How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 5 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

There are now less than 24 hours left before the worldwide writing frenzy of NaNoWriMo begins! Before you begin, I would like to give you my last token of creative advice.

Create a Soundtrack for your novel.

Now, I imagine that this may have you thinking of soundtrack in the same way one thinks of a movie soundtrack. Well, that is not exactly what I am referring to here.

Movie soundtracks are designed to emotionally lead the audience in a specific emotional direction while watching the movie unfold. If a romantic scene is on the horizon, cue the sexy music. If suspense, then in comes the music that gets your pulse racing.

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With the soundtrack for your novel,  collect tracks that get you into the head of your characters and reminds you of the spirit of your story as a whole.

Now there are songs that you can gather that help you to build certain scenes, similar to the way movies do, and those are helpful as well.

For me, I generally have specific songs for each of my characters. This helps me to keep every one authentic. Writing a novel in 30 days can cause a bit of character confusion if you are not careful. Soundtracks per person can help eliminate that.

HOW TO USE THE SOUNDTRACK:

Remember music is a muse. When I need to let my mind rest and my fingers stretch from a long stint of typing, I use this time to sit back, close my eyes, and listen to the songs that I’ve gathered that reminded me of my characters and my plot line.

This way, even while resting, I am still allowing my imagination to keep working on the story.

Think of it as an imaginative interlude and meditation. And trust me, it helps a lot.

A COUPLE OF BONUSES!

If you have time, check out my blog posting on this very subject, created while I was doing a form of NaNoWriMo while writing my blog novel, Ascension Graveyard (REVISIONS AND CHAPTERS COMING SOON!)

For The Muse in the Music, posting follow this LINK.

Should music not be the muse and medicine that you need to keep in tune with your characters (pun not intended) then try this writing prompt that I created, Coffee With Character…or Tea. The exercise is all about getting to know each individual character in your story on a more personal level.

For instance knowing your character likes to wear red socks on Monday may not be something you add to the story itself but it is something that helps you, the writer, build the world of their personality. It’s an intimate nuance that sheds greater light on their behaviors.

As laughable as it may seem, a person that specific with something as trivial as sock color will be less prone to certain behaviors, while more apt in yielding to others.

FINAL 5-DAY CREATIVE ADVICE RECAP

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest reader’s eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage. (Click HERE for full article

TIP 4. Keep a “SPICE RACK”  of ideas  and scenes in a separate word document (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 5. Create a playlist that reminds you of your characters and plot, that you can meditate on during downtime.

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

Most importantly, just have fun. Write because you can. Write because you want to, and write because your imagination is worth the time to share!

Cheers! and Happy NaNoWriMo!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

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How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 4 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

Token 4: KEEP A “SPICE RACK”  OF IDEAS  AND SCENES IN A SEPARATE WORD DOCUMENT

A while ago, when I first started this blog, I made mention of separate documents that I keep alongside each novel that I work on. Now to be clear, this document is NOT an Outline. It is what I call a “Spice Rack.”

pexels-photo-256318Assuming (again) that you are already a seasoned writer, I am pretty sure you are familiar with the process of your creativity “jumping ahead” of your story as you write it. For example, you may be working on chapter five when suddenly some thrilling scene pops in your head that has nothing to do with the current flow of the story BUT it somehow fits, like a glimpse into the future. You just don’t know where.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS SCENE?

If you are smart, YOU WRITE IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY! and you store what you have written in the, you guessed it, spice rack document. (And when I say write it down, I don’t mean write ABOUT it, I mean actually WRITE it as if that is where you are in the novel. This will save you time later and give you the full feeling of your characters’ future selves.)

These scenes may not fit immediately into the storyline, but they do count toward your daily word count and overall word count goal. As you continue writing you will surely find out that this ‘homeless’ scene you took a pause to build early on around ‘chapter five’ was actually the climax of Chapter twenty-seven! (Glad you wrote it down when it came to you, aren’t you? )

WHEN DO YOU USE YOUR SPICE RACK?

Keep in mind that writing a novel is kind of like making soup from scratch. You have all the basic ingredients, but as the stock is cooking there are times that you taste test it and find that it just needs something to give it that little extra kick. What do you do? You go to your spice rack.

