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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

New Idea

By the title of this post alone you’re probably groaning saying, “she changed her mind again…?” Yes, I did change my mind again!

Kris and I were discussing writing last night as she filled up a notebook and I… haven’t written anything in a while. So, we were discussing the upcoming NaNo session, writing in general, publishing, etc. This is what I explained to Kris:

I decided to write a novel that was a brand new idea about two college students and writing. I’ve realized whenever I get stuck on my writing I end up writing about writing. Yet if it beats the writer’s block, then why not? The thing is, I’m not really all that into the idea anymore. I still like the idea and will keep it in mind in case I ever want to try it again.

However, I had to read the first half of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien for school this week. I read it in two days and now I’m back on a fantasy high. So I thought of writing Saving Time. There are two things wrong with that. One, it’s the kind of story that needs to be outlined. I have many ideas for it and there are a lot of characters and places in the story. It’s not something I can free write or else editing will be a pain and I’ll most likely lose the main idea. Two, I started it in a notebook and I would like to finish it in my notebook. If for whatever reason I can’t get to a computer, I can still work on a novel. I know some people hand write for NaNo and I love that; kudos to all of you, but I don’t have the time to hand write 50,000 words and then type those 50,000 words to validate it. I might as well sit at my computer and bang out 100,000 words if I can. So, Saving Time is out.

The first draft of my story chapter is due next week for my Fiction class. I’m going to submit the first chapter of Detective Florence. Of course, we all know I decided to take a break from that series and now that I have to focus on the one chapter I’m beginning to realize that I miss writing that series. I still have the third novel to write, but like Saving Time, it needs to be outlined. If I don’t outline it, I’ll be stuck and the series will lose its main idea. So that’s out.

You guys are probably thinking that I’m coming up with too many excuses, but trust me; I’m not good at pantsing. I free write every once in a while, but I need that outline for the most part; especially since I recently discovered a great way to outline that works for me.

So, what am I going to write? Kris and I were discussing my Short Story Sunday and then…

Eureka

I realized what I should write for NaNo. I should write short stories. That way I can write about anything I want, any genre I want. Plus, I think the variety of stories will help me get over my writer’s block. I haven’t been able to write in so long that it’s gotten to the point that my brain isn’t used to it anymore and I’m indecisive about it all.

Plus, it will certainly be interesting to see how well I do within a certain amount of pages/words. We all know I tend to babble on, so if an idea sparks it just might end up turning into a novella… but I think it would be cool to have a collection of short stories at the end of the month. It’s something different. It’ll be a nice change of pace for myself.

I’m excited about it whereas I wasn’t too thrilled with my old idea. So I think I have a better chance at winning now that my enthusiasm has come back.

Take Over And Far Away

Today is October first which means… one more month until NaNoWriMo! Yeah, it’s already that time of year again. Scary, huh?

So, despite homework, work, babysitting, whatever else I have going on in real life, I need to buckle down and get myself back into a writing/editing routine so that I can work hard on NaNo.

Before I begin, let me explain this: I was planning on writing Detective Florence 3 for NaNo because I was going to outline that novel as well as finish editing Detective Florence 2 this month. Well, I never even finished typing up the second draft to the first novel. Thus, I never started editing the second novel.

I don’t even know if I’m doing it right, but writing a mystery series is pretty tough. There’s so much information and there are so many plot holes that need to be filled (just like any other genre, but I feel like mystery is worse). There are so many characters to keep track of: bad guys, witnesses, victims, and so on. I do have a good handle on it, but since I’ve gotten far behind from what my schedule originally was (thanks a lot, school) I decided to take a break from it. I might pick it back up in December, but I make no promises to myself at this time.

With that being said… usually the month before a NaNo session I outline (well, try to) whatever I’m going to write for the month. Except now that I decided not to continue on with Detective Florence for the time being, I had no idea what to write.

I looked through my extremely long list of novel ideas and nothing really jumped out at me. I didn’t even know what genre to write. So, I looked through my flash drive and decided to be a “NaNo Rebel” this year and finish something that was already started. Thus, I came across Far Away again.

I thought it might be nice to work on a stand-alone novel for a change so I clicked on it to see where I was. Now, I don’t remember this, but apparently back in January I wrote about 20,500 words of this story. It was about 64 pages long. So, I’m pretty far along in the novel. I just need to read through it to make sure I remember what is going on. Thus, the outline. I’m going to outline Far Away this month so I can finish it for NaNo. Since I’m already 20k words in and my goal for NaNo is 50k, I’m going to have to have Far Away be at least 70k words, which I think won’t be too hard. The good news is, since I’ve already started it, I should be able to finish the manuscript if I meet my goals during November.

Speaking of stand-alone novels… about a month back I decided to work on two projects. One being the Detective Florence series (which since then has changed because I’m going to take a break from it) and the other would be Take Over. Does anyone remember that one?

