preparation begins

Last week, I finished the first draft of my novel. After a week of taking a little break, I realized just how anxious I was to begin revisions. My writing habits have been pretty strict since the beginning of the year, so it felt foreign to not be actively working on my book for an entire week.

anigif_sub-buzz-19232-1503589718-1

But where to begin? Revising can be a little overwhelming. That’s when I realized it would be important to approach things with healthy expectations, balance, and organization. Normally, when I am trying to get organized I turn to new office supplies. Which brings me to the preparation of my revision adventure.

unnamed-2

The very first thing I am going to do is read through the entire draft and mark away! I developed a bit of a color coding system to help. The first three points: expand, revise, and cut might seem obvious, but this is more of a first session of contemplating those points. I also decided to add character descriptions, world mechanics, and nightmares & visions so I can pay extra attention to the organization and development of those points.

My goal is to make it through this first read through by the end of the next week. So if you happen to see me over the next week, be sure to ask how many cups of coffee I’ve had that day.

giphy

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. Remember, you can join me here every Thursday for new posts! (Even though these past two weeks have had new posts on different days…)

Until next time,

Christine

and a happy CampNaNoWriMo to you

A merry CampNaNoWriMo to you! We have arrived at the Summer edition of the customizable version of November’s National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, and I couldn’t be happier.

giphy

One of the things I adore about CampNaNoWriMo is that the rules aren’t cut and dry. You don’t need to write 50,000 words in 30 days like NaNoWriMo to win! CampNaNo can be customized to fit with your needs, whether that be page counts, word counts, or hours logged writing.

I have arrived at the last 10,000 words of my novel. Therefore, my CampNaNo goals were easy to decide. At five days in, I have written 4,000 words, so there’s only 6000 words left for me. Of course, that is all approximate because I may end up going over, but it feels good to be well on my way to completing the first draft. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point.

Yesterday, I managed to write on and off for around six hours. I ended up writing over 3,000 words. That was simply because I had uninterrupted time. While I adore #5amwritersclub, it has a time limit. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I am always thinking about how I have one hour until I need to head out to my day job. Having a few days off to dedicate uninterrupted time to writing has been my saving grace. The scenes that I’m currently working on are scenes that need extra attention. They are difficult to walk away from because of how focused I need to be when writing them.

tumblr_mufstkEUDl1qbrdf3o5_r1_500

Don’t get me wrong, writing always requires focus, but there are certain types of intense scenes that benefit from big chunks of immersion. Don’t you agree? The next few days will consist of extra cups of coffee and lots of time in front of my computer screen as I celebrate CampNaNo with many hours of writing. I hope that this month brings you high levels of inspiration and that your CampNaNo experience is extra special.

tumblr_o9mxts4a861sp4hc3o1_500

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. Remember, you can join me here every Thursday for new posts!

Until next time,

Christine

discovering “the end”

As of this very moment, I have crossed over the 45k mark of my novel. I have a target goal of between 60k-65k words to end my first draft with. So, for the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about the words, “The End.” Truth be told, I only have the slightest idea of how my first draft will end. My entire journey writing this novel has been one built on discovery with my main character. Sure, some things have been very clear to me from the start, but most has been a cloudy mess. I’ve been marching right along beside her through the fog. Now, the end is in sight and I want it to be just right.

I can’t help but think about this quote from The Fellowship of the Ring: 

““Have you thought of an ending?”
“Yes, several, and all are dark and unpleasant.”

–J.R.R. Tolkien

giphy-2

Perhaps it is because I know this is the first of three books. I already have discovered several things that are meant to happen in the second book and only one thing that I know will happen in the third. So, the big question is…how do you discover “the end”?

Whether that means “the end” to a first book, a series, etc. I have decided that the only thing I can really do at this point is this:

-Rely on my instincts. They’ve gotten me this far. There’s no point in doubting them now.

-Make a list of every plot point I want to cover before the finish line.

-Drink coffee.

giphy

Because this is my first draft, I am very comfortable in the fact that I will be going back and fleshing out many scenes and making major edits. However, I would like to nail down the end of this novel with a sledgehammer. I am filled with exhausted emotion for my main character. I want her to get some relief, but my instincts are telling me that it all isn’t going to be quite that simple. All in all, it’s an exciting process.

giphy-1

How do you discover “the end” in your projects?

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. Remember, you can join me here every Thursday for new posts!

Until next time,

Christine

the tale of the self-imposed deadline

Once upon a time, Christine really needed a deadline. For writers that don’t have book contracts, it can be hard sometimes to stick to goals. Even when I am in the most motivated of moods, I still need a goal in mind. After attending BookCon a few weeks ago, my inspiration levels were at an all time high. With that, came a determined Christine, ready to give herself a self-imposed deadline, and talk in third person a lot. (You can read about how I calculated my daily word count goal here.)

determined-gif-3

I’m here to report that it is going FANTASTIC. I feel more alive than I have ever felt and am currently 100% supportive of the self-imposed deadline. I’m hoping that my high levels of inspiration last. As always, #5amWritersClub on Twitter has been a huge support. Writing before coming to my day job makes a big difference in my day.

 

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. Remember, you can join me here every Thursday for new posts!

Until next time,

Christine

bits of writing advice from bookcon 2018

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to dive into the world of books in a different way than I normally do. I attended BookCon in NYC. BookCon is basically a giant convention complete with publishers, fandom, best-selling authors and all the things a bookworm would love. This was my first time attending BookCon. While I had attended Book Expo America a few years ago in the same location, I felt that the vibe of BookCon was way more fan-based (in a good way.)

https_mashable.comwp-contentgallerybook-loversmatilda-reading

For this week’s blog post I thought it would be interesting to share some bits of writing advice that I scribbled down while sitting through many different panels. Basically, they were little moments that stuck with me and inspired me. How could I not share them with you?

