I Won Camp NaNoWriMo 2016!!! (April Session)

So much writing… *twitches*

Last month’s Camp NaNoWriMo was an uphill battle with portals and magical evil mages along the way, but I managed to reach the end of the trail and hit my goal of 50,000 words! (seriously, there were evil mages. I fought them off though… for now)

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This was the hardest NaNoWriMo event I have ever participated in. It was difficult in the beginning and then, for a few days, things seemed to get better… but then it went back to being hard again. And it didn’t stop being hard until I finally dragged myself across the 50,000 word line. Most of the month was spent like this-

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I guess more than anything what this session taught me was to never ever give up. For the first time I had to really live the advice I have been giving people ever since I started writing which is, ‘when things get tough, when writing the book is torture and you could think of a million other things you would rather be doing, just force yourself to keep going.’ This is the first time I’ve ever really had to do that. I mean, every writer has their struggles with plot holes and frustrating characters and the debilitating self doubt that nothing you write matters but this was the first time where I honestly didn’t enjoy writing the book. And not just some of it but pretty much everything. But I kept going, and now I have 50,000 words of a story that I’m starting to like. Without the pressure of reaching my goal weighing down on me, I feel more free and it’s easier to write.

It kind of weird to say this but, this was the first NaNoWriMo session that I didn’t really enjoy. I was counting down the days until it ended basically the entire month. But if I could go back in time and choose whether or not to do it again, I think I would still make pretty much the same choice I did. It taught me a valuable lesson. No matter what, never give up. And I also have bragging rights now for enduring all that and still coming out with 50,000 words. 😄

How about you guys? Did any of you fall into a hole and have a hard time climbing back out? Were your trails as bumpy as mine? I’d love to hear all about your Camp NaNoWriMo adventure!

I also want to let you guys know that I’m trying to post more frequently on here. I always feel bad for not putting out enough content for you guys. I’ll try to be better about it from now on. If you want, let me know what you’d like to see in the future! That way I can know I’m giving you the best content possible!

Thanks so much for sticking with me even though I may not be the best blogger in the world. I’ll try to get better for you all. 🙂

I’ll talk to you soon and remember to keep writing, even when it’s hard! 😀

Camp NaNoWriMo Update (April 2016)

A couple days ago I hit 20,000 words! Yay!!! *throws party and celebrates*

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But unfortunately, this session hasn’t been all sparkles and celebrations.

Up until a few days ago, I really disliked my story. Fantasy just isn’t my genre and I really wasn’t enjoying my book. I came *this* close to giving up, and would have if I hadn’t been so determined not to break my NaNoWriMo winning streak. I didn’t write as much as I should have though and I, very quickly, fell behind.

I decided to just drag myself through though, no matter how tedious and torturous it was. Now I have hit 20,000 words and am actually kinda enjoying the story. I still don’t really know what I’m doing or where the book is going but I am pulling myself through it word by word.

So if you ever think your story is garbage or it’s not working, do NOT give up. Even if it’s the most boring, horrible, tedious experience of your entire life, do NOT give up. Push through the challenge and persevere! You never know where the story might go and what wondrous adventures it might take you on if you just decide to follow it. 🙂

I think one of the best quotes for my situation this month would be this one by E. L. Doctorow-

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It’s one of  my favorite writing quotes and I’ve understood it long before this book but this one gives it a whole new meaning. I barely even know what’s going to happen in the next scene. 😄

Some other quotes to sum up my experience so far this month include-

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And this. Lots and lots of this-

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What is words?! What is story?! What is fantasy?! UHG!!!

Fun times…

But anyway! It’s getting a whole lot better and I can now see myself more easily reaching my goal of 50,000! I am starting to understand my characters and my world better and the other day, my MC even surprised me with something I didn’t even know she was capable of!  It’s been incredible to watch my fictional universe and the people I’ve put in it start to flourish and, really, that’s all I need. I can go from there on plot and other things.

