spring smiles

Happy Sunday to all. I’m back! What have I been up to? Well, a lot! Here’s what’s happened in the last two weeks…

It’s been pretty amazing. I feel so lucky! Here are some photos from our engagement:

Love, love, love!

So, back to my blogging update! New posts will be moved to Friday’s now. Yep, that’s right. Even if it’s only one sentence, you can look forward to a new post from me every week once again!

I hope you have a glorious week. See you Friday!

New Posts Will Be Back Soon

…and by that I mean….

All of my free time is currently going to be dedicated to writing, reading, and/or recharging. I‘ll be back to a steady blog schedule in the Spring, but for now…it’s hibernation time.

Thank you for stopping by WriterChristineMarie.com.

Feel free to tweet me @AWritersWay, where I will continue to share updates on my writing and many Disney gifs.

Until next time,

Christine

have yourself a merry little writing session

Tis the season for hot chocolate, Christmas music, and writing sessions. The past two months have been quite intense as I juggled my day job and a hefty list of writing goals.

However, I am happy to report that I am right on track to finish my second draft this coming Friday! I don’t know about you, but I think the Christmas season kept the pep in my step! That, and a ton of coffee.

After that, my draft will be sent to a few trusted writing partners for critique! All in all, I’m feeling quite positive about the journey ahead. 2019 will be filled with writing pitches, query letters, and hopefully some MAGIC will happen.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season! I’ll be back in the New Year with some awesome new blog posts (on a regular blog schedule because ya know…that’s one of my goals for the new year!) See you in 2019!

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

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.)

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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

is an outline right for your novel?

There are so many different ways to be a writer. Each one of us is unique in our processes. Sometimes the things that you’ve been doing forever work well, and other times everything falls flat. Today I found myself pressured by my upcoming deadline. I have a self-made goal of finishing the first draft of my novel by July 15th. With that, comes a word count goal of 60,000 words. Normally, I attempt to not get bogged down by word count goals, but they exist and are necessary.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been making very little progress on my novel. While I love to say the phrase “progress is progress,” and move on with my life, it’s not going to work with my current goal. As of today, I have 42 days left to achieve my goal if I take weekends off. (I’m a firm believer in having days off to recharge.) That leaves me with a daily word count goal of approx. 670 words. Manageable? Yes. However, I need a plan of attack.

That brings me to my topic today: to outline or to not outline? I will admit that a rough outline of the first half of my novel already exists, but what lies ahead is mostly a mystery to me. For a lot of people, it’s nice to sit down to the page and just go with it.

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That wonderful feeling of unveiling points in your novel right along with the characters can be thrilling. However, sometimes we hit walls. I think with a lot of fantasy novels, it is important to do a certain amount of planning. Now I am faced with the question of whether or not an outline is right for me. For some writers it works really well and other writers despise them. I land somewhere in the middle of it all. I am not a fan of super detailed outlines.

I like general points, organized. If you keep it simple, it will work. If you don’t, it turns into an additional project. Something like this:

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method to my madness:

-The setting of my novel changes a lot. It’s good to keep track.

-Having 2-3 plot points helps me to keep the flow going when my mind wanders.

-I don’t always use the note section, but if I introduce a new character to the story or something happens that I absolutely must remember to go back to, I put it there.

So, there you have it. Starting tomorrow I will be working on the outline for the rest of my novel. Hopefully it will help!

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How do you feel about outlines? To outline? To not outline?

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

breaking bad writing habits

Sometimes it’s hard to admit, but we all have them. I’m talking about bad writing habits. Have you ever noticed something in your writing through editing or perhaps a critique group that made your head spin? Recently, I was lucky enough to join a critique group. Joining alone was enough to boost my inspiration, but as the first meeting approached I was ready for it all. I wanted to hear the good, bad, and ugly about my current project.

Well, I got exactly what I wished for and a little more when a very embarrassing error was brought to my attention.

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Do you see that word? Somehow, my brain had programmed itself to type that version in every occurrence. I had completely stopped using “its” and only used “it’s,” which is incredibly embarrassing. Obviously, I got over that embarrassment since I’m sharing it with all of you now, but for my first session in a new critique group? It wasn’t inspiring.

Over the next few days I caught myself doing it several times while writing. I’d be peacefully writing and then…

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I needed to do something to make it stop.

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Well, I’m here to report a few ways that have helped me break this habit:

  1. Become hyper aware of the error. I put a giant sticky note next to my computer that said, “IT IS Christine!!!!”
  2. Use that handy “Find & Replace” tool on Microsoft Word. If your mind slips, it will save you.
  3. Be kind to yourself and keep writing. We all make mistakes. You will evolve if you try.

Here’s hoping the advice I gave myself, helps you too! What type of bad writing habits do you have? How did you break them?

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