Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Revision Process-

Well, my novel's first draft is finished (hard to believe), and it is now time to begin planning the revisions. So, I thought I would explain what it is exactly that I do in this momentous task before me. I have a ten-step process, that, though sometimes may seem to be grueling, is very effective and very rewarding. Here are those 10 Steps.

Step 1: Convert Your Rough Draft To a PDF File. Most word processors should do this for you. Convert your novel to PDF at every draft stage and back it up. (This is for future reference, and it is good to have extras, just in case you hate everything you do to your novel in the revision stages.)



Step 2: Take Time Off. I covered a little of this in my last post, so I will keep this brief. But I always take time off from my novel once a draft is done. Usually about a month. That way, when I come back at it, it will no longer be so romanticized in my mind, and I can come to it with fresh eyes and new perspective. Take some time off. (But keep writing! Just write other things. Don't lose this momentum you have created for yourself this month-- keep at it!)



Step 3: The Initial Read-Through. The initial read-through is where I just sweep through it, giving the whole novel the once over and assess the damage. Along the way I fix blatant misspellings and grammatical errors, as well. I'll chew on it over night, thinking about what is structurally wrong, where the plot-holes are, and where I was unclear in my writing. Convert this much to PDF and back it up.



Then I get to work with...

Step 4: The Highlighters. Whether it is using a hard copy of my novel and real highlighters, or simply using the virtual highlighters on your computer, I always break out the highlighters. I use lots of colors for this stage. This is where your novel becomes a work of art (get it?). I go through and mark everything a different color. For instance, dialogue will be yellow, and back story pink; descriptions green and exposition purple. (The color coding doesn't matter, so long as it is consistent throughout the novel, and you know what every color stands for.) This allows me to see very easily and clearly where there is too much of something in one place and not enough in another. Now I go through and try to sprinkle everything more evenly throughout. There may still be some blocks of color, but you should have made your pages look more like a rainbow at this point. Covert your colored pages to PDF, back it up.



And move on to...

Step 5: Concision Check Point. This is the part that always gives me the most trouble. Ever heard the phrase "Kill Your Darlings"? Well, this is where you get to do that. "In other words, you get to get rid of your most precious and self-indulgent passages for the greater good of your literary work." (To read more on this, click here.) This is where you cut out all of those scenes you really liked in the first several drafts, but that don't really further your story along. And not just scenes; conversations, sequences, even extra unnecessary words. All those words you added that you really did not need? Well, this is where they get cut. Every. One. Of. Them. Be merciless. Be cruel. Be concise. Then convert it to PDF, back it up, and that will lead you into...




Step 6: Paving Over Plot Holes. You may or may not need this step. But this is where you go back and fix all of those things that don't make sense. This is where you make that random chain of events all link together to weave one great story. Things are added here. Things are taken away. This is where you can even go so far as to add new characters and subplots, if your story calls for it. Get those creative juices flowing, and get to work! Then convert it to PDF and back it up. 





Step 7: The Beta Readers. You have checked spelling. You have fixed sagging middles. You have paved over plot holes. You have read your manuscript about a million times. Now is the time for others to read your book... and critique it. This part is scary, I'll admit; making your work vulnerable to another's critical eye, letting someone else read what has for so long been hidden on your hard drive, and then talking about it? But this part is where some of the bast changes will happen. Print out ten copies of your book, and give it to ten people (preferably not in your family) to read over and critique. Give them one month (in that time, work on something else, and take time to read. A lot.) Expect to only receive five copies back. (People are busy, and they do not always have time to read over your book and mark it up. Expect this, and plan for it. If all ten respond, great! If not, well, you were warned.) I might even go so far as to provide red pens that they can mark up the book with, and questionnaires at the end of my manuscript, with questions like: How clear was the story? What scene/image sticks best in your mind, having read the whole book? What suggestions do you have for the plot? What would have made it better in your estimation? (Those questions are just examples; go ahead and use your own questions.) Now, before you go and do this, hear me out. Everyone will have their own opinions. There will be differing opinions on different things. You do not have to worry about these. If everyone says something completely different, you don't really need to worry about any of them (unless it's grammar or spelling or something like that) unless you want to. However, if there are two or more people who say the same or very similar things, those things you might want to consider and work on.  After that, covert it to PDF, back it up, and move on.





