Prepping for November

 

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It’s almost that time again. November is right around the corner and I have been toying around with whether I’m going to participate this year after last year’s disastrous results. I’m going to discuss that in a later post but for now I want to talk about a few different preparation events/sources that are taking place this month.

Resources

Prep_tober is an event led by Rachael Stephen geared towards helping writers prepare for NaNoWrimo but more than that she provides resources that you can decide what to pay for. What I like about this resource is that it helps you get into the mindset for November which can be a long month if you’re not inspired. She also has live events in Glasgow this month which I think would be especially helpful since it’s reminiscent of NaNoWriMo’s Write In events.  http://www.rachaelstephen.com/prep_tober/

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.     –Confucius

Ninja Writers is awesomely amazing group that provided resources and workshops that will help you prepare for writing your novel. Shanta offers both free and paid workshops, a Facebook group and prompts that will get you in the mood to write and keep you writing. Right now the big thing is 31 Days of Being a Ninja Writer. Although I’m posting this late in the month I still suggest giving it a look. Every day, in your inbox you receive a suggestion, tool or idea to help you write for ten minutes every day. Ten minutes, how sweet is that?  http://www.whatisaplot.com/the-ninja-writers-academy/

 

Rachel Giesel’s Real+Good Writing is another resource that I highly suggest. She has a great blog posts and a wonderful library that you can access if you opt in to her mailing list. I cannot recommend this site enough. Rachel has also recently launched a writing workshop too. So be sure to look out for the next time it’s open. One of my favorite posts revolves around the Camp NaNoWriMo packing list which you can also use during November. The post includes links to other sites that also have useful posts for prepping for NaNoWriMo. http://rachelgiesel.com/

 

I hope these resources provide some help for anyone preparing for next month or simply to write a novel. I am still undecided but these sites make me feel as if I will be prepared should I decide to tackle NaNoWriMo again.

 

 

Platform, What More Can I Do? 

​I wrote some time ago that I wanted to get back to my craft books and establishing the type of writing commitment that my MFA instilled. The shot above includes a few of the books in my medium sized craft/writer collection. The Create Your Writer Platform book is one that I purchased as soon as it was released years ago when I was toying with the idea of starting a website. Needless to say, I decided against that idea and continued to blog because I love it.This was one of the books that I was so excited about getting because it came to my attention as I was wondering about platform and how to pull more traffic to the blog.  Seeing the book made me wonder if I should be doing more. 

More what? No idea. So instead of actually using the other craft books seen here to work on creating fiction, I have been taking advantage of the lull in creativity that the beginning of the semester brings and started looking through the book to see what else I should be doing. 

Well, number one is writing. But after that what else…I’ve already published more. I’ve increased my social media standing but I don’t Tweet, I haven’t linked my posts to Pinterest and I only use Facebook to connect with other readers and writers. I’m still exploring ideas but all I know is that I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. 

Also, the mug in the pic is a new purchase from The Bookish Dreams, I love everything on her Society 6 page. Although this one is not as large as my normal super duper tea fix mugs, the bookworm message is so appropriate. 

Something New

Hi all, 

I just wanted to share a new resource. Dear English Major is a site that I came across but I can’t exactly remember how I stumbled across it. It’s full of advice for current English students but it also has a bunch of helpful tips and interviews. I happen to be featured on the site this week. 

If you get a chance please check it out.

http://www.dearenglishmajor.com

A Possible Resource

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This hit my inbox earlier so I just wanted to share it. I laughed when I first saw it in light of yesterday’s post . It seemed perfectly timed to arrived after I tried to make a solid commitment to submitting more pieces.

I know nothing about FanStory except that they are apparently Writers Digest Partners. That’s how I received the email. Based on the above message, it seems like a place to get feedback and to gain a sense of community that you might miss out on without writer friends, a writing group or program.

Hope it’s useful.

New Resources

Here it is! A new list of resources that I’m either using on planning to implement into my writing routine within the next month or so. I am an Etsy addict so some of the resources can be found there. I am also loving Pinterest and I will be maintaining a presence there as well. I hope that you find something useful for you and your writing routine.

