It’s day two of NaNoWriMo! The Bird that Sings current word count: 5,048 words and about seven pages. If you have made it onto day two congratulations! The reason why I say congratulations is that sometimes first time NaNoWriMo contestants look at others words counts and want to give up, saying I’ll never get there. Let me put your mind to rest by saying if you have a story in mind, keep writing and ignore others words counts. Also put it this way, you can say good for them but at the same time you should be skeptical of that word count. Word counts can be used not only for new project but also for continuing word counts as well. But please, for love that is your writing don’t give up.
It’s only day two of this 30 day challenge and we still have a lot of weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds and the alike to fill up with our words when we can. While others have time during the day and others have time during the night to write. There is nothing that you can’t do with a little motivation. So yes, I’m going to give you that motivational pep-talk that you have probably been looking for.
Let’s start with you. Yes, you looking at the screen and reading this post. You came up with an idea to write for a month. If you came up with the idea, write it. Talk about it. It’s your idea so own it. The idea is not going to write itself. I believe that when it comes to story ideas there is a reason that the idea came to you. Yes, the idea maybe challenging but its your challenge and your burden to bare. So bare it buttercup. Granted, other ideas can come along that may be easier than the challenging ones. But there is a reason that the story picked you to write it. Are you going to let that idea fail?
If you answer yes, that’s fine. Just remember sooner or later it will come back to haunt you. There’s that Halloween word again, haunt. Yes, I’ve been haunted by story ideas of past. I write them down in my story idea journal and will come back to them later. This comes under the heading, too many story ideas not enough time sort of thing. Here is a picture that fits this situation perfectly.
See we all have problems with different story ideas coming along and plunking down when we don’t need them to. This is an issue. Trust me it’s an issue and I know many knitters that have this same problem when it comes to yarn. They start one project using a particular type of yarn, then they go to the yarn store and see another type of yarn and is look ‘oooh, must have.’ Next thing you know the original project is sitting, for the new yarn is being worked on. I call this syndrome, Yarn ADHD.
However, we writers don’t have this problem necessarily, except with notebooks. Yes, we see a notebook and we must have. We get another notebook and that original notebook is just sitting around just waiting for us to return. However, it’s not like we have a store that we can go to for story ideas. Oh no the muse handles that situation perfectly for us on her or his own time. Thank the muse for the issues that we have with multiple story ideas coming to us.
Granted, could the muse guide us? Sure, but the muse I find also likes to wonder around the universe pulling out story ideas and going look at this shiny story idea that I found. Of course we grab onto to like a sheep being lead into the dragon’s cave. Then next thing we know we have fallen into the dragon’s trap and we either see it through or somehow we are lead out of one dragon’s hoard to the next. Good going, muse!
But this is also where we need to go our priorities straight and right now my priority is working on The Bird that Sings and seeing where it takes me. That should be the process that we all should take during NaNoWriMo. Best piece of advice that I can give right now is: First, tell the muse to sit down and stay home. Don’t go looking for other ideas. Stay focus on the one that you have given me. Second, make the muse, if you can a nice place of his or her own to stay somewhere in your writing space. Remember we want to treat the muse like it’s a wanted guest for a month or so. If the muse is not treated nicely, it will want to leave and then we have no choice but to let it wonder onto find other ideas. Thirdly, take care of you, the writer. If you don’t take care of you then you are not going to be able to focus on writing this novel or even completing this challenge.
Yes, NaNoWriMo is a challenge and the odds are only in our favor if we chose to accept the challenge and to work hard and to have fun doing so. Use the words and use them wisely. Remember this is only day two so have fun and enjoy yourself. Let that imagination wonder and create magic. Unleash the creativity so that you can create, write, grow and inspire others to follow your pursuit.
I hope that you have found this advice or rather pep talk inspiring through the second day of NaNoWriMo! I hope that you have a great writing day and happy creating!
