Tag Archives: Camp NaNoWriMo

A New Novel Approach

How are you doing? What have you been up to this month? I’ve been working on a novel and I feel like I’ve established how I’ll be writing novels, or at least the next few, when I’m free falling without an outline.

This month for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m working on a new novel. Camp NaNoWriMo is a challenge that happens in April and July. You set your own goals, whether it’s page number, word count, or hours written. And you can work on whatever project you want. It’s the much more laid back version of NaNo. And since I could make any goal I wanted, I decided to see if I could push it to 70k.

Seventy. Thousand. Words.

In one month.

I am often a very optimistic lady. And I like to stretch myself with my goals. I like to make things challenging. I like to try hard to get there. If I don’t make it, I’ll end up with a nice clutch of words regardless. That’s how I’ve looked at this challenge.

I wanted to write two novellas in April. One for Blood Roses and the other was going to be an erotica based off of the short story I started on here, but didn’t finish Just One Night. Two stories that I had good ideas for that would be relatively “easy” to write, which is why I decided to just discovery write them.

Meanwhile, the story decided to morph and shift into something that I didn’t even know was brewing up there! It’s a fun one. I’m having such a good time writing it. I’m tapping into ideas that I haven’t explored before, but that I’ve been interested in. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

That’s not to say that I’m giving up on Blood Roses and Honeysuckles or the the cozy mystery. Not at all. The plan now is to publish the three of them by the end of the year.

So keep on a lookout for those updates.

Like I said, this month, I’ve been working on the new story, which has shaped into more of a thriller than a cozy. I’m totally discovery writing it. I wanted to have freedom for it to go any way possible and to see what would happen. I didn’t want to be hindered by any expectations for the story.

What I typically do, when I’m writing a story this way, I’ll start the story and do a lot of word sprints. I’m writing down the first ideas that I have, learning my MC as I go along.

After I write a few chapters, generally speaking, my brain will start to throw scenes that are out of order. Ideas that do not fit yet, but are intriguing. I write them all down. I use Scrivener, so I can move the ideas around. I have a file that I’ve called “Spare Scenes.” That’s the catch-all shop where I put all of those spare ideas.

As I’m writings, I often have questions that I need to answer so that the story will make more sense. Those questions, I type in the document and make them red and increase their font. At some point, I take all of those ideas and add them to a different file. I labeled that: RED Questions. I paste them into the file and then I add which chapter I pulled it from so that I can go back to look at the context. With these questions, I’m able to figure out what I need to research, what isn’t work, what I need to build up in the beginning so I can give my readers a good path to follow.

After I’d written about 15k words, I moved things around so that I could

Then I’ve been having chatting sessions with my Mathmagician. I told him the story because telling the story out loud helped me to hear what I missing. It also helped me to know what I really enjoyed. And this book discusses cryptocurrency, so I talked to him about that aspect and what I need to research. It’s really helpful to know what I don’t know.  Does that make sense?

Like I said, this month, I’ve spent a lot of time doing writing sprints. I’ve also been hosting them on my channel where I’ve co-hostd with a friend. The last one will be this Thursday 4/26  at 7 p.m. EDT on my channel. Below are the videos that I’ve already hosted. You can retroactively write with us.

With Amber Craft:

With Alina Popescu:

With Clare Kauter: 

This first week of Camp NaNo went by like a flash for me. I started off with a bang, but then health-related issues popped up and I wasn’t able to write as much and be as productive as I wanted to be. I had to remind myself that I can’t measure my progress and my health by other people’s standards.

This was my latest vlog for Week 2. I talk about my writing process, I ask you a few questions, and I added some fun edits that do include flashing lights. If you’re sensitive to that, you may want to skip the library section of the video.

 

If you’re interested in checking out my writing products, go to my Amazon page where I show you my writing stuff. It’s an affiliate link, which means I’ll earn a couple of pennies if you purchase something with no added cost to you.

Thanks so much for spending some time with me. I’ll be posting more often, now that I’ve moved my blog and I can actually access it.

 

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month? Or are you working on something? Let me know in the comments.

 

Aloha y’all!

 

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E is for Editing | #AtoZChallenge

I’ve already given you one post with the basics of editing. I want to give you more good advice, but not from my mouth. I get tired of hearing my voice. I wanted to hear what others have to say. These are all writers who aren’t famous (yet), but are probably where you are today. They get it. The blood, sweat, coffee stained tears (or tea as the case may be). The late nights, confusing word choices, and moments where a character seems to have just popped into a draft like a party crasher.
What are you doing here Greg?! I didn’t invite you. You don’t even know anybody here! Why did you just appear for like five chapters. GTFO Greg! 
Where was I? Oh yes. Not losing it.
Right.
kill your darlings

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Here are some quotes on editing for friends of mine who have been in the editing woods and know what it’s like. (Most of them also attend my tweetchat #writestuff, which happens every Tuesday at 9 p.m. EDT or have joined the Facebook group. You could do that too. It’s nice there. We have cookies.)
These authors write a  variety of genres, but I think editing transcends categories. Their advice will resonate for you. Be sure to visit them at their websites and give them a hello.

