So you made the mistake of telling someone that you're writing a novel, and now you feel a sense of urgency to get the book finished. But why do this to yourself? How long has it been since you first started charting your course? Six months? A year? Two years? Maybe you have even written quite a bit, but you know that it's a long way from perfection. So what do you do - rush it, just to get it done? The answer should, of course, be no - not if you are passionate about what you are writing and want it to be something that makes you proud. After all, there's a lot of precedent from successful novelists, and comparing the time frames of their writing to your own could do you a lot of good to help relieve that pressure you imposed upon yourself.
If you have ever wanted to write a Fantasy or Sci-Fi story, you've undoubtedly wondered when the perfect time to write the story would be. You may know the story you want to tell, but maybe you're not sure about the ins and outs of how the story will interact with the universe you hope to create. Sometimes, this can cause what some writers call "Worldbuilding Hell," a rabbit hole that many authors fall into that makes it hard to get back into the real story writing. So, how can you avoid the worldbuilding trap while still telling the story you want to tell in an appropriately designed world of your choosing? Here are some tips to consider.
Have you ever noticed how sometimes in films and tv shows, when two women are on screen together, they tend to talk about men? Whether it bothers you or not, you're definitely not the only one to notice this phenomenon. Back in 1985, there was a comic strip by American cartoonist Alison Bechdel that called out the normalization of this phenomenon in modern cinema. The three-part "test" explained in the comic strip was that one character of the strip would only see a movie if 1) there are two women in the movie who 2) talk to each other about 3) something other than a man. The punchline was that it was so rare for this to happen that hardly any movies passed the test. Because this strip's message became so popular, the Bechdel Test was named in her honor.
In books and movies and television, have you ever noticed something that keeps showing up in the story? Perhaps it's a word or phrase that gets repeated over and over in a book, or an image or some other visual indicator that you keep seeing in a television show or movie. Either way, you've probably picked up on this intentional clue from the storyteller about the message they are trying to send you. You've discovered a motif.
Often times in storytelling there are cases where two or more plots or events are linked together and play out side by side in order to add depth and additional meaning to the overall story. When this happens, it's called a parallel narrative, and there are different applications of the concept throughout the various forms of storytelling. The most common place to find parallel narratives is film and television, but it remains very common in literature as well.