As you grow deeper into your novel during NaNoWriMo, you will draw toward moments where you just feel like something is missing. This is where you open up your spice rack document and grab one of those seemingly out of place bits of writing that you cranked out of nowhere.

For me, there were conversations, heated ones, that my characters who hadn’t even met yet, were having somewhere in the future, and as I kept writing I subconsciously built my way into each one of those Spice Rack scenes.

I have actually been doing the “Spice Rack” since I was fourteen years old…I am now old enough to have a fourteen-year-old.

So here is another brief recap of NaNo Tokens:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest reader’s eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage. (Click HERE for full article

TIP 4. Keep a “SPICE RACK”  of ideas  and scenes in a separate word document

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

Cheers! and Happy Writing!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 3 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

Tip 3. SET A DAILY WORD COUNT GOAL!

Setting a daily word count goal is such a helpful thing because it gives you a window or a destination for creative breaks.  If you start NaNoWriMo with the goal of 50,000 words, you run the risk of seeing a never-ending tunnel that just keeps getting longer no matter how fast, hard or far you run. tunnel

Do the math and add on from there. It requires a minimum of 1,666 words typed each day in order to reach 50,000 words by close of November 30th.

I suggest aiming for a higher word count goal for each day but with a cushion for a minimum. If you are already a writer you know that even with set goals, life happens and you may not get to write a single word at all.

WHAT DID I DO?

I scheduled my writing into two sessions a day. In the morning I would write for about 2 to 3 hours with a goal of 2,000 to 3,000 words in that session. And then in the evening, I would write again with a word count goal of 1,500 to 2,000 words.

With roughly 5,000 words written each day, this left me wiggle room for the days where “life” interrupted my flow and meant that I had managed enough words to be closer to 50,000.

Perfect example. The first year I attempted to write a novel in 30 days, I used this model of word count. Things went very well for most of the month but then my neighborhood lost power (as did most of the city due to bad storms. The electricity was out FOR A WEEK!

I had to literally write by candlelight and by hand.

Glad to say that I did make well over novel statues by the end of 30 days and even finished the entire manuscript by close of day 96. But because I had managed to work in 5,000 words a day I had afforded myself that cushion for when life took over.

So if you are keeping up, here are the refreshers with my advice:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest readers eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage.

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 2 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

 

FRIENDS ARE THE BEST! INVITE A READER ON YOUR JOURNEY WITH YOU.

Making the big decision to commit to writing a 50,000-word tome in 30 days is a PRETTY BIG decision to make.

togetherNow that you have done that, and have decided to take my advice on just writing whatever comes from your imagination, and flies out of your fingertips like magic sparks, allow me to offer you token number 2 that I learned in my experiences.

TIP 2. Have an honest friend (One who will be straight with you if your plot is not great) support you by reading your daily progress. (This person is not writing, ONLY reading.)

One of the biggest attractions of  NaNoWriMo is the worldwide support system that a writer becomes apart of for 30 days.  I read an article, a few years back, out of Writer’s Digest. That entire edition was dedicated to, you guessed it, NaNoWriMo, and it likened this experience to running a marathon, and how being surrounded by strangers with the same goal helps each runner keep pressing forward.Mag Cover

I believe that is sage, to have that kind of support, HOWEVER, that is not what I mean by having a friend come along with you…obviously, because I said that already, twice.

In the first 2 years (This year I flew solo and paid for it, yikes! I know right?! How selfish of my reader friend to get married and be on her honeymoon and stuff…I digress.) that I participated, I had a friend who I sent my daily progress to.

This helped in several different ways:

  1.  I had an audience who kept an eye on plot points and pointed out mistakes for me if I got off track.  By them pointing out my mistakes, it saved me time in the future with revisions AND it enabled me a quicker movement back on track with the progression of the story.  She also tended to print out the pages and make copy edits all on her own. PRICELESS!
  2. Because they were invested in the story (They kept reading because they liked the plot) they acted as a dog on my heels, nipping when I wasn’t writing fast enough. This is encouraging because their desire to read more was a sign that they were enjoying the story, which meant I wasn’t writing a bunch of crap.  (If they didn’t like it, they said so. Again get an honest friend for the journey, not one who likes everything you do just because.)
  3. Having to send my daily progress gave me a sense of a more immediate goal to work toward. When there is a feeling of expectation, you are more willing to perform without coming up with a ton of excuses and reasons to not follow through.

