Writing prompt No. 2

  1. In a rush, your character bumps into someone while not paying attention. Both knock a plethora of items onto the ground, jumbled and mixed together. They gather their things and continue on their way…. by the time your character gets home they notice that there’s something that’s not theirs.
  2. Your character needs to change appearances quickly in order to not get caught. There’s only a few things that they can grab to do so.
  3. Give your character a memory associated with the color maroon.

Here’s a link to the previous prompt. 

Managing a looming manuscript

Maybe it’s good to start small. But for some of us, we decided that we would start with  a large manuscript.

Once you finally realize what you’ve done, you’ve already told so many people that you’re working on a novel. You probably feel kind stuck right now.

And to be honest, I’m right there with you. The words used to flow from my fingertips, but my wondering mind makes it difficult; I keep thinking of ways to make it better/ edit before I even finish the book.

I never want to give up on it; Torque is my first novel I wrote when I was younger and finished it. I wrote it out of being inspired by (albeit, I am a bit embarrassed to admit this) Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight.”

And I feel as though if I take a step back that I won’t come back to it. But I am going to push these feelings aside to keep writing it. I’ll do my best to balance it with another manuscript but I’m going to finish Torque.

I think I’ve rambled on for a bit, but I wanted to explore ways for writers to keep going or take a step back without feeling they are abandoning their manuscript.

For fun

I guess the obvious would be to reread what you have, but don’t make any edits.  Realize what you fell in love with when you first started writing. If you start to make edits, it’s possible to become critical of what’s there. There is such as thing as over editing.

 

Fill in the blanks

Write specific scenes — whether you plan to fit it in your manuscript or not. This will keep the brain moving and could add more depth to character. If you are adding the scene to your book, hopefully it will excite you to get to fill in the blanks.  A writing prompt is also a good way.

Plan or pants? 

If you’ve planned things out with an outline — forget it. It may restrict the writing by sticking with the plan.  If there is no plan, create one. Your novel may need some direction — it doesn’t have to be detailed, just mention three important actions you want to happen. ( Three is a good number because there is less of a chance to make the outline too complex or overwhelming.)

Like Nike’s tagline: Just Do It

Put that butt in that chair, or favorite writing spot and just write. Push through the feelings you may have, no matter how rough those sentences, hell, even chapters, are. Don’t give up.

Step back and reflect 

As mentioned in a previous post, Making the most of your time, hop into another project. It may be time to step back completely.  It doesn’t make you a failure. Even if you don’t hop into another project, use that time to reflect on another.

And if any one of those people you’ve told about your novel asks you how it’s going, say it’s fine. Sometimes keeping it to yourself can lessen the pressure of a large manuscript.

Keep writing!

P.S., if you’re not already, follow me on either of my Twitter accounts and Instagram.

Write Reads 1: Writing New Adult Fiction

Welcome to the first Write Reads book discussion! I will break the discussion down by talking about my thoughts after finishing, chapters with the most notes, most beneficial chapter(s) and other flagged notes that I thought was worth mentioning. As you can see, I did not mention a “least beneficial chapter(s),” and that’s because something that may not be helpful for me, may be helpful for someone else.

Please note, I will be paraphrasing anything from the book or it will be italicized and in quotes. If it’s long, I’ll put ellipses in them. Don’t worry, I will be leaving chapter and page numbers if you decide to pick this book up.

Here’s some quick book information:
Deborah Halverson, “Writing New Adult Fiction.”
Writer’s Digest Books (F+W Media imprint), publisher.
First Edition, 2014
15 Chapters; 281 pages total; includes forward by Silvia Day on page 1 and Chapter 1 starts on page 8. The index starts at 278.