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1.) May Carroll Moore- How to Plan, Write and Develop a Book http://howtoplanwriteanddevelopabook.blogspot.com/?m=1: this site is great just for providing insight into planning, writing and structuring your writing. One of the things that I love is that she focuses on things that I don’t really consider in my writing but I find useful as I work on revising. Posts about emotional peaks, writing tools, story arcs and sensory details all combine for an informative and insightful resource.

 

2.) The Nectar Collective: this is the site that I used when reevaluating what I wanted to accomplish with the blog and how to grow it. If you are a blogger, this is an invaluable resource, in my opinion. Melyssa has some great resources and they were helpful in allowing me to focus on my vision for the blog.

 

3.) Pinterest writing tools: As a result of reviewing The Nectar Collective’s resources I realized that I wasn’t maximizing my Pinterest use. I have now created some writing tools pages and pins and I’ve found some great things. I’m hoping to have the link to my Pinterest up pretty soon but follow me @ AbsoluteBe (I think).

 

4.) Self-editing for Fiction Writers: I just finished an editing course that didn’t use this book but once I stumbled across this I knew that it would become essential to my writing library. It is chock full of exercises and helpful information. If you’re like me, you are a reluctant editor. This will help curb your trepidation and make editing not seem like such a chore.

 

5.) Outline Your Novel/Structure You Novel workbook collection: So I cannot say enough about these books. I am not a planner but these books helped me set my prospective NaNoWriMo project and to outline the project even though I didn’t finish it. They are so helpful in plotting.

I also have the Structure Your Novel book and I think that K.M. Weiland really hits the mark with the workbooks in her series.

6.) AWP: I’m a member of AWP and their resources are amazing! From The Chronicle to the jobs, workshops, retreats and residency listing the site is just wonderful. As a writer and a working instructor; I find something new and interesting every time I visit.

 

7.) A planner: I have recently (last July) started using a planner. I am still not fully using it the way that I hope to but for now it has become an essential part of my weekly planning. I use it the same way as the resource below. I put in blog posts, classes, due dates for assignments, writing deadlines and to-do lists. I hope to begin to include stickers for events and other things.

 

8.) A dry erase board with colorful markers: I think that I have mentioned this before. But this is one of my favorite things. The dry erase board that I use got me through two Masters’ programs. I color code my blog posts, assignments for courses, and any other upcoming events. I walk past the board several times a day so that keeps the due dates fresh in my mind.

 

9.) BrynDonovan.com: http://www.bryndonovan.com/  This is a fairly new resource for me but I’m kind of becoming addicted. The site has useful posts but also has master lists of character traits, personalities, writing prompts and book lists that I’ve found to be a bit intriguing.

 

10.) Write Great Fiction series: I cannot say enough about this series and if you’re a Prime member of Amazon then you can access most of them for free on your Kindle or Kindle app. I have several of the books but I am currently reading Plot & Structure and Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint right now. They aren’t dry reading at all and are pretty helpful if you’re stuck.

 

11.) Funds for Writers: Hope C. Clark’s free site provides listing for literary events (workshops, residencies, and retreats), for contests, jobs and plenty of other information that’s really helpful for writers.

 

12.) Writing the Breakout Novel workbook: I have been using this sparingly for a while but I’m committed to using it more this year. It breaks down different elements essential to novel writing and helps you build them. I’ve marked some character development and subplot chapters to get started with as I continue to revise my past NaNoWriMo projects and my thesis.
Etsy: All of these are downloadable sources found on shops at Etsy. I haven’t tried the top two yet.

 

13.) Sleepy Hollow Press– character and novel planning bundles: I use a lot of character development sheets even though I just became somewhat of plotter. I can see myself using these sheets as a way to develop my characters and to begin planning the stories I work on.

 

14.) Author Zoo– novel planning kits: Here’s another resource that I’m recommending because I plan to try it out. I want to see if I can complete a piece by completely planning it out. So just like the sheets from Sleepy Hollow Press, I think that these will be something that I could implement into my writing routine.

 

15.) Blog planning sheets: to use them or not? So I just found some free worksheets online after I found a few that I loved on Etsy. When I first saw them, I wondered if they would be effective for me and if I would be a more stable blogger if I used them. Well…as I said, I found some free ones online and selected some to start using this month. With planning the remaining blog posts for March.

However, I have also decided to challenge myself to use them in May since next month is National Poetry Month and I will be focusing on all things poetic. I will post the details of my challenge in May and how the sheets work for me(and the blog). But I will be posting later this month about the ones that I’ll be using and what appealed to me about them.

