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Tag Archives: novel

Fear, Insecurities, and Self-Doubt, Oh No…

As a creative person I am often trying new things like DIY projects that require me to learn something or do something I’ve never done before. For example, when I was planning my wedding over two years ago I saw these sheet music flowers that someone had made and turned into a bouquet and fell in love with them. Armed with different  downloaded PDF’s of how to make the flowers, sheet music printed on various colors of scrapbook paper, scissors, and my hot glue gun I went to work. I tried different types of flowers and finally found one I liked. It was a great deal of work. I made my own bouquet, as well as the bouquets of my bridal party, my mother’s and my mother-in-laws as well as one for my aunt. SHEW! It was a lot of work, work that I was excited and nervous about. What if they looked like shit? What if they didn’t look nice enough? What if they fell apart? What if…

IMG_0131 IMG_0132 IMG_0136 IMG_0138 IMG_0289 IMG_0291 IMG_0292 IMG_0293 Read the rest of this entry »

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Down the rabbit hole

Begin at the beginning

Yesterday I spent a small part of my day researching 2 in 1 tablet/laptops, reading about the structure of scenes, good dialogue…Almost half the day at the pool (my small 3 ft deep pool) on a float thinking about my character and where she was going, what she wanted, and who the antagonist really is versus who I originally thought he was, and then I spent the other part of my day writing. I went back to my WIP last night. By the time I went to bed I’d written almost 4200 words.

I had a good day. When I first opened the new project screen in Scrivener I felt excited. Like I was going on a new adventure, a bit like Alice must have felt when she went down the rabbit hole. Call me crazy, but every time I revamp or organize a WIP, I’m excited and then the excitement dissipates into the nether, and I’m left feeling overwhelmed, doubtful, and nervous. I read a book about how many first time novelist write SEVERAL beginnings but can’t seem to finish a novel. For over a year that was me. I managed to get my 50K word count for NaNo, but that was only almost half of a novel. Not a complete novel. That one went into the proverbial closet, the WIP shelved, and I went on to the next idea.  A better idea. Yet I keep coming back to one of the two original ideas I had almost two years ago when I first sat down at the computer, after a long hiatus from writing.,

When I took that short break from social media, between being on the road with my husband, reading books, and thinking about my writing, and reading that book about why writer’s never finish a book, I realized something important I was afraid of success. Yes, I said that. If I actually managed to complete a novel then I had to worry about editing it. Once I edited it I had to worry about finding beta readers (which I haven’t a clue about), then I had do worry about whether to try to get it traditionally published or try self-publishing. My anxiety kicked in somewhere around the 1/4 to 1/2 mark of a novel and then I freeze.

this is impossible

I can’t worry about all of that when I’m writing. I have to begin at the beginning, write, write, write until I get to the end. and then stop and take a break. That’s all there is to it. It’s not impossible. I know it’s not. I’ve read enough free books on Kindle, enough traditionally published and self-published books, enough writing advice books to know that it isn’t impossible. Some books are adventures and they pull us into the book and we’re right there inside it. Chronicles of Narnia did that to me when I was elementary school.. Salem’s Lot did that to me when I was ten and I’ve been an avid Stephen King fan since. I’ll never be Lewis, or King, but I can be myself. And that self is actually a pretty damn decent, no good, writer. If I let myself be. If I’m not holding myself back by believing it’s not possible.

Regardless of how shitty this first draft is that I’m working on, I’m sticking with it until the very end. Until I can type or have my husband type, like Mike Noonan did in Bag of Bones, the END.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Books, Writing

 

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Structure, plotting, and beats oh my

What was I thinking when I signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo? I was already working on a novel. I had already plotted the beginning, middle, and end…Along with the catalyst, the midpoint, the darkest moment, and the B-Story. I know, I lost my ever loving mind. I just lost it! So I decide to plot a completely different novel for Camp NaNo (April) and get most of it in my project in Scrivener, and at the last minute an idea hits me like a ton of bricks! WHOA!

Stop! So I’m working on the structure for that one. Plotting. Reading about plotting, structure, Saving the Cat, and beats…WHAT!?! Somebody has to save a cat? No, no…that’s just the hook…Oh, okay. I got it now. Back to plotting. Back to the dreaded outline. And outlines are not my cup of coffee, they never have been. I spent my first NaNo as a pantster. Then I became a plotster. I tried so hard to be a plotter, but I just get bored with that much detail being put into an outline–I’m long-winded, my outlines don’t look like outlines–No, they look like condensed essays or summaries, a few even look like short stories. And I’ve went through stacks upon stacks of index cards because there just isn’t enough room on one to write it all down.

