Cheerios and Chicken Soup

Yum…

Kris and I decided to do more writing contests and such.

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? This is one of the things we want to do. We pick book topics that we can write a nonfiction story about and send it in. If your story is picked to be in the book, you’ll receive 200 dollars plus ten free copies of the book. I think that’s a good deal.

As of right now, there are two topics that I am able to write for. Stories About Cats and Overcoming Challenges. I could write for the Stories About Dogs one, but I don’t have any real stories that pop out in my mind. I can only think of one story with my cat, Hunter, and my turtle, Raph. I’m going to write about that. I doubt it’ll get picked, but hey–might as well toss in every story I can, right? The deadline for this one is August 31, 2013.

The Overcoming Challenges one I’m going to talk about my high school career–my best friend bullying me, my anxiety disorder, and some of the teachers not believing in me. I don’t know if I ever explained this one here, but I left high school half way through my junior year. I did get my high school diploma, but I went through college to get it. It also gave me a head start on my degree, which was nice. The deadline for this one is October 31, 2013.

There are a couple of other topics I could write for, but there are no stories that pop into my head for them. We’ll see, though; especially since I have time for the two topics I plan on doing. Of course August 31 is going to be here before I know it.

I also heard of another contest through My Journey As A Writer‘s blog. It’s called Cheerios Spoonful of Stories. You can send in an unlimited amount of children’s books. Grand prize is 5,000 dollars. The story is featured on the website as well as handed over to Simon and Schuster publishing to be considered for publication. Second and third prize gets 1,000 dollars. The deadline is July 31, 2013.

I have a few children’s book ideas, but I don’t know if I’m going to have the time to write, edit, and send them in. I’m leaving for vacation on Saturday and when I come back there will be about three days left until the deadline. The book I would love to send in is still being considered by a publisher who only takes exclusive manuscripts. I’m not allowed to send the manuscript anywhere else until I hear from them, or September 7 (it’s a three-month turnaround time and I sent it in on June 7). We’ll see if I have any time this week to write up some manuscripts and give them a good look-over.

There’s also Writer’s Digest competitions. I have done a couple of their competitions before, but never won anything. Of course, I can keep trying.

I also bought a book called 2013 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. Not only does the book have a list of publishers and agents, it has a list of contests, as well. Of course, a lot of them have already ended because I was smart and bought the book half way through the year of 2013. But it also has a list of magazines, too. Some pay, some don’t. Some have contests, some don’t. But you can still send stuff in, depending on what they’re looking for.

I told myself I wanted to have something published by my 25th birthday. Of course, when I say something published, I mean one of my young adult novels or middle grade novels or something.

I turn 20 on September 1, 2013. That gives me five more years to get something done. If I can get something published by winning a contest, even if it’s just published in a small magazine, I’ll take it. I would prefer one of my novels, but if it gets my foot in the door, I’ll be happy.

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July Camp: Day Seven

Still Behind…

 

Well, that’s a lie. I’m not behind on Camp NaNo. Today we’re supposed to be at 11,296 or something random like that. I’m past that number. But when it comes to my goal, I should have been at 17,500. I got to 15,110 words. I wrote 5,044 words today. That’s pretty good, if I do say so myself.

I’m exactly one day behind. Which means tomorrow I’m going to be two days behind. In order to catch up I have to write about 5,000 words tomorrow. I don’t think that will be too much of a problem because I write for an hour every morning. I have to babysit until one, but after that the rest of the day is mine. I’m hoping to get another 5k in.

Today is Sunday which means I had to work a little bit on my FanFiction today. I didn’t feel like it, but I did work on it for an hour. It doesn’t look like I did too much…I typed up the stats that goes before the prologue. It’s six pages long, it took a while. If you read Warriors by Erin Hunter, then you’ll understand that the stats are a list of the clans and characters and such.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for today. I got a lot done and now I am going to go hang out in my bedroom before Kris gets home (we share a room).

