve got one-of-a-kind settings, and you even have a cast of characters from each and every location.  However, your world is so complex that you aren’t sure how to handle conveying the entire world to the readers of your story.  What do you do?

First off, fear not.  You are not alone and every world-building writer struggles with this issue at some point.  Even if you’ve checked out my post on integrating world and story, if there’s a lot of world on your plate it can still be a monumental and overwhelming task.  Some writers create worlds so vast that it takes an entire separate codex to convey every little detail written.  However, even this still leaves one in a difficult situation when balancing the depth of the world with the story.  As such, I’m going to walk you through five simple tips that you should bear in mind when writing your story and complex world together.  By following these, you should be well on your way to making sure your world doesn’t overwhelm while still being present.

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Rebel’s Writing Tips: Creating a Fantasy Calendar

For fantasy writers who get super into world-building, calendars are often a shiny element that many want to dive into creating.  After all, time dictates a lot of our lives, so what easier way is there to make a world feel unique?  There is also the simple fact that, unless set on Earth, there is no particular reason for a fantasy world to follow our time scale and divisions.  As such, despite being somewhat superfluous, calendars are a tempting aspect to delve into.

At the same time, though, many writers also get stumped by how to create them.  How many days per week?  What about hours per day?  Where should I put holidays?  There are a slew of issues to consider.  Thusly, today I wish to give you a step-by-step guide you can follow on your journey to make a calendar.  Of course, this is not a strict “do it this way” sort of ordeal, as you should tackle it in whatever order works for you.  However, I have tried to cover all the basics and put it in a sort of logical order that anyone can adjust to their needs.

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Rebel’s 6 Tips for World-building a Culture

In my general world-building post, there was a lot that I covered in a “tip of the iceberg” sort of way.  While I have rectified this with governments by writing two super in-depth posts, there is one area I feel I need to address further still: culture.  When it comes to world-building, culture can be one heck of a monster to tackle.  There are a lot of ways that it physically manifests (clothing for example), and a lot of intangible ways that it manifests.  However, it is also a monster that, if done right, can create a living and breathing world for your story to exist in.  As such, today I would like to narrow down developing a culture for your story’s world with some more specific and poignant tips.

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Rebel’s Writing Guide: World-building for Governments Part 2

In the first part of my posts on world-building governments for stories, I discussed what actually constitutes a government in its most basic form.  Through it, I established the three core features of any government: laws, provide, and protect.  However, because I established the basic framework, this left little time to walk you through the various decisions you have to make in order to utilize the framework.  Today, though, we will be fixing that.  I’m going to walk you through the most major questions step by step into building a government for your world.  By establishing these components, you will ideally have a concrete system of government at the end.  How you utilize it will be up to you, but today we’ll make sure you can create it in the first place.

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Rebel’s Writing Guide: World-building for Governments Part 1

There are a lot of difficult aspects when it comes to world-building for your stories.  However, in my personal experience there is a universal aspect people struggle with more than anything else: governments.  In our modern age, governments are a tangle of complications, regardless of whether they’re a democracy or a monarchy.  As such, it can be intimidating for any writer to try and use them as inspiration, which results in numerous stories hand waving them when they come up.  For many stories, this is fine since the function of the government plays little to no role.  However, for other stories that span a much more worldly setting, a weak government can result in some glaring plot holes that some readers may not ignore.

The point I’m getting at is it’s important to know how to build a government for a story.  Thankfully, I am here this week to walk you through in-depth on how to get into the right mind-set for building a government.  However, there is a lot to talk about, so I will be breaking this post into two parts.  In this first post, I will be discussing what a government is at its base level when you break it down to its simplest form.  In the next post, I will be walking you through the key areas covered in this post, going a bit more in-depth and addressing key questions you should be able to answer.  Hopefully after this week, you’ll be more prepared to handle governments in general.

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