this is what it looks like to be halfway through NaNoWriMo 2018 as a NaNoRebel

We have officially crossed the halfway mark of NaNoWriMo 2018. A few weeks ago, I proclaimed myself a NaNo Rebel, armed with a set of goals that were customized to my writing needs. I’m here today to give you an update on how that’s been going…

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…now maybe that gif is a little over dramatic, but here’s the thing I’ve learned about writing: No matter how much you plan, you will always have to adapt. Maybe that’s what I’ve learned about life and it has just spilled over into my writing life too.

As I began working on Draft #2 of my novel, I quickly realized that the first half of my book is where most of the work needed to be done. Therefore, I have had to slightly adjust my goals due to things taking longer than originally planned. Even though I’ve had to do that, I haven’t lost hope.

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Things are coming together slowly, but surely. To spread some positivity…here are three things I’m loving about NaNoWriMo 2018:

  1. I’m seeing my novel in a brighter light. Things are clearer and the changes I am making are definitely improving the quality of my plot.
  2. My “accountabilibuddies” (translation: accountability buddies) are keeping me going. Having that support is making all the difference.
  3. I am making more progress than I ever would have made had I not set goals!

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Cheers to the next half of NaNoWriMo and writing goals beyond!

Until next time,

Christine

“how can we get you there without getting you there?”

Happy NaNoWriMo 2018 to you all!
This week’s post is meant to declare my writing goals for the next two months along with talking about a very interesting topic that came up the other day over lunch with my writer friends. Here’s how it happened:
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We gathered among mac & cheese and made vows to be the very best “accountabilibuddies” (translation: accountability buddies) we could be over the course of the next two months. (Yes, we extended our NaNoRebel goals all the way until the end of December) We reviewed what our goals would be and how we hope to achieve them.
With the looming first week deadline fast approaching, inspiration came up, and the idea of sparking the right kind of feeling to sit down and write. This expanded into the topic of travel plans. My good friend leaned over and said, “I should just go there, right? No big deal!” We all laughed together, because while it would be wonderful to hop on a plane and travel to a different country, it’s not always doable.
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So, I posed the question…”How can we get you there without getting you there?”

That is the challenge, right? For many of us, our inspiration comes from far off lands. Even if we are writing about a fantasy world, chances are we gathered inspiration from some real life location. So, what do we do when we can’t abandon the ship of our real life to set sail for unexplored territory? After all, we can’t all be Sasha Alsberg

…even though sometimes I would really like to be! Have you seen her awesome hair? Her color-coded bookshelves?

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Moving on…

So, I got to thinking. What could we do to get there without getting there? In times where I want to feel my setting, I mean really try to FEEL it, I try to turn to the five senses. Maybe all of these aren’t achievable, but here is what I have been mulling over these past few days…

Start with a character if you can. I really like to put myself in the shoes of characters when possible. Then try some of the following:

Taste: What would the people in your setting eat and drink? They’ve come home after a long day and it’s time for dinner. What would be on the table?

Touch: Is it hot where they are? Maybe it’s time for a trip to the sauna… Is it super cold? Well, we have been getting down to the low 30s in NJ lately. Perhaps it’s time for a late night stroll.

Smell: I am a candle addict. Chances are, it doesn’t smell like “Puurfect Pumpkin” in the setting of my book, but somehow it still fuels the inspiration.

Sound: This is one I absolutely swear by. I have soundtracks for every character in my story, along with many soundtracks for different types of scenes. The thing is, there are soundscapes for everything these days. Head on over to youtube and type in “Busy street sound effect.” You’ll get a ton of results. The possibilities are endless. Oh, and don’t forget to crank it up! Immerse yourself! (Forget about the neighbors.)

Sight: This is kind of self-explanatory. This is where we stare at pictures of the places we want to travel to. I like to change my desktop to a certain location that I’m working on. Every time I see it, it reminds me of certain details I’d like to include. I also highly recommend vision boards! Just because you’re not going there today or next week, you might still go some day! Make a beautiful collage of what you want to see when you’re there one day.

I guess we could all chip in on a magic carpet if this doesn’t work…

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…and last but not least…my NaNoRebelRevisionGoals!