This was a boring post. Thank you for allowing me to waste these past five minutes of your life that you will never get back. 😀

July Camp: Day Six

Oh, Today…

I was very accomplished today. Because today is Saturday, today is technically a FanFiction day. I told myself that I was going to work on my original novels Monday through Friday and FanFiction on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, since it is Camp NaNoWriMo, I had to work a little bit on Cybertra.

So I got down to business. I came home this morning and beta-read some stories I beta for on FanFiction. I got a little behind so I had five chapters to read and look over from three different people. That took me until 11:00, maybe 11:30. It was a long time. But at least I caught myself up and I got it done and out of the way.

Then, in the mood for Cybertra, I wrote that for a bit. My Camp NaNo count is now 10,066. I’m ahead for the NaNo goal, but still behind for my goal. According to my goal, I should be at 15,000 words today. I wrote 2,436 words today when I’m technically supposed to be writing 2,500, so I was almost there. I was going to try to get back to it later, but I don’t think I will at this point. I wanted to make it to at least 10k and I did, so I stopped.

Then I went onto my FanFiction, which was what I was supposed to be doing all day. I finished the outline for my Warriors fan-fic and also came up a sequel. All I have to do is write the actual story, then I’ll be good to go. I told myself to write for at least an hour every single day. I wrote for way more than an hour, but since it was a FanFiction day, I wanted a good solid hour to be spent on FanFiction. So that’s what I did. I set a timer and got a finished outline done. I could have continued and started writing the story, but I really didn’t feel like it.

Instead, I decided to get back to Cybertra. Yes, I know I just said that I wasn’t going to get back to writing that today because I didn’t. I ended up doing something for school for the Fall semester and after I finished writing this post, I’m going to take a break. I have been writing for about six hours today. Granted, I love it and I feel very productive, I think my brain needs a rest. It’s 90 degrees out so I should probably go outside, get some fresh air, and go swimming or something.

Fresh air…? What is that?

Not Productive

Today Was A Bust…

 

Today my sister and I went to Barnes and Noble. We went about our normal routine; we went to Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast, Starbucks for drinks, and Barnes and Noble to write. However, we weren’t there for any more than an hour when my dad called. We switched from Verizon to Comcast today and with Comet and Chip at home, he didn’t want to shut them in the bedroom and listen to them bark all afternoon. My sister and I ended up going home and taking the dogs to Nanny’s house where we stayed for about an hour and a half. They have no wi-fi, either so we couldn’t work on our writing at all.

By then, the guy was still at our house, but I had to go to work. So we went back to my house, leaving the dogs, I grabbed my things and went to work. When I got home from work, I had to re-connect the internet and now my laptop is being extremely slow. I assume it’s just trying to get used to the new connection, or I’m hoping so anyway. However, I am in no mood to write now.

While we were at Barnes and Noble, I did write a tiny bit, but it was under 1,000 words. And I never wrote yesterday, so I feel like I’m a bit behind. And because of that, I’m beginning to get annoyed at my writing. I have three novels completed and never bothered to edit any of them.

Well, that’s not true. I’m on the seventh draft of Diary of a Lover, but I never once edited Hunter, which I finished back in August of 2011. Saving Each Other I just finished less than a month ago, so I’m not going to get back into that just yet…I’m kind of sick of those characters.

However, I do have three children’s books that are completed, edited and all, but I don’t bother trying to get them published. Why? I don’t know. That’s what I think I’m going to do when I finish this post. I think I’m going to try searching for publishers and such. At least if I get those three children’s books out there, I would get my foot in the door for whenever I publish a novel, the extra money would be a plus, and maybe it would motivate me a little more to get something else out there.

I asked my sister to edit Hunter the other day. She hasn’t started, yet, but I’m hoping that once she edits it, it will motivate me to edit it and keep at it. Honestly, I wrote that so long ago I don’t even remember what happens in the book. It’s quite sad.

