Tag Archives: creation

Motivation: The Struggle

I’m feeling a theme for my blog entries today. It’s a real struggle to find the motivation to write lately, but when I do start writing I don’t want to stop until I essentially finish the chapter or the scene.

But finding that initial motivation to start writing is the real struggle.

Between work and just relaxing I find no motivation to write unless it’s at the most inopportune time, such as when I’m attempting to sleep. Though I was very successful during a slow day at work (I wrote over 1,000 words on paper that day), that doesn’t mean I’m successful during any other time of day.

Finding motivation is a challenge in of itself. Yes, I really want to finish this story and yes, I really want to get it out there eventually to the public. But there are several things going through the back of my mind that are related to both my personal life as well as my writing life.

Questions pertaining to jobs and financial stability are big one on my mind right now, but in terms of my writing I ask myself is it good enough? Will people be interested in reading this? I know there will be both good and bad reviews, but will the good outweigh the bad? Why am I worry about all of this now before I’ve even finished rewriting?

Frankly, I don’t know those answers. And then there are the questions about finding an agent, publication, etc. There’s a lot of things that I need to think about for this novel.

The biggest question I’ve been asking myself lately, though, is: is this the novel I want to write? As in, is this the novel that I want others to read?

I love the concept behind the story and how the story is playing out, don’t get me wrong, but I have so many other ideas that I want to get out there that I’m unsure of what to go with first.

Plus I hate writing drafts with a passion. But I got to do it, right?

The motivation thing is killing me, here, but I’m trying to find times where I’m really inspired to write. I find it difficult to just “do it” and instead try to find the times where I feel most capable of actually doing it.

Do you struggle with motivation for writing or anything else you do? Do you have any advice?

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Plans for Moving Forward

My sincerest apologies for practically throwing this blog to the wayside. I feel as though I’ve run out of a lot of ideas for this blog, and so I’m here to announce some big plans that I plan on accomplishing within the year as well as plans for this blog.

First off, let me start with my overall plans.

I feel as though I’ve been slacking in what my dream became once I found my calling in college, which was Professional Writing. Well, to be technical, that’s just the term I graduated with. To be more precise, I feel as though I have been called to creative writing; that is, bringing those many thoughts and ideas in my head to life, creating stories and beings and wonderful things from my head onto paper (or screen, in this case). I want to create and write and just have fun doing something I love to do, and I realize that when I participated in National Novel Writing Month in November 2014.

I created my first full fledged story and I didn’t even complete it. But I also realized that it wasn’t the exact story I wanted to tell and so I have decided to rewrite the entire thing from a different perspective(s) than before and in a different tense than before (present instead of past).

It’s a huge undertaking, but I believe I need to accomplish it. Without it, I won’t be telling the story that I know resides within my heart. Though I’ve just started rewriting I’m already frustrated, but that’s how it always goes, right?

Besides that, my other big plans include:

  • finishing said story to its completion, polished and ready to go
  • having said story read and critiqued by others whom I trust to give me honest opinions
  • once feedback has been received, make any adjustments and then proceed to research agents and publishers
  • query my story

Very big plans, as you can see. But that’s not all I have planned for this year. I have some other major plans that I’ve been thinking about and I truly believe that I need to accomplish them:

  • choose one of my many ideas and start working on the next story
  • participate in NaNoWriMo 2015
  • if rejected from any agents/publishers, continue writing anyway
  • potentially find some way to get myself out there more in terms of writing
  • continue with my Reader Rayna blog & my YouTube channel

Those are some pretty hefty things I want to continue to do for myself, that’s for sure. Some are easier than others, but they’re all time consuming. As a writer, it’s nothing short of what I expected.

I love what I do. I love to write and create and bring characters to life on a page. It’s one of my passions that I stubbornly ignored for such a long time but I found it is truly my calling.

Though I can’t be a full-time writer right now, I can work on the sides and behind the scenes and push through my day to day life. I know my husband supports me in my endeavors, as does God, and so I have to support myself, right?

Now as for this blog, I know I’ve highly neglected it for several months now, and once again I apologize. Topics just haven’t been coming to my mind and I have been busy with my other blog, work, wedding, honeymoon, and just trying to make it by in my daily life.

But I’ve missed this blog and those that read and follow me. I miss the conversations and the fact that I could express my own opinions about topics and be happy that they were out there.

So here are some of my plans for this blog:

  • write at least one blog post bi-weekly; if I’m able to write more, then I’ll do more
  • don’t so much focus on a certain topic, but just let my opinions soar out of me
  • as I continue in my endeavor to write and eventually query my story, talk about that process and what I’ve learned from it

It’s only a few, but it’s enough for now. I don’t want to stress myself out too much with this, so I just want to give myself at least a few small guidelines for what I expect to do with this blog and how I want to continue in my endeavors and journey as a writer.

I hope I have your support, as well, in all of this, dear reader. I want to be as warm and inviting as possible to those who read my blog and can put up with my absences. This isn’t about just “trying to be professional,” but it’s also about connecting with a larger community of people like me.

Thank you for your time.

