Pin-It Saturday: Dear Writer

Dear Writer

Hello Nerds!

I found this little cutie on Pinterest the other day and it made me stop to think. I haven’t been writing much lately…I need to stop doing this to myself. I started writing this amazing novel, or what is going to be an amazing novel, and I got caught up in the details and stopped writing. Of course, there are some details that I need to hash out before I can continue writing, but it’s like I gave up because of all the research I needed to do for it. It wasn’t like the novels before where I just kept writing.

For the first time I wanted to figure things out before I got through the book the first time. Not the story, but the little details that may actually matter in this one novel. I keep starting new novels and never finishing them. To be honest, I have only written one full novel. What happened to me? I let life get in the way.

The second novel I started writing was a sequel to the first. I have been away from the story for so long I don’t know what I am going to do, I don’t remember half of what really happened because my mind is a jumbled mess of ideas I had for the story.

So yeah, it does get harder to write the longer you are away. There are plot twist you forget about. You forget all the great ideas you had for the story. You loss passion for the story you were working on. You keep coming back and thinking “maybe I should just scrap it.” but you have so many emotions and attachments regarding this book. You just don’t know when to put it away for good.

I think I am going to sit down and figure out what I want to do with my stories in the making. Maybe I will take Stephen Kings advice:

“I believe the first draft of a book — even a long one — should take no more than three months…Any longer and — for me, at least — the story begins to take on an odd foreign feel, like a dispatch from the Romanian Department of Public Affairs, or something broadcast on high-band shortwave during a period of severe sunspot activity.”

Thank you Mr. King for always providing the inspiration that I need.

I think that I will take a look back at all the novels I have in the works. I want to give myself an allotted time to finish each one. The latest one I will give 3 months, since I just started it.

I think I need to schedule my life a little better. I should schedule everything, writing, reading, TV time. And I have until after my vacation to get this schedule figured out. I will be 30 next week…I don’t have time to “roll with it” or “go with the flow.” I need to figure my stuff out and do what I need to do.

I don’t want to wake up in another 30 years, regretting that I never published my books because I couldn’t finish them.

Toodles

Advertisements

Pin-It Saturday: Doing the Research

Pin it

This post today was inspired by THIS pin.

I have been working on another story. Something I am really excited about, but I realized it is different from all the other stories I have written in the past. This on actually requires some research.

After doing just a little bit of research I realized that I was so out of my element. I don’t like research, at least I didn’t when I was in school. I always get a mess of information and I have no idea what to do with it from there. And when I say a mess…I mean I practically copied every last word from the books because I never knew what was important!

So I sat down and I tried to figure out my course of action. What and how was I going to research what I needed to find out? I found a method that may work for me. I started searching the more broad terms and note cards. I have this thing for note cards. I love them and using them like the rest of the world uses sticky notes.

I was trying to make up names, so there is a note card for that. I was thinking of strengths and weaknesses for my new character, there is a note card for that. I may have even created a whole new species of supernatural beings, so there is a note card on that. NOTE CARDS EVERYWHERE!

I even went as far as to getting a little note card box and filing these cards into the proper category.

I may just like doing research now!

Of course, there is so much more research to do, but I have found a research method that works for me. I eventually have to make a trip to the library and hope I can find what I am looking for there. I will probably make a list of things I need to find there on a note card…come on! They are easy to carry and to keep organized. I may even try to use the note cards to write my novel.

What is your research method?

Toodles

Pin-It Saturday: Is It Done Yet?

Pin it

Hello Nerds, it’s that time again. What Pin has caught my eye this week?

This ONE.

And here is why it caught my attention. I have written three novels and working on the 4th. The problem is, that is all I have done is written them. I have edited the first one several times and still not really happy with it. They all need a lot of work.

When I first started writing I thought that the first draft would be the story. I thought I would write the novel and edit it just to fix grammatical issues, spelling, plot holes. I thought that was it. But now that I look back I see there is so much more.

My first draft is my outline. I have written out how I want the story to go, but nothing is written in stone at this stage. I just don’t have a process. I write and then walk away, thinking that it will magically fix itself if I leave it alone for lone enough.