Step 8: Step Away For A Moment. Take a breather. Very brief, only a few days at the very longest, but still, relax. Work on something else (rules and regulations for Step 2 apply here, too, but in a much shorter time span. 




Let what your readers have said sink in, let it simmer and percolate, and then?

Step 9: Attack Full Force. This is where you open a new, blank document, and you retype the entire book. This part is the most time consuming, but also the most rewarding. You do not have to retype everything word for word. Make it better. This is, after all, a revision. So revise. And then, when you have finished this step, convert it to PDF and back it up.




Step 10: Repeat As Needed. At this point, your novel may be done. But it may not. This is where you go back to step one, and you repeat each step as needed. You might not have to do this; you might have to a couple more times. But after you have done all of these steps and you are satisfied (for the most part), your job is over. You have done it. You have written a completed manuscript. Now is the time to send off your novel to editors and agents and publishing houses. And smile; you have earned it.





So, this is what I do for revisions. It can, in some ways, be much more challenging than the initial write-it-down process, but this is what takes that lump of clay and turns it into a beautiful and finely crafted chalice. This may not work 100% for you, but most of these are eclectic tips and tricks I have learned over the years, and I would encourage you, if you plan on revising your novel, to try to follow it, with only small changes to the plan laid out before you. Also, I would be interested in hearing what it is you do differently. Let me know in the comments!And, as always, Happy Writing! 



Friday, November 27, 2015

So, Now What?

I have been asked several times of late, what I will do when I am done with my novel (the rough draft, of course). So, I decided, I would write about it here, because obviously finishing a novel is not enough writing for me for one day. But, eh, why not?

So, now that I am done with my novel, and I have Backed It Up several thousand times, just for safety; now that I have reveled in the fact that I actually did it, despite what I thought last week; now that I have fawned over the winner's certificate and banner, over the lovely Purple Bar of Awesomeness that I have been awarded, I am ready to begin.

Begin what?

Begin nothing.

That is the first step to the revision process. I take time away from my now-completed novel, and I let it simmer on the back burner of my mind for a while. In the meantime, I read. A lot. And maybe even start working on an outline for another book, another novel, another story. After all, there is always another story in my brain, just itching to get out. Actually, I have an idea that I got in the midst of NaNoWriMo, and it was so good, I was tempted to stop my current book and just write it. To Pants it. However, I restrained myself (and I am glad I did now!) and now I have an idea that has been simmering and is now ready to begin boiling.



I will add another post later on The Revision Process. I just thought I would tell you all what I am going to be doing with my time now that NaNoWriMo is over.

Interjection: Just because you finished your novel in November does not mean you have the rest of the year off! No, no, no, the rest of the year is for writing, just as much as this month was. Maybe not as concentrated and crazy, but you really need to keep the discipline of writing every day up. Just Write!

So, now that you are done, or are nearing the end of your novel, please remember that now is the time to take a break. Step back for a few days without writing anything (just a few days, not any longer-- don't break the habit!), and catch up on that laundry that you have been meaning to do all month. Go see some friends that you have neglected for the past thirty days. Go on a weekend trip if you want. But whatever you do, for at least two days, do not write anything.

After that? Have at it. Not your NaNoWriMo Novel, but something else, something new. Whether you are pantsing it, and just writing whatever, or beginning your first draft of an outline, get to work. Break is over, and it is time to buckle down again. But enjoy yourself.

And, as always, Happy Writing!

Pep Talk #3-

So, after I won NaNoWriMo today, I realized that I have not given all of my pep talks. So, I am here to remedy that.

Today's pep is a song. This is the song that led me to NaNoWriMo, and the song I have been singing all. Month. Long.

I hope that you will be inspired by it, and that it will spur you on to hit that 50K. You can do it!


Remember: Write On, Right On!

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 27, 2015

Well...

I finished my novel and won NaNoWriMo this morning! Woo, hoo! I am very, very, very excited at the moment, if you cannot, for some odd reason, tell.


I cannot really believe I did it. Can't believe it's over. Is this real? I hope so. I got up this morning and said, "I am going to finish my novel this morning." I did not really believe myself then, but, boy, oh, boy, I do now! Still kind of in a euphoric stupor. I did it!

Not much else to say here, so I will leave you all to write.

Happy Writing, and may you, too, soon see that beautiful little Purple Bar.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!
I'll be honest with you: I have eaten so much today, I don't know how I will be able to write all that much. But I will do it. I am now to the denouement section of my book, and the words are finally coming quickly and easily.

