NaNoWriMo 2017 Week 4: Keeping Yourself Interested

It is week 4 of NaNoWriMo which is absolute insanity! Since it is week 4 though, I am sure a lot of you may be feeling a little lost with your project as we start on the journey of drawing them to a close. However, there are a few things you can do to spice up your writing and get yourself excited to keep writing your story!

  • Plot Twists! – An overload of plot twists takes the fun and thrill out of them, but scattering one or maybe even two makes for an exciting book; not only for the reader but for you as the writer too! Surprise yourself with a plot twist, or finally write the one you planned at the beginning of the month and are dying to get to. It may surprise you how much it reignites your writing flame.
  • Reading Your Favourite Book – Most writers want to write because of their favourite authors. They inspire us to be like them; successful storytellers. I know that when I read my favourite book, or just a book that I really admire or connect to writing style wise, I get the writing itch. Just reading the book inspires me to write my own, and is a great way to get myself back into writing.
  • Changing Your Plan – Sometimes the simplest way to keep yourself interested in your story is to change the path of it. I am not saying change a massive portion of your book, but maybe throw in an unexpected obstacle or even kill someone off! Whatever it is that changes the pace of your story and surprises you, because once you surprise yourself in your story, you will leave yourself wanting more!

Writing Resources:

NaNoWriMo YouTube Channel

http://margaretatwood.ca/resources-writers/

http://susandennard.com/for-writers/

That is all for my NaNoWriMo tip post for this week and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

Writing Goals for 2018!

Before I never used to make writing goals, but this past year I realized how crucial it was to make them so I had a clear path on what I want to do with my writing and how I will get there. These goals are listed in potential chronological order, but obviously unexpected things happen so its more in the order I want them to happen. Anyways, hopefully this will inspire you to make some writing goals for yourself because they help so much!

Image result for creative writing goal quotes

  1. Finish Creative Writing 12

I am currently in grade 11, but really wanted to take this class this year because of my school situation for next year (which I will be taking about more in one of my later goals). I also wanted to become better in the craft of writing and have some insight from a creative writing teacher. This is a course I am taking online, but so far I am having a lot of fun with it and know I will be able to easily finish it in the next five months.

2. Get Accepted into UStart for Writing

UStart is this amazing program that most universities/colleges have, or they call it “dual credit” and is a way for students in grade 12 to experience the university life and get a head start. The university I want to go to offers this, and if I get accepted, it will allow me to take my first year of writing! This would be a huge step for me and is a goal I really, really need to accomplish.

3. Learn the Basics of Poetry, Script Writing, Screen Writing and Creative Non-Fiction

Regardless of whether or not I get to start my writing degree a year early, the first year of writing focuses on the five main directions of writing. Out of these five, I am only comfortable and familiar with one, and that is obviously fiction. However, I would really to broaden my horizons and learn the basics for these styles so I am not completely lost when it comes to Intro to Writing. It will also just overall, make me a better writer!

4. Submit to At Least 2 Writing Contests

I love entering writing contests, and have won my fair share. Ever since I was thirteen I have been building up my writing portfolio and the more contests I submit to, the more chances I have at making that portfolio better! Writing contests are also a great way to learn from mistakes and grow as a better writing because of that.

5. Submit to At Least 1 Literary Magazine

Literary magazines are also amazing to submit to, because as I said about writing contests, it builds up your portfolio if your story gets published! Hopefully I will be able to submit to more than one, but I always forget how long it can take to craft a story I am very proud of.

6. Apply to the Tan Seagull Scholarship

This scholarship is a scholarship that allows me to attend my (kind of) local writing conference for free. I submitted to it last year and got accepted and was able to attend, and since I am still young and eligible for it, I want to take advantage of it while I can. Writing conferences are amazing if you can afford it, and I always leave feeling like I learned so many new things.

7. Prep for Writing Scholarships

I am a very…prepared person when it comes to my education and because of that, I already have a few writing focused scholarships I want to apply for this year. They include thick portfolios that display my best work, so I need ALL the time I can to prepare for them. As you can probably see from my goals, I am a very ambitious and eager writer which can be good, but also bad at times!