CUT! Cut! I said cut! Okay, so that type of outlining doesn’t work for me. I wish like hell it did, but it doesn’t. So I condense my index cards to three-four word sentences, or phrases. And the whole while my inner editor, bitch that she is, is screaming. I can hear her as I write those short sentences or phrases. I finally yell back, “It’s just a friggin’ outline!” Okay, I feel better now.

I’ve looked at way too many beat sheets. One too many writing resources about structure. It’s all starting to run together. I go back to the Cat. 15 beats. Only when I look at the list I automatically want to convert the pages for the screenplay into novel pages. Where does the inciting incident go in a novel? Where is that rascally rabbit called the First Plot Point and where does he go? My goodness, don’t forget about the Set Up. So I read some more. Found examples. And wouldn’t you know I found this great post about Harry Potter and structure. Complete with diagrams, percentages, and examples that my overloaded plotster brain can comprehend. If you want to check it out here’s the link. Hell, I even printed out one of the diagrams so I could compare it to the book, which meant I could read the Harry Potter series all over again. (Yes, I realize I’m 46 years old and a grandmother and a wife and a mother and…Reading Harry Potter gave me the same feeling I got the first time I read C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia–yes, I’ve reread the series as an adult but  alas my big book is gone and I need to get another–insert extremely sad face here). So on top of trying to write 50K for Camp NaNo, reading several books on structure, along with writing in general, I am also rereading the Harry Potter series. And to be honest, each time I reach my goal I give myself permission to read two-three chapters from Harry Potter, otherwise I’d be curled up on my couch all day reading about Harry’s adventures and my novel for Camp NaNo would develop virtual cobwebs. Last NaNo I rewarded myself with an episode of Supernatural (I was catching up on missed episodes), along with copious amounts of dark chocolate. I’ve done better this time about limiting my amount of chocolate, but I can’t say the same about my reading for pleasure.

 

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Inner Demons

A fellow blogger wrote a post that made me think. She had a bad night and began having doubts, which seems to be par for the course for many a writer. No matter how well you write, you’re going to have times when what you write is utter shit. When you don’t like it and want to trash it… Delete, delete, delete. I’ve learned not to do that. I save it in a file called “Deleted shit” so that later on I can go back to it.

 “Judging your early artistic efforts is artist abuse.”
Julie Cameron

I’ve also learned that I need to take breaks from writing, especially if I’ve hit that sweet spot while writing and managed to get quite a lot accomplished.  If I don’t take a break then I will either burn myself out, end up with writer’s block because I’ll get stuck after such a big run of it…

asleep at desk

Or I might just fall asleep in my chair, sitting at my desk…

Yes, I’ve done that.

I’ve also done the whole take a long break from writing. There was a period of time when I didn’t write fiction, not even a short story, or poetry. I lost a lot of my poetry when I left the ex, and maybe that was for the best. I had serious inner demons back then and it took me a long while to exercise them.

Not that I don’t still have a few inner demons, I do, but now they’re the normal ones. I get tired, burned out, insecure, overwhelmed… there are times when I feel isolated and lonely… times when I’m not sure I’m talented enough… disciplined enough…smart enough…There are also times when I feel like I’m wasting my time and effort, that it would be much better for us financially if I went to work full-time instead of working on my writing full-time…

Note from Mr. Rockstar

Note from Mr. Rockstar

Thankfully I have a husband who is supportive. Who appreciates all that I do around the house (never thought I’d be a housewife). Who believes in me  and has faith in my talent.I am working on a novel that has been simmering for almost 2 years now. NaNoWriMo 2012. I finally got the story right in my head, and now I’m working on it for Camp NaNoWriMo. Maybe it will be SHIT. Maybe it will be decent. Maybe it will even be great.  All I know if I feel the need to write it.

 

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. …this book…is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.
Drink and be filled up.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I’m writing for me. Maybe no one will ever read my book except for me, my husband and my children. It doesn’t matter. I’m getting the words of the story out there on the page. That’s what matters. And the words don’t always come easy.

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”
― Stephen KingDifferent Seasons

Being part of a community where writing is concerned, whether you’re blogging, writing fiction, or poetry or all three, makes you feel like you’re not so alone in the world as a writer–at least it does for me.. I feel as if I’m part of something so much bigger than myself and that I have a kinship of sorts with other writers. Blogging, being part of NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo has really helped me branch out as a writer. I’ve learned, been inspired, and motivated over the past few years.

