And So I Return

And, I’m back! Yay! The vacation was amazing. I got souvenirs from…a lot of different places. Like, in Arkansaw, I got a bug bite on the bottom of my foot. And in Kansas, I got a scrape on my arm and a pulled muscle in my leg that kept me from walking for two days.

Okay, maybe those aren’t really souvenirs. They’re probably just me being a little foolish. I couldn’t have done much to prevent the bug bite, but the latter two I got from climbing a tree in flipflops, then falling off of said tree. Brilliant, I know. I do try.

Anyway. The important part of all of this is, the break really helped me out with a lot of things. I feel like I got a fresh start, not just to my writing, but to, well, everything. I’m coming back to my characters with a clear head, and it feels amazing.

I’m doing Camp NaNo, as I may or may not have mentioned before. I planned on only continuing my 500 words a day, but when I had nothing else to do the past few days (lots of driving), I got my word-count up to just over 8,000. I think I might extend the goal, if only a little. I don’t want to do too much, because I don’t want to make the mistake I’ve done previous years and burn myself out half-way through the month. So I’ll take it easy, so long as I don’t get lazy and stop writing.

I realize that there’s like two dozen posts for me to catch up on from the rest of you guys, so I apologize if I miss something. I’ll try to read and comment, but I can’t guarantee I’ll comment on everything. That’s a lot of reading, and I’ve already been doing lots of reading, trying to finish Sanderson’s Words of Radiance before I got home.

Geez. That thing was huge. But awesome. I might do a post in the future on some of the things I really liked about that book, and hopefully some things I’ve learned from it.

So-So Productivity and Scrivener

Well what do you know.  I abandoned my blog again.  Unlike last time, I have a more legitimate excuse—I’ve been dealing with both lots of family drama and also trying to fill out my high-school transcripts.  Talk about stressful.

Anyhow.  Doing Camp didn’t quite work how I intended it to.  Meaning, I’m not doing as planned, but once again am stretched out between four projects.  Again.  I also haven’t kept track of any form of “word-count” at all, which means according to the Camp website, I have written a whopping zero words.  I’m not terribly worried, though, because I really have done more brainstorming and outlining than actual writing—and it’s kind of hard to convert that into a word-count.

Besides.  I didn’t want to do Camp to write a novel.  I just wanted to use it to motivate me to do something.  That something might be a lot of weird things and with absolutely no concentration on one project, but it’s still something, isn’t it?

I’m going to blame part of my not-as-productive-as-I’d-like-t0-be-ness on Scrivener.  I got the program for Christmas last year, and it is an awesome writing program.  Never before have I been able to organize and sort my writing and notes and everything so well, and I’ve started to have trouble working in anything else.  Which means, whenever I have to let one of my siblings have a turn on the computer, suddenly the program I use on my tablet, Pages, which I’ve used for years, seems very incompetent and I’m struggling to write anything in it.

Gah.  Even notebooks seem pathetic now.

Okay, that’s enough ranting.  I’m curious, though, what writing programs does everybody else use?  I hope I’m not the only one who doesn’t use Word. (Granted, I can’t use Word, since I have a Mac, but still.  I could use the Mac equivalent, Text Edit, except the very idea gives me the shudders.)

 

Pre-Camp NaNo Writing?

Well.  Camp starts in…four days?  Something like that.  I’m too tired do any math right now.  Anyhow, it’s going pretty much how my previous two attempts at camp have worked out.  And that means, I couldn’t wait for the first; I started working now.  Now actually meaning Tuesday.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to be a rebel.  I’m trying to finish the rewrite of my WIP from last Camp, and I’m going to try to write about 10 – 15k.  But I’m also, on top of that, trying to squeeze a little editing in and some more in-depth character development.  (It’s all for the same project, though, in case you’re wondering.  Yeah, I’m all over the place.)  So, Tuesday night I screwed around with some Scrivener templates, then finished editing the second chapter of my WIP, and today, I finished the first half of chapter three.  I’m thinking if I keep going at a decent pace, I’ll actually be finished with the editing by April 1st, and I can start writing chapter five.

Okay.  Now I’m wondering about the question, too.  Why am I editing when I haven’t even written chapter five yet?  Well…it was bugging me.  I realized that I had a bit of a plot hole; two events that were supposed to be happening simultaneously were at two completely different times of day.  One was in the morning, one was at twilight.  Right.  I’m pretty sure both were supposed to be happening in the same part of the same country, so it’s not as if one was on the other side of the planet.  That, and chapter three had waaayyy too much unnecessary dialogue and that annoyed me.

Okay, so maybe that isn’t the brightest thing to do, but I feel a lot better for having fixed some of that stuff.

So, all in all, I’m feeling pretty good about my writing and about Camp now.  The trick will be to actually stick with the project all the way through the month, and not jump to something else after the first two weeks, like what seems to be my habit.

Now I’m curious.  Does anybody else do that with their writing?  I can never stick fully to a project, without any distractions, for any longer than a few weeks.

Aaannnddd…I’m Back! For Now…

So, it’s been about two months since my last post.  Wonderful.  Not really sure why I abandoned my blog, but I did.  Anywho, I’m back now and—surprise, surprise—I’m again having writer’s block.  One story has so many issues, I don’t even want to think about it.  Another story I did a bunch of character development for and then…lost all motivation to write.  The last story I just have to get back into, but I’m having trouble because I lost my momentum.

Moral of this story?  I need motivation.

Again.

