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.

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Progress update and discussion

Mini Progress update:

Torque: Getting just a tad further along. I took time to focus a little bit on world building and looking at previous information I had down from years ago. I’ll have to decide if it’s relevant to the current or any future plots. My plan is to finish chapter 3 (2/3) and chapter 4 this month. I hope to be at chapter 5 by November and NANOWRIMO.

Ghost Kings: Ideas are still developing for this short story. I will post the first ‘chapter’ by Oct. 16.

Spirits: I’ve started writing the point of view for one of the characters, but it was difficult to move forward with it. I’ll need to do more world building before continuing.


Discussion:

Finding the right writing routine is difficult. Trust me. Any blog site or writing site that I go to seems to mention a routine and how it seems to produce the end product.

But I’m curious how this ‘routine’ works for others. Are you more likely to write on your own time or schedule in advance? Sound off below!


What’s next?

I’ll be writing about the importance of characters of color, a review on Scrivener writing app and hopefully a video on face casting.

Until next time,

XO Arisa

The Name Game

There can be many things that make a character: a crafted personality, descriptions, with faults and all. What completes them or makes them, depending on the how one would create his or her character, is the name. It can give the writer a chance to be clever with a character’s name. A meaning can give a glimpse into a personality trait or give clues into what they are or will become.

Screen Shot from HP Lexicon

Screen Shot from HP Lexicon

Baby name sites can be another resource if you don’t already use them.

Stumble along google for new name sites if you don’t already. Those sites may be a go to for you, so feel free to leave them below for others to check out.

One of the reasons I decided to write this post is because of how much fun it can be and how it can be somewhat daunting to find the right character name.

I’m sure there are other writers who spend some time deciding, going back and forth on which will be the character’s name. The journey in finding the right name depends on what kind type of material you’re writing. In fantasy or otherworld pieces, the name can play a part in the story and create a different culture or environment for your character.

What I mean by that is that it can give a character a little more background. Even with nicknames; it raises the question on why the character doesn’t go by their full name.

As an example, Ace, one of my main characters from Torque, goes by that name by other character though I made his first name [Alexander]. Originally, his name was just Ace Thurston. I decided to change it and use it as a plot point for later. It also fit better with his character traits.

Origin: Biblical, German, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Slovak, Dutch, Norwegian // from Behind the Name

Origin: Biblical, German, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Slovak, Dutch, Norwegian // from Behind the Name

When searching for names, I normally go to Behind the Name. The site has a wide variety of names with meanings attached to them, which will make it easier to decide if decide to choose a name that meets your fancy. The names can be separated by gender and/or ethnicity.

If the name doesn’t fit the character, than create a list of names you necessarily can’t part from. There will be plenty of chances to create a character that will fit the name. (There may a time when you review the list and you get inspired by a name.)  Just be sure to keep track and sure you are not using the same name for different stories — unless it’s intentional.

Surnames, like first names, has to fit the character. There are times when you may like a name, but it doesn’t fit the character or it doesn’t fit well with the first name. Or you intentionally not give the character a last name, which is something I am doing with Spirits.

With surnames, I believe you can have a little more fun other languages. Depending on the ethnicity or nationality, you can pull names from simple meanings of dictionaries. (Sometimes you need to turn to something that’s a little unconventional to get what you want.) While writing a fanfiction (not Whispers), I turned to a Japanese to English – English to Japanese dictionary. At the time I felt some of the names were either too common and I wanted something different.

To make things a little easier when searching for names on Behind the Name, is the ‘Tools’ tab. It will give you the option of searching for what you need in themes or anagrams. Say a you want a “flowery” meaning for a character’s name. Then you’re in luck. It will bring up “flowery” meanings from every country that’s on the site and if you want male, female or unisex names.

Even name generators can be a useful too.  If you use the Scrivener writing app, there is name generator that can be used as well.

Be sure to explore the “Links” page on Behind the Name which will give you more options in name searches.

Until next time,

XoArisa

P.S. Don’t forget to follow my blog and YouTube channel for writing updates.

Writing Vlog 1

The reason why I decided to talk about these three is because I find myself thinking about the story lines often. They are all in three different stages as far as writing. Torque is the most developed out of the three; The Ghost Kings has a few pages written but still needs development as I write; and Spirits is not as developed and has the least written as far as the story goes.

