WIP Wednesday [July 2018]

So here we are. Halfway through July, which means we’re halfway through 2018. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m going to continue making the most of each day and work hard toward my goals. I have a lot I want to accomplish this year. Here’s how I’m doing so far.

WIP Wednesday July 2018 | Creative Writing | Novel Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Camp NaNoWriMo

We’re almost done with our second and final Camp NaNo session for the year. For me, I have about a week left of writing since I’ll be going on vacation the last week of the month.

I’m counting hours this month, which is something I’ve never done before. I’m editing and my goal was to edit about 2 hours a day (one hour for each project). It totaled to about 44 hours (I forget how I calculated it) and that was too much.

A lot has happened this month in real life and things have been busy. Plus, counting hours is really unmotivating. I don’t know why. I thought counting hours would be easy since it usually takes me an hour to write 2,000 words. It takes me an hour to get through a chapter of editing (sometimes). But for some reason, when counting hours, I just stare at the clock and can’t wait until I can stop writing to go play video games.

So, I dropped my hours from 44 to 31 so that I have to do an hour a day. That’s been more doable for me, though I do have a get a little ahead since I won’t be doing anything next week. Still, things are going much smoother.

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

It’s back to the drawing board with this one. I started off the month editing, changed a bunch of stuff (meaning, the way the plot is executed) and now I’ve written myself into a hole. I was retyping the last draft I edited and I can’t go much further because I’ve changed too much. I have to completely rewrite about 80% of the novel.

This book just won’t end. Did you know I’ve been working on this since 2011? This will be the third time I’ve had to do a complete rewrite.

I feel I’m getting close though. I’ve started the outlining and planning process again trying to decide what to keep and what needs to be changed. I’m looking at the novel with a different approach. Hopefully, this is just what I need to finally complete this novel.

Please, let this be it.

Patreon Project

I’m also in the editing stages of another project. I can’t say too much on this project yet as it’s exclusive for my patrons on Patreon at the moment.

If you want to learn more about the project, I encourage you to check out my Patreon where you can support the project for as little as $1 a month.

What’s in it for you if it’s only temporarily exclusive to my patrons? Well, for one they already know what the project is and they get sneak peeks of my process and where I currently am in production of the said project.

Plus, when the project is released, my patrons will get some special goodies as a special thank you for supporting me and my creative work.

You can check out my Patreon here.

What projects are you currently working on? Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Another Camp NaNoWriMo Session Has Arrived

2018 has been zipping by and we’re already into our second and final Camp NaNoWriMo session for the year. I’m not working on as much as I did during the April session, but my plate is still pretty full.

Another Camp NaNoWriMo Session | Creative Writing | Editing | Novel Writing | RachelPoli.com

I’m spending the month editing more rather than writing. I have so many projects that need some TLC rather than me adding a new project to my ever-growing list.

This month, I’m not even counting words either. I’m recording my progress by hours, which is something I’ve never done before. I’m working on two projects and have aimed to work one hour a day on each, which is two hours a day.

Even though we’re only 5 days into the month, I’ve already gotten behind. There has been a lot of life stuff happening so yesterday and today I’ve aimed to work for four hours instead of two. So far, it’s been working and I’m sure I’ll catch up in no time.

As I said, I’m working on two projects this month.

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

Yes, this one again. I’ve changed a lot so I’m retyping the last draft I edited while editing it some more and editing my edits. I’m planning on one more round of editing before prepping it to be released into the world.

Secret Patreon Project

I’m working on something new, something that’s already in the editing stage. This is a special project for my patrons over at Patreon. Anyone who supports me over there, even if it’s as little as $1, will get an exclusive look at the project as I work on it as well as some fun goodies when all is said and done. If you want to know more, feel free to check out my Patreon. The money helps me keep this blog running as well as allow me to do what I love for a living. So if you enjoy my writing or any content I post here, please consider supporting me. You’ll get fun rewards based on your tier and it’s a great exclusive community for me to get to know you guys better.