Those are my 7 writing goals and while they are going to take a lot of hard work, I have no doubt I can achieve most of them. Don’t forget to comment below any writing goals you have for yourself for the new year, and also check out my last blog post: NaNoWriMo 2017 Week 3: Tips for Staying On Track!

NaNoWriMo 2017 Week 3: Tips for Staying On Track!

This blog post is very relevant for a lot of you I am sure, as well as me…this weekend I planned on getting really ahead (even though I was already on track) but let me tell you, that did not happen. I have written next to nothing over these past 3 days, maybe about 800 words. I just needed a mental break but hopefully tomorrow I will be back and writing before I fall too behind. Hopefully for any of you in the same situation as me, these five tips will be helpful to keep in mind for the rest of NaNoWriMo!

Tip #1: Determine Why You Haven’t Been Writing

Getting to the source of the problem will help you know how to proceed and fix it. Maybe you haven’t been writing because you have been so busy, or maybe you have hit a massive road block. Whatever it is, analyze it and then think up the best solution to get around it.

Tip #2: Come Up with a Plan

Are you going to write an extra five hundred words every day to catch up? Or are you going to have a whole day dedicated to writing? Whatever it is come up with that plan and stick to it. Clear the time you need and make sure nobody bugs you so you get back into the writing groove. In a few days, you will be back and better than ever!

Tip #3: Stick with the Plan!

If you make the plan you have to stick with it otherwise you won’t ever catch up. Hopefully if you are passionate and committed to your project, you will want to keep on writing it. It can be hard to stick to your plan and actually sit down at your computer, but once you do it, it will be as easy as breathing…for the most part!

Tip #4: Reward Yourself

It is hard to write and stay on your schedule, which is why you deserve to be rewarded! Whether that is a little reward every day or a bigger one at the end of each week, it will amaze you at the difference it makes and how motivated you will feel to write. Some examples of rewards are a drink from a coffee shop, or allowing yourself one full hour of watching Netflix. Whatever works for you!

Tip #5: Don’t Lose Hope!

Even if you are so, so far behind, do not give up! Keep on writing because if you do not end up with that end goal of 50,000 words, any amount is more than what you started with and that is something to be proud of. It is important to remind yourself that you can keep on writing even when NaNoWriMo ends, the writing doesn’t end with November!

Current NaNoWriMo Word Count: 18, 695

That is all for my week 3 NaNoWriMo post and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: AuthorTuber & BookTuber Recommendations! and also keep on writing 🙂

 

AuthorTuber & BookTuber Recommendations!

YouTube has expanded into a such a massive platform that is filled with content that will have you glued to your computer screen for hours. I love YouTube and watch a wide variety of channels daily. However, I will only be sharing some amazing AuthorTubers (YouTubers who are authors and discuss their processes and craft) and BookTubers (YouTubers who discuss books), because those are the two genres of YouTubers that fit the best with my blog! If you have any other channel recommendations please leave them below because I am always looking for more YouTubers to watch!

AuthorTubers:

Image result for lindsay cummings channel

 

Lindsay Cummings – Lindsay Cummings is the author of the Murder Complex series as well as Zenith which she co-writes with BookTuber, Sasha Alasberg. I have not read any of her books (yet), but I really enjoy her videos which give us insight on the life of an author and also ways to improve our writing.

 

Image result for kristen martin channel;Kristen Martin – Kristen Martin is an AuthorTuber that I have found recently and I absolutely love her videos! She is a self-published author of a sci-fi series called The Alpha Drive trilogy, and is an Amazon best-selling author. Apart from self-publishing all of her books, she also has a full-time job and uploads 2 writing filled videos per week on her YouTube channel. Kristen Martin inspires me to be more productive with my life and writing overall, and she shares helpful wisdom on writing!

Image result for shaelin writes

ShaelinWrites – Shaelin is also a new AuthorTuber for me, but I really like watching her because like myself, she is a younger writer and has accomplished so much! She is writing major in university, which is something I have always had an interest in doing, so I found her videos describing her first and second year as a writing major very helpful and eye opening. It is is great watching a young writer chase her dream, because it inspires me to not give up when things get tough which is something all writers struggle with.

