October 22 2013

Tossing and Turning

I’ve been preparing for NaNoWriMo by researching mapmaking and world building, by working on my outline (which is difficult because I’m more of a pantser), and finding the rest of the pictures to use as visuals for my characters and town. I was also busy helping my husband get things together so he could fly to TN for training for the new company he’s working for now. YAY new job!

He flew out of Charleston Sunday afternoon and as I waved goodbye I realized this is the first time we’ve been separated for more than a day since we became serious (2 1/2 years ago). We’ve only been married for 13 1/2 months so it’s sort of a big deal.

I spent last night tossing and turning. When he called earlier this evening he said, “Well at least you’ll be able to work on your writing without distractions,” and my thought was, “You not being here is a distraction,” but I didn’t say it. He’ll be back Friday evening, which isn’t soon enough for me, but I’ll be fine–I’ll just curl up to his pillow and fall asleep to Netflix (which will be happening soon).

When he’s here I take a break from writing, researching, etc., and just enjoy my time with him. Since he’s been gone, which has only been two days, my routine is askew and I feel restless and I’m not sure of what to do with myself. My breaks are now random, instead of on a routine, and my routine has been thrown out of the window. I’m not going to sleep until I’m utterly exhausted, in part because of the pain from my rotator cuff being messed up and the meds I’m on, and in part because I miss my husband and I sleep much better with him next to me than all alone in our queen sized bed. I used to sleep just fine by myself. Hogging the middle of the bed is not fun when you’re by yourself. Nor is hogging the covers.

So I’ve made a note to myself to get up in the morning and get back into my routine. I prefer the routine. I need the routine and I’ll really need it once NaNo starts November 1st.

My TO-DO list for tomorrow:

  • Get back into routine
  • Finish town map
  • Finish character sketches (I only have 2 left)
  • Finish outline for Part 2 (at least) & Part 3
  • Work on organizing bookshelf
  • Go to sleep Tuesday night by midnight (or at least try to)
  • Make shopping list for NaNo supplies

And now I’m off to find something to fall asleep to on Netflix, and hopefully I’ll dream about my characters tonight so I’m inspired in the morning 😀

 

Category: Books, Life, NaNoWriMo, Outlining, Writing | Comments Off on Tossing and Turning
October 18 2013

Plot, Conflict, and Outline

I’ve been working on character, plotting, and setup for the first part of my novel (which has 4 parts: Part 1 is Setup (of course), Part 2 is Response, Part 3 is Attack, and Part 4 is Resolution, which I got from the book “Story Engineering” by Larry Brooks.

larrybrooks3-med

Part1: the Setup of my novel, which is called Blue Moon (that is definitely subject to change and probably will), should introduce the reader to hero and what is going on in the hero’s life (backstory, character empathy, what is at stake, what the hero needs in her life, what “trials and tribulations and opportunities” she is “facing before the arrival of the primary conflict” so that the reader cares about what is going on with the hero.

So my first 4-5 chapters are all about the Setup and right now I’m debating on whether to name my chapters or not. To name or not to name?  That is the question.

In chapter 1, the  reader finds out that my character Jynx was orphaned as a child and went to live with her fanatically religious aunt Avena when she was seven years old. Her parents were killed in a plane crash. She wanted to go live with her uncle Bourne who has spent time with her, but her aunt, whom she’s never met, gets custody of her and raises her. We get a glimpse of how much of a zealot the aunt is when Jynx receives a letter from a lawyer stating that requests her presence at her uncle’s funeral and for a reading of his will–she calls her aunt and finds out that the aunt refuses to go to her own brother’s funeral because he was a heathen. We learn that Jynx has psychic abilities and that she hid them from her aunt.

In chapter 2, Jynx moves into her uncle’s home and learns that her uncle, along with her mother and grandmother, were all psychics, which is why her aunt disowned them–they were sinners, psychic ability=sinner/satan. She figures out that her aunt raised her to keep her away from her uncle because her aunt thought that her uncle would corrupt her with his “demon” powers and that her aunt thought she might develop them, especially if she were around him. She wonders why her aunt didn’t have psychic abilities if they run in her family.  She also wonders why her uncle, who was a lawyer, didn’t fight for custody of her instead of allowing her to live with Avena.  Her uncle owned the bookstore in town, which is now Jynx’s, and Jynx wonders what to do with it. Should she sell it? Run it?

