Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nanowrimo - Tips to Keep Going

If you're currently participating in National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) then you know that we're almost to the halfway mark! As I was writing today, I realized that I was starting have still fingers (I wasn't writing). I realized that, though I have general ideas of where I'm taking my story, that I'm not quite sure how to get to that destination. So, I found an excellent way to get there, that may just help you! I am taking two great ideas that I have discovered, and combining them.

1.) Get some notecards. You can even make your own. (For better results, have larger cards).

2.) Pick out your three top characters and designate several notecards to each one.

3.) On one side of the note cared, write:

Goal: (This is something that your character wants).

Conflict: (This is what prevents your character from getting what they want).

Disaster: (This is failure to attain their goal).

Then fill each of these three categories in.

4.) On the back of the notecard, write:

Reaction: (This is where you show their reaction; what they're thinking and feeling).

Dilemma: (This is where the character has two (or more) decisions to make, none of which are good).

Decision: (The character makes a decision).

Fill this out.
After this, you will start again with the Goal, Conflict, Disaster, and then the Reaction, Dilemma, and Decision… it's a cycle.

To have a better understanding of each of these categories, check out this website:

http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/writing-the-perfect-scene/

The notecard idea I got from Holly Lisle: check out her idea here:

http://hollylisle.com/scene-creation-workshop-writing-scenes-that-move-your-story-forward/

HAPPY WRITING!!! Keep connecting those scenes!

Wuthering Heights Lesson for Writers

As a writer it is always a treat to learn something new in the craft, even when that something should have been as plain as day.
Lets take a good lesson from a real classic: Wuthering Heights. This book, over 164 years old, teaches us many lessons not only in the emotional area but in choice making areas as well.
If you watch Wuthering Heights (2009 version) you will notice that tragedy after tragedy strikes. Here's the lesson: each tragedy comes from a near direct action of the two main characters.
While some may have heard this: let things happen to your characters and later in the story, have a turning point where the protagonist takes charge. Not in Wuthering Heights. Only ever so often do things 'just happen' to them. They make all of the events happen based on their own decisons, and the result of this? A far better reader (watcher if you've seen the movie) response. This is when the audience will feel anger, exapseration, or even hope that your characters *themselves will make the right choices.

Yes, She's Awsome

This is a drawing by my talented writing pal. You can find more of her drawings at insidetheclam20. She did this as a fun cover drawing for my Middle Grade novel that I am working on. I am going to post a close up and a farther away shot. I love it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Writing Tip for a Better Writing Session

I've come to find that many tips are good to have in one's arsenal, but at the same time, there aren't that many tips that go beyond the common ones such as: read a lot, write every day, set time aside, love writing with a passion...etc...

I think that sometimes, as a writer, when we realize that we're not particularly good, maybe due to the fact that we've only started writing, or perhaps have only written one or two books, that we can get discouraged when we look at our pages and realize that they're no better than any of our previous works. Sometimes it's not that we're not good writers, or that we're not meant to be writers, or even that we're not doing the common to-do things as writers; there are other elements that might be holding us back and hindering us from having good writing sessions.

Something simple as re-doing your writing space, re-organizing, or perhaps looking back over notes that you first jotted down when you started your story can get you re-motivated. If you've already written something, it might be a good reminder to you that you can in fact write, after all, you've already done it, whether it is good in your opinion or not! Sometimes I listen to music to remind me of my love of writing, as I use music to inspire me when plotting and then I cut the music when writing so that my world can fully come into my head without anything to sway me.

The main tip that I've found recently that is helping me to improve as a writer and feel less discouraged is this:  Write Slowly.

On computers, it is so easy to let our fingers fly, and our thoughts can be transported from our mind to paper so much more quickly than if we were actually handwriting. I've found that if I slow down and try to make what I'm writing sound good, that it in fact is better. This doesn't mean that I dwell over something that I know will need to be fixed, like something in the plot (I save that for later so that I can continue with writing, knowing I'll come back to it in the revision stage). I've found that cutting the adjectives and thinking to make your writing more pretty, (for lack of better words) really insists that you slow down while writing, because you have to think in a way that doesn't just blurt words, but rather purposely forms them to be pleasing. Here are two basic, simple examples of how you can say one thing, but instead transform it to maybe sound just a little better:

1.) It was getting dark.
2.) The sun had started its descent.

or, in first-person present:

1.) It's getting dark.
2.) The sun is starting its descent.