 

BookTubers:

Image result for abookutopiaabookutopia (Sasha Alsberg) – I mentioned Sasha Alsberg when recommending Lindsay Cummings channel because they co-wrote Zenith together, a sci-fi, YA novel. Sasha was originally a BookTuber who I have been watching for years now, but over the years she has incorporated writing into her videos which I have really enjoyed. I would be surprised if you are a lover of books and writing and haven’t heard of her, but if you haven’t please check her out!

Image result for peruseprojectPeruseProject (Regan) – Regan is another favourite BookTuber of mine who reviews and recommends books, but also dabbles in fashion and has been putting out a lot of fun vlogs lately! She has a very broad reading taste which I think is great because it makes me want to read books that aren’t generally in a genre I would read. For example, I have had the urge to read historical fantasies because she is a huge fan of those, and that is a genre I don’t generally read.

Image result for readbyzoereadbyzoe (Zoe Herdt) – I would be lying if I said the reason I found Zoe wasn’t because I saw that we have the same name…but regardless I was so glad I found her channel because she is one of my favourite BookTubers! Lately she has been doing a lot of readathon vlogs where she reads as many pages/books she can in a day, which is really inspiring me to start reading more again. I used to read all the time, but now I am getting close to being done with high school so the workload is a lot more. Anyways, her channel is amazing so please, check her out too!

Those are a few AuthorTubers and BookTubers that I love to watch, but if you have more recommendations (especially in the AuthorTuber category), then please leave them below. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: NaNoWriMo 2017 Week 2: Tips and Tricks!

 

NaNoWriMo 2017 Week 2: Tips and Tricks!

Week 1 of NaNoWriMo is done and week 2 is here! Hopefully your writing is going well and you are getting those words in. Today I will be giving some helpful tips to make the NaNoWriMo process easier, and some motivational words as well. Good luck!

Tips/Tricks to a Successful Rest of NaNoWriMo:

  • Write Multiple Times a Day – Most of the time I can easily get my word count in with a single writing sprint, but if you break up the times you write during the day, you can get SO much more done. For example, I write a little in the morning before I have to get ready and then in the evening which is when I usually write. Even if you can only get a few hundred in the morning, that is still an extra few hundred already written for your next session!
  • Refer to a Craft Books – Writing craft books are a great way to give you insight on your novel, and things to keep in mind throughout the rest of the month. They are also a great way to get motivation to write, and they always get me excited to write. Further down I have listed some recommendations for craft books so definitely check them out!
  • Attend Local Write-Ins and Connect with Other Wrimos – Connecting with other writers is so great, whether it is in person or over social media. I love connecting with other writers, especially other young writers who are at the same spot in their writing as I am. Writing is lonely! Take advantage of this world-wide writing event and meet some other writers.
  • Keep a Notebook of Newer Ideas – Whenever you get a new idea for your story, write it down in a notebook so you can refer back to it in your second draft when you are rewriting it. DO NOT restart your first draft unless you ultimately feel like that is the best decision for your story, because sometimes that is what you need to do. But having a book with these little notes for you to remember is super helpful.

Craft Book Recommendations:

  • No Plot? No Problem! NaNoWriMo Novel Writing Kit by Chris Baty
  • Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
  • Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Those are some of my NaNoWriMo tips and tricks as well as some craft book recommendations, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: NaNoWriMo and Reading Update!

 

NaNoWriMo Prep #5

This is the very last NaNoWriMo Prep before NaNoWriMo 2017 finally begins! I am so excited and have been prepping and planning like crazy this weekend, so I am counting down the days until I can finally get all my thoughts and ideas down on paper, or well my computer screen. Anyways, today I decided to share with you guys what I put in my designated “NaNo” journal so that while writing, I can flip through it and stay on track with my thoughts!

