These are a Few of my Favorite Words

Since I haven’t finished a couple of the longer blog posts I’m working on, I decided to go with a fun little one, where I share with you some of my favorite words that are either obscure or really fun to say, and their definitions!

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Which did you like the best? Were any of them new to you? Tell me, what are some of your favorite words?


The Finish Line

Well, it’s the last day of Camp NaNoWriMo, and I have met my goal of 40,000 words! I’m am now officially a 2016 Camp Winner!

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To everyone who participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, good job! No matter what your final word count was, you made the effort to write something this month, and to me, that makes it a success whether or not you met your goal. So pat yourself on the back and eat some ice cream.

Now, back to me because you know you all want to read about me instead of anyone else. So, after Camp, I have 40,518 words under my belt (well, 40,396 according to the validated count) but Cryonic isn’t anywhere near being done. Since it’s supposed to be of epic size when it is done, I’m thinking I’ll have a goal of 200,000 words, by far the longest novel I’ll have ever written. That means I’m only about 20% of the way there.

I’ve learned while writing Cryonic though, about what exactly is going to happen to my characters. A whole bunch of new minor characters popped up (and out of those, I may have killed about a fourth of them? okay not that many, but still) and I’m getting more in depth with the plot.

However, I’m kind of putting the draft of Cryonic away for a little while, ish. I’ll still be working on it occasionally, but I want to work on revising (well, rewriting) the first book in the series, Enhanced. (Cryonic is the second book in the epic sci-fi series.)

I finished Enhanced last October, and ever since then I’ve been thinking about revising/rewriting it, so I think that’s what I’m going to be doing next. There’s a lot that has to be done before I start though, including research, and, best of all, WORLD BUILDING.

Okay, maybe I’m really weird and crazy, but I love world building. Both for my own novels, and hearing other people’s world building ideas and how their societies work. I just find it all super fascinating for some reason, especially the religions. So I’m super excited for this next little bit in the process!

So what kind of posts will I be giving to you during the next few months? World building, character/plot development, revisions once I get to it, a special research project, and maybe a post about writing realistic prophecies. (I know, that has nothing to do with anything I’m working on, but still. I think it sounds awesome.) And of course, random ramblings about stuff.

So yeah, there’s your mostly meaningless post and update on stuffs. 😀

How did Camp NaNoWriMo go for all of you who did it? Did you meet your goal? Did you finish your novel/project, or do you still need more time? What is everyone planning on doing in May and the coming months (either writing-wise or otherwise)? Are you excited for summer? (I am–school will be out!)

Don’t Think, Just Write

This post is sort of a mix of a pep talk thing to those participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month as well as some advice for first draft writing. (So, if you’re not doing a first draft for Camp NaNo, you may not find this very helpful…but too bad. You can read it anyway. 🙂 )

Recently, I’ve noticed a bit of an increase in my typing speed as I’m writing, and I think I’ve finally figured out why. It mostly came one night at dinner when we happened to bring up the subject of NaNoWriMo.

“Doesn’t NaNoWriMo just encourage people to use a lot of words instead of an actual story?” said my mom. “It would just make people write things like, ‘I went to the store. When I got there, I couldn’t decide whether or not I should buy peanuts or cashews. Hmmm. The peanuts, or the cashews? Finally, I decided on buying the peanuts instead of the cashews, because they were cheaper.'”

I thought about this for a moment and said, “Yes, but they’d have more of the story than they started with.”

That’s the whole point of NaNoWriMo–not to write words, sometimes not even to write a novel, but to write more than you had before. In the example my mom gave, yes, the writing is pretty terrible. Yes, the conflict is also terrible. But you have more. If those 42 words hadn’t been written, you wouldn’t have anything about your character visiting the store, and who knows, maybe the cashew/peanut debate will become important later on! Although, the decision should be obvious. Always go for the cashews. Always.

