How Am I Doing?

So, we’re not quite halfway through 2016 yet, but I’ve come to realize that I haven’t given you guys an “update” on what I’ve been up to lately.

April was so wrapped up in Camp NaNoWriMo news, March was a lazy month where I barely got anything done, and I can’t even remember January and February, so don’t even ask about that.

I’m banking on the next four months to be really productive! Well… I hope the rest of the year is productive.

writing update rachel poli

My Monthly Schedule (for the rest of 2016)

May: write/edit
June: outline/edit
July: write (Camp NaNo)
August: write/edit
September: write
October: outline/edit
November: write (NaNo)
December: write (Short Story Sunday)

I try to work out my schedule to collaborate with the NaNo sessions. I also don’t want to be working on the same project two months in a row. Sometimes I get burned out with a project within one month. I couldn’t imagine working on something for two months straight.

So far this schedule has been working well for me.

2016 Writing Goals

1. Prepare George Florence to be query-worthy by the end of the year.

This all depends on how far I get in the novel with my writer’s group. Joining that writer’s group was the best thing I could have done for my novel and I want my group members to be able to read and give me feedback on the entire novel, though I only submit about 20 pages at a time and we only meet once a month.

So I may or may not still be in the editing stage come the beginning of 2017.

2. Finish and edit The Lost Girl for Wattpad.

I have a Wattpad account for a reason. I’m hoping to put last month’s Camp NaNo project on there. Though it still needs quite a bit of work. I’m hoping it will be posted on there in November/December/January. I’m giving myself a little extra time since November and December are busy months.

3. Edit Take Over

This is on the backburner. I wrote this novel a while ago and have edited bits and pieces of it here and there. I do hope to get it published someday, though it’s not my priority at the moment.

If I ever need a break from George Florence or The Lost Girl, I’ll be working on Take Over.

4. Work on short stories

I do plan on entering contests and submitting to magazines. In order to do that, I need to write and edit short stories or poems or something. So that will be done here and there.

So this is where I stand at the moment. I do have a plan even though I sometimes act like I don’t.

If you read my May Goals, you’ll know that I’ll be working on George Florence. It has a lot of editing to get through, but I’ll work on it for the first half of the month, up until the 15 of May. That’s when I submit the next part to my writer’s group and then we don’t meet until the end of the month.

So from the 15 through the rest of the month I’ll work on something else.

It’ll be the same thing with June and so on.

I know I just said that I didn’t want to work on a project two months in a row, but I think taking half a month off in between will be good for now. I have a lot of work to do on George Florence and that novel is my top priority at the moment.

So that’s where I currently stand on my writing projects. I have lots and lots of editing ahead of me.

What are you major goals for your writing? What are you currently working on?

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How I Outline

I’ve made plenty of outlining posts like this in the past. However, things change.

I think we all prepare for our novels differently depending on the project. So I thought I would share how I outlined for my Camp NaNoWriMo project, The Lost Girl.

I decided to outline The Lost Girl differently than how I normally outline.

When I was younger, I never really understood the amount of time, effort, and thinking creating a story took. So when I outlined, I simply wrote “summaries” for each chapter.

That’s how I decided to outline The Lost Girl.

I haven’t outlined like this in a long time, but I’ve had this story idea in my head for quite a few months now. Since the summer, I think.

I decided a while ago that I was going to write this story for Camp NaNoWriMo instead of trying to squeeze it in somewhere along with my edits of George Florence. Needless to say, that’s a long time to put a project on hold when you have a thousand ideas for it swimming in your head.

So I’ve been jotting down notes and writing ideas here and there. Because of this, I decided the easiest way to outline this novel would be to summarize each chapter in order.

Lately, with most of my projects, I’ve been outlining using index cards and post-it notes. I think I may do that as I write the story during April.

I can use the summarized chapters as a guideline and then I can write down what actually happens, scene by scene on post-it notes, to make the editing process go a whole lot smoother.

It sounds confusing now that I’m explaining it, but I think it will work out. If it does, I may just have to combine the two methods for all my novels.

How do you outline any of your projects?

You may also enjoy…
My Planning Process
Outlining: Tips and Ideas

How I Prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is less than two weeks away.

I’ve been researching, outlining and preparing for April 1st.

Honestly, I think this is the most work I’ve done for a NaNo novel before the actual challenge begins.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve done so far to prepare for The Lost Girl.

I created a map of characters as well as a map of places. This is something I should be doing for all of my novels because I think it helps a lot. However, this is the first time I’ve done it at all.

I used the app Total Recall. It’s an app where you can create web charts (I think that’s what they’re called) or bubble charts or whatever. Here’s what mine looks like, to explain it a little better. This is a map of the different settings of the book:

The Lost Girl Setting Map Peter Pan Rachel Poli

 

I may have missed a few places here and there. I also may add some new places as I write the story.

This helps me with my outline and write in the actual places. Since this novel is a Peter Pan retelling, I don’t want to make up too many new places. I want to stay true to the original story while adding in my own twists and turns.

This will certainly be a good resource to look back at when I write the actual novel.