IMG_1635

Cassandra Clare is the best-selling author of The Mortal Instruments, The Dark Artifices, and more. When asked about how a writer incorporates personal experience into their own writing, she shared:

IMG_1603

“You may not pull the real life actions, but you will pull the emotions. It has to feel real.” –

That last bit there, “it has to feel real,” that’s the bit that stuck with me. Sometimes I think we get really caught up in what our characters are going through and try and get the difficult scene down on the page without thinking about how an outside reader will actually feel when reading it. That advice came at the right time for me as I was working on a very emotional scene in my WIP.

Cassandra also discussed villains and what makes them well-written. One of the things she brought up that I found fascinating was a point about minions that follow a villain. Why do these minions follow the evil character with the horrid plans? What is their motivation and what makes it something worth supporting? Funnily enough, that advice was also fitting for the scene in my WIP. Don’t forget about the details of your villain.

Brandon Sanderson is the best-selling author of many high fantasy novels that take place in the Cosmere universe. When asked about writing a character with magical powers, Sanderson commented:

IMG_1612

“’What can’t the magic do?’ is always the more interesting question. What are the flaws of these powers?” – 

I scribbled fast for this one. It is important to not only focus on how wonderful magic can be, but what are the cons that come with it? What are the limitations? When I worked on a young adult fantasy novel many years ago, I gifted a character with fantastic fire powers. They had absolutely no consequences or limitations to them. I was just an excited, new writer who wanted to write a fantasy novel. Years later, I now see that is one of the many reasons why that novel didn’t work out.

Victoria Aveyard is the best-selling author of the Red Queen novels and I will say that many of the fans cheered extra loud for her when she walked on the stage. I always enjoy fan questions as opposed to the commentator’s questions because they are usually amusing. One 15-year old fan asked, “What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?” Aveyard answered:

IMG_1594

“What makes you weird now is going to be what makes you successful later.” –

I think as writers, it’s sometimes easy to forget how important it is to celebrate our unique qualities. We should all celebrate our weirdness, follow our passions, and write about what makes our heart race! Don’t you agree?

Mindy-Inspirational

I hope that some of these bits of writing advice resonate with you on some level. For me, hearing writers talk about writing is one of the things that fills my inspiration meter.

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. Remember, you can join me here every Thursday for new posts!

Until next time,

Christine

5 writing books I love

It’s safe to assume that if you are a writer you are going to purchase books about writing. I don’t think I know a writer that doesn’t have at least one! Sure, some writers may take it a bit too far and stop reading other genre books, but for the most part I think certain books on writing can be a helpful resource to turn to. I do believe that if you really want to strengthen your writing, it’s a good idea to dive into a big pile of books written in the genre of your project. However, there needs to be balance and we just love reading everything anyway, right?

tumblr_n4b9p8ECyC1sdo33qo1_500

For today’s post I thought it would be fun to show you five writing books that I absolutely love and give you some reasons why. Take a look!

unnamed-5

IMG_1528

Reading Like a Writer 

by Francine Prose

This is a book that I bought many years ago after taking a fiction writing workshop. Since then, I’ve read it a few times. Prose draws on the writing and experience of many familiar authors you may know like Austen, Dickens, and Wolff. It’s a great book to keep on your nightstand or in your purse to flip through from time to time.

IMG_1524

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression 

by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Oh, I can’t say enough about this series of books. Yes, it is a series and there are all types of emotions covered. This is the first one out of the series that I bought and I think that’s why it’s my favorite. You know when you’re writing and you keep using lame adjectives? This is a great book to turn to. Pick a feeling and there are tons of ways to express it right there in front of you.

IMG_1525

First Draft in 30 Days 

by Karen S. Wiesner

Ever tried NaNoWriMo? I guess it was about five years ago when I tried it for the first time. Faced with the task of writing 50,000 words in one month, a friend of mine told me to buy this book. I would describe it as a very helpful, detailed guide on how to write an amazing outline. I remember utilizing parts of the book (which I still use today) and it helped my novel flow.

IMG_1526

What Would Your Character Do? 

by Eric Maisel and Ann Maisel

This is my oldest book on writing for sure. It was one of the first writing books I ever purchased when I was just daydreaming about what it would be like to call myself a writer. What’s so cool about this book is, it forces you to take your characters out of their comfort zone. It has tons of different scenarios to put your characters in, questions to ask, and what it all might mean.

IMG_1527

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft 

by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, and Ned Stuckey-French

This is my most expensive and recent writing book purchase. After completing the Frost Place Poetry Seminar workshop, this book was recommended to me based on my interest in novel writing. The reason it was so expensive was because it is technically a textbook that is used in many current MFA programs and I felt compelled to buy a brand new one. So far, I’m not sorry. It’s proven to be worth the money. Sometimes you need to feel like a student again and turning to a textbook forces you to think that way. Each chapter has exercises at the end to reinforce the content you just read. I highly recommend it.

So, there they are…in no particular order…5 writing books I love. You can follow the links attached to each title to grab a copy. I hope that at least one of these books has peaked your interest. What are some of your favorite books on writing?

landscape-1489765141-beauty-and-the-beast-emma-watson-belle-reading

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. Remember, you can join me here every Thursday for new posts!

Until next time,

Christine