In chapter 3, Jynx meets a few of the town’s people, including the librarian Carita who was friends with Jynx’s mother. Carita is Jynx’s godmother and has a box of letters that she wrote to Jynx but that Avena returned to sender. Carita knows about the psychic abilities that run in Jynx’s family, and is willing to teach Jynx how to use and manage hers….

So I’m wondering if I should name my chapters…And if so, how do I decide what to name them? Something to think about and research as I continue to plot my novel for NaNoWriMo.

Category: NaNoWriMo, Outlining, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Resources | Comments Off on Plot, Conflict, and Outline
October 16 2013

Routines

snoopy-good-writing-is-hard-work.jpeg

Part of my routine each day is to check out my WP reader, FB, email, and the news. Yesterday (or maybe it was the day before) I found a post entitled 10 NaNoWriMo tips & tricks. In the post she gives a shout out to Rainy Moods and I’m now a fan and am hooked. Even my husband, who doesn’t write but is a musician, loves it. We fell asleep to the sound of rain last night and it wasn’t raining here.  I’m picky about listening to music when I write–most music distracts me so I often listen to classical, movie soundtracks (the songs that don’t having vocals), that kind of thing. Now I feel like I’ve found the perfect music for the mood I’ll need for this novel. Yesterday evening I was telling my daughter about the character I’ve chosen for my NaNo novel. Her name is Jynx and she’s a 25 year old graduate student. My daughter asked me what color her hair was, and I told her black or red, and she has gray eyes. My daughter said, “You should give her violet hair. Dark purple.” And you know what, she’s right. I thought about for a minute and nodded to my daughter. So now I’m on the hunt for a picture that comes close to what I feel like the character looks like. (Thank goodness for google, creative commons, and pinterest.)

One of the first things I do in the morning is make coffee. I normally drink coffee out of the Goofy cup my brother gave me. (This morning I’m having coffee with spiced pumpkin creamer–Oh, it’s so good!) I take a shower while the coffee is brewing–on a good morning my husband and I take our shower together, and come next week he’ll be back on the road so I won’t see him but on the weekends–FROWN! I open Word Press, Facebook, and my email account. I check all  of those. Then I either write a blog post or wait until later on in the day (some days I go straight to my novel).

Funny thing about routines is that once you get used to them it feels weird when you do something different. Lately I’ve been working on the outline for my NaNo novel instead of working on the current WIP and I’ve been reading Larry Brooks‘ book “Story Engineering.” For Camp NaNo in April, I read several books beforehand. My favorite Stephen King’sOn Writing,” Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem!” and “Ready, Set, Novel!” as well as quite a few others like “Creative Writing,” “Finding your Muse,” “Rock Your Plot” by Cathy Yardley, “Write Good or Die,” and “You’ve Got a Book in You.” Finding out what works for you when writing is important. I am more of a pantser than a plotter. Lately I’ve become a plotster because I’m determined to have less writer’s block, more writing time. I got stuck at the midpoint of my novel–not a good thing when you have a deadline.

So now, I’m working on getting my routine in order for NaNoWriMo. It’s getting closer and closer and I’d like to have my outline and character outlines finished before it starts.

October 13 2013

Random Musings on Cold Meds

I could write an ode to Mucinex DM, Tylenol and Ibuprofen, along with orange juice, V-8 Splash Pomegranate Blueberry,  soup, and my husband (we’ve been taking turns taking care of each other as we suffer through the flu/cold/sinus thing that has had us in her clutches all weekend), but instead I’ll just say I really HATE being sick. I feel so weak that sitting at the desk looking at the computer screen feels like manual labor, much less doing any actual writing, but I’m writing nonetheless.

I found quite a few blogs today that were posting about NaNoWriMo. Some are doing it, some aren’t. Some love it. Some are preparing for it, and some will be pantsing through it. I clicked that wonderful follow button for quite a few but I’ll have to go back tomorrow or Tuesday (once I’m feeling better) to read and (hopefully) follow more. As an aspiring author, a writer who was only published many, many moons ago in high school (too many moons ago to discuss), I feel a deep and abiding connection with the written word and love to read–yes, I’m a bookworm, a nerd, so when I find blogs I like I pounce on the follow button with enthusiasm.

Branding one’s self as an author/writer is ridiculous to me, but maybe that’s because I’m old school. I’m pretty sure that Stephen King didn’t brand himself before he became a famous writer, nor did Tolkien or C.S. Lewis, or Dean Koontz, or Anne Rice, or Nora Roberts, or….But now we’re at this place in our world where Twitter, FB, etc have taken over mass communication. I have a Twitter account, but hell if I really know how to use it. And once you’re on there and you follow people there are so many tweets I wouldn’t have time to read them all and still have time to FB, write on my blog, write my book, cook dinner, eat, clean, and exercise–there’s just not enough time in the day. (And what exactly are hash tags anyway?)

