Posts Tagged ‘Writer’

My New Year’s Writing Resolutions

Posted: January 3, 2011 in Writing
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Happy New Year!!

I am soo psyched about 2011!  At first, I had a million and one things I want to achieve this year like write like a maniac every day or lose 20 pounds in like two week – but I know the holiday hype can lead to a lot of unrealistic expectations.  So after coming down from the midnight high I came up with a few concrete resolutions and goals that I want to make this year.

Be Fully Committed to my Story

Last year, I have made three major changes to my storyline that required duplicating a lot of time and effort.  Now I found one I really like, but I can’t help but feel uneasy about it, because I have felt “sure” about the other ones.  It’s hard when you have a concept that can take so many different story forms with a new one always sounding better than the last.  However, I can’t spin my wheels any longer and it’s time to knuckle down and toss those fears to the side.  My story and I have to recommit to each other – for better or worse!

Set a Writing Schedule

As organized as I am in all other aspects of my life, I found it difficult to adhere to a writing schedule.  I was involved in other writing projects that seemed to take up a lot of my time and I was only able to write in large chunks of time.  This year, I’m on a deadline as well as being held accountable by my writing peers and editors.  So I created a schedule with monthly goals to strive for each month that all add up to the big goal of getting my book ready for a 2011 publication.

Continue to Learn my Craft

I didn’t start visiting and reading other writing blogs until late last year.  I learned so much about writing, plot structure, story and character arcs, and world building.  I still have a lot more to learn and I plan to dedicate more of time to continue learning and improving my craft through following more blogs and getting books on writing.

I know this year is going to be a hard working one for me but that’s okay!  I am getting to do what I love and I now have a solid plan to do it!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?  I would love to hear them!

Photo courtesy of:  images.mirror.co.uk

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After fighting my POV monster, I must admit that my manuscript is looking so much better!  I’m still going through and chopping, rewriting, and reordering scenes and chapters and all of them are going pretty smooth.  But this wasn’t so bad, at least not as bad as writing the first chapter.

Why is that first chapter so freakin hard?  You would think the middle would be an issue, due to the fact that it’s where your climax dwells.  The end I thought would be hassle only because if my book ended on a sour note, it would make reading everything before it a waste of time.  But no, the first chapter has been the bane of my existence ever since I started this novel two years ago.  At this point, I could probably make a novel out of my chapter 1 rewrites! 

After thinking about this for a little bit, I have come up with a reason why the first chapter can seem like the hardest:  It’s called:

Chapter 1 Pressure

What is this pressure exactly?  It’s the pressure to hook your reader in the first three pages.  It’s the pressure to introduce your main character, your setting, and the conflict, while making your reader actually care about your story.  It’s the pressure of not dumping back story but give your reader just enough information to keep them reading.  As a fantasy writer, it’s the pressure of not boring my reader with tons of details about my new world but letting them know that this story doesn’t take place on planet Earth BUT not confuse the mess out of them either!  First impressions are often lasting impressions and this is my first novel.  If the first chapter totally sucks, the rest of it doesn’t even matter.

So how do you get over this Chapter 1 Pressure?

Well after you have a glass of wine (or mixed drink of you prefer), just write the damn thing.  Write it knowing that it will probably stink the first go around and it will take you a few tries to get it right (and you still may not like it!).  You have to get over that hump and take your novel to the end of the line, i.e the end.  When I finished my first draft and saw where my story ended up, it made rewriting the first chapter a lot less painful.  That’s because:

I knew where my destination was.  I knew where my main character Damaris would end up plot wise as well as in her emotional development.  As for plot, I have already written the climax and resolution of the plot of this book by finishing it.  Now I can go back and make sure the first chapter doesn’t start too far away from the climax.  That alone helped me eliminate a ton of back story.  When it comes to my main character, Damaris is on the verge of being a total bad ass at the end of this book, so I have to make sure she’s the naïve and sweet little girl in the first chapter. 

I know more about my world now. In the beginning, you can do all of your world building to a T, but I learned firsthand that during the course of writing the story, certain things have changed.  I also took opportunities to introduce new things about my world Epsilon through other chapters, scenes, and character exchanges.  Therefore, I had a better grasp of how much the setting I need to explain without a massive info dump – which is a chapter 1 no-no.