I wrote it back in April 2013 for Camp NaNo. I decided to work on this because it is a stand-alone novel. I would like to get something worthy of publication soon, and I figured a stand-alone would be the best way to do it. I would like to have it ready by this time next year. So, in addition to outlining Far Away, I’ll be editing Take Over. In order to finish that by the end of the month, I need to edit about eight pages a day. I think that’s reasonable on account I have work and school on top of everything else. If I don’t finish it by the end of the month, it’s no big deal, but at least I’m going to try to have it done by then.

I hope everyone else is going to start getting ready for NaNo. 30 more days! Plus, the first day of November is on a Saturday. I can finish my homework early that week and of course I don’t have work on Saturday, so I’m hoping to make the first day really count!

Writing Schedule

I am happy to announce that I have finally come up with a plan for myself for my writing! Well… at least until the end of 2014.

For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to figure out Detective Florence. There are a lot of things I need to work on for both the first novel and the second, plus I need to write the third. Of course, I think the third novel is going to end up being the ending of the second novel, but for the sake of being more confused than I all ready am, I’m going to write it as though the story is it’s own novel.

As much as I don’t like editing, I figured I need to spend between now and November to edit. November will be used to write the third novel. In other words, I gave myself a deadline of November first.

I all ready edited Detective Florence during the month of June so I could write the sequel for Camp NaNo in July. With that being said, for the rest of August I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence. I’m giving myself a whole month to do this because it’s all ready the ninth and in a week I’m going on vacation for a week (I’ll explain more about that on a later date).

For September, I’m going to edit the first draft of Detective Florence 2. Both school and work will start up again so this will be interesting to see.

In October, I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence 2 and outline Detective Florence 3. I’m hoping to have the entire outline done as well as have all the questions answered. I also hope the novel (and the whole trilogy) will make enough sense so editing won’t be that bad.

November, of course will be spent writing Detective Florence 3 for NaNoWriMo. I think it’s funny that it’s been almost a year since I started the series.

I came up with the idea for Detective Florence a long time ago and started writing it in a notebook. All the characters were different except for Detective Florence himself, but he had a completely different personality. I can’t remember when I wrote it because I didn’t date it (I’m kicking myself for that one), but there’s about 31 pages written before I stopped. Maybe someday I’ll post a bit of it on here so we can all get a good laugh.

Of course, I may use that case and characters in another Detective Florence novel. Who knows? I have way too many ideas for these characters all ready.

I finally got it in my head again and I wrote it for November 2013’s NaNoWriMo. I’m pretty sure I hit 50k words on day 17, but I didn’t finish the whole novel until the end of December (or early January). Now a year later I’m going to be writing the third book.

Anyway, for this upcoming December, I’m not sure yet, but I might be editing the first Detective Florence again to give myself a break from writing the third one. Then I’ll either rotate editing through the series or I’ll edit one book at a time. It depends on if the outlines for all three novels makes sense and are in order with each other. So, December is up in the air for now, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

For now, I have plenty to do before November first.

Before Camp NaNo

Camp NaNo is about a week away. I plan on writing the sequel to Detective Florence which is the novel l wrote for NaNo back in November.

I don’t know why, but l’ve been in a “mystery” mood. So l’m spending June editing the first novel so l can attempt to get my facts straight and remember what actually happened in the first novel.

I’ve been coming up with ideas for the sequel, so hopefully outlining will come easy. I hope to finish editing by this Sunday (if l edit at least 20 pages a day that is) and then l will have a week to plan and outline the sequel.

In addition to editing, l’ve been playing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, reading murder mysteries, and watching Psych. Again, l don’t know what put me in the mood, but…it’s been keeping me motivated and on track.

How are you planning for Camp NaNo?

It’s Thursday

Thriving Thursday AKA Halloween…

 

Pumpkin

 

 

Instead of some awesome quote about Thursday, I decided to be festive and post this pumpkin. Yesterday, my mom and two cousins carved this pumpkin. The hat, added this morning, is from one of my cousins’ costumes. One is being candy corn (thus the hat) and the other is being a ladybug. I’m assuming Jackie is the ladybug (her mother always associated her with ladybugs) and Kat is the candy corn, but I never actually asked them. So I guess I’ll find out tonight.

Today at work the kids are going to “trick-or-treat” in each classroom. We got them Halloween pencils, erasers, spider rings, spider necklaces, pumpkin bubbles, the works. And we’re giving them pizza for lunch. In order words, work is going to be hectic because not only are the kids going to be hyped up with the thought of it being Halloween, but we’re also giving them treats. Good thing we only have seven kids today and not the usual 12…

In other news, I have also deemed today Thriving Thursday. Why? Because when I do get home from work I am going to be NaNo prepping with Kris. I’m going to be at work late, despite it being Halloween, but when I come home (which will probably be between 5:30 and 6:00…) we are going to bust out our ideas! I’ll have to show you all a picture of my poster board tomorrow…I didn’t want to post a picture yet because it’s not finish. And truth be told, it may not get finished. But at least I’m going to try. My novel is a murder mystery so there’s a lot of planning involved.