NaNoWriMo 2014 Revision Plans

This was originally posted on my other blog, Reader Rayna.

I never posted this here initially, or really kept up with updates, but I did win NaNoWriMo this year with over 50k words (50,281 to be exact)! I’m very proud of myself as I won on day 29, and I wrote my butt off to catch up when I fell behind.

If you want to read a synopsis and excerpt from my novel, you can go check out my page.

So let me talk about my revision plans. I’ve got a lot of them planned, I’m just not going to get them started until the new year because my brain needs time to recuperate after all that writing and other busy things going on, plus my husband and I are going on a honeymoon to Disney World over Christmas, so… I have no time to think about my story.

Anyway, now that I’ve rambled, let me get on with my revision plans:

  • I’m going to rewrite the entire novel in first person point of view present tense from the perspective of my main female character, Dahlia, whom I connected with much more than my main guy character, Jake.
  • After that second draft (since my first NaNo draft is… my first draft) I’m going to polish it up and have several people who were interested in reading it read it.
  • Upon feedback from them, I will revise more and start looking for/querying potential literary agents who might be able to help me get my book published.
  • Yes, my ultimate goal is to get my work published, and I do love the story very much and I believe it would be a great debut novel (at least I hope). That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to grow in my writing from doing multiple drafts or anything of the like. As many people say, it’s not about getting published, it’s about the writing process.
    • What I’ve learned from it is that I missed writing. I missed being creative and spewing out as much as possible to create a feasible, entertaining story.

So my revision plans are pretty standard, I think, for any aspiring writer. I love my story and want to share it with the world. I have many other story ideas and writing plans, I just need to implement them and begin writing. No one’s going to tell those stories but me, so I may as well get on it, right?

Did you participate in NaNo this year? How did you do? What are your revision plans, if any? Let me know in the comments below!

Mini-Series Part 2: Setting Development

The sky allowed only a few rays to break through, casting a glow on the pavement ahead. The road stretched on for what seemed like forever, disappearing over the hills to unknown lands. The car’s radio was playing the typical things, pop music, country, and whatever else she felt like listening to. All she knew was that her hometown sucked and she needed a new place to go.

Welcome to part two of four of my mini-series for creating stories! Tonight I’m going to talk about setting and how you can include the characters you made from the advice I gave last time into your new setting.

Okay, so you have your character and you know him/her inside and out. Great! Now where do you place them?

There’s many different settings you can place a character, whether it be in the realm of fantasy or reality is up to you, though. If you plan on writing a story of fiction, placing them in the realm of reality – a familiar place – is something to think about because writing from experience is actually something that I have often read about as advice when writing a story.

If you decide to write in a realm of fantasy, be sure to keep in mind the climate, the culture, the flora and fauna that belong to that world, and more. Think about your favorite sci-fi movie or novel and how the directors and producers (and the rest) made the world come to life. You obviously don’t have to include every single little detail in your own story, but writing down everything in a separate log will help you to remember just what is included in the world you’re creating.

If you create from reality, be sure to also know the same types of things that you would have to know for a fantasy world – culture, food, flora and fauna, etc. For a beginner, you might want to consider writing in reality because it might be easier to write from what you know.

When creating a setting, there are a few things to consider:

  • Keep it within a small range. Unless you’re writing a story about pirates (which you should do research on, if you are), try to keep the location of your story down between one to three areas. You don’t want to over-complicate things by making your character go from Boston to Cairo, Egypt to Manhattan all within the same chapter – unless it’s relevant.
  • Write down everything. You’re going to want to write down everything you can think of about the setting you’re placing your character, from their home to their room to their car (if they have one) to the outside world. Do they have a magazine collection? What does their car look like, smell like? Has he/she ever been to the other side of the state? Write it down!
  • Show what your setting looks like, don’t tell us what it looks like. Instead of saying that there was a “red house with white shutters and a white porch,” show us what it looks like, for example, “The house was dull from years of rain and whether, the red paint chipping away onto the clean porch.” It’s okay to not tell us the color of every little thing that’s in the setting – give us what we need, but show us, don’t tell us.
  • How does the character act in this setting? Take your main character and place them in the setting you’re thinking of. Do they fit in? How do they feel when they’re there? Are there a lot of memories for them there? Do they associate some event with the location? Write it down and incorporate it into your story if you like.

Though these are just a few tips, there are always hundreds of thousands of resources you can find out there on the Internet and in libraries and bookstores. But for the sake of my mini-series, try to utilize the tips and start jotting ideas down for your story.

If the characters are the backbone of a story, then the setting is the blood of the story. It provides the story with filler and it gives the character a place to live and grow. Without a setting, all you have is a character, and where can you go with just a character without having some sort of setting?

Take the time to plan out your setting, from sky to grass, from mountain to sea, from house to skyscraper, but sure to include every detail that you can about your setting. Placing your character(s) there and making them feel at home will be its own project, but as long as you mold the setting around your character, they should fit together nicely!

Next time I’ll be talking about the content of the story, a.k.a. the body of the story. I’ll provide some tips on how to start and finish the story, and how to not lose the climax of it.

Optional: Tell me your new setting and how you came to the conclusion for it!

Creating a Story 101

Creating a story is like creating a baby: you have to love the idea before pursuing it.

Okay, well that sounded like an odd example, but it’s true! If you don’t love your plot or idea for a story, then what’s the point in even writing it?

If your objective is to reach out to an audience of high school girls, write a book about teen love or paranormal romance (are vampires still in?). If you’re writing to an audience of students in college, then make it sound more formal, but relatable. If you’re writing for a broad scope of sci-fi/fantasy fanatics, include awesome details about your setting so the person can imagine themselves walking inside of that world.

Whoever your audience is, creating the first words to a story can be hard. I, myself, find the hardest part of writing a story, whether it be flash fiction or a full out novel, it is always the middle of the story that’s the hardest. Beginning it is easy – continuing with it is hard.

I’m going to give a few tips as to what I think are helpful ways to creating a story. These have worked for me in the past, but they don’t always work for everyone.

  1. Start with the title. I know, sounds crazy, right? Most people add the title last to their piece of work, but I’ve found it to be the leading cause to starting the first sentence of my story.
  2. Start by writing, “Once upon a time…” Yeah, yeah, it’s corny, but it’s a good segue into starting a story. You don’t necessarily have to keep it once you’ve got your gears turning, but it can help in the process.
  3. Start with the end. It can feel weird to start with the end of your story, but if you know where your story is eventually going to end up you can then plot and think about what you want to happen that leads up to that moment.

Those are just a few simple tips to get you going. I’m sure you can think of, and find, many more ways to start a story, but I figure that this will at least help get the juices flowing and the gears turning.

Now I want you to actually write the beginning (or end) of your story. Go on, do it right now. I want this to be an interactive experience, so start writing by using one of my three tips above. If you find that you’ve gotten stuck, don’t worry, just stop and come back to this once you’re done.

Okay, you’ve got some things written up? Great!

Now that you have the beginning (or end) of your story, look at what you’ve written. Read over it and see if there’s anything you want to change or add just to the piece you have.

Sometimes the easy part is writing the beginning, but figuring out if you have an idea that’s viable or that’s entertaining and will keep the reader on the edge of their seat is the really hard part. Don’t worry so much about whether or not someone else is going to like it right now – do you like it? If you don’t like it, then there’s no point in writing it.

Now that you have the beginning of your story, think more in depth about what you’re writing. Maybe even before you begin a story you want to make an outline of who your characters are, the setting, the time period, the main plot, the climax, etc. There are different methods that work for everyone.

Think about your characters for a second. Who are they? Are they you? Are they your best friend from elementary school? Are they the bullies from your neighborhood? Or are they even your pet? Whoever they are, you have to come up with a personality for them. Don’t make them into average Mary and Gary Sues. No, you want them to be different and creative! Here’s a few tips to think about how you can think about your characters as you’re writing them:

  1. Create their own separate folder with all personality and appearance traits and ideas. Not only will this help to organize your thoughts, but seeing them in front of you will help you to realize whether or not your character is too ordinary and overused, or if you think you’ve found a keeper.
  2. Don’t make too many characters at once; just stick with the main character and maybe one supporting character for now. You’ve only just begun, so don’t throw in all ten characters (or more or less) at once at the very beginning. You need to get a feel for the character who’s going to be your main hero/heroine in the story before you add in the supporting cast.
  3. Think about how they would react, feel, think, etc in the environment you’re placing them in. If you’re going to have a young cyborg adult living in the Amazon Jungle with no real reason as to why he/she is there, then you might want to either rethink your character or your setting.
  4. Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and make the main character a little “messed up” in the head or have a super traumatic (or lack thereof) backstory. Or even make your main character the villain and make some awesome twists throughout. Don’t be afraid to take big leaps that may be “out of the norm” for a lot of popular story ideas today.

Characters are the heart and meat of your story, so think carefully when creating them.

If you haven’t done so already (especially since I made you write the beginning of your story), create some characters. But first, just start with one main character. Is it male or female? What is his/her sexual orientation? What does he/she believe? What kind of education does this person (is it a person?) have? Who can he/she trust? Did he/she have a tragic backstory or did he/she lived a charmed life? Is he/she tall and lean or short and pudgy? Is he/she the villain or the hero/heroine? Write down your main characters from appearance to the inner workings of their mind (and if you can’t figure it all out, don’t worry, your characters usually come to life on the page on their own without your knowing).

Now that you’ve got your main character figured out, do the same for your first supporting character.

When you’ve got all of that figured out, try thinking about your plot and your setting. These are entirely up to you and you can base them on either real life situations or you can make them totally out of this world. Try your hand at both and maybe you’ll find that you like one over the other, or that you want to somehow combine the two. Either way, think about what you’ve read in the past and what has struck you as really cool or really fascinating.

Story writing has a lot of elements to it, and though I’ve barely scratched the surface, I’m sure that if you start writing and are able to work through getting to know your characters, your setting, and more, that you will find yourself successfully writing a masterpiece (in your eyes or in the eyes of a publisher). Get to work and start writing your story!