I hope that all of you have had as wonderful a Thanksgiving as I have; if so, it's been pretty darn great!  May this one be better than the last Thanksgiving, and not half so good as the next one is sure to be!

I have written 1,044 words today, and I am just getting fired up. Hoping to finish tonight or tomorrow (!!!). Only 3,495 more words to go!

Well, I am going to go now. More words to write, more people to meet, more food to eat.

Until the next time, Happy Writing!

Word Count at the End of the Day: 48,575 words

Monday, November 23, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 23, 2015

It is the week of Thanksgiving, and the last full week of NaNoWriMo. Woo, hoo!

Having just gotten back from an incredible (if utterly exhausting) weekend in the mountains (that you are probably sick of hearing about), I have had a little trouble getting started today. But that's normal. I always have trouble getting started. I have only written about 195 words today, and 90% of them did not further the story along... I was splitting contractions. (It's not cheating. Really, it's not!)

But I am not too worried. I just have to buckle down and write. And I will.


So, I know I have been out for a while, but I need to go now. I have 9,670 more words to write.           
As always, Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 20-22, 2015

Well, as you know, it is November 23 today, but I thought I would give you an overview of what I did over the weekend (in the mountains!) via a quick Q & A session. Shall we begin?

Q. How much did you write?

A. None. Nothing. Not a single word.

Q. What did you do?

A. SO much. I hiked, I played about a million outdoor games, I spent time with some awesome friends, I watched some crazy people jump into the lake (in November!), I climbed a water tower (and didn't die), and overall, had an amazing trip.

Aren't these mountains gorgeous? It was beautiful
out all weekend.


Q. What was the most exciting thing you did?

A. Umm, the whole weekend counts as the most exciting thing, I think.

Q. What was the most frightening thing you did?

A. Climbing down the water tower. Almost fell, almost died, whew, glad that's over.

Q. Are you glad you took so much time off writing in the midst of NaNoWriMo?

A. Totally. It was really worth it.

Q. Do you think you can still win, even with that time off?

A. Absolutely. I wrote enough before I went to be safe until the Tuesday after I got back, just so I wouldn't stress about it. And now I can see not only the light at the end of the tunnel, but also the outlines of trees and plants and life that grows out there.


Q. What do you plan to do now that you are back?                                                                                    
A. Is that a real question? I plan to write, write, write!                                                                              

So, those are the questions I will answer for today. If you have any of your own questions, please,  ask them in the comments.                                                                                                                         
And, as always, Happy Writing!

Friday, November 20, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 20, 2015

So, it is the 20th. Ten days away from the end of NaNoWriMo. Where did that month go? I don't know, I was writing.

Today is the day that winning begins for all those overachievers who have already finished their novels. (It is my goal to be among them one day.) I, however, am not among them. I have written, as of right now, 38,131 words. My goal for today is to hit the 40,000 mark. That means I have to write 1,869 more words today. I have already written A LOT.

BIG NEWS!!!

Since writing the above, I have written like mad. I wrote 3,798 words! And that means (Drum roll, please!) that I have reached 40,000 words! Woot! I am so excited right now I could jump up and down.



As I am leaving today to go to the mountains, I wanted to get nice and ahead so I could have stress-free weekend, And stress free it will be. I am very, very, very happy with what happened for me today.

But now, I have to go pack, for I have not done so yet (thanks a lot, novel). So this, I fear, will be au revoir until Monday.

Keep up the good work, my fellow WriMoians!

And as always, Happy Writing!

The Importance of Backing Up Your Novel-

Ah, backing up your novel. So important, but so underdone.

Why is it that so few people will actually back it up? Since when has a little reinforcement hurt anything?

At this point in November, if you have not already, we are getting ready to validate our novels and get out beautiful Winner! signs. It is sooooo very close now, and yet still people refuse to back up their novel. And why? Let me cover the reasons I have heard, why they are terrible reasons, and how to remedy them.

1. I do not have anything with which to back it up on. Untrue. You may not have a thumb drive (a.k.a. flash drive, USB, memory stick, etc.) that you can use or are willing to use, but which is worse-- someone reading over the first couple pages of your manuscript (after which they will most likely toss it aside, because, really? First drafts are kind of dull.), or losing said manuscript because you were too afraid to use the stupid thumb drive. Just. Use. It.



