Tag Archives: novel

Picking Up Projects

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I am probably the most indecisive, undisciplined writer there is. Making up my mind about writing is impossible. I am very torn. I love writing and miss it very much, but the other side of me says I don’t have the time and there are more important things in life than writing stories that no one benefits from anyway.

Every now and then, I go back and read old things I have written. I started NaNoWriMo 2014, but quit about a quarter of the way into it. That was a big deal to me. Anyway, I actually really liked my story idea. In my humble opinion 😛 , I think it’s pretty cool. I got about 18k into it and then stopped. Here is the last bit I wrote:

I wanted us to stay alive.
I thought about the wish he gave me on the shooting star. I thought about our night together and how much we had thought we meant to each other and knew each other. I did know him now, but it wasn’t that way. It wasn’t the I-want-20-million-children-from-you way, or even that I needed him close. I needed love. And it wouldn’t have to be complicated.
I took a deep breath. “I hear them,” I said.

If I could only discipline myself to find a healthy balance between writing and life. I so easily obsess over things…

Have you ever “taken a break” from writing? What made you quit? What made you pick it up again? How do you balance writing and real life? I need advice. 🙂

The Disciplined Writer

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I’m laughing at the title I chose. It took me close to four hours just to start transcribing my notes for this post.

Fighting for Inspiration And Making Good Use of Time

I’m dying laughing.

I fear I will look back on the past five months or so and wonder why I didn’t spend those rather boring evenings, those eventless weekends writing.

You had all the time in the world and all you did was click from the Twitter tab, to the WordPress tab, to YouTube, throw in Facebook on occasion, Spotify and lots of Taylor Swift, your darn phone that you checked every twenty five minutes. You could have been writing bestsellers!

This last winter was a sort of glory times. I was in school and in between my 60-paged thesis on international human resource management in nonprofit organizations, I wrote well over 100,000 words. This included an easy win of NaNoWriMo 2013, additional chapters to The Resolution, and the first rough draft of Hidden People. I used every free minute for writing. My laptop went everywhere with me. I could write anywhere – in the train, tram, subway; waiting for the train, tram, subway; in class; in the library before, after, and during research for the aforementioned thesis; in, on, and under (okay, maybe not) my bed; by the Christmas tree. Everywhere. I could puke 1,000+ words in thirty minutes. In every free moment my mind had, I was brewing ideas, going over dialogue, making plans. I was obsessed; and okay, maybe my thesis didn’t turn out that great because of it all, but I had a ton of fun.

Then all that came to a screeching halt.

For known and unknown reasons, I was suddenly stuck and I went for days at a time without writing. My characters finally abandoned me after deciding I wasn’t coming back. My obsessive behavior shifted and for the longest time, my projects hardly crossed my mind. I say this to my utmost shame.

After regaining perspective (let’s call it that), I decided I needed to keep it up – keep my writing up. All along, I was still rather involved in the writing community, but if I wanted to be part of it, I had to be a writer. I had to write.

Slowly but surely, I am getting back into it. I try to write something every day no matter what it is (okay, emails and chatting do not count), but my longterm goal and focus is my project Hidden People. I want to be serious about it. That is the question. How serious am I? It’s a decision we all have to make. It’s a commitment (I see you all cringing at that). And commitments require work. And work requires a plan.

Do you have a plan to work out your commitment?

Have a goal.

I want to be a published author. (That is very scary thing to say. I dare you to.)

Set deadlines.

  1. Finish current draft by October 1, 2014. (Erm, this are all hypothetical deadlines used as an example, yes?)
  2. Revise draft by November 15, 2014.
  3. Beta-reads complete by Christmas. (I give gifts.)
  4. Use January to implant and/or consider suggested changes.

Do thorough research.

Hey, I thought I finished my thesis? 

Whether you want to go traditional or indie, do your homework and become a publishing expert. Invest time in finding the right method for you. Carefully choose potential agents and learn how to write a query. Get smart.

Market yourself.

This is still sounding a whole lot like business school.

Before you have a story to sell, you have yourself. Get to know your potential readers and even better, open up to them and let them see you. Show them what you can (or can’t) do on your blog, for example. Tada! Help them out and share things you’ve learned. Giving is very rewarding.

I love the personal connections to writers and let’s face it, word of mouth is effective because it is so personal. Please don’t tweet ads for your book every hour – or even day. It won’t make people like you and it probably won’t help you sell your books.

Write, write, write.