I never told you guys what I’m going to be writing for NaNo, have I? It’s the first in a series (of course) and it’s called Detective Florence. I’ll post the summary of this novel up here soon, but long story short it’s about a laid off detective who decides to go freelance and open his own private investigator office. However, no cases doesn’t pay the bills. But just when he’s about to close his office doors for good, he gets the biggest case that will make or break his career as a detective. With the help of an annoying assistant, of course.

You may or may not have heard of the Ace Attorney games? The fifth one just came out called Dual Destinies. Before this one, there were games based on Phoenix Wright, Miles Edgeworth, and Apollo Justice. If you’ve heard of them and played them–fantastic! Kris and I are addicted. These games are actually what inspired this novel in the first place. Let’s hope it goes well like in the games.

So that’s that. Teacher by day, writer by night! Kris and I are going to (hopefully) stay up until a decent hour to write. Lately we’ve both been in bed by 9:30…it’s sad.

Happy Halloween, everyone! 🙂

It’s Wednesday

Wonderful Wednesday, AKA: Hump Day…

 

Hump Day

 

 

I’m sure most of you have seen this commercial with the camel calling to Mike asking what day it is. If you haven’t, the go check it out on YouTube because it’s hilarious. It’s a commercial for Geico, but I don’t think anyone actually remembers the true meaning of the commercial. We all just like the camel.

I’m deeming Wednesday as Wonderful Wednesday because I wanted to continue on with my alliteration theme. However, today is most commonly known to people as Hump Day. So I will allow both.

The reason I’m calling Wednesday “Wonderful” is because of the fact that it’s Hump Day. Confused, yet? Once I get through today I only have two more days of work. Today’s an early day at work for me as I only have three kids in the afternoon. I should be home by 4:45-ish, as yesterday I did not get home until closer to 6. But today should be a good day and it should be easy (I probably just jinxed myself).

But when I get home today I have a lot of things that I need to get done. We started this new way of progress reports on the kids. It’s in collaboration with a website and we need to do observations on the kids. We observe the children doing anything that ties into their development — math related, science, social/emotional, physical, etc. — and we need to plug it into the website to see if their at the appropriate level for their age. Well, it’s my turn to plug in the observations this month (the other teacher and I alternate months so we can both get familiar with the set-up as this is brand new to both of us) and more than half of them did not save. Angry, much? Yes, I was. I had plugged in over 70 observations and none of them really went through even though I hit the “save” button. So I have to do that.

I also should work some more on my homework. I don’t have too much more that I have to do, but one of my teachers assigned two essays. One is due in November and the other is due December 2. Should I do them? Should I at least start them? Because I already don’t have any motivation for these classes, when November starts forget it. It’s NaNo. But I only have today to do it.

Tomorrow is Halloween. Kris and I aren’t doing anything special, but she has the day off from work. So when I get out of work (most likely around 5:30), we’re going to finish prepping for NaNo. Maybe do a couple of writing prompts or something. Then come Friday…Friday is the big day!

I’m anxious, nervous, and excited all at the same time! I feel like I’ve never done NaNo before, but I’ve never officially won before. I’ve won Camp NaNo a few times, but never the original November NaNo. I really feel like I can make it work this year, despite the amount of homework, working eight hours a day, and all that fun stuff. I have a plan and I am determined to stick to it.

Look me up on NaNoWriMo: Fiery_Sapphire

It’s Tuesday

Tedious Tuesday…

 

Coffee

 

 

Tuesday ends with the letter “Y.” Enough said.

I’m calling today Tedious Tuesday for a number of reasons: School, work, writing, video games.

Okay, I guess the video games isn’t a very big priority. But Kris and I got the new Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies game and we’ve been dying to play it. Due to our conflicting work schedules (and I have homework), we haven’t been able to play it as often as we want. We need to beat it before NaNoWriMo otherwise…our NaNo novels will most likely suffer.

I need to get all of my homework done because I’m not going to be able to do it starting on Friday. Friday is the beginning of NaNoWriMo and I need this weekend to get ahead in my word count. I’m going to have more homework next week which means less time to write. I have today, tomorrow, and Thursday to finish this week’s homework and maybe attempt to jump ahead into next week’s homework, too. I don’t care if I’m ahead, behind, or right on par: I am determined to write at least 1,667 words a day. I think it would be nice to attempt to get in a good writing groove that will maybe carry on past November.

I work 10-6 Monday-Friday. Not really…I leave work when the last kid leaves (provided everything is set up for the next day, which it always is). This year, the kids have been getting picked up early (yay!) so I’ve been getting out of work between 4:30/5:00. The nice part is that I still get paid until 6. Anyway, Tuesdays and Thursday are late because one kid doesn’t get picked up between 5:00\5:30. Not bad, but still prefer to get out that extra hour earlier.