So if you have time (and you do) find a friend who loves to read, is honest about what they read, and who will give it to you straight as they read.  As Ecclesiastes 4:9 says:

 Two are better than the one, for they enjoy a better reward for their toil.

Enjoy your journey, and as always, happy writing! And if you somehow missed my Token number 1:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest readers eye, and give you feedback. 

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 1 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

In less than a week, November 1st will be here, and a mass of heroes and heroines will be born from the typing fingers of those who have bravely taken up the challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

First, let me say congratulations for being brave enough to challenge yourself with this. I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for three years running, and each year I have come away with a fantastic body of work (that yes, needs editing and revision) that I can be proud of.

Now, let me clarify, I have not officially done the NaNoWriMo with the whole registration thing (which I totally recommend because they have some great rewards for those who complete the 30 days with 50,000 words or more.) Why? Well, because I tend to use any 30 day month, June being the month of choice, to tackle my writing adventure.

November, June, September, April, any of these months will do. They all have 30 days, and they all afford you the chance to learn something new about yourself and your writing craft, and most awesomely, to walk away with the foundation of a novel or a completed novel before you enter the next calendar month. And thus far, I have walked away with several novels and series ready for revision, 3 novels, 1 series, as well as a blog novel, Ascension Graveyard,  that I will be gearing up to share again in a few months…

I’ve reached well beyond 50k word novels status with AG but have rewritten it several times.

Q. SO WITH ALL OF THAT SAID, WHAT DID I LEARN AND WHAT CAN I SAY AS A WORD OF ADVICE FOR DAY ONE OF THE COUNTDOWN TO NANOWRIMO?

A. I learned that, for me, there is NO SUCH THING AS WRITER’S BLOCK.

There are several reasons why we “think” we are blocked, but the truth is we always have something to say, we just have to allow ourselves to say it. Check out my  post “Are You Listening.” It highlights one of the reasons that keep us from achieving written awesomeness. 😉

My advice…

TIP 1: Sit down and write something. Close your eyes and let your fingers do the talking. If you are relaxed and just let your imagination do what it does, the words will come, and something magical and fulfilling will happen. Don’t psych yourself out with all the overthinking. Breathe, type, breathe, type, breathe.

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Worth the Sunshine: Micro Fiction #Fiction #AmWriting #Story

“You’re never going to find it!” She yelled at his back. The melodic giggle of her teasing voice made him continue his search. 

The car keys, what sane man would give his three-year-old the car keys? “One who is trying to convince his little girl that she is a big girl,” he shook his head at his own folly, wading through the cheery blooms of sunflowers whose faces seemed to follow him like they did the sun.

Sure, there were other ways to help her feel like a big girl. He could have been a bit less adventurous and simply taken the training wheels off her tiny bike. That would have given her confidence. “Along with several scrapes and bruises, and probably a broken limb.” He whispered to himself still continuing his search.

All of this trouble was just to convince her to sleep in her own room. He laughed at himself and stared back at the picture of his wife, their little girl grinning widely in his arms.

“Don’t give up, Daddy!”

Stopping in his place, fisted hands on his hips in mock anger he said, “But I thought you said I would never find them?”

She giggled again and buried her cherub face in her mother’s hair before her large brown eyes darted over to the public trash can. It was her usual slip when she played her practical jokes.

His heart sank, but at least his hope rose. Heaving a resigned breath he made his way to the trash can, shaking his head at his wife as she insisted they call for a tow.

The moment he touched the can his little girl shouted with sunny joy, clapping her sticky hands as she hailed him her hero.

All he could do was laugh, his pride rising at her loving praise of him. Parenting was messy business but it was certainly worth the sunshine, especially when it meant he got to be the hero.

