Writing Prompt No. 4

A little bit of dialogue, a scene starter and a word association:

 

  1. “You’re always so far away…”
  2. Each night your character walks past an empty building on the way to the parking lot. And every time, they take a peak in to the building as the ground level seems to still have its lights on, showing off that one lone desk and chair. But one night they walk by the building and someone is sitting in the seat and with a pause in their steps, the person at the desk beckons them inside…
  3. Noir

 

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Progress Update – TORQUE

In my head,  I’ve kept up with my word count and I’m breezing along to finishing my novel by Dec. 15, 2017. In reality, I’ve skipped at least 14  days of writing due to being tired and not knowing what’s next (trying to make each scene mean something for the end product).  When I restarted, I was stuck on chapter five and six for the longest time, telling myself I will get to it later. But certain events in my life pushed me to stop messing around and set a goal. 130,000 words here I come!

I am now in chapter eight (of 18…maybe) in Torque. The last month has been the fastest I’ve ever gotten chapters done, and had less slumps. It’s clear I need to keep the momentum going so I don’t have as many.

I’ve been using Scrivener’s word count tracker to help push me to write between 750 and 900-plus words, for the days that I’ve selected as writing days. Since there have been days that I didn’t plop a single word onto the page, it adds words for the next day so that I can make up for it. Which is nice in a way, but if I wasn’t committed to being done by my self-made deadline, I’m sure that my word count would be way higher. And looking at my goal for the day can be a bit overwhelming sometimes, but as long as I split the writing to before and after work, I reach my goal.

I’ve also been using my book map to keep me on track plot wise. I noticed the other day when I went to Starbucks that I never really finished my detailed outline; breaking each chapter down by characters introduced and mentioned, and a detailed look at three important/ focal points for the book.

While I am all for planning, it’s not realistic of me to try and finish the outline. In the book map, I break it down with a one sentence summary (for both of my main characters, chapter conflict, storyline notes, characters introduced and mentioned, and if there are any important plot points for it.

I know this sounds like more work than the detailed outline, but it works for me. I did my best in the book map to keep everything brief so it wouldn’t take so long to do. As mine is in Google Sheets, it’s easy to adjust and change and I always have access to it.

Since I am trying to write 130,000 words by the end of the year, I need to keep my focus on that, but I will do my best to do one full post and a writing prompt for the rest of the year.

I will eventually have a second Write Reads post on here soon, but until then, check out the first one and let me know what you think.

-Keep Writing

 

Writing Prompt No. 3

Some dialogue starters:

  1. “There are consequences to your actions, you know this – it puts us all….”
  2. “This can’t be any different than when we….”
  3. “You watched me lie there, I would think that….”
  4. “But I am young, so what…”

 

Check out the last writing prompts here!

Rediscovering the ‘why’ in writing

Along the way in our writing journey, we fall into a slump. (The dreaded writer’s block.) We lose that thing that keeps us going. Whatever that thing was, it was sparked by something, right?

Movies, art, music, television and, of course, our favorite authors and books, all give us something. Something that sticks with us in the back of our minds, whether that be the unexpected plot twist or the graceful storytelling.

And it’s inspiration; defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.


In an earlier draft of  this post, I wanted to discuss what moves writers to act, but it turned into rediscovering what may be the reason of why we write. I do think that inspiration has a part in this process. Sometimes it’s is a writer’s ‘why’ when they write.

I am a big believer in not waiting for inspiration or motivation to hit you. You’ll be stuck in your first draft for a very long time. The feelings of these things are fleeting, and it’s something that we have to keep in mind as writers. Anytime we write, some words will hop onto the page with ease. And there are times you are just left looking at a sentence that needs to be completed.

But I do think the source of your inspiration can become something to keep you moving. One thing a writer can do is write it down and why it inspires/ motivates you. For me, there have been many things that have turned the gears in my brain; anime, music artists and Shondaland, a production company by Shonda Rhimes, shows like “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away with Murder.”

Keep that list in your writing space, or somewhere you will notice it every day. You can even go as far as making it your screensaver. Constantly looking at it will, hopefully, keep the fire burning inside.

The one thing that can stamp that fire out is fear. Whatever it may be, put that fear in a box and lock it away. It won’t serve you as you’re trying to fulfill your goal as a writer. (If you think fear is holding you back, I would suggest dabbling in a short story or fan fiction.)

While on a separate paper write out why it inspires you — what makes you want more of it once it’s done? Identifying this will help with your own writing because it may be a technique that you later put in your manuscript. Break down the ‘whys’ as far as you can go to pinpoint what you like about the certain thing so much.

Here are some of my whys:

“Scandal,”  “How to Get Away with Murder”: For those unfamiliar, these are a couple of Shondaland shows that I love to watch. The complicated plot twists is something that keeps me coming back. The characters are also pushed to their limits, so much so that it’s sometimes unpredictable.

“Yuri!!! ON ICE”: This is an anime that follows a young male figure skater who struggles with anxiety and meets his idol, who  becomes his coach. Compared to the Shondaland shows, the plot is simple and relatable. Having a character to deal with something that people deal with in the real world could hook your audience.

Here’s a list of things that inspire me on a Pinterest board.

Another way to help rediscover your ‘why’ is to reread your old works. Whether it’s fan fiction, a short story or what you’re currently working on.  Don’t go into editor mode here, try not judge what you have. Remember why you wrote in the first place, and how you were able to get through it.

It may have been because of a potential audience. We all dream/ think about those. We’ve all seen the quote that’s floating around that says: “Someone out there needs your book….” And it’s true. We write to express, to escape our daily lives — and so does your (potential) audience. You need to keep writing to pull them in so that they are avid readers of your work. By all means, don’t wait until your book is out to do it. You can build and grow one now. Give them a taste of what you can do.

So keep writing and I hope you can rediscover why.

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.