I will try to get another update in before the end of the month! If you want, let me know how you guys are doing with your Camp NaNo goals! I’d love to hear about your experience! 😀

I’ll talk to ya’ll later and, until then, remember to keep writing!

Weird Writer’s Quirks

We as writers have probably each been called weird at least a few times. And it’s kind of true. But everyone is weird in their own special way. There is no shame in it. Here is a list of things that we as writers do that others may consider ‘weird’.

1. If someone is staring at you from the other side of the room and won’t stop, they are one of two things. A creepy stalker that you may want to get away from, or a writer. I am guilty of this. This is the time when you see someone who reminds you of your character and you can’t help but stare because YOUR CHARACTER IS SITTING RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU!!!

2. If you’re in the middle of a conversation and all of a sudden, the person you’re talking to exclaims something really random that makes no sense, then runs off to write it down, he is probably a writer. I have done this on multiple occasions. One time it was during a video game with my brother, another time I was walking to the car through the Sam’s Club parking lot.

3. If you’re walking with your girlfriend in the park and all of a sudden a person next to you starts staring and giggling softly and trying to hide her joy, she’s probably not crazy, she’s just a writer and you remind her of the romantic pairing in her novel.

4. When you are sitting next to someone and they get very serious, intent, or start making whining noises, taking deep breaths, and making faces, they are either a little crazy, or a writer (even though those words basically mean the same thing). These emotions probably mean something intense is happening in their book at the moment and they CAN’T TAKE THE EMOTIONS!!!

5. One of the most awkward things with writing is having to tell to someone how you feel about your book, how you made your characters, how you got your town names and basically how you write and get your ideas. If you tell people the weird things about writing, people will probably think you are insane.

6. If you look at a person’s search history and it comes up with really creepy searches like ‘How to Maim Someone’, ‘How Long Does it Take to Freeze to Death’, ‘What Does it Feel Like to be Electrocuted’, ‘How to Rob a Bank’, chances are they are writers. I mean, he could be a serial killer or criminal but chances are he is a writer researching material for their next book.

7. If you see someone staring at their screen with tears streaming down their face (it’s happened to me before), they are probably a writer writing something really emotional and heart-wrenching, not emotionally unstable.

8. Writers love to talk about the fictional worlds and people they created. Please don’t be annoyed, we just really love our fictional things.

9. We have attachments to random things that, to other people, would just be normal, everyday objects but they are special to us because, in our story, our characters love them.

Those are just a few of the weird things writers do. If I told you all the weird things I do, it’d be too weird, so I’ll just stop here. If there are any writers reading this, feel free to tell me if you do any of these things too!

#WriterLife Tag

Okay, so I know the #WriterLife tag is normally done in a video but I really liked the idea and I don’t do videos so I thought I would just answer the questions and have fun with it anyway (like this post if you’re a rebel like me 😃). Let’s get started.

1. Write Fuel: what do you eat or drink while writing- I like to drink hot chocolate and I don’t really eat a lot during writing. I guess my favorite thing to eat would probably be grapes and cheese. I don’t usually have this but I would love it if I did.

2. Write Sounds: what do you listen to while writing- There is this awesome website that I will link that I go to for music to listen to while I am writing. http://soundfuel.blogspot.com/p/the-directory.html I hope the link works but this is the website I go to for my writing music needs. Along with that I also use rainymood.com, which plays the sounds of a thunderstorm, and I just recently discovered coffitivity.com, which plays the sound of coffee shop. It may be a little weird but I also just turn on a YouTube video in the background and keep playing it over and over just to give some background noise. It helps a lot.

3. Write Vice: what’s your most debilitating distraction- Let’s be real here… the internet. I am so guilty of this one. The other day I was leaving my Twitter to open up my Google Docs word document and I accidently, without even realizing it, opened up Twitter again. Pinterest and YouTube are two of my other worst distractions.

