NaNo Make-Up #2

It’s time! Our first NaNo Make-Up went so well, we’re gearing up for another!

 

Because I’m such a pathetic human and cannot manage to do NaNo the months it is actually running, I have decided to come up with my own times to NaNo when it works for me. So, I’m hosting a Make-Up that will run from March 15th to April 15th. (Yes, I know it will overlap with the actual CampNaNo. Sorry.)

You can set your own word count, or set a project/outline/editing goal–whatever you want! If you are going to join, send me a message and I’ll add you to our group Google Hangout. Also, you can add your goal to the group Google Doc. Some of us will be using MyWriteClub for goal tracking. It’s not a requirement, but if you want to join that, feel free!!!

I hope you can join me! It will be fun!!!

Top 3 Writing Blogs

 

Who doesn’t like learning about new writing resources? I know I do! But honestly, with all the fantastic writing blogs out there, it can be hard to narrow them down. These three, in no particular order, are the ones I spend most of my time on.

 

~

 

Go Teen Writers is awesome because of the broad spectrum of topics they cover. I love all the articles about getting over writer’s block, what to do when characters are misbehaving, and how to work with a frustrating plotline. Also, GTW is all about getting beginning writers started, providing encouragement, and opening opportunities for young writers to get their work critiqued by experts.

 

I just recently discovered The Writer’s Alley, but what a treasure trove! This is a blog that is a wonderful mash-up of authors in all walks of life and all seasons of stories. There is something for EVERYONE on there! I haven’t had a ton of time to go digging through archives, but the few posts I’ve read about time management have been wonderful.

 

 

This is also a new find for me thanks to my critique partner Abi, and I love it! The posts are a little shorter and more to the point than the first two blogs, which I sincerely appreciate! Lots of good stuff on this blog.

 

~~~

 

What’s your favorite writing blog?

NaNo Make-Up #1

Because I’m such a pathetic human and cannot manage to do NaNo the months it is actually running, I have decided to come up with my own times to do NaNo when it works for me. So, myself and Emily McConnell are hosting a NaNo Make-Up that will run from January 15th to February 15th.

 

You can set your own word count, or set a project/outline/editing goal–whatever you want! If you are going to join us, send me a message and I’ll add you to our group Google Hangout. Also, you can add your goal to the group Google Doc. Some of us will be using MyWriteClub for goal tracking. It’s not a requirement, but if you want to join that, feel free!!!

 

I hope you can join us this month! However, if it doesn’t work for your schedule, know that we will be doing a second Make-Up from March 15th to April 15th.

 

November Goals/Writing Update

I’m going to go back to monthly wrap posts, but instead of trying to wrap up October, I’m just going to start with November goals. :P

And since I don’t have time to make a cool feature image, let me leave you with this neat picture I took yesterday that I’m a little proud of.

 

img_2969

 

Writing

Even though I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo, I’m going to be fixing up and finishing a bunch of other projects.

  1. Finish Even Through Rain
  2. Publish above short story (Information forthcoming)
  3. Complete edits on secret project (Details forthcoming)
  4. Send said project to editor
  5. COMPLETELY OUTLINE Long Lake Legacy book 2. (LOTS of details forthcoming ;-P )

 

 

I don’t really have any other specific goals for this month other than writing, since that will be my focus. But who knows…life has been throwing me curveballs as of late!! ;-)

 

~~

Do you have any goals for November?

Are you doing NaNo?

If not, are you working on something else?

How I Write a Book FAST(ish)

Letter to My Book

That’s probably not a title you expected from me. I didn’t either. But I’ve come to realize that I do write fast, even if it seems like it takes an eternity. The Old River Road took eight months from first words to published. So how do I do it?

Let me introduce you to this lovely thing I call Binge Writing.

Binge Writing, otherwise known as a Writing Spree, is something I started doing out of sheer desperation. NaNo of 2015 was my very first attempt at writing 50,000 words in less than a year (in less than 3 years, actually). And I did it. 50,000 in one month.

After November, I was pretty convinced that I would just participate in every single NaNo and camp NaNo available. Great idea, in theory. It just so happens that April, July, and November are pretty much the very worst months for me to buckle down and focus on something.

Also, I have the attention span of a gnat. It’s called ADD. I like instant gratification. And yes, THERE IS A WAY to have it in writing.

I schedule two binge writes a month. 5 days of 2,000 words per day, one week off, then another 5 days of 2,000 words a day.

Why 2,000 words a day?

This will vary from person to person, but I’ve found that 2,000 words is my sweet spot. I know without a doubt that I can write that much and not be stressed.

Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. I can write that much with minimal stress. :)

That number is flexible, however. Some weeks, if I have a lot of schoolwork to do or I’m working more hours, I might lower it to 1,500. Or 1,000. Or 500. The point is to write some amount of words, consistently, for 5 days.

It adds up overtime, kinda like change in a jar. When the jar is full, you can be surprised at how much money is in there. When the week is over, you can be surprised at how much that word count has come up.

Give it a try. And tell me how it went! :)

~~~~~~~~~

What are your writing habits?