NaNoWriMo has officially began! The Bird that Sings is currently in process. Now as I promised here is my current word count for day 1: 2015 words and I’m on page four. Don’t worry, if you are not there, every writer is different. But on the other hand, this is where planning our book comes in handy as well.
However, I want to get into today’s topic, which is writing that first page. Writing a first page can be challenging for many factors. First its the first page. When you look at it’s blank, just waiting for whatever you are going to put on it. But if you can conquer that fear and get to writing then you have squashed the first page monster.
Secondly, what should be on that first page? There are many things that should be on that first page. You should have character, voice, setting, backstory and plot. Granted, you are not writing that whole novel on the first page, but what you are trying to do is get enough details on that first page to keep the reader engage to read the rest of the novel.
Let’s face it, if you don’t have enough going on in that first page, then the reader is not going to continue reading the book and your work will be for nothing. I’m not wanting to turn you off from writing, but there are things to keep in mind, such as if the voice you use is not strong enough and it falls flat on the first page then you have already lost your reader.
Voice is something has to be paid close attention to. Normally when voice is talked about in writing it usually refers to first person point of view, however, I’m going to also say that third person can also have a voice. If the narration of the third person is not strong then you can also lose the reader’s interest. When it comes to third person, think about a news journalist on the news that keeps you engaged in what they are reporting. If they are not able to hold your attention then they are not the right journalist to keep in your head. Granted, when I was in college and would read boring text books, I would put one of those go to voices in my head and that would make the reading more interesting for me. So I’m going to lend my list of five go to voices to you, and if you need to hear it, you can YouTube them.
Granted, they are not in any particular order, but the two that are my most popular are Anthony Mason and Edward Herrmann. If you listen to them, then you can get a look at how voice can be captivating.
While the other items are important on that first page, voice is the most important for that voice needs to be strong enough to carry out the whole book. If you want an example of this look no further than what books have sold and have sold well, or even became a box office hit for movie ticket sales.
Yes, I mentioned backstory can be included on the first page, but do it as away to sprinkle in the details. If you go over on the backstory details, then you are taking away from your character on page one. Yes, keep who your character is on page one in mind, and how did they get there. There has to be a reason for who the character on page came to be. If you can’t explain that, then your character is not going to be complex as you want him or her to be.
There are many authors that say what needs to be on page one, and while I can agree to a point. Here is my list of what needs to be on page one: voice, character, backstory, plot, setting and most important not that inciting incident. If you include the initial incident on the first page then what are you going to add to page two or three. The initial incident of making the reader ask the why now question should be answered within the first ten pages. However, I will also amend this statement to say look at your genre before going by where the initial incident should take place, such as in mystery that initial incident is not going to answer why today but rather lead to the question of why kill him or her?
That initial kill in a murder mystery should take place on either page two or three. If the kill takes place after that first three pages then you have too much fat and it needs to be cut. Yes, details are important but if they have nothing to hold the reader in those first three pages while you are killing the tool character, then you have to make changes. Granted, that can be done in the editing phase, but also details can be moved to other parts of the book if they are essential to finding the murder or the reason why the tool character was even necessary to be killed.
Maybe I’m being harsh by referring to that first kill as a tool, but it’s true. Let’s face it if it weren’t for the tool being killed off, then you would have no murder mystery to solve or a story to tell.
My last important piece of advice on the first page is make every word count. There is said it and I mean don’t waist words. If words are wasted then the effect of that first page could also be wasted. In other words, make that first page count for something other than the start of your story. That first page and its words have an important purpose and that is to engage your reader and make them sink into the world that you have created.
Granted, there is a lot of pressure that we as writers put on that first page. But just like we have our firsts so do our book’s first page. It’s the first page that readers see when they open the book, besides the title pages or rather front matter. It’s the first page where we are in for the try outs for their attention. Think of it as we are auditioning to be put on their bookshelves or for their reviews. If the first page fails then it is what the book will be remembered for and the reader may not go to the last page.
I hope that you have found this helpful on your writing for that first page. Good luck to all of you doing NaNoWriMo!