Next is writing. I have gotten a great chunk of planning done on my NaNo novel, but I would still like to see it finished. I can’t really do that if I’m busy doing homework and all that fun stuff. Again, I have today, tomorrow, and Thursday to finish planning. Granted, I don’t need the entire novel planned out. I at least have the beginning and a good chunk of the middle, but I want to make sure that I don’t get stuck anywhere. We all know how terrible I am at editing later on.

Thus, I deem thee Tedious Tuesday! I have homework for five classes, it’s my late day at work, I would like to get an hour or so of NaNo prep done, and because both Kris and I are going to be home today it would be nice if we could also play our game for a little bit.

It will be around 5:30, but I am seriously debating on whether or not I should go to Starbucks after work.

It’s Monday

Monster Monday…

Monday

No, today is not “Monster” Monday because Halloween is coming up. No, today is “Monster” Monday because…well, it’s Monday. Anyone in their right mind does not like Monday. Now if a new school week didn’t start on Monday and I didn’t have to go back to work after a nice two-day weekend, then I wouldn’t mind Monday. Poor Monday. Hated by everyone and is only a part of the week because there has to be some day in the week that needs to get us started on productive activities.

So it’s Monday. The last Monday in October. Thursday is Halloween. Who’s dressing up this year? I’m not. I wanted to, but all the costumes or raunchy and way too expensive for my liking. If my car didn’t break down on me then maybe I wouldn’t mind the money part, but I am still paying for my school bill for this semester, so maybe it’s for the best. However, it still makes me a bit sad because Kris and I usually coordinate together. One year she was a cop and I was a SWAT team member. The year before that she was Batman and I was Robin. But between my bank account starving and our conflicting work schedules, we just couldn’t do it this year. Sad day. Good news is, Kris actually got the day off from work on Halloween. This is the first year in…well, a few years.

On a brighter note, NaNoWriMo starts Friday. On a dimmer note, I am no where near ready for it to start.

Not yesterday, but the Sunday before yesterday, Kris and I had a very productive day. We planned our NaNo novels together. Kris is not a planner. I am a planner. Sometimes. I like the idea of planning and sometimes I plan and sometimes I don’t. When I do plan, sometimes it works out in my favor and other times it doesn’t. However, it was a breakthrough for Kris because she never does anything like that. She just writes whatever comes to her mind. Which is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. However, we wanted to write together and neither one of us wanted to start anything new because NaNo was just right around the corner.

So that Saturday night, October 19, we grabbed a novel and picked random sentences out of it. We then each took the same sentence and used it as the first sentence for our prompts. We wrote six prompts altogether before we got too tired and went to bed. The first four prompts we had the goal to write 200-500 words. The last two prompts we bumped up the count to 500-800 words because I kept going over the 500 limit on the other ones and had to keep editing out words. It was a pain. I’ll probably post these prompts on here soon enough. They’re not A+ material, but they’re decent enough. I wrote each prompt in like, 10 or 15 minutes at the seat of my pants, so you have to expect less than an A+.

Saturday night was a great night. Then Sunday we went to church, went to Starbucks (my favorite place on earth), and we turned on Pokemon Ranch on our Wii (for background noise…if anyone knows/has this game you know how pointless is it, yet still amusing to watch and listen to), and we planned our NaNo novels.

Let me give a little background on this: When Kris was at work one day I found a poster board in my house, got out my index cards and sticky notes, and went to town. On the index cards I made a list of characters, plot points, questions that need to be answered by the end of the novel, etc. On the sticky notes, I wrote events that need to happen in the novel. Then I move them around and attempt to put them in order. When Kris got home from work she saw what I was doing and something must have clicked in her head. So, naturally, we turned on the Ace Attorney game on the Wii and played that.

But that Sunday she grabbed her own poster board and we shared my index cards and sticky notes. Neither one of us “finished,” but since she has Halloween off from work, which is the day before NaNo, maybe she and I can dress up as writers and plan some more.

I hate that NaNo starts on a weekday. Kris and I can’t plan until midnight and then begin writing because I have to get up early Friday morning to get my cousins off to school then I have work 10-6. Meanwhile Kris is working 12:30-9:30 on Friday. But she always has Sundays off. So we decided that every Sunday in November, we’re going to go to church, go to Starbucks, then write until it’s time to go to bed. Except for the first Sunday…I agreed to babysit at 6 in the evening about a month ago. I’m stupid…

Anyway, that’s where we stand right now. Last week before NaNo…AAAAAHHHH!!!!

By the way, look me up on NaNo: Fiery_Sapphire

October 1st

It’s October Already?

 

Oh, dear Lord…I can’t believe it’s October already. Yesterday when I left work, right before my co-worker got into her car I shouted, “We survived a whole month with these kids! Only eight more to go!”