And don’t give up. The writing world knows no traffic signs. Sometimes you don’t know when you’ve turned into a dead-end, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop and settle there — unless that’s where Chris Hemsworth lives. Then it’s okay.

Discipline is the key. You can’t get anywhere without hard work, but don’t equate hard work with misery. Have fun and live your dream.

Camp NaNoWriMo Update II

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Yesterday, I was all, “And when the second week of Camp is over, I’ll post another update.” Yeah, so I looked at the calendar today. We’re half way through!

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

I wish I could say I am half way through my word count goal; however, I am somewhat behind – this time, due to World Cup (yay, Germany!), and World Cup (go, Germany!), and laziness (boo, me).

My word count goal is 30,000 and I have exactly 9,380 words at this very moment. My progress is satisfactory, considering my lack of motivation and inspiration. I am an obsessive type of person. If I love something, it occupies my mind and there is very little room for other things. Unfortunately, writing has not been the obsessive thing lately; but I am working on it.

Lovely writers out there, how are you doing in regards to motivation/inspiration/and the works? What’s your average word count per day? Are consistent or no? Tell me about your writing life!

What If [You Created A Story Using 7 Questions]?

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Work has been slow. Both our secretaries are gone so I got to take care of the phone today. Instead of sitting in my regular cubicle, I got one secretary’s office and anyway (this is random, I know) but I found a really nice pen in her desk.

So besides my regular duties and whopping number of three calls, I did a lot of doodling. I also came up with some pretty cool love notes – if I may say so myself.

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What if?

My favorite plotting method is asking “what if?”. If I have a story idea, I like to throw the craziest possibilities at it to see what I can come up with. More often than not, it changes and adds the idea in very good ways. Even if I don’t end up using the change, it spurs creativity.

What are some “what if’s” you have used to change your story? Here are some I have used currently and in the past. They are not too exciting because of spoilers. 🙂

  • What if neither died after all?
  • What if she is actually in love with him?
  • What if she killed his brother?
  • What if she’s part human?

I had a little “what if” spree as I was unpacking my doodle-y love notes from my purse after work. Here’s a story I came up with using seven questions –

  • What if someone found these?
  • What if I died on the way home and someone found these?
  • What if my sister read the love notes addressed to a man she has never heard of?
  • What if she tried to contact him?
  • What if they tried to figure out if the notes were related to my death?
  • What if they became friends?
  • What if they fell in love? (That one’s easy – I’d be jealous. But I’m dead, so it doesn’t matter anyway, I guess.)
    The End.

These are the kind of things that inspire me to write.

Take something random from your day and ask a bunch of  “what if’s.” I’d love to read what you come up with in the comments!

 

Writing Process Blog Tour

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Thanks to my writer friend, Naomi Harvey, I get to partake in the Writing Process Blog Tour that has been going around. I have enjoyed reading about writer’s writing process because we are different and each writer has their own way of getting words out of their head. I have to admit though – mine is not that spectacular.

What am I working on at the moment?

My current project is a work of fantasy. It is inspired by the so-called “hidden people” of Iceland. Over Christmas break, I flew through a rough draft. I’ve been slow since then, but now I am working on a revised first draft.

You can read a bit more on Hidden People here.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I didn’t want to participate in this whole thing because of this question. The story revolves around highly modern elves living in an invisible realm in the human world. That different? No? Oh well.

Why do I write what I do?

Um… because it’s fun? I’m not going to pretend I have my whole act together and have some deeper meaning as to why I write. It has been a hobby for a very long time and I enjoy it. I like for my characters to go through a learning process, and I suppose readers could learn from that. However, it’s not like I’m very preachy in my writing. That is, my story will have those elements but that is not my purpose for writing. Do you know what I mean?

How does my writing process work?

My ideas come from all over. Honestly, most times it is a concept from a movie I’ve seen or other times from a book. It inspires me and I play with the idea in my head until I need to write it down. I work with outlines a bit but I am a pantser at heart. I love to daydream. When a story has me gripped, it’s all I think about. I use every free moment to imagine what will happen next. I go over it again and again so I don’t forget (I do not use notebooks) before writing it. When writing my first draft, I write huge chunks at a time – normally several thousand words a day. The beginning is the funnest part of the process for me.

Then comes going over everything again and catching the parts that don’t work. And fixing them… Yeah, I’m not so good at that part.