In a few short hours, (yes hours) NaNoWriMo will begin! Thank goodness the wait is almost over. Before we begin the month long task of writing our next novels or being rebels by continuing on a previous project, I wanted to take a moment and give some news and updates.
First off I want to start with my plan for the month of November. Besides working on my NaNoWriMo project, The Bird that Sings, I will be proactively updating this website with both new content and with updates on how NaNoWriMo is going. This means that for every post that I put up, I will include a record of the current word count and in case some need to see a page number count as well, I will post that up there.
Secondly, I went to Barnes and Nobel yesterday and picked up some last minute writing guides. The first new book that I’m adding to my arsenal is: Save The Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. If anyone is familiar with the Save The Cat! books, they are essentially books written for screen writers or even play writes, and they are one of the books that is a gold standard reference books to have on hand. Well, now we have one for yes novelists. I can’t wait to dive into this book and see if it will be a gold standard or rather a go to book for anything that I need when it comes to my writing.
The other book, that I picked up is: The Writer’s Guide to Wattpad by Benjamin Sobieck. Wattpad, in case you are not familiar is an online storytelling community where 65 plus million users can read and or post entire novels, short stories, fan-fiction, poems and more up. Wattpad is where writers can build up their presence and readership follows before they even get published. Granted, with all of this in mind, I thought that I would read the book, but I almost admit that I’m also leary of posting anything on Wattpad, for there have been a few writers that have post on Facebook writing groups, that they have seen where there work has been either re-published by another author (pirated) or it has been plagiarized. But still I thought that I would read it and see if the book changes my mind about the platform or gives strategies to get around the issues that have been addressed by other authors.
I want to say a huge thank you, to all of you that have chosen to follow my website. This website now has 112 followers and counting. When I got to the one hundred mark in followers I said that I feel blessed, and I still do. I’m blessed to be able to help writers either continue on their writing journey, or able to help them start on finding their writing path. I’m truly blessed by each and everyone of you for following me.
Thank you, once again. I hope that you are all well rested up before NaNoWriMo begins in a couple of hours.
We are just two days away from the start of NaNoWriMo, but first let’s celebrate with Halloween. While most of us think of Halloween as a time to dress up, let our hair hang lose, and to crash our diets. But for some of us, Halloween is a time to celebrate the magic that has made many of us become fans of witches, wizards and the alike. I am for one a fan of many witches and wizards and each one takes on the persona to a different level. Therefore, I’m using today to count down by favorite witches, wizards and other magical creatures. Harry Potter is no listed below, for every one knows a great deal about Harry Potter.
I’m starting with Merlin. Okay, before you shun this choice, Merlin was probably the first wizard that many of us heard of. There have been many different versions of Merlin over the years, and these versions go from the goofy Merlin with the long white beard, and a talking owl to a young Merlin following through on his destiny to protect the once and future king, Arthur Pendragon. I for on enjoyed the Merlin from the Sword in the Stone, but the one that I really did Merlin right, was Sam Neil in the mini-series, Merlin. Sam Neil’s Merlin, was not only able to cast magic with his hands, but he also carried the feather coat well as he fought the magical witch, Queen Mab (yes, she is also on this list). Merlin was a story about good and evil, for sure, but it also showed us that Merlin was no cheep conjurer of cheep tricks.
Now on to Queen Mab, from the mini-series, Merlin. Queen Mab gave the persona of what it means to be a bad witch, and what it means to own the mark. Mab had her henchmen, Frik, who was not only comic relive but was also willing to do her bidding and was loyal to her for a great many years, until he wanted love before her. Mab was determined to get what she wanted, in order to avoid her fear of being forgotten. Mab was the first character that we met in the series, and in the begging we understood what she stood for, and what she wanted to avoid. She had needs and wants, and she showed how far she would go at Merlin’s expense to get what she wanted, and never mind her husky voice, or her cool make-up, Mab was a fantastic bad witch.
