WIP Wednesday 3 [NaNoWriMo 2017]

Another week has come and gone. That means we’re one week closer to the end of NaNoWriMo. It’s been an interesting week.

WIP Wednesday

What am I working on?

The Scribe. I changed the title again, which I think I’ve already mentioned. The story turned into something much more than I anticipated. When I say that I mean the plot has completely changed from what I originally thought it would be.

What’s the easiest part of writing this novel?

I’m going to cheat and say the same thing I said for my week two update. This first draft started strong and then turned into word vomit. It’s been easy to get the words down and try to figure out how the novel works, but there will be a lot of changes made down the road.

What’s the hardest part of writing this novel?

The fact that the plot has gone off the rails. I’ve started my research and I’ve been doing pretty well with it, but there’s still a lot of loose ends to tie up.

NaNo Stats

Day 15: 2,055
Day 16: 0
Day 17: 0
Day 18: 2,091
Day 19: 5,735
Day 20: 0
Day 21: 0
Total Week Three Words: 9,881
Total Words: 50,061

All done.

As you can see, my word count for this week was a bit all over the place. I skipped a few days, one of those days was for a legit reason. I don’t remember my excuse for the other days.

I reached 50k on Sunday, November 19. I was losing steam and knew if I didn’t sit myself down and write a big chunk, I’d be struggling to reach 50k before Thanksgiving… which is tomorrow. I even wrote two different endings because the story ended before I reached 50k.

So now we’ll see how the editing goes.

How is NaNo treating you so far? Did you reach your word goal yet? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
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WIP Wednesday 2 [NaNoWriMo 2017]

We have completed week two of NaNoWriMo! Time flies when you’re having fun… we’re having fun, right?

WIP Wednesday

What am I working on?

I’m still hanging onto The Librarian. The title is definitely going to change, but I’m keeping it as is for now.

What’s the easiest part of writing this novel?

The fact that this is the first draft. That may be a dumb reason to have this be “easy,” but I’m going without an outline here. Each scene I write I realize is going to end up getting cut… but I’m still writing. So there’s that.

What’s the hardest part of writing this novel?

The middle. I need a lot of research. I’m pretty much at the climax of my novel right now and I have to say that it’s pretty anti-climactic because I have no idea what I’m doing… editing this thing is going to be fun.

Also, I reached 10k words on November 10th. According to my NaNo stats, my wordiest day was 10,096 words on November 10, 2016. So I beat my record by getting 10,103 words on November 10, 2017. Yay!

The reason I’m saying this was the hardest because while the 10k was fine, it was the afterward that was hard. The following day I wrote 1,000 out of my 2,000-word goal. Then I skipped a day of writing and then barely made it to 2,000 words the day after. I’m not complaining, I’m happy with my word count. But I clearly burnt myself out after writing for 5+ hours of 10,000 words.

NaNoWriMo Stats

Day 8: 2,043
Day 9: 3,022
Day 10: 10,103
Day 11: 1,087
Day 12: 0
Day 13: 1,535
Day 14: 2,315
Total Week Two Words: 20,105
Total Words: 40,180

Still hanging in there.

I have 10,000 more words left to write to hit 50,000 words. I don’t know if my story is going to end before then or not. Still, I want to complete the story (not just hit the word count) by Thanksgiving. This means I have a week to complete this first draft, to write at least another 10,000 words.

Here’s to week three.

How is NaNo treating you so far? What are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

8 Tips For Writing A Fantasy Novel

I’m no expert on writing fantasy. But I have written my fair share of the fantasy genre. I’ve written a couple of (totally not flushed out) short stories and I have written a novel or two with a few other ideas.

And when I say fantasy I mean I’ve written about mages. I’ve written about wizards and elves. I’ve written about superheroes. I’m all over the place with it.

I’m giving these tips because this is what I’ve learned along the way (and we can pretend I’m some sort of expert on writing fantasy), but also because I’m writing fantasy for NaNoWriMo.

So, here we go!

8 Tips to writing Fantasy

1. Keep it “real”

Fiction is fake, fantasy is out of this world. Still, there’s a little bit of truth in everything we write. Sometimes we base characters off of ourselves or someone we know. Sometimes we take places and warp them just a little bit to fit in a fictional land or some stories are based on real-life places.

You can always create and base elements of your story on real-life people or places. Take a myth or lore into your hands and add a twist to it. Research is your friend.

2. Mythical creatures

Like I said in the above point, you can do a lot with real-life people or places or even creatures. Unicorns and dragons don’t exist, but they can in the fantasy world. Dragons especially usually have big parts in the fantasy world. However, while you can make them your own in your world, you can also do research on them.

It took me a long time to realize that mermaids are not in fact like Ariel in The Little Mermaid. They are, supposedly, not nice creatures. It shattered my childhood, but I used that information to my advantage in one of my fantasy novels.

