What NaNoWriMo Means to Me

It’s day eight on NaNoWriMo, which means we have been participating in NaNoWriMo for a whole week. Yes, a week of this writing exercise is gone. In case you were wondering, The Bird that Sings is currently at 14,048 words or roughly nineteen pages. On the other note, here is a clever riddle to stroke your fancy: Why do pilgrim’s pants always fall down? Stay tune for the answer.

However, speaking of NaNoWriMo, I want to talk about what NaNoWriMo means for me. During November it is reserved for us writers or authors to try our hand at writing a first draft of a novel. While this is the case for most in that they work on a novel that they have had on mind for awhile and have had the secret desire to get it out onto the page. While tend to play it safe with what they are comfortable writing what they have written before, in terms of genre and POV. I, on the other hand, tend to look at NaNoWriMo as a chance to experiment.

Take myself out of the norm of what I typically write. This includes going from POV of third person narrative to first person. Further, while I enjoy writing fantasy, I usually use NaNoWriMo to tackle other genres that I have not written before. This gives me a chance to not only experiment but also a chance for, as I feel on the matter, growth.

We as writers all need to let ourselves that chance to grow with our writing. Let’s face it if you don’t grow then you cannot improve yourself. While growth maybe one of the core values that I have in stowed with Moonspinner3 Books. But it is true, we all need to have that little hint that we are growing and maturing as a writer. This even goes for those that write children’s books and young adult. While our subject matter cannot show the maturity that we want to convey due to the limitations of subject matter, but we can hide secret meanings between lines of text.

Granted, while our young readers may not see the light bulb being turned on, but our older readers may. Remember we also want to be clever with what we put on the page. Therefore, I tend to think of NaNoWriMo as my chance to be clever and to grow. Then what I gained during NaNoWriMo, I can carry forth to my other works in progress and to future works.

Think back to that riddle at the top, Why do pilgrim’s pants always fall down? Granted, its not like the riddle of why is a raven like a writing desk? But the answer to the posted riddle is clever. Before I give you the answer, think of what a pilgrim looks like. You have that picture in mind. Here is the answer: They have belt buckles on their hats, overcoats and on their shoes, but not on their pants.

bear pilgrim

Therefore, in short NaNoWriMo is an opportunity that we have been given to grow our use of words and our abilities to write and share stories. There is a reason why, the slogan for NaNoWriMo, is the world needs your story. This is true but the only way that we feel comfortable sharing our stories is through the process of seeing the growth in our storytelling skills. Its just up to those that dare to try to change their course through the opportunities that are given to us.

This does not mean at this point that you should change what or how you writing your novel that you have already started this month. It simply means try something new the next time that you are writing a new project, rewriting your novel, or even editing the novel that is in progress. I would never want you to change what you have written based on the advice that has been given in this post.

I hope that you all have a great writing day! Good luck during NaNoWriMo! Finally, happy creating!

The Power of Writing

It’s day six of NaNoWriMo! How is your novel going? I hope that you are enjoying your time during NaNoWriMo. In case you are wondering, The Bird that Sings is currently at 13,034 words or at about 18 pages. I am still feeling pumped and ready to write my words and get them loaded on to the pages. Nothing is more refreshing then writing and using words that we have been given.

However, we as writers use what we have always been given. Granted, there has never been a question of will we ever using writing in our live unlike math. We all remember those days, right? Asking our teachers and parents, what good is algebra? Or the famous one, when am I going to ever use algebra in my life? Yup, I can’t think of time when I’m ever going to use it. But writing is for life.

Writing is what holds us writers together. It grounds us and gives us a strength like some have never seen or only can dream of. Writing for us writers, is like the force that is described in Star Wars. Many things can influence our writing as can the force. While the force has its teachings, so does writing. But where we are not confined to either being a Jedi or a sith, writers are confined by genre and sometimes, sub-genre.

Genre can give us a direction, a feeling, a type of strength and sometimes a type of weakness in what or how we are writing. While others can say that there are limitations to writing to a genre, I would agree but I would also say that those limitations is what gets us readers and a fellowship. Not a follow ship but a fellowship. While we want to have our reader follow us for that is how we know that gained their trust, but we also want a fellowship. A fellowship among others in the writing community.

The writing community is large and has many different angles. Some that are not best selling lists for months or even years to come. But there are those that want to help and mentor other writers. When writers come together and really help, then the fellowship is a success. Even if authors that we ready may not know that they are helping us, but somewhere deep down they should know that they are helping writers every time they publish a book.

Let’s face it we writers as some point, and continue to be looked at as readers. Readers can turn into either greater readers or they can turn down the path that others have took to become writers. This is who the cycle of influence can continue. Granted, also think when we write and publish and someone reads our books, then we too are influencing those that could be future writers.

Now matter where your writing journey goes, in your acknowledgments somewhere thank fellow authors for influencing your journey on being a writer, let alone taking that first step to write. Even it was or was not during NaNoWriMo. That is how I view the power of writing. I may be wrong or I may be right, but this is what makes the writing community stronger as a whole.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post on my takes on the power of writing. I hope that you all have a great writing day! I wish you all continued success on your NaNoWriMo journey! Happy creating!