 

The First Few Pages:

I use the first few pages of my NaNo journal to introduce my story to me, and generally they look a little like this:

  • Plot summary with key points about my plot/world
  • Q+A Page where I ask myself important, key questions about my world and then answer them in lengthy responses
  • Quick 3 act structure where I outline, briefly, what I want to happen in each section of my story

Character Profiles:

After those three points that I listed above, I jump straight into character profiles because I love creating my characters and getting to know them. Some things I include when describing and creating them are:

  • Their name (obviously) as well as age, “title”, background and if they have any powers
  • Personality
  • Physical appearance
  • Likes/Dislikes
  • Fears
  • Hobbies
  • Family

The Juicy Stuff:

Once character profiles are finished, I generally get into the more juicy and complex stuff. This usually takes up a few pages for each topic, and some of the topics I explore on for this part of my NaNo journal are:

  • The powers of my world that characters can or do possess
  • Possible heritages characters can have
  • Legends/myths of my world
  • History
  • More detailed 3 act structure with key plot points I want/need to hit

Random Facts:

Sometimes things about my world hit me at odd times and I don’t always generally know where they fit into my NaNo journal…so when that does happen, I usually have a page or two designated to “random facts” about my world or characters or really anything. It may be a bit messy and unorganized, but as long as I have it jotted down I am good to go.

Word Count Tracker:

This is a new feat for my NaNo journal, and basically what this section is, is a few pages where I write down day 1, day 2, day 3 and so on, and write down the word count goal I have for that day. I am a very optimistic person when it comes to NaNoWriMo and despite my hectic schedule for November, I have given myself a daily word count goal of 2000 words. Crazy I know. But I also have a section on my page where I write down what I actually wrote that day, just so I can see how unrealistic my word count goal is and whether or not I need to edit it. 2000 usually works for me which is why I chose it, but as always we will see!

Image result for inspirational writing quotes

That is a basic overview of my NaNo journal and I hope you enjoyed! Comment below how you organize yourself for NaNoWriMo and also what genre of story you plan on writing; mine is fantasy! Also don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

NaNoWriMo Prep #4

Only one more week of prepping before NaNoWriMo hits us full force! Are any of you feeling the crushing pressure? If so don’t worry! In this blog post I will be giving some worldbuilding tips because I accumulated some amazingly helpful ones from a writing conference I recently attended, as well as some helpful tips to keep you calm and prepared for NaNoWriMo 2017. Enjoy!

Worldbuilding: 

  • Good worldbuilding incorporates aspects of our world that we take for granted
  • Worldbuilding takes place through the character’s eyes, not the writers
  • Think of diversity and ignore tropes
  • Remember: worlds are defined by the people who live there!
  • While worldbuilding is important, remember the story is the main focus
  • Know about our world before you build your own
  • Include sensory when describing your world to your readers!

Things to Keep in Mind About NaNoWriMo:

  • Remember that this is your story and nobody else can write it but you
  • You are your worst critic and it probably isn’t as bad as you think!
  • Don’t fret about the 50,000 word count…write what you can and it will still be a massive accomplishment!

Awesome TED Talks Playlist:

https://www.ted.com/playlists/194/10_talks_from_authors

Those are some tips and things to keep in mind as NaNoWriMo approaches and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Prep #3

We are already at the halfway point of October, aka NaNoWriMo prep month, which is absolutely insane. I really need to get a move on with my story and what I have planned for it, because the rest of this month will go by in the blink of an eye. Today, I will be sharing some helpful tips when it comes to world building and really solidifying whatever you have created in your head, and I hope you enjoy!

Things to Keep in Mind When World Building:

  • When building a fantasy or sci-fi world, base everything around at least one real thing – Worlds in the fantasy and sci-fi genres can get pretty crazy sometimes, and while you do have the freedom to create whatever you want, it has to somewhat make sense. Just base everything around one common and understood fact, and the rest will make sense!
  • Add your own twist – It is fine to have a world that is similar to others like the Harry Potter world or the Percy Jackson world, but add your own elements to make it unique and your own. Yes, we all love a good wizarding world, but sometimes we get tired of reading the same stories over and over again so make sure to make it your own!
  • Know the Facts – You can’t build a good world without knowing the facts. Know the history of your world, and why it is the way it is, even if your readers are not going to read about that part of it at all. You have to understand it before they can!