3. Magic

J.K. Rowling created the spells in Harry Potter using the Latin language. It’s not Latin exactly, but she twisted it around so that the spells were her own and they could kind of be “translated.”

I’m not saying you have to create a magic system just like Rowling did, but it should still make a little bit of sense.

4. Know your world inside and out

If you’re writing the kind of fantasy where you need your own Middle Earth area, you have to know the world as though you’ve been there in real life… as though you’ve lived there all your life.

Create a map. Do they speak another language? Do they have a different currency? What kinds of food do they eat? What are the seasons like? You may not need to know all of that, but it’s helpful to know anyway.

5. Use a map

Maps are important. Your fantasy novel may not need a map necessarily, unless it’s Middle Earth, but creating a map for yourself won’t hurt. It’ll help you keep track of all the areas which in turn will help you write it and allow your readers to understand.

6. Create character names that can be easily read and pronounced

Yeah. I don’t know what Flbergsted is. There are plenty of fantasy name generators out there on the Internet. Use your vowels wisely.

Sometimes I take names of people I know and spell them backward. For example, Rachel would be Lehcar. Even then you still have to mix some letters around to make them comprehensible, but most names work backward.

7. Do your research

There’s no wrong way to write a book, but research never hurts. There are so many sub-genres of fantasy. Some are way more complicated than others.

There’s a lot on the Internet and there is so many fantasy writing craft books out there. Not to mention fantasy novels in general that you can read. Just brush up on your fantasy knowledge.

8. Know your fantasy genre and subgenre

This kind of goes along with the point above. Fantasy is a vast genre and there are so many sub-genres to it. Like I said earlier in the post I’ve written many different kinds of fantasy. I go from Lord of the Rings style to X-Men style. Both are fantasy, but that’s just about all they have in common.

Do you write fantasy? If so, what sub-genre of fantasy do you typically write in? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

 

7 Ways To Avoid A Boring Middle For You And Your Readers [NaNoWriMo 2017]

Ever hear of the sagging middle? It’s when you get to that point in your novel that just seems to go on and on and on… yet nothing seems to be happening.

I think everyone, at some point or another, has a problem with the sagging middle. Even I, as an outliner, have trouble with it at times. Sometimes you don’t know where to go next in your outline or the outline changes so much that the middle gets deformed somehow.

In a way, it’s kind of like week two of NaNoWriMo. You end up in some sort of slump.

Either way, here are some tips to avoid that sagging middle. Or, at the very least, you can throw something in to keep the story going. There’s always editing later.

7 Ways to Avoid Sagging Middle

1. Make it short and sweet

Quality over quantity, right? Listen, if you get stuck in your middle, skip it. Don’t worry about it. If that bothers you, write anything there. If you have any thoughts, write it out and see how it goes.

This is what editing is for. I know editing typically takes words out, but there’s nothing wrong with adding something in. After all, you usually have multiple drafts of novels. You can add something in, take it out, add something else in just to take that out as well. You have to play around with it.

First drafts are supposed to be all over the place.

2. Question your protagonist’s or your antagonist’s goals

Everyone has second doubts. Everyone worries. Everyone regrets something at some point in their life. What has happened in your novel before the middle? Is there anything that you can use to make any of your characters have an internal conflict? Or maybe they can have tension with other characters?

Bring the antagonist around, have them run into the protagonist. What happens? How do they handle the situation?

3. Play with your characters

Introduce someone new. Have someone leave the group due to a fight or they have something else to take care of. Kill someone off, whether it’s an important character or a side character.

Anything can happen, especially if tension is high.

4. Change location or POV

Where are your characters and what are they doing? Did they finish what they needed to do? Let them leave. Have something else happen and they need to move on as soon as possible.

Changing POV is harder, of course. Unless you’re writing in that kind of style where you switch POV characters for each chapter or some other way. Still, you might be able to make it work somehow. You just have to be careful with it.

5. Throw a curve ball at your characters

This is the point of novel writing. You’re supposed to constantly throw lemons at your characters, especially your protagonist.

Depending on the situation you put before your characters, anything can happen. Something as simple as changing the weather can throw your characters off.

6. Start writing in the middle

Are you nervous about your middle sagging before you even start? Start in the middle. Throw your characters into something that you think may help get your novel to the end and go with it. This may be easier to do if you have an outline in mind, but it’s doable either way.

At the very least, you may get to know your characters a little better. You’ll figure out what you want the plot to accomplish.

7. Throw in a red herring

Red herrings are fun. They’re fake clues handed out for the mere sake of throwing your characters (and your readers) off the trail. Send your characters on a wild goose chase. As long as it leads to something else that will advance the plot or bring tension, it’s a great way to keep those pages turning.

Do you typically have trouble with a sagging middle? What do you do to get out of that slump? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

WIP Wednesday 1 [NaNoWriMo 2017]

I’m adding a new feature to my blog! It’s just what the title suggests, WIP Wednesday – or Work In Progres Wednesday.