Hell, I remember when I was in high school having to write my research papers on a typewriter, no one I knew had personal computers in the early 80s. I took typing my freshmen year of high school. Typing, not keyboarding. And back then, with a manual typewriter, I could type 45 wpm with about 1/2 mistakes. Now I type 75wpm (or so) on a keyboard. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not adverse to technology, nor am I adverse to writers (or aspiring writers) like myself promoting ourselves. Getting our names out there. But honestly, do I really have to Tweet? (Can you tell I’m just not a big fan of Twitter?) Can’t I just FB, blog, and write my book?

Eventually I hope to finish my book and send it out… And I DO EXPECT rejection letters. I’m actually looking forward to them. It means I’m a real struggling writer, that I’m out there fulfilling my dream. And someone, somewhere, will read my manuscript and want to sign me up.

Now it’s time to take my achy, sniffly, fever ridden self to bed and watch some Netflix until it’s time for my husband and I to help each other cook dinner (we’re having red pepper and garlic tomato soup with mozzarella cheese, grilled ham and pepper-jack cheese sandwiches, a salad, and sweet tea for dinner (I’m all juiced out for now).

Category: Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing | Comments Off on Random Musings on Cold Meds
October 12 2013

6 Rules for a Great Story from Barnaby Conrad and Snoopy | Brain Pickings

6 Rules for a Great Story from Barnaby Conrad and Snoopy | Brain Pickings.

I’m a huge fan of Snoopy and Woodstock. Always have been. When I came across this post on a blog I couldn’t help but smile, especially since I remember reading Snoopy’s books, and watching Charlie Brown as a child. “It was a dark and stormy night…”

I’ve been looking up writing resources in preparation for NaNoWriMo and I”m glad I came across this one.

Category: Writing, Writing Resources | Comments Off on 6 Rules for a Great Story from Barnaby Conrad and Snoopy | Brain Pickings
October 12 2013

In a Strange Land

Today’s Daily Prompt, something I haven’t really done much of on this blog, states: What’s the strangest place from which you’ve posted to your blog? When was the last time you were out and about, and suddenly thought, “I need to write about this!”?

On the road with coffee in hand and saw this...
On the road with coffee in hand and saw this…

A few months ago I wrote a short post while we were traveling west on I-26 towards Columbia. I saw a truck with a coffee slogan on the back and had to take a picture and post it…I posted it on a different blog. I hadn’t started this one yet. I also posted the picture on my FB wall. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I’m an avid coffee lover/fan/addict/consumer…You get my drift. And anyone who knows me–they know how much I love coffee.

A Day without coffee

Coffee mugs. Coffee. The smell of coffee. The fuzzy feelings I get inside when I hold a hot cup of coffee, laced with a lot of sweetener and half & half. I’ll take my sweetener and half & half with coffee please. And this morning, I tried out my new coffee creamer–Pumpkin Spice. After all Fall is in the air around here and I couldn’t help myself.  Maybe that’s the thing…Anything that inspires me: makes me smile, think, question, ponder, even frown is often worth posting about. Me without coffee (or writing, or reading) wouldn’t be me.

Me and my coffee
Me and my coffee

I haven’t been to very many of the 50 states here in the U.S. but I’ve traveled to enough of them to know that as much as I love to travel, there’s no place like home. That feeling you get when you see the landmark that tells you you’re almost home…SIGH. That’s the feeling I get when I drink coffee. Whether I’m drinking a cup in my car on the way to or from somewhere, at home at my kitchen table, at my desk as I write, at some coffee shop somewhere, in a hotel room, at someone else’s house, or wherever I might be.

Welcome to SC

Daily writing prompts are to make you think, to get ideas, to prompt the brain into inspiration, creativity… and this is where this one led me. Now I’m thinking about traveling, which is something I’ll be doing soon enough since my husband, who is a truck driver, will soon be back on the road and I’ll be able to join him soon and I’ll be hitting the road with my camera and laptop in hand. Oh the places I’ll go, the things I’ll see, the coffee I’ll drink.

Category: Coffee, Daily Prompt, Traveling, Writing | Comments Off on In a Strange Land
October 11 2013

NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo then check out the website, but in essence for over a decade now November has been the NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. People from all over participate. All you have to do to win is write 50,000 words in a month. And here are some tips for how to win.

nanowrimo_laptop_sticker_by_mopotter-d4dwzei

Note: These tips are not in any specific order….

