NaNoWriMo is less than a month away!!

So, apparently October is Preptober…

and that means that NaNoWriMo is just around the corner!!! (National Novel writing month.)

I have actually never heard of Preptober before, but I think it is something new that started last year. Now, let’s hope this year’s NaNoWriMo goes a lot better than lasts, eh?

Have you signed up for NaNoWriMo yet? Well, what are you waiting for!!

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Should I Review Outlander?

I just had a thought: should I review Outlander on here?

Photo credit: Starz

Every Sunday I tune into Starz for a new episode…it’s become my replacement show to fill Game of Thrones. (Not so much, Mike, though, I think he thinks it is too girly…Star-crossed lovers and all that.)

But maybe it’s something I ought to consider. Any watchers out there?

I have not read the book series…(I know, shame on me.) But there it is. I’ve been enjoying this season 3, and maybe if there’s some interest out there…I’ll have something to talk about.

What do you guys think? Anyone else love it as much as me?

Happy Writing all!

Poem: Writing Mind

Managed to spend a good four to five hours writing today! This is good news! I worked on a few projects at once, but one project I really got in to today. I realized I could probably submit it to the writer’s digest contest by June 1st, but to do that it needs some serious rewrites.

I got in the writers mindset a lot today and trying to emerge…is like waking up from a deep sleep. (At least it is for me.) I get this spacey expression on my face, and conversation is difficult, because part of me is still thinking about character’s dialogue in my head or planning which way a character is gong to go next.  It is an interesting feeling to say the least, but hey, at least I was productive today!

Pictured I snapped this weekend at the lake.

a writing sort of mood

everything sounds like poetry

blank stare

“Whaa…”

emerge from the world

like a band-aid ripped from a wound

jarred back to the present

words are like poetry

the trees are like poetry in motion

and everything is heavy, heavy, heavy

like a dark blanket

trapping the sun

in its shadows

Spring Writes! Literary Festival: What I Learned this Weekend

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a literary festival in the new town that we live in! What is a literary festival you ask?

From Thursday to Sunday, writers, readers or literary-lovers of all sorts were able to attend workshops, panels and readings from a collaboration of local writers. These writers are all supported by donations, and a $5 dollar entry fee which purchased the cute pin featured above and was my pass to all the events this weekend.

On Saturday I attended: Workshop: Research Secrets, How to Write What You Don’t Know by and Workshop: The Short Fiction Market, Targeted Writing and Publishing.

What I learned from the Workshop: Research Secrets, is that there is never just one source of finding information out there – the internet is a great tool to finding what you need, but also don’t forget the value of your local library and historic museums, if applicable.

Don’t rule out YouTube and Google Maps as excellent how-to resources when it comes to story research and world-building. Also, remember to validate the credibility of your online sources! (Not everything you read or hear on the internet is true.)

And the instructor also pointed out the value of a good interview. Sometimes the best place to get information is from the person who wrote the book in the first place. Remember to be courteous, prepare your questions and always follow-up.

At the Workshop: The Short Fiction Market, the instructor emphasized that getting your work published is more of a science rather than an art and he pointed out some great strategies that writers can use to get your work out there.

Don’t forget the benefit of submitting stories to Contests. Contests have lower pool of submissions, are judged blindly and carry a lot of weight in a future cover letter if you can brag later on down the road and be like: I am also the first prize winner to XYZ magazine…

He says that contests which feature a specific theme also have a lower pool of submissions, and always remember to ask for feedback when you are submitting something. Most editors will probably not offer feedback, but sometimes someone will.

Focus on the number of submissions that you have out there…it is better to have so many balls in the air that after one rejection, it might not sting as much because you have all those other submissions to look forward to!

The more book reviews you write, the more submissions you submit and the more you get out there and talk to other writers, the more you are building up your social network and other opportunities might present themselves.

Today I attended: Panel: “World Building: If you Build It, They Will Come” and Panel: “Intimate Communities, Starting and Sustaining a Writing Group That Works”

In the world building panel, a group of women spoke about their different processes of world building and their favorite part of the process. Each of their approaches to world building was different.

Some of them approached a world as having a central conflict. What makes parts of the world clash? While answering these questions you get an idea of the different cultures, and the holidays and the food that the characters might eat.

A few of the women started with a character first, and then they built the world around the characters.

They talked about the differences of world building for short stories, versus a novel, and how for some stories you don’t have to know everything, because you will also discover a lot of the world in the writing process.

To organize their notes, one of the women uses the software Evernote, which is what I use! And then another, keeps a notebook with character details.

The best part of world building according to the panel of ladies, is living in another time period, and the power trip: you are basically God.