Now, neither of these two are that great, but I would say that the second one is better. Everyone is accustomed to it getting dark, but not as accustomed of having to picture a sun in its descent which asks the reader to come to the knowledge that it is getting dark. You get the same information, but in a different way and view. At least, that is the goal.

I have found that taking my time has allowed me to enjoy the scene more, see it more, and convey it better on the page. I have found that my writing is better, and that it is more rewarding. Plus, when we're just throwing out words, I think it's possible to come to a dead end quickly, but if we're slowing down, we might just have time to think and keep the thoughts flowing rather than running out, (possibly).

I will honestly say that to try to make the words richer takes time, and you will have to think, but it is enjoyable, at least this is my findings and I hope that this is a good tip for anyone who comes across it and decides to apply it. Happy writing.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Laurie Halse Anderson Challenge for the Month of August

Today is the start of Laurie Halse Anderson's August Challenge: Write 15 minutes a day, every day. Check out her website. I'd link it here but my signal is slow and it'd take too long.

I read Speak a few months ago and I just finished Catalyst by LHA, oh, about 15 minutes ago. It is a good read. I recommend them both.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Writing Habitat

School is almost out (I'm supposed to be studying...ahem, like, right now, but decided a break was good) and I hope to start writing again soon. I've heard countless times that it is good to write everyday, and I firmly believe this. If you're working on a project, like a book, and don't write for a week or two, it is extremely hard to get back into the story. Often, when I'm a bad writer and don't write for a few days, I usually have to re-read at least ten pages, listen to music that reminds me of the mood of my story, as well as read notes that I'd taken for the story. Well, it is my hope that I will be faithful in my writing (as soon as I start again) but for now, I have found a break really freeing


Because I'm weird, I like change. Proof: I moved the furniture around a bit in the living room today because it simply made me happier, no other reason. Well, this same notion of liking change also applies to my writing location. Now that I'm going to write again soon, I need a new place of set up. Do I write at the table, in the kitchen, at the desk, in the bathroom (jk)...which room? I like to have coffee, decaf and the sound of rain in the background with a fan on for noise. Hmmm, I know, I'm odd. Usually I have one or two books out that inspire me  as well as my writing/ notes.

Where do you write? Do you write at home, at the library, or in the swing out back? What do you do to prepare to write, or keep you in the mood for writing?

Ahhh, I miss the messy desk. (This isn't mine). Haha, I like the chord going through the blinds. Awesome.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gladness in God/ New Writing Task

I haven't been reading my Bible regularly and it shows. In truth, I want to be godly, but...I'm just not. Ha, I am so not the sweet person you pass on the street that wham, you just know is a Christian...they're too kind, to sweet...there's just something about them. I'm not that way. In fact, most people probably wouldn't even know I was a Christian unless I first said something to imply that I am. That's not good. I found a verse the other day (trying to read more like I should) and this is what it said: How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word (psalm 119:9). I realized that I have to want to be godly, I have to read His word, and I have to take heed to it to become godly; Christlike.

This morning, I was reading God's word and I just felt so happy. It was a little odd, because I was like...why am I so happy? I was a little paranoid, like some evil little thought would come remind me of something and snatch all my happiness away. And then I thought, well, I'm happy because there are so many possibilities for me (for anyone) and the future is bright! How exciting. And then I read these verses: The hope of the righteous will be gladness, but the expectation of the wicked will perish (Proverbs 10:28-29). The key words are hope and expectation. I really was hoping this morning. I felt hope towards my future, and I was glad; happy! It was amazing to see my feelings backed up by these verses just a few seconds later. And the other word, expectation. The wicked expect, they do not necessarily hope. All this means is that I am putting my hope in God and His will for my life, rather than striving for something with no God to guide me or back it up. It really does produce hope and gladness! I don't have to worry about what choices to make in life, regardless how big they are. I can just pray: Your will, not mine. Cause I don't know my will, and even if I do, I can almost always guarantee you, it's downright selfish. Granted, I do speak to God, talk to Him about what I desire and whatnot, but other than that, what comes comes. Letting it go like that is amazing. I did that with the situation with my Grandma recently when it came to housing options/locations. Just let it go and it worked out. Praise the Lord. So, in all, my day has been really good this morning. And this leads me to my next point...