This will be something that will be posted on one Wednesday a month, most likely in the middle of the month. For November, though, I’ll be posting it every Wednesday to give an update on my NaNo novel for you guys.

With that said, here’s the first one.

WIP Wednesday

What am I working on?

The Librarian. I’m not sure if this will be a full novel or just a novella, but I plan on publishing it to Wattpad in January 2018.

What’s the easiest part of writing this novel?

The actual writing. Even though I don’t have an outline this time around, I haven’t written a novel in such a long time. It feels good!

What’s the hardest part of writing this novel?

The plot. While the words have been flowing well, I still don’t have an outline. As I write, I’ve been getting more and more ideas. And those ideas require research. A lot of research. I mean, this is a topic I never thought I would ever write about. So we’ll see how it goes.

NaNoWriMo Stats

Day 1: 4,094
Day 2: 2,017
Day 3: 4,573
Day 4: 2,052
Day 5: 2,384
Day 6: 2,034
Day 7: 2,921
Total Words: 20,075

So far so good.

I’m proud that I was able to reach 20k words, almost halfway there, in week one. On Friday, November 10th, Kris and I are going to be doing a 10k day! So I’m hoping that by the time the weekend officially begins, I’ll have 35k or so words.

How is NaNo treating you so far? What are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

How To Start That First Chapter The Right Way [NaNoWriMo]

What’s the hardest part about writing a novel? It’s different depending on who you are, how you write, and what you write.

Still, you may have all the ideas and you may even have a quick outline, but beginning a novel can be tricky. It is, after all, one of the most important parts of your novel.

There are plenty of readers out there who not only read the book’s blurb on the back, but they already read the first paragraph or so of the first chapter.

Why? Because they want to get a feel for the writing style. They want to see if they’ll be hooked into the story right away.

If they are, they’ll buy it. If they’re not… well, maybe the next reader who is enticed by the blurb will be into it.

How To Start The First Chapter

There are so many different ways to start a novel. There’s no certain way that will work for every novel. That would, of course, end up being boring and unoriginal.

Though while many books may start with a piece of dialogue or some ominous message, each one is different and unique because every book and idea is unique.

With that said, here are some ways you can start your first chapter.

Introduce A Voice

Begin with a piece of dialogue. I know there are some people out there who don’t agree with starting with dialogue, but I personally like it. It introduces a character (whether it’s clear who it is right away or not) and it also gives you a sense of what kind of character you’ll be following around.

You don’t even have to start with dialogue. If you’re writing in first-person, start with a thought from the main character. Or no matter what the point of view, start with some sort of point the character is noticing or thinking.

Get Right Into The Action

Throw your readers and your characters into the heart of the matter. Or, the heart of matter that may lead into the main plot. The action is always enticing, especially when it starts the book off. The readers don’t know what’s going on, but if done right, they’ll want to know. They’ll keep reading and reading and reading.

Start Slow, But Not Too Slow

Feel free to ease your readers into the story. You can start with a typical day in the life of your main character or have them do something they would normally do that ends up affecting the plot somehow.

Just be wary of opening with your character waking up. That one gets old pretty quickly.

Throw In A Little Background

You want to keep your readers guessing, yet you want to give them something to work with. I’m not telling you to info-dump because no one wants that. However, giving a little insight to your characters and the world around them isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The Prologue

We talked about this yesterday. Use at your own risk.

What are some ways you typically begin your novels? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

 

November 2017 Goals

November 2017 Goals

Reading

I’m ahead with my reading! I feel like I haven’t been ahead in a while. With that said, I’ll be reviewing books this month that I read last month.

1. Into The Light by Emily Stroia
2. Keepers by Sacha de Black
3. The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri
4. Eleanor and The Impossible by M. Miles

Here’s what I’ll be reading this month:

1. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
2. 13 Steps to Evil: How To Craft Super Bad Villains by Sacha Black
3. Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari

Writing

It’s NaNoWriMo! My main focus is going to be on my NaNo novel, The Librarian. (I’ve been calling it Special on the blog so far, but it’s the same thing.) I plan on writing 50,000 words for that novel.

Time permitting, I would like to continue a short story that I’m handwriting. I think handwriting will allow me to not get burned out between the two stories. Still, NaNo will be the priority.

Blogging

October was super productive in which I was able to get pretty much all of my blogging done for the rest of the year. Yep, all through December is done! Except for some posts that I can’t write until the last minute such as updates on my NaNo novel, the Wrap-Ups, etc.

Still, this is going to allow me to focus on NaNo more, but also I’ll be able to work more on the updates to my blog. Which I am super excited about!

Overall

November will be busy. Blogging, writing, and then the holidays are coming up… but it’ll be good. I have big plans for the rest of the year leading into 2018 and then beyond. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all.

What are your plans for November? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!