Thursday, December 31, 2015

One Writer's Resolutions

First of all, Happy New Year, Auld Lang Syne (whatever that means) and all that. 

I almost can't believe it, but 2015 saw my first draft finished-ish! 

Never mind the "ish" part and the fact that it's crummier than our bowl of leftover Christmas cookies--I'm raising a toast to the 465 pages I wrote in under three months! 

The big question?




 I had plans to start a complete rewrite on the 1st, but after spending my Christmas break working on plot issues and new outline, I've determined I'm not ready to return to that crumb bowl just yet. 

Right now, my strongest desire is both broader and vaguer (vaguer? more vague?):

I want to improve my writing.

I've come up with ideas and made my News Years resolutions (or rustytutions as Tigger calls them)  
based on those ideas.
  • Write a scene a day, where both character and writing are (verymuchso) active. 
  • Portray unique, different characters each time.  
  • Write for an hour a day (fifteen minute chunks)
  • Keep up two thousand words a day (five hundred words in fifteen minutes).
  • Look for an online writing coach (yes, I'm ready to spend money on this 'hobby').
  • Keep up a daily longhand journal for recording scenes or funnies that happen in daily life, but write them in my own storyified, writerly, glory.

That's it!

And yes, all my resolutions are writerly focused. 

Do you think they should be anything else?

Follow me on facebook to see how long these goals last. 

Happy New Year!
Drink one for writerly goals! 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Bookish Day (omg, what even is my life?!?!!)

Last Tuesday started much like any other: shower, breakfast, coffee, internet.

Then BAM, this shows up in my fb feed:

It's happened and I totally wasn't ready for it.
James Riley (a super nice author who's chatted with me every time I've written him with my younger sibling's assessment of his novels) combined his two fabulous worlds in this seven page short story
 I was excited as the younger kids to read the cross over.

Story Thieves was the first book to capture 6yr old Donna's attention.
Book 2, the Stolen Chapters, comes out Jan 19th, and we can barely wait!

Next, with a ding of the doorbell (that's a lie, we don't have a doorbell), the nice UPS man delivered my early Christmas gift to me, maybe my favorite books of all time:
I licked the covers and cuddled these books for a long time...
(no, not really! Gosh, how weird do you think I am?)
 Can you believe that's the first time I've ever bought books for myself?
Me neither.
That's some amazing self control right there.

 Then, I brought kids into town for their skating lessons and swung by the library.
My book was in!
The Novice by Taran Matharu. 
It's fun to read (and critique) a debut by another young author. (Don't worry Taran, I'm enjoying it so far!)
While I was there, I also picked up this book again. I'm in revision stages with my story, and looking for help. This book is so good. Maybe I'll buy it someday. :)

 When I got home, I went back to my amazon cart and hovered the mouse over the "buy now" button on these books. Instead, I read more rave reviews, drooled a little, and then went on my way. I mean, I just bought four books. (For fun though, and these are like, educational, right? My wallet disagreed.)
While revisiting K.M. Weiland's helpful writing blog, I uncovered a path through cyberspace, that involved signing up to a writerly newsletter, getting emailed top secret codes and whatnot and, boring story short, I uncovered both these two 350pg. books for free download in a one time giveaway!
Bless my lucky stars.

I was still reveling in my victory, reading the first chapter of Structuring Your Novel, when another email pops up.



No. It can't be.

This writerly God in my favorite fiction world wrote me an email?
I was in so much disbelief, seeing her name on the bottom of the email, that I barely comprehended what she was saying.

Congrats? Address? Sign? Where? Who?

And then my fangirl-fuzzy brain comprehended the words: "you won".

The beautiful, the brand new, the book that won't even be out until Jan 26th, and I am getting it this week signed by THE Jennifer A, Nielsen, (creator of the amazing Jaron, thief/prince, Ascendance trilogy books.)

And I'm just like... what even is my life?

Now, a few days later, I'm tempted to go back and reread my response, but I'm too afraid to actually do it. Not because I fangirled so hard she probably thinks I'm 14, but... I don't remember proofing my response. The spelling is probably worse than a second grader.
*Oh gawd*

 Incidentally, younger sis has just finished reading Mark of the Thief (bk 1) and was asking  about the next book. She's been talking up the awesomeness of Nic (main character from bk 1).