I told myself that, because I’m so into The Blank Page right now, I’m going to finish it. Then once I finish it, I’m going to work strictly on editing for a little while. I know my new year’s resolution was to write more, but editing is a big part of writing, even if I’m not adding word after word after word. It’ll suck because I absolutely hate editing, but if it needs to get done, then I’m going to get it done.

I’m not going to write anymore tonight because I am just not in the mood and I know if I force myself, I’m going to mess up the entire novel. Hopefully, I’ll get back into it tomorrow morning. I had a good routine going: I woke up early every morning, worked on my websites for a bit, wrote for an hour, and then posted on here. I have not done that since Tuesday…but Tuesday I had no school and no work and nothing to do, so I kind of wanted to take advantage of the fact that I could have stayed in bed for the entire day. With all the crap I have been doing lately, no one can blame me for that.

On a good note, I did start my resolution about reading more. Does everyone know the series Warriors by Erin Hunter? Well, there are so many books that I have lost count, but I do have most of them. I have read a few, but I decided to re-read them…especially because one of my RPG websites are based after this series. Last year, I read the first five books, so I decided to start reading them again starting with the sixth book. If I didn’t have work or anything else going on in my life right now, I would have finished it the day I started it. But we’ll take baby steps.

I’ll talk to you all tomorrow…hopefully after I write for an hour. I have work at 1:30 tomorrow, so if I get up early enough maybe I can do a little extra. That would be nice!

 

2013: 13,645 Words Written
2013: 183 Pages Read

Relaxation

I Got Nothing Done Today…

 

Well, I have been on a roll writing for at least one hour every day. However, I didn’t write at all today. But I did say that I was going to try to post on here every day, so here I am. I have no news, but I am posting!

The reason as to why I didn’t write today was because I was busy with my websites. For example, Stars Vs. Gems, Gaia Ranch, and Spilled Ink. Spilled Ink is a writing website that my sister and I are working on together. We already have one up right now, but we completely re-did the whole website. So that’s why I didn’t give you the link because it’s not open yet. However, we  are planning on opening it on Columbus Day…maybe sooner. I’ll explain more about the website when it opens.

Once I finished working on our websites for the day, I thought about getting some writing done, but when I looked at the time I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough time. Although, now that I think about it, I could have written a little bit. Getting a little something done is better than nothing. But oh, well. What’s done is done.

I had a very busy day today because of church. Everyone knows that I’m the co-director of the Sunday school, correct? Well, today the Bishop came for a visit. Plus the Sunday school were performing something in the middle of the service. Also, we had a luncheon for the ladies who run the Thrift Shop to say thank you for everything they do for the church. Usually, I’m at church from 9:30 to 12:00. Today, because of the Bishop’s schedule, the service was 2 to 3. But because of the thing the Sunday School did in the service, we needed to practice it. So we told everyone to come at one, which meant that I was there before one. Then after the service, we had the luncheon and, well…I was at church today from 12:45 to 6:00. It wasn’t a bad time, but I just didn’t want to be there for that amount of time as well as it being smack in the middle of the day.

Anyway, when I got home, I was starving (there wasn’t any food I liked at the luncheon) so my sister and I got Panera and we’ve been watching TV ever since. I’ve been too tired to do anything else. Although, I think I might go plan out the novel a little bit.

The Blank Page has three novels in it and I thought that I should plan those out. Not fully, but just enough so that when I have my characters writing them, they all make sense. So I may do that, but as far as actual writing goes…I’m not going to be boosting my word count tonight.

Speaking of planning out the novels, though, I found this really cool app on my iPod. It’s called “A Novel Idea.” It breaks everything down. You can click on “novels” and will ask you the title, setting, theme, tone, POV, premise, plot, and group. The group is something you make up. You can group certain things together. For example, when I plugged in The Blank Page, I put it under the Writers Group group. The other sections are “scenes,” “characters,” “locations,” and “ideas.” It’s very detailed and organized. I added The Blank Page as a novel and added Dominic, Justin, and Adair as characters. Then it allowed me to attach the novel to each character. It also allowed me to give Dominic, Adair, and Justin relations to each other. It really keeps you organized. I think I may use this to plan out the three novels that aren’t real. Then I might know enough information about them so Dominic, Justin, and Adair can write them efficiently in The Blank Page.