November 1-4: Chapters 1-3

November 5-11: Chapters 4-6

November 12-18: Chapters 7-9

November 19-25: Chapters 10-12

 

November 26-December 2: Chapters 13-15

December 3-9: Chapters 16-18

December 10-16: Chapters 19-20

December 17-23: Chapters 21-22

 

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. You can look for a progress update next Thursday!

Until next time,

Christine

 

Revision Adventure Update

At the end of July, I began my Revision Adventure. Since then, it’s been quite an interesting experience. I have to say that when I began this process, I thought that I would get the same kind of feeling I did when I was writing this novel. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve edited and revised projects in the past, but it has been quite some time. I forgot about the complex nature of revising and how in some ways, it is more difficult to navigate. While I thought that I had the right formula to get through an initial revision, I discovered it needed some adjusting.

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I’m happy to report to you today, that I made it through. It took some altering of time based goals and a lot of contemplation about how to make realistic progress at a decent pace. After a period of discouraging thoughts, I turned back to the main source of inspiration for the novel that I began with a year and a half ago. Luckily, that was the ticket. I realized that now it is more important than ever to give myself credit for any bit of progress I make. New goals are okay. The only thing that matters is that I hang on to the passion that I put into this project, keep my characters close to my heart, and move forward!

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Let’s face it folks…revising and editing a novel is hard! I have now reached a headspace where I am enjoying the process once again and in turn getting very excited about how this novel is turning out. It feels good to be here, but at the same time I know I had to go through that tricky period to get where I am today. As writers we are always learning and always growing. It’s a beautiful thing.

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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

how I love pineapple pizza

Earlier this week, I put a poll on Twitter about what my next post should be about. The result was something I didn’t expect, but hey…this is a fun change of pace!

Yep, we’re talking about pineapple pizza. Now, some of you might be thinking…

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but I’m here to tell you how much I absolutely love it. A few years ago, my boyfriend suggested ordering some one night and I probably had a similar reaction. That is, until I tasted it…

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It was the perfect combination of savory and sweet…throw in some garlic sauce from Papa Johns and you’ve got it made! It’s a fantastic reward for after a hard day of writing. I think the TMNT would approve, don’t you?

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I know there is a lot of controversy about pineapple pizza…but I think it deserves some love!

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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

pasta & pencils

It’s been a month and a week since I finished the first draft of my novel. Since then, I’ve had a rough time adjusting to my revision schedule. I’m only about ten pages in after all this time. With that said, I’ve been pretty good about not beating myself up about that. I’ve been taking some time to read more and to also distance myself from the novel a little bit.

…but…as soon as I began to desperately miss my characters, I knew it was time to get back in the swing of things. One thing that I wanted to share that I did do during the last month is finally work on my world map. It’s something that I didn’t know I would ever end up doing, but it turned out to be a really fun exercise. All of these places obviously live in my mind in great detail, but to put them down on paper was something I never thought I’d explore.

How did I get started, you ask? I turned to Pinterest, of course! I scrolled through tons and tons of pins with great map making tips. While I was scrolling, I came across a very funny suggestion made by someone making a D&D map. They suggested using pasta…

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Yep. You read right. Pasta. (not cooked) So, I got to thinking…this is kind of smart. Really any kind of small dry objects would work. I also saw it done with dice! I mulled the thought over for a few days and ultimately decided that pasta was for me. I am 50% Italian after all…

This is what the process actually looked like…

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I glued down some paper and broke out the noodles…

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Dumped a bunch on the paper…

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…and ya know…spread it out a little until I liked the shape!

 

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After that, I lightly penciled around the shape and messed with it…A LOT!

What was cool about this process was, it was a great way to get started. Once I felt more comfortable with shaping the outline of the map myself, my confidence grew. I started to grab some more paper and sketch some more!

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After a few weeks of tweaking things, I’m just starting to add in some locations, trees, mountains, etc. It’s been fun! Take a look:

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Those white blobs are names I can’t share yet, but at least you have an idea of where I’m at. As you can see, it’s VERY different from my original pasta inspired shape. But that’s kind of cool, right?

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I hope that you’ll take this fun exercise and put it to use in your own writing life. Sometimes it’s just fun to take your characters, your worlds, your ideas, and express them in different ways.

All in all, I’m feeling happy to be back in the swing of things. (That includes, blogging EVERY Thursday for you!)

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay.

Until next time,

Christine

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.

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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.

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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.

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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