2. I have no other means of saving it. Untrue. There are so many ways that you can save your manuscript, finished or otherwise. Personally, I email myself mine either everyday, or every time I write something I really like, or every time I cross a milestone, whichever comes first (and all the others, too.). I find this is easy, effective, and efficient. I can now go to any computer with Internet access and retrieve my novel to work on. So, if my laptop were to get fried, I would not shed big tears (okay, maybe I would. But not big, Big, BIG tears) over it, for, lo, and behold! My novel is safe and sound and ready to be finished.



3. I don't need to back it up, my computer (which I named Ol' Trusty) will not fail me. Out of every excuse I have heard, this by far is the worst. I hope that it is not you, and if it is, come on, it's a computer. They are some of the most fickle devices of all time, and just as soon as you start believing yours will never crash, then guess what? CRASH. And what have you got? Many tears to shed and words to re-write.



So, how can you back up your novel easily and efficiently? Get a, empty thumb drive, if you do not already have one, and put your novel on it, adding the date (and current word count, if you can) to it. How often? Everyday. Every Hour. How ever often you want, but at least once a day. If you cannot do that, email it to yourself. If you have no email, make one. If you can't do that because of parents or some other passable excuse, use your NaNo mail and send it to yourself there. If not there, suck it up and use your parents email. You have to do it, back it up. And save it to your computer, too, very often. Do you want to lose your entire day's work, or, even worse, your entire months work? I didn't think so.

Back. It. Up.

And, as always, Happy Writing!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 19, 2015

Hello, my dear readers!

Well, last night, my Internet connection crashed, so I was unable to add the following to yesterday's Journal, so I thought better late than never, and added it on for today.

"Well, since writing the above, I have written a lot more. I lost my connection to the Internet for a while there, and I think that might be a part of why I wrote so much more. Not, sure, but that's what I am thinking.

I have now written about 2,032 words, but my eyelids are drooping, and I am feeling incredibly tired right now. It's only a little after 10:30, but I have had a long day, so I will be going to bed soon. Probably now, actually.

That's all she wrote for today. (Get it?)

Total Words Written at the End of the Day: 34,520"


Today has been a lot like yesterday when it comes to writing; not much yet, but more to be written! My goal is to hit forty thousand words by tomorrow night, when I leave to the hills. That means I have to write about five thousand, four hundred and seventeen words. Can I do it? I hope so.

A couple days ago, I had a totally thought that I would not make it to 50,000. I was thinking that I would not have enough story to stretch over that many words. When I was at 30,000, I was worried, because I had 20,000 more words. That seemed really daunting. But I powered through, adding what I thought would be filler material. But that "Fluff" turned out to be a new (and pretty awesome, if I do say so myself) plot point. Now I have 15,417 words to write, and I am thinking I may even have to go over that. So, woo, hoo!

Okay, must get back to writing now.

As always, Happy writing!




Wednesday, November 18, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 18, 2015

So, after the amazing streak I had going for a couple days there, of writing 3,000 words a day and change, today has been a little more slack. Or a lot more. It is after 4 in the afternoon, and how much have I written? Like, 400 words. Oops.

 But then, Wednesdays are always a little more slack for me. But never fear! There is still a lot of time left in the day, and I also have all night long. So, I am not too too worried about it all. As soon as I finish this I will get crackin' once more. Will it go well? Here's hoping!

So, I was awake for a long time last night just thinking about writing. And then I dreamed about writing. And when I woke up, the first thing I did was write. This whole NaNoWriMo thing, I think, is becoming more than just an act for the day time. It has become a lifestyle.


Okay, so I know this is not very long, helpful, detailed, or maybe even not very entertaining, but I      
have to go now. More writing is in my future, I see it.                                                                              
As always, Happy Writing!


NaNoWriMo Journal- November 17, 2015

Hello!

So, today I wrote three and a half thousand words in my novel. I am hoping that I am starting a streak for the rest of the week, because that would be really great, to write 3,000 words and change everyday. That would certainly get me to the weekend ready to relax in the mountains!

Big News-- I passed the 30,000 mark! Hooray!


I am now at 32,488 and ready to go to bed, but hey, that ain't half bad. Looking forward to hitting that 35,000 mark very, very soon.

