Name: You can call me Novus…or N.o.S. for short…
What’s up with the name?: “Novus Ordo Seclorum” means “New Order of the Ages” in Latin. I chose the name for personal reasons, primarily because of something that happened a few years ago. I used to write on a different website, and did so happily for four years. One day, the site got shut down and I lost everything that I had posted. After that, I suffered from writer’s block for about a year and a half until I caught an episode of Teen Titans on Cartoon Network and rekindled my love for the show. After that, I came up with the idea for “Collateral Damage” and felt compelled to write once more. That experience was like a second chance for me…a new beginning. Thus, the name.
The Novus Creed:
1. A Little Effort Goes a Long Way The single most important aspect of writing is the effort the author puts into his or her work. The more effort put forth, the better the final product will be. The ability to write is a gift. It is the ability to express oneself fully. As such, putting forth the effort to ensure that your musings are expressed to their fullest is key.
2. It is NOT a Race Metaphorically speaking, writing is NOT a sprint; it is a long distance run. Every chapter should be approached as its own separate entity; part of a greater creation. Therefore, each chapter warrants a certain amount of attention in order for that greater creation (your story) to be the best it can be. It can be tempting to crank out a chapter a day. I know, I used to do that, too. It’s about quality, though, and quality and speed don’t generally go hand-in-hand.
3. Variety- The Spice of Life: Writing is a beautiful hobby because it can be done anytime or anyplace…whenever imagination strikes. One’s muse cannot be moderated… We are not masters of our inspiration. We are merely conduits, guided in whatever direction imagination takes us. Since we do not know when or where inspiration will strike, it is best to get accustomed to writing AWAY from the computer. I started doing this with great success. In fact, the entire ending of Collateral Damage was written in a notebook while I worked, ate, or relaxed. Then, I simply typed it up after the fact.
4. Educate Yourself: Believability is central to all solid plots. Writers who do their research can fabricate storylines that grip our attention and capture our imagination, making for a wholly enjoyable reading experience. So, when writing your story, be sure you pay great attention to detail and if you are unsure of a fact, look it up. Not only does it make your story more realistic, but you learn quite a bit in the process!
5. Complacency and Other Sins: Always strive for improvement. As the old adage goes, “Nothing wilts faster than laurels that are rested upon.” No matter who you are or what you have written, your goal should always be to get a little better every time you pick up your pen.
6. Be a Sponge: Learn from those who do things well AND from those who do things poorly. I firmly believe that, when we read, we can improve our writing style by examining how other authors approach points in their story. Do they build adequate suspense leading up to their climax? Is their climax well done or is it weak? If it was strong, what was good about it? If it was weak, what was it lacking? Examining what individual authors do well or poorly allows us to find strengths and faults in our own writing. Read as much as you can and read purposefully…thoroughly. Be sure to take something away from your reading experience!
7. Don’t Write To a Specific End: There is no greater mistake than writing to a specific end. That is not to say that you shouldn’t plan, but be sure to leave yourself some wiggle room in case things go awry. I used to write to a specific end, but I was not a strong enough writer to lead all aspects of my story to that end. The result would be a lackluster story, rife with contradictions and loose ends. It is much better—and less frustrating—to leave things as open for yourself as possible. Perhaps the ending you reach won’t be the one you have foreseen, but it will be more fluid and organic.
8. Write Twice: PROOFREAD! With your first draft, try and capture all of the raw emotions and feelings that you are trying to posit with your story. Write it out, put it to paper, and flesh it out. Then, take a look back. Check your spelling, grammar, diction, syntax, etc. Does your work flow? Is it to your liking? If the answer is yes, than post. If not, look again. I have written some scenes five or six times until I get them right (see rule number 2.) Only then will I post. Remember, quality over quantity.
9. Open Your Ears, Thicken Your Skin: Not everyone is going to like what you write, even if it is well done. Everyone has their own idea of what a good story is, which is why there are a myriad of genres and styles. When you receive criticism, try to take something from it. If the reviewer is being helpful, open your ears. Incorporating their advice may help you improve. If the reviewer is being hurtful, thicken your skin. I have received my fair share of flames over the years and while it is never pleasant, it happens. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, forge forward, and keep writing.