  • Pick a genre. A working title. Write a synopsis (basically a sentence that sums up what your novel is going to be about).
  • If you’re a plotter then write at least a basic outline. Note: If you’re a pantser and you’re like me, you might want to at least write down a few key ideas about where you want your story to go, what’s going on with the character, and at least a few details that are important to the story. Or you can just wing it completely (but I tried that and I got stuck at the midpoint and was floundering around like a fish on land).
  • Find a place you can write. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a corner, in your very own writing room, at Starbuck’s, at the library, on your bed, or outside. Just somewhere that is your very own writing niche.
  • You’re going to at least need a pen or pencil and some paper. If you’re writing old school style then you’re good, but if you’re like me and you’re going to need a laptop, a desktop, or at least a typewriter or word processor (hey, there are writer’s who still write using a typewriter).  Note: if you have a Mac or Windows, I suggest you use Scrivener. It’s awesome and amazing, and perfect for writing whether you’re writing a thesis, a blog, a book, a script, etc. And they have a special for NaNoWriMo (a discount) and there’s a free trial version just for NaNoWriMo. Check them out.
  • Get yourself some rewards for short term goals and long term goals. For example, if you make your word count goal for the day allow yourself a piece of chocolate…If you WIN NaNoWriMo reward yourself with something you’ve been wanting (for me it was purchasing Scrivener, for another writer I know it was buying a new book). Each Friday if I’ve made my word count goal for the week I’ll be getting myself a White Chocolate Mocha venti from Starbucks with whipped cream. Haven’t decided on the big goal yet.
  • You’ll also want to stock up on coffee, or whatever other type of drink(s) you like. I’ll be getting extra coffee, half & half, and Splenda, as well as chocolate, water bottles, Dr. Pepper, popcorn, Twizzler’s, baby carrots, and a few other goodies.
  • You’ll also want to make sure that you get up from that chair, move around. Go outside and check the mail. Take a walk. You need to keep your blood flowing, it’s better for the brain and for you circulation.
  • Make sure you get plenty of rest. It seems like a good idea to pull all nighters when you’re on a roll, but you need your sleep. Besides, I often dream about my characters and that helps with ideas.
  • Write every day! If you write 1667 words a day you’ll make the 50K goal in 30 days, but please remember that Thanksgiving Day is in November and if you want to take a break on that day you’ll need write a little extra on some days.
  • Put your inner editor away. Do NOT edit during November. You can edit once NaNoWriMo is over.
  • Many people use the sprints and it works well for them. I don’t like them, but a lot of people do. There are word sprints on twitter, check them out.
  • Do your research before November. Don’t spend time during November doing research.
  • Save your novel in multiple ways, in multiple versions. I save mine as an attachment in my email, on a thumb drive, and on my hard-drive. You’ll be happy you saved it if something happens to your computer, and believe me you hear about it happening to at least a few people each NaNo.
  • Remember that pen and notebook…Well once you’ve completed your 1667 word count for the day go places, get out, have fun. Listen to conversations between strangers, people watch…Have FUN and take notes.
  • If you have a certain pair of pants, a favorite t-shirt or sweat shirt, hat, bedroom shoes, etc… Then wear it.
  • Tell your family and friends that you’re doing NaNoWriMo. 1. It makes you accountable, 2. Hopefully they’ll support you (I know husband did while I was working on my novel during April’s Camp NaNo.
  • And last but not least, IT”S OKAY IF YOUR NOVEL NEEDS EDITING. IT’S OKAY IF IT’S SHITTY.
October 10 2013

Scrivener NaNoWriMo 2013 Offers

Scrivener NaNoWriMo 2013 Offers.

 

If you’re a writer, regardless of what type of writer you are, Scrivener is the way to go, especially if you’re interested in participating in NaNoWriMo.

I LOVE SCRIVENER!!!!!

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October 10 2013

In need of coffee

coffee-and-book1

So I’m writing my outline for NaNoWriMo. It’s almost there, finally. I’m at the midpoint, and rounding towards the 3rd Act, and I’m still not sure that this whole outlining thing is for me but I’m trying. I’m not a big fan of outlining, never have been, even when writing research papers or essays for college. I’d make a basic 5 point outline…Intro, 3 major points, then the conclusion, and that was that. Now that I’m trying to write a novel I find that’s what I’d prefer to do. But writing a novel is different.

