Welcome To WG Publishing’s New Blog!

First off, let me start by thanking you for visiting the sister blog of WG Publishing. The first blog is going to be used for marketing and selling the E-books of the authors we host. This blog, though, will be used for providing advice for those who would like to help their stories and novels along with helpful tips and tricks. Sure, there are many sites out there like this already, however, many contain broken links to other sites. We at WG Publishing understand how frustrating this can be to readers and followers of blogs. Our hope for this sister blog is to provide a one-stop browsing blog for everything you can possibly think of. If there is anything in particular you would like to see on the blog, feel free to leave a comment and our staff will work to getting that info out to you.

There are quite a few types of articles we will try and provide for you to help you with your stories and novels. Though we do not claim to know all the answers, we hope that you will come away with something to help give you inspiration to accomplish your goals. If you are looking for any type of articles in particular, they will most likely be available to view with the tags on the left-hand side of the blog.

On top of providing articles to help you with your fiction, we will also provide fun things such as exercises to help you build your fictional setting and characters to the best that they can be! This blog is for all authors of many genres to stop by and hopefully have some fun with their craft. This blog is for writing help only, so there will be no marketing from our end. We will have a link to our marketing blog to the side if anybody would like to view upcoming projects and meet the authors, though, at the moment we admit there is not much there. We will have products from other people and companies that were made to help authors, and even products you will be surprised about being used for writing help! Without further ado, I present you with our Story Advice blog!

Writing 101: Index Card Plotting

Today I will go over one way you can plot and organize your novel. This is what I’m currently doing.

Materials: Index cards (white and multi-color), index card box (I use the more expensive ones that have the metal siding, they look best and are more durable than the plastic ones), and the plastic tabbed sorts that are made for these kinds of boxes (I use to separate the chapters).

To start off with, I cut each index card in half. Using only one sentence per card seems a waste, so I do this to have more materials to write on. If you have an idea for a scene, go ahead and write down the idea in one sentence on a card half. Do this for as many scenes as you can, because you may find you get more ideas as you write them down. For the different story elements that make up the story, I use a different colored card. Below is an idea of how I color code them.

Main Story: for the main story, I use the white index cards because they are the easiest to find and they come in a pack of their own color.

Subplots: If you’d like you can use a different color for each subplot. I use one color for all of them. To keep them separated, I simply assign each subplot a number and write it in the upper corner of the card. This also helps keep track of them in the story, if multiple subplots are used in one chapter.

Worldbuilding: This category is self-explanatory I think. If your world uses magic, creatures, or something more normal like a type of gun, this color is what you’d use for the scene sentence. This way, you know at a glance that you need to include it into the chapter so that your readers will know it’s something important to the characters and their everyday life.

POV Change: This may not apply to everyone’s stories, but mine includes a different character’s point of view (POV) each chapter. I add these cards to each grouping of cards to remind myself of which character’s voice is needed.

Relationships: I use two colors of cards for my current story. One color for my main character (MC) and his father, another color for the MC and his love interest.

These are the five categories I currently have. With the index cards, I can shuffle them around and figure out the paths each chapter needs to go in to be able to advance the story. After I decide what goes into each chapter, I can group them together and place them behind a card separator. Using these, I can lay them out in the order I want them to appear in the chapter to keep myself on point as I write. Depending on what I come up with on the spot as I write each chapter, I can add those elements into later chapters to create more to the story.

If you decide to try this way of plotting, I hope it goes well for you. Are there any story elements I may have not included that you use? Comment below to tell me what it is and how well it works for you!

Writing Tool: TV Tropes

TV Tropes Cast CalculusThe link above leads to a website called TV Tropes, which is an excellent writing tool for inspiration. This link in particular talks about the most popular types of cast in any and all settings. The website offers a comprehensive review of the different types of groups common in fiction. Below is a small transcript of the webpage. Especially useful for those who don’t feel like clicking the link (though I recommend browsing the website in full at a later date.) I make no profit by posting this information. Enjoy!

One of the first choices any writer has to make is how many protagonists will lead the narrative. Believe it or not, that number matters. Too many, and you can barely get attached to anyone, just one and you’ll never believe the author would kill them off.

So, which is the lucky number for Ensembles?

Let’s start at one and work our way up. A lone protagonist is not some embryonic proto-cast that contains the traits of all Ensembles past and present, but rather has complete freedom to be whoever is needed for the story. Let’s repeat that: lone. Though a one-man hero doesn’t have to be an antisocial loner, they are very independent no matter what kind of character they are. Even the wimpy Action Survivor is at least able to survive. Interestingly, the best lone heroes make up for a lack of permanent cast with a varied supporting (though temporary) cast and (hopefully) some internal struggles to add depth. The Person vs Person type of dramatic struggle is common for the lone hero. Needless to say they are also invariably The Hero (well, let’s say protagonist to hedge our bets). Though that’s kind of a “Duh” statement, read on.