10. Don't Waste Words: Remember that writing is an act of precision. In order to move your plot forward and to keep your reader engaged, try to avoid being too wordy. I have been, and sometimes still am, guilty of this. In the early chapters of Collateral Damage, I hadn't written in a while and it shows. As the story progressed, the writing gets more refined; by the final four chapters, it was much better than it was initially. Looking back, there were a lot of points in that story where I wasted words. I could have advanced the plot or said what I needed to say in fewer words, but I would get caught up in the moment and keep writing. If you were to compare one of my newer stories to Collateral Damage, one thing you will notice is fewer adjectives and adverbs. I'm not saying that you don't want to give your reader some imagery to enjoy, but you don't want to spell everything out for them, either. Sometimes, less is more. It is a lesson I have learned and try to improve on each time I put pen to paper.
1. Characterization Is Key If you know the characters and like the characters, DO NOT misrepresent the characters. It may seem harmless, but it is not. Intentionally skewing a character’s personality (unless explicitly stated) is misleading. The reader will probably put off by it. It may seem like a good idea to write a story where Raven and Beast Boy throw caution to the wind and enjoy a passionate night of lovemaking. That is, of course, not plausible (unless the plot dictates otherwise.) She is not known for outward emotional expression, and he is rather modest in amorous situations. Combine the two and what do you have? Longing… Latent passion… A romance encumbered by circumstance… NOT a one night stand.
If you want to write a story reminiscent of Danielle Steel, write an original. There is always a market for tawdry, vapid drivel.
2. Research a Character’s Backstory Don’t make something up. If you do not know how Victor Stone became Cyborg or why Robin left Batman to join the Titans, look it up. There are plenty of websites out there that will give you the straight facts. Keeping with the storyline of your given fandom makes your stories more genuine and proves emphatically that you are, indeed, a fan.
3. Original Characters If you are going to be bold and include an original character or two in your story, be sure that they are realistic and not Mary Sues/Gary Stus (perfect characters in every conceivable way.) It may seem like a grand plan to create a character who is gorgeous, articulate, intellectual, and indomitable but—unfortunately—it isn’t realistic. Flaws humanize characters. Raven’s powers force her to keep and even keel; Cyborg’s mechanical parts have limitations; Robin may be skillful, but he is still only human, etc. It isn’t remotely interesting to have an infallible character. What is Superman without Kryptonite? Boring.
4. Plots Foremost, have one. A series of half-hearted songfics strung together does not constitute a plot. Plots are complex. They are layered. They involve a series of events or multiple series’ of events which instigate and perpetuate change within the characters. In short, a character should not be entirely same by the end of a story. Something about or within that character should have progressed, regressed, evolved, or devolved during the course of your story…otherwise, your plot was ineffective and your story likely suffered for it. The changes do not have to be drastic…they just have to be noticeable.
5. Innovation and Imagination Be imaginative. Push the envelope. Try to do something that hasn’t been done before, or try to put your own unique spin on a preexisting theme. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; they are starting points, not stumbling blocks. If you can imagine it, you can pull it from your mind and commit it to paper. All it takes is a little time, effort, and dedication.
Reviews and Replies:
I have replied to every review that I have received. If you are willing to take the time to comment on something I wrote I will gladly take a few minutes to thank you or answer your questions. It’s all about reciprocity.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Feel free to PM me! I love hearing from all of my fellow writers. I will do my best to help you out if I can, answer your questions, etc. Despite my Latin pseudonym, I am a pretty nice guy.
Also, if you have Skype, feel free to contact me! My username is: tu.fui.ego.eris
I have been given the wonderful gift of fanart! The lovely and talented Terraform has created a gorgeous work of art to accompany my TMNT story, "Gypsy." Her talent is undeniable! Also, be sure to check out her stories right here on FF!