Ingredients for Mystery Soup

No two stories are alike. Each story is different and unique from another. Sure, there are cliches in the world of writing, but each outcome is different from the one before it. The possibilities are endless.

Yet, there are some things that each story have in common with each other: Elements. Or, ingredients as I like to call it.

It’s what makes a story a story.

Ingrediants for Mystery Soup Rachel Poli

All stories need five elements in order to make it a true, compelling tale.

1. Characters — The main person (or animal, alien, robot, what have you) the story revolves around. Plus, supporting characters to help or hinder the protagonist along.
2. Setting — The place where the story takes place.
3. Plot — A series of events and actions done by the character(s) that center around the conflict.
4. Conflict — The main struggle of the story. Usually, there are two sides to the conflict, good and bad, where your character is on one side.
5. Theme — The main idea or moral of the whole story.

Sounds easy enough, right? Sure.

But what does this mean when you’re writing a mystery novel? I’ll tell you what sort of ingredients you’ll need in order for you readers to beg you for dessert.

Characters

There are four main types of characters you’ll need for a mystery novel.

1. Detectives — Who is solving the crime here? No, you’re “detective” does not have to be part of the law enforcement. Your detective could be a young adult investigating on his or her own trying to figure out what truly caused their parents’ car accident.

2. Victims — Did they die? If so, I’m sure they had friends and family. Were they robbed? They need to be around to report the crime and give their statement. Maybe they have their own suspicions of who did it.

3. Suspects — Someone has to be the culprit. A crime doesn’t commit itself. Then again, your protagonist can’t catch the bad guy on their first go. There should be more than one suspect.

4. Witnesses — Someone might have seen something or at least heard something. Someone has to call the police. Maybe they’re the one who walked in on the dead body. Who knows?

Setting

Just like any other story, the setting is important. You want your readers to have a good sense of where they are and what’s going on, right?

Did your crime take place in a large city where crime happens multiple times a day? Or maybe a small, secluded town where the population is five and crime almost never happens there. Invite the reader to these places.

Someone, most likely the protagonist, will have to investigate the crime scene, right? Let’s assume there’s a dead body in the room… where is the body? Does it look clean? Does the scene have blood splattered everywhere? Is the place a mess (signs of a struggle) or pretty clean?

Give your readers some clues as your protagonist finds them. Give your readers a chance to investigate with your characters and possibly figure it out before them.

Plot

Most mystery plots come in the form of questions. These questions need to be answered by the end of the story or you’ll have some pretty angry readers.

Mystery plots can include:

  • A problem or puzzle that needs solving
  • Something that is difficult to explain
  • Secrets, the unknown
  • Something or someone that is missing
  • A crime that’s committed (robbery, murder, etc.)

Conflict

As stated before, a conflict is mainly between two sides. For mystery, the sides would be the good guys trying to solve the crime and the other side would be the bad guys running and hiding so they don’t get caught. Or the bad guys have a reason for what they did, but your main character doesn’t believe in their theories.

For conflict in a mystery, you need…

1. A crime — Basically the plot of the story. Who, what, where, when, why, when, and how?

2. Clues and evidence — Help your readers solve the crime alongside your protagonist. Give them “a-ha!” moments when they find a new clue and piece it together with evidence. No one is going to get anywhere solving the crime without any clues.

3. Red-herrings — Red-herrings are distractions, false evidence, dead-ends, whatever you want to call it. No one can solve a crime perfectly on their first try. They may view a clue the wrong way. Maybe a witness led them astray, whether done on purpose or not is up to you.

Theme

Well. This one is pretty much up to you. You decide what moral lesson you want your characters to teach your readers.

Well, now that we have all the ingredients to make our mystery novel, let’s mix it all together and begin!

Pre-heat the Oven

The beginning of your mystery novel should introduce everything. The characters, the setting, the plot. Your characters should figure out there is a problem and begin to learn how to solve it.

Bake

The middle of the story will include your characters finding clues, piecing together evidence, investigating crime scenes, interrogating key witnesses, making mistakes, making breakthroughs. Finally, they’ll have their “a-ha!” moment.

Time to eat!

The ending is where everything gets wrapped up. Your investigator explains the whole crime from beginning to end making sure there are no loose ends for your reader, no more questions asked. The culprit is then taken away and everyone else can celebrate.

At that point, you should go bake yourself a cake in real life. Because that’s when the editing begins.

rachel poli sign off

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Outlining: Tips And Ideas

To outline or not to outline… that is the question.

Last week I wrote a post called, “Why Outline?” The title is pretty self-explanatory. Why should you outline your novel? I gave a list of a few (good) reasons, but ultimately the choice is yours whether you want to outline your novel or not. It’s no big deal if you decide not to.

However, if you do decide to outline your novel here are a few interesting ways to do so (if you don’t already have a particular way to outline).