THE END

*Honest answer…I forgot to do the prompt up until a few moments ago BUT I did enjoy my imagination giving birth to a light-hearted story. I hope you enjoyed the read. For the original prompt and instructions, see Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt July 10th 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

What’s With All The Romance, Candice?!: My Humble Explanation For My Amorous Expressions

If you have been following my blog for a while, I am sure that you have noticed a slight shift in genre expression. My usual subtle ways of thrilling and suspense, woven in threads of science fiction and fantasy, have taken a sabbatical, yielding the floor to Romance. 1390929787av6ku

For a long while now, I have had the desire to try my hand in genuine, Clean read romantic fiction. I had jotted down a plot line , a word or two in the past, but I had never quite allowed myself to fully submerge in the expression. I never allowed my self to really feel it.

That is until recently and I have two fantastic bloggers to thank for that!

First, I would like to thank Blonde Lucy, the creator of the blog, Blondewritemore, for hinting that I should add “electric fan” moments to one of my manuscripts. (Follow her blog. I assure you your joy levels will double with each post of hers you read.)

Electric Fan Moment: To be immersed into a moment via literature where romantic tension causes you to blush, and or your temperature to rise, requiring the usage of an electric fan; generally a pG 13 moment of pining and longing; Moment where a passionate kiss is shared…

After Blonde Lucy’s recommendation and commendation for my having achieved “said” moment(s), I began to think more pointedly about the genre.

Thoughts took form and became action after having made the happy acquaintance of fellow blogger, Ottohandling, creator of ottohandling.wordpress.com. (You would be better for having followed his blog as well. Excellent writing and poetry, fashioned in raw emotion and expression. Brilliant!)

By conversing with Otto, seeing the bittersweet motions of romance from his evolving points of view, we engaged in a conversation. In one conversation in particular I experienced a spark that set off a fire of creative freedom.

What was said, you ask? What were those wise words that set your romantic freedom soaring?

Admiration doesn’t have to lead to flirtation or a romance. I think we have left this zone of healthy appreciation for beauty…” ~Otto Handling

Now if those words aren’t the catalyst for something magical, I don’t know what is.

He also talked about (the possibility of) being attracted to someone without desiring to be with them romantically. This thought is far deeper than we realize. To me, it means ignoring our base desires for physical sexuality while still acknowledging the splendor of that which is visual.

Romance for me means possibility. That possibility does not have to be married to physical sexuality, as some have taken romance to mean. Sensuality, amorous expressions, are not solely defined by what happens when passions are at their highest. There is so much more to it than that.

Truly, romance, sensuality, things of amorous nature are far more sacred than that.

The beauty of ROMANCE is birthed from the thought of what COULD be!”~ Candice Coates

Otto’s words (from my perspective) mirrored the view I have held when admiring the opposite sex. I have treated those who I have pinned over as fine pieces in a museum. I was free to look and admire, but not touch. Even my thoughts of them remained in an arena of classic admiration.

There need not have been a collision of mutual emotions in order for the light of “romantic” energy, and the delight of appreciation for someone else, to be experienced.

Think of it as walking outside for the first time in a day only to be greeted with a gentle kiss from the sun, the whisper of the first morning’s dewy breeze, and the caress of large, fluffy clouds moving across your face upon a crystal blue sky.

What do  you feel? What happens to your senses in that moment? Isn’t that ROMANTIC? Isn’t that sensual?

I would say so!

Ruminating further on Otto’s words and my own, and pairing them up with Blonde Lucy’s encouragement, I took the ball and ran! I opened the door and let the caged bird soar freely and unhindered and now…here we are, experiencing, if only just a little, the glory of romance and the delight it brings.

Now that the gears of my romantic heart are well oiled, I am allowing the machine to run. This does not mean I will forsake my first love of Science Fiction, (never that!) but it does me I will allow myself to experience, even if only in my imagination, the beauty that is romance and the love for another.

That is the glory of being a writer, we get to experience so much of the world without ever moving a muscle.

Til later, lovelies. I am off to pine on with a smile, and imagine the possibilities!

Cheers!

I’ve Got My Ambitious Boots On!

In case you didn’t know (which I am sure you didn’t, because I just decided this myself) I have put on my Ambitious Boots.

BootsNo, they are not the sexiest things, not to say that my goal is to be sexy, but I would also like to make it known that I am not fashion-challenged either. That being said, I have on my boots.

