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.

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.

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

Halfway there

 

You guys already know what I’m about to say in this post, right? About me going MIA after a few posts at a time. Hey, it happens — we all have lives to attend to outside of the Internet. But I wanted you let you all know that I am more than halfway* through 50K for NaNoWriMo. And I’m not even close to finishing Torque. I am currently about to wrap up chapter four, but I am having difficultly doing it.

It’s mainly because I switch between two POVs of my main characters, Cori and Ace. I can get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions for Cori that when I switch to Ace, I’m struggling to detach the two characters. But alas, this is something that I will have to fix later. I can’t waste anymore time because I got behind last week, and I am still being for this week.

But to all the writers out there taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge (and those who aren’t), I wish you the best in finishing what you’ve started. Whether it’s the end of this month or even two years from now.

Just write on!

Xo Arisa

*30,705K and counting

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

Keyboard v. Paper

Lately, I’ve been in the mood to write. But, not necessarily on my computer or my phone.

I can remember what it was like to write to the very first draft of Torque (then called Fangs: Taste of Blood) and how easier it was to finish it on paper. (As easy as writing a novel would get.)

When I tried to rewrite the second draft, I went for paper. Well, pen and paper as JK Rowling would say. But then it was hard. So at that time,  I turned to my shabby laptop I got from my brother.

It was easier at that point to write on the laptop. I didn’t get that far into rewriting Torque – maybe 30 pages at that time. Then something happened to the computer where it shut off  and it wouldn’t turn back on.

I was sad and really upset. All that work down the drain and I was actually liked that version better than my written draft, but each way of writing has its own pros and cons.

KEYBOARD

Pros: 

– Easy sailing: 

When you grow up learning how to type and use computers every day, you learn a few tricks here and there. And you type faster than your parents or writers who don’t embrace the keyboard as much.

If you misspell a word, autocorrect from your phone or the red squiggles will let you know that you’ve made an error.

– Research:

Using the computer and Internet has made it easy to get the job done when it comes to research. If you stay focused enough, meeting your writing goal can be done with ease.

Cons:

– Distractions: 

The Internet is a wonderful thing. A tool that many writers use to help develop ideas, find connections, research and more. And that’s the thing.

Some writers may find themselves on the computer lost in “research.”

Admit it, as writers, we’ve all done this. You go to write, but go to research first and that research turns to your favorite social media platform.

When it comes to writing on the phone, you get texts and notifications from the millions of apps on your phone.

 – Screen time exposure:

For work, I’m on a computer (or phone to take a quick break) for 7.5 hours. So, writing on the computer before or after work can become daunting for me. It’s too much screen time.

It’s the same for people who have to use a computer or tablet for work and many of us who constantly check our email on the phone.

Too much screen time can strain your eyes as well and if you’re not in a properly lit room – it makes it worse. So, don’t forget to turn on the light when writing into the evening when you’ve used natural light as a light source.

– Technology:

Why this is a con, you may ask? Well, as reliable as some tech pieces are today, they crash or reset. When that happens you can loose everything. All of your hard work gone.

Remember to back up anything that’s written. Whether it be with Google Drive and Google Docs, another cloud system or an external hard drive.

For Mac users, if you haven’t started to use your Time Machine, maybe you should consider using it. Though I don’t have it,  I will eventually activate it. (I am recent grad, so getting an external hard drive is not high on the list.)

PAPER:

Pros: 

– Less distractions: 

This one is pretty self explanatory. Just make sure you’re settled into your favorite spot, you have you drink of choice and your phone is set on DND.

– Easy proofing: 

The mistakes made while typing can be found easier once it’s printed. After writing all day, the eyes tends to skip over repeated words or tend to skim in general. This is something that I know that I do when I am typing and editing.

For neatly handwritten things, put the story or outline away for a bit (give it two weeks, and if time is not your friend, give to someone who can proof well) and come back to it. Your eyes will catch the skipped words or sentence structures that really do not make any sense.

– In light loads, it’s not as heavy: 

When traveling with a specific notebooks, whether it’s the story or a separate writing notebook, can be easier than putting your laptop in a bag. You don’t have to take it out of the bag at airports, so that’s a plus.

If you decide to travel with multiple notebooks, make sure you take the ones you need. There’s no need to travel with three five subject Five Star notebooks to a destination, unless you’re moving.

Cons:

– Damage: 

There could be no coming back from a tea, coffee or water stains (this goes for computers too). Because paper clearly doesn’t have a save button, material can be destroyed if not properly stored.

It would be best to invest in a scanner or a scanner app on the phone. Even your phone camera with cloud storage can get it done. Though it’s a lot of extra work to syphon through all of your papers, but it creates a back up of your paper documents. (I would use this technique if I missed notes from a class and my friend had them.) Just make sure to not accidentally delete them, not all smart phones have a photo recovery, unless they do.

– Clutter: 

Pulling out papers to reference  when writing a certain scene, or when you’re trying to remember a character description. Next thing you know you whole area is cover is paper, and you can’t realize where a paper was place. Then you’re looking for that paper for minutes or hours and it was in front of you the entire time.

Find the best way to organize writing materials even when you’re not writing. One day, you’ll have all this paper that’s probably not needed. Be sure to do an annual cleaning before it gets out of control.

– HAND CRAMPS:

I think that says it all.

I know there are more pros and cons that I have left out, so feel free to leave them below or which method you prefer.

Until next week (with a video!),

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.