 




Alright, so yesterday, though, I was looking at my outline and my word count, and I thought Oh, no, there is no way I can stretch what I have planned for twenty thousand words. I was beginning to wonder if I could, after all, make it. I was doubting myself and my abilities. But then, with a sudden burst of inspiration, I went back to page one in my novel and began fleshing it out. I know that may seem like cheating, but I really just gave the bare minimum throughout almost the whole thing. No descriptions, very little use of the senses, and not enough conversations. And that way I was able to bump up my word count 1,000 words without having to go much further in my outline. That was pretty great, I have to admit. I plan to finish going through and fleshing out the story tomorrow.

Anyway, very excited about everything that is going on in my novel, and I am ready to take on a new day. Woot!

Until then, Happy Writing!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pep Talk #2-

Good day!

I thought I would fill this pep talk with 15 inspirational quotes. Why 15? I don't know, I just picked a random number. They will be in no particular order. But, as there are so many out, there, let us begin with no further ado, shall we?

                                                                  Number One:


Number Two:

Number 3:

Number 4:

Number 5:

Number 6:

Number 7:

Number 8:

Number 9:

Number 10:

Number 11:

Number 12:

Number 13:

Number 14:

-And Last But By No Means Least-
Number 15:

So, Write On!

And, as always, Happy Writing! 

















Writing Tips: How to Pump Out Words Without Wanting to Strangle Yourself (Or Your Cat)-

So, yesterday I wrote a little over 3,000 words. I know that is not my record, but I was quite pleased with it. But I also know that there are some of you out there who wish they could get just the required 1,667 words out in the course of one day. Or by the end, you hate every word you have written and it takes every bit of self-control and will-power you possess not to press that backspace. (Stupid backspace.) I know this, because I have been one of those people myself.

And it is really hard not to hit that stupid backspace for all it is worth.

On a bad day, you just want to strangle yourself. Or your cat. Or both, you never know. And since we don't really want to want to do that (huh?) we should really remedy the problem, shouldn't we?

So, how do you write a bunch of words in one day, and have them still be words you might not have to "X" out with a red Sharpie in Draft #2? Well, let me get to that by dispelling some common rumors circulated to and by amateur authors.

Rumor #1: You Have to Write It All At Once to Have the Best Flowing Narrative You Can.

True or False? False. I have found that my narrative is at it's worst if I try to word vomit 1,667 words in one sitting. Sure, I might get the words out, and they might be semi-okay, but honestly? I write better if I stretch it out over the course of the day. That might mean ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there, but at the end of the day, I have written my words, and I am more pleased over all with the words written.

Rumor #2: You Have to Follow Your Outline Religiously in Order to Have a Well Structured Story.

True or False? Yep, it's false all right. If you have an outline, which you may or may not (some people write their first draft as the outline), you should think of it as the general basis of your story. It is not the finished product, and chances are that you will change A LOT over the course of the revision process. So don't feel like your outline is sacred and unchangeable. Rather, look for ways to improve it as you write. Have a sagging middle? Light a city or village on fire. Have a really boring info-dump chapter? Well, sprinkle in some alien-invasion-mind-readers, and it just got a lot more exciting. There are so many different ways that this story of yours can go; feel free to explore. Change it. Make it better. Change it totally and completely from your original idea if you want. It is your story, after all. Make it yours.

Rumor #3: Your Story Will Probably Not Be a Bestseller, So It's Not Worth Writing.

True or False? False. True, your story might not be a bestseller, but most books are not bestsellers. So what if this one is never published? It is a story that matters to you, so write it. It is a story that you want to write, so write it. Just write the story.

So, now to how you can write a million words (okay, maybe not a million, but who's counting anyway?) in a day. Here is what I do:

Procrastinate.

Yes, you read that right. Whenever I am writing and trying to get to a word goal, I procrastinate. Now, when I say that, I do not mean that I watch movies and go to parties and do laundry instead of writing. I mean that I take lot and lots (and lots) of mini-breaks when I write. Maybe just enough to read the news, write an email (or blog post), or get some coffee. By taking all of these little breaks, I allow myself to get more excited about my work, and it feels like less of a drudgery. The longer I let something percolate in my brain, the better it gets.

Caution: Only do this if you are dead set on hitting that word goal. Otherwise procrastinating is just procrastinating. Don't procrastinate without a good reason, and not for too long. If you go too long, November 30th will come and you, my friend, will have a lot of good ideas, but only a couple thousand words. So balance it. I procrastinate about as much as I write. This enables me to write more, to feel better about my writing, and to be ready for more.

Remember:



What about you? What are some tips you have for writing good words? Feel free to add your own tips in the comments below!