If you like to write and have an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or anything along those lines, then you should download this app. It’s really useful and it was free. I highly recommend it.

2013: 11,010 Words

Very Productive

I’m Doing Good…

Before I update about my writing, I just wanted to throw this out there:

My sister and I admin quite a few RPG websites together, as you all should know. All the links for these websites are on my Come Find Me page on this blog. However, one of these websites is an RPG for the book series Warriors by Erin Hunter. If any of you know of these books, read them, and enjoy them, please consider joining our website. We’ve been very active lately and we’re looking for new members as we don’t have that many. It would be great to RP with some new faces. The website is called Stars Vs. Gems. Plus, if you enjoy writing, role-playing is great practice. If anyone is interested, please go there and check it out. If you join, that’s fantastic! Thank you. If you don’t, well thank you for checking it out, anyway. 🙂

Alright, now onto the good stuff!

I set a timer for myself this morning to write for one hour. I have work this afternoon and then I have a wake to go to right after, so I knew that I was going to have no time to get anything done tonight. I set aside an hour for myself to get some writing done hoping that I could get a lot done in an hour. I have to admit that I didn’t write for the whole half hour because when I had about twenty minutes left, Comet, my dog, decided to storm into the basement and demand that I take him outside so he could pee. How can anyone say no to that? Especially when he’s a golden retriever and he’s bigger than you when he jumps up on you.

Anyway, when I came back in from outside, I wrote for a little longer because I had about ten more minutes left. Then I decided to stop when I had about two minutes left because I ended at a good spot. I could have kept on writing, but I wanted to post on here and I have a few other things that I need to get done before I go to work.

I’m happy to say that I made it to 8,193 words though. 🙂 Because I’m doing a fake NaNo, that means I got passed today’s word count and tomorrow’s word count. Of course, I’m still going to write tomorrow because I need to keep this up and get myself into the habit of doing this. Plus, tomorrow is Saturday and I have absolutely nothing going on tomorrow. Which is good because then I can get a lot of writing done…Sunday is going to be a very busy day for me so I don’t know how much writing I’m going to be able to get done.

The Blank Page is going really well. I am still in love with the characters and even though I never planned out this novel, it’s actually moving along. Dominic’s story is making a lot of sense, which is good. I haven’t really talked about Justin or Adair’s stories yet, so we’ll see how those work out. I was also thinking that I might write these three novels for real. I can post them on here as well as FictionPress. I have an account on there, you can go to the Come Find Me page…again. Of course, it might not be for a while that I actually write those stories because it’s not like I’m going to get them published or anything. I want to focus more on getting a couple novels published first. Maybe I’ll work on those stories bit by bit while I write the Writers Group saga and when the series is all done, I’ll start posting chapters from the three novels.

That’s all for today, but to close this post I just wanted to say something about a man who recently passed away: I know none of you will know who I am talking about, but as you may have noticed, I said I’m going to a wake tonight. The man who passed away was named Dick. Dick was a wonderful old man from my church. He was the nicest person you would ever meet. He came to church every Sunday and was known by everyone. He tried his best, and always succeeded, in helping everyone. No matter what the issue, he was always there to help figure it out. He had a heart of gold and was extremely smart. He had a love of geology and definitely knew his stuff. Dick went peacefully in his sleep early Wednesday morning losing his long battle with lung cancer. He had been sick for years and was housebound due to this illness. Although he’s in a better place, we all miss him terribly. If you’re religious, even though you never knew the man, feel free to send a quick prayer to Heaven for his wife, children, and grandchildren. Thank you.

On that note, I’ll update again tomorrow. Try to stay warm and if you’re living someplace warm, then…I hate you. Have a nice day. 🙂

2013: 8,193 Words

Anyone Can Do It

Easy as 1, 2, 3….