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

The Snowflake Method: Show of hands: who has heard of this before? I have, but have I ever used it? No. I had to do a bit of research for this one because I didn’t really know what it’s about. Basically, it’s a 10-step process on how to organize your writing. You start from a small summary of the novel and go from there. The last step is to begin your first draft.

Now I know it seems like a lot of steps just to go from idea to first draft, but the idea behind it is to start small and take baby steps in organizing your mind and thoughts.

This is to ensure you don’t miss anything while you write the story. All the scenes will be laid out for you, all the characters will be unique and have a certain purpose, and (hopefully) there will be no plot holes.

Does this mean you won’t have to do any editing when the first draft is done? Of course not.

That would be too easy.

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

The Skeletal Outline: You know that pyramid thing you learn in elementary/middle school? Well, some people actually put that to good use when they write their novels.

They use this pyramid (plot diagram, according to the picture) to summarize each part. Each part being the exposition, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution. By summarizing, you write certain scenes you want, describe what the characters are going to do and what’s going to happen to them, etc.

Some people use bullet points to highlight key concepts in each part. Personally, I think the bullet points would be easier. Then again, it wouldn’t be as detailed… unless you use a lot of bullet points.

Like the Snowflake Method, I do not use this method. To be honest, I don’t even think of my novels in terms of exposition, rising/falling action, climax, resolution, what have you. I just kind of go with the flow and write the scenes in order as they would go.

However, if I had to choose between these two methods, I think I would go for the skeletal outline. I enjoy making lists and the pyramid seems to do just that. Then again, I’m sure you could modify each method to make a unique one that works specifically for you.

20150124_151016Chapter Summary: This is how I used to outline. Way back when I wrote fan fiction. 11 years ago. Wow.

Anyway, I have no idea if anyone has ever outlined like this before, but it worked for me way back when. I don’t use that way now, but I still think it’s a decent way to outline your novel.

All I did was summarize each chapter. It’s that simple. As you can see from the picture, it ultimately looks like a block of letters (especially with my handwriting). The highlighted parts show a new chapter. Everything written after each highlight is a summary of that chapter.

I explain what scenes are going to be in the chapter, sometimes I add in some dialogue I would like some characters to say… I even have notes that say things such as: “foreshadowing… yay!” You know, so I remember how to write my plot so readers can figure out the foreshadowing, symbolism, and all that fun stuff. I especially make those notes when I realize I foreshadowed without meaning to. It’s like your subconscious is smarter than you.

There you have it. Three different ways to outline your novel, plus more (if you click on the links below). Two I’ve never used and one I used to use all the time. Everyone works differently and at their own pace. So the outlines listed above may or may not work for you; especially if outlining isn’t even your thing. However, it never hurts to try.

As stated before (many times, actually) I use my own method I made up. Well, I thought I made it up, but I have seen it floating around on the Internet. It’d be pretty cool if I had my own method, though. It’s different, but similar to the chapter summary I used to do.

But more on that tomorrow.

Further Reading:

The Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel
8 Ways to Outline a Novel
7 Steps to Creating a Flexible Outline for Any Story

Why Outline?

Who actually outlines their novels? I know a well variety of people who outline and people who don’t outline. For the people who do not outline, is that a bad thing? No.

Outlining means to lay your novel out flat before you even begin writing it. You write the basic idea, certain scenes you want, character bios, etc. in a notebook, on the computer, on index cards, what have you. It’s almost as if you’ve mapped out your brain so when you do start writing, you’re able to write, write, write!

Outlining is optional when it comes to writing. It’s not like the first draft stage or the editing stage; you can actually skip the outlining stage. It works for some people, but it doesn’t work for others. Some prefer to freewrite from the get-go and go from there.

Via Google
Via Google

Personally, I find outlining to be a huge help, but even I don’t do it all the time.

I think it depends on the kind of project your writing. When deciding if you should outline your novel before writing, ask yourself:

–Are there going to be a lot of characters that need developing?
–How many different ways can my plot go? Will there be any opportunities where the plot will rip and cause a hole?
–Where are my characters based? Is the setting fiction or based off of a real place?

Of course, there’s also genre to consider. I believe that if you’re writing a mystery or a science fiction/fantasy novel, it always helps to outline. If there’s a lot of information the reader will obtain while reading the novel, how can you as the author be expected to remember it all while writing? That’s how plot holes happen.

As I said, outlining is completely optional. Will it hurt your writing? No, of course not. Does your outline need to be complete before you start your novel? No.

Via Google
Via Google

That’s what I love about outlines; there are no rules. You may not stick to your outline (or your characters might not), but that’s okay. An outline is just a guideline.

You can map out your ideas however you want, where ever you want, whenever you want. If you get stuck on your outline at some point, you can begin writing what you have already outlined. By the time you get to the end of your outline, you should have thought of new ideas to continue on.

When that happens to me, I continue to write and outline as I write. It makes editing a lot easier for me.

Speaking of editing… outlining is a great way to help edit; not just help with the first draft.