Obviously, I don’t actually think that…only somewhat. I am one of those types that likes to ignore things until they go away. It worked when I was a kid. Not anymore though. Ugh, adulting is so hard.

Anyways, I have three novels, three outlines, waiting to be picked up and refined and perfected. I would love to try this writing process, maybe it won’t feel as daunting having a process to follow. It will also give me a reason to really read through all three novels again. I have a feeling that I left the last two unfinished because I didn’t know how to end them. Oops.

What is your writing process?

Toodles

Pin-It Saturday: Don’t Force It

Pin it

Yes!

I came across this on Pinterest the other day and I just love it! One thing that I learned when I started really focusing on my writing is that you can’t force a character to do anything.

Yes, you created that character and you may have had plans in mind when you started writing their story, but at some point that character takes on a life of their own and you can no longer steer them in the direction you want.

I have found so many times, when I am suffering from writers block, it’s not because I don’t want to write, but because I am trying to make my character do something he or she would not do. You can force it, sure, but it harms the story.

I say all this from experience. I am not saying that you CANNOT make your character do something, you can do what you want with your story. For me though, it is better to listen to my characters. I created them, gave them quirks that make them more realistic. When I try to make them do something that is against the person I made them, I am the one messing up.

Sometimes you just have to listen to the voices in your head because they know what is best. They know what they should be doing, better than you do. Or at least that is the case for me.

The thing about this quote is once a character does something opposite of what you wanted them to do, you can’t make them behave, they are the ones trying to bring you back in line. You are the one that needs to rethink what you are doing.

You and your characters will get along so much better if you just listen to their side of the story instead of telling them what their story should be. Part of being a writer is the thrill and ability to create a story on the spot.

That is all I have for you this Saturday. Tell me what you think. Do you agree or disagree and why? Let’s have a civil conversation about our opinions with open minds.

Toodles

Pin-It Saturday: The Wheel of Feels

Pin it

Okay, I found this the other day on Pinterest and I actually love it. You can see the original post HERE.

It’s so perfect for writers. I can’t tell you how many times I have come across an issue with my characters where angry, scared, or happy just doesn’t cut it. And of course this leads me to do what my favorite author suggest you don’t do in writing; I look up the word in a thesaurus.

While I agree to this most times, usually looking up words in a thesaurus leads to words that just seem out of place in your novel, when it comes to emotion I just have to go searching. I don’t search because I am at a loss for words, but the word that I want isn’t coming to the front of my brain. It is like the quiet child sitting in the back of the room trying to hide behind the other students so you don’t call on him to answer the question.

But the Wheel of Feels (because that is a catchy name) is perfect for this. Sometimes in the heat of writing you just forget about certain words and emotions. Sometimes you just need a little reminder.

When I have an actually office, I am going to have a wall full of things like this. I think seeing a list of emotions also helps with the writing process. What do you think?

Do you have any special tools to help when you are writing?

Pin-It Saturday: Writing Is Not the Problem

Pin it

I found this post about how to write even when you don’t want to write. You can read it HERE.

My favorite tip is “Make it your job.” I tell people all the time that I have several full time jobs. I am a baker, an assistant manager, a crafter, a book reviewer, blogger, and a writer. Yes, I consider writing and blogging separate jobs because in my mind they are two different areas of my life. I am constantly working to better myself in all areas that make up who I am and the things that I love.

When I was a kid I wanted to do everything. I may be older, but I am still that little girl who wants to do more than one thing. I can’t say that I have been doing a very good job at all my jobs and if someone was paying me, I probably would have been fired from most of them.

Enough about that.

The thing is, I don’t have a lot of trouble writing. I could write all day. Especailly if I have been reading a lot and have a lot going on in my head. I have so many story ideas that happen because of a book I am reading. My problem does not lie in the act of writing.

My problem lies within the act of editing. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to rip into the story I spent so long putting together. I don’t want to face all the mistakes because at the last word of that novel, in my mind, it is perfect and needs nothing else. As soon as I open that novel with my purple pen (red is just so violent and purple is my favorite color) I know that my perfect book is going to shatter before my eyes. It will no longer be perfect.

