Currently Writing…

March is coming to a close a lot faster than I expected it to.

As a teacher, this month drags on and on with no breaks until the end of April. As a writer, however, this month goes always seems to come and go in the blink of an eye.

One main reason for this is because I’m trying to prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo that begins on April 1st. Plus I’m working on other writing projects. Not to mention that I’m trying to get my blog in decent order by April so I can focus more on Camp than I do with writing blog posts.

I think it’s been a while since I’ve really talked about what I’m currently working on writing-wise, so I thought, with Camp around the corner, this was a good time as any.

My goal at the beginning of 2017 was to have either the first novel of my mystery series or The Lost Girl be 100% completed by the end of August (and the other completed by the end of 2017). At this rate, I’m not sure that will happen.

Of course, I’m still going to work towards those deadlines, but I’ve realized that I have much more to work on in addition to those novels.

I’ve felt stuck with my writing lately only because I’m unsure what I should be working on. Which projects take priority?

I have three novels to work on (if you include Camp’s novel), plus I plan on posting two stories on Wattpad by the end of the year. That’s five novels.

I’ve always been submitting to contests and magazines at least twice a month, so I’ve been working on short stories and poems. Not to mention that I’ve been trying to get my foot into the freelance writing world at the same time.

Stir reading, blogging, and video games for Double Jump into the mix, and you’ve got a pretty good reason for as to why my head feels like it’s going to explode.

With all that said, I’ve realized that I haven’t gotten too much writing done in the past couple of months. I’ve been working on my blog and other things trying to think about how to tackle my writing projects without actually implementing my plan of attack.

I’ve written a few things, of course, for submission on other websites and magazines and the like, but I haven’t worked on any of the novels I planned to work on in 12 months. Well, now we’re down to almost nine months left and I don’t have much progress to show for it.

I realized that Camp NaNo is exactly what I needed. Because of Camp, I’m going to get myself back on the right track with my novel writing.

Sure, because of Camp, an extra novel got thrown into the mix, but it’ll be fun to think about a different project than the ones I’ve been working on for so long. Plus, I can take my time with it as I edit it bit by bit and submit it each month to my local writing group. I only submit about 15 pages (or one chapter) a month to my group, so it’ll take a while for the group to get through it.

In the meantime, I’m going to tackle editing The Lost Girl and George Florence as well as plan and write the two Wattpad novels (one of those novels is based off this Short Story Sunday everyone seemed to love so much).

I’m going to start this as soon as possible. Hopefully, by April, I’ll be in a decent enough routine with it so I can work on more than just my Camp novel. I know that will take priority for the month, but I hope to get other things done.

I’ve updated the “My Books” page with deadlines for each of these novels. Go check that out if you want to see the timeline I’ve planned for each novel (and if you want to hold me accountable for the deadlines… that’s why I posted it on the blog for all to see).

Where do you stand in your novel writing at the moment? Are you just as swamped as I am or are you working on just one project? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

 

On Themes: How To Write About Love

Love is a broad topic. You can love your significant other, your family, your friends, your pets, objects, anything.

There are certain kinds of love. There is such a thing as loving too much or loving too little. Sometimes something is mistaken for love or there’s no love at all.

When it comes to novel writing, romantic or not, there’s always some sort of love element thrown into the mix. No matter who it’s between, someone is loving someone or something.

how-to-write-about-love

Common themes about love:

  • Loving others – relationship
  • Loving others – friendship
  • Loving yourself
  • Mistaken love
  • Lost love
  • Forbidden love
  • Marriage/Divorce
  • Parent/Child
  • Love triumphs
  • Happy love
  • Unhappy love
  • Accidental love
  • Forced love
  • Rejected love
  • Love at first sight
  • Teen romance

There’s so much more, but I can’t think of them all right now.

What kind of love are you writing about?

Before you begin, figure out what kind of love you’ll be focusing on. A sweet romance? Erotica? Friendship? Is this something you experienced in real life, or are you winging it?

Either way, lay it all out for yourself so you can figure out where to go next and when. Of course, your characters will have a lot to say about it, as they should, but it would help if you had some sort of idea.

What makes a good love story?

I’m sure this goes without saying, but…

Emotion. You need emotion.

If your main character is falling in love, let your readers fall in love, too. There’s nothing I love more than falling in love with a fictional boyfriend and then getting mad that he’s just that: fictional.

How love can help your characters grow

We all have a heart. We all feel love, we all feel heartbreak.