Once you finish your first draft, you can always refer back to your outline to look up certain characters, change some scenes around, etc.

All in all, outline helps you further understand your novel.

Related Articles:

How to Make a Novel Outline
Writing an Outline of Your Novel
Outlining Your Novel: Why and How

I Want To Write

Now that I’ve officially decided what I want to write for NaNo, I’m more excited than ever to get started. Of course, NaNo is still eight days away. It seems so far away, but it’s actually right around the corner. November will arrive before we know it, but I feel as though next week is going to drag at the same time.

Now that I have a new idea, I think I’ve got my muse back and I just want to write all the time and actually have the motivation to do so. It’s a good thing I finished my homework for this week so I can come home from work today and just write.

Tomorrow is Saturday so Kris and I will be going to Barnes and Noble. I’m going to bring Lucy and bang out a few Short Story Sundays. That way I don’t have to worry about trying to write those and my NaNo at the same time next month. Plus, I’m hoping that will get my creative flow going to prepare for NaNo’s short stories to come.

I already came up with two ideas, but I don’t know how they’re going to unfold. I’m just going to let the characters figure it out themselves. I just know how each story is going to begin and that’s it for now. It will sure be interesting.

Again, NaNo is eight days away… eight more days….

What is Success?

Success

School has officially ended for the semester and one thing we learned has been sticking with me, so I thought I would talk about it. So this won’t be like my usual posts, but I hope you’ll stick around to read it, anyway.

In one of my classes this past semester we read a short story called Sur by Ursula K. Le Guin. I won’t describe it too much in case any of you would like to look it up, but it’s about a group of women travelling to Antarctica and keeping it a secret. One of my classmates posted on the discussion board asking about the “achievement” in the story. A few of my classmates were debating on whether or not the expedition to Antarctica could exactly be called an achievement. This is simply because the women in the story kept it a secret. They didn’t share their achievement; therefore no one knows about the achievement. How can you do something as great as travel to Antarctica and never share the news?

I commented on the thread stating that achievement is measured by your own personal goal and your perspective on it. For example, I believe travelling to Antarctica is a huge achievement; especially since it was their first time doing so. Just because the group of females did not share their journey with their friends, family, and the press, it doesn’t mean they weren’t successful. To put it simply, they wanted to travel to Antarctica and they did. Wouldn’t you call that an achievement?

I associate the word “achievement” with “success” because they’re both about reaching a goal. According to Dictionary.com, this is one definition of success: “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.” I can only half agree with this. The reason I agree with it is because of the “position” part. I used to want to be the director of the preschool I worked for. If I had worked my way up to that position then I would have felt successful because it was something I wanted to do and I would have worked hard to get there.

The reason I disagree with that definition is because of the “wealth” part. Money does not buy happiness even though our paychecks always make us smile. However, once the bills start rolling in, our smile fades and we’re back to square one. If your goal was to make it to the top of your career with a nice pay raise, then I could call that successful if that was something you really wanted. If it was a job you truly enjoyed and you weren’t doing it just to get rich off of it; even though the money would be a plus.

Another reason I disagree with it is putting the story into perspective. Sur is a work of fiction, yes, but no where in the story did the group of women attain wealth, position, or any honors. They kept their goal a secret from the world. They deemed themselves successful because they had achieved something they wanted to do.

Another definition of success by Dictionary.com is: “the accomplishment of one’s goals.” I have to say that I like this definition a whole lot better. However, what exactly is a “goal?” Again, it depends on your own perspective and what you want. My big goal is to become a full-time writer. Yet, there are many little goals along the way.

When I write my standard 2,000 words in one day, I consider that an accomplishment for that one day. When I finish a novel, I consider that to be an achievement. I’ve never completely finished editing a novel enough to throw it at a publisher, but I’m sure when I do that will be successful in itself and I’m sure I will be very happy with it. When I get a novel published for the first time, I will be successful. Will I be a full-time writer after publishing that one novel? No, probably not. However, I will write more and the more I write the better I will become. I will come up with more ideas and become more creative. Eventually I’ll come up with a novel good enough to allow me to stay home all day and do what I love and do best: write.

It won’t matter what position I’m in if I still have a day job and it won’t matter how much money I’ll be bringing in. My goal is to share inspirational characters, interactive plots, and open up a brand new creative world for all my readers to love and enjoy.

And when that day comes, I will be successful.

Too Busy For My Own Good

I Have Too Much To Do….

 

I believe in my last post I was complaining about everything that I had to get done instead of actually talking about my writing. Yeah…the problem is, I can’t really talk about my writing when I haven’t really been writing.

This past weekend was pretty busy. I can’t remember what I did Friday (isn’t that sad?), but I know that I was at work all day. Saturday morning I had to help my sister move into her new apartment. That didn’t take up too much of the day. Sunday, yesterday, was Father’s Day and the last day of Sunday school. So I had church in the morning and then I had my mom’s side over for a cook out. Then Kris and I  kicked back at the end of the night and played Super Smash Brothers Brawl together as we were both too exhausted to do anything productive.