Have any of you writers had this much trouble with your first chapters?  I would love to hear how you dealt with it!

Fighting the POV Monster

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

 

Last week has been one of the roughest writing weeks for me – EVER! 

I had a great friend of mine do a critique of the first chapter of my novel and one issue she pointed out to me related to POV (Point of View).  Up until a certain point and even after a certain point, my story was being told in Third Person Limited, or, through my main character’s eyes only.  I thought it would help maintain a level of suspense in my story as well as have my reader go along and discover my world with my main character.

However, as I was going along, I realized that I was doing some head hopping, or revealing what a supporting character felt, quite often.  So my first method of attack was to just eliminate all of that head-hopping all together.  What I was left with was a dull, shell of a story.

The POV monster totally kicked my ass.

After a day of doing some serious (yet unnecessary) panicking and (figuratively) beating my head up against the wall, I did some reasearch into POV and I realized that for my story and consequently my epic, I needed to expand my point of view.  Instead of my book being told through one point of view, I would tell it through a few of the main characters points of view.

I got that POV monster dazed a bit with that punch.

To not have my reader confused, I only changed POV with a new chapter, with my main character having a few more chapters in her POV than the others.  So I basically had to break my novel down, start some major rewrites of my chapters, and give my supporting characters a lot more depth and a lot more story to them while keeping the focus around the main character.

The POV monster is about to fall.

It took me all of last week plus all day Sunday to get through three chapters.  But, I’m seeing my story take on more life and have more depth because through other actors I was able to reveal a lot more about by world and how my main character was perceived by others that I wasn’t able to do before.  Is it a lot of work rewriting some of my chapters from another POV?  Hell yeah, but it was all worth it!

The POV monster is down for the count.  I totally kicked it’s ass!

Have you had any serious issues with POV?  How did you overcome your POV monster?

 

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you may have noticed that it’s been looking kinda…..dead.  That’s because I was suffering from a severe case of writer’s burnout.

To give you a little bit of history, I write and manage three blogs:  one for my fashion/beauty interests that I’ve had for over a year, the new blog for the self publishing company Visual Adjectives, and this one.  You already know I’m in the midst of editing my first novel and just recently began handling all of the social media for Visual Adjectives.  On top of all of that, I have a 40 hour a week day job plus a husband.  It’s amazing I kept it together for this long!  Usually I can handle everything rather well, my To-do lists and advanced scheduling my saving graces.

However last week was BANANAS and the last thing I wanted to do was write.  I had no new ideas, what I was writing was crap, and I just was so not in the mood!

I think every writer experiences burn out sometime in their careers and  it can seem so hard to break out of.  Not only are you stressed that you may be handling too much, you are stressed because you’re not writing and you know you should be.  You may see yourself as a slacker or even feel you’re not cut out for any of this.

You are cut out for this and no, you’re not a slacker.  You’re just burned out and the cure for this exhausting and stressful condition is this:

Do Absolutely Nothing

Take some time out and take a break.  Whether it be a day, two days or even a week.  Read that book you always wanted to read.  Take that road trip you’ve been meaning to take.  Stay in bed and watch mindless TV (that’s what I did over the weekend).  Your mind needs to chill and get rejuvenated.  We writers sometimes have to realize we are not the superheroes we may write about.  The same way your body needs rest after intense workouts, so does your mind.  I know it may be hard to do (and trust me, it took me to start feeling physically sick to take my own advice!) but it’s all worth it! 

After a two-day chill out period, I hit the ground running Sunday, going grocery shopping, getting my house in order, banging out a week’s full of blog posts for one of my other blogs, and practically devouring this book.  That was more than what I had done all week.  Today I’m a producing monster and I feel so good.  The ideas are flowing, my organizing A game is on point, and I’m not the crabby patty I was a few days ago!

So my advice for writing burnout is to relax, take a day or two off.  You (and your writing) will thank you for it!

What are your tips with dealing with writer’s and/or blogger burn out?

 

What you may have missed!

Hey Newbie Writers! Do you have your 2nd Story Yet?