And, as always, Happy Writing!





Monday, November 16, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 16, 2015

Hello, my faithful readers and fellow writers. I hope that your NaNoWriMoing is going most excellently. Mine is... well, you'll see.

So, I took Saturday off, because I had to much stuff to do, and I was away from home all day long, so I could not write. (I am kind of regretting that now, but...) And I always take Sundays off, so I had two days of absolutely no writing whatsoever. However, fear not! I was so far ahead, that I am just like 100 words behind today. So, that's not too bad. =) 

But that also means I am in for some crazy writing sessions this week, just to get ahead again, because this is the week I leave home to go to the mountains over the weekend. SOOO, I need to buckle down and become a word-cranking machine. 

The good news? I am over the halfway mark and picking up inertia. I can see the light at the end of the novel-tunnel, and I am charging ahead for it. I think I will be able to reach it. (Although right now my "At this rate you will finish on" meter says I am doomed to failure: it says I will be done on December 1st. I. Will. Not. Let. That. Happen.) I am getting more excited to write everyday than I was at the very beginning, and that is really super hyped.

Can I do it?



So, I am sorry for the delay in my posting, but I have been a busy beaver, and now must turn into a writing machine. Forgive me now, but I must beg off to go deep into my tunnel of solitude and typing noises and simply write.

I hope that your writing is going splendidly.

And, as always, Happy Writing!

Word Count at the End of the Day: 29,239 words

Pep Talk #1-

Hello, dear readers!

So, I took a challenge to write four (that's right, 4!) pep talks in the remaining two weeks left for NaNoWriMo 2015. How did I respond? That's right:


Soooo, I am here now, to spur you on. Pep Talk #1-

Every time that I open a new document, I stare for a minute at the blankness, the
emptiness, the void, and I think, "This isn't empty; it is full of possiblities."
And it is. It's full of stories and books and novels and bestsellers and essays
and articles and every kind of amazing thing that has ever been or ever
will be typed. It is so full that it cannot even make up it's mind which story to tell.

So it's up to you to choose for it.

You get to make desicions that no one before you has made, with people no one
before you has met. You're in uncharted territory, and it's up to you to chart it all.

Seem daunting? Good.

This doesn't mean that writing is easy. Scratch that. Writing is easy; it's finishing
that's hard. And it is. Finishing. Is. Hard. And wrapping up a full length novel in
thirty days is even harder. I mean, come on. Thirty days? For some of us, it takes
longer than thirty days to read a novel, *coughWarAndPeacecough* much less
write one. And, too, how many people actually get published? Stats show that of
the 80% of Americans who write, only 12% make into the publishing houses.

So why bother? If there is such a slim, almost non-existent chance of your novel
making it off of the hard drive of this computer sitting in front of you, why take the
time to sit down and write everyday? Why spend countless hours brainstorming,
ironing story kinks, filling in plot holes?  Why go bald from all the times you'll
pull your hair out trying, trying, trying?

Because of the Great Unknown, that's why. Great Writer and Famed Author around
the globe today, Mr. C.S. Lewis had a hefty stack of 800 rejection slips from publishing
houses. Did that stop him from writing one of the  most beloved fantasies of all time?
No! And aren't we glad he didn't throw in the towel and give up.

It may be hard. In fact, it will be hard (if it isn't already), but were you taught to
give up every time the going gets rough? I hope not! It's the things that are the most
difficult that are worth the most in the end. And because of these hardships, you will
be prouder of your work. How many people can say that they have a complete
manuscript?

Hey-- don't give up.

You can do it. After all, you're the only one who can do it. It's your story. So tell it.

And as always, Happy Writing!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 12, 2015

First and foremost, let me apologize for my absence over the last few days. I have been meaning to write here, but life, it seems, had other plans for me.

Due to lack of sleep (coughNaNoWriMocough), I contracted a sinus infection over the weekend, and it kept me pretty busy. Because of it, I have not been writing so much as I should have liked to, but, over all, I am still three days ahead of schedule. So, yay for that! But, on the sad side, I had hoped to get to five days ahead of schedule before next week, when I am going to the mountains. (Why? Because it's the mountains. Why wouldn't I spend the weekend up there?) Oh well. I have a few days left to write like a crazier-than-I-actually-am person!
                                                      Yup, that was me a few days ago. 