4. Write Horror: what’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you while writing- Okay, so this year I did NaNoWriMo for the first time (yay!) and I got Scrivener because they had a free NaNoWriMo trial and I had heard some good things about it so I thought, why not? I’ll tell you why not. I ended up finishing a book I had been working on for about a year and six months. Good right? Wrong. I ended up loosing all my work when my trial ended. Let’s just say I cried, and it was terrible. Luckily, I managed to get it copied and pasted to Google Docs before my trial ran out but let me tell you it was a nerve racking, super stressful experience.

5. Write Joy: what is the best thing that’s ever happened to you while writing or how do you celebrate small victories- The best thing that’s ever happened to me while writing? Hmmm. Everyone knows how awesome it is to finish a book but other than that I would have to say having other people read my work, enjoy it, and say nice things about my characters. I don’t think people realize how much that means to me. And how do I celebrate small victories? Fist pump, squeal, talk the ears off of my family about it, and jump around happily.

6. Write Crew: who do you communicate with, or not communicate with, while writing- Well, my parents of course and my siblings because they’re normally the only ones around but other than that, my amazing friend Alexa. I feel like she is the only person I know who really understands what it’s like to be a writer and doesn’t think I’m completely crazy.

7. Write Secret: what’s your writing secret to success or hidden flaw- Well, I haven’t been exactly successful yet, I haven’t had anything published, but I have finished three novels and am working on my fourth. But my writing secret is to just trust yourself and your book and keep writing. Also I type really fast, which helps me get the first draft down. Having a word count goal helps too. Mine is at least 1000 words a day. My hidden flaw is that I am extremely skeptical about my own work and I put myself down a lot. Plus I’m scared of the idea of publishing. It’s just a little freaky to think of my book in stranger’s hands.

8. Write-spiration: what always makes you productive- Writing with other writers or telling other people about my writing goals. That way I feel an obligation to get it finished which is why I think NaNoWriMo worked so well for me.

9. Write Peeve: what’s one thing that writers do or you do, that’s annoying- When writers give up. Think about it. What is the one thing that all writers have in common? They never gave up. Neither should you.

10. Write Words: share one sentence from a project past or present- He came here a lot, most of the time because someone told him to. 

Hope you enjoyed and as long as I’m being a rebel I’m going to tag my friend Alexa. If you guys want to check out Alexa’s blog, here is the link. http://thatfangirl250.wordpress.com/

Editing: Tips and Advice

Well, NaNoWrimo is officially over. Not only did I complete my word count goal at 80,856 words, I  also finished the novel. Yes, it was hard, yes, it was tiring, (one night I stayed up until midnight) and yes, it was worth it (I think). But seriously, let’s be real here. No one, except really passionate (and slightly crazy people) would attempt to write this much in a month. So, if you achieved this insane goal, give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it! Also, let me know in the comments how you did!

Okay, so now that NaNoWrimo is officially over, you know what that means. Editing. Endless hours of making your project better! Some people think editing is boring or difficult. Some people like it better than actually writing the book. I am here to tell you my stance on editing and give you some tips to help tackle this daunting task.

I kind of enjoy editing. It means that I get to share my work with other people and get constructive feedback on it. I very much enjoy this. Also, I don’t have to plot or decide what happens next. I just have to make what already happened better! So, without further adieu, on to the editing tips!

Tip number 1- Many people say to let your work sit for awhile. To take a break from it. I personally don’t do this very often but it seems to help a lot of other people, so if this is your style, go for it!

Tip number 2- Don’t delete huge scenes. I know, I know “That’s what the editing process is for!” you say. But don’t do it. Instead, copy and paste the large sections you want to take out to a different file. This way it is out of your manuscript but if you decide that what you wrote to replace it isn’t working, you can just paste it back. This way if you change your mind you will not have lost all that work!

Tip number 3- Research. Make sure the things that happen make sense. You know that big scene you wrote where the main character got stabbed? Is he bleeding to death? Research it to make sure your character could really loose that much blood and survive. Make sure it feels real.

Tip number 4- Make sure your writing stays in the same voice and tense the whole time. Sometimes, writers can make the mistake of slipping through the second person to the third person or past tense to present tense in the same story. Make sure this doesn’t happen!

Tip number 5- Be ruthless. Make every sentence fight for it’s place on your page. If something doesn’t need to be said, don’t say it. Maybe even take out characters. In the past, I’ve had to delete a really good character in the editing process. It hurts. A lot. But it has to be done.

Tip number 6- Have fun. Remember, if you’re not having fun writing the book, chances are, the readers won’t have fun reading it either.

Tip number 7-  Read it out loud to yourself. This will give you the chance to hear how the sentences fit together. What flows and what doesn’t, where the incomplete sentences are, and when you have too many words describing that flower vase in the corner.  Maybe your characters are speaking in too many incomplete sentences. Maybe you’ve over used the word ‘said’ (even though you shouldn’t under use it either).

Tip number 8- Look at character development. I was my editing my NaNoWrimo novel and I realized that one of my characters was acting way different than she was in the beginning. And I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Just make sure the character development makes sense and stays true to the character while they are being molded.

Tip number 9- If you don’t have a title yet, now is as good a time as any to find one! Think about what your book is about and try to emulate that in the title. Look to things your characters said, sentences in your novel, or an idea in it, for title possibilities. For instance, in both of my completed novels, the titles have come from things the character said. The title should also in some way reflect the ideas, concepts, and/or basic plot of the book. The reader should be able to pick it up and have a vague idea of what it is going to be about based on the title.

Tip number 10- Have fun! Don’t let the editing process drag you down. You can do this! I believe in you. And at the end of this you will have a clean, new book to do what you want with, whether it be sending it off to the publishers, or setting it on your bookshelf to be read only by you and a few of your closest friends and family. Whatever happens after, you will have the pride of knowing you completed a book. Your very own novel.

A Writer’s Joy

Many simple things give writers pleasure. At least, they seem simple to some. But they can be very fulfilling when writers experience them.

1. Notebooks, paper, pens, pencils. Never underestimate a pen and paper. Ink is really just a thousand landscapes and people waiting to leak through the tip onto the page which gives them a home. The written word is a beautiful and powerful thing, capable of influencing and changing hundreds of lives. When writers are around such objects they feel the need to own all of them.

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2. Seeing pictures that remind you of your stories. Whether it’s one of your characters or a scene, writers love finding their creations in the real world. It is just amazing.

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(Scrolling down page on Pinterest) Stop and stare at the screen happily because I JUST FOUND MY CHARACTER!!

3. Seeing a person or place in real life that reminds you of your stories. This is even better than a picture! It’s so exciting!

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AHHHHHHH!! IT’S MY CHARACTER!!!

4. When your characters, out of the blue, willingly share secret details about themselves. It is incredible and things start fitting together. (warning, if this happens you may start smiling like an idiot and may even start talking to yourself. It’s incredible)

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Yes!

5. When you get inspiration on a part you have been stuck on for awhile. Total relief moment.

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Admit it, we’ve all been there.

6. When you are talking to a friend and the friend says something like “Yeah, so and so happened the other day and it made me think of your character”. At least for me, it is wonderful to know that someone other than myself is thinking about my characters.

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7. When a friend starts forming an attachment to one of your characters. It is amazing to know all the work you put into that book has paid off and that your characters are likable.

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When you are talking about doing something bad to a character with your friend.

8. When someone reads your book and approves of it.

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Awwwww, look at the cute hamster. Sorry let’s get back on track here.

9. When two characters that you’ve been wanting to get together or are together do something cute. This is a total Eeeeeeeeeeee! moment and you burst out smiling like an idiot and do a little squirm like ‘He’s so adorable and romantic’!

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Eeeeeeeee! They’re holding hands! ❤

10. When you find a song that perfectly fits your story.

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So yeah, those are some joys of being a writer.