I also made a map of the characters, but I don’t want to post a picture of it due to possible spoilers.

How do you prepare for your novel? Or do you wing it?

Beyond NaNoWriMo

Beyond NaNo

NaNoWriMo has come and gone. It’s been a week since the end of the 50k-word challenge.

Did you hit 50k words? Did you complete your novel entirely? Do you still have more to go even after the 50k words?

Whether you’ve finished or not, here are some things you can do now that NaNo is over.

Step Back.

Take a break from your novel. Writing 50k words in 30 days is a lot, especially if you’re an overachiever and reach way over 50k within the month. It’s a lot of strain on your brain, your eyes are crossed, and your fingers can no longer type. Give your characters some space and take a rest.

Write Something Else.

If you still have the itch to write or are afraid you’ll get out of your writing routine, write something else. Write a new novel, a short story, or a poem. Take a break from typing and hand-write for a change. If you hand-wrote your NaNo novel, take a break from that and type something up.

Edit.

Okay, okay. If you really can’t part from your beloved novel go right ahead and start editing it. Start rearranging those scenes, deleting whole pages, or just be on the look-out for typos. Print out your novel and gaze upon the beauty of printed words and breathe in the smell of wet ink.

Read A Book.

Writing aside, I’m sure you got a bit behind on your reading during NaNo… Am I right? Read a book in the genre you wrote for NaNo (or a different genre). It’ll give yourself a break, but the creativity will still be flowing through your bloodstream.

Outline Your Next Project.

Hey, Camp NaNo is only four months away.

NaNoWriMo 2015 Vs. 2014

NaNo 2014 2015

I did this last year and thought it was something cool to look back on. So I decided to do it again this year.

I’m going to compare and contrast this year’s NaNoWriMo to last year’s. I think it’ll be interesting to see the differences.

2014: I wrote a collection of short stories of various genres.
2015: I wrote a young adult religious novel titled Second Chances.

I was in the middle of working on George Florence last year when NaNo started and I was running out of Short Story Sundays. So I thought that if I wrote one short story a day at around 2,000 words each, it would suffice for NaNo.

This year I decided to try my hand at a different genre. The idea came to me last minute before November started. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head so I decided to go with it.

2014: I did not have an outline.
2015: I did not have an outline.

You can’t really outline multiple short stories when you’re looking up prompts through the Internet and in writing books.

Second Chances came to me so last minute that I didn’t have time to write an outline. Plus, I had so many ideas swimming in my head that I didn’t really feel as though I needed one.

2014 Stats:
2014 Stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Stats:

2015 Stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, my writing in 2014 was kind of all over the place. My writing this year was consistent… Until I decided to take a week off from writing, but I managed to catch up last minute.

2014: I won on November 26 at 50,067 words.
2015: I won on November 30 at 50,746 words.

Despite what the stats look like, I have no idea how I was able to win a few days early in 2014, but win on the last day in 2015. Oh, well. A win is a win.

How did your NaNo go?

A New Idea For NaNoWriMo

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Throughout the month of October I’ve been outlining a novel titled To The Fullest for NaNoWriMo next month.

The other day, I stepped out of the shower and a brand new novel idea smacked me in the face.

It had nothing to do with the novel I was planning to write. Nothing to do with George Florence. It wasn’t even an idea I had thought of long ago and just now expanded on. It was brand new and completely out of the blue.

Yet, I didn’t just come up with a new idea. I didn’t say to myself, “Hey, I should write that down and try to work on it sometime.”

No. I thought of the beginning, the middle, and end. I have a title, I know the theme of the novel, I have a tagline, I have a summary. All I need are names for the characters and then I’m good to go to start writing.

I was outlining To The Fullest the other day and realized the novel was going to have to take a much needed unexpected turn in order for it to work. I’m still trying to figure out the details for that one. I’m still unsure how the characters are going to get to the end.

I don’t have much filler for the middle.

As you can see, this random idea is farther along than the one I’ve been outlining for the past few weeks.

I can’t get the new idea out of my head. I keep thinking about it, I keep expanding on it. I have to write things down for it all the time before I forget.

Not once have I thought about To The Fullest since I thought of this new idea.

That’s why–with about two weeks before November–I’ve decided to change my NaNoWriMo novel.

I will be writing a novel titled Second Chances.

Wish me luck.

If you’re on NaNoWriMo, feel free to look me up and add me as a writing buddy: Fiery_Sapphire.

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/8-6/12

Weekly Wrap Up

 

From my June Goals list, this is what I’ve accomplished this week.

Reading:

I’m still reading, but you can be sure there will be a review posted tomorrow. I didn’t post one last week because I realized it was Six on the Sixth day.

Writing:

I am way behind on George Florence. I had a very busy weekend and kind of slacked off this week. I was extremely tired and had the bright idea of not doing anything after work each day. But I guess sometimes you need a few days to do nothing.

I have another busy weekend this week as well, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to keep up. I’ll try, though.

I also have to work on some contests as there are some deadlines coming up soon.

I’m also going to start outlining Hunter for Camp NaNoWriMo next month. Thanks to all those who voted in my poll to help me decide what to write!