So you may be looking at your unfinished manuscript right now, thinking that this is wildly out of character, or it doesn’t even make sense, or why are there evil talking cats this isn’t supposed to be happening. Maybe you’re horribly behind on your word count and the few thousand–or even the few hundred–you’ve managed to write just don’t seem good enough.

The amazing thing is that you’ve already written more than you had before. No matter how horrible, how confusing, or how small the writing has been, there’s more story than there was before, and that’s something that you should be proud of.

I’ve found that the best way to write more, and faster, is this simple motto/phrase/whatever-you-want-to-call-it: don’t think, just write. Stop worrying about whether what you’re writing is good or bad, whether it goes with the story and fits with the outline. Stop thinking that this description is taking way too long or this chapter should have finished already or where did this character come from or why on earth are these characters being shippy. Just write.

Yes, it’s hard not to stop and try to figure out what’s going on, especially when you want this novel to be as good as your original idea for it was, especially when that one word you used really doesn’t seem right, especially when this wasn’t in the outline at all. Usually, I have to find some way to force myself into this frame of mind. Two ways that I do it are:

  • Word wars or word sprints with other people. I find that competition really helps me want to win and I don’t go back to fix things or stop to think because I want to win.
  • Timed goals with myself. (Ex. “I’m going to try to write 700 words in 15 minutes.”) It’s especially helpful if you choose goals you’ve never achieved before, because it encourages you to really push yourself as hard as you can, with no stopping.

The key is to not stop to think. (Again, don’t think, just write.) If you think about what you’re writing, you’re inevitably going to realize that it’s bad writing, and you’re going to want to fix it. Don’t think. The trick is to trick ourselves into writing without thinking, to keep our fingers moving even when the sentences start to sound like, “Then I met a guy named Bob. Bob was weird. He had weird hair that I can’t describe right now. He liked to eat cake.”

People will tell you to not go back to revise, because you’ll take up time and delete words. The fact is that stopping to think about what to write next will take up just as much time, and the time you waste will cost you just as many words anyway. (Well, maybe not just as many, but still.)

So if you’re struggling with whatever writing you’re working on, all you have to do is remember these four words: don’t think, just write. Actually, don’t even think about not thinking. Don’t think about purple elephants…too late.

And remember, even if you feel completely stuck and at a loss for what to write, you’ve written more than you had before. Be proud, pat yourself on the back, because that really is the most important thing.

How is Camp NaNo going for all of you who are doing it, and how close are you to your goals? Do you have any other tips or tricks on how you get yourself to write? And, most importantly, cashews or peanuts? (Or you can just tell me your favorite kind of nut; that works too. I bet you can’t guess mine…)

And So it Begins…

CNW_Participant.jpgYes, Camp NaNoWriMo has started! The excitement will wear off in a week or two, I know, but right now I’m excited about Camp and life and everything. Plus, I get Spring Break off of school next week, and it is fantastic how it coincides with the first week of Camp. That way I’ll have time to write while I actually want to.

Yesterday, for my first day, I wrote 1563 words, and I’m fairly pleased with that. It would’ve been nice to write a bit more, but I’m satisfied with how much I wrote.

I’m also kind of satisfied with the content I wrote. Obviously, it’s a first draft, and first draft + NaNoWriMo = blehhkghh, but not counting that, it’s actually okay, and my writing is ever so slowly improving.

One thing that was particularly fun to write about was about the airtrains, which is a public transportation system with railroad tracks that are about ten stories high. It was kind of inspired from my trip to New York City this year, where I rode the subway everywhere, but I altered it a little bit to be more sci-fi-y.

So it was fun to add a few of the setting details in that I’ve been thinking about, and I liked having a conversation between Will and Taira, and seeing the dynamic between them (they’re cousins, but their relationship is a little more like a brother and sister).

Other than that, I haven’t really written much that I can report on, or give advice-y things about, so I think I shall wrap up this post soon. I’m super excited to continue writing and see the plot take shape, and I’ll keep you updated on how my writing goes throughout the month.

