Tag: writing lessons

Sundays are for Writing #7

This week wasn’t a good writing week. I did get some writing done twice…but probably only about 500 words total. Stress seems to make writing nearly impossible for me, so I’m floundering. I’ll try to gain some focus next week.

The good news is my characters are talking to me, so yay!

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Sundays are for Writing #6

Rough week at work, so I planned to do no writing until the weekend. I started yesterday morning with a 10-minute session—I find that if I try to write for longer than that, my brain wanders, but I can focus for 10 minutes—re-doing the first scene of my story (since my hard drive died the week before last, taking everything with it.

I’ve had an online backup program, Mozy, for years, but I didn’t realize it stopped working 6 or 8 months ago. My file download took two days to finish, but when it did finish yesterday morning, there was the first 3k of my story draft!

Do I wish it had been more? Absolutely. Will I be better about keeping an eye on the program to make sure it keeps working? You better believe it! But, it’s better than nothing.

I only recently wrote the other 5k words, so it’s pretty fresh in my mind. My goal is to get back to where I was over the next two weeks, and to work through Lessons 7 and 8 of HTWAN. I did get another 500 or so words added on to my recovered file, so there’s that.

Happy writing!

Sundays are for Writing #5

This writing update won’t be quite so upbeat as the last four…

I did get my 750 words in on Tuesday. Everything flowed, and I enjoyed the process.

Thursday…my hard drive died. All my school stuff, personal stuff, and story draft just gone. Thursday was not a good day.

But…at least I only have to re-do 8,000 words. And it’s still fresh in my mind. So, starting that is on the agenda, but not until next weekend, as this will be a crazy week.

Sundays are for Writing #4

Four straight weeks talking about writing on Sunday! I’m really proud of that streak. Really. It seems that for the past couple of years, all I’ve talked about here is books and book reviews, without time or room for anything else. But writing is where my heart truly lies. I’ve made it a priority this year, and the affirmation of that is in these weekly posts.

This week was an excellent writing week:  I wrote four different days (I don’t write on my three long work days—we’re talking 12+ hours—because I’m just mentally and physically exhausted after those early, long days) this week, and my goal is 750 words in each writing session.

Nailed it. Which means I wrote 3,000 words this week! This makes me very happy. Years ago, I remember writing 10k in a single day—more than once—for NaNo, but that was years ago, pre-stroke. So, very happy with my 750 words a day…and they are just flowing, which is even better!

I haven’t been able to work on my HTWAN lessons this week, but I’m about to go do that right now. So:  3,000 words for the week!

Happy writitng!

Sundays are for Writing #3

I think the accountability of posting here ever week is keeping me motivated to make progress of some sort in my writing ever week. At least…it’s worked for three weeks straight now, so I’ll take it.

Tuesday, I worked my way through lesson 5 of HTWAN. I completed the worksheets, but I wasn’t super happy with my answers. I wrote 1,000 words or so on the accompanying draft, but the world just wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t making me happy.

Thursday, I opened the 3,000 words I had written for the original story idea and read through it. I was much, much happier with that draft. The flow felt more natural. Less stilted. So, I decided to return to my original story idea, and the Muse was happy with that plan.

Yesterday and today I wrote an easy 500 words both days. I still have only the fuzziest of ideas where the story is going—and I could easily be wrong—but the easy Southern fiction voice feels right.

Sundays are for Writing #2

Look at me:  for the second Sunday in a row I’m talking about writing! Yay for New Year’s goals that last longer than a week…

The truth is, I haven’t started actually writing this story yet. But I’ve completed five weeks’ worth of worksheets for Holly Lisle’s How to Write a Novel Class, and now I have an actual idea (or three) of what this story is about, in addition to knowing more about my characters and the conflicts. (To be fair, what I knew about them before this class was basically zero.)

And I know what my first scene is—along with my second. This story is not about quite what I thought it was, and it will be interesting to see how it develops. I’ll be starting the first draft this week, so here’s to hitting my writing goals…the same week my semester starts.