 

10 THINGS EVERY WRITER SHOULD DO IN THEIR NOVEL

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I just realized that it has been quite some time since I’ve written a resource post. I recently went through some saved material on my computer and I stumbled across these tips. The following are not my own personal guidelines. They originally appeared as an article from a 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest’s newsletter. Now I don’t think that any writing guidelines or advice should be categorized as absolute but I think that most of these are really important. I am guilty of slipping backstory into every spare moment and sometimes my characters say too much. However,…I always try to build complex and interesting characters. One of the most difficult aspects of writing for me is not actually sitting down to write but in trying to get it right the first time. I am hoping that these 10 points remind me to simply start writing and that everything else will fall in place (if I remember them). So this post will be tacked onto the bulletin board above my desk as I try to work on this year’s fiction. I hope you enjoy them and also find them useful.

10 THINGS EVERY WRITER SHOULD DO IN THEIR NOVEL

1. Start your story in the right place—when something exciting happens, when something unusual comes to pass, when a worthy challenge has been presented to your protagonist.
2. Save the backstory for later, and be sneaky about it. Feed it in carefully and sparingly just when the reader needs to know. And use only the most essential details of the past. Don’t have your protagonist staring out the window so that you can tell your readers through internal dialogue everything you need them to know. (This is called an “info dump,” and is to be avoided.)
3. Avoid saying too much or too little. Saying too much bogs down your pace and can come off as pretentious. Saying too little makes it difficult to connect with your characters and can strip your story of its emotional impact.
4. Build conflict. The conflict is the engine that drives your story. If you don’t have much under the hood, you aren’t going anywhere. Layered conflict, or conflict that grows and changes as the story progresses, is even better. It keeps your reader from getting frustrated, bored or weary of the protagonist’s journey.
5. Stay active. Active writing means keeping the reader in the action. It means moving forward in real time. It means using specific details as opposed to clichés and generalizations. It also means using better diction and stronger verbs.
6. Skip the boring stuff. Nobody wants to read it. Use snappy, realistic dialogue that is unique to each character and isn’t bogged down with too many tags or adverbs (“she said sternly …”).
7. Create characters who are interesting and layered—which means they are not perfect. They must also be properly motivated or they will not be believable or sympathetic.
8. Help your reader suspend disbelief by avoiding a plot that is too contrived or coincidental. Put in a strong foundation at the beginning of your book so that whatever turns on it is credible and rings true.
9. Avoid writing that is overly dramatic or self-indulgent. Writing that tries too hard becomes obvious very fast.
10. Trust your reader and use plenty of subtext. By this I mean … be careful not to make everything quite so obvious. According to Alicia Rasley: “Subtext is like a gift to the astute reader—an additional layer of meaning implied by the text but not accessible without a bit of thinking. … Experienced readers aren’t confined to the text—what’s printed on the page—they interact with the text, fully participating with the writer in the making of meaning in the story.” Such reader participation heightens the emotional impact of a story.

The Importance of Reaching…

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“Story first, “writing” second” is a fundamental guiding principle when it comes to writing an effective story. Ignore it at your peril.

One of my personal goals and # 11 on this year’s writing resolutions list is to participate in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. I am looking forward to crossing this off my list and I hope that it goes well. I’ve wrangled in a few of my writing friends from undergrad and we are all set to tackle this goal. Although another goal was to write 500 words a day and I’ve failed miserably at that. I’ve decided to take my victories and failings in stride and to always keep reaching.

In planning for NaNoWriMo, which I am participating in for the first time this year, I wanted to prepare myself by doing a bit of brushing up on the importance of story. I found the above quote to be particularly inspiring. It reminded me of how I want to approach next month. As I have mentioned before, I have a story that I planned to finish or totally revamp this year and that’s the piece that I’ll be focusing on next month. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words over 30 days; that’s basically 1667 words a day. Which seems like enough time and words to know whether the story is worth salvaging and I am looking forward to digging in. So next month I will probably only feature poems on the blog, some will be pieces from the beginning of the blog and others are new and haven’t appeared yet.

Do any of you have NaNoWriMo goals or plans to participate?

If you’re interested in learning more click here http://nanowrimo.org/