When Should You Use a Pen Name?

As a Writer, you’ve probably heard about pen names before. If not, well a pen name, also known as a pseudonym, is a name your book/work is published under. You may be wondering, should I use a pen name? Well that’s entirely up to you! I’ll list some situations below on when to use one.

1- Privacy

Let’s say writing is just a side-thing for you, or maybe it is your main job but you don’t want it too caught up with your personal life, this is a perfect situation to use a pen name. However, keep in mind that publishers will still get your real name as you have to sign legal documents to publish.

2- Confusion

If your name is pretty basic or common, you might want to use a pen name since many other writers probably published under that name and you don’t want your readers to be confused. You can simply check if your name is used by other writers by going on Amazon or Google and typing it out.

3- Branding

The name displayed on your book plays a big role in branding. Is your name suitable for the genre you’re writing under? For example, if you’re writing a horror novel, you wouldn’t want the name displayed on your book to be too soft or innocent sounding. You may be wondering if a reader would actually care about the author’s name. Well from personal experience as a reader, I’ve realized that I’ve done it multiple times subconsciously. So choose a genre you typically write under and brainstorm pen names that suit it.

4- Simplicity

Having a super long and complicated name is cool and all, but as a reader, would you pronounce a writer’s name that is too hard to pronounce? The easier it is to read the better, because not only will people read it out loud more often but they will probably remember a simpler names over a complicated one. So if your name is too long or hard to pronounce, I’d suggest using a pseudonym. This doesn’t mean that your pen name can’t be unique, just make sure it’s memorable.

How to Choose a Good Pen Name:

1Research

You can use online name generators, or go to a top 100 names list and write down your favorites. This part is probably the most fun when it comes to pen names, so enjoy it! I created my pen name by taking the first two letters of my first name and the last two letters of my last name. There isn’t any right way to do it. You could also write down a list of names you already like and work based on that. Or you could rearrange the letters in your real name- although not everyone will get a good name using this method. (Use a Anagram Generator to make this easier)

2- Use it

Now to make sure no one takes the name you came up with, set up whatever social media account you use with that name. If you’re planning to keep a writer’s blog, create a domain, and if you’re ready to publish, do it!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you for reading, make sure to check out my other posts to help you on your writing journey.

Finding Inspiration to Write in Quarantine

Sadly, we aren’t in a great situation right now. With the massive spread of COVID-19, more places are closing down and lots of places are under full lockdown. However, on the bright side, we have way more time now to do other things we never had the time for. For example: Learning a Language, Practicing an old hobby, Working out or for us writers, writing. It may be harder to write because of lack of motivation and the sudden free time is overwhelming.

So how can you be inspired to write?

MAKE TIME FOR IT

The best way to start writing is simply by making time for it. Set a schedule using Google Sheets, by Writing it down on a paper, or just use your phone notes. I personally find it easier to commit to something when I write it down physically and hang it somewhere I always look at (my wardrobe). Schedule out the best times you’re free to write or the most times you usually have inspiration- whether that’s at night or during the day.

MOTIVATE YOURSELF

During these times, it’s a bit hard to write for most; so motivate yourself. If you write on notebooks, try ordering new ones online. If that’s not possible, try to decorate it, use a new notebook, organize it, remove unnecessary pages, etc. If you use a laptop/computer to write, organize your files, delete unwanted things, finish incomplete work, etc. Getting a new start will motivate you to get back into writing. A good way to motivate yourself is to start a writer’s journal.

MUSIC

Another way I like to motivate myself is by listening to music while writing, if you also enjoy that, create new playlists or add new songs onto current playlists for something new to listen to and refresh your mind with new ideas. You can check out my playlist for inspiration!

CHANGE IT UP

If you usually write in your bedroom, try to write somewhere else, sometimes the feeling of boredom and not having inspiration to write is because of the same routine. Especially nowadays since most people are at home, staying in the same room might get boring. If it’s too noisy in other rooms, try wearing headphones and listen to music to cover up the noise.

