Monthly Archives: March 2015

Epiphanies Are Amazing

Sometimes you just need to let go, trust yourself (and God, if you believe), and roll with the punches. Well, I rolled, and I realized that maybe I don’t need to rewrite my entire novel to be satisfied with it. Just fix what needs fixing.

I have been struggling to rewrite this novel. Yes, I kind of like the way I’m getting extra scenes and getting into the head of my other main character, but I don’t like that I have to rewrite 50,000 words. That’s a lot of words.

Long story short, my story is about a boy who ends up finding a portal to a parallel universe that is riddled with war in the U.S. and then goes on to try and find a way to help out as much he can without dying.

I put a lot of time and effort into writing it the first time, and it’s not that I don’t want to improve it, but as I look at my second draft and look at my first, I’m noticing major changes in what’s happening in the story; some good, some bad.

For instance:

  • Good: Changing a mini-major plot point that then leads the main character (boy) to find the portal, and frankly, I really like this change.
  • Bad: I’m finding that what I thought I wanted to write (1st person, present tense) isn’t what I wanted after all.
  • Good: I’ve been able to get into the head of my second main character (girl) by writing chapters from her POV.
  • Bad: If I keep my old draft, do I want to separate the chapters into different perspectives, or keep it all one POV? This requires either heavy editing or reworking scenes with her in it. Either way, lots of editing.

The list goes on, but as I’ve been sitting here the past few days trying to rewrite the story, I’ve noticed just how much I 1) don’t want to rewrite everything even though I’ve made it up to 12k words, and 2) I loved what I wrote the first time because it was in my voice, not someone else’s.

I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve realized in this short time: My rewrite is turning into voices I read in YA all the time, and I want to stand apart from that.

Having your own voice in how you write is a major component to your writing style. I know I have my own unique voice in my writing when I write short stories, and even when I wrote my first novel draft back in November. But now?

I’m noticing that I’m sounding like a lot of other YA novels. I understand that that can be the norm for these kinds of novels (and don’t get me wrong, I like reading that style), but… it’s not mine.

Also, I love the different perspectives and getting to know my characters, but as I was continuing I was noticing how similar those voices of those characters were beginning to sound and I was fearing that they would soon sound like the same person. I want readers to be able to differentiate between characters and not think that it all sounds the same. If I write from one perspective, I want it to sound like it. If I write from two, then anyone should be able to tell the difference between them.

I was able to describe so much more in my original writing than in my rewrite. I love being able to use descriptors in my writing to give a sense of the world around the character. That’s part of my style and it was almost completely gone in my rewrite.

I don’t know why I struggled so hard through this when I should have just realized that what I had, my creation, was part of who I am as a writer. To change it so dramatically, even though it did help in ways, but hinder in others, was just something that was unnecessary.

But it was needed.

If I hadn’t done what I did then maybe I wouldn’t have realized what I’d done. Yes, of course my original draft needs plenty of editing and polishing before it ever gets into the hands of others. Yes, of course I can add chapters from other characters’ perspectives if I want in my editing process.

But I think most importantly is that I don’t lose my voice. It’s part of what makes a writer a writer, after all. There are others things, too, but that’s most important, in my opinion.

So, just to let you know, yes, I will still be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in April, but on a short story that has been dying to get out for the past two weeks (like, I can’t contain it anymore, it needs to be written).

I think this is for the best. I’ll review both versions, at least sections of them, before making an absolute decision, plus I’ll be getting my husband’s opinion on it since he’s into the kind of content I’m writing about. I don’t want to keep feeling the doubt that’s been creeping up on me throughout most of this rewriting process. I want to be sure of myself and my writing.

Have you ever had this kind of problem? Did you realize it early in the process, or way down the line? Any advice? Let me know in the comments!

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Keeping Promises and Making Schedules

You know, writing things down is great and all, but if I’m not even going to stick to the schedule that I write down, then why did I waste the paper?

I don’t know.

But that’s not really the point of this post, I promise. And actually, that’s part of what this post is about: making promises and keeping them. More importantly: making promises to yourself and keeping them.

It’s one thing to make a public declaration or make a promise to someone else to do something and not follow through. 1) Depending on the promise, people will have forgotten or don’t mind that you forgot to keep it. 2) Keep your promises to others. Seriously.

But when you make a promise to yourself and you break it, you’re only hurting yourself without knowing it.

That’s what it’s come down to in my writing life.

I’m focused on work, reading, getting reviews in, and other things that aren’t my passion. Every. Single. Time that I write I rekindle that love and fire and passion that I have for the art. And then I think to myself, “Why don’t I do this everyday? I mean, that is the number one advice that I seem to see many authors give.”