It’s said because we have very low enrollment. We’re a small, private preschool and have two classrooms. One room is for two- and three-year-olds and the other room is for four- and five-year-olds. We have three kids in the younger room and 12 in the older room leaving our enrollment a total of 15. I was promoted–I have way more responsibilities and I’m also working 40 hours a week now. However, I am still making the same amount I was because we can’t afford to give us raises…we even had to lay one of the teachers off (which is basically the main reason I got bumped up to lead teacher). My paychecks are much bigger than last year, which I am hugely grateful for, but if I was paid what a lead teacher is supposed to be paid…well, I would have an easier time paying for school, wouldn’t I?

Ah, school…one month down, three more to go. My teachers are stupid. Have I mentioned that? All five of my classes end on December 14, but at the beginning of the semester, one professor thought it was a ten-week accelerated course. Do you want to know why he thought this? He thought it was the summer semester, not the fall. Um…I can see mixing up the days of the week, like thinking it’s Friday when it’s really Thursday, but mixing up the months? I mean, there’s a big difference between June and September. Does he not own a calendar? And he (and a couple of my other teachers) re-use lesson plans. I’m all for that, I’m a teacher, I understand what a pain it is and make a new lesson plan. It’s perfectly okay to re-use the same material, but…can you at least proof-read? I mean, this is an English degree, these people are English professors, don’t we know how to proof-read? In one class, the class that was an “accelerated course,” everything is supposedly due June 2013. For another class, this week’s assignments are apparently due in February 2013. I am paying 6,000 dollars this semester. I feel like I’m being ripped off somehow.

But it’s October. And I’m sick. Tomorrow will mark me being sick for a full week. I thought my sickness would start and end in September, but apparently not. I had a really bad cold and from that I got laryngitis. I still can’t talk all that well, but I am doing much better than I was. I know when you get laryngitis the best thing to do is not talk. Yeah, well I’m with a bunch of preschoolers for eight hours of the day. I can’t really rest my body let alone my voice. But as I said, it’s getting better. It’s all a matter of time now.

But I have to admit that I’m sick now rather than later because, well…it’s October. And we all know what October means, right? 30 days (31 days? I was never good at math and never will be) from now it will be the start of…

NaNoWriMoOh, yes! I have been waiting a long time for this. I would rather be sick now during NaNo Prep month rather than NaNo itself. I’ve been sick during November before and it sucked. I wasn’t able to get anything done.

But then I think to myself, “Crap…it’s October 1st.” How am I going to plan? How am I going to make the time with school and work? More importantly, what am I going to write?

Now I have tried to write two novels at the same time before. I’ve tried this a couple of times. It does not work. Not for me, anyway. Especially since I’m at work eight hours a day five days a week and then trying to get homework done in between. Oh, and I have to attempt to have a social life. That’s important…but maybe not for November? I don’t know.

Anyway, I have tried thinking of what I should write. I started this thinking process a couple weeks ago. I thought of something to write, but of course I’m beginning to change my mind. So I don’t really know what’s going to happen because I’m at a loss right now. All I know is that my time is limited because I need to do some serious planning if I want to win. If I don’t plan, I’m most likely going to fail due to being smothered by school and work. At least if I plan, I don’t really have to think. The point of NaNo is to not think and not edit, right? Then again…if you think you’re going to fail, aren’t you setting yourself up to fail?

Oh, well. I never listened to wise quotes like that.

Future Thoughts

Playing It Over And Over In My Mind…

This goes along with the obnoxious post that I posted here yesterday.

I mentioned that Kris and I tend to talk about our future a lot. I have no idea what gets us thinking about it, but I guess it’s just the feeling of “wondering.” I haven’t really talked to her in a little while about it, but I have been thinking about it myself lately. I also said that yesterday I was talking to my cat, Hunter about it. He meowed back at me…if only I knew what he was saying.

I said that I had always had a plan. I wanted to be a teacher. Then I wanted to be a writer and a teacher. Well, I still have those plans. I’m working towards those goals. I went to school for teaching and I am a teacher’s assistant at a preschool. I just mailed my lead teacher application the other day. I will be going to school for English starting this Fall and I also have a few novels I have written and completed. I just need to seriously edit them.

But then I really got to thinking and even though I practically wanted to be a teacher my whole life, the other major thing I’ve always wanted to be was a mom.

I babysit my cousins a lot and I babysit for another family a lot. I need mom hours at work and I can’t get them now. But when I’m a director of a preschool and a writer at the same time, how am I going to find time to spend with my kids?

Yes, I know. I turn 20 in about a month, so why am I thinking about what I’m going to do with my kids now? But I feel as though I need a plan.

