Another year has come and gone. And no, I don’t mean 2017. I mean NaNo is just around the corner.
I’m excited to get back into NaNo. I feel like my writing has been short this past year. I’ve really only written anything during the NaNo months. I’ve slowly been fixing that, but NaNo is when I’m the most productive. I think it’s the “competition” of my writing buddies that really makes me go.
While I have so many novels written that need editing, I feel weird not writing anything new for NaNo.
I’ve been on Wattpad for a long time now. I’ve been wanting to post a story or two on there and I just… haven’t. So, I plan on writing a novel/novella during NaNo. I’ll give that one or two rounds of edits and then post it on Wattpad. My goal is to have it published sometime in January.
This past August, I posted an interactive Short Story Sunday where you, my readers, got to vote on what should happen next in the story.
I got a lot of positive feedback on the story and a few people have asked me to continue it. It was a story idea that I had debated on expanding. I’ve decided I’m going to continue it.
Meredith’s story was wrapped up in those four parts, but I know how it will continue with her roommate, Paige, and the Professor.
I plan on outlining it in October, writing it in November, editing it in December, and then publishing it on Wattpad in January. We’ll see how well that works out, but that’s the plan for now.
“Special” is a working title where the Professor will continue to pawn off his special notebook hoping to choose the “correct” person to handle its power. The power can be good or bad, depending on how who uses it and how they use it. Where the notebook came from, no one seems to know. The Professor seems to know more than what he lets on. We’ll just have to see what Paige decides to do with the power.
I’m still outlining the story now so more information on the story itself will come at the end of the month.
I’m looking forward to expanding on this idea. I hope it turns out well and I hope you’ll all read it (and enjoy it) when it’s on Wattpad.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo next month? What will you be working on? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
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!
People always say to write what you know. And that’s great, but then your novel would be pretty limited, wouldn’t it?
I find writing to be a great opportunity to write about something you don’t know. Find something that interests you that you never pursued and look into it more.
For example, when I was younger, before I decided to be a teacher and realized I wanted to write, I dreamed of being a spy or a detective. I had those play spy kits with notepads and pretend handcuffs and glasses that you would see behind you–the whole nine yards.
And look at me now: I write mystery novels. I’ve studied the police exam to get a feel of what it’s like. I solve puzzles and riddles in mystery video games (one where I’m a defense lawyer). I have books where I study what it’s like to be a police officer or detective, looked up various ways to die and the consequences of murder, and much more.
Let me tell you, it’s not very glamorous.
But when do you conduct that research? Do you cram the information into your mind before you begin? Maybe you research a bit here and there in the moment as you write? Or maybe you just free write, bold scenes you’re unsure of and do the research part after you finish writing?
Here’s your answer: You can research anytime.
That’s it. The end. See you tomorrow.
Well, I did decide to start a post about this, so I guess I’ll elaborate…
Research before writing
There are two reasons you should research before you start writing your novel:
1. You’re a planner.
2. You have a decent list of topics you need to look into or else the first draft of your novel will make absolutely no sense.
When I first started my mystery novel way back when I decided to do the research after. I knew I had a lot to look into and instead of spending a few months trying to learn it all, I figured I would just have the research component be part of the editing process. Or, look small things up along the way.
I love to outline, so I made a list of things I didn’t know, things I would probably need to know or the sake of my novel. I listed them but didn’t bother to look into them right away. Needless the say, the first draft of my novel wasn’t very good, to say the least.
I’ve done research before writing a novel and let me tell you, it’s a lot of notes to dig through as you write. And it slows the actual writing part down a bit.
Research during writing
I’ll admit, I find this one to be the most effective. If you need to know certain tidbits here and there, a quick Google search in the middle of your writing isn’t so bad. If you have something large to expand on, then it may be easier to make a note of it and just go back to it in the editing process.
The perks of researching as you write are as follows:
1. It saves you a bit of time when editing.
2. It gives you a small break in the middle of writing.
While it saves you time with editing, I know you’re thinking that it doesn’t save you time writing at all. But, it gives you a break with the writing.
If you’re on a roll, bold what you don’t know, and move on. Keep writing if your imagination allows it. However, if you notice that your flow has slowed down and you keep thinking back to that one spot you’re unsure of, stop.
Researching in the middle of your writing will give your brain a quick break. It’ll help you figure out where to go next, based on your research, and you may even come up with new ideas.
Research after writing
So you’ve finished a novel and it doesn’t make any sense. You have a list of topics to research, big and small.
Well, go ahead and get started.
Doing your research when you finish the novel helps your editing process get underway as you expand on certain scenes and realize others may not work out as well now.
Then again, you may end you being in for some serious rewriting. Editing is always a long process and adding the research part will make it seem longer. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You should take your time with it after all.