I still have to start the websites for my work and for my church. I still have to start writing lesson plans for Sunday school next year. I have to clean my areas of the house and I have to continue writing. I have to study for my MTEL. I have to send in my lead teacher certification application. But wait, there’s more! …I’m not going to list any of the rest, though. None of this needs to get done as soon as possible or anything like that, but it would be nice to get them all finished sooner rather than later.

I did get a little writing done yesterday, though. Kris and I decided that we’re slowly going to work on a book together. So I wrote the prologue. Now she just has to write the first chapter. By the way, whenever this book is finished, it’s going to take a really long time to edit. Not because there are two people working on it; therefore there are two different opinions on what should happen, but we have no plot in mind. We are literally just going with the flow. Currently, the novel is called Titleless. Yep.

So I’m working on that, I’m still working on editing Hunter, I have to figure out what I’m doing for Camp NaNo next month, I have been beta-reading a lot of stories lately on FanFiction, and I have been kind of wanting to get back to writing FanFiction. I think I’m going to try working on that soon.

I do know what I am going to be writing for Camp, but I have a lot of kinks that need to be worked out. It’s a superhero novel called Cybertra. I think I have mentioned this idea before on here because I thought of it a long time ago. I just never went through with it. However, after seeing Iron Man 3 in theaters a few weeks ago, it’s put me in the mood to begin the series. I just have to plan a few things out first.

Other than me being ridiculously busy, I don’t think I have too much else to say since I haven’t really been writing too much lately. I plan on getting as much done as I can this week (this week is my last week of work). Then I can focus on babysitting (since I will have no work all summer, I’m going to need as many babysitting jobs as I can get) and writing. So, naturally, I spent all morning before work playing Pokemon and then Super Smash Brothers Brawl online with my boyfriend. Great morning, huh?

But at least I’m updating my blog. That’s technically writing, isn’t it?

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

Busy-ness

This, That, And The Other…

 

Well, it has been almost (ish) a month since I have posted on here. I remember that my last post I mentioned that I was going to write all weekend (because we had that blizzard) and that I would post again right after the weekend. That went well, didn’t it?

Actually, it did. I wrote during the weekend. I didn’t write as much as I wanted to do and I certainly didn’t write as much as I had the time for, but something is better than nothing, right?  I have been writing off and on since then. I’m working on a new novel. Yes, another new novel. I’m not working on The Blank Page anymore. Since I lost my flash drive, I haven’t really been encouraged to write anything that I had already started.

This novel is called Take Over. I thought of the idea while I was at work and then forgot about it. Then while I was in the shower a couple of days later, I thought of it again and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I came up with ideas and characters and everything. It was a fun shower.

I’ll post the summary to this novel at a later time, but the basic of it is that a group of high school students plan take over the school. Not in a mean, bad way, but only because they’re seniors and they want to leave the school as “legends.” They don’t mean anything bad by it, but it soon gets a little out of hand and it’s a riot…teachers versus students. This is what I have been writing lately and it’s coming along quite nicely. I’ll get into more details about the characters and such later, as well.

I decided to switch up my New Year’s Resolution a bit. I decided that I’m going to try to write at least 1,000 words a day. So I should have about 365,000 words by the end of the year. So by the end of February I should have about 59,000 or something like that. Since I wrote a lot of The Blank Page, I’m going to include that word count because I did write it during 2013. So that, (plus what I have for Take Over so far) equals to 27,802 words. A bit behind, yes, but I think I can do it because I don’t usually end up writing just 1,000 words at a time.

I have 12,663 words for Take Over and 21 pages. Hopefully it keeps up going at the rate it’s going. 😉

 

2013: 27,802/365,000 Words Written
2013: 932/18,250 Pages Read

Ready…Set…

…Wait A Minute…

 

My laptop is fixed. The internet is fixed. The only thing that sucks about it is that it killed my battery…that thing used to last five-six hours. The other day it was at 50% which apparently is now 33 minutes…but whatever! I have to be thankful that the thing actually works again, right? Right! My flash drive is officially gone, but…think positive! Oh, and the printer still won’t work…again, think positive!

Except I haven’t written anything…I haven’t really had the time. Except I’m stuck at school today for a little bit and I don’t have work today. Well, I’m babysitting today, but that’s only for two hours unlike work. Anyway, here is my point: I have to leave for class in about an hour or so, so I think I’m going to begin writing again. Start fresh. Clean slate. After class, which ends at 11:45, but I have a test so I’ll probably be out of there by at least 11:30, I may write again. Although I have a meeting with my advisor at 12:30, so I might just hang around until then. But when the meeting is over, I’m stuck at school until at least 1:45 before my friend drives me home so I can write after the meeting! Although, my friend has a test as well so I might actually get out of here fairly early…

Anyway, I then babysit 3-5ish and then when I come home: BAM! I’m breaking out my typing fingers again. The other day when I pasted “Sad News” I had the hardest time writing it…wanna know why? I hadn’t typed in so long because I hadn’t been in school and I hadn’t been able to use my laptop because of the internet, and I hadn’t been writing at all. My fingers basically forgot how to type. It really was sad news. I’m having a hard time typing now, but I think that’s because my fingers are frozen.