 

Writing Romance: Where to Draw the Line?

No doubt, this is a touchy subject. I do not claim to be right, nor do I claim to be an expert on the subject. I’m probably going to make some people upset with this post, and I know that not everyone is going to agree with me–and that’s OKAY! I’m merely going to point out some of my personal convictions when it comes to writing romance. Sound good?

 

Letter to My Book(1)

Just about everyone will admit that they have read–or watched–an encounter between a couple that made them uncomfortable. Even if the couple is married, the way they show affection to one another–affection that is not “wrong”–can feel very wrong to be seeing [or reading] it.

On the flip side, there are those books where the couples rarely show affection to one another.

As a reader, either one of these scenarios can be maddening. As a writer, it can be hard to know how much is appropriate to show.

So how can you know?

This is a subject that really bothered me a few years ago. Hence, I decided that the best route to take was to write romance-free books. It was a great idea in theory, but my characters revolted. I found myself needing a way to handle their romance rather than ignore it.

So I went crying to my dear mom, “How do I know if it is okay to write about characters who decided to love each other?!?”

Moms are full of wisdom, peeps.

She told me something that someone had told her when she was young, and it boils down to this:

Would that couple be doing/saying/behaving that way if someone was standing in the room watching them?

I had to think about that for some time before I made sense of it in my head. And, more importantly, I had to figure out what that meant for my writing.

What I decided to do is pretty much what that says. My characters don’t do, say, or behave in such a way that would make me uncomfortable if I were in the same room as them.

Let’s face it: plenty of things go on between couples that other people shouldn’t see, whether it be a private conversation, a passionate kiss, etc. Therefore, they shouldn’t go in books. Readers are smart, and a little imagination can go far enough. There is no need to be explicit about subjects that should be reserved for husbands and wives.

“But how can I show that my characters love each other without writing those things?”

Think about it–do you have to see what goes on behind closed doors to know that couples you know (parents/neighbors/friends) are in love? I don’t. If you pay attention, it really isn’t that difficult to see when a couple loves each other merely my the way they interact even in a public setting.

Love can be shown in so many ways. I challenge you to utilize some of the more subtle ways of showing love between couples, and leave what happens behind closed doors behind closed doors. It is entirely possible to write a sweet romance/relationship without giving too much information.

For my own writing, I have made the decision to not write any romantic relationship that goes beyond what I would be comfortable seeing/hearing were I in the room with my characters. I have been told that the romance I write is “immature” and should be “more graphic.”

I must admit that I actually laughed when I heard that.