In the panel, for Sustaining a Writer Group, I learned about the importance of knowing what you want personally from a writer’s group, and remembering to have Guidelines in your group.

Establish those Guidelines from the get-go and you’ll need someone to be the leader, to enforce those guidelines and to keep everyone on task.

I learned so much this weekend, and have some great reference points for finding a writing group in our area that might suit what I am looking for; I am so excited to move on to the next step of the process!

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and Happy Writing!

Fear of Failure: The Struggle is Real Tonight

fear-of-heights-2040805_1280

God, I need to get motivated! Having a hard time tonight. Everything I was supposed to do, didn’t happen. All I did was eat food, watch TV, and accidentally fell asleep at like 7 o’clock and slept like an hour.

But when it comes to certain things, I am starting to realize that the fear of failure is holding me back. Every time that I tell myself all those wasted hours watching TV I could be writing, ends with me usually watching three of four more episodes of said TV show and then feeling guilty.

The same goes with applying for jobs. Temp jobs don’t last forever you know, they ARE temporary, but I see a job posting and think: what’s the point? Everyone is always more qualified, more well-spoken, always better than me.

A lot of this boils down to self-confidence too, hmm…

Anyway, I always seem to feel myself resurfacing to the What’s the point? I’ll just fail anyway.

My boyfriend’s favorite saying to me seems to be: You don’t know unless you try.

But lately, I feel like the past few years have been me trying and trying and nothing comes of it. I am afraid of failure. I am afraid of what happens when nothing comes of hopes and dreams…

How stupid, I know.

I can’t seem to shake this feeling though, tonight. And this feeling has me having trouble starting something, too. I’ll stare at my revamped resume and be like: do I really look like I’m a quality specimen? The person they’re ultimately looking for?

I certainly don’t feel like one sometimes. (Sigh.)

Same goes with writing, too. I’ll stare at the page and I feel like my characters stare unflinchingly back at me. In some sort of eternal pause, waiting for me to direct them across the page, but their stories are at a standstill…so they stare at me, and they judge me.

I decided early on that I wanted to be a writer. But that doesn’t mean that writers automatically know how to write a novel. This is difficult stuff, really.

I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but…sigh.

What do you guys do when fear gets you down? Do you struggle with some of the same fears I do?

Do You Use a Novel Writing Software?

home-office-336377_1920Was having a thought the other night…maybe I should start using a novel-writing software to help organize this story I’ve been working on lately.

Googled some last night and got a few ideas, but I have no idea which one to choose. There are a few online options: Litlift and Novlr. But not sure those would work for me.

I downloaded a free program called ywriter5 last night and it doesn’t take .docx files and that won’t work considering I write in Microsoft word.

Just need something to help organize my thoughts.

Any suggestions? Do you guys use one?

Sunday Night Oscars and Writing

Today was a beautiful day. A balmy 50 degrees and sunny here and definitely not feeling like February. We definitely lucked out this winter…makes me wonder what’s in store for us next year, eh? Flooding? Blizzards?

Anyway, had a successful morning and afternoon. Made some pancakes, bacon, home fries and eggs for brunch today, and while the other half went back to bed with a book, I disappeared into my office for some writing time.

(This is what I was listening to this afternoon while writing).

I’m really enjoying these sunlit, late afternoons to myself lately. There was a nice, cool, clean breeze coming through the window, I had my headphones on blasting some Celtic dance music, and I was transported into a different world. It felt exciting, and sexy and full of adventure.

Finding the moment where you actually feel enveloped in the world you created seems very rare for me lately, and I enjoyed it a lot this afternoon.

Tonight, we are watching the Oscars, although my negative self can’t help but ask every once and awhile: how expensive do you think her dress is? More than all the rents in this building? More than my car? (Money is so depressing, lately.)

Anyway, we are tuning in mostly to see Leo DiCaprio and his nomination in The Revenant, which Mike (the other half,) said was a great film. I have not seen it yet. And while everyone gushes over dresses, and controversial issues, I turn to writing and research.

I’ve been doing that a lot lately, too…story researching! Mike might walk in my office and see me researching sail boats and solar energy, and sub-genres of fantasy. I might look up dresses, (been very obsessed with what my characters are wearing lately.) Today, I was listening to tribal drums.

The world is the limit, and I am very much enjoying the new found passion I have found in my projects. It doesn’t matter if it is different than everyone else…that’s the point!

Hope everyone has a great week! Happy Writing!

Why J. K. Rowling is My Hero

My much-used Harry Potter books. :P

My much-used Harry Potter books. 😛

The other day I was thinking about how much I admire J. K. Rowling; how I tend to think of her lately as my own creative writing hero, how much I admire her writing style, her books, and her determination.