Oh, wait!  Camp NaNo is in about a week!  What better place to get motivation than there?  Even if I don’t really want to write a full novel in a month this time, it’s not as if it’s the first time I’ve been a rebel.  Actually, I’m pretty sure this will be my fourth time.

So, I think I’m going to actually write that novel that I was supposed to try to write in December, after I wrote an entire outline for it in November.  That didn’t quite happen due to character development issues, as well as a few other things, but hopefully I can get it this time.

Here’s for hoping.

Pushing Past Writer’s Block…With a Description of a Wall

So, as everyone who’s participated in NaNoWriMo knows, when you start out, the inspiration is amazing. You’ve got wonderful ideas for characters, plot twists, settings, et cetera. Then you start writing, and usually you make some pretty good progress.

Then the inevitable happens. You slow down. You’ve set your story up and probably messed around with some plot twists already, but now—what happens next? The beginning of the middle can be so hard sometimes. But you can’t just stop writing until you get an idea. Sadly, the month won’t last for forever.

As you can probably tell by my second-to-last post, this is where I am. I’ve got my villains, I’ve got my main characters. I’ve got an idea for how this book is going to end. I have some faint scenes in my head of what will happen later on. But right now, here in the middle-ish, I really have no clue what’s supposed to happen.

And you know what makes this particular problem kind of amusing? Most people don’t run into this until the second week of NaNoWriMo, or so. And yet here I am, already running into the problem half way through the first week. I guess writing 14k in a week isn’t as good all the way around as you’d think, eh? It just means your run into your problems that much faster.

But, fortunately, I may have a solution! You see, I’m (still) sick, so I couldn’t sleep last night. So, I laid in bed and just thought.

My theory for getting past this—write something that’s unimportant. Write about my characters eating breakfast or staring at a blank wall. What will this do? A. It will boost my word count, which is all I really need write now. B. It will keep me writing, even if I’m not entirely sure what happens next. C. It gives me time to think about what happens next—without giving up.

See? Perfect solution. And who cares if this is unimportant and will probably bore the reader? This is NaNoWriMo! There will be plenty of other horrible things in the draft of this book.

So. Now let’s go describe the blank wall. Fun, right?

Stuck Already…

Camp NaNoWriMo, day #3, and I’m already stuck!

I have just over ten thousand words written, but I’m not sure what happens next. I know what the plot is, but the the point of this particular scene evades me.

Meanwhile, I have red marks on my hand from the imprints of my sweater, because I was leaning on it funny. Now my fingers are tingling, and add that to the Band-Aid on my index finger, typing isn’t the most pleasant thing to do currently. Oh well. That’s kinda one of those things you have to deal with when you sign up for Camp NaNo, now isn’t it?

Oh lovely. Now my foot is asleep. I really should move, where I can sit properly and not send half of my limbs to sleep….

Ah. There. Much better. I also grabbed some of my chocolate from Easter.

Alright, so let’s figure out why I’m stuck. Well, let’s find out where all of my characters went. Well, main character number 1 is… in an alley somewhere, after running off when she realized she’d almost done something she shouldn’t. MC #2 is puling MC #3 out of his house because she claims to need his help. Villain #1 is…I haven’t figured out him completely yet, but he doesn’t come into play until later. Villain #2 is… Good question. She got Side Character #1 in the hospital, and then disappeared. Lovely.

I really need to find some way of leashing my characters so I can keep track of them. Or maybe I need one of those collar things that zaps them every time they go where they shouldn’t. After all, this story is turning into a more sci-fi story than fantasy. Anyone know where I can buy some of those collars?

Well, this is a great way to procrastinate. I know where most of my characters are, now! But…I still don’t know why MC 2 is dragging MC 3…somewhere. And that’s the scene I’m supposed to be writing.

You know, I just realized something. This is Camp Nano. I only have a month to write this. And this is a messy, first draft, which I will not (willingly) let anyone read. Who cares if it makes sense?

Let’s go…blow something up. I do have a character who has a talent for breaking glass without touching it, don’t I? Let’s go break some glass.

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, all! Sorry I haven’t posted much. Life’s been keeping me busy, between editing one novel, writing another, preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo, school, and all around life.

So, let’s see. Update on my life. Well, my baby brother is as cute as ever—even when he’s in his walker and trying to kill our toes. I have finished my physical therapy appointments, though I still have exercises to work on at home to strengthen up my arms and shoulders. At least my shoulder hasn’t been hurting as much. Except that one day…

But anyway, let’s talk about something more interesting. I discovered that my novel, which I was so proud of at it’s 80+ thousand words, is apparently too long. At least, if I want to publish it as YA. As it turns out, YA novels usually need to be between 50-60 thousand words and 70-90 thousand words. And since I know from the way this editing is going, that my novel is going to be at least 90k, but probably over a 100k. So. Guess I have to cut down on some stuff.

This actually turned out to be an interesting thing to research. According to one article I found, a lot of new writers see all of the big, fat books on the shelves of libraries and such, so when they go to write their books, they think, Oh! I need to write a big book! If you’re writing fantasy for adults, go right ahead! But for YA novels, publishers tend to prefer things that aren’t 150k and beyond. Good luck getting published if that’s how big your novel is!

But, now that I know about this, I think cutting down my novel a little will benefit me. There are a few places where I’ve been stretching things out a little further than they should be, just for word-count. If I condense them into fewer words, it will be far better.

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So, writing prompt! Go write a short story, about five to ten thousand words, and try to cut it down to between three to five thousand words—without taking anything away from the story.