Common genres or stories: These protagonist can be in any story and are unweighed by a large cast, and so they can be Walking the Earth as The Drifter. Even if sedentary, they’ll likely play the lone Action Hero against overwhelming opposition. What you won’t see is either the typical drama with lots of long term character interaction, or a “stable” environment, these heroes will live and work in flux.

Signature series: Kung Fu, Incredible Hulk, Metroid (Prime)

From there the duos are an even split between two traits in terms of body, mind, or temperament (usually all three). One is the the brawn to the other’s brains; one is emotional and fiery while the other is more coldly analytical; one is by-the-book while the other feels rules should be flexible. The duo implies a certain level of equality; it’s entirely possible for both to “share the billing” and be equal heroes. They’ll likely be Heterosexual Life-Partners, but if they happen to be different genders, it’s practically a law there’ll eventually be Unresolved Sexual Tension (unless, of course, they are a Brother-Sister Team). If this sexual tension is resolved, then you have a Battle Couple (cue the shipping). When the equality goes away, you have a different dynamic, The Hero and their Side Kick or Love Interest. These duos are different in that the hero often serves as a mentor to the sidekick or protector to the Love Interest. It’s unlikely for the sidekick to graduate from the role to a true equal.

Common genres or stories: Again, any; however, duos gain a certain level of stability as compared to lone heroes. The character interaction between them will often become deep and nuanced to a degree not often seen with other ensemble numbers. Duos are likely to be in Action Adventure shows, possibly playing Detective or fighting crime.

Signature series: The X-Files, Supernatural, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Doctor Who, Aubrey-Maturin, Sherlock Holmes, The Lone Ranger, Miami Vice

When you get to Power Trios the different splits get more interesting. The personalities divide into three, not so much dividing the Red and Blue oni as creating a “balance” personality wholecloth. Note that any of them can be the lead hero. If the division is between physical and mental, it doesn’t get degraded, but augmented with a balanced character, a character to mediate the previous pair. If combat is involved, you get the Mighty Glacier, Jack-of-All-Stats, and a Fragile Speedster and/or Glass Cannon. Interestingly, from Trio on down you start seeing the above archetypes merge into things like Genius Bruiser. It’s worth noting that from here on out a girl being in the group gets logistically easier and much more common.

Common genres or stories: A trio is downright homey, and not in the sedentary sense. Three is the number where a family of friends can be born; characters can become True Companions. Even if they don’t see each other as a family, the dynamics between them will give viewers a sort of “safety net”. Past this size, even when the group’s adventures lead to them traveling the world (or galaxy), they will tend to work out of a base (or Cool Ship) which often becomes something of a character in its own right. Trios work best in genres where there’s room to interact both with each other and with the environment, from here on down an ensemble can hypothetically devote an entire episode or chapter just to the cast interacting. These guys are likely to be in an Action Adventure or Drama. Or both!

Signature series: Star Trek: The Original Series, Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events

The quartet is a challenge: just enough people for things to get convoluted, but not enough to lose track of anyone. The Four-Temperament Ensemble divides the Red and Blue Oni in half again: the Red Oni splits into sanguine and choleric, and the Blue Oni into phlegmatic and melancholic. Alternatively, the characters can be split into a Four-Philosophy Ensemble in which the characters have different viewpoints and philosophies, rather than personalities, which interact as they face problems and have to reconcile their differences to come to agreement.

Common genres or stories: Drama is the order of the day for the quartet, particularly internal drama. A quartet is likely to ‘split up’ in a given episode, giving each a chance to play off not just each other but dealing with the various aspects of the plot and the week’s guest characters. Expect occasional reminders of why everyone is special and important, even if they’re Muggles.

Signature series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fantastic Four, Stargate SG-1, Seinfeld, Sliders

Five and anything beyond that point tend to vary quite widely in makeup, as the personality and physical traits by this point can be pretty arbitrarily mixed and matched without worrying about maintaining a “balance” in the cast. Typically, The Hero stops being a label and becomes a physically distinct character type that leads the ensemble’s members. It’s quite common for a group of five to consist of two trios (and an optional extra), often based on gender – these may or may not conform to the Three Faces Of Adam and the Three Faces of Eve.

Common genres or stories: Though roving bands of extended casts are not unheard of, they will carry their home with them, be it a space ship, a Mystery Machine, or merely the clothes on their back. These enormous ensembles practically write a Drama themselves, never mind having Hilarity Ensue due to outside events.