Falling in love or falling out of love can help define us as a person. It puts us through a certain challenge that we may or may not be ready for, but we face it head on because that’s life. This should be no different for your characters.

If someone asked your protagonist out, what would they do? If someone broke up with them, what would they do? If they broke up with their significant other, what would they do?

If they were losing a best friend, if they rekindle with an old family member, what would they do?

In conclusion

Love is important and you can interpret it in so many ways. When it comes to writing about love, let it come from the heart. Let it come from experience.

Okay, this is getting corny now, so take this as you will.

How do you interpret love, romance or otherwise? What other tips do you have? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

Favorite First Lines

Kris posted this on her blog last month and I thought it was a good idea, so I decided to share my own.

I have a lot of novel ideas. Some I’ve started and am editing, some I’ve started and have yet to finish, and others are still just ideas that may or may not ever begin.

I’ve decided to post the first lines of novels that I’ve started and completed.

favorite-first-lines

From Diary of a Lover, the first novel I ever completed and have edited multiple drafts. I’m not sure if this novel will ever see the light of day, but it still holds a special place in my heart.

“Dear Diary,
Today is the first of October 2008.”

Riveting start, huh? Also, I love that it’s 2008. That’s how long ago I started working on that novel. It’s been almost ten years.

From Saving Each Other, a novel I wrote for Camp NaNoWriMo a while ago. I have a series planned for this one, but I’m not sure if this will ever see the light of day, either.

“Our story begins in the scene of Flower Petals Preschool.”

I have no idea whose POV that is. Also, “Flower Petals” is bolded, which means I had planned on changing the name of the preschool.

From Take Over, a novel I hope to publish someday.

“My name is Roxana, but everyone calls me Roxie for short.”

Like I said, I have some editing to do.

From Hunter, the first book in The Hunt trilogy that I plan on working on soon after the two novels I’m currently editing.

“The house was quiet except for the rush of water pouring from the kitchen’s sink faucet.”

…I’m not sure how I feel about that one. Spoiler alert, an argument is about to start.

From George Florence, the first book in my mystery series, titles for the series as a whole and the novel itself is in the works. I’m hoping to have this novel finished by the end of the year.

“She believed him to be a hero, even if she had never met him… Or not that she could remember.”

This first line has changed so many times. And it may change again.

From The Lost Girl, a standalone novel I’m currently working on in between breaks of George. I also hope to have this one finished by the end of the year.

“It was supposed to be a lovely day.”

But apparently it wasn’t.

And there you have it. Some first lines from all the novels I’ve completed first drafts for. There are so many other novels I’ve started and haven’t finished. Maybe I’ll do a first lines post for those ones someday.

First lines are so important. For some, it can make or break whether a reader will continue the story or not.

Some of these may change, some may not. I’m not even sure how I feel about some of them. Either way, I hope you found this interesting at the very least.

What are some first lines from your WIPs? Which was your favorite from mine? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

Why I’m Writing Short Stories for NaNoWriMo

I’m sure most of you know by now that I’m writing short stories for NaNoWriMo this year.

I tend to write whatever I want during the Camp months because they’re more flexible, but I like to stick to the “rules” of writing 50,000 words of a brand new novel in November.

I tried to write short stories last year for November and it didn’t go over that well. I can’t remember if I won or not, but I don’t think I did. It was hard and I said, “Well, I tried something different. Next year I’ll stick to my novels.”

So why did I change my mind?

It’s not that I changed my mind, I just had completely forgotten I told myself to stick to novels during November until just the other day.

I decided to write short stories this year for a number of reasons…

1. Short stories are “easier”

Short stories are not easy to write, but I think writing a novel is harder. Some people may agree or disagree with me and that’s fine. But short stories are smaller in the word count and there’s not as much planning as a novel. Sure, it’s difficult to wrap up a conflict in a short amount of pages, but overall I think it’s “easier” than writing a novel.

2. To get ahead for 2017

I’ve been trying to plan ahead for my blogs for 2017. There’s a lot that I want to do and the only way I’m going to get it all done is if I can get some things done right now. If I don’t have to worry about taking the time to sit and write a few thousand words every so often, that would be a huge weight off my shoulders. Any writing time can be spent working on my novels next year.

3. New novel ideas

The short stories I’ve written so far (I have January through May completely done and the other months are half done) vary in genre. I’ve written mystery, mainstream, memoir, poetry, and fantasy. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with the different genres. It’s great practice and the best part is I think I’ll be turning some of those short stories into novels someday. One story in particular (I think it’s a July short) I already have mostly planned out for a novel.