Anybody can write.  If you have a good enough plot that’s fresh and original, you know how to spell, great interactive and lively characters, and pretty decent grammar, anybody can do it.  Writing is, for the most part, pretty easy.

My cousins (Jackie, 10 and Katherine, 7) like to write stories about my cat, Hunter.  They also incorporate our neighbor’s cats, Socks and Mittens.  Plus, they made up a new character and named him Hunter Jr., who apparently is Hunter’s son.  Hunter is also apparently married; however, aside from “mom,” she is a nameless character who only appears in the story when she is nagging Hunter Jr. to clean up his room.

Ladies and gents, I introduce you to Hunter!

The two of them write their stories down on normal white-lined paper.  They draw illustrations to go with each page and then staple the pages together to look like a book and include an illustrated cover.  They actually come out pretty well.  I’m creative, but if I was their age, I would have never thought to put it in “book format” like that.  Actually, I’m 18 and I still wouldn’t have thought of something like that.

Their stories are all dialogue (yet no quotations), repetitive with “he said/she said,” each story is only about maybe five pages long (but with the illustrations, it’s technically less than that), and if you did not have the illustrations, you would have no idea what was going on in the story.  I will give them some credit: for the most part, you can make out where the story is going by just reading the words (even if they are spelled incorrectly), the illustrations are pretty good for a ten- and seven-year-old (better than what I would do), they definitely each have a creativity bone in their body, and they’re trying.

Now, whether you write like Jackie and Katherine or you write like J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), you could get something published.  This is simply because of self-publishing.  I bet that if I took one of my cousins’ stories, edited it a little, and sent it to a self-publisher, people would buy it simply because little kids wrote it and it’s “cute.”  You could do the same thing-whether your story is good or bad-you could self-publish.  If it doesn’t sell, well maybe you haven’t promoted yourself that much…or maybe that novel just sucked.  Try again.

I don’t know a lot about self-publishing or big publishing companies or even getting an agent.  But I’m trying.  How am I going to do it?  I don’t know.  Where am I going to start?  I don’t know.  Will I become as big as James Patterson (Maximum Ride series)?  I don’t know.  There are a lot of unknowns in this world and believe me, trying to become a published author is definitely one of them.

I can’t stress this enough: I don’t know much about agents, publishing companies, or self-publishing.  One could probably say that I know little to nothing about it.  Sure, I have written and completed a couple of novels, but I am not published.  I have not gone on that journey to seek out an agent or gone through the process of self-publishing.  But based on my research, this is what I know.

Let me tell you something: I finished a young adult novel.  Good for me, right?  Yes, well, there is an accomplishment is simply finishing a first draft…actually, it’s quite a big accomplishment.  However, whether you are planning on self-publishing or looking for an agent or skipping over the agent to try to publish with the big publishing companies on your own, you need to edit.  And edit.  And edit and edit and edit some more because guess what?  Nine times out of ten, that first draft is going to be crap.

When I finished that novel, believe me, I was beyond excited.  I edited it once.  That’s right.  Just once.  I was so excited that I just said to myself, “It’s done.  It’s ready and it needs to be put on those bookshelves immediately.”  Of course I was wrong.  Due to my lack of knowledge on big publishing companies, I decided to look for an agent first.  I didn’t even consider self-publishing because I wanted my book to be published by a big name publishing company that everybody knew.  Like Harper Collins or Random House.  I also wanted my book to be on bookshelves in stores and not just sold online.

So, I sent this novel to about…ten agents.  I heard back from all of them.  Can you guess what all the answers were?  A big, fat no.  Was I discouraged?  Honestly, no.  I’ve heard the saying, “be excited when you get rejected” and in a way I was because I knew that I had tried.  I knew that the agent(s) have at least looked at it.  However, if I told you that I got discouraged, you all would think I’m some sort of cocky jerk.  Let me guess: you’re laughing at me right now.  You must think that I’m a big idiot.  In some ways, I am an idiot.  After collecting all the rejections, I looked over my manuscript and I thought the same thing: “I must have made myself look like an idiot in front of all those agents.  This novel is no where near ready!  What was I thinking?” I was thinking that because I actually finished something, it was the best in the world, every agent would want to represent me, the first publishing company we asked would fall in love with the book, publish it right away, and then I would be on the Oprah Winfrey Show because I wrote such an “amazing” book.  Or, to put it short and simple, I wasn’t thinking at all.