Round One of Editing: Figuring Out Our Issues

Musical Inspiration: I Remain by Alanis Morissette

 

Photo couretsy of: edgehopper.com

Yes, I know you’re looking at me like I have two heads, especially if you’re in the draft stages or even the final stages of writing your first literary masterpiece.  I know that just being able to finish the blasted thing was work enough and making it perfect is like a full time job.  If you’re really on the ball, you’re building your social platform and actively marketing your work around.  Trust me, I feel you on all of these things, especially as an indie author striking it out on her own.  Between editing and marketing, the last thing I want to think about is a second story.

But it’s very important to do so!

Unless you’re Stephen King or JK Rowling, the chances of making it big on the very first book are very slim.  Through my many hours of research and podcast listening, I’ve learned that you really don’t make serious money until your third book.  You can compare it to stocking up your writer’s book shelf.  Having more than one story in your back pocket shows:

You’re consistent:  You didn’t just write the first book and quit.  As a matter of fact, you were so serious about being a novelist, you dove straight into the whole love/hate relationship with writing again to make that second, third, and fourth book.

You’re keeping your creative momentum going:  I found this to be true while editing my book.  I’m really excited about the new stories I want to write, not only in the Epsilon series but outside of it as well.  That excitement makes the editing process not so grueling and keeps me on task so I can finish on time and get to write those stories!

You already have the next project started: While you’re working on your first novel, you can take a break to roughly lay out that second story.  Once the novel done, you already have the framework down for the one, allowing you to jump into it , getting  it done and out on the market.

I currently have three new stories in the development stages that I’ll take some time to write down and keep in a safe place. 

I definitely don’t claim to be an expert as I’m just getting myself situated in the writing game.  So what are your thoughts on keeping 2nd (and 3rd) stories in the back of your mind while still working on your first one?

What you may have missed!

Round One of Editing: Figuring Out Our Issues

Musical Inspiration: I Remain by Alanis Morissette

Character Spotlight: Queen Gorgo from the movie 300

A few weeks back I finally finished the first draft of my novel.  Man, what a feeling! I’ve been working on this story for almost two years now, falling victim everytime to the writer’s procrastination.  My writing people know what that is – work a little and then set it down until inspiration hits, and then when you get inspired, you never have the time.  At the beginning of the year, I only had five chapters done, with the first chapter being rewritten a few times already!  But once I got with my partners in writing business, I had the pushs I needed and finally finished the damn thing.

Anyways, the road trip was conveniently planned the following week with my husband.  We drove to Pensacola,Jacksonville, and St. Augustine ( a feat I know but thank goodness my husband loves to drive!), armed with my Samsung Vibrant phone taking pictures like crazy.  I’m not the greatest photographer, but I found myself taking pictures of trees, clearings, and coastlines.  I did it because I thought my novel needed some help in the description department – especially being that it is a fantasy novel.  Descriptions are super important because my world (called Epsilon) doesn’t exist in real life so I have to make sure my reader can experience it to its fullest potential.  Pensacola was great because I-10 was a five hour stretch of nothing but green grass, lush trees, and the occasional farms of goats, cows, and horses.  Most of my novel takes place in the countryside, so this was super helpful for me in that respect.  I then took a stroll down Pensacola Beach, which had clean white sand and warm blue-green water.  It was gorgeous and I found myself picturing the shoreline for one of my Epsilon cities, Avenera, which is situated along a coastline.  The beach even had houses on stilts which was so crazy because it was my first time there and the houses in my Avenera were on stilts!  Super awesome to have something concrete to look out when I tighten up my novel descritpions.     Jacksonville is very urban so I didn’t find too much story inspiration there.  However, in St. Augustine when I took a tour of the famour fort, Castillo de San Marcos, I came to realize that the same coastal city in my book may need some type of fort like this because from a military standpoint it makes sense.  There’s a war that will break out soon in the series and such a fort would be very necessary.  I probably would have never thought of that had I not visited this fort.

All in in all this roadtrip not only served as a mini-break that I desperately needed but also a tool to help me out with my scenery descriptions for my novel!

Here are just a few of the gazillion pictures I took.  Hopefully they can help you and inspire you as much as it did for me!

Tell me, what inspires you?