I hope this post inspired you to get back into writing in these unfortunate times, make sure to follow my Instagram for weekly tips that could inspire you more and help you improve your writing. Thank you for reading!

How to Start a Writer's Journal

A Writer’s Journal is a journal that keeps records of your ideas, inspiration, and thoughts for future reference. It helps enhance creativity when you have writer’s block or just don’t know what to write about.

Why you should use a Writer’s Journal:

  • Whenever you run out of ideas, you can go through the Journal.
  • Free of distraction that writing on devices could cause.
  • It’s fun!

How to choose a notebook:

  • Make sure the paper is thick enough for the pen to not bleed through.
  • The notebook can be big or small depending on your preference.
  • If you make lots of mistakes, it’s better to get a spiral notebook since it’s easier to tear out pages.
  • Get a hard cover for protection, if you’re planning to take your notebook everywhere.

Some notebook I personally tried and or heard about:

(Moleskine, Smythson, Leuchtturm)

Obviously, You don’t have to buy an expensive notebook, any good quality notebook will do! As long as it meets the description I mentioned above, it should be good to use.

So what can you write in a Writer’s Journal?

  • You can start by introducing who you are and why you write; this way, if you ever lose motivation to write you can see what makes you write in the first place.
  • Write about random conversations you overheard.
  • Ideas you get in the shower or before you sleep that you don’t want to forget.
  • Interesting stories that happened to you or someone you know.
  • Dreams or nightmares.
  • Practice describing any object or person in front of you.
  • Write new vocabulary you learned.
  • Write a sentence you like that you want to use later.
  • Inspiring quotes
  • You can even print out images and stick it in your journal!

If you end up starting a writer’s journal, I’d love to see it! You can share it with me on Instagram!

Character Development 101

What is Character Development?

Character development is the process of creating a fully rounded, complex, and believable character within your writing with the purpose of making readers interested in them and their journey.

Other than the plot, Characters will make or break your story. So making sure you give them good traits. In this blog series, we’re going to build strong characters from scratch!

The first thing you need to know is that there are four basic types of characters: Static, Dynamic, Flat, and Round.

Types of CharactersStaticDynamicFlatRound
DescriptionCharacter that stays the same throughout the whole story.A character that changes due to the events in the story. Usually a dynamic character is also a round character.A character we know very limited information about. A complex character we know a lot of information about.
ExampleDraco Malfoy from the Harry Potter SeriesHarry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger from the Harry Potter SeriesCrabbe and Goyle from the Harry Potter SeriesHermoine Granger from the Harry Potter series

Lots of people get confused between static and flat characters, so what’s the difference?

Static characters are characters that could be significant to the story but just don’t change at all, whereas flat characters can usually be described in one word like “Teacher” “Mean” “Considerate”, their personalities are not complex. Most flat characters are static but static characters aren’t necessarily flat. Flat characters still have to serve a role in moving the plot. Static characters can be the protagonist is a story and can play major roles, while flat characters can only play side roles. An example of a flat character is Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. While an example of a static character is Sherlock Holmes or Scar from The Lion King, They both play major roles yet their personalities don’t change/develop.

So now that you’ve determined what type of character your character is, it’s time to work on them and develop them accordingly.

How to write Dynamic Characters:

  • Make sure they have flaws, no person is perfect. Start by making a list of their traits, good and bad. Good traits: Patient, Loving, Considerate, Honest, Loyal, Respectful, Intelligent, Independent, etc. Bad traits: Arrogant, Bad-tempered, Bossy, Cruel, Dishonest, Forgetful, Hypocritical, Impolite, etc.
  • Give your characters preferences, have them have favorite foods, shows, books.
  • Give them dreams, goals and motivations. This is what keeps your story going, your characters should try to reach their goals, and you being the evil writer will make sure they’ll accomplish it in the hardest way ever.
  • Give your character a good backstory (history), You don’t have to reveal it all at once. It’s just easier to come up with character motivations and goals when you know their past.
  • Make them have enemies, weaknesses and fear. This could be other characters, mental illness, or phobias. Your characters need obstacles and conflicts for them to learn and grow.
  • Plan out how they’re going to change throughout the story, for example: His mother’s death caused character X to become distant, later on meeting character Y makes him social again. You have to know each event that causes your character to become either better or worse.