 

The last part of this post is nominating three writers to continue the tour on their blogs. Their post should go up on or around the 2nd of June so definitely check them out. My three nominees are…

1. Marie
We have been writing together for quite some time now. Marie is always good for motivation and a wonderful sprinting partner. She’s from Sweden and knows English just about as good as any other. I love that about Scandinavians (my totally unbiased opinion).
Blog: Marie Hogebrandt
Twitter: @melindrea82

2. Belinda
A sweet gal, writing from Mississippi. I actually don’t remember exactly how we met, but we have good writing conversations every now and then.
Blog: The Jolley life.
Twitter: @olivebelinda

3. Lukas
Lukas was my very first writing buddy, so that makes him extra special. We met last year for NaNoWriMo and had great times discussing our writing. He does not have a blog (yet or that I know of…), so follow him on Twitter and tell him he needs one. He’s a good guy, I promise.
Blog: Coming soon!
Twitter: @LukasAvtor

Romantic Tension

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This guest post is by Winter Bayne. Winter is a paranormal and sci-fi romance writer. Follow Winter on her blog, winterbayne.wordpress.com, and on Twitter (@winterbayne).
I have always thought of writing as the equivalent of juggling angry, wet cats. As writers we are dealing with several elements all at once. I personally, can’t do it. Each angry cat is handled individually by me in the editing process. If I don’t handle the upset cat appropriately, it will come back to bite me.

Romantic tension is one of those wet angry cats we juggle even if we aren’t writing a romance book. Don’t dismiss romantic elements so quickly. If you have any type of relationship budding in your stories, use it. It can only add depth as a sub-plot. The love doesn’t need to be a blazing inferno. It can be a smoldering flame that builds slowly over time (or series).

Keep them apart – Something always keeps the lovers apart until the end. It can be a physical separation, mental or emotional. Whatever it is, they can’t fulfill their romantic destiny until the resolution of the story.

Love is earned – They can’t fall for each other without earning the affection of the other. Allow one or both characters to play hero. In some way he has to be there for her when she needs someone. The characters should prove to the reader with their actions that they deserve one another. He doesn’t need to be the hero that saves the world, but he does need to be her hero.

Throw a character a curveball – The lovers don’t need to be opposites, but it helps define tension when one has qualities the other doesn’t. The characters will need to adapt to the interactions. Maybe she is impulsive and he is deliberate. It can put your characters in a tizzy when they are together.

Altruistic actions – Nothing says love like being there and doing something for the other without expecting or asking for anything in return. They are there for one another because they want to only love the other. They may not even realize it at the time. Your character will be trying to guess the motivations of the other. At the end, they’ll know it was because they loved each other.

Capture their thoughts – He’s holding his hands behind his back but readers need to know it is because he wants to touch her. Don’t skimp on the inner conflict.

Throw interruptions at them – TV Shows use this a lot. The would-be couple locks eyes and are about to kiss for the first time, when someone bursts into the room for an unrelated matter. The couple gets shocked back into reality where they pry themselves apart and attempt to act as if nothing was going to happen. Naturally, their thoughts and hearts are racing while they look calm on the outside.

One taste and they’re hooked – After that very brief kiss, they can’t stop thinking about the other. When the lovers are apart, they are always in each other’s thoughts. They become aware of themselves when their interest is present. Maybe she blushes while his hands get clammy.

Nothing is perfect – If you think the characters need to be perfect in their interactions, need to be flawless, you’d be wrong. You aren’t writing about an ideal lover in an ideal situation. You’re writing about your character’s ideal. A little reality by making him clumsy or the situation awkward is not a deal breaker for the reader. We find it endearing.

Game players – A very easy way to subtly imply romantic tension is have the characters almost one up each other in every scene. It can be through body language like she smirks at him as she leaves the room and has him wondering what she is up to now. It can be verbal where he wins an argument, proving her wrong.

Make it meaningful – The test of true romantic tension is if you can take it out and the story is fine, then it isn’t romance. Romance is all about the emotion. Every single romantic situation should change the characters. Maybe because of the attraction he feels he can open up to her. She feels she can trust him. It can complicate things and make the action in the plot dire. She’s scared and doesn’t want to get close to anyone, so she runs off when he was helping to protect her. The emotion must impact the characters, no way around this.

I get my ideas from sitcoms. Frasier is an excellent example with Niles and Daphne. If you need inspiration on how to create romantic tension find a sitcom to watch.

If you want an example of page clenching romantic tension dissect Twilight by Meyer. It doesn’t matter what you may think of her plot or writing. She masterfully crafted some intense romantic tension through four books that had females everywhere swooning.

Whatever genre you write, romantic tension can help your reader invest in your characters and story. They don’t call them book boyfriends for nothing.