 “Writing is a little bit like prostitution. First you do it for love. Then you do it for a few friends. Then you do it for money.”
― Molière

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing

 

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Cover for Camp NaNo Book and other stuff

I am so excited….A fellow NaNoer made the cover for my book for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo which starts tonight at midnight (only 1 hour and 15 minutes away for me)… And I love it!!!!!

My cover… I saw this pic while looking through Deviant Art and she got permission from the artist to use it. Isn’t it amazing! How it turned out! The pic itself! I love all of it! It looks like a real book cover. I am just so excited!!!!!  (Makes me feel like a bonafide writer!!! Once again I’ve changed everything at the last minute! SIGH!!!

bonafide writer mug

I can’t seem to help myself. I’m using almost the same premise. I’ve changed the character’s names, and the title of the series but not the title of the book. I’m in the process of changing the whole outline to fit the revamped premise and characters… Double work, maybe, but I was reading Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and realized what I had wasn’t going to work, not the way I wanted it to. Thus the changes. I’m okay with that. It means working on my outline at the last minute, but I’d have been doing that anyway, at least now it will be the right concept, theme, etc for what I want. I’m happier with it now, even though it means more work. But I found a great outlining video over a year ago from Katytastic that if you’re interested in learning more about outlining using the 3 act structure from Snyder’s Save the Cat, or outlining with Scrivener in general, it’s a great start.

Isn’t that the great thing about WriMo though?… You sort of need just a little pantsing to make it fun… At least for me I do. I’ve gone from a pantser to a plotster so I guess I have to throw some pantsing in there somewhere or it’s not fun for me.

I’m in a cabin now, with people near my age bracket (last time I ended up in a cabin with a group of NaNoer’s around my children’s age, which wasn’t really a good thing for me since they are between the ages of 25-14)…I’m happy about that. And our living room is finally finished… YAY! I no longer have my writing room… BOO!! But my son has his room back. He was injured while at bootcamp. He’ll be able to recycle in the next 6 mths, but he has to heal. While he’s healing he’ll be going back to college and is thinking about going in the reserves (Navy or Air Force) instead of going in the Army full time (Can’t say I’m unhappy about that–I’m all for serving our country, but I believe in working smarter not harder and the Army and Marines are definitely in the work harder category).

The pillows on our couch match my writing space...

The pillows on our couch match my writing space…

Red bookcases and desk go well with our updated look.

Red bookcases and desk go well with our updated look.

So here are the pics of my new writing space… Instead of being in the dining room we decided to completely rearrange our living room so that I could have my own little space. We painted the walls, moved everything around, and put our pictures in completely different places so that I could have this space. My husband ROCKS!!!! (Now I just need to paint the hallway and we’re done with the khaki/taupe color and it’s off to figure out what color to paint our dining room and kitchen. I love how our new living room looks.

Ok, I have less than 1 hour so let me get back to outlining. Happy NaNoing and have a great night.

 

 

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Writing (on the road) without internet

For the next week I won’t be able to post anything that requires internet. I’ll be writing, but it won’t be on my blog, not even via my phone. I’ll be back on the road with the husband, my third week in a row out on the road with him, but this week my phone will be out of commission and his phone isn’t a smart phone, so the most I might be able to do with it is FB, which I seriously doubt I’ll bother with. I think this will be my week away from all internet distractions. A hiatus from the WEB.

No FB, no email, no Twitter, no blogging, no Googling, no Instagram….Nada. Just me and my laptop and Scrivener. If we were somewhere out there on the road that had free WIFI I could use the D-Link and gain access to the World WIde Web and peruse the internet all those wonderful distractions, but I do NOT think I will. I think a hiatus from the internet is just what I need to get through this part of my novel.

Sure there are some things I need to research but it can wait until I get back home. Good thing I’m not one of those people who worries about my stats.

Yesterday I was thinking about what we did before the internet. Before FB, Twitter, Instagram, Google, etc… Before cell phones. When we remembered telephone numbers. When we played more board games. When I wrote with a Brother Word Processor and was grateful for it because typing on a manual typewriter is hard work, and so is an electric one when it comes to errors (White Out is helpful but…) and as I thought about writing my term papers on that electric typewriter, which meant using footnotes, and praying you didn’t make any errors because that meant typing the page all over again because my teachers would mark your paper with all kinds of red ink if you used White-Out. I remember when I had to work harder to get a few chapters written but the words came easier in part because I didn’t have so many distractions.

This week I’m going to concentrate on the writing. I’ll miss blogging. I’ll miss FB and Instagram…But I won’t miss being distracted.