I have edited that novel a few more times and I’m still editing it.  I’m on the seventh draft.  Yes, you read correctly.  However, I can’t edit all the time and stop all my writing simply because of that one novel.  So, I wrote and completed two children’s novels and another young adult novel.  Have I tried sending any of them in to any agents?  No.  I want to make sure that the manuscript, whichever one it will be, is ready.  Really ready, not fake ready.

I have looked through books at Barnes & Noble listing agents.  I wrote down all the ones that would represent the types of novels that I write.  Then I remembered something…before I sent in that novel to all those agents, I researched how to write a good query letter.  Every bit of information I found on query letters said, “list previous publications.” And I say that if I had any previous publications, I probably wouldn’t need an agent in the first place.  So, all my query letters never listed my previous publications because they are non-existent.  I researched some more…specifically that question.  Apparently, most agents wouldn’t even think about representing you unless you have some sort of background in publishing.  It shows them that you can meet a deadline, your writing must be somewhat decent if it was published somewhere else, and you must have some sort of knowledge on publishing if you really did publish something.  Even if it was only in the local newspaper.

I looked up magazines.  I figured that I could write a short story, send it to a magazine and if they like it, they can publish it.  I might have written a couple of short stories to publish in different magazines.  That way, I would have something published and a little publishing knowledge under my belt.  Of course, magazines are a long process.  One magazine said to wait six months to hear back.  January 2012 ended the six months and I never heard back from them.  Of course, I’ll keep trying.  Write different stories, try different magazines…but then I had an epiphany.

Alright, so this “epiphany” is only from what my sister told me, but I sound smarter when I say I had an epiphany.  Anyway, apparently self-publishing is a great way to get your foot in the door.  I know a few people who have used a certain self-publishing company (I don’t know these people personally…they’re all from a writing website that I am apart of), but I at least know that this self-publishing company is legit.  However, I still researched it and some people like it, some people don’t.  Some people say it’s a scam, some people don’t.  Some people say it’s cheap, other think it’s expensive.

I’ve also heard the saying, “if they want you to pay them, chances are it’s a scam.”  However, self-publishing is a little different than publishing through a big company.  I still have to do my research and possibly take a look at other self-publishing companies, but my point is that I’m going to try to get a novel self-published (and/or a short story published in a magazine or something) before I start searching for an agent.  It will still take me a while to get an agent, but at least being published will increase my chances a little.

You’re probably thinking, “The title of this post says that anyone can do it, but all you’re doing is talking about failures of the publishing process.” No, I still stand by what I said: anyone can do it.  It’s a hard, long process, especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing, like me.  My point is, if you take it seriously enough and really try and believe in yourself…you could publish something all on your own.  From there, you could get an agent and sell a lot more things through big publishing companies, or continue self-publishing depending on how well the first one turned out.

I told you everything I went through with the publishing process (everything I went through so far, I mean) because if you really want to get somewhere in life with your writing, you can’t get discouraged at every little thing.  The road is long and you don’t know if you’re supposed to go left, right, or straight.  A lot of detours will pop up unexpectedly and you’re most likely going to make a few wrong turns here and there in which case you’ll have to turn around and go back to retrace your steps in order to get back on track.

You can’t let that stop you.  If you want it bad enough, believe you can do it, and keep at it, you’ll make it.  Get excited when you receive a rejection.  Take both good and bad critique to heart.  Don’t get discouraged so easily.  Certainly don’t give up.  You may make thousands of dollars off your novel(s), have your novels turned into movies, and/or just be one of those laid-back authors who make just enough money to get by, but aren’t that big.  Either way, you’ll make it because, well…anyone can do it.