My awesome friend and critique partner, Erin Shakespear organized a Novel-Writing Workshop on September 15. The presenters were Brodi Ashton (Everneath) and Lindsey Leavitt (Princess for Hire). They spoke on their publishing journeys, creating characters, and worldbuilding.
The observations your characters make should say as much about them as about what they're observing. Find the conflict that's especially difficult for that character. Go deeper to the internal things they wouldn't say except in a diary.
Don't tell, whisper...what's the character's secret?
Lindsey talked about Matthew Kirby's advice to take the secret, desire, or wish and attach a physical object to that with both an external and internal attachment to the object. Each scene should go back to that driving force/inner conflict.
Introduce yourself to the characters and get the basics of plot down in the first draft. As you revise, you'll get to know more about your characters.
Sympathetic characters can do awful things as long as they're sympathetic. Get the reader rationalizing with the character.
The first draft is the hardest, like shoveling sand into a box...and THEN you can build a sandcastle. The second draft fills in big holes. Let yourself skip over stuff. Lindsey revises four times before sharing a draft with anyone. "[When first starting out] I treated writing like a job. Set goals and deadlines for yourself because you are a professional writer."
Fantasy worlds make us think differently about our own world and offer narrative possibilities unavailable otherwise. Think about what the world you create is saying about the world you live in, and know more than you show. "If everything you know is on the page, you either don't know enough or you don't edit enough, and I'm not sure which is worse." (quoting Hemingway)
Types of worlds:
Foreign: a different time and place in our world that feels like another world (historical fiction).
Alternate: our world with critical differences.
Accessible: a portal of some sort to get to it from our world.
Secondary: inaccessible from our world.
All worlds have laws that must be established early and be consistent.
Brodi and Lindsey flash-edited participants' first pages in a group setting and later gave one-on-one sessions. They shared a little bit of their writing and querying process as well...too much info to put into a blog post. If you have the opportunity to hear them speak, take it!