Exercise: Writing a Letter to Your Novel

Can you believe that we are on day five of NaNoWriMo? I know the writing is sure flying. I’m currently at 10,830 words or about 15 pages. That is where The Bird that Sings currently sits as of yesterday.

Enough about NaNoWriMo for a moment. Let us put our hair out and let’s have some fun. Everyone once a while during the lure that is NaNoWriMo, you must also take time to take our of yourself. I know how can I say that when tomorrow in the United States we have Election Day? Well, it is quite easy. While there are various elections being run across the United States, the results will probably either come out tomorrow or it will take a couple days. However, it takes a while for those results to take effect such as January 1, 2019. There I said, changes will not take place over night.

So for once let’s let it out. Let’s have some meaningful fun. No, I don’t mean go hog while and paint the town red. But rather, if you need to take a moment to get focused, you can write a letter. Not just any letter, but a letter addressed to your novel. You heard write, a letter to your novel. I ran across this exercise a while back and I have tried it once. The first thing that this exercise does is it allows to you address your thoughts on what your goals are for this novel. The second thing that this letter allows you do is to jot down your ideas on what is going to happen.

This is an outline, but rather a free write type of exercise. This allows you to just write down whatever you want. Just make sure that you are addressing it your novel and that you are allowing yourself to have fun with it. Think of it as this is your private letter and you can say whatever you want in the letter. If you feel so inclined after you write the letter, send it yourself. Then when you get in the mail, you could be surprised when you receive it in the mail.

The other thing that you could do with your letter, is put it in an envelope and put it some where safe and secure. Then after you finish the first draft of your novel, pull out the letter and read it, before you start reading that first full draft of your novel. While I have not yet written a letter for The Bird that Sings, I’m thinking of actually starting it very soon.

As you write the letter remember have fun. You can be serious if you want but try to mix in that bit of fun. Also if you would rather, address the letter to a character in the novel and not the novel itself that is fine too. Just have fun and get some clarity with it. Take your mind off things and just write.

I hope that you all have fun writing day as you continue on with NaNoWriMo!

 

 

 

Finding the Excitement to Write

It’s day three of NaNoWriMo, and The Bird that Sings is at 8,065 words and about 11 pages. I’m so enjoying writing The Bird that Sings, I can’t tell you what it means to finally being able to get on the page. Oh, yes, I can! I’m super happy and excited at the same time. As we work on writing our first drafts during NaNoWriMo, we should all be super excited for whatever we are finally putting on the page.

That is the topic that I want to take on, keeping the excitement going as you are working through NaNoWriMo or any writing project that you might be taking on. Granted, there are times, especially when we are in school where we don’t feel like writing or even a bit of excitement about the topic that we are tackling. But somewhere deep down there is a spark that we each reach for. It may be an initial spark or just one line that gets our writing juices flowing.

This one line does not have the beginning sentence of the piece for it can be in the middle or the last line. But somewhere in there is a line that you are going to love with all your heart. That one line is going to be the piece that is going to knit and hold you to that piece. Whatever this one line is for you, don’t kill it. Make it stronger. The stronger the better. But don’t over do it. If you overdo the love that you have for this one line it is going to sink and then at which point you are killing that lovely darling.

Granted, killing your darlings does not usually mean what I have stated above, for it usually means giving it the ax and deleting it. But I say like anything else on here, you can give the phrase killing your darlings a new leash on life. While, we can several darlings on the page, chose one that is going to be the one that you are never going to kill. This one is going to need you to protect it. You are going to be it’s strong willed champion. If you are not able to do that for that single darling then it’s probably not the darling that you are going to protect.

I know it’s hard to kill that darling when it’s the thing that is giving you the excitement for writing this piece. But granted you won’t know its your darling until you get to the editing phase. When you get to the editing phase and you know that darling, highlight that sucker and keep it close. I would even say write it down and then write and think about why you are going to protect this one darling with everything that you have.

Just as we eat, sleep, drink and think about writing, we should be doing the same thing with this one darling. While I said that you may not know who this darling is until you being editing, there are times when we writers know about this darling during the writing process. When we know this darling well during the writing process, then it can become one of many tools in our arsenal among others.

But however you write it there needs something that makes you excited to continue on writing to gain that next page until you put down at the finish, The End.

I hope that you are excited about your project for NaNoWriMo and I hope that you have a wonderful writing day! So I say onto you, Happy writing and happy creating!

Some Advice on working through day 2 of NaNoWriMo

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.

44719459_1912784575695576_8971402622179213312_n 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!

 

Some Thoughts about Writing the First Page

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.

  • Anthony Mason (CBS)
  • Lee Cowan (CBS)
  • Rebecca Jarvis (ABC)
  • Rita Braver (CBS)
  • Edward Herrmann (Non-news/documentary)

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!

 

 

 

Some Quick Updates before 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.

Book Haul…

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.

Website Updates…

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.