After thoughts…
Honestly, “Writing New Adult Fiction” was not what I expected to be. I think I went into this book expecting to get more background on New Adult (NA) fiction, but I did expect the “how-to” aspect — it does say “Writing” in the title. Overall, I think there was a balance with the NA publishing background and “how-to.”
The book seemed like it was more geared toward an older audience or someone who has an interest in NA fiction. As someone who is in the age range of a “New Adult,” (18-25), it seemed reflective in some ways; you already know what you do as a “New Adult” because you’re living it. It was sometimes a little hard to get through certain parts because it was something that I knew.
Getting to the back end of the book, I was beginning to like this book more. There is mention of self-publishing, traditional publishing, marketing yourself and other resources, which is helpful to writers at all stages in their careers.

Most Notes From…
Chapter 5, “How to Talk Like a New Adult.” Page 88. /// 3 pages flagged. Why: While this chapter was a chapter that I felt like was focused on an older audience, I do think it’s good to be aware of dialogue patterns to craft authentic characters.

Chapter 9, “Cranking Up the Conflict, Tension and Pacing in Your NA Fiction.” Page 145. // 2 pages flagged. Why: I also felt a similar way as I did when I read Chapter 5, but I specifically got the most from the “pacing” section of this chapter, an area I feel I need to work on.
Chapter 12, “Revising in a Speed Driven Market.” Page 187. /// 5 pages flagged. Why: Prompted questions and techniques are something to keep in general when revising — you can always alter the techniques when moving on to a different genre.

Most beneficial chapter…
Chapter 12, “Revising in a Speed Driven Market.” Page 187. Why: It gives you decent strategies when you’ve reached the end of your book; at the end of the chapter there are prompted questions you can ask yourself when it comes to something you may wish to change.
Chapter 13, “Self-Publishing Your New Adult Fiction.” Page 205. Why: For me, I always been set on going to a traditional publisher, but after reading this chapter, I felt like this is a option I can explore in the future. It would also be helpful to those that want to self publish. Halverson does mention pitfalls of it too.
Chapter 14, “Casting Your lot With a Traditional Publisher.” Page. 261. Why: As I mentioned above, I had always been set to go into traditional publishing. I have read other books that talk about what the process is of getting a book published, I always like getting more information about it.

Honorable mentions…
Secondary characters, from Chapter 4, pages 82-83: “Flesh Them Out: …Do thumbnail sketches and even full character sketches if the characters will have more of a brief appearance…it will help you from falling back on a stock character.
“Don’t Let Them Steal The Show: …that’s a red flag that you’re playing it too safe with your lead character.”

Flashbacks, from Chapter 8, pages 140-141: “Make sure that your flashback transitions in and out well so that it feels organic…create some kind of thematic or tonal link between flashback and regular narrative.”

Revision, Chapter 12, page 192: “When you get your feedback, resist the urge to try and defend yourself….You won’t be there to defend…to regular readers.”

I hope you all enjoyed this discussion/ review! If you have any other books you want me to check out, comment below. Also follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

Discussing writing books | Write Reads

We all know there can always be too much of something. Well, what about writing books? Maybe. I guess it really depends on what you’re looking for in the book and what you hope to get out of it.

As writers, we can spend a couple of hours in the bookstore browsing. And when we’re finally at the decent-sized section of the writing reference, there’s a little bit of everything. From familiar names and publishing companies, you run the risk of picking up something similar you might already have on your shelf.

Or you finish it and feel like it was something you knew, or didn’t get much out of.

So, throughout the year I plan to make it easier for you. I’ll be picking up writing books and reviewing them. I’ll also cover books that are writing related, but not necessarily focusing on a how-to.

I guess to begin this series, let’s call it “Write Reads,” with Deborah Halverson’s “Writing New Adult Fiction” and Betsy Lerner’s “Forest for the Trees.”

Be sure to leave comments below on books you recommend.

Writing Prompt No. 1

Welcome to my first writing prompt. I wanted to write this to help writers understand their characters more with the three below:

 

1. Give your character an animal familiar and create a short story that involves the familiar talking to your character about their previous life or lives.

2. Have your character interact with a secondary or tertiary character, have them talk or interact with each that they wouldn’t normally do or expect to.