                                                 And yes, this is totally me now


So, let's see, for the word count, I am now up to 24,181. Woot! I had hoped to hit 25,000 today, but as of now, I don't know if that will happen. Here's hoping though, right?

Well, I am sorry this isn't very exciting... but I am hoping you are writing like crazy, meeting your goals, staying healthy and still managing to keep up with some sort of a social life. Or maybe just writing. That works, too.

As always, my fellow WriMoians, Happy Writing!

Word Count at the End of the Day: 25,351


Monday, November 9, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 9, 2015

Hello, my fellow WriMoians!

Happy Week Two to all of you! I hope that you are all ready to dive in to this week full force and attack it with a vengeance. 50,000 words, here we come!

So, week two, it is said in NaNoWriMo lore, is hard. Really hard. It is the week where so many give up, and all those that don't slow waaaay down. That may be the case, but when I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought was "I only have 9,000 more words to write before I hit the halfway mark!" What a way to start my week!I am very excited about my NaNo prospects, and ready to tackle this new week.

I have 32,966 more words to write before I can claim I won, but only 7,966 before I get to halfway. I don't want to set my sights too high this week, but I know for sure I want to reach 25,000. Can I do it? For sure. Will I do it? We'll see.

GREAT NEWS! Since writing the above, I have done it: I hit 20,000 words! Woot! To all you out there who are writing with no drive, YOU CAN DO IT!



So, if you are having trouble starting this week, or you start off great, but then just... don't, then I hope you'll read my "Writing Tips- Writing During "The Slump" That is Week Two". You can do it, I  just know it!

I'll keep you updated.

And as always, Happy Writing!

Word Count at the End of the Day: 20,411


Writing Tips: Writing During "The Slump" That is Week Two

Well, I have officially made it to Week Two of NaNoWriMo. Woo, hoo! And congratulations to all of you fellow Wrimoians who have made it thus far as well. We're on our way!

So, week two is the week of "The Slump" or "The Murky Middle". This is where people start wondering why they ever thought this would be fun, when they wonder why they ever thought they could ever write something worth reading, ever. And did I say ever? Ever. But I am here to dispel all of these doubts and worries with some friendly advice and tips.

Number One: Do. Not. Give. Up.
If you are tempted to give in and give up,  to scratch all of what you did in week one, to say "Forget this, this was a stupid idea, anyway," then you need to revisit the good ol' days. The days when this story idea first began to form in your head, and why you fell in love with this plot. There is a reason you chose this story, So, think back on that, and get back on track.

Number Two: Right On, Write On.
What is the right thing to do on a day where you'd prefer shoot yourself in the head rather than sit back in that stinking chair and put your fingers to that keyboard? On a day when you'd prefer to pull out your fingernails rather than write one more word? The right thing to do is to write. To write is right. Is it always easy? No. Do we always want to? Ha. But deep down, do we know we should? *shifty eyes, fidgety fingers* Maybe. Really? That's all you've got? Okay, okay, yes, yes, we do know it. So, no matter what, remember this:


Number Three: Suck it up and do it anyway.
Don't feel like writing? Suck it up and do it anyway. Don't have any awesome inspiration? Suck it up and do it anyway. Have so many other things to do before you write? Suck it up and do it anyway. Have any other excuses that are really lame and irrelevant? Suck it up and do it anyway. If you give in to every one of these excuses, then sure, your car and house will be clean, you might have taken the dog for more walks than he's had in years, you might have actually turned in all of your papers on time for the first time ever, but what about your novel? The one you made so many promises to and about, the one you couldn't wait to write in week one? It will sit, get dusty, and you will lose NaNoWriMo. But how do you win? You don't give up, you write on, and you suck it up and do it anyway.

Now, because you are probably only reading this to procrastinate, let me tell you to STOP READING THIS AND GO WRITE!

And remember: You've got this!

Happy Writing!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 7, 2015

I've decided: I am going to win NaNoWriMo this year.

Aren't you just relieved that I made that decision? (Now we just have to see if I can realize it...)

Good news, folks! Today, I hit 15,000 words, and I'm excited to keep going. NaNoWriMo is going really well for me, and already I am coming up with ideas for next November.

So, I got up before 8 a.m. on Saturday to write. I think that shows some serious dedication. I have found that writing in the morning is best for me; the house is quiet, the world is drowsy, and I have plenty of time to just focus and write. And then, for the rest of the day it's not hanging over me in a gray cloud of guilt saying You haven't written yet. Why are you doing that when your word goal has not been reached? That story is not going to write itself. I. Hate. That.