I’m continuing on with the bad witch category, by moving on to Maleficent. I love Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. She had a great presence that demanded that you pay attention to her and only her. Let’s face it she was also the first villain that had a theme song, so move over Darth Vader, Maleficent was first. Not only did she have those devil horns that declared respect, but she also had the greatest gown with those deep colors. Maleficent had a great staff, a bet crow, and finally she had the power to become a great, black fire breathing dragon. Yup, that dragon was no slouch either, granted she died in her dragon form, but her anger was enough to show that she was awesome. Now, while the original Maleficent, in the original story book was listed as a faerie, but this Maleficent could be a faerie or a witch, for that part has not been made clear, I’m saying that she is a witch and she was awesome.
While Maleficent, had enough power for one witch, the next set of witches on the list, go under the heading of sister witches. The first set of sister witches, are the beloved Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus. Winifred, Mary, and Sarah, take being brought up from the dead and finishing their unfinished business as nothing more than determined. Granted, Winifred was the brains of the outfit, next to her dimwit sisters, Mary and Sarah, but she was also the most…ugly. Yes, I said it, she was the ugliest of the three and no wonder her lover, Billy Butterson went to making out with Sarah. While each had their own set of powers, the only way that Winifred was magically strong willed, was with the help of her spell book, Sarah had her siren voice, and Mary had the power of smell. These sister have lasted over the years are a favorite due to their working team work, and loyalty to one another and you don’t need a lucky rat tail to know that one.
The last witch that or wizard that I’m going to add to my list, is Miracle Max and his wife, Valerie, from the Princess Bride. Miracle Max was only in a portion of the film, but lets face it his chocolate dipped magic pill, worked quickly and without error. Yes, Wesley couldn’t get up right away, but he was a life again after having thousands of lives sucked out of him. Max was funny and charming and he was evenly matched with his wife, Valerie. While it wasn’t clear if she had magic, but given that she’s married Miracle Max, she must have a little bit of magic. But these two are one to remember given that she called him a liar, and he called her a witch. Now while they didn’t leave to storm the castle, they show that there is not a better married witch couple then these two.
While there are others that I could include on this list, I think that these witches and wizards are on the list being remembered along with the likes of Harry Potter and his wizardly class. If you any that you would like to add to the list, just comment down below.
I hope that you have a great writing day!
The final week of prep-work for NaNoWriMo has began. That’s right, we are one week away from the start of NaNoWriMo 2018. During this last week of prep that is to be done, there a few little house keeping items that we writers need to take the time to look into.
The first one is making sure that our writing spaces are clean and ready. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are some writers that tend to overlook this important detail. That’s right, the space that we have dedicated to our writing can get over looked. It can get looked over due to the fact that we see it every time that we sit down to write. Furthermore, in making sure that our writing space is clean and ready it also means, making sure that we have plenty of pens, pencils, or whatever writing utensil is sharpened. Making sure that there is plenty of light and or electricity.
The second thing to make sure that is in pristine condition is ourselves. This means making sure that we are healthy and that we are 100% at our best. Let’s face it, when we are sick then we can’t put worth our best foot forward or put out or best work. I know, for I’m just getting over a current spell of an illness, which included me not having my voice for four days. As part of the prep, for making sure that we are healthy includes making sure you take whatever precautions that you feel are appropriate, even if this means getting a flu shot, or taking the right dose of vitamin c.
The third item that goes into working on the prep for NaNoWriMo, is making sure that you have all your notes, inspirational items, music, and anything that you need to get in the mood for writing in one space. This means having a folder on the computer or in real world that contains all of these items. Also once you create this folder on the computer, adding it to your favorites, so that you can access the folder quickly, without the complication of having to remember where you put the folder.
This fourth item which is a bit of a continuation of the third item, is making sure that your computer is healthy as well. The health of your computer should be a priority as anything else that is in our arsenal for writing. Part of the health of the computer, is making sure that any files that are no longer are either deleted or sorted on an USB flash drive or even on a CD. Further more, making sure that your desktop is cleaned up. The one reason for slowness of a computer booting up, is a cluttered desktop. Making sure that your desktop is cleaned and uncluttered, is one way to make sure that you computer starts up without any problems.