 

 

 

Fits and Starts

Sometimes, the writing comes easily. Sometimes…it feels like running a marathon with 10-pound weights on each foot:  impossible.

This week, it has been both for me.

I did manage to get at least some words written every day Monday-Thursday, although Tuesday and Thursday only saw a handful, nowhere near my goal. Yesterday, I was mentally done with the week, and I didn’t even try.

Today…it’s been going fairly well. I only have 500 words to go to meet my word count goal for the day…which was initially 0, but since Tuesday and Thursday were barely productive, I knew I needed to make them up today. So, 2,000 words so far today, 500 to go.

Feeling a lot less completely overwhelmed with life and work and school as a result.

Whose Line is it Anyway?

(This show used to crack me up. I just don’t think fast enough on my feet to be able hold my own on a show like that, but it was hilarious.)

I’m not sure if the first line of a story causes me more fear and second-guessing, or the last line, but I’m leaning towards the first line. Think about it:  you’re trying to set the tone for an entire novel (or novella or short story or essay or paper…), and you want to capture your audience’s attention as well as the feel of the entire novel. In that one sentence. That’s a lot of pressure for one measly sentence, a mere handful of words.

So which tone do you take?

Iconic? “In the beginning…”

Fantastical? “Once upon a time…”

Historical? “It was the best of times…”

Character-driven? “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful…”

(True story:  I actually know the entire first half-page or so of Gone with the Wind by heart. It’s my favorite book ever, and while stylistically it’s not something I can emulate, it certainly paints a vivid picture of Scarlett right off the bat.)

I mean, if we were watching a movie, that opening shot would be—comparatively speaking—much easier to establish setting, world, character, and plot. You’ve got visuals. You could use Johnny Depp against the ocean, or bright words rolling up against a backdrop of stars. There’s an immediate feeling of place.

But what’s the literary equivalent of that opening shot?

My advice is not to worry too much over it when you’re writing your fist draft. (Are you listening, self?) If you have a brilliant idea for the perfect first line, use it. But write the entire piece or novel, and when you go back to revise, get your story in the best possible shape you can, then take a look at your first line. Chances are good that your story will have changed so much that that “perfect” first line is no longer even relevant.

But you’ll have a much better feel for the story and what you’re trying to say, and I’m betting that crafting that elusive perfect first line won’t be quite so hard with that in mind.

Things All Writers Understand

Just a few things from my Writing Pinterest board that all writers will understand. (I don’t own any of these images, but bless their creators, for totally understanding the struggle.)

block
At this point, it could be either one…
coming-together
I LOVE this feeling!
dory-writing
It’s sad how accurate this is <looks at list of 4 planned novels for this year, including the shiny new one that happened two weeks ago>.
first-draft
…one of which planned novels is the full re-write of the first thing I ever started writing…
inspiration
Motivation comes in many forms.
old
Actually, I’m too afraid to look at my VERY first draft.
plotting
If I only I could be the first one.
writer
Wait, I thought everyone hung upside down. You mean they don’t?
writing
I might resemble the last picture…
youre-a-writer
Guilty.

 

Change is Good

I started the new job Wednesday.  So far just basic stuff like safety videos, which is normal for the healthcare field, but I did go see my new clinic very briefly on Thursday.  “Wow” is all I can say.  It’s beautiful!

I’ve gotten a bit of writing on Siren Song done this morning, with more on the agenda for the day.  I think I can play in this world for a good long time, with loosely-related stories set in the Mystic World.  (At least, that’s what the Muse told me this morning.)  I’ve already revised two chapters of Witches today.  Mainly just a POV switch, with some thoughts for a deeper revision to come. I’ve started doing some reading for my editing class as well, and learned about style sheets:  the formal name for the set of notes I’ve been keeping on this story for years. Good to know.

Okay.  I’m off to get back to work on both stories again.