3. If your character could speak another language, what would it be and how would it serve them if you introduce it in your manuscript.

Writers, we’ve all been there…

I wrote this thinking about the pressures and anxieties of being a writer. We unintentionally, or purposefully, put so much pressure on ourselves in order to be considered a writer. I guess this is somewhat of letter saying that if you’re struggling writing at this point in time, you’re not alone. You can get through it. We’ve all hit this point before. 

I hope you enjoy a bit of my ramble.  Follow me on my new Twitter and Instagram account. 

The intimidation of a blank page is scary enough, followed by your own doubts and potential self-sabotage. Grabbing a pen and paper or laptop is an escape –creating characters, worlds or simply expressing thoughts in short form.

We may or may not follow grammar rules — or we struggle along the way, never giving up.

This is what we wanted to do. What we tell everyone…

Trying to fit in a few words before or after working nearly eight hours. Either trying to find the drive to do it that day or night, or put it off.

Well, people may say you’re not a writer if you don’t write. I guess that’s true.

We know it’s not easy. We weren’t expecting it to be. We fall into slumps that can last for months on end; during that time we wonder if we can really call ourselves a writer.

And question if we really wanted to write.

Using resources, turning to YouTube/BookTube, walking through a book store can renew that fire…but how long will it kindle before dwindling or spreading like wildfire?

A well-controlled burn that makes it easy to power through. Or a dangerous one that leaves us spent, waiting for the next thing to spark us.

What we write for is a gold mine; gorgeously crafted words strung together like handcrafted beads to become a part of a necklace. It gets the compliments and praise we think it deserves.

Some of us could be dreaming about it. Stuck. Knowing exactly, exactly, what to write but the right words never seem to come when we want, or words are jammed pack together,  ugly.

What then?

Then it’s anxiety or maybe depression.

We keep trying and trying to keep going or stay motivated. Maybe we should stop.

But we should really keep trying. Keep writing. There’s that saying that someone out there needs your book. Don’t forget that it’s you too.

Make the most of your time

When going back and forth between projects, or getting caught up with what life throws at you, you neglect the project that you’ve poured your soul into. And when you return to the beloved project, you can’t seem to find the right words. Sure, you can always plop some words onto the page but it isn’t flowing like it use to. Even when your words weren’t perfect, you kept going.

Well, what now?

Well, I’m not sure honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out myself. But I have passed the time doing things that will be beneficial later:

  • Read books that will develop your craft 

Personally I think this is a no brainer. This will help pass time as you’re trying to think of the next words to say (and may even inspire your next words). And if you’re struggling with adding more to your book in terms of scenes, character development, plot and, hell, even grammar and sentence structure, it will help you in the long run.

It’s also important to be a little selective of the books that are picked up; you can have all of these books about writing but it’s up to you, the writer, to finally apply or adapt what you’ve learned into your project. As well as something you can return to for a source.

  • Research literary agents

If you plan for your book to go to big publishing houses, it’s recommended to get a literary agent. I recently finished Chuck Sambuchino’s “Get a Literary Agent:…” and I found it so helpful and insightful. Literary agents are the writer’s eyes in the industry and your advocate.

Sambuchino suggests in the book to create a list of agents that may be a good fit for the book you’ve finished. He really stresses the researching about the agent you plan to query to; find out what books they’re looking for, see what they’ve sold, etc. If you have multiple projects, creating an Excel sheet may work best with tabs for different projects.

For smaller publishing houses, it’s possible to submit your manuscript without one, but be sure to check submission guidelines.

  • Hop into another project

Sometimes starting a new short story or novel can help. It will take your mind off what you’re struggling with in your main project. This way you’re keeping your mind moving so you don’t get into a slump that can leave you high and dry for months.

If starting a new project doesn’t seem too appealing, maybe what you need to do is create or draft a scene that will be later on in the future. This is a little trick that I like to do, especially if I’ve been thinking about it over a few days (or weeks, and/or months). Letting it stew in upstairs and then writing about it may help get the jitters out.