I haven't been writing lately. As I've said, it feels more like work and I don't really enjoy it. Eh, I could care less, almost, to write right now, and I LOVE writing. I'm just not into it. My heart isn't there. Well, you know how you get a thought, and then kind of dismiss it? Well, I had a thought, nodded to myself, and shrugged it off, like...maybe. Well, I realized, or remembered, how much I love addressing Biblical issues/topics through writing. I used to address a topic and go to God's word for answers, string verses together, (in context) and use analogies and life situations to show my point. That was fun, that was exciting, plus, I grew in God's word as I did it. Loved it, but loved my other writing, too. Of course, I pushed godly writing aside and moved on to my fantastical worlds. And now...I don't even really care to write anymore. It just died away.

It makes me think of 80's rock and roll. I loved that stuff. It was my life. I needed it. Oh how could I live without it? Well, when I started going to church and got reassured of my salvation, I started reading God's word. (I believed in God, but didn't know what it meant to be saved. So I learned and acted upon it: Told God I needed Him and wanted Him as my Father, Lord, and Friend) I didn't realize it, but, I wasn't really listening to music that much during that time. And my left hand is going numb...creeeeepy. And then, wham, one day, it hit me. I don't listen to rock any more. And I don't care that I don't! It's gone. It's died away. Just like that. Maybe that's what happened to my writing. It was my life, it is what I did, and now, eh, whatever. I mean, sure, I still like Def Leppard, but I don't care to listen to them, there are other, greater things that appeal to me now. I still love my fantasy and sci-fi story, but...it isn't doing anything for me. I wonder if it too is dying away. That would be amazing if that were the case. I want to either write those old stories, or either not write them. To know why I'm not desiring it is really enlightening, really interesting, relieving. I didn't know why I didn't want to write. I figured I was rebelling, I figured I couldn't because of school (worried about grades) and because writing seemed so trivial in the big scheme of school and whatnot. But now...

When I think of writing one of my Christian non-fiction books, I kind of feel happy. Not joy, there's a difference, but...challenged, like...bring it. Let's do this. As though it would engage me. I started on a book called (don't laugh, but here it is:) What's it About? (as the main title) and You've Got Questions, there're Answers.(for the subtitle) Something like that. I don't know, but that would definitely give my writing meaning; direction. Even if I knew my other two stories had meaning or direction, I don't care to write them. Oh how amazing it would be if God would have a desire of mine that wasn't godly to fall away rather than for me to toil in it in vain.

This verse applies to me in so many ways: Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10: 31).

So I'm not kidding, I totally thought of this with my friend Brehonna. Some dude stole my idea and came up with it and made a picture of it. How could they? This would be so awesome.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Introvert/Extrovert Demystified. How I Relate.

LOVE IT!!! I found an awesome blog, go to it: 10 Myths About Introverts I'm going to post the ten myths and talk about it. It's basically how I relate. Remember, these are myths.

1. Introverts don't like to talk: This is hilarious, because I love to talk. Sometimes, I need to shut up. But, at the same time, if I don't know you, or feel uncomfortable around you, I shut down. I'm like the little shy three year old who doesn't know how to do anything but smile. If I'm comfortable around someone, I'll make up stuff just to make myself laugh, and hopefully the person I'm talking to, too! One time, I heard these guys in class talking about girls. Crud, they mentioned me, they was like: she never talks. Ha, wanna bet! Also, I LOVE talking about philosophical stuff, nature and people in general. Even if I'm stupid in relation to the topic. I don't care about the latest cell phone. Again, I'll make small talk for the sake of it if I feel like it. So, if you're like, um, she never talks, it's because you're talking about something stupid. I kind of feel like a hypocrite though, because here lately, I talk about all kinds of dumb stuff.

2. Introverts are shy: Sure, at first. Definitely. Later, um, you're probably regretting befriending me, because I am so not shy. Now, that depends, however, I mean, I'm not going to do rude things, like belching and stuff, that's just gross. If I like you, I'm likely more nervous than shy. I think there's a difference. If you're complimenting me, sure, I'll act shy, but if I know you too well, I'll be like, yeah, I'm great...haha, but I'm only playing.