Back on topic: I’m going to write at any moment I can…or any moment I can get to a computer. When I come home from babysitting, I’ll write. And I shall write all night! I’m not going to school tomorrow, even though I have a math quiz.

Everyone has heard of this blizzard that we’re going to get, correct? It’s starting Friday morning and ending Saturday afternoon. I don’t know where any of you are, but in my area we’re going to be getting about two feet of snow as well as some really harsh winds. I doubt I’m going to have school tomorrow, but if I do, the roads and such are probably going to be terrible by the time I get out of class. My class tomorrow is 9-10:15. So I think I’m just going to skip regardless of whether there is school or not. My main concern is work. Fridays I work 11-6 so if my town doesn’t close school, then I’m going to have to go to work…if it is bad then it will be a good thing I skip school because otherwise my poor dad would have to drive all the way to my school and then all the way back to our town to drop me off at work. I live about 20 minutes away from my school, but that’s without traffic and such. With the snow…it would probably take over an hour just to get there.

But again…back on topic: Basically I’m going to be home all day tomorrow, Friday. I highly doubt I’ll have school and work, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m praying I won’t have work. But since I’ll be home all day with nothing to do, I’m going to write all day. Saturday, too. It’ll still be snowing and I never do anything on Saturdays anyway, so I can just write all day. I think it’s going to be a very productive weekend!

My only concern is that if the power goes out…considering that my laptop only lasts probably a little over an hour now, I’ll be screwed. Although, I have plenty of notebooks I can resort to, but typing is a lot faster. Plus, I have my iPod and I have apps called DraftPad and A Novel Idea. I’ve explained A Novel Idea before, it basically helps you plan out scenes, titles, characters, plots, etc. It’s really cool, really fancy, and free. DraftPad, another free app, is a blank piece of paper and you just write anything and everything. Then when you’re done, you can post it to a website, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail it to yourself, whatever. So I could use that and e-mail it to myself in case the power comes back on. Then I can start where I left off. But then if my iPod dies…eh, whatever.

So I’m planning a productive weekend and I hope it’s productive for all of you people out there, as well! If you’re in the area and you’re going to get hit by this storm…be careful and good luck! I’ll post back tomorrow morning with how well I’m about to do with writing. 🙂

“The Blank Page” Characters

Adair’s A Freak, Justin Lives Under A Rock, And Dominic Is Actually Normal…

 

Can we talk about my characters for a minute? I wrote half of chapter four today and I quickly realized how…interesting (for lack of a better word) my characters are.

In chapter four, Adair bothers the two boys to read a little of their stories to each other so they can see what each other has so far. I have quickly realized that all of chapter four they’re just going to be talking about Adair’s novel. Each chapter is their next meeting, which is only an hour and a half long. With the conversation they’re having about Adair’s novel, there is no way they’re going to be able to talk about all three novels in an hour and a half. Especially since when they started talking about her novel, they already only had an hour left.

In my last post I mentioned that I might plan our their novels a little bit. Well, I forgot to do that and I remembered when I was crawling into bed. So needless to say, I never planned out their books. As I wrote chapter four, I made everything up as I went along. I had Adair read her opening sentence and ask the boys what they thought about it. Well, I can tell you what I thought about it…it was crap. I read it over and over and over again and I said to myself, “Adair is completely weird.” I wondered what goes on in her mind and then I realized…Adair is me. I’m the one who wrote that sentence for her.

Justin rewrote the sentence for her, which came out a lot better, but Adair was pissed because her sentence was 41 words long and Justin’s re-write was 24 words. Then Justin was appalled because he can’t believe her biggest concern is the word count. And Dominic is just sitting there, along for the ride because he doesn’t want to get involved because he’s smart and normal.

But then Dominic and Justin both grilled her about this novel because it is the strangest thing ever. This is what we found out about the novel: Cerridwen is the main female, Zindel is the main male, the novel is in Zindel’s POV, they live in a forest, the plot of the novel is that the forest is in trouble and Cerridwen and Zindel need to save it, Victor is the bad guy, Cerridwen has the power of earth because she apparently is not human and evolved from a plant…which is why she has vines attached to her hair, and Zindel has a power, but we don’t know what it is, yet. Completely strange/ridiculous/I don’t even know what to call it, right? So Dominic and Justin are trying to make sense of this whole novel and are hoping that she changes it drastically. I’m just sad because my mind was capable of coming up with something like this.