Although the boots are more theoretical and not literal, the reason I have donned them remains the same. I have decided to challenge myself in a SUPER way. Honestly, I have whined quite a bit over the fact that it has nearly been a complete year, and Ascension Graveyard’s first draft is STILL. NOT. FINISHED! It absolutely grates my nerves even though I know art needs time.

I am fiddling with cover ideas...this is my recent attempt.
I am fiddling with cover ideas…this is my recent attempt. I am still not sure what direction I want to go..this way or the other way next door, or some complete opposite way once the story is finished. Choices, choices.
These images include the photo, "Craney Island (080213-A-5177B-008)," available under the Creative Commons Attributions License 4.0, ©  U.S Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District. The original work has been modified and in no way reflects the views or any endorsement of they original owner.
These images include the photo, “Craney Island (080213-A-5177B-008),” available under the Creative Commons Attributions License 4.0, © U.S Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District. The original work has been modified and in no way reflects the views or any endorsement of they original owner.

Having the knowledge doesn’t make me feel any better, but at least I am not feeling worst. Actually, I feel…AMBITIOUS! So ambitious that I have already planned my next few novels. (One is a modern day Clean Read Romance! WHAT?! Who would have thunk it? Me, because I am ambitious and not afraid to veer out of my comfort zone.)

My goal is to not only complete this extremely large painting of Bobbie Gentry (It’s 3×5 feet, mind you I am 5’4…A giant among men and women, really) BUT I want to also complete Ascension Graveyard’s writing, in its entirety by this Friday.

Can I do it? Well, I am a firm believer all things are possible to him who believes and through Christ who gives me strength. It just means that I might…big emphasis on might, be doing more musing and less freewriting this week.

Do remember that this is a first draft. I already have my “quilting” plan, highlighter and pen, set and ready to go for the revisions and rewriting process of this novel. But I have to finish it before I go down that road.

So wish me luck, ya’ll. I have a lot of mud-stomping to do from here until Friday!

Cheers!

Journal widget

Heading somewhere: The art of taking action

The other day I was sitting in front of my television, watching some show on HGTV, eating a plate full of room temperature leftovers (good leftovers nonetheless,) when a thought popped in my head:

You will never know where you are going if you never take a step.”

The thought seemed simple enough. For, as I was watching HGTV, eating room temperature leftovers, I was also thinking about my blog and my writing career, and my art, and all the other things I had planned to do in 2014 which seemed to get derailed from every angle.

I will be honest, Ascension Graveyard (For those of you who are just now tuning in, AG is my blog novel that I started writing in June…it is still a work in process and progress,) has given me some reason for pause.

I feel like it might turn out to be a far longer novel than I planned for it to be, and coming to terms with that has been difficult. I have said this before. But even with my previous mention I feel like the thought alone has caused me to stop my motions.

These images include the photo, "Craney Island (080213-A-5177B-008)," available under the Creative Commons Attributions License 4.0, ©  U.S Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District. The original work has been modified and in no way reflects the views or any endorsement of they original owner.
These images include the photo, “Craney Island (080213-A-5177B-008),” available under the Creative Commons Attributions License 4.0, © U.S Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District. The original work has been modified and in no way reflects the views or any endorsement of they original owner.

What do I want for this novel? What do I want for this blog, for my art, for myself? Where am I going?I want a lot and sometimes I feel like the chasm between here and there is just so wide. But that only leads to the next question.

How do I know it is wide unless I take a step? Its like looking into the rippling waters of a pool and trusting my first impression that the waters aren’t that deep when in reality they might actually be 12ft deep.

The realization that I have come to, is that none of it really matters unless  I just step forward. We all must step forward. Sure, we will reach moments where we look at how far we have come, scan over our maps and wonder if we have gone the wrong direction.

But even if we have gone the wrong direction, that is not cause for us to set up shop in the place of the unknown just for fear of having lost our way.

So what you may not know where you want to end up exactly. Maybe the answers will only come once you start walking.

As I write this, soooo many biblical pictures come to mind; Abraham being told to leave his home by God and go to a place  He would show him. (Genesis 12:1) God didn’t tell him wear exactly he was to go, he just said go, take a step of faith. Believe.

Then there is Psalm 119:105 which says, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” That to me indicates that more times than not the steps ahead of our current footfalls are