The fifth item that might go without saying, but it probably should be. Make sure that any other projects can either be completed or put a pause on until after NaNoWriMo. That’s right, if you want to be 100% focused on your NaNoWriMo project, make sure that all other projects are put on a shelf until a later date. Granted, if you are in school, this may not be an option, but if you are not in school is this may be an option. Although, it means to turn the attention away from one project and onto another, but it also means prioritizing one project over another. Let’s face it sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the sake of projects. Good or bad, choices have to be made. This does mean that you put your project before family or friends. Remember during NaNoWriMo is also Thanksgiving as well as Black Friday.
I hope that this helps get your ready in the last few days of October to get ready for NaNoWriMo. I hope that you have a great day!
While I have not talked much about fan-fiction on this site, I feel that we should for I have already been engaged on the topic by another blogger, Chrissy’s Writing Challenge. Here posts are usually short and sweet, and I don’t mind for each blogger tends to write their blog in their own unique way.
In her post about the topic of fan-fiction she said the following:
I like the idea of using characters that you know and love and writing about them but it always seems a little like stealing.
Yes, I commented back on her post, and while I could copy the whole comment that I left her I will let you click on the link above, which will take you to the post. However, I will summarize by stating that fan-fiction is not necessarily stealing for it is more of away for a show to build a presence from one person’s perspective.
I also noted that show runners and show writers tend to look at fan-fiction as away to see how much of a presence the show is getting online. Granted, as writers we all should note that the Fifty Shades of Grey series was originally a fan-fiction piece based on the Twilight Saga. Also the show Gargoyles had one of the largest fan-fiction communities than any other show, and due to this community they used to have a convention for the show.
Yes, a convention just for one show. Furthermore, their big kick off event was either writing, reading, or discussing fan-fiction based on the show. If that doesn’t tell you the power of fan-fiction I don’t know what will.
I have written a few fan-fiction pieces for the following: Gargoyles, Hocus Pocus, The Young and the Restless, and fairy tales.
While some may see it as stealing ideas, I see it as a way for one to get their own view of how a show or story should be going, even though, show runners and show writers will tell the story the way that they want to tell it. But it’s still away to make creativity happen. Also most writers started off as fan-fiction writers before they published their own works.
But it should also be known that some show-runners and writers have been known to read fan-fiction pieces to see how others view the show. Not only do they read it and encourage it, but I have heard one or two say at conventions that they are flattered by all the fan-fiction that come from viewers.
It must all be said that at times, fan-fiction can raise the bar as far as ratings, and that is alright, as long as they are inspired to write to keep the ideas being generated onto the page. So it must be said that I’m on the side of the writer who feels inspired by what they see or hear that they want to write a piece and that they want to join in on the community.
Also based on fan-fiction, that is how some theories for shows are conceived from, and some of the theories are not that bad. If you want to see a community that has a tone of theories right now, look no further than Game of Thrones. Yes, we fans of the show are eagerly awaiting for season 8 to begin, but in the mean time all we can do is theories and speculate about what is going to take place.
While others put down fan-fiction, I feel that it should be embraced as it is a story on its own right. Even though, it has characters that they did not create but some writers have created their own characters to encounter such known characters like Batman. There is merit to fan-fiction and the biggest merit of all is that it builds community and it brings others together.
Now I will give one piece of advice when it comes to writing fan-fiction and that is know your subject, which means do your research. If you don’t know the world that you are writing about, then your piece will fail. When it comes publishing fan-fiction, the best piece of advice is change characters names and other details. Furthermore, it’s up to you if you want to share with readers that it’s fan-fiction or it’s an original idea.
On the last note, we as writers all have to start somewhere and if it’s with fan-fiction so be it. I mean I started with fan-fiction and I think that it’s one of the best things that ever came into my life.
I hope that you have found this helpful when thinking about the value of fan-fiction. I hope that you have a great writing day!