Then throughout the whole chapter, Justin is freaking out about the names. I had Adair use obscure names because that’s just something she would do. But Dominic keeps pronouncing them wrong and Justin is just angry because Adair has names like that when she made fun of him for naming his main character John. Plus, Justin is wondering why the bad guy, Victor, has a normal name. On a random note: Justin lives under a rock. So far throughout the novel, Adair has mentioned Mario and Princess Peach, Link and Zelda, and The Sims games. He had no idea what she was talking about for all of them. He is a 27-years-old man and has never played video games…there is something wrong with that picture.

And the chapter isn’t even over, yet…

So, like I said…interesting characters, right? There certainly is never a dull moment with these guys. I have to give them some credit though because they really are fun to write.

 

2013: 13,193 Words

Relaxation

I Got Nothing Done Today…

 

Well, I have been on a roll writing for at least one hour every day. However, I didn’t write at all today. But I did say that I was going to try to post on here every day, so here I am. I have no news, but I am posting!

The reason as to why I didn’t write today was because I was busy with my websites. For example, Stars Vs. Gems, Gaia Ranch, and Spilled Ink. Spilled Ink is a writing website that my sister and I are working on together. We already have one up right now, but we completely re-did the whole website. So that’s why I didn’t give you the link because it’s not open yet. However, we  are planning on opening it on Columbus Day…maybe sooner. I’ll explain more about the website when it opens.

Once I finished working on our websites for the day, I thought about getting some writing done, but when I looked at the time I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough time. Although, now that I think about it, I could have written a little bit. Getting a little something done is better than nothing. But oh, well. What’s done is done.

I had a very busy day today because of church. Everyone knows that I’m the co-director of the Sunday school, correct? Well, today the Bishop came for a visit. Plus the Sunday school were performing something in the middle of the service. Also, we had a luncheon for the ladies who run the Thrift Shop to say thank you for everything they do for the church. Usually, I’m at church from 9:30 to 12:00. Today, because of the Bishop’s schedule, the service was 2 to 3. But because of the thing the Sunday School did in the service, we needed to practice it. So we told everyone to come at one, which meant that I was there before one. Then after the service, we had the luncheon and, well…I was at church today from 12:45 to 6:00. It wasn’t a bad time, but I just didn’t want to be there for that amount of time as well as it being smack in the middle of the day.

Anyway, when I got home, I was starving (there wasn’t any food I liked at the luncheon) so my sister and I got Panera and we’ve been watching TV ever since. I’ve been too tired to do anything else. Although, I think I might go plan out the novel a little bit.

The Blank Page has three novels in it and I thought that I should plan those out. Not fully, but just enough so that when I have my characters writing them, they all make sense. So I may do that, but as far as actual writing goes…I’m not going to be boosting my word count tonight.

Speaking of planning out the novels, though, I found this really cool app on my iPod. It’s called “A Novel Idea.” It breaks everything down. You can click on “novels” and will ask you the title, setting, theme, tone, POV, premise, plot, and group. The group is something you make up. You can group certain things together. For example, when I plugged in The Blank Page, I put it under the Writers Group group. The other sections are “scenes,” “characters,” “locations,” and “ideas.” It’s very detailed and organized. I added The Blank Page as a novel and added Dominic, Justin, and Adair as characters. Then it allowed me to attach the novel to each character. It also allowed me to give Dominic, Adair, and Justin relations to each other. It really keeps you organized. I think I may use this to plan out the three novels that aren’t real. Then I might know enough information about them so Dominic, Justin, and Adair can write them efficiently in The Blank Page.

If you like to write and have an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or anything along those lines, then you should download this app. It’s really useful and it was free. I highly recommend it.

2013: 11,010 Words

Three Down

Three Chapters Done…

 

I’m still writing The Blank Page. I don’t know how many chapters this novel is going to be. I’m on chapter four, I haven’t started it, though. I do think that for chapter four I’m going to have them all read what they have so far. Not all of it, of course. But it should be an interesting chapter. Justin hates everything that Adair does, Adair critiques and does everything and anything to bother Justin, and poor Dominic is there just wanting some real feedback on what he has so far.

It’ll be in a tough chapter to write because I know what Dominic’s plot is, but I haven’t even thought once about Adair’s novel or Justin’s novel. This chapter is going to be a long haul, but that’s part of the reason as to why I’m planning this chapter to be like this. If I’m going to write about three people writing three different novels, I need to know what each novel is about and how each novel is going to turn out. I’m sure whoever reads this series would like to know, as well.

In the last post I mentioned how I was thinking about writing their novels. Well, I think more on it now and I realize that if I wrote those three novels right now, it would certainly help me write The Blank Page and the rest of the series. I will already know the plot, the characters, the beginning, the middle, and the end. But, I’ll wing it for now. That is what editing is for, right?