Blogging:

This week I posted a fun video I found of George R.R. Martin “writing” and how easy it is to get distracted. I also posted another Inspiration Station post for Mystery Month called The Perfect Crime.

Overall…

This week hasn’t been very productive. June has always been a busy month for me between birthdays, Father’s day, graduations, end of the school/sunday school years, etc. It’s even busier now that I’ve set writing, reading, and blogging goals for myself.

I plan to play a lot of catch up next week, though. Plus next week is my last week of work so after that I’ll get six and half hours back to each day.

I hope you all had a great week!

Camp NaNo: Should You Outline?

Camp NaNoWriMo is slowly approaching. Hopefully you know what you’re going to write at this point. If not… then I think you need to go get some writing done.

If you do, then that’s great! So what should you do next? You have two options:

1. You can outline your novel.
2. You can twiddle your thumbs until April arrives.

Everyone should know by now that I love outlines and I plan my novels all the time. However, not everyone works that way. Some people are planners and others are pantsers–the people who twiddle their thumbs until April and then free-write the moment NaNo begins.

Do you like following a plan? Do you like mapping out your world? Setting the scenes? Explaining small details about the characters? Then you should probably outline your novel.

Would you rather make things up as you go along? Do you want to get to know your characters as you write the novel? Then you should probably wait for April.

Everyone works differently. Everyone writes differently. Aside from getting that first draft finally done, I think that’s one of the major points of NaNo: figuring out your way of writing.

My Planning Process

Yesterday I discussed different outlining methods for your novel. I talked about three techniques, but there are many more. Many are out there on the Internet and others are private between the novel and the author.

So today, I’m going to share my magnificent outlining secret!

Not really… I’m pretty sure I’ve seen people use this way before even though I thought I made it up myself.

All you need are six items: index cards, post-it notes, a pen, a pencil, a notebook, and tape. I like to use the bigger index cards to fit more notes. I also use colored index notes to make it look pretty. Same goes for the post-it notes; use pretty colors (but that’s totally optional). I use a pen to write on the index cards and post-it notes (because that’s what a pen is for). I use the pencil to number each post-it note (I’ll explain further in a minute). I use a notebook to put the post-it notes and the index cards. I use the tape to hold the index cards in place on the pages.

20150125_133655

I’ll use Detective Florence 2 as an example of this untitled outlining method. I have a total of ten index cards (there may end up being more). On one card I wrote a list of characters in the novel; main, secondary, minor, etc. I also wrote their ages and their purpose in the story. The list was too long so I taped a second index card on the bottom to continue the list. One card has a list of plot points; questions that need to be answered by the end of the book. One card is a general list of notes about plot, setting, characters, anything. Since DF2 is a mystery novel, two of the index cards are death details; “who, what, where, why, how, when” questions and answers. Two cards are the culprits plans; again, the who, why, what, etc. questions. It’s a lot of repetition, but mysteries have a lot of information that need to be remembered. I also have an index card with a list of dates and a small summary of what the characters did on each date. It helps keep track of the times and days in the novel for the characters. The last card is editing points, which I don’t create until I start the editing process.

I tape those down on the first few pages of the notebook, as shown above.

20150125_133733

The rest of the pages are filled with post-it notes. I use the pen to write in each scene on post-it notes. Each scene takes multiple post-its because I do a minute-by-minute summary. I don’t say, “this will happen in this scene.” I say, “George will do this” then “Lilah will say that.” Post-it notes are small and my handwriting is big; but I think it’s more helpful to be more detailed rather than give a general summary of each scene. I like to lay each scene out so I know exactly what to do next. Sometimes it changes, but that’s okay; at least I start off with a plan.

That’s exactly why I use post-it notes. If something changes, I can easily add, take out, or simply rearrange the notes. That’s also where the pencil comes in. I number each post-it note–despite they’re already in order in the notebook–so if I move them around I can erase and re-number them instead of crossing out the numbers with a pen.

Since I’ve already edited the manuscript once, some post-its got moved around. Others got cut completely. However, you should never waste an idea you once thought was good or needed. So, in the back of the notebook I stack all the unused ideas together. Some might end up back in the novel and others might appear in the sequel. You just never know.

20150125_133743

If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see there are 15 notes that didn’t make the cut this time around.

Now, why do I use a notebook? When I first thought of this method I used a giant poster and stuck everything on there. I hung it on the wall behind my desk for easy access as I wrote and edited. The thing was, the post-it notes kept falling off the more I moved them around. They lost their stick so I tried taping them down like I did with the index cards. That just ripped the poster so I would have to replace the tape each time I moved a note. It was more tedious than it needed to be.

So I decided to use a notebook. I can close the cards and notes inside so they don’t fall off and they don’t get crinkled up. Plus, you can see from the pictures that there is still some room (mostly just the margins) to add in notes about the notes.

This method is easy, flexible, and doesn’t take much time. That’s why I love it so much. So feel free to try it out for yourselves, regardless of what genre you’re working on. I hope it works just as well for you as it does for me.