So that’s that. Two projects are in the editing stages, both are almost done with the editing. (I think. We’ll see how it goes.)

It’s going to be a busy month, but progress is happening!

What are you working on this month for Camp NaNo? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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My Camp NaNoWriMo Projects [April 2018]

My Camp NaNoWriMo Projects | April 2018 | Camp NaNo | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

It’s Camp NaNoWriMo time! As usual, I overbooked myself. Camp is so flexible with projects and word counts that I decided to get as much done as possible. Of course, I had forgotten I’m going on vacation in the middle of the month… Still, any progress is progress so I’m keeping my goals. Challenge accepted.

  • Edit George Florence – Change of plans with this one. I was going to rewrite the draft. I thought it was already edited, but apparently, just the first chapter was edited. Good job, Rachel.
  • Write Perplexed – My goal to write one more short story for this mystery collection.
  • Write Short Story Sunday – For the past couple of years, I’ve been using Camp NaNo to write the flash fiction for this blog in bulk. I have 27 more stories to write for 2018 so I plan on finishing them all.
  • Outline Brave (working title) – My next Wattpad story is another fantasy, though it won’t be anything like The Scribe. There will be dragons and it’ll be great.
  • Publish Take Over – My second Wattpad story will be going live on Monday, April 23. It’s all set to go, but since I’ll be going on vacation for a week and there’s no schedule button on Wattpad (that I’ve seen at least) I decided to wait until the end of the month. So look forward to that!

So, yeah. April is going to be a busy month when it comes to writing. I created a calendar and decided what to work on each day and I calculated the daily word count out so I can miss a week due to my vacation.

But I’ll be talking more about that calendar tomorrow… Wish me luck!

What are you writing this month? How’s Camp going so far? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Using The Rainbow Editing Method [Editing]

We all know that I’m not the best at self-editing. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I tend to end up proofreading rather than editing. I know what I want to fix but can’t figure out how to fix it. So I skip it to “deal with it later.” And that’s not good for any writer and their novel.

I’ve decided to give myself a good kick and really make 2018 count. No more “prep” for this or that and then never following through. I like to think I’m a hard worker, but I’m pretty slow. I think I’m ready at this point to finally do something about my writing and I think it shows in my editing.

Using The Rainbow Editing Method | RachelPoli.com

A few months ago I talked about Rainbow Editing your manuscript. It’s all about using various colors for different parts of your novel. For example, I use the colors in the following way:

Red – Typos, spelling, grammar
Orange – Dialogue, description, pacing, tenses, etc.
Green – Plot changes
Blue – Character development
Purple – Research and fact-checking
Pink – Overall structure, vocabulary/word replacement, etc.

I started using this method to edit The Scribe this month and I can’t express how impressed I am that it’s working for me.

Instead of losing steam after 10 pages, I edited over 60 in one sitting. Which, admittedly, is a big deal for me. My manuscript is marked up with mostly orange, green, and blue with a little red, purple, and pink sprinkled in. I’m cutting probably about 75% of the story, so the majority of the pages are filled with a giant green X.

I think this method helps me focus on one thing at a time rather than looking at the whole picture and getting overwhelmed. And no, I don’t go through a chapter six times in a row for each individual color, I look at each page, each paragraph, and think to myself, “what’s not working here?”

After I mark up a paragraph or a few with green and/or orange, I look back at it making sure the character development makes sense, that the paragraph should be in that spot, etc.

It’s hard to explain, but it actually works and I have to say I’m impressed.

It’s a slow process, but it definitely helps. The pages of my manuscript are so colorful and maybe I just get easily distracted by pretty things that it’s holding my attention more: “How much color can I splash on this page?”

In all seriousness, I have to rewrite more than half of this story, which I’m in the process of. So… it’s going.

I still have about two weeks to finish the rewrite and give it another good edit. I still plan on publishing the story onto Wattpad in January. So, wish me luck!

Are you editing your NaNoWriMo novel right now? Do you try different editing methods or tend to stick with a certain way? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

WIP Wednesday: December 2017

We’re already about halfway through December. I had a lot of projects lined up for this month in an attempt to get myself prepared and ready for January and beyond in the new year.