Maybe that’s why I like the 3 Act Structure. I can divide my novel into the basics: a Beginning, a Middle, an End. I wrote the synopsis, the basic idea for the ending, a summary of what my novel is about, and then the basic ideas for each Act. And right now, I need MORE COFFEE.

I wonder if other pantsers out there have trouble at the midpoint of their novel. That’s the whole reason I’m working so hard on an outline this go round. Ah well. I’ll be checking out the forums of NaNo soon enough, as well as reading other blogs related to pantsers and plotters. Hopefully this whole outline thing will get easier as I go.

Category: Outlining, Writing | Comments Off on In need of coffee
October 2 2013

Writing: What, Where, How, When, and Why

I spent most of my life “wishing” I could write a book. When my husband said, “Do it.” I thought, “Why not?” I decided I’d participate in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and I won. YAY ME!!! Then I tried July’s but lost because family stuff intruded (my grandson’s first birthday, my birthday, and I got so into my book that the dead line came and went and I didn’t even notice even though I had made my goal, so I won but didn’t win, if you know what I mean?).

3 simple rules in life

Over the past six months I’ve read articles, books, ebooks, blogs…about writing, advice on writing, and I even bought Scrivener, which is the next best thing since coffee was invented. Though I really wish they’d put all the stuff in the Windows version that they have in the Mac version (I’d really love to have the icons). I’m actually outlining my novel for November’s NaNoWriMo and excited about it. I’m using a template that I found thanks to the Belinda Crawford’s post about how to open a Scrivener template (all of them aren’t accessible for some reason, no matter which way I tried) and Carolina Norrington’s Outline template.  Needless to say, I’m a BIG FAN of SCRIVENER!!!!

Snoopy There he is writing again

One of the first suggestions in most of the articles and books I’ve read was that you need a comfortable place to write. Your own little writing niche/corner/room (if you’re lucky)… for some of us it’s in a corner somewhere sitting at our desk, or on our bed with our laptop, or in our very own writing room (Come December 30th I’ll have our spare bedroom back because my son will be off to bootcamp for the Army and I’ll be moving my desk, computer, bookcases, etc out of various rooms in the house and into my own writing space. I’m going to paint the walls first, and buy myself a much needed new bookcase (you can never have enough bookcases).

Writing is magic stephen king

Stephen King stated in his book On Writing, that he writes every day. Writer’s write. It’s that simple.

snoopy-good-writing-is-hard-work.jpeg

Another thing writer’s should do, especially new writers, aspiring writers…We should market ourselves, brand ourselves, which means twitter, FB, blogs, etc. So I got a blog, a FB page, and now a twitter account (only I am not sure of what hash tags really are, such a newbie at this it makes me literally laugh-out-loud.) I’m guessing I’ll need to link my blog to twitter soon (somehow or other). I’ll google that soon enough.

stephen king quote

Now, WHAT do I use to write with? A desktop computer. A PC. An HP to be exact. Or I use a good old fashioned notebook, usually one of those black and white composition notebooks, although I do have a fancy journal, and a black gel pen. Once I’m to the editing stage I have a red pen for corrections, a blue pen for notations, and various colored highlighters. And SCRIVENER.

Scrivener

WHERE do I write? At my desk that sits in the corner of my bedroom, for now. LIke I said, after December 30th I’ll have my own study/writing room. YAY!  Or I write outside with my pen and notebook, or on the couch while my husband watches football, or whenever I’m somewhere other than home.

i-dont-remember-deciding-to-become-a-writer.jpg

HOW do I write? One word at a time. (Insert smile here.) I use Scrivener. I also am more of a pantser than an outliner, but I’m working really hard on trying to change that. Right now I’m what I like to think of as a plotster…A hybrid of sorts.

I'm out of bed and I made it to the keyboard

WHEN do I write? Usually during the day or late at night, which means when I’m alone, or when my husband is asleep.

snoopy inspiration

WHY do I write? Silly question, but it’s one of those things that people ask. I love writing, my soul beckons me to write, the voices telling me to write will not quiet…the summons to write stirs within my being and has to be answered. BECAUSE I HAVE TO, BECAUSE I NEED TO, BECAUSE I WANT TO.

I write because there is a voice

Now I’m off to write some more of my outline for November’s NaNoWriMo, and  then try to finish chapter 1 of the book I’m currently working on, I put the other book aside for now because I was stuck. The main character decided she had different plans and wanted to be in a completely different novel with a completely different name.

Category: Outlining, Scrivener, Uncategorized, Writing | Comments Off on Writing: What, Where, How, When, and Why