The other day I was home alone. I woke up early, made a cup of coffee, and sat down at my desk to write. I had my turtle, Raph out of her tank. She was getting into all sorts of messes which distracted me from writing (she likes to go into small nooks and crannies, but we’re in the basement…you have no idea how many spiders are in those small nooks and crannies!).

Raph

I also have my cat, Hunter down there to babysit her. He likes to watch her and lately when he starts going somewhere she isn’t supposed to (for example, the laundry room) he begins to meow and howl obnoxiously loud until he has my undivided attention. The best part is that I don’t have to pay him.

Hunter

Then there’s my pip-squeak of a dog, Chip. Sometimes she sits on my lap while I write and other times she sits on the stairs and barks. God only knows why.

Chip

So I was thinking to myself that I would absolutely love to have that every day. Wake up early, get the kids off to school, get the husband off to work, then it’s just me, the animals (fish is going to get thrown into the mix soon), and my writing. Of course, I guess I would occasionally clean the house, too.

But when I thought of this ideal lifestyle, I realized that no where in there involves teaching. I want to own a preschool. How can I stay home all day writing with my pets while my kids are at school then hang out with my kids, do homework with them, and cook dinner when I’m running my own preschool? This is problematic.

Then I thought maybe I could hold off the directing until my kids are a little older and I can just teach in the mean time. Then again, I only turn 20 next month…when am I having kids? Not for a while, I know that much. So why am I thinking about this so much? I have no idea.

All I know is that there are so many things I want to be doing and there is just not enough time. Writing is the number one priority and I want to have kids and I want to teach. How am I supposed to fit everything together to work perfectly like puzzles pieces meant for the same picture? And I know that there are going to be so many other things that I’m going to want to do, as well. It really sucks not knowing what’s going to happen in the future. I wish I could plan everything out, but I can’t.

Thoughts On Life

Warning, This Is A Really Long Post…

Kris and I tend to have a lot of conversations about our future. For some strange reason, I was beginning to think about again this morning. Kris was home with me, but she was in the shower so I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it. Except for Hunter.

Yes, he is sitting in a drawer. This pic was taken a while ago, though.
Yes, he is sitting in a drawer. This pic was taken a while ago, though.

He seemed to agree with me on half of the things I said, too. Well…he meowed a lot, anyway. But together, in the half hour Kris was in the shower, he and I took a long, hard look at life.

I was always the type of person to have a plan.  I always stuck to that plan no matter what and it was very hard for someone or something to change my mind.

When I was in first grade, I was six-years-old,  I loved my teacher a lot. Her name was Mrs. McCarthy. I have two memories from that class: one was that she had a beanie baby named Tiny. Every Friday one kid in the class was chosen to take it home for the weekend. Memory number two is that I remember telling her, “I’m going to be a first grade teacher just like you.” I kept half of that promise. I do want to be a teacher and have wanted to be a teacher ever since.

When I was in fifth grade, I was ten, my sister found the FanFiction website. I wasn’t really all that interested in it, but I wanted to copy her because I was an annoying little sister. I created a story for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because that was my obsession at the time. The writing sucked, to be blunt. My spelling was terrible, I had no idea what grammar was, and for the most part there was no plot. I just threw a little girl into the turtles’ laps and based her off of me. As I got older, I took the story down and re-vamped it. It was popular and I continued on. I found the sister site, FictionPress, which is all original stuff. I posted a few things on there, came up with millions of novel ideas, and thought to myself, “Why post these on the internet when I could get them published?” That was when I got my start at writing.

But I still wanted to be a teacher. How was I to write and be a teacher at the same time? Mind you, at this point in time I thought authors made millions of dollars by just selling one book. I didn’t realize how difficult it truly is. But I thought writing was going to be so much work (which it is), so how was I to write full time all day every day and still be able to teach first grade?

“I’ll be an English teacher!” I finally came to a conclusion. I never really thought about what grade I wanted to teach, but I was gonna go with it for the time being. I love Spanish, too. There was some point in my life where I kept flip-flopping back and forth between being an English teacher and a Spanish teacher.

Then I got to seventh grade, I was 12. My aunt suddenly passed away from a brain aneurysm. She and the rest of my family were over for my birthday, seeming completely fine, and two days later she was gone. She left behind Jackie and Kat (who were 3 and 1 at the time) and my Uncle behind. Two weeks later we had to put my dog Casey down due to seizures. This was around the time Hunter came into the picture (he was a stray), but that’s another story for another time.

Most of my writing during that time was sad and gloomy. Most of the things I wrote on FanFiction was in the humor section and I got a lot of reviews with people telling me that my work was so funny that they printed it out to share with their friends and such like that. But when she left behind her daughters, there was no one else to watch them while my Uncle was at work, so we took them in. I was the youngest of three and then suddenly a middle child of five. It was the biggest change of my life and it’s not something I would wish upon anybody.