3. Introverts are rude: Sure. Haha, not really. I mean, when I was in High School, people thought I was mad a lot. Um, no, just...not smiling. Not mad, just there; alive. And sometimes it's nice to just be.

4. Introverts don't like people: I really didn't like people and that's because I thought they didn't like me. It was only after I started to talk more that I realized that people actually cared what I said. That, and I smiled. Even if I said something and was totally ignored (hate that) I let it roll off my shoulders (or something) and found that I was a lot happier. It was only when God came into my life that I started liking people. If God weren't with me...I'd hate everyone. Haha. Maybe I shouldn't divulge that information.

5. Introverts just don't like to go out in public: I do, but not if I'm smack dab in the middle of it with everyone looking at me. With time, I feel more secure. I just realize that they're all people like me and it really doesn't matter what these nut heads think. So I do what I have to do. I found that they usually don't dislike me after all, and if they do, they're good at keeping it to themselves, thankfully.

6. Introverts always want to be alone: You bet! No, not entirely. I mean, after a while, I love being alone, I like the silence. I love talking to myself (don't judge) and I love singing out loud like an idiot, oh, that and dancing in the kitchen, though the floor hurts my bare feet; it's hard to turn. Anyway, I mean, I used to get ultra lonely, and still get lonely sometimes, but really, I need my space. Mostly, I need someone to be in the house, to be quiet and leave me alone, to clank a dish downstairs, but not necessarily interact with me. So, in essence, I would still be alone (= good) but not utterly alone (= bad). I really enjoy time with my friend Brehonna, who comes over and writes (we ignore each other during this process, though she sits at the table with me). I like people and I like alone time.

7. Introverts are weird: You bet! Sure, they are in societies eyes because society doesn't understand them. I'm more crazy, I think.

8. Introverts are aloof nerds: Um, Brehonna and I wag our glasses. Great, what does that make us? Don't answer. People used to think I was mean. Ha. If they'd just talk to me, they'd know better. I used to hate it when people wouldn't give me a chance. I'm like screaming in my head: I am so capable! And if the rare chance arrived and I got to prove myself, they'd be like...wow. IKR. JK. But yeah, I think people definitely thought I was unapproachable. One guy told me once that he'd watched me. He was like, you always sit in the back, you never speak up. And I'm like...you watched that? Okay...and...I'm more comfortable there. If someone would shut up a half a second, I might pipe up, but it's those extroverts talking too much and I can't get a word in. Okay, I'm totally kidding, but kind of being truthful. And in truth, I did really fit better in the back, because I really didn't have anything to say. I didn't care for what the peeps were talking about. Really. I think it comes down to your company and if they're polite enough to care what you have to say.

9. Introverts don't know how to relax and have fun: This depends on what one classifies as fun. I like sitting on the floor with my friend with a pile of books around us, acting like we're agents, reading the blurbs and deciding if we'd represent or not. One, it's stupid, and two we learn: what makes a good blurb (therefore how to write one) and the sort. Why something works and why it doesn't. There's a method to our nerdiness. Fun for me is working in the flowerbed...I take that back, that thing is spider paradise. Anyway. Fun is doing nothing sometimes. Writing, drawing, playing games...you've got it, the boring stuff!!! But that doesn't mean that as an introvert I don't like roller coasters and the idea of paint balling and rock climbing. I'm just at peace doing little things.

10. Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts: Nope, I just learn how to cope. If I'm with someone who's mad and screaming, I shut down. I'm like so not there. I then need to run around the block. I'm not the type who could ever make myself handle that better. It's happened in the past in a certain situation. As much as I want, which I really don't, I'm not the type who wants to jump up in the middle of a crowd and steal the show. Nope, I'm happy listening. I'm HAPPY doing that.

One of the good things about this post is that the writer (that I got the points from) tries to make the point that introverts are normal. Of course they are, but they're different from extroverts. Who is to say that us introverts don't view extroverts as not being normal? It's just the way we are, whether that be intro or extro verts. I think I'm a little of both, though in the past I was most certainly more introverted than I am now. Really, click on the link at the beginning of this blog and read. It's awesome. And then read people's comments, they're awesome too. I totally identified.

Rejection Babies!