To solve that problem, I write early in the mornings. And late at night. And anytime I can in-between the two. The only problem? Lack of sleep. I have actually started getting a cold from lack of sleep. Oops. I guess I should have added some vitamin C to my survival kit. =)

So, I got a little scared yesterday about my book. I thought that I might be too far in for my word count, so I spent a solid twenty minutes going over my outline and making sure I had enough story to spread over 125 pages and 50,000 words. But after a mini-heart attack and some reading and re-reading, I realized that I'm actually right on track. Thanks a lot, hyperactive imagination, for giving me a heart attack. Next time I'll probably go into a coma, and then where will I be?

However, at this rate, if I keep it up, I might have something like 60,000 words at the end of the month. Or fewer, you never know.

So, advice? Do. Not. Stress. There's no need! If your book is longer than 50,000, great. If it's shorter than 50,000, great! (You know, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was under 50,000 words.) It's your story. Tell it.

And as always, my Writerly friends, Happy Writing!

Word Count at the End of the Day: 16,527


Friday, November 6, 2015

NaNoWriMo Journal- November 6, 2015

Well.

After yesterday's hard-to-start-but-awesome-after-that writing day, today was a lot easier to get started. I am now up to 12,933 words, and my story is moving write along (yes, that was a writing joke). Very happy with my progress, seeing as it's only day five for me. (Again, very happy for my outline.)

So, on day one I found a major flaw in my outline: it was far too general. In it, I covered all the main(ish) and sub-main(ish) plot points, but I didn't fill it in or flesh it out in the least. Which, in some ways, is kind of nice, but in others, not-so-very-nice. How is that? Let's see... 

It is kind of nice in that I feel as if I have more room for my imagination to go to work now. That is not technically true, since an outline is never 100% binding, but it just seems like I have more leeway. And that's kind of exciting and refreshing for me everyday to come to.

Not-so-very-nice in that when I am not feeling inspired or excited or refreshed, I come to my story with an only-slightly-better-than-general idea of what I am writing today. And, as I am a firm believer in writing chronologically (just a personal preference, you don't have to get so defensive), I have to know where I am going with the story today. 

On a somewhat related note, something that really helps me to write well the next day, is to stop writing as soon as I get to a place in the story that I am excited to write, and saving that for the next day. Or, if that doesn't happen, I will stop writing in the middle of a sentence. This allows me to pick up exactly where I left off, and I get in the flow of the story much easier. 

If you are having trouble with starting up where you left off yesterday, try one of those ideas. Though the first one is the more difficult of the two to do, it works the best, because you will actually be excited to write the next day. And if you are anything like me, the longer you let thing percolate in your mind, the better they will be on paper (or screen?). 

Anyway, all's well here, and I'm looking forward to a whole day of writing tomorrow. Hope your writing is going just great, and that you are really inspired to keep writing. Even if you're not: 
                                   
                                                      And as always, Happy Writing!
                                               Word Count at the End of the Day: 13,974

Writing Tips: How to Write When You Have No Time-

I was asked to write about How To Write When You Have No Time. I will list three tips and tricks in an easy form. I hope this is helpful!

1. Carry a notebook around with you everywhere. If you make it a habit to do this, you might be surprised how often, and in what strange places inspiration hits. Jot it down quickly, and when you have more time on your hands, type it up. The typing it up process usually fleshes out the idea, makes it better (and, if you are writing for NaNoWriMo, you get a higher word count!). Really though, take a notebook around with you. Every. Where. You. Go.


2. Keep your writing brain open at all times. Many-a-time in school or at work, we writers will turn off (or turn WAY down) our writers brain. We stop looking at things and thinking "How would this fit in my story?" or "I could definitely use a description like that." Those moments are important. Ofttimes it is in one of those moments that the perfect sub-plot is born, or even your main character finally gets that fear he/she's been needing. Then, with all these fresh ideas, put 'em into the handy-dandy aforementioned notebook.


3. Last but certainly not least, do not give up. No matter if you feel you have no time, I guarantee you can find five minutes to write. And if you've kept your writers brain open, and you notebook in hand, you can do. You having a rough day, and don't feel like writing? Push through it. You can do it, I promise you. I had to do that yesterday, and it made it past a huge milestone, and now I am raring to go. You've got this!