Hope everyone has a good week. I’ll catch up with things on the Reader this weekend, and write a few posts. Right now it’s time for me to get some much needed sleep.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Life, Scrivener, Traveling, Writing

 

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Writing with a Plan

pantser quote

When I first began NaNoWriMo two years ago I pantsed it. My work is completely character driven. I put her in what I now know is more or less a hero’s journey, only she was definitely not what most people would think of as a candidate for heroism. She was the unlikely hero who fell into a situation and did what she felt she had to do, what was the right thing to do, and though it got her into trouble and put her in danger the likes of which she had no idea of how to get out of, she managed through it, just barely.

outlining quote

IN real life that’s what hero’s do. They don’t walk 6 miles like the Doctor in Atlanta did to save his patient in order to be a hero, they do it because it’s what they feel is right–they do what they need to do. But midway through, (sagging middle syndrome) I began to flail about like a fish out of water. I had no plan. I was writing from my gut and the heart of my story was great, but I got stuck because what I wanted my character to do and what my character wanted to do weren’t the same. I was following the character, but without a plan I lost control of the book/situation.

puzzler quote

After 3 NaNo’s under my belt, I’ve realized I am one of those cross breeds as a writer. I am both a pantster and a plotter. I guess that makes me a puzzler or a plantster. I don’t let the outline (which is often just a basic 3 act structure outline) rule me. I tend to write off the cuff, adlib, stray from the main course, follow the path less traveled too much to be considered a plotter, but I do my research, I brainstorm. I narrow down my plot, subplot, character sketches, and I write down a few ideas for each act and some of the chapters. The most in depth thing that I do now, versus when I was pantsing, is that I get to know my characters. I use Scrivener and that makes it so much easier. I use actual character sketches, and the corkboard for pictures and create a synopsis of each character comes up or the picture comes up. (My only problem with Scrivener is that the Windows version isn’t as detailed as the Mac version. There are things Mac users can do with Scrivener that Windows users can’t. Right now I can’t afford a Mac, if I could I’d get one.)

Character Outline on the Corkboard in Scrivener.

Character Outline on the Corkboard in Scrivener.

One of the most helpful aids I’ve found for my writings is Caroline Norrington’s template for outlining with Scrivener. You really should check it out her blog post Scrivener Template. (And the template if you use Scrivener.)  It’s absolutely amazing!!!!

Now that I’ve finally got my laptop up and running, (a new power cord, battery, and a D-Link USB adapter), I downloaded the template and imported into Scrivener so that I can use it while I’m out on the road for the next month with my husband. If you haven’t read any of my previous posts I’ll clue you in, if you have sorry for being redundant-he’s an over the road (OTR) truck driver. I went out on the road with him for a week last month. Now I’m about to go out on the road with him for a month. We’ll be home on weekends, but I’m cannot “not” write for long periods of time, so I managed to fix my laptop all by myself. A friend of ours who fixes computers kept saying it was the port that the power cord goes into but I know my computers and it was the cord. It was bent and every time you moved slightly the blue light went off and you you lost power. The battery was shot, that’s one of my major problems with HPs is that they tend to run hot and their batteries don’t last long. When I get a new laptop it will not be another HP.

North Carolina. OTR. Truck Stop. Trucking.

North Carolina. OTR. Truck Stop. Trucking.

Once the storm let up and our power came back on I began preparing for my trip OTR with my Sweetheart Mr. Rockstar/Truck Driver.

  1. Get the laptop up and running. ✔
  2. Download and import outline template for Scrivener.✔
  3. Do laundry. (Working on that.)
  4. Pack. (Nowhere near done.)
  5. Cook dinner for him for when he comes home. (Working on that as I type. Bean soup is in the crockpot and will be more be delicious when it’s done.)
  6. Go to grocery store for stuff to take OTR. (Will do that tomorrow or Monday morning before we leave.)
  7. Send D____ (my son who is in bootcamp in Missouri for the Army) his letter. ✔
  8. Pick up book of stamps so you can send D____ more letters and other people postcards. ✔
  9. Shave legs (Not yet, I just got my power back, LOL)
  10. Do research for character, place, etc. (WIP)
  11. Print Michael’s coupon.✔
  12. Go to Michael’s and purchase a new Smash Book. (Will have checked off by later today.)
  13. Go through scrapbooking supplies. (Will do later today.)
  14. Write blog. ✔
  15. Make coffee.✔

I’m drinking my coffee now and once I’m finished with the blog post I’ll be working on the research for my book.  Then I’ll head to Michaels to pick up my new Smash Book. I’m so excited about going out on the road with my husband for a month. I keep thinking of Kerouac. I am charging the batteries for my camera. Oops, I need to stop by Walmart and pick up a new memory card. Guess my list just got longer. 😉

Have a great day! Happy Writing! Reading! and Life!!!

 

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