So I set my timer for an hour once more and again I stopped before the timer went off. I stopped because I finished chapter three and I wasn’t really looking forward to writing a little of chapter four for three minutes and stopping right in the middle of it. Of course, I could have written more, but I wrote a lot today. I made it to 11,010 words. If I wrote another 281 words, then I would have broken my word count for day seven. This fake NaNo thing is really working out for me. It’s too bad that the real NaNo didn’t work out for me. But then again, I got pretty far in that novel and I did finish it in December, so I guess I can’t really complain.

That’s all for today. I may write a little bit more today, but I do doubt it. I have a few other things that I need to get done and I just have to say thank God it’s the weekend. I don’t have work today, which is a plus because that means I don’t have anywhere important to be later.

See you tomorrow! 🙂

 

2013: 11,010 Words

Enjoying Myself

I May Be Having Too Much Fun…

 

I have been doing a great job keeping up with everything I said I was going to do! If I may say so myself…for example, my sister and I admin a few websites together (all the links are on the Come Find Me page, they’re all RPG sites) and we made a schedule so that at least one of us is on every day for our members. I’m supposed to go on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I haven’t really missed a day yet!

Then, I said I was going to write more. With the exception of January first, I have written every day so far. I told myself (I never mentioned anything about it on here because I thought about this at three in the morning the other day) that I was going to post on here every single day this year. Or I’m going to try to, anyway. However, I usually post about my writing. So in order to post on here, I have to write a bit first. So I guess it’s another motivation thing to get me to write every day. I also said that I was going to treat this like a NaNo month. I’m keeping up with that, as well. I should have 4,839 words today but I just got up to 5,843. Yay me!

I also said that I was going to read more, but…we’ll still wait and see how that goes. I said on GoodReads that I was going to read 20 books this year, so as long as I make it to that goal, we’re good. It would be nice to make it past that goal, but you know…other things get in the way.

Anyway, as you know I am writing The Blank Page and I am really having too much fun with it. I am in love with the characters that have developed for this story. Adair and Justin argue like an old married couple. Justin seems to be bothered by every little thing Adair does and Adair knows this. So she tries to do everything in her power to bug him with it. Also, at the beginning of chapter two she bought a large coffee with two bags of cookies. I think she has a bit of a sweet tooth…

And then there’s Dominic…he’s the peacemaker, even though he is amused by Justin and Adair’s arguments. But he also wants to get things done. Except when the other two finally shut up to get things done, they actually work on their novels while poor Dominic is stuck not having a clue what to write. But it’s okay, he just figured out a plot!

Writing this story is also really interesting because they’re each writing different genres. Adair is writing fantasy, Dominic is writing a mystery, and Justin is writing an adventure story. Writing this series is going to be like writing three different books at once without actually writing them. It going to be fun and interesting, but I am going to have to take a lot of notes to keep everything straight. Good thing for sticky notes! 🙂

Well, that’s really it for today. I’ll post again tomorrow with my newest word count.

 

2013: 5,843 Words

Wait, It’s December…?

Well, I Tried…

NaNo is over. It’s been over for four days and while I realized that it was December, I guess it never sunk in that NaNo was actually over for yet another year. I have come to a conclusion, though. NaNo is my BFF. Yes. Big, fat fail.

I never wrote all those words that I said I was going to write. Even when it got to be only three or four days left, I only wrote an extra 1000 words. I never even broke 30K, even though I was pretty close. However, I did break 25K, which is half. So I guess that’s a good thing.

So my profile on the NaNo website is now going to say I won 2009 and participated in 2012, 2011, and 2012. I was so hoping for another win, but I’m not going to complain. I made it half way at least. Not to mention that I got a good portion of the novel done. The characters are being good (so far), the plot is moving along nicely (so far), and I think it’ll be quite easy to finish (yeah right). I just need to get the motivation to do it.

NaNo and I had a good run this year. I started off doing great, but too much life got in the way. Just because I didn’t get a “win” out of it, doesn’t mean that I didn’t get a good novel out of it…even if it’s no finished. But it will be finished. Maybe when I’m 50. But it will be finished eventually.

I have been thinking a lot about my writing lately on account that I did fail NaNo. I really thought that I was going to win again this year and I really thought that I was going to actually finish the whole novel. But since I didn’t make it to either of those goals, I decided that I’m going to do my very best to write in the months to come.

I have the rest of this week, all next week, and then three more days (finals) of school. My Christmas shopping is already done and wrapped, so once school is out I’ll have all Winter break to type away. My only concern is that I have to study for my MTEL test, which I am taking in January. Oh, and learn how to drive. That’s kind of important. But when it comes to writing, I think I should be good.

For the Spring semester at school I need to come in five days a week, but it’s only three classes. I’ve had all three of these professors before. I know that I’m going to have virtually no homework. So I’m hoping that next semester will be a good semester for writing. It’s just that I’ll probably pick up a few extra hours at work.