Is researching part of the outlining process or the editing process? Who really knows?
In the end, it’s up to you, up to the novel, and is an in-the-moment kind of thing.
I personally research at any stage of the novel, but I’ll admit I mostly research during and at the end of writing the novel. When you research before you may not know all the information you actually need.
Plus, I’ve always enjoyed researching as long as it wasn’t for a paper for school.
When do you typically research for your novels? How do you go about it? Let me know in the comments below!
In part one, I discussed about outlining tips for writers whose focus is their plot. In this post, I will be mentioning some outlining suggestions for writers who focus on their characters.
In the beginning, you might worry about starting with your characters and not your plot and how they will tie together seamlessly. Don’t think too much into your plot. You will figure it out as you go. Pick up your pen or your laptop and just begin.
But when you are outlining your characters, make sure to outline individual background stories as well. How two characters are related, how some characters will meet etc. Just those main scenes which you have in your mind. Note it down along with your character’s personality outline.
As I mentioned for the previous set of tips, I recommend outlining by hand more than in Word or software. Differentiating facts into sections will be a little time-consuming in Word and it wouldn’t offer much flexibility as well.
You might argue that it will be easier in a software such as Scrivener. When I used it for a trial period, I noticed that although it has several features to make outlining easier, it just isn’t the same as noting by hand on paper. It doesn’t offer that unlimited amount of flexibility. It also does not offer you a lot of information at one glance.
Also, in software, you will want to complete one section of traits before beginning any other. For example, you would want to get down all the physical traits before moving on to relationships or the past. You will not have that constriction in paper as you can just draw a line dividing the page and continue.
When writing/outlining a story and it’s characters, your mind will be cluttered and it will throw out ideas very fast. When outlining characters, you might think about his/her past and also a future scene at the same time.
DON’T write down one and plan to get the other down later, you might forget. Don’t be hesitant to cram notes in margins or divide sections of the paper without any planning. This is only the first attempt. Let it be messy, get it all down.
Use as many or as less sheets as you want. Don’t worry about it all being in only one page or being separate and orderly.Also when you want to scrap an idea, neatly strike it out once. The reason for this is the same as Tip 2 for plot-focused outliners above.
When you are done, don’t just accept it and leave it. Reread through the messiness and re-write everything you are going ahead with in a somewhat orderly fashion as final character spread. Also, save all your old sheets in case you want to refer back later.
Here is an example of a final character outline page (of just the basics):
Do you focus on your plot or your characters? What do you think of these tips and can you think of some more?
Iridescence is an 18-year-old Indian girl studying engineering and dreaming stories. Other than reading, she loves to colour code, make notes and plan everything, Snapchat a lot and is a proud INFJ.
Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be part of this, feel free to check out the Be A Guest Blogger page.
This week’s guest post is brought to you by Iridescence. Thanks, Iridescence!
If you’re starting to write a story, no matter for a book or not, what do you think of first—the plot or the your characters? This two-part tips posts will be discussing for both the answers.
Points in this post are more relevant to those who focus more on their plot.
Note: These tips would work best for plotters.
Some people like plotting their story in ink and others prefer to type. Either way, I suggest plotting at least some of your story in paper. Have a pen and notebook with you always and jot down everything in bullet points. Bullet points make everything look neater, shorter, and more precise. Writing paragraphs would feel too tedious, especially when you are just outlining, and this is the reason most lean towards typing. Bullet points will also prove easier when you are referring back later as you won’t have to read the whole paragraph for one small fact. You can get it in one glance.
Also, don’t take too long writing down as it might interrupt your flow of the plot. The mind works too fast and writing in abbreviations and short forms can help get a lot down. Just make sure you can understand what you’ve written later.
When you want to change something, don’t scratch or scribble over it. Strike it out neatly and write down the new idea. One, this will make the page look cleaner and still appealing. Two, if later, while writing your story something doesn’t add up or match and you want to refer back to old ideas, you can clearly read what you’ve stricken out but it would be hard to make out what is under the scribble. Writing in hand saves your trashed ideas too which might actually be helpful later. In software, it would be lost.
You can work out jotting down points for future scenes or relevant info in 3 ways:
Write down points elsewhere as you are plotting, even if it is in the middle of a paragraph.
Outline one chapter and reread, writing down any new points and ideas only then and not letting it interrupt your flow in the middle.
Only when you are done outlining for the day, take 10-15 minutes to reread and write down points and notes. Not caring whether you’ve written 2 pages or 2 chapters that day.
When you are done with some amount of plot outlining and are not in the mood for any more, never worry that you’re wasting time. Reread your outline and compare all of them together, figuring out the mismatches. Note down any changes and smooth out differences. This will help in solidifying your outline and also get your brain thinking again.
Do you focus on your plot first or your characters? What do you think of these tips and can you think of any others?