Okay, so I finally got my rejection letter. Not even that much of a surprise, but still totally nerve wracking to open that email. It was a standard letter. I know agents don't have time to personalize, but it would be really nice. I want to know why. That's the biggest question: why? If I know why my manuscript was rejected, I can work on it, ponder and work, ponder and work, until I have something that they are willing to accept.

I follow the two agents that I sent to (both rejections) on twitter. It so happens that the first agent I sent to listed ten queries that she either accepted or passed on. Passed is a much nicer term, btw. Anyway, through process of elimination and a time frame, I soon became pretty sure that one of the queries she passed on was mine. Pretty sure without being totally positive. I mean, you can't really know, now can you? Still, I was pretty sure. What the agent did was tell the number, the genre and why she passed. For example:

#6 = pass. science fiction. Writing is stilted/rough/awkward (clarity is hard without specifics but 'twas my reaction.

Now, again, it was through process of elimination that I determined this could be mine. When I initially got my rejection letter, I re-read through my query. I knew I wanted to spice it up and make it better for the next agent, because obviously this didn't work. I redrafted and sent to my second agent. It wasn't until later that I saw the first agents post and the #6 business. After reading her tweet about awkward writing, I went back and re-read my original query again. I TOTALLY AGREE WITH HER. I need to be SLAPPED! (Stay away from me with those ready hands) The first sentence of my blurb had four -FOUR- comma's in it. What?! And the second sentence...What was I thinking? So, having already redrafted with what I thought was a better query letter and having sent it to another agent (had to keep trying) I got on twitter and saw what the first agent had wrote about said #6. I tweeted back:


Me: I’m paranoid this is mine! Haha. I re-read mine and fixed it. I would love to resend.

Agent: resend is fine, but make sure you’ve reworked the manuscript too. A query letter is a fairly accurate representation of book.

Yea!!!!!

Having read the tweet, I was totally regretting sending to my second agent. It's like throwing an egg up inoto the air, stepping back and waiting for it to crash onto the pavement. I already knew it'd get rejected by this point. The next morning is when I got my second rejection. But that second agent also tweeted, directing us to her blog on query's she's worked with: passed and accepted.

She would tell about the ones she accepted and tell about the ones she passed on. Here's a link: Query Roundup This post really encouraged me. Though I can't be sure if she referenced mine in there (I really can't) I can still narrow things down and do a lot of learning. 

Before I send my next query in, I'm going to go through the entire manuscript before sending it to make sure that it doesn't have any awkward, unnatural sentences (which this post is probably filled with). I'm also going to work on uniqueness/grab potential - reference the above link. I tried hard to make sure my work was read and error free, but never counted on awkward sentences, nor lack of originality.

I'm really happy I sent in my two letters, even though they got rejected, because I feel like I learned and now I have something to work with. I also know that I can resend to them both in the future. Awesome. Now you know where I'm at in this process, and if you're considering sending to an agent, go for it, but make sure your work is PERFECT. Seriously, it's the small stuff that get's you. They won't overlook it. It's the small stuff, too. And of course the big stuff. So that's what I'm aiming for, perfection - I said aiming.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

During the Query Wait

Ahhh, the wait. So like I mentioned in a previous post, I've sent my first query letter. My book is young adult soft science fiction and I sent it to Sara Megibow at Nelson Literary Agency. To pass the time, I decided to check her out on a couple of websites. Query Tracker is a neat website that will list hundreds of agents, it will also provide information about them. There's also a place where people who've sent to her can comment. It's crazy to see how long it takes (2 months if Sara asks for a partial -ahh!) and it's crazy to see the form rejections...well, to read about them, anyway. I mean, so much depends on one person. There's so many factors going in as to whether or not they'll want to represent your work.

Even if the agent asks for a few pages, that is by NO MEANS any kind of guarantee. Don't even get excited. All it means is that you might have written a nice query - which you should then applaud yourself for. I must be a real bummer for an agent to request some of your work, have to wait a few months, only to get rejected. Lesson in the making...Patience is vital.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

These covers look awesome. They're intriguing.



Writing and God

Found this on Laurie Halse Anderson's blog:
“When you are not writing, you’re going to be sad. You are going to feel inadequate. You are going to feel untalented. You are going to feel incompetent. It’s crucially important to understand that the impulse to write is a reaching out to God.”
—David Milch, creator of Deadwood and so much more, in a presentation at the WGA Theater, 2001