Signature series: Power Rangers (5), How I Met Your Mother (5), Friends (6), Saved by the Bell (6 — 7 if you count Mr. Belding), Star Trek: The Next Generation and onward (7+), Seven Samurai & The Magnificent Seven (7), The Justice League (usually 7) Arrested Development (9) and Firefly (9)

Beyond five, there are no hard and fast rules for the cast as a whole. However, even with Loads and Loads of Characters, the cast members can be broken down into a Geodesic Cast or a set of Cast Herds, each iteration of which usually follows one of the archetypes listed above. Individual characters may belong to a single group only, or they may belong to several, with their role sometimes changing depending on which group they’re interacting with.

See also:

One:

The Drifter

Two:

Ruling Couple

Sensitive Guy and Manly Man

Heterosexual Life-Partners

Battle Couple

Adventure Duo

The Watson

Three:

Power Trio

Comic Trio

Freudian Trio

¡Three Amigos!

Two Guys and a Girl

With a Friend and a Stranger

Four:

Four-Philosophy Ensemble

Four-Temperament Ensemble

Five: Five-Man Band

Four-Temperament Ensemble + Leukine

Four-Philosophy Ensemble + The Conflicted

Six:

Five-Man Band plus Sixth Ranger

Seven: The Magnificent Seven Samurai

Lots: Loads and Loads of Characters

Cast Herd

Geodesic Cast

There’s also a set of the above for all girl casts:

Two

Lovely Angels

Tomboy and Girly Girl

Three

Blonde, Brunette, Redhead

The Hecate Sisters

The Three Faces of Eve

Beauty, Brains and Brawn

Four: Four Girl Ensemble

More: Amazon Brigade

And we also have an evil version of some of the above:

Two: Evil Duo

Those Two Bad Guys

Three: Terrible Trio

Four: Four Is Death

Five: Five-Bad Band

The Psycho Rangers

Six or Seven: Five-Bad Band + Enigmatic Minion and/or Morality Pet

Writing Tool: Dream Journal

Many artists from multiple platforms recommend keeping a journal beside your bed or napping area in order to keep track of your dreams. You don’t want to have pieces of paper strewn sbout the house, so I recommend a spiral notebook. They’re cheap and portable. If you want a mult-subject notebook that’s fine, but keep in mind, you’ll probably won’t be in the state of mind needed to flip to the section you want. When I write down my dreams, I’m in a trancelike state because I’m still in between sleep and wakefulness. A lot of times I write with my eyes closed as I go over my dream.

This is another thing about keeping a dream journal. If you try to make full sentences, you’ll probably end up forgetting half your dream, including the good bits that you’d like for your story. Instead, try writing down key images, colors, impressions, emotions. Here are some examples:

Man, brother, blonde, hand injured, ambulance, scared

Cliffs, majestic, dark sky, tribe of people

Ghost, feel not seen, evil laughter, afraid, trapped in house

If you do the above technique, you’ll likely remember a great deal more than you would if you were trying to write full sentences. Consequently, you’ll also save a lot more paper. To keep the dreams separated, skip a few spaces and put the date of the dream above your entry when you’re more awake. Who knows, perhaps you’ll decide the date could be significant to your story. I hope this post has given you some ideas that you could implement if you’re not doing so already.

Writing Exercise: Disasters

This post is inspired by the massive flooding which took place in my area this week. Take one of your characters and throw them into the middle of a disaster, man-made or natural. How does your character react to the disaster itself? To the people who may be around them? To the aftermath? Does your character turn out to be a natural born leader who takes charge of the situation? Do they panic and allow others to take over while they are inconsolable? Feel free to do this exercise with as many characters and disasters as you’d like. This could be a powerful exercise to really see the character’s personality come through, which in turn, would play a part in your novel or story.

Characters 101: Naming Technique #1

Many writers know how difficult it can be to name characters, especially characters whom are part of other worlds. This technique is one that I have been able to use successfully. Take any magazine and turn it to the page which have the names of those who contributed to the magazine. Close your eyes and use your index finger to choose a name twice. Write both names down so it’ll be easier to see the combinations you could come up with. For this, I’ll use a few examples:

Athena + Kate = Kathena

Nathan + William = Wilthan; Nathiam

Lynn + Stephanie = Lynanie (or Lynnanie); Stephalyn (or Stephalynn); Lynnie

As you can see, this technique could open up multiple names for you to use. Goodbye name generators (if you’re writing and not able to go online, lest you get distracted) and hello a new writing tool! Have fun coming up with creations, and feel free to leave your creations below in the comments to show me and the other readers how powerful this technique is!