Jennifer has the ability to create amazing characters. 

And after that incredible bookish day, I'm convinced anything can happen, so I'm just gonna ask:  

Santa, if you do exist, all I want for Christmas is that ability. 


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Where Am I?

In regards to writing, I don't know if there's a category for where I'm at. 

Despite 465 pages, I didn't officially finish draft one, yet I'm done writing it.

I read it over in one fowl sweep, which was a roller coaster for sure. I came away deciding there's not much to salvage there (ouch!).

  I'm oddly determined nonetheless.

I've gotten busy with Christmas rush now, but in the back of my mind, there's a weak drizzle of brainstorming happening. I'm doing all I can to feed that weak storm, because I hope to have my new plan and outline ready by Jan 1st to start a complete rewrite.

As overwhelming as that is, I'm actually excited about all that I'm learning about writing active prose, the emotional character arc, staying in deep in POV, and so much more. 

Basically, I didn't get anything right in my first draft, in character, writing or plot, and realized it all needs to be redone and I'm still enthusiastic. 

I must be brain whacked.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

End Nov WIP updates

Well, I was supposed to finish before Dec. and I didn't, but not through any fault of my own. 
I never missed a day, and my lowest word count was on my birthday at 1,400. Because, reasons. 
Every other day, I managed to eek the button over 2k, even when I really didn't feel like it.
I'm deep in the climax now, and really enjoying it, but never expected it to take this long. The plot just kept going (because, reasons) and I felt like I was following along behind going "hey, wait, you were supposed to stay under 100k!"
I'm going to sharpen my editing scissors after New Years and scale this puppy back!

There's some other editing I know I need to do right off the bat too. For instance, I thought I had my MC so thoroughly figured out, and then he went and changed personalities on me midway (because, reasons), so now I have to figure out which character he really is and hold him to it.

I hope to finish the first draft in a few days and then focus on Christmas.
I'm very happy on both accounts!

Okay, gotta run, because (you guessed it) reasons...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Poor me, I can't write a Synopsis! :(

 Uuuugh! I've written this dang synopsis four times already! I thought I was getting closer with this last attempt, but after a quick edit, I realized it's rubbish and I have to try again. Gods help me!

 The face of 'aww, poor me I can't write a synopsis'.

Ack, never mind.
I'm going to go finish my NaNoWriMo word count now.
(50k words in 22 days! Maybe I'm not as pathetic as I look! :) )

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Broken Basket

They called it the Broken Basket, even though it wasn’t broken.
Large and woven, it was ordinary enough. Inside were sheafs of paper for each eligible citizen of Jorevian. Ordained by the Lords, each card dictated the names of acceptable gene pools that the individual could marry into. As if they had a choice. Most cards had less than half a dozen names on them, some only one or two.
That’s why it was called the broken basket: it was full of broken hearts.

My little brother and I had only been with the Jorevian clan two months before I turned eighteen. We were still learning so much about the vicious hierarchy system, mostly by accident. I had been afraid to approach the basket, and then a naive hope flared in my chest when the dictator presented my card. It was blank.
Was I free to choose? I immediately thought of Han. Stupidly. For the hush that came over the crowd should’ve been indication enough. It was the silence of pity.
Soon, I learned what happened to girls with blood deemed ineligible for the gene pool. As I stood before the silent crowd, I should’ve been more afraid. Much more.

What do you think??
This idea came to me in a dream, down to the opening sentence. I hope to write it someday, but for right now, I wish my dreams would help me solve present plot holes instead of bogging me down with new ideas... 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

First she's up, then she's down...

As I narrow in on the climax of this book, the highs and lows of writing are really starting to get to me.

How is it possible to feel such drastic mood swings one day (literally, one day) to the next? 

It doesn't even matter if the words came easily or not, or wether the scenes were well plotted or spontaneous. It's actually on the lower level of sentence by sentence, word by word. I either love my composition, or despise it, one moment to the next.

Then there's this jolly little thing called... 


Which I have never experienced myself, but I hear it's awful.