I think it has something to do with discipline and my lack of it. I can make all the schedules and promises in the world, but if I don’t have the discipline to go through with them, then there’s really no point in making them in the first place.

To give an example: this blog. I said I’d post at least twice a month since I’ve really started to love my reading blog more than this one (no offense), but did I follow through with that after I made that post? No. I couldn’t even write two posts last month. Two posts out of twenty-eight days. I mean, really, why was it so hard?

The thing about my writing, though, and the story rewrite that I’m working on, is that yes, I may love it at the time I’m writing, but when I’m at my most active is usually when I’m either in work, getting ready for work, doing something else, etc. I know I’m most active between 11AM and 2PM, but sometimes I’m just not available to do what I need to get things done.

Yeah, that’s part of the problem, but another is not keeping to a schedule or even a set of goals. I’m trying, though. I am.

I know I said a little earlier that making public promises is easy to dismiss, but I’m making a public promise now: when it comes to my writing I have some goals and I plan on sticking to them.

Yes, I want to be a published author one day, but that’s not my main focus. My main focus is to share my content with the world, to be able to share my love and passion for this beautiful art that is writing.

And so here are my goals to achieve that:

  • Write at least 1,000¬†words every weekday (Mon-Fri)
  • Write at least 500 words every weekend (Sat-Sun)

Easy flipping goals, right? If I keep to that goal, writing AT LEAST that amount every day, I should be able to finish my story to completion.

I’ll probably come up with other goals and challenges as I go and I’ll keep updated here.

I have a loose schedule as my work schedule fluxes, so I’m not going to post it here. I just need to write every day. That’s it. There’s no excuse for writer’s block, no excuse of being too tired or sick or whatever. I just need to write.

Writing is hard. Sticking to it is harder. But if I want to make a career out of this, or at least do what I love for as long as I can, then I need to start now before I regret never doing it.

Have/do you struggle with something similar? Do you have any writing goals yourself? What about promises you’ve made in terms of your writing that you haven’t kept or are working on keeping? Do schedules work for you? Let me know in the comments!

Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s not that I JUST want to be a published author. It’s really not JUST about that. Yes, I think it would be super cool to have my work out there and be published and do book signings or whatever, you know?

But really, my main goal of writing is to just get my writing out there.

I can’t do that if I can’t even finish one draft of one story. Technically it’s the second draft because it’s the rewrite, but I won’t get into that right this moment.

So, as many of you know, I participated in NaNoWriMo this past November and I wrote over 50k words to win. It was a tough month, trust me, and part way through I realized I didn’t want to write my story the way I was writing it, so I knew I’d have to do a rewrite of it eventually.

Well I’ve been trying to rewrite this story in the perspective and tense and everything that I want for the past two months, right? I even set a deadline for myself and everything in my revision plans. I thought it would go over smoothly, but like anything, I’ve hit a bump in the road.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my story and the way it’s turning out now that I’ve switched it up to what I wanted it to be, but I’m just struggling to find the motivation to keep pressing on and write.

Maybe it’s because I hate drafting. Seriously, I hate it with a passion. I don’t outline or do anything because once I write it down I feel that I’m done and that’s the best product I’m going to give. (I know there are other steps and edits and stuff if I ever do get published, but I believe I’ll handle that differently than this initial stuff.)

Well, I want to be able to finish my story and get it out there to the world, to share my creative voice and tell the story I want to tell. But I don’t want to stop there; I want to write as many stories as my brain can come up with. I want to be able to reach for the stars and share in the wonder that words can hold on a page.

And so I think my first step, aside from the obvious finish at least one story, is to find the motivation to finish it.

NaNoWriMo in November was something that was really motivational and challenging, giving me a set date and time in which I needed to finish up to or past 50k words in order to win. I think I need that challenge because I’m otherwise never going to finish it.

Camp-Participant-2015-Twitter-ProfileSo NaNoWriMo doesn’t just happen in November, but they also do Camp NaNoWriMo in April. It’s a more relaxed version of their November one, where you can set your own word limit and write as many words per day as you can to reach that goal. Whether it’s your NaNo draft, your latest story, a comic book, or whatever other creative writing piece you happen to be working on, that’s what Camp NaNoWriMo is all about.

So I think I’m going to participate and continue working on my draft of my November NaNo story.

It’s fun and challenging to reach a word goal in a month, and April will be no different. My goal will still be 50k words, I think, and where I’m already at 10k words, I think I’ll do well, haha!

If you need that extra oomph to write in the upcoming month, I’d definitely check Camp NaNoWriMo out. Sounds fun and a lot less stressful.