I hope you all enjoyed my late video. I’ll be back on a normal schedule on Monday – with a regular written blog post. Feel free to subscribe on YouTube and leave comments below.

xo Arisa

The write environment

…See what I did there?

Anyways, let’s talk writing environments. For me, I have a hard time writing in my room, living room, crowded places, so it’s really important to me to find a great place to get things done. This all started when I wanted to leave the house to write. It took me at least three times to find an open and relaxed environment.

Panera and two coffee shops later, I found a decent spot at the library. Go figure, right?

The first place I was sent to was closed down forever, the next shop was closed because of the holiday weekend and wouldn’t be open until July 5.

But as I was feeling a little upset about putting money in the meter twice, I was at a stop light and looked to my left. And there, the public library seemed opened. I prayed it was open after I turned around, and it was.

It was a great thing. I didn’t write any fiction, I did write a new cover letter without my mind wondering too much.

Though, I’ve never let my current environment stop me from writing; like right now I’m writing this in bed. I can’t be too picky on where I want to write because of timing and other factors.

I do think that every writer should have a place where they can go and not be easily distracted. This is why I am not a big fan of writing at home so much. Daily life can be distracting from what needs to be accomplished because of the comforts of home.

For me, crowded spaces produce too much other energy that becomes distracting. Someone could start to people watch, rather than watch their words fill up a blank page. Or maybe a busy place is what some people need to help them focus. If you’re one, kudos to you.

To Boldly Go….

On May 9th, 2015, I graduated from Kent State University. Two weeks later, I was at a copy editing boot camp for Dow Jones News Fund. Now, I am working for The Detroit News in Detroit, MI.

I am finally going to take the time to post here and my travel blog (see above). I will also start making some vlogs about my writing as well. I only get two days off during the week, so let’s hope I can remain consistent after this post. I plan to, but my plans never work out so well.

I will be making another post on Saturday about my writing environment search. It took me three times to find a good place to write. I’ll make sure to collect those tweets from that day.

Until Saturday,

XO Arisa

Writing Goals via Planner

A couple of weeks ago I started making writings goals. And they’ve already failed, which sucks because I want to finish my novel by the end of the year or at least half of it.
In my planner I put word goals – of how many I would achieve a day starting Monday and ending Saturday. I decided that Sunday was my rest day.

I was doing well for a couple of days after I started – I was ahead of my writing goal for a day or two and close to getting to Sunday’s total word count.

I hate making excuses on why they fell off the wagon. So, I won’t. I will start again this Monday. 50 words per day for at least a week and a half.

It’ll be less overwhelming when I think about the finished product. Would you rather look at 50 words per day or 600 words by a certain day. It will be easier to focus on a small amount.

And yes, 50 words per day is really small and seems like you’ll be getting no where, but I stand by what I said about it being less intimidating.

If you have writing goals/ plans comment below what you do.

XO Arisa

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Romance and ages

What is the appeal behind a young female protagonist falling for an older male protagonists – the ones where the men are over 100 years old, but doesn’t look a day over 20 something.

I can’t give a definite answer to that because I am not getting a degree in psychology or anything related to development. But I just started to find this relationship dynamic interesting.

The book I am currently reading, Tiger’s Curse is about a girl named Kelsey (16 18y/o, she acts like a kid, though) who decides to go India under the impression she’ll help the tiger, Ren, adjust to life in India. But that quickly changes to her trying to break a curse on Ren she met after feeding and reading poetry to him for two weeks. Of course the tiger is not what it seems and he’s a prince.

He’s over 300 years old, and looks young ( no description how old he looks age-wise. Or there is and I forgot, whoops.) Like any book similar to this the female starts to fall in love and/or vice versa.

The plots are different but the endgame is usually the same: they fall in love. Maybe there’s an article out the that focuses on this relationship dynamic and gives the reason on why it’s so appealing to people my age or younger.

Maybe it’s possible that the book reflects our inner desire to have a older partner or someone old fashion – which some of us wouldn’t mind because some people are a-holes.

What I haven’t seen, which would be interesting is a younger guy falling in love with an older woman, someone over 100 years old looking 20 something. Or even people of the same gender with the dynamic. I bet that would be good. (Hint, hint.)

There’s nothing wrong the large age gaps, otherwise I wouldn’t have it on my bookshelves, but it is a little creepy. Especially if they aren’t legal. But that’s a huge plot hole for later.