Actually, that's a lie. I have it today. And some of yesterday.

After averaging 2,500words/day for two months, I was feeling pretty confident in my output, which is where the danger first started. Then, after ridiculously busy days where I still managed my 25 hundred, the weekend days should've been easy. Or so I thought. 

Which is why, of course, the words mock me by avoiding the weak pull of my lazy brain and I watch cat videos on youtube instead.

It is also why I blog. To bemoan because it's easier than writing.
...and because my brothers are group gaming on my writing computer.


I'm going to carry on Tangled style, since they're still gaming and you're still reading.

It starts out gloriously... 
You decide to write a book and dream (like I did literally the other night) of getting it published. 

Two weeks later writer's block hits like:

As far as how NaNo is going, I'm not behind and I'm not giving up, but I do wonder if I have enough story left for my full 50k. I think I may either have to start some rewrites or book 2 to get them all.

Finally, because I'm bored, easily amused, and very scatter-brained at the moment, I'm going to leave you with this nonsensical picture.

K, time to get my brother's off the computer. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Snoopy Understands

I'm halfway through the first draft of my manuscript today--yay! 

This is where I'm at mentally:
..Yeah, not so 'yay'.

At first it was coming together and all very exciting.

I began writing and it was easy...

Then I had my first wave of doubt. 
I had to rewrite eighteen pages right out the front gate and it was overwhelmingly bad (still is).

Then my heroine joined the story and their fun chemistry added layers to my main character's personality. Things began to perk up.

Unforeseen elements hopped into my outline.

I was encouraged, and started that rookie, premature and somewhat arrogant, thing of looking into agents and publishers.

I was naively fantasizing how quickly a writing career could come together for me.
(Thankfully, I'm not stupid enough to think about actually submitting for a long time.)

Frankly, what I read and learned about the process scared my socks off.

I pulled my head away from that distraction and back into my story where it belongs and have been trying to keep it there ever since.

That was two weeks and over 100 pages ago.

Now, cresting the midway peek, I'm rethinking the most daunting section of a manuscript, for me: the ending.

Part of me just wants to sum up and shut up.

But seriously, the biggest thing that keeps me going is how much I do love what I'm writing. 
The genre, the characters--I'm writing for me.

But also, knowing that I'm writing for me, makes me wonder where the dedication comes from. Why do I pull myself from my warm bed an hour before the rest of the house to type in a dark room?

Especially wearisome when the effort to get up early is made, and the words don't show up with it.

When the rest of the family make plans, and I'm just sitting there, obliviously typing away. 

Basically, the thing is...

And good endings: even harder.

But in those rare moments when I reread a scene and admire the necklace of words I strung, it all comes rushing back...

By the end of next month, I will hopefully finish my first draft and more certainly, I turn twenty five.

I approach that finish line with trepidation, knowing it will be bittersweet.
At least Snoopy understands.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Teeny Tiny 2 second, but Super Amazing, Creative Writing Exercise

Raise your hand if you love pinterest. 

Leave the room if you don't.

I mean, seriously, who doesn't/wouldn't?

It doesn't matter if you're a painter, knitter, gardener or writer, (and it's even better if you're all of the above) for gleaning inspiration.

For years, I've had a board/boards for writing inspiration. Basically, photos that spark an idea or a situation that could be a story, scene, character, or even a song, or whatever.

One day when I was skimming through my board looking for a short story idea, I began to feel frustrated. All these pictures and no ideas? What the hey! 

Then I had the idea to push my creativity in a little writing exercise...
I decided I would repin a handful (maybe five, I don't remember), pictures and write in the little description a story blurb. Anything, any length.

All of a sudden, I was looking at the pictures with a new potential. Instead of searching for a whole story, I was just looking for the little 'missing piece' to each picture, whether it was the backstory, dilemma or conflict, or the resolution.

Most of the time, I found myself looking for what wasn't in the picture.

Here are some examples: 

Here's the link to my: Imagination board feel free to check it out and try this two second writing exercise. I promise, after you try this, you'll find yourself looking for the hidden story in everything!

Today I was scrolling through that board again, and noticed those photos that included my snippets of writing generally had more repins than some others. I think that's pretty cool! :)