Friday Funny with Goals, NaNoEdMo, and Spiders

When I got out of bed this morning, I felt like doing this:

Yay for Friday! I say we all take a moment to celebrate and dance it up…Come on, dance! Shake that booty, wriggle those hips, and stomp those feet!

…Are you doing it?

Are you?

Well, hopefully you’re at least tapping your feet or bobbing your head.

Okay, okay. Enough dancing…for now. 😉

Overall, my week was calm and productive. On Monday, I received an email that lit a fire under my dragging feet and prompted me to promise someone I’d have a final draft of my manuscript done by January 1st.

Yeah, trying not to panic too much.

It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of focus, and A LOT of hermit days to meet my self-imposed deadline for a final draft by January 1st. I’ve already started telling people in my life, “I’m sorry, but I need to be selfish the next couple of months to finish my book, so if you don’t hear from me or I have to bail on you, that’s why. Again, sorry.”

I feel horrible, but chopping out all distractions is going to be a necessity if I’m going to do this.

Hey, a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do, right?

Strangely, right after I made the decision to finish my manuscript by January 1st, one of my best friends text me and said she wants to do NaNoEdMo in November to edit the story she wrote during Camp NaNoWriMo in July. After I finished chuckling, I told her I’d join her. I’m still chewing over what my exact goal for the month will be. I can’t really base edits off a word count, so I’m thinking a certain number of chapters.

Whatever I decide, I need to buckle down and get to work!

I did take a break last night to decorate my house for Halloween–finally. I’ve been putting it off because 1) I’ve been so busy, and 2) I really, really, really did not want to go into my crawl space to get my bins of decorations. You guys, it’s ca-reepy down there! Dark, dirty, spidery.

*shudder*

I despise spiders. Give me snakes or mice any day of the week. Just not spiders. Anything but those vindictive eight-legged monsters!

But, alas, I had to face my fears. So last night I put on my big girl pants, sucked it up, and journeyed into the dreaded crawl space. I saw one spider dangling from a web, but it was dead, so I didn’t panic too much. But then I backed up and got jabbed in the butt by my Christmas tree and freaked out, lol. I swore Shelob had crawled out of the darkness to gobble me up. I know, I know. I’m ridiculous. No need to tell me. I’m fully aware of it, haha.

Anyway, in honor of my focused week and my goal of finishing my manuscript by January 1st, here is today’s Friday funny. Enjoy!

1798100_875822442428382_3463484613586654032_nHow was your week? Have you set any goals for your own work? How many of you are participating in NaNoWriMo?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Mornay’s Dream – Braveheart

You Know You’re A Writer When…Favorite Mug

How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

Photo credits: 

http://www.nolanfans.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=17&p=547915

http://getoffmyinternets.net/thats-quirky-is-a-steaming-pile-of-no/comment-page-3/

http://orbitags.com/the-53-thoughts-every-college-grad-has-immediately-after-moving-home/

http://forums.superherohype.com/showthread.php?t=481237

http://www.tumblr.com/search/disney%20grumpy

http://www.nolanfans.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=17&p=547915

Music Monday – Set Fire to the Rain – Adele

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicAs I mentioned on Friday, I planned on being a big ol’ hermit this weekend to catch up on my manuscript. Well, I succeeded! After I got home on Friday night, I locked the doors and hunkered down for two straight days of writing.

To be honest, I didn’t listen to much music the past couple of days. When I write, I need absolute silence. And the only time I broke the silence in my house this weekend was to take breaks to eat and watch an episode of The Mindy Project (FYI: Funniest. Show. Ever!).

However, on my way to work this morning, I set my iPod to shuffle and stumbled across Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain”. And I fell in love with it–er, more than I already was. It’s perfect for the chapters I’m currently working on.

adele21To me, this is a cinematic type song. It’s dramatic and grand, and overflowing with emotions. Plus the lyrics are amazing and offer up their own serving of inspiration.

As I listen to “Set Fire to the Rain”, I “see” my characters moving, talking, reacting, and feeling. And the setting around them is there, bold, colorful, and believable.

So, if you’re looking for a powerful song that gives a writer a paintbrush and a thousand colors to create moving, vivid scenes, then check out Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain”.

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

Photo credits: 

http://michaelgalvis.com/

http://reddebtedstepchild.com/blogging-hermit/

http://prettymuchamazing.com/music/stream/adele-set-fire-to-the-rain-lovesong 

https://www.tumblr.com/search/Adele%2021

7 Methods for Handling Point-of-View Changes

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! In most of my stories, I tend to keep a narrow focus by using only one character’s point of view. However, when I began rewriting my novel last fall, I decided to make a huge change and use multiple POV’s.

AHHH!

Yeah, it’s not the easiest thing to divide a story amongst multiple characters. Not only do you need to make sure you’re maintaining each of their unique voices, but you need to make sure you’re not confusing the reader by making sudden POV leaps.

POV 2

Today’s gem, courtesy of Rhonda Ryde, addresses this topic. In an article written by Jami Gold, we’re offered great tips on how to handle POV transitions, and how to avoid pitfalls that hurt your story and confuse the reader.

7 Methods for Handling Point-of-View Changes

Paragraph Break
The vast majority of agents and editors consider a paragraph break to be an insufficient transition for a POV change, especially for a character-focused story.

In contrast to plot-driven stories, character-focused stories are page-turners because the reader cares about what will happen to the characters. It’s harder to create a sympathetic/empathetic relationship between the reader and characters in one-paragraph chunks. If the characters don’t matter, they might seem little more than puppets to the plot.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Rhonda Ryde on Twitter!

Related Articles

How to choose a point of view for your novel

5 Tips for Writing Multiple POVs

Deadly Sin of Writing #5–P.O.V. Prostitution

Point of View: Choosing Whose Head To Be In

Photo credit: 

http://lydiakang.blogspot.com/2011/03/pov-privately-owned-vehicle.html

My Writing: The What, How, and Why

I know I’ve already participated in the popular writer’s blog hop going around–twice–but when Amanda from Amanda’s Nose in a Book invited me to join in again, I decided, why not? So here we go!

1) What am I working on? 

As most of you know, I’ve been elbow deep in revisions for my YA manuscript the past three or so months. This is an old project I optioned in 2010 to a production studio on the Paramount Studio lot. It’d been sitting on my shelf for over a year untouched until last fall, during NaNoWriMo, I realized it was time revamp it. COMPLETELY! I kept the basic concept and incinerated the rest.

My original goal was to have a polished manuscript ready to send off to agents this fall. Unfortunately, that won’t be happening. I’ve been working hard, but meticulous, so things are coming together a lot slower than I planned. But, it’s okay. I’d rather take my time and make sure things are solid, than rush  for the sake of finishing. That’s just silly.

At this point, my new goal is to have everything completed by January 1st–query letter, synopses, and all…We’ll see if that pans out.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, that pretty much sums it up!

When I write, I have one main goal: to think way outside the box…which can be tough in the category I like to write for: Young Adult. However, no matter how tempting it might be, I refuse to hop on trends (vampires, dystopia, angels, etc.). When a genre/topic becomes hot, I avoid it like the plague. Why? Because by the time I write a book about it, it’ll be old news. Agents won’t want it, publishers won’t want it, and a lot of readers won’t want it. And that equals wasted time and–basically–a worthless manuscript.

So, if an idea isn’t fresh, different, and “Oooh, that’s cool!”, then I won’t pursue it.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Easy. A story demands me to tell it.

Okay, I’ll explain. My main focus is young adult (suspense, horror, drama). However, I don’t let that focus constrict me. If a story wants me to tell it, I will. In fact, I rarely sit around and brainstorm ideas. They come to me at the most random of times (on a jog, in the shower, at the grocery store, while working on a different project). Some ideas I explore immediately; others I write down for a later time. All of them, however, haunt me. They’re like little whispers begging me to pay attention to them and translate them onto paper. Unfortunately, I’m not a machine, so I’m only able to address one at a time.

So, why do I choose the one I do? Well, let’s just say that story’s “whisper” becomes a “SCREAM!”.

No matter what project I take on, I have to love it. If I don’t have the passion and drive to tell it, then I won’t. I can’t! Books take a ton of time, a ridiculous amount of effort, and a wide range of emotions. If I don’t have the heart for it, then I’ll pass and find one I do.

4) How does my writing process work?

Recently, I’ve figured out an easy way to explain my writing process. In a nutshell, writing a story is like baking a cake:

  • Draft 1: Throwing all the ingredients into a bowl. AKA, just write! There’s no real plotting or outlining or planning. I sit down at my computer, press play on the “movie” inside my head, and write. As I work, I take notes in an “Edit” document. This is where I scribble down plot holes as I discover them, mark down major character flaws, and ask myself “Why is this happening?” types of questions.
  • Draft 2: Bake the cake. AKA, build the story’s foundation. I use all those ingredients from my sloppy first draft and start baking them into a solid story. I analyze the plot, I mold my characters, and I constantly ask, “Why is this happening?” and “What is the purpose of this?” and “Is this important?” If there’s no answer, then I chop it out. Why do I need a line/scene/character if it doesn’t move the story forward?
  • Draft 3 (and so on): Frost the cake: This is when I go back and start making things “pretty”. I juice up my descriptives, deepen my characters, add an extra punch to my action scenes, zero in on repetitive words/phrases, etc. Basically, I search and search for every and any flaw, and then I find ways to add in a bunch of “WTH just happened?” moments for the reader. I like to make them think they’re out of the woods and then–bam! I twist the story one last time to knock them off their feet…Well, I try, lol!

Here are a few other do’s and don’ts about my writing process:

Do’s:

  • Pitch my concept/idea before I begin: Why work on a project if people aren’t fans of the idea from the get-go? So, before I type one sentence, I ask a handful of trusted individuals (writers, family, friends) what they think of it. If too many of them lack an “Oooh!” response, then I’ll toss it out and try another.
  • Listen to music for inspiration: I spend quite a bit of time commuting each day, and almost every minute of that commute is spent listening to music compilations I’ve created for whatever project I’m currently working on. They help me think/rethink scenes, come up with new ideas, or simply add fuel to my writing fire.
  • Find photos of my characters: Similar to music, I thrive off imagery, especially when it comes to my characters. As I write, I always have photos of my main leads nearby (aka, famous actors, models, or just random photos via Pinterest). These visuals help me imagine what my characters’ expressions might look like, or what they might say or do in a certain situation.
  • Use beta readers: Showing off your hard work is both exhilarating and terrifying. However, it’s an absolute necessity if you wish to query or publish it. Just because you think your book is shiny and pretty and perfect, doesn’t mean it is. So, I always send my rough drafts to a few people I know and trust, and who I know will be brutally honest with me. They won’t say, “Oh, it was so good! I loved everything about it!” They’ll say, “I liked these parts, but this scene didn’t make sense, this character was annoying, this relationship was shallow, this chapter was useless…etc.”

Don’ts:

  • Outline/pre-plot: I’ve attempted to sit down and outline a story before I start writing it, but it doesn’t work. When I write, I like to sit down and go! When people ask me how I can do this, I tell them it’s like a movie playing inside my head. I hit the “play button” and “watch” the events unfold. As a story progresses, I may pre-plot the next chapter in my head while listening to music, but, overall, a story evolves as I type it out.
  • Write with music/noise: Turn it off! Turn it off! Silence is golden when I write. I wish I could listen to the music that inspires me while I work, but it’s too distracting. In fact, I’ve been wanting to invest in a pair of noise canceling headphones.
  • Show first drafts: First drafts suck. They do! And mine are horrible because I don’t outline/pre-plot, so they’re crammed with loopholes, discrepancies, 2-D characters, repetitive words, stilted dialogue, needless scenes, lukewarm action, cheesy romance, confusing twists…I’ll just stop there 😉

So there you go! Hope you enjoyed some insight into my writing. If you’re interested in reading any of my work, click on Jen’s Pen up above!

Up next on this round of the writing blog hop are some of my favorite bloggers/writers! Be sure to check them out. 

Paul Draper 

PD Booth

Blog: The Bitumen Carnival

Twitter: @TheBlackGate

Darla G. Denton

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Blog: Darla G. Denton: Musings From a Curvy Romance Writer

Twitter: @DarlaGDenton

Facebook: Darla G. Denton

Jonathan 

Blog: 40 Stories for my 40th Year

Friday Funny with Paint, Chocolate, and Wallow

There isn’t much to say except:

Well everyone, this week was a doozy on the writing front. In a nutshell, I felt like this:

So, last weekend I sent my beta reader my latest two chapters. She liked them, but she wasn’t crazy about their setting. “I wasn’t wowed,” she explained. “This is a big moment, and you nailed the emotions and the action, but the actual location wasn’t thrilling. I wanted…more.”

Always more, Mrs. Beta Reader. That’s all you ever want. More, more, more

Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re all thinking: “It’s good your beta reader pushes you to do better–to give a reader more. That’s their job.” I know, I know. But, still. Grrrrr.

The problem is–and I know you’ll find this bizarre considering I’m passionate about novel writing–I’m not a fan of painting a setting. The sky, the clouds, the house, the trees…blah, blah, blah. If I could, I’d literally say, “There’s an old house that’s creepy and scary. Get it? Got it? Good. Let’s move on.”

Horrible, I know. But, unfortunately, true.

And these chapters my beta reader wanted “more” from are all about painting a setting. So, rewriting them this week has. Been. Pure. Torture! Compared to writing dialogue and action sequences, describing a location is hell for me. Going from blank page to vivid scene is a rough and frustrating process. There’s lots of writing, deleting, crying, screaming, writing, deleting, groaning, kicking, writing, deleting…

…punching my computer in the face. Apologizing to my computer for punching it in the face. Punching it again. Apologizing again…

Seriously, by the time I finished revising these chapters last night, I felt like this:

Okay, Okay, I wasn’t that bad. But I really wanted to curl up with a big bag of peanut M&M’s and wallow. Maybe chow down on some cookie dough ice cream, a slab of fudge, and an entire chocolate cake.

What? Every writer is allowed to gorge on chocolate once in awhile, right?

Right?

Fingers crossed my beta reader gives me the thumbs up on the new location I painted for her. If she doesn’t, then I will be buying a GIANT bag of peanut M&M’s and I will be wallowing….And then, after my pity-poor-me party, I will roll up my sleeves, gnash my teeth, and try again. Because, as the saying goes, “You fail only if you stop writing”.

Right?

Anyway, in honor of my rough writing week, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!

tumblr_mb67pu0DLF1r7d8e0o1_500

How was your week? Wallow worthy? Or full of rainbows and glitter and blah blah blah? 😉

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Love The Way You Lie – Eminem and Rihanna

You Know You’re a Writer When…Alter Ego

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

Photo credits:

http://stevencee.com/author/stevencee/

http://giphy.com/gifs/b55x0VFpFKm7S

http://www.gifwave.com/3kSL/reaction-cameron-diaz-the-holiday-grrrr-gif

http://giphy.com/gifs/obG1fKl754GZ2

http://fivefootattack.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/the-five-foots-top-five-christmas-movies/

http://itsbetterblonde.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/hey-guys-learn-your-manners/

http://rebloggy.com/post/funny-humor-book-write-epic-fail-writting-distractions-to-write-writing-humor-st/32599840340

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Today’s gem, courtesy of freelance literary editor, Heather Jacquemin, tackles eight specific words all writers should consider slashing axing killing deleting from their manuscript. Although these words might seem necessary, the truth is, they’re not. In fact, they tend to weaken our stories and steal their punch.

shutterstock_RedPencilBIGPersonally, I’m guilty of using over half the words on this list, particularly three of them: “start”, “like”, and “suddenly”. So, when I go back to edit and polish up my manuscript, I know I’ll need to hunt them down and chop them out–hiyah!

I encourage you to review this list as well, and find out if you’re using unnecessary words in your writing.

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

“Like”

I’m not just saying that, like, you shouldn’t, like, talk like a valley girl (though that too). Here’s the problem: “Like” is used to show uncertainty. And you. Should. Not. Be. Uncertain.

Be bold. When making a comparison, use force. Use metaphor over simile. Don’t let yourself cop out by coming up with a halfway description.

“My eyes rested on the gun for a sliver of a moment. I snapped forward, grabbed it, and it was like the chill metal flowed from the gun into my veins.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Heather Jacquemin on Twitter!

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 8.15.06 AM

Related Articles

Five Words You Can Cut

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Photo credit: 

http://www.theopennotebook.com/2013/01/16/are-you-an-editor-or-a-writer-part-ii-the-editors/

Music Monday – Love The Way You Lie – Eminem and Rihanna

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicThis week, I will be working on some of the most intense, emotional scenes in my manuscript. In preparation for writing these heartbreaking chapters, and dragging my characters through the mud and turning their worlds upside down, I’ve been listening to Eminem and Rihanna’s powerful hit, “Love The Way You Lie”.

Eminem-Love-the-Way-You-Lie1This song is packed with conflict, pain, and all of the emotions I need to feel while writing these explosive scenes: betrayal, fury, heartbreak, fear, regret…I also love the lyrics and music video. Both help me tap into my dark side and go to places I don’t want to go–but must.

tumblr_ly5q65ZGOP1r9n7rxo1_500So, if you’re looking for a song that touches upon heavy topics, and inspires intense emotions, check out “Love The Way You Lie”.

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

Photo credits: 

http://michaelgalvis.com/

http://www.free-youtube-mp3.com/eminem-rihanna-love-the-way-you-lie-download/

http://www.wattpad.com/43557165-lyrics-and-quotes-love-the-way-you-lie-eminem