And this is where I start questioning my own ability in writing. Am I worthy to sit on the shelves with all the other authors? Am I worthy to call myself an author? Am I good enough to go play with all the other self-published/indie/traditionally published authors?

It takes a lot for me to sit down and edit my work, because I know it needs to be edited by me before I send it off and pay someone to look over it again. I know I have to do it, but I just can’t bring myself to dig into the mind game. It’s tiring and almost depressing. Until I come across a part in the story that throws me off.

You know, the part where you stop and say “did I really write that?” You know it’s good when you give yourself goosebumps or come across something you can’t believe you wrote. That is when all the questions vanish and you know that you are good enough. At least you think you are and that confidence boost is what will take you to the top.

It’s just getting going in the first place.

So tell me, how do you buckle down and start editing your work?

Toodles

Pin-It Saturday: A Writers Life for Me

Pin it

I found this nifty little blog post about things that writers do. You can read it HERE. Go on and read it, it’s a quick read and if you are a writer you may find that a lot of it is true to you.

The first few talking about staring at things and noticing that we are staring. This has gotten me into trouble a few times. One day I was at the park and I was watching a couple with their kid. Of course, I wasn’t paying attention to the people, I was off on some tangent in my head, creating a story out of what I saw. I could have looked away while I was thinking, but how many of us think about that?

Anyways, the woman pushing the kid on the swing shouts at me “What are you staring at?” and add a little hand on the hip attitude towards me. It took me a second to realize she was talking to me and reality caught up to me with a slap to the face. No, not a slap from the woman, a metaphorical slap.

Another point made in this blog post was how we will sit in Starbucks and order hot tea just for the free refill. That’s not me, but I will go in for a drink, just to sit and people watch. You learn so much about people by just watching them. I can’t tell you how many stories were inspired just from watching people and listening to their conversations.

I do find amusement in odd things. Actually, I will laugh out loud at and have to explain to someone what I was laughing at. The people I work with think I am a little on the looney side because of this.

There is another point int he post that says that writers will see some hidden beauty that others can’t see. How true is this? I can’t tell you how many hours I have stared up at the night sky, looking at the stars. Or sitting in my car, staring at the clouds on a sunny day.

Just the other day I was at work. A lady came through with a necklace of a jade horse. I smiled and told her I liked it and that it reminded me of “The Wizard of Oz.” The woman actually had to ask me why! Hello…Emerald city…horse that changes color…Does not one pay attention tho these movies? It also kind of reminded me of the town or city in Wizard of Oz book that had the china dolls. Or something like that…It’s been a while since I have read that book. The lady said she had owned the necklace for 40 years and no one had ever said that…No imagination people.

The truth is, I never see what others see. And I know I have my over active imagination and my drive to write to thank for that.

What do you do as a writer that sets you apart from others?

Toodles

Pin-It Saturday: Let’s Organize

Pin it

I have been in the process of re-writing a few novels. Two of which are in the same series. My hope and dream is to have everything ready for January so that I can work on finding a good editor that will help my book become great. Then to move on from there and finally get my name out in the world.

But first, I have to re-write. The first book was written in a way that the reader sees all and knows all. I want to change that to where the reader can only see and know what the main character knows. Which means there will be an entire re-write. But most authors know that the first draft is just the outline anyways…right?

I have been scouring the internet and Pinterest to find ideas on how to organize my thoughts and story lines. How to do I figure out what scenes are important and what scenes need to be cut out now that the POV has changed? At times I wish I could just start from scratch, but I know there are things in the 70,000+ words in each book that I want to keep.

I found a few things that I am trying to adapt and use for this. I found a few things on Pinterest that I want to give a try. The first being the idea I found HERE. It’s using note cards to write down scenes and the important aspects of those scenes. Although the problem with this is the same problem I had in high school and college when taking notes. I just don’t know how to take notes…I feel like every single detail is important. I am hoping that with my own novel I will know the different between what is important and what feels sacred to just me.