But you know what? I’d rather write “immature” and “un-graphic” romance that I believe is appropriate than worry about overstepping my bounds and making some readers, not to mention myself, uncomfortable.

~~~~

How do you feel about writing romance? Are there any specific guidelines you’ve set up for yourself? I’d love to hear–new ideas are always welcome! :)

Letter To My Book

I’m totally stealing this idea from Katie. She wrote an awesome letter to her novel, and it inspired me to do the same. So without further ado, here is a letter to my book, The Old River Road.

 

Dear TORR,

You aren’t the first book I’ve ever written, nor are you the last. You’re kind of that stubborn, middle-child story that was easier than my first, yet harder than the next. You forced me to grow, as a writer, in ways that I never imagined.

In hindsight, writing went relatively smoothly, despite all the tears, headdesks, and facepalm moments. I wrote you faster than I’ve ever written a book before, thanks to this insane thing called NaNoWriMo. 80,000 words in 3 months, the first 50,000 in 30 days. I didn’t think I could do it. It took me 4 years to write your 130,000 word cousin, Chained Heart.

To be honest, I hated the writing process. I was handicapped by my perfectionism; crippled by the fact that I couldn’t get every little detail exactly right.

But I did it. You helped me prove to myself that I can write fast. That I can edit fast. That “perfect” is unattainable (and that’s OK). That I can fit writing into my everyday life. That I can get over myself and do it.

Somewhere along the way, the idea/necessity for your sequel was born. I didn’t want to write a sequel. I still don’t want to. I don’t know if I have the mental energy to write it now, or even 6 months from now. But God has big things in store for you–I can see that already–and I’m not going to shut any doors just for the sake of my own desires.

I’m very excited for what comes next, yet am hobbled by fear at the same time. You are so precious to me for so many reasons, yet I’m going to be throwing you out into a big world of readers who may or may not like you. I’m ready to make the transition from Writer to Author, but I’m half afraid that you aren’t a worthy debut novel. I don’t know if any of my novels are.

I’m afraid that if I were to wait until my novels were ‘worthy,’ I would never make the transition.

Now that we’re in the final stages of preparing you for publication, I get all the warm fuzzies as I write the epilogue, afterward, and acknowledgements. I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. I’ve wanted it to happen, d e s p e r a t e l y, since I was a little thirteen year old with big ideas. But I never thought that you would be my first published work.

There have a lot of times when I wondered if I would even make it past the first couple words. There have been even more times when I wondered if writing stories was worth the time and energy it took. And unfortunately, there will still be times like that…lots of them…but I will be able say to myself, “I already did it. I can do it again.”

It’s been a frustrating, maddening, yet completely awesome ride. I can’t wait to see how God will use you in the big scary world of readers.

Much love,

your author.

 

Really Awesome Research Vlog (not mine)

I know, I know…two posts in one week?!?! And I’m not done yet. There’s a book review coming on Saturday. :-)

I just wanted to tell you guys about this amazing vlog on researching for a historical fiction novel. Emily Ann Putzke did a really nice job making the video clear and concise. It was very informative and helpful for me, so hop on over to her blog and take a peek at it! (And look around while your there. Her blog is absolutely amazing.)

Life Lately/April Wrap

Well, these monthly wrap up posts seem to be “the thing” right now, and while I try not to do what everyone else does, these posts are so fun to read I don’t see a good reason not to do them!

(And yes, I do know that it is May 4th. Life gets in the way of my desires to post on time.)

 

www.LakesidePublications.co

~Books Read~

11. Sorry, I don’t have the energy to list them all every single month.

BUT.

I will list my top 3 favorites.

Samara’s Peril by Jaye L. Knight. I got to be an advanced reader for this book!! Can you believe it!!!! I still can’t! It was so amazing!!

The Ryn by Serena Chase.

The Remedy by Serena Chase.

(I am completely blaming my dear friend Hope for telling me about those last two. And no one needs to know how late I stayed up reading them. They were totally awesome, by the way. :) )

 

~Writing~

Well, since I had a long day of near panic when I realized how close the release date of The Old River Road is coming in comparison to how much work still needed to be done, I re-evaluated my goals for April.

Total words written: 20,000

Total words edited: 85,000 (that was my whole manuscript for TORR)

I successfully completed my “week of insane writing.” Barely. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. The story just wasn’t flowing right. But I pushed through, and finished with 15,000 words in five days.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 11.59.34 PMBTW, please tell me I’m not the only one that gets to the “..999” word count and seriously cannot think of ONE MORE WORD to type to finish up my daily amount.

Most words in one day: 5,126

Least words in a day: 216

Most words in an hour: 2,000 (a new personal high!)

 

~Beta-reading~

  1. Abi’s Martin Hospitality
  2. My own book. (Does that count?)

 

~Life~

Well, a lot of life stuff happened this past month.

  1. I got accepted and enrolled in college. *ahhhhh!!!!* I will be taking classes from home through IMG_1439Liberty University. Classes start in 14 DAYS!!!!
  2. I buckled down on high school stuff so I can close that area of my life.
  3. Edited an entire book, hired a cover designer AND editor, rounded up 12 amazing beta readers…and somewhere in there lost my sanity.
  4. Learned how to drive our 36ft motorhome. (Told you I lost my sanity.)
  5. Resumed TaeKwonDo classes. Boy I tell you, I am one rusty black belt. Eight years of no practice really puts a tarnish on that shiny blackness.  :-)
  6. Ate at Chick-fil-A for the second time in my entire life. Seriously, they need to get these restaurants in Eastern Washington. What the heck is up with them only being in the southern/eastern states and in Seattle?
  7. Met an internet friend in person!!! (Hi Rosey!!!!) :-)

 

~Goals for May~

  1. Finish getting The Old River Road ready for publication. This means going through my beta-reader’s comments, sending it to my editor, going through her comments, then sending the manuscript to the formatted. (WHEW!)
  2. Start college. This one is inevitable, so maybe I should say “survive starting college.”
  3. Plan my graduation/baptism/18th birthday/Mom and Dad’s 22nd wedding anniversary.  These events are all so close together I decided that we may as well celebrate them all on the same day. Why not, right? Now I just have to plan the insane event.
  4. Beta-read Hope’s Song of the Sword, and Abi’s Martin Hospitality.
  5. Read 8 books.
  6. Do a Vlog.
  7. Survive. (This one has been on the bottom of my daily to-do lists as of late.)

 

~~~~~~~~

Well, there was a lot more that went into April, but that’s all I have the energy to record for now.

So how was your April? Did you do anything absolutely fantastic that I should know about? How do you feel about frozen cookie dough? (Sorry, that was random, but seriously, have you tried the stuff?)

 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON’T STOP READING YET!!!!

Are you still reading? Good. Keep going.

I have this wonderful idea to do a Vlog sometime in the near future (’cause Vlogs are awesome), but in order to do so I need to know if you have any questions for me. I can come up with a topic on my own if necessary, but it would be far more fun to answer your questions. Please, if you have any questions, leave them in the comment box, or email me with the contact form. THANK YOU!!!