For those of you who are doing Camp, how are all of your novels coming along?


Zel Update: Dedication Revelation

You’ve seen those people. Maybe you even are one of those people. The ones who have a passion and work toward bringing that passion to other people, often sharing their progress through blogs or social media or other things that you stalk, watching as it just seems so easy for them to get so much done.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people–the people that are so dedicated to what they do. But it seems like I never reach that point with my writing, or, really, with anything else. In fact, most of the time, I don’t even want to open up my novel, let alone write in it.

Well, on Monday I had a little revelation on how they do it. You see, lately I’ve been having troubles writing in my Zel novel. I hardly write in it, and when I do, I’m forcing myself through until I can say, “I’ve written x amount of words, now I can be done.”

And on Monday, it just came to me: the reason behind why those people can be so dedicated, and why I didn’t want to write in my novel. I started writing when I had this thought, and here is what I wrote about it.

The key to being productive is not in words or time or amounts or how well something is written.

It’s in how well you enjoy it. It’s in those silly scenes that have no purpose but make you laugh, and those deep, emotional scenes where you touch a part of your characters’ hearts that you’ve never seen before. It’s in that love that makes you come back to the story again and again and again.

So don’t box yourselves in with rules and thoughts that your writing has to be good. It doesn’t! It has to be you, and if it’s pure you, it will be good, because you are good. It will be unique, because you are unique. And it’ll be just the slightest bit weird, because aren’t we all a little bit weird?

But that weirdness, that quirkiness, that’s what draws us in and makes us relate. That’s where our love of the story comes in, our love of the characters and the plot and all the aspects of the book — from an original love of writing it.

So love it. Don’t say it has to be good, say it has to be you, because you are the best thing that could ever happen to your novel. You’re the only one who can write it your way.

Throw away anything you don’t like. If it doesn’t make you excited, or make you itch to write the story, throw it out! Make something new up and replace it with excitement and happiness.

Yes, your novel will be a tangled mess of plot strings and holes and half-finished characters, but it’ll be a tangled mess that you will love.

And that is the most important thing.

That’s the secret–love! So simple, so pure, and yet…somehow not so easy. I’ve been losing sight of loving my novel, instead worrying about needing to write enough words every day, or making sure my characters are portrayed right, or making sure it’s actually good.

I’ve stopped focusing on love, and so instead of growing to love this novel, I think I’ve grown away from loving it. Loving someone, or something, is a choice more than a reaction. You don’t just love someone automatically, you have to spend a lot of time trying to get to know them and befriend them before love can be cultivated. I’m sorry to break it to you, all you Disney fans, but love at first sight desn’t actually exist.

Because of my lack of effort on trying to love my Zel novel, right now I honestly don’t love it. For some reason, even though I’ve written things that when I look back on them are really good, I didn’t end up loving them. I still don’t really love Zel and Cren very much. I don’t love the setting or the plot or the characters. It’s all just me trying to remember why I loved writing so much.

Bu the great thing is that it’s not to late for me to learn how to love this novel. I only have 30,000 words written, so there’s at least 50,000 words to go. I have time to become so infatuated with this novel that I can’t help but tell everyone about it.

On Monday, after I realized this, I went to my Zel novel and wrote a scene. A really silly, short scene, with a conversation between Zel and Cren that really amused me. One of the lines nearly made me giggle out loud (and I would’ve, if there weren’t other people in the room), and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed while writing. Maybe a snicker once or twice to myself, but never this urge to giggle because I thought something was actually funny.

I may not use it later on, but it’s the embodiment of the point I’m trying to get across. It was my writing and my really bad humor, and I enjoyed it so much. Because of that, I now truly love that scene.

So now it’s time for me to stop worrying about all the things my Zel novel needs to be, and just write it for what it isand for it wants to become. I think the final result will be well worth my effort.