I’ve been working extra hard and, surprisingly, it’s been going well.

What am I currently working on?

THE SCRIBE

I’m currently working on two projects right now. One is The Scribe, which was my NaNoWriMo novel last month. I’m currently editing it, hoping to finish the first draft by Friday so I can retype/rewrite it.

As I’ve been editing, I’ve realized a lot of things… not necessarily wrong, but just didn’t quite fit. In other words, I have to rewrite the entire beginning, so… we’ll see how that goes.

Hopefully, that will be done this week because I also hope to get through the second draft by the end of the month.

UNWRITTEN

I’m also editing another novel, Unwritten. I wrote that for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I’ve been submitting a chapter to my local writer’s group each month. I’m finally getting around to looking at their feedback.

I’m going to edit the chapters I’ve received feedback for and edit the rest as well. So for the new year, my group should be reading the second draft material.

What’s the easiest part?

I actually have a good schedule down. I created a calendar for December and wrote in what I want to work on which days. I’ve been using Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Fridays to edit. I aim to edit each piece for at least two hours a day. While the process has been a bit slower than I would like, I’m making progress, so there’s no room for complaints.

What’s the hardest part?

I decided to do all this in December. The first week was slow because I had so many other things going on such as catching up with old friends and early Christmas parties.

Still, we’re about halfway through the month and I’ve been making good progress. So we’ll just have to see how the rest of the month goes!

What are you currently working on? What are your goals? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

Should You Outline Short Stories?

How many times have I talked about outlining on this blog? Too many to count most likely.

I personally love outlining. I’m a super organized person in real life and a tad OCD about things. That goes the same for my novels.

Outlining isn’t for everyone, but it can be used as a means for editing. That’s why I’m asking this question…

Should you outline short stories?

When I outline my novels, I make a list of characters, a list of plot points, summarize each chapter, and then bullet scene by scene. I also make a list of editing points as I write the first draft.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never outlined a short story before. When I write short stories, I tend to base them off a writing prompt I found somewhere on the Internet or I’ve created myself. Then I just start to write and somehow I end up with a short story.

Then the editing comes along and then… what?

There’s a short story I wrote a long time ago. It was for one of my creative writing classes in college. (I’ve been out of college for two and a half years, so… it’s been a while.)

Since writing it, I’ve edited it, and edited it, and edited it. I’ve submitted it to contests and magazines, but haven’t gotten anywhere with it. Still, I’m not giving up on it. In fact, I’m waiting to hear back from a magazine about it at the time of writing this post.

I submitted it to another place this past August. That story I sent in was the seventh draft. Yes, 7.

It’s grown a lot in the past few years. Did I outline it when I first wrote it? No. Did I outline it when editing? Yes.

Why bother outlining a short story… especially when it’s already been written?

Like I said, I love outlining. But I don’t outline my short stories because I just tend to roll with it. I have noticed that outlining the story after it’s written can be a huge help to editing.

I’ve been saying it a lot this week and that’s to keep your short stories simple and to the point. Only add in important aspects about the plot. Give detail, but not filler.

Outlining your short story is prep for the editing process.

  • What’s important?
  • What drives the plot forward?
  • What can I afford to cut out, if needed?

Create a list of characters and write down their purpose. Are they all needed?

Bullet-list each scene and briefly summarize what happens. Is each scene important and paying its rent to the plot? Do some scenes have too much information or not enough? If not enough, is it really needed?

I did this for my short story and gave it one last edit before shipping it off to my writer’s group a few months ago. A car accident happens in the story and everyone agreed that I had put too much detail into that scene.

They said that when you get into a car accident (to the extent in the story), you’re not looking at your surroundings describing the scenery. Especially not if you have big injuries.

Looking at their feedback and then looking at my outline, I was able to easily pinpoint and judge what was too much in that scene. I cut a lot of it out and rewrote what remained. Reading the story now, I agree that it’s much better and flows nicely. Plus, the less description added more tension.

So, should you outline your short stories?

It’s still up to you, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. I know everyone works differently, but this has helped me.

Maybe it’ll help you too.

Do you outline your short stories? Do you outline any of your writing? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

May 2017 Wrap Up

May 2017 Wrap Up

Reading

I kind of got back into my reading routine. I read one book a week, which was good. I also got a head start for June’s reading list.

Check out my Goodreads and Reading List to keep up to date with my reads and reviews.

Writing

I’m still editing my mystery novel. I thought I would get through it during the month of May, but time was limited (thanks a lot to my day job…) and when I did edit, I was pretty slow. Thorough, but slow. It would take me about an hour to get through five pages or so. So, I didn’t accomplish this goal, but I’m working on it.

Blogging

I talked a lot about editing this month. I think they were some of my best posts yet. I received a lot of great feedback on them and my stats even went way up because of them. So, thank you to everyone who liked, commented, and followed my blog this month. It really means a lot!

And I have to say that I got a lot done for blogging, in general, this month. I’ve already started working on June’s posts as well as Double Jump’s June posts.

As for the new blog, I’ve mostly just brainstormed. But that’s better than nothing at all.

Overall

May was a good month. I didn’t get as much editing done as I would have hoped, but I worked hard and worked a lot so it was a good month.

Posts to Remember

1. 57 Questions To Ask When Editing Your Novel
2. Beta Readers: Who Are They And What Do They Do?
3. How To Find A Great Beta Reader You Can Trust
4. Guest: Jennie Fitzkee
5. Guest: Robert Kirkendall
6. Interview: Anne Goodwin
7. Interview: Mark Canniff

How did the month of May treat you? Did you accomplish your goals? Let me know in the comments below!

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Blog Round Up: May 2017

Favorite blog posts from May 2017 | Reading, Writing, and Blogging

Shadows – A Poem
Why Don’t I Research Writing Advice?
The New Archie Issues 1-5
Doubt – The Writer’s Killer
Why I Love Reading
Author Spotlight – Kimberly Forrest
A Comprehensive Guide To The 12 Main Literary Genres
Top Three Thursdays – Popular Fantasy Series I Haven’t Read
Top Of My TBR List
Bo’s Cafe Life
Going After Inspiration 

Do you have any blog posts you absolutely loved from May? Which one of these posts did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!

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Critiquing For Other Writers

Editing is hard. It’s even harder when you don’t know how to edit or what to look for when editing.

It’s especially even harder still when you’re editing someone else’s work. And when you believe that someone is a better writer than you? Well, how can you edit their work confidently?

Critiquing For Other Writers

I’ve talked about editing all month long with various tips and tricks and advice on editing. This post isn’t going to be like that. Instead, it’s going to be more like a “pep talk,” if you will.

Yesterday I talked about why I think it’s important for writers to be part of some sort of writing or critique group. I’ve had my group for over two years now. People have come and gone in the group, but it’s still going strong and I hope to have my group for many, many years.

Yet, each month I take a look at all the chapters I have to read through. I typically read the work as a reader and then I go back and read it again as a writer. It helps me get a feel for the chapter. It also helps me focus on editing rather than just reading.

This is because I believe all my group members are better writers than me.

This could be for a number of reasons:

  • As a writer, I naturally suffer from self-doubt so I believe everyone is a better writer than me
  • I’m the youngest, so in terms of “experience” in writing, everyone has more than me
  • They may actually be better writers than me

I like to think that no writer is better than another since we all have our own writing styles and people are going to either love, like, hate, or think your writing is just okay. Everyone has different tastes.

Still, when you’re in a group with other writers, you can’t help but think they’re all better than you.

When I read their work, I read through it a few times. I find myself getting immersed in the story, getting wrapped up in the plot and characters. Before I know it, the chapter has ended, I’m eager to read more, yet I haven’t made a single mark on the page.

How can I edit something that’s so good? How can I make corrections when there are none?

Typically, there are mistakes. There are parts of the chapters that could use some help. But I have a hard time seeing them.

It isn’t until we actually meet that the host asks, “What could be improved with this chapter?” I typically wait for someone else to speak first and bounce off from what they say. I wait for someone to say, “I didn’t like this,” and then I can think about myself. Sometimes I agree, but sometimes I can disagree and form my own opinion as to why.

But why can’t I look at it that way when I’m reading the story myself?

I don’t know.

Editing is a learning curve and I definitely find it harder to critique someone else than your own work. Still, you live and learn.

With each new piece I get, I think back to the previous meeting and look for what we discussed they could improve on and see if they did improve on the next one. I’m slowly figuring it out.

It’s hard to look past the feeling that all the other writers in the room are “better” than you. You just have to remember you’re all there to learn. Everyone has their own writing style and unique voice. You’re all writing different stories and possibly different genres. Someone may have been writing longer than you have, but you’re all in the same boat.

Have you ever got the feeling that everyone else is a better writer than you? How do you deal with it? Let me know in the comments below!

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8 Reasons Why Joining A Critique Group Is The Best Decision

A few years ago I remember posting on my blog seeking a writing group. I was looking for something online because I was working full-time and going to school full-time.

I knew a writing group would help me with my writing, but I didn’t know where to start. I had no idea where to look for such a group.

The day after I posted something on my blog about it, my dad ironically found an article in the newspaper. Our local library was putting together a writer’s critique group. Kris and I looked into it and we joined immediately.

We’re still part of that group to this day and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

8 Reasons Why You Should Join A Critique Group

I’ve always heard pros and cons about joining a writer’s group, but I’ve found it to be more helpful than harmful. So, here some reasons why I think every writer should join a writer’s group.

1. Editing Skills

When I first joined my writer’s group, I was taken aback at the feedback I received. When I read their pieces my thought was, “Wow! This is really good!” I liked all the stories and I wanted more. I didn’t really have too much to say because I couldn’t find any mistakes.

But there are always mistakes. There are always opinions. What did you like? What didn’t you like? I’ve learned a lot about editing over the past few years I’ve been part of my group. I know the right questions to ask and know what to look for when reading someone else’s work.

2. Writing Skills

Just like editing, you learn a lot about writing as well. As you read the work of your fellow writers, you’re looking at different writing styles and ideas. You learn from one another to help with your own writing process.

3. Inspiration

Stuck on something in your writing? Feel like something isn’t working out or you have writer’s block? Ask your group members for their opinion on what you should do next. They’ll help generate ideas and then you can pick and choose and try out the different ideas because deciding what to do next.

4. Socialization

Writers aren’t the best at being social. Having a group of writers is great because it gets you out of the house and gives you social interaction with other humans. Not only do you find a great community of writers, but you’ll also make new friends as well.

5. Promotion

Have a blog? Share it with your group. Finally getting that book deal? Throw a party with your group. Your writing group members are most likely your first fans. Plus, you can bounce promotion ideas off of one another as well.

6. Self-Confidence & Thick Skin

When I first joined my group and submitted my first piece I was nervous. I’ll admit, there was a sick feeling in my stomach when people told me what they liked and what they didn’t like about my work. Taking criticism is hard to get used to. However, there will be people out there who absolutely love your work and there will be people who think you’re a terrible writer. Everyone has their own opinions, their own tastes in books.

Your writing group will be honest and help you along the way. Through that, you’ll gain thick skin in taking criticism as well as gain self-confidence in your own work.

7. Motivation

Sometimes it’s hard to keep writing. Having a deadline to submit something to your group can either help or hinder that motivation to write. For me, it usually boosts my motivation to keep writing. I want to keep up with the members of my group and I’m also excited to share what my novel has in store for them next.

8. Writing Time

We all complain that there’s not enough time in the day to get our writing done. Having the deadline of the group will help with that. In a way, it’s kind of like homework and you end up making sure you find the time to get that writing done.

Are you part of a writing group? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below!

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