I love my cousins to death and I am glad we did what we did to help them and my Uncle out, but when you’re 12 it’s tough to see just how good of a deed you’re really doing. But ever since then, I was done with change. I didn’t care if it was good or bad, I didn’t need anymore surprises in my life.

But people tell you that when you get to high school, things change. Your friends, even yourself, changes. “That will never!” I declared. I had the best group of friends in the world. Alyssa, Mary, Christina, and Kerri. I had known Christina and Kerri since elementary school and Alyssa and Mary came into the picture in middle school, sixth grade.

But at the beginning of ninth grade, high school…things changed. Just like people told me they would. Mary moved to another town so she went to a different high school. Alyssa went to a vocational school. Only Christina, Kerri, and I were at school together, but while I had a few classes with Kerri, I never saw Christina around. I kept in touch with Alyssa and kept in touch with Mary through Alyssa. But as each day passed, we talked less and less. Now we get in contact with each other once every few months and never hang out anymore.

Junior year was the bulk of when everything happened. I had just turned 16 and while everyone else was learning how to drive, I said no thank you. I wasn’t ready for it and I wasn’t going to be for a very long time. Kerri changed drastically that year to the point that I haven’t spoken to her since. And I changed, as well. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but I was straying from the path that I had been on so for so.

Long story short, after Christmas break, I did not go back to high school. I refused to go. My teachers were baffled, my parents didn’t know what to do, and I had no idea what had come over me. I hated the kids in my class, none of my teachers seemed to believe in me, and I was realizing that Kerri didn’t believe in me, either. We got in a huge fight because when she asked me what was going on with me, I told her I didn’t know because I truly didn’t know. She got angry at me thinking I was keeping something from her. That was the end of our friendship.

For the second half of my junior year I stayed home all day and went in after school to be tutored for a while to make sure I finished my junior year. I went into therapy where I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and had to be put on medication. I only had two teachers supporting me and the rest thought it was because I just needed to be in lower classes. I was put in the low classes all my life when I got A’s and B’s. I had to fight to get into the higher classes and now they were putting me down again. I had it with teachers. I had it with school. I was ready to drop out and not bother going to college.

My therapist found this “dual enrollment” program at a local community college. I was able to finish my high school diploma there and the courses would also count towards my degree. I went with it. And I’m glad I did. I not have my Associate’s degree in early childhood education. I’m starting my Bachelor’s in the Fall for English.

I hate change. I always hated it thinking I would never get through, but my entire life has changed in a million different directions and each time I adapted. I went from wanting to be a teacher, to an English teacher, to possibly a Spanish teacher, to finally deciding on being a preschool teacher (working towards owning my own preschool and being director) ,all while being a writer. I went from a group of four friends to just the one (Christina and I chat ever day). I went from being an almost high school drop-out to being a college graduate. And I have plans to get my Bachelor’s in English, Master’s in Business, and go back for a certificate in Special Ed. I went from being the youngest child to being one of the oldest.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that…I’m ready for anything else that life throws at me. I have a lot more schooling to get done and I have a ton of books to get published. Who knows what’s going to happen?

Mind Blown

Ready To Be Confused…?

 

First things first: I lost count of my word count. Seriously, I thought I was doing really well with the word count and keeping up with it, but I just calculated everything out and I was about 4,000 words off. The word count on here was higher than what my calculator said. So I decided to change it. I’m adding the words from Take Over, Saving Each Other, Seeing Things, and so far of The Blank Page because that’s really all I have written for 2013. So the word count is a little less, but oh well. I think I might have gotten confused because of the NaNo count, as well.

That’s not what I meant by the confusion, though. Although I am pretty confused about the word count, but whatever. What I was going to mention about being confused is the fact that I am trying to write four books at one time right now. Yes.

I have been trying to stick with one book at a time to make it easier on myself and to force myself to be more organized. So far, it’s been working. The only thing is that I have Seeing Things started, but I plan on finishing that as soon as I finish The Blank Page.

Speaking of the The Blank Page…you know how that novel is about three writers getting together once a week to write their own novels? Well, three novels plus The Blank Page, equals four novels. There you have it. I am going to be writing four novels at once.

When I first started writing The Blank Page (before my flash drive died) I thought about writing their novels along with the real one because I thought it would help me keep track of their progress, figure out their own writing styles and habits, and I could get their plots straightened out. I never did, though. I don’t know why and I got confused a lot and there were a lot of holes in The Blank Page…holes that my characters found and jumped through as I tried to continue on with the novel. So not only did I have no idea what was going on, but they decided to play hide-and-seek on me…and I lost.

So I decided to write each novel as I write The Blank Page. It’s going to be tough, but I think I will be able to get through it. I hope I can, anyway. It’s tough right now because I gave each of them their own way of thinking on how to write a novel. For example…

Adair is writing fantasy. She doesn’t know the title of her novel and she doesn’t think. She just writes whatever comes to her mind because to her, editing is when the real writing begins so the first draft is going to be crap no matter how well she writes it. She just wants to get the editing process sooner rather than later. Her novel is single-spaced, but she still has more pages than the boys because she types a lot faster.