K.M Vanderbilt, Website

Let it rest. Come at it again with fresh eyes and you’ll see more places for improvement. alternately… If seeking outside critique, be open to suggestions and percieved flaws. Even if you meant to write something one way, if you’ve missed your mark, it’s not so much about changing your vision, but about how you present it to your reader.

Jeremy Denton, Website

Don’t feel bad for taking things out! You may be removing things but never discard them completely. They may be exactly what you need in a future story.

 

M.A. Kropp, Website

Editing is hard. It’s hard to pull away far enough to cut and rewrite. Just remember that the final story will be stronger for it.

 Clare Argippina, Website

 Cutting a character may feel like betraying a friend, but what remains will be so much stronger you won’t miss them in the long run.

Amy Tasukada, Website 

My big advice would be don’t always edit at the (first) part in the story. Mix it up and edit from the middle or the end first.

Natalie Westgate, Website 

Don’t treat your work as precious – cut what needs to be cut, change things around, and it doesn’t have to all be perfect in one edit.

Stevie Rae Causey, Website

Change the font before you self-edit. It tricks your brain into thinking its new material. It’s easier to lol critically at the new rather than the familiar.

 

Kevin Wayne Williams, Website

Take it seriously, and have someone else do much of it. Retain creative control, but editing is a separate skill. Pay for it if you haven’t got a skilled relative to abuse, but don’t even consider skipping it.

 Alexandra Penn, Website

Read your work aloud to yourself when you need to line-edit, since it means you can’t skim.

I hope these bits of advice gave you a bit more insight into the editing process. Karen Beidelman said it best, “Editing is harder than I ever expected.” You took the words right out of my mouth, Karen, as I sit here, pretty sure I’ll never stop editing Blood Roses and Honeysuckles.
Which piece of advice did you feel the most? Do you have any advice you’d like to share? Let me know down in the comments!
Also…
sprint announcement

Aloha, y’all! 

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D is for Dialogue | #AtoZChallenge

The phone rings a few times and someone picks up. I have a hard time hearing over the sound of WWE blaring in the background.

“Hello?”

“Hey,” I said, waiting for my brother to figure out who I am.

“Hey T!” He got it.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing much, what are you  up to??”

“Nothing much. Is Mom around?”

“Yeah, hold on a second.”

This is an example of what the conversation sounds like when I call my Mom’s house. It’s boring and bland as dishwater. This is not the kind of scintillating conversation you want to relay in your dialogue in your stories. Continuing with the ABCs of Writing, today we’re at D. D is definitely for Dialogue. If you missed letter A, letter B, and letter C, check them out.

eddie murphy quote2

Now going along with the above example, instead of using this boring beginning for a conversation, I could write a dialogue of my mother not being able to hear me, even after the television volume is set at a dull roar. Or we could dispense with the awkward beginnings all together and dive directly into the meat and potatoes of the conversation.

I’m nosy as hell, which is great for writing dialogue! Listening to others talk is probably the best way to learn how people speak. Do you ever listen to conversations going on around you? Whether you’re at work, public transport, standing in line for a Big Mac or what have you, pay attention to what is being said about you.

You’ll notice a few things:

  1. People who know each other, don’t necessary begin conversations the say way as everyone else. Two friends may greet each other with hugs, a silly handshake shake, a shriek of excitement, or just launching right into the gossip of the day. Two people who aren’t as friendly may be more stilted. Mother and small child will have a very different conversation than the mother and her girlfriend/wife.
  2. The pitch changes, the more intimate the information, the lower the volume (generally). They may lean toward each other a bit to show they’re really getting into that conversation. Or bring a hand up to the ear so whispering can happen.
  3. There’s a lot of “Umms…Uhhh…Like…Err….” and other fillers littering the conversation landscape. Also…pauses happen. (However, too much of this in the conversation makes it boring and drag a bit.)
  4. If you’re not looking at the people, you may miss part of the conversation, because there’s silent communication too. Gestures, significant pauses with raised eyebrows, sideward glances all make the conversation a richer landscape.
  5. Everybody sounds different. They ain’t perfect grammar speakin’ automatons. They may skip over words in excite, use slang, speak with colloquialisms, they swear, make loud exclamations, etc. They have a distinct voice.
  6. They’re not telling every single detail of a situation, but you’re probably able to piece together what’s going on.

 

Those 6 tips that I’ve learned from being a super ninja conversation spy helps me to write conversations that aren’t wooden. But what else can you do to make the dialogue interesting? Make sure you’re not just writing dialogue for your reader. Try to write the dialogue like you’re literally just writing for those two characters…and your reader is listening in. It’s not about the reader, it’s about your characters. Once you  know your characters inside and out, this will be much easier to execute. Yesterday’s post can help you with that point.

Those are it for the ABCs of Writing for today. Do you have any tips for interesting dialogue? Any favorite bits of dialogue you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments down below!

If anyone is interested, I will be hosting a liveshow on my YouTube channel tonight discussing writing goals for the 1st quarter. If you’re interested watching it, but aren’t available at 8 p.m. EDT, don’t fret my pet. It’ll upload onto my channel after the broadcast is complete.

See you tomorrow with letter E!

Aloha y’all!

letter D

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