4. To submit to contests and magazines

I’ve been getting serious with submitting my work lately. I’ve submitted to magazines and a few contests at least once a month since August. I currently have two short stories out in the world that I’m waiting to hear back. I hope to keep that trend up and hope that something comes from it. I’ve written a few shorts so far that I think will be worthy of magazines some day in the near future.

Here’s a reason as to why I love writing short stories for NaNo: I don’t get burned out as easily.

Last Thursday I attempted to write 10,000 words and I ended up with 10,095 (I was pretty tired afterwards). I don’t remember how many shorts I wrote (most are about 1,000 words, but some are as long as 2,000 and as short as 500), but after every break I went back to writing something completely brand new.

There was no thinking, “Where do I go from here?” or, “What should my characters do next?” I just grabbed a prompt and went with it.

My word count is currently at 40,000 words. I have 10,000 more to go. I wanted to finish by Thanksgiving, but if I keep my 2,000 words a day trend up, I’ll reach 50,000 words on Friday the 18th.

And let me tell you, it’s been a wonderful thing.

Have you ever tried to write something else other than a novel during NaNo? How did it go? How is NaNo going for you this year? Let me know in the comments!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Why Fan Fiction is Important to Me

When it comes to writing, we all have to start somewhere. For me, it was fan fiction.

I started writing when I was ten-years-old using up notebook after notebook. It was a little while later that Kris discovered a website catered to just fan fiction. She got an account on there and posted a story based off of one of her favorite video games, The Legend of Zelda.

Meanwhile, in my notebooks, I was writing fan fiction based off of my favorite TV show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

When I found out people were reading and liking and reviewing Kris’s stories online, I begged her to post my story. I was too young to get an account and Kris decided to be a nice sister and add my story on there.

Thus began my fan fiction “career.”

Why Fan Fiction Is Important To Me

The majority of people I know or heard about say they love fan fiction. They think it’s a great way to get started with writing. Plus, it’s always fun to fantasize about your favorite characters. Put them in new and different situations than your shows or comics would normally put them in or even add yourself as a cast member. The possibilities are endless and fun.

But there are those few people that don’t like fan fiction. They say it’s not “yours” or it’s not “original.” Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I think any writing is writing.

Fan fiction is important to me because, without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I might still be jotting down random ideas in notebooks and never getting anywhere with them. Or maybe my writing would have fizzled out completely.

But one of the reasons why I stopped writing fan fiction was because I kept coming up with all these new, great ideas. And I thought to myself, “Why not create my own characters and use this idea in an original novel by me?”

There are times when I want to get back into fan fiction. I still have my folder filled with ideas for various categories on the website. When I get stuck on my original novels, I sometimes get the itch to revert back to fan fiction.

I never have, though.

My account is still on fan fiction. I have a link to it on my Contact Me page. Though I wouldn’t advise anyone to go check it out or to even read some of the stories I wrote on there.

The stories are old, pretty dumb from the mind of a young kid, and just plain old embarrassing.

I’ve thought many times to take down my old stories or even just to delete my entire account. Like I said, looking back on some of the stories now, it’s really embarrassing. I cringe just by looking at my profile.

Yet, I can’t take them off. Those stories are part of who I was as a kid. Those stories got to me to this point in my life. They helped me realize what I want to do for a career. They helped me realize what I truly love and have a passion for.

Writing. Creating. Using my imagination.

Once I was old enough, I created my own account in January 2005. That was almost 11 years ago. I last updated my profile in December 2014 with hopes I would get back into it, but I never did. In all that time, I uploaded 58 stories and a total of 421,396 words. The last thing I posted on there before that was in 2012.

April 2012, to be exact. I started blogging in May 2012.

I think it was at that point when I realized I wanted to be a full-time writer. I started my blog to build my platform and get more of my original writing out into the world.

I stopped fan fiction, ending one chapter of my life to begin a whole new chapter; writing originals. Writing for a career. Writing for you. Writing for me.

So, as embarrassing as it is, it’s fun to see how much I’ve grown as a writer since I’ve started. I’m still not a perfect writer, but I’m a lot better than I used to be.

With that being said, I’m posting a four-part series about my fan fiction (this post being the first part). The next two parts will be posted in October and the last part will be posted in November.

I hope you’ll enjoy this blast from the past with me as I make a fool of myself looking back at my old stories.

Have you ever written fan fiction? What got you into writing? Let me know in the comments!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump