Tag: creating

Mid-Year Goal Update

At the beginning of the year, I set quite a few goals for myself (not resolutions). Eight goals in each of three separate categories, one being reading and one being writing. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how I’m doing on those goals, since we’re halfway through the year.

Reading goals:

1) Read GWTW.
2) Read 1 book per month from TBR.
3) Read all books on AWR list.
4) Read one classic per month.
5) Read one book of poetry.
6) Read 2 books per month to review.
7) Read one inspirational book per month.
8) Read 75 books.

I haven’t read any of Gone with the Wind since January, so I better get on that. I have read one book each month from my TBR pile.  I successfully read all of the books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class. I have read a classic per month. I have not read any poetry. (Oops.) I’ve read and reviewed at least two books each month. I’ve read at least one inspirational book each month. And I’ve currently read 69 out of my goal of 75 books.

Writing goals:

Writing goals:

1) Finish Witches HTRYN.
2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song.
3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.
4) Start Camelot.
5) Revise Casting Shadows.
6) Finish copyediting classes and start making money at it.
7)  Have 500 followers on this blog.
8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog.

 

I’m still working on the revision of Witches. Siren Song is outlined, but I stopped working on it, and started writing on The Fall again. No progress on Camelot. No progress on Casting Shadows. I’m still working on the copyediting classes. I’m still chipping away at the blog goals.

Verdict:  I’m doing okay on my goals, but I need to get it together and get on all of them!

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New Year, this Time with Some Actual Goals

Happy new Year 2016 Images (20)
(I do not own this image.)

Happy New Year!

I used to make very complicated, intricately planned-out lists of resolutions every year. A few years ago, I stopped that, but this year I decided to give it another go. I ended up with three separate lists (Life, Writing, and Reading), each with eight goals.

Here are my Writing goals for the year:

1) Finish Witches HTRYN.

2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song. 

3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.   

4) Start Camelot

5) Revise Casting Shadows.

6) Finish copyediting classes and make X dollars at it per month.

7) Have 500 followers on this blog. (I can dream, right?)

8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog (It’s a goal.)

HNY

Here are my Reading goals:

1) Read Gone with the Wind (for at least the 25th time. I normally read it every year, but it’s been a few years.).

2) Read 1 book per month from my TBR shelf.

3) Read all books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class (8 total).

4) Read one classic per month.

5) Read one book of poetry.

6) Read 2 books per month to review.

7) Read one inspirational book per month.

8) Read 75 books total.

How Many Stories at a Time?

Just out of curiosity, how many projects can you work on at a time? (Not physically simultaneously, just, you know, during the same general time frame.) I’ve read about people with more than one WIP at a time, and the idea is slightly…mind-boggling to me.

I’m editing one project, Witches, and writing Siren Song. But…I still have The Fall rattling around back in there, and then there’s that new Camelot/King Arthur/Guinevere story the Muse wants to play with….Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, my writing goals are not very intense right now. If I get in a couple of 500-word sessions a week, I call it a good week (the habit is what’s important to me right now, after an extremely extended hiatus from writing.). I also don’t want to lose the emotion I have for those other two stories. Not when holding on to my motivation has been so tricky anyway.

The idea I’m currently considering:  continue editing Witches of course, to the tune of about 5 chapters a week. (This is just really a pass to change it from 3rd-person POV to multiple 1st-person, not an in-depth revision.) Continue writing (at least) two 500-word sessions on Siren Song a week. One session with The Fall. And one with the Camelot story. Every week. To facilitate this, I would also want to actually outline all three stories before starting to write the other two. I don’t have any sort of outline for Siren Song, so this would undoubtedly be beneficial in that regard.

Is this insanity?  Has anyone tried writing multiple stories like this at the same time?

What’s the Weirdest Thing to Ever Inspire You to Write?

Inquiring minds want to know.

I’m not sure I have anything weird to contribute to this. I mean, I’ve never been struck by a bolt from the blue. Or had the idea fairy tap me with her glittery magic wand. Or had a clown frolic up to me with the fragments of an idea floating around his head (thank goodness!).

For me, it’s like the Muse is a child playing with blocks. She’s playing with this one random block, sometimes for a long time, then she suddenly finds this other block and starts banging them together. Suddenly and without warning, she smacks the blocks together a certain way, and they fit together like Tetris. I can almost hear the “click” when that happens. And unrelated ideas suddenly become one.

That happened a couple of weeks ago, when I started working on my British Lit final, and I chose to re-write a scene from Morte Darthur in Guinevere’s POV. I’ve always wondered how she became involved with her husband’s best friend, and this was an opportunity to explore that. Except the Muse decided it was also a good opportunity to come up with a new story idea. Guinevere! King Arthur as a bad guy! Maybe some time travel and paranormal events!

Really, Muse? I mean, I already have two separate partially-done story ideas in progress. You decided I need another one rattling around in there? And the answer to that question is….YES.

So, I guess I do have a weird thing that inspires me to write:  a tiny fairy in a purple tutu that lives in my head and forces her ideas of what I need to be writing on me at random moments. That really puts everything into perspective. I think I need to go lay down…

Writing Inspiration: What Do You Use?

I’m not an expert or anything–well, I’ve been writing for around 15 years, so a semi-expert?–but I do have a few tips for when you need writing inspiration. Give them a try if you’re stuck, hopefully they’ll work for you.

Music. For me, it requires music without lyrics, so I don’t get distracted (although sometimes Enya works). YouTube is a good place to find new things that fit whatever you’re working on. If you go to the Music page, you can find songs grouped by genres, themes, or or even seasons. This could be really useful if you need a soundtrack to get in the heads of your character. (And I really have to start using music when I write again. Duh…).  Warning:  YouTube is distracting, so you can end up watching tutorials on obscure or impossible subjects if you’re not careful, eating your writing time.

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Pictures. Specifically, pictures of beautiful, magical places (if you’re wondering what to write about), or pictures of the place you’re writing about (if you already know). For Chasing Shadows, my story set in New Orleans, I looked at tons of pictures from the city. I also–since I lived nearby at the time–visited the areas I was writing about (Yeah, I know that sounds like a convenient excuse to spend time in the Big Easy. It was. Perhaps that book needs editing…). Pinterest is a good place to find awesome, inspiring pictures. I have several boards for this. Warning:  Pinterest can EAT YOUR LIFE, so you might want to set a timer or something to make sure you escape alive.

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Pay attention. Seriously. If you’re paying attention, you can find inspiration in the tiniest, most random things. My Muse loves to grab meaningless fragments and put them together. I can almost hear an audible click when this happens, and I know there’s a story idea brewing. This happened just a couple of weeks ago, working on my final essay for British Lit. I chose to re-write a scene from Morte Darthur from Guinevere’s POV. Boom! My Muse said “Hey wait, I’ve got an idea!” and suddenly my WIP isn’t quite enough to keep her occupied anymore, because she has a shiny new idea. (That will get written, I promise.) Just pay attention. Inspiration is like lightning. It strikes randomly.

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Any suggestions for getting or staying inspired?  I’d love to hear them!

Winning Against Inertia

I’ve started working on the revision for Witches.  Which means I’ve done two chapters so far.  It’s…interesting.  The first few chapters are pretty clean, actually. I’m altering my old voice to my new voice, but I usually write first-person these days, and this story is in third-person…which is a bit of a challenge for me.  If I didn’t need multiple viewpoint characters to tell this story, I would definitely be changing the POV as well.  But I don’t think a story written from the viewpoints of at least four characters would work that well in first-person.  (Plus, that’s pretty confusing.)

So.  Two chapters down, 67 to go.

I’m considering the idea of graduate school when I finish my bachelor’s degree next December.  My school offers an online master’s degree in journalism, which is intriguing to me.  I believe words have power.  And journalism, or at least this degree, can help me to use them.  So.  Mulling that over a lot.

I also got some writing done today on Siren Song.  Win!  I broke the inertia all the way around today.  It’s been a good day.

All Fiction is Not “Fifty Shades of Grey”

If one more person tries to get me to read or watch Fifty Shades of Grey, I may have a screaming fit. No. I will not read it. I will not watch it. I would actually rather watch a Twilight marathon than do either (Yes, I’ve actually read the Twilight series. I am not a fan.) Please stop trying to get me to waste my time on something that, for me, has absolutely no value.  I think all authors have the right to write what they please. I do not think writers have the right to profit from other people’s ideas. From everything I’ve seen–for yearsFifty Shades of Grey started out life as fan fiction based on Twilight. (Please do not ask me what I think of that particular concept.) So, E.L. James has profited handsomely from Stephenie Meyer’s initial idea. That is not okay with me. I also do not read or watch James Patterson because I’ve read, many times, that he uses a team of co-writers to produce his plethora of work. I am sure those writers are well-compensated. But their name is not generally on the covers of those books. This is my personal reason for not reading either of these two authors.

Writing is hard. Anyone who doesn’t think so has no idea what they’re talking about. If I am ever so fortunate as to be published–traditionally or indie–I will be thrilled with my hard work and my ideas being appreciated. So, it offends me on a personal level when I see other writers not getting the credit they deserve. It’s like plagiarism. Seriously. And I do not support it.

Writing fiction can be magic. Words have value. Fiction has value. Just because I do not like a piece of fiction does not mean it doesn’t have value, it just doesn’t have value to me. I’m only one person out of several billion on this planet. Write what makes you happy. But write your own stories, not someone else’s. Don’t criticize someone else’s just because they aren’t your cup of tea.

And if you don’t read fiction, don’t tell me that writing it is pointless and has no value. Your argument is invalid, because you are making a judgment about something of which you have no knowledge.

Notice I did not say that Fifty Shades of Grey is poorly written or has a crappy storyline. I have never read it. I have no knowledge of it. It could be a lyrical masterpiece. It has value for an awful lot of people out there. Just because I do not find value in it doesn’t mean others don’t.

But please don’t tell me that writing fiction is valueless. Especially if you watch bad reality TV or the news instead of reading. Because everything on the news is absolutely true and not made up at all….

Finally…Progress!

I finally started writing again!  Granted, it was probably less than 300 words this morning, but it’s a start! Before I could write a single word, I had to re-read the entire (That makes it sound like so much) 67-page draft to get a feel for the characters again. That’s the problem with forgetting you even started a story and then trying to start it again:  you forget you ever knew the characters, much less the plot you had planned (assuming I had one planned.). SO I read the draft, then wrote a few hundred words. Not much, I know, but a start, and I know exactly what happens next, which is why I stopped where I did:  so I can actually start during my next session. I’m really happy to be writing again.

Today I will also start working through HTRYN with the draft of Witches. Wow. You know, I thought I was going to be working on a 300,000-word monstrosity, but it turns out, once I opened a document I hadn’t looked at in I-don’t-even’know-how-many-years, that this, the third version of the story, is only 188,000 words. Still way too long, but a definite improvement over my first thought. Whew.  Instead, after using a 10-point Times New Roman font, as well as single spacing it, the printed MS is only 269 pages. That I now have to read through as if I’ve never heard of these people before (And, let’s face it, after a break of years, that’s pretty accurate. I hope we’re old friends again soon.).

Writing After a Break

(I do not own this image, but the words are TRUE.)
(I do not own this image, but the words are TRUE.)

Have you ever taken a break from writing?

I have. To be honest, the “break” I just finished up was more of a three-year hiatus than anything. There were a lot of reasons for it–depression, a major health issue, school–but that doesn’t make me feel any better about taking it.

The thing is, I miss writing. An ex of mine used to tell me I needed to write if I started getting too grumpy, and that’s probably true. (Kind of explains my moodiness lately, as well.)  Blog-writing helps stave off the attitude somewhat, but getting eyeball-deep in fiction will almost for-sure “cure” the problem.

(I do not own this image.)
(I do not own this image.)

I’m eager to leap back into the thick of things, to pull a blanket of words over my head and just snuggle into them. Except, of course, I have no idea where I was going with the Siren story….

Not to mention, I want to revise Witches, and I haven’t touched it in years.

So, I think a bit of planning is in order, first. Wait. Pre-work. I meant pre-work. I already have a plan:  do all the things! NO. No. I need an idea of where the story is going, first, before I dive in and start writing. Otherwise, I’ll end up with another 300,000-word monstrosity to revise.

Okay, new plan:  HTRYN for Witches, brainstorm a general outline for the Siren story and work through HTTS for it. Okay. I have a plan.

Now I just need to implement it.

Getting My (Writing) Ducks in a Row

So…School is out. Vacation is over. Real life has started again. That means it’s time to get back to writing. Yay! In that direction, I went through the “Writing” folder on my computer on Sunday.

And found 67 pages of a story I don’t even remember writing, for NaNo 3 years ago. I read probably 15 pages before I believed that I actually wrote it. It’s a YA about the Sirens and Spartans, but set in the here-and-now. It was kind of like having an out-of-body experience, reading through something I have no memory of writing. (The writing took place about 6 months pre-stroke, and I stopped when my depression got really bad).

Yesterday, I found the story notebook for my newly rediscovered story. That’s the good news. The bad news…in it is one piece of paper with 40 words on it. Mainly character names. No plot ideas, no outline, nothing else. Also some printed out research on sirens and the like. It appears that I will be basically starting from scratch, because, let’s face it, I’m totally sucked into the 67 pages of MS I have. I was seriously like “Did I write this? It’s really good!” Guess what just got bumped to the top of my to-write list?

That’s not strictly true. I want to get going on The Fall again, too. I’ve only got a few chapters written, and I need to change some stuff that my Muse gave me over the past few months when I wasn’t supposed to be writing (my Muse is, apparently, a rebel). An outline would, perhaps, be helpful. Or, heck, even a basic idea of where the story was going. At this point, I’m flailing around in the fog, only able to see two steps in front of me.

I also discovered a tiny bit of another story, along with its notebook and partial outline, as well as a good bit of notes for a third story. I think 4 WIPs is a bit excessive, even for me. My Muse either fainted from excitement, or went on strike, I’m not sure which.
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Let’s not forget my to-be-revised list, which grows ever longer. Sigh…Think I’m gonna start with Witches,  though. Cutting down that 300,000 word behemoth is going to be…tricky, but the characters are talking to me. Or, possibly, I’m hearing voices….Yeah, it could be either one.

Writing question of the day:  does anyone else juggle multiple stories at the same time?  Some tips would be helpful. And very much appreciated.