“Relax, not every page has to be a masterpiece.” – Unknown

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” – Thomas Mann

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” – Stephen King

That is it for this quick NaNoWriMo prep post on world building and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

NaNoWriMo Prep #2

 

It is week 2 of NaNoWriMo prep month! Hopefully you have an idea of what you are going to write about in November, or at least have a few ideas. Today I will be giving some insights on characters and will be ending off the blog post with a few motivational tips and tricks so I hope you enjoy 🙂

Characters~

Characters are such an important factor in any story, because when someone reads your story they look for something or someone to connect to. Usually what they connect to is one of your characters, whether it is how they look, act, what they enjoy or hate, or even just something they have experienced. It is also important that you connect with your characters and understand them because otherwise your characters will fall kind of flat! Anyways, here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating characters.

  • Flaws – Even though though this should be an obvious one, we have to remember that since nobody in this world is perfect, neither is a character in your world. Whether it is them biting their nails to stubs, always forgetting their keys or being late to everything, they need to have some flaws. It is also good to have physical flaws because nobody looks perfect either! Maybe they are a teenager who has acne or someone who has a scar on their lip from a fishing accident. Whatever it is just give them some sort of flaw that makes them like you or me!
  • Uniqueness – What makes them different? Readers don’t want to read about a character they have read about a million times so change it up! You don’t have to have a super massive difference that makes every single one of your characters extremely different from one another, but for a few consider what makes them “special”.
  • Diversity – This is a huge one because we need more diversity in books! We need characters of all races, sexual orientations, genders, etc, etc. Everyone needs to be represented in books so remember that when you are writing! Not only does it help more people connect with your book, but it also is more realistic.

Motivation~

Remember to have fun creating your story and world! It should be fun and exciting because you are creating something from nothing which is truly amazing.

If you feel as if you are lacking in motivation, some tips I have for you is to check out some TED Talk videos! There are some really inspiring and amazing talks with authors like Amy Tan, and they talk about creativity and where story ideas come from. I had to listen to a few for my Creative Writing class and I really enjoyed them. Below are a few links from ones I personally enjoyed 🙂

https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius

https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_tan_on_creativity

https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator

That is all for this NaNoWriMo Prep #2 and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep #1

It is October! Which not only means fall, warm drinks and Halloween, but also prep month for NaNoWriMo. If you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about when I say “NaNoWriMo” then check out a blog post I wrote last week called “NaNoWriMo”. Anyways, in this blog post I will be taking about getting that idea for your story. Since I did an entire posts on writing prompts last week, I won’t give too many today but if you are in need of some inspiration check out that post!

The Idea

All stories begin with a single idea. It may not be a good idea at first and it probably is a very simple idea, but it is an idea that gets us excited and our creative mind whirling. Ideas come from all around too! They can come to us in a long walk, or in the shower, or even from another story. The point is, is that if you look around long enough something will eventually come to you. When I have some trouble coming up with an idea, I like to hit up Pinterest and check out there writing prompts because I always leave with a spark of an idea!

Here is a summary of what I said in some key points, because these key points will be essential when coming up with “the idea”:

  • Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere
  • Doing an activity where your mind is allowed to wander helps provoke ideas (a walk, a shower, etc)
  • Don’t be afraid to look at other stories for inspiration! (Just don’t completely copy someone else’s idea…)

Remember though, not every idea is a good idea, so if you think you found the “magic” idea and it doesn’t work out…don’t be too hard on yourself! There is an endless supply of ideas for stories, and you have only just begun to scratch the surface whether you have never written a story in your life, or have written a hundred.

Motivation

Whether you have just started planning your story, or are close to the end of writing it, motivation is something every writer struggles with. Even if you absolutely love your idea and your story and your characters, it doesn’t mean you have your doubts at time. For every prep post I do, I will add a little motivation section towards the end, to remind you to just keep writing! I will be including some inspirational quotes, as well as some tips and tricks to stay motivated.

You only fail if you stop writing – Ray Bradbury 

I’m not a very good writer, but I am an excellent rewriter – James Michener 

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on – Louis L’Amour 

That is all for my first NaNoWriMo prep blog and I hope you enjoyed. Stay tuned for my upcoming prep posts and also check out my last blog post: 25 Inspirational Writing Prompts!