Speaking of writing though, I was exploring my blog because I basically just update posts and nothing else on it…so I was looking around and I noticed on the Challenges page there is something that says I was going to write 360 pages by the end of this year. When I made that goal for myself I was in the middle of writing…well, whatever novel it was, and had hoped that 360 pages would have been the whole novel plus some from another novel. I completely forgot about this goal, so I changed it a bit. Basically, it just means that I have to write 360 pages total. Of any novel. So I added my Saving Each Other pages to that count. I am now up to 109 pages. This means that I have to write 251 more pages by the end of this year.

I have 27 days to do this, which should be about 9 or 10 pages a day. I can do that no problem if it’s double-spaced. I don’t know if I’ll actually do that, but I did say that I was going to try to write as much as I can during this Winter Break. Anything I write will go straight towards that page count. Honestly, I can’t even remember why I made that goal in the first place, but I’m going to stick with it. Why not?

I have a huge list of ideas that are swirling around in my head, but I’m going to try my best to finish Saving Each Other first. Then I can freak out about what to edit as the pile is going to keep building up. Right now I have two novels that need to be seriously edited so I can publish them and now I’m just going to be adding on an extra novel.

Hm. This should be interesting.

Home Alone

Not Really, I Got The Two Dogs, Cat, and Turtle…

Comet is actually being quiet right now…I gave him a bone, that’s why. Chip is whining because I did not give her a bone. The reason for that is because she has about a million bones hidden throughout this house. If she really wants a bone, she can use that tiny powerful nose God gave her and find at least one of the many bones. I know she has at least two…one is buried in my pillow and the other is buried in my blankets. Damn dog. Hunter is howling at absolutely nothing, but I think it’s just too quiet for him…or maybe he thinks he’s home alone. I don’t know why he cries like that. Raph, I think, is finally going into “hibernation mode” like she should have a couple weeks ago when the weather started getting cold, but instead she got more hyper.

She flipped her house over and then began using it as a playground…

Right. She should not be doing that in the fall. However, I noticed that she has been “redecorating” less and has not been trying to walk through the tank glass as much to get out. I think she thinks she can walk through walls. No, instead she has been like this:

On her way into the pool…then she said, “nope” and wasn’t having it.

Yes, she was in that position for a very long time. Of course, as I type this, she is knocking on the glass shouting, “Let me out!” I can’t complain, though. I like working while she’s walking around. I feel as though I have company. This is what it comes down to…I have no friends.

Just kidding, I do. But they’re all at school right now. You wanna know why I’m not at school? I only had one class today and it was cancelled. I am super excited! Not because I was able to sleep in, no, because it was my health class. And my teacher for my health class bites. I mean today we were supposed to meet in the library to do research on our projects. Of course, I’m doing something else that I will not go into because it’s a long story, but to keep it short and sweet, I’m exempt from the project. So I don’t even know what I would be doing, anyway. It would probably have been nothing.

But this is great because now I have the whole day to myself…well, until I have to go to work. But I would much rather be at work than go to school…especially when I have health. What am I to do with myself? I could go some more homework done so I have less to do while working on NaNo. I could work on outlining my NaNo some more. I could clean, I could sing and dance, I could play video games…preferably Pokemon. But I just don’t know because I am just way too excited right now!

Speaking of NaNo, I am outlining Saving Each Other (SEO) and I decided that I might as well write it for NaNo. It’s almost the middle of October and I don’t know how long it will take me to outline SEO plus another novel and then decide between the two. I’m on chapter twelve for SEO and I have no idea how many more chapters there will be.

The other reason as to why I decided to write it for NaNo is because I was thinking a lot about it the other day…well, yesterday. In the shower. I don’t know about any of you people out there, but I do my best thinking when I am in the shower…or trying to sleep. Which is probably why I never actually sleep…huh. Anyway, in the shower I was thinking about the novel and thinking about the outline and realized, “I’m on chapter twelve, but really, nothing’s happened yet.” I mean, let’s face it: at this point, I’ll be on chapter 100 and the plot will just be beginning. Then I realized…what is the plot?

Seriously, I really had to ask myself this question. I honestly had no idea what the plot was. I came up with a cool title, I made up some awesome characters, I even came up with a cover for the novel. But what is the plot? Someone is after them, yes, I understand that. But who? And why? I got nothing. But when I was in the shower, I came up with a wonderful idea. I am not going to tell you what that idea is because I don’t want to give anything away, but…I guess you could say that it’s kind of “cliche” for a fantasy novel. But that’s alright, because I have tricks up my sleeve.

The summary for SEO is in the post right below this one…just so you know. So scroll down. A lot. Or…turn to the last page or something, I don’t really know how my blog works…I never really look at the finished product. I just type, proofread on here and hit “publish.” The summary was something quick I whipped up for you guys. It’s not the “final” summary and still needs a bit of work. Just a warning…

So I still don’t know what I am going to do with myself today, but I know first things first: get some more coffee. I drank it all while writing this. Don’t worry…it’s decaf. We ran out of caffeinated. Boo. 🙁