Writing Tips

No Idea? No Problem!

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So, you made a last minute decision to take part in NaNoWriMo and now have no clue what to write, huh?

Well, don’t worry. I’ve learned a few tricks in the past few months that might help you flesh out a perfect character and plot for your goal this month.

No guarantee that these will work for you, but why not give it a try? Let’s get started.

These tips work just as well outside of NaNoWriMo as well!



CreditNaNoWriMo Young Writers Program Workbook.

The aim of this exercise is to help you create a character as bizarre as possible. After all, isn’t that what everyone wants to read about?

What you must do is add a surprising/weird twist to a completely flat character and turn them into something much more interesting.

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Here’s an Example Of Flat Character Turned Interesting:

Flat character: Steve was a good kid. He got good grades and was never late to class.

Twisted, Original Character: Steve Goodhold was a good kid. He got good grades and was never late to class. Little did everyone know that he spent his nights working as an internet hacker for a modern Mafioso who he met through his older cousin, Peter.

Steve didn’t need much sleep, which was a good thing. He slept maybe two hours a night, and spent the rest of his time stealing identities, wiring funds, and making more money than both his parents combined. He told himself he was saving for college, but the thrill of his secret life of crime was 
steadily eroding his interest in an Ivy League education.

See? Well, here’s a few other flat characters you guys can write about (feel free to come up with your own)

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Remember: Don’t hold yourself back wondering if a certain idea would manage to impress the audience. This exercise is just to get your creative juices flowing. In the end, you might end up coming up with a seriously crappy character or a character that’ll inspire a whole new story, you never know. So just let this be as wild as possible.

  1. Emma, a typical high school mean girl who lost her parents at a young age.
  2. Simon, a nervous stuttering little boy who was bullied by his friends/siblings/someone important to him.
  3. Julian, a wannabe dark villain who absolutely loathes the protagonists for no reason.
  4. Chandler and Monica, two extremely protective parents who never agree with their kids.

Go ahead, show me what you come up with in the comments. I’d love to read them all!

What’s next though? We Know the character, but what about the plot?

You know I would tell you to keep a dream journal or something along the lines, but since we don’t have a lot of time here, let’s try something totally bizarre.

Let’s write about a toilet that eats people!

Nah, I’m just kidding (which shouldn’t discourage you from using that idea if you’re interested), let’s try something else.


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Cliché Plots, Crazy Characters:

Is it possible to write a high school love triangle drama and still be original?


The most overused clichés can turn into stories with the most original experiences, if you make sure to dress your characters in something your readers will not be expecting.

For example, let’s create a high school love triangle drama free of clichés.

The necessary elements for a love triangle: Two boys, one girl. (I know it can be the other way around as well but let’s just stick with this for a moment please?)

Boy #1: Steve, the high school nerd who secretly works as a hacker for a mafia.

Boy #2: Jason, a boy hiding his identity from everyone because he is the son of the mafia Steve works for.

And finally, our girl. Let’s say she’s a typical fangirl who loves fantasizing about being kidnapped by a mafia and then fall in love with him.


Now put all the characters together in a love triangle, will that be a cliché? In some ways, yes. But that’s only what I could come up with in two minutes.

If you spend a few more hours working and researching on this, adding layers of subplot and internal/external conflict to the story, I’m sure by the time you’re finished you wouldn’t even need to include the cliché in your story anymore!

Well, here are a few other clichés that have been overused in the past few years. Try and turn them into something different with the character you created in the first exercise:

  1. A Millionaire sick of his money and the fake people around him falls in love with a girl because she is “natural” and “truthful”.
  2. All the powers of a superhero are in one small object that can be easily stolen.
  3. The hot loner guy who never spoke to anybody and generally behaved like a jerk falls for the pretty girl who ends up discovering he is the most sensitive man EVER.
  4. A kid who’s a jerk because of his/her parents.

Feel free to come up with your own. I would really like to read the clichés you guys break with your characters! 



Article by KanishmaRay


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