(We will get into each aspect in detail later on in future posts)

How to write Static Characters:

  • As we did with the Dynamic Characters, come up with the list of traits they have. But remember, these traits won’t change throughout the entire story, so make sure you’re satisfied with all of them.
  • Once again, give them preferences, dreams, motivations, weaknesses, and a backstory.
  • DON’T forget that these traits won’t change at all, make sure you like everything (and if you want to change anything later on, it’s not a big deal as long as your story is still a draft, so don’t get too stressed over this)

How to write Round Characters:

  • Round characters are like Dynamic characters except for one thing, they don’t need to change throughout the story, they can be round and static or round and dynamic, whatever you prefer! As long as the readers know a lot about them, they’re considered Round characters.
  • So like the Dynamic characters, write down the character’s strength and weaknesses, their motivations, their backstory, their likes and dislikes and anything you know about them.

How to write Flat Characters:

  • A Flat character is usually a character that readers don’t know much about and they usually just serve to keep the plot going.
  • So choose your character’s purpose in the story, how do they help the plot line?

Questions to help develop characters:

  • What’s their backstory? How does it affect their motivations?
  • What’s their full name?
  • What’s their nationality?
  • What are some of their hobbies?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What their deepest secret?
  • What’s their biggest dream?
  • What’s their biggest fear?
  • Do they have any medical conditions or mental illnesses?
  • Favorite food?
  • Favorite color?
  • Favorite show?
  • Favorite book?

You can download some worksheets I created to help you with the types of characters! I’ll put the link below! I’d greatly appreciate it if you could support me on my Ko-fi account, and thank you for reading this post, hope it helped!

link: https://ko-fi.com/album/Character-Development-Types-of-Character-sheets-C0C21I47G

How Can You Gain Readers?

As writers, we obviously want active readers who enjoy our work and comment on it. But how can we grow such an audience?

1- Read other people’s work

A good way to gain a new reader and possibly a new friend is by reading other writers’ work and commenting on them, or giving them constructive criticism. However, don’t just comment stuff without actually meaning it. It definitely shows. Comment something genuine and useful for the writer to grow. This way you’re an active part of the writing community and most writers really appreciate when someone comments on their work and gives them tips to improve. Who knows, they might read your work and comment back.

2- Update frequently

This tip only applies to people who publish their work a chapter at a time, like most Wattpad users for example. If you publish your work one chapter at a time, make sure to do it frequently, since readers probably won’t wait for a book that gets updated once every few month no matter how well-written it is. They will probably move on and start reading something else. However, don’t update too frequently to give readers some time to get excited. You could also create a posting schedule and tell your readers about it; that way readers know when to expect the next update.

3- Promote your work the right way

This one can be a double-sided sword, promoting your work can really help grow an audience but it should be done the right way, don’t promote your work anywhere and all the time, it can really annoy people and make them uninterested in your book. Here are some good ways to promote:

  • Talk about your book in the right place, like writing clubs and clubs on Wattpad that are meant for talking about your book.
  • Don’t talk about your book in random Youtube or Instagram comment sections, this can really turn a person off.
  • You could join Writers’ Café discord server and promote your work in the self-promo section!

4- Reply to comments

You obviously don’t have to reply to every comment you get, but try replying to any comment you like or a comment that gave you constructive criticism, and thank them for taking the time to comment. This makes readers feel like they’re closer to you as a person and it also makes other readers want to comment.

5- Have an attractive book cover

We all know the famous saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Sadly, most readers will do that, so take some time to create a good book cover or pay someone to do it for you.

6- Add a good title and story description

Other than the book cover, a good title and story description is what grabs readers attention next. Make your title short and catchy. Your story description should explain what your book is about without revealing way too much. It should make the readers excited to know more.

Thank you for reading this post! Hope you enjoyed! Check below from my social media links!