I admire her because she is such an inspiration. Most of us know her story; she was a single mom living on benefits, and while she was struggling to get by and in the years previous, she created a novel: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

She didn’t know what was going to happen, but she had a story that she wanted to tell, characters that she loved and she created a home for them.

I have a friend at work who likes to write like me, and every time I ask him about his story, he gives a sigh of frustration and says that he can’t seem to finish what he has done, and that it’s taken him four years to get a rough draft finished.

“Four years?” I always reply, “It took J.K. Rowling about ten.”

To this he gets a thoughtful expression and then, “I didn’t know that.”

I think a lot of writers put too much pressure on themselves, (myself especially) and we forget that greatness doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t always happen to everyone, but if we have a story that we love and that we want to write, we can’t forget that story. We can’t give up on it.

J.K. Rowling is my hero because she didn’t give up on Harry Potter, even though things in life, new jobs, relationships and heartbreak sometimes get in the way. She might have had doubts, she might have thought that it was useless, but she kept writing, and because she kept writing she kept true to herself.

I sometimes forget how empty it feels when a writer doesn’t write. How much of myself I miss when I don’t see my true voice down on the page. (As you might guess, I’m not always the most articulate when it comes to having to explain myself by actually speaking.)

But J.K. Rowling is my hero because she wasn’t afraid to love her characters so much that she took ten years to write their story. She could have forgotten about it, she could have stopped writing – just imagine it: would you want to live in a world where Harry Potter doesn’t exist?

I must admit, I get a bit sick feeling thinking about this…kind of like when people say Star Wars and Star Trek are the same thing (shudders) what a cold a dismal world we would live in!

Anyway, I must mention J.K. Rowling at least once in every other blog post, but I think she is worthy of admiration. She is a great writer, a great story-teller, and an inspiration to anyone that has an idea that we can’t let go.

Keep writing everyone! That’s all we can do!

My Plot Points are too Weak?

I’m actually sitting down to work on the plot for one of my stories tonight. Woo! This is progress!

However, I have a few questions. How do you know when your plot points are too weak? This is my problem:

I’ll sit down to write out a few scenes or scenarios for an outline, and suddenly doubt creeps in the further I get into the story. Suddenly, I’m filled with doubt and questioning my motives and my characters motives: would someone really do that? Am I going overboard with my character’s emotions?

So of course, turned to google for some answers. I found my answer here, on this blog, who uses J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as an example of a book that has great plot points; which makes for a compelling story as well as evokes an emotional reaction in its readers. (I mean kudos already goes to this blogger who references my hero, J.K. Rowling.)

I guess the important thing to note here, when it comes to plot writing, is to make sure that your character is influenced emotionally, (so emotion is great!) you want your character to change/face some obstacle in someway, but you also want your story to resonate in the mind of your readers. Huh.

Not too difficult I should think? Right? Do you guys have any insight on how you go about plotting your stories?

Happy Writing everyone!

 

 

Lazy Sunday Sunshine and Writing

wpid-wp-1429141260673.jpegI think my favorite part of Sundays is waking up when the sun is shining (if it is shining) and basking in the warmth and appreciating God’s gift of life, of love, and comfort, by celebrating it with the one way I know how: by enjoying it!

(And I might note that the above paragraph took me like 5 minutes longer to write then it should have, oh boy!)

I also made me a smoothie this morning, a nice orangey-mango concoction, which I hope will kick-start these missing brain cells and make me feel like I am eating healthier, although I am probably going to eat some leftover pasta for lunch here in a minute.

Not much new going on with me….excited about getting money back for taxes.(Money! What is this money you speak of? What is that?)

I’ve also been trying to work more and more on one of my stories. The story is my science-fiction/fantasy/steam-punk/young adult/dystopian novel, which I hope I can eventually get a rough draft done for it this year. I haven’t quite narrowed it down yet. Can you tell? 😉

This was a story I started back in college, and its taking me a long time to develop the characters, the world, and the plot. (I am still working on all three of these things!)

The point: everyone has their own way of discovering things for their story and their writing, and I am happy that I am slowly finding mine. Slowly but surely. It seems that the majority of my brainstorming and story planning comes from the visual. I’ll write a scene, I’ll type up a character interview, and see what works best from there.

In order for me to see it, I have to write it and what a great way to discover what works and what doesn’t.

(Also, try interviewing your characters if you are having trouble getting to know them. I find that my characters tend to be very mouthy when you ask them questions that make them uncomfortable.)

Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Happy writing!