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

 

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.)

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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?

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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:

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“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:

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“’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:

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“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?

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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