The second thing that I found was HERE. It is the Post-It method. Of course, I am not following the method as stated in the article. I’m actually not sure how I am using it to be honest. I am using it for problems and things that I want to change or things that I need to remember for later in the novel or even later in the series. The series I am working on, I know what is going to happen, I just don’t know how I am getting there.

So tell me, how do you keep up with your novel? Do you have some kind of elaborate organization system? I have heard of the series bible that some authors use, and I will possibly try to adapt that at some point in my writing career. What are your tips and tricks that have helped you along the way?

Toodles

Pin-It Saturday: Name That Novel

Pin it

Here we are again my friends. Another Saturday and another pin. Seriously, this has been a ton of fun for me, to go through my Pinterest board and write my own thoughts on the matter. Although, I do need to start reading more of these articles through the week instead of waiting until Thursday or Friday to go through the list. I also need a way to remember what all I have used for the Pin-it Saturday posts.

This week I found a nifty little article on naming your novel. You can find the post HERE.

I have written three novels. All three need to be revised and polished, but they are sitting in my files waiting for me to stop being lazy and take care of them. I have only named the first one I wrote and the name came from a short story I had written. The novel actually has nothing to do with the short story, I just borrowed character names from the short and put them in the novel. Once I finished the novel I realized how perfect the name of the short story was and how it would fit the novel.

Of course, now that I am in the stages of rewriting the novel I see that I may have been wrong in my choice of titles for it. Also, I am such a nerd and I want to make sure the title of the novel is said somewhere in the text. Yes, I am one of those weridos that giggle when a movie title is said in the movie. I don’t know why it pleases me so much, but it does.

My novel from NaNoWriMo was called “Looking for Complete” and half way through the story the title doesn’t fit the story at all. I had an idea of what the story was going to be, but it ended up being something that I hadn’t even considered.

So not only am I rewriting my novels and making them better, I am also looking for the perfect title. The article that I found on Pinterest actually gives a few really good tips on naming a novel. Hopefully it will come in handy when I am renaming my own novels.

What about you? How do you come up with a title for your novel? Are there any tips that help you pick titles for your work?

Toodles

Pin It Saturday: Every Sentence Has a Purpose

Pin it

Woot! This makes three weeks in a row that I have done a Pin It Saturday. I am getting used to this whole schedule thing and it so helps when I am trying to prepare a weeks worth of blogs so work doesn’t get in the way.

Let’s get into it.

On Pinterest I found a list of 16 rules for writing fiction by Kurt Vonnegut. I am going to be straight up honest with you, I have no idea who Kurt Vonnegut is. After a quick search I found a few of his books and recognized one of his books “Slaughterhouse-Five” Now, I have never read this book, I just remember hearing the name.

HERE you can find some information about him on Wikipedia, because most of that stuff is true…right?

Anyways, here is the image of the information (straight from the article). You should be able to click the image and enlarge it.

16 Rules of Writing Fiction

I don’t want to talk about all the rules, just number 4. Since I have been reading so many more books lately and books by new authors, I have noticed the importance of a sentence, paragraph, or scene. I have noticed that a lot of self-published authors have this issue where something could have been left out, but they kept it for some unknown reason.

Not all of them, and I am not knocking self-published authors. Honestly, I admire all of them and love reading their stories. But it seems that a few have refused the important step of editing their work before they throw it to the wolves. The wolves in this particular scenario is, of course, the readers. Because as readers, we will tear into a piece of work and tell you EVERYTHING that is wrong with your work. I support all indie authors, but I support editing your work too.

As a writer myself, I can see how we can let a sentence slide because we think it’s important. Or…we just can’t stand the idea of cutting up our babies. Maybe we do it for the word count, but in the end, we know it’s better to have quality over quantity. Do parents still teach their kids that?

I challenge all writers to take a closer look at your work. Get rid of the sentences that do not help the progression of the story. Find a new way to say what you want and nix all the fluffy stuff that only bores the reader to death. As a reader, I don’t want to read a bunch of pointless stuff. I want to know all about your characters, I just don’t want to know how they take a shower, unless it benefits the story some how.

Have you ever come across a sentence of a story that just felt like it should have been cut in editing? What about in your own writing, how many times have you had to cut your own words to help the story flow better?

Toodles