Justin is writing a young adult drama and he is the complete opposite of Adair. He knows the title and he thinks a lot. He has a notebook filled with notes and, outlining for this novel. He knows the exact beginning, middle, and end to his novel to make sure that he doesn’t get stuck behind writer’s block. He hates editing, which is another reason as to why he plans it all out. He also types really slowly to try not to make too many mistakes to make editing easier, as well. His novel is double-spaced “as it should be.”

Dominic, in a way, is a mix of Adair and Justin. He came in not even knowing the genre. Apparently, he has written mystery, suspense, and thrillers before, so he decided to write a mystery after Adair told him to. His is double-spaced, but still has the least amount of pages. He doesn’t plan, as he didn’t even know the genre, but he hates editing. He has no idea what the title is and he has no idea where the plot is going to end up. He doesn’t even really have a plot at the moment.

So as you can tell, it’s a little tough because I have to write two novels entirely from scratch and I have to plan out Justin’s novel. Well, I don’t have to, but I want to. It’ll be a good exercise to step into my characters’ shoes and get to know them a little more. I’m just a little afraid of what I might find.

 

2013: 119,319/350,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read

Day 30

I Did It!

 

I made it up to about 53,000 words for Camp NaNo. The only problem was that I wrote multiple things. So when I validated my novel this morning, I used Take Over because that was about 70,000 words. It was easier doing that than putting everything I wrote in one document to validate it. But because of that, NaNo thinks I wrote about 70,000 words this month. That is not the case, but oh well. I’ll go along with it.

I was hoping to write a lot more before the month ended, but school has me swamped. I finished one project last night and I plan on finishing the other projects (or close to it) tonight. I’ll stay up all night if I have to to. Because tomorrow is May 1st, which means that I’m going to start a new month of writing.

By the end of May, I plan on having The Blank Page completed. It would be nice to have it done in the next two weeks so I could print it out at school and use up their ink and paper. But I’m not going to rush myself to get it done by then just so I can save a couple of bucks. It depends on how quickly I can get my homework done. Stupid homework…

Anyway, I have a lot to do on here, as well. I have to post the summaries and excerpts of Take Over, Saving Each Other, and Seeing Things. Of course, Saving Each Other and Seeing Things are the same thing, so you might have to wait until I finish all five parts…but I think I already posted the summary for Saving Each Other. I seriously have to get myself organized. I’ll also post the summary and excerpt of The Blank Page as soon as possible, as well.

So no writing for me today, but tomorrow I will try to write as much as possible…depending on how much homework I am able to get done tonight. We shall see.

Congrats to all of those who finished and won Camp NaNoWriMo! 🙂

 

2013: 131,977/350,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read

Day One

And It Begins….Writing

Let’s begin with last night: I wrote some more of Take Over, but only 2,063 more words of it. I planned on writing as much of Take Over as I possible could up until midnight. Then when midnight came I was going to start writing Saving Each Other for Camp NaNo. That didn’t happen. I got tired of writing Take Over and my fingers felt as though they were going to fall off. I was in bed at 10:30. Yeah.

But that’s okay because I woke up this morning and got started on Saving Each Other right away. I am happy to announce that I have written 6,350 words for Saving Each Other so far. I was going to continue on, but I wanted to post on here first because I have to go to work soon.

That picture is a sticky note. I tend to glance down at the bottom left-hand corner to see how many pages and words I have. I put the sticky on the screen blocking it so I wouldn’t look at the words. Then I set my timer to an hour so I only got to check how many words I got written every hour. It helped because I tried to get more and more words each hour trying to break the previous record.

According to my Camp NaNo stats, at the rate I’m going I should finish on April 8. I have no idea if that will actually happen or not, but I do have a lot of time this week. I got lucky this year: I only have work today because my class was cancelled. Tomorrow my class is usually 10:30-2, but my professor has a funeral so class tomorrow is going to be 12-2. That gives me an extra hour and a half to write. Then I have work in the afternoon. Wednesday I can write before class (which is 9-10:15) and after class, before work. I have work at 2. Thursday I can write before class (which is 10:30-11:45) and then before I babysit, which is 3-6. Friday I have work 11-6, but I don’t have school that morning so I can use that time to write. I have all day Saturday and all day (after church) on Sunday. I think I can get a whole lot done.

I hope I get a lot done because I plan on writing the entire Saving Each Other part…not just 50,000 words of it. On top of that I want to  finish Take Over. I’m going to finish Saving Each Other first and then finish Take Over. I am also going to include whatever words I write for Take Over into my word count for the month. But I’ll write 50,000 words on Saving Each Other first so I’m technically not cheating.

I hope everyone is off to a great start just like I am! We have 29 more days to go!

 

2013: 88,129/365,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read