Even stepping away from the computer to write in a notebook or journal would be helpful.

  • Listen to music that keep you mind moving on ideas

Every writer has that one artist that can spark their imagination. If that’s not the case, then that’s ok too. Maybe instrumental music may work best — it can be anything. As long as it allows you to focus, or zone out, while thinking about your novel.

Hopefully these tips will keep you moving toward your ultimate goal.

Writing app review | Scrivener

***This review is based on my own experiences and not paid to do a review for the app. These are my honest opinions of the app***

 

As writers, I am sure some of you have heard of the Scrivener app. And if you don’t have it, you should definitely try it. Below I am going to review the app; what I liked, what I didn’t like — you know, all of the things that go into a review.

 

30 Day Trial:

No one would ever say this, in the history of trying free trials, but this was the best one I’ve tried. Why? Because it only counted the 30 days once you opened the app. Most trials would start once you have opened the app or program — which would be a huge bummer if you hadn’t been using it everyday. Seriously, all trials should be like this. I don’t even think there were limits with what I could do with my documents.

And in those 30 days, I fell in love with how powerful and simple this app can be. Then I bought it. The best $45 ever!

Keeping it together:

Organization: Writing with this app has been so much easier than writing in Word. I had to have so many papers around me that it was overwhelming, or have many Word documents  up that it sucked my battery.

In the app, the user has the ability to customize how they want to it — it can be a powerful tool for efficiency. Users have the option of choosing from different templates, such as ‘Novel’ or ‘Novel with Parts’

View options:  I get the best outlook in having three options to view my projects: document, subdocuments and outliner. Plus the draft view which encompasses all documents of one folder under a long view that’s good for a continuous read.

With the document view, of course the user can view the work that is selected. The subdocuments view gives a traditional flashcard look. The outliner view though it has the same flashcard content, gives the writer the option of labeling each document under a folder.

Scrivener also has a split view option, which comes in handy when trying to recall something in a previous scene of chapter.

Icons:  This is a bit self explanatory, but the icons make it easier to identify and keep track of what’s being written in one Scrivener document.

 

Lean, mean writing machine:

Composition Mode: This is as distraction free as a user can get with this app — it works better when the internet is off! But the user can either choose the tradition black background or a desired photo. In this mode users can change the transparency of the paper background, choose where to put it (left, center or right) and how much zoom is need to view the text.

It also gives the option of switching between documents and using a tool called “Inspector” as well as give basic information of word count and characters in the document.

 

Research folder: This is one of the best tools. I’m using this tool the most for Torque at the moment and it has come in handy as I write a few scenes out of order. Writers are constantly using searching for things to be accurate or close to it , so all a writer has to do is drag and drop information they’ve downloaded to their computer into the research folder to easy access to information.

 

Inspector tool: I would call this the hidden gem of the app. Why? Well, say the user is in composition mode and wrote something in document or project notes area (among other things), it super convenient that the writer can do it without exiting composition mode. When the writer not in comp mode, then the inspector allows the user to look over the synopsis or image and switch between project and document notes also without leavinf what’s being worked on. It also has slightly different features in normal view.

 

 

 

At least not yet:

As awesome as this tool is, I have not had a chance to use the other features like keyword or quick reference. I’m sure there are other tools that I have not mentioned because I’ve been enamored with the others. If you have Scrivener, and you see a tool that could be useful for other writers, leave a comment below.

 

What could make the app better:

Every app is not without its issue though.  One thing that annoyed me was when I decided to work in my customized comp mode. In my experience if a photo is left up for too long in, it will cause delay between what I type and when it appears on the document. If this could be fixed or even have some kind of warning, it would be great.

When the app updates, it doesn’t update all previous versions of your documents. It does update once you open them and it only take a few minutes.

You can find out more about the app and tutorial videos at its home site Literature and Latte.

 

I plan for Ghost Kings to officially launch sometime in February, with postings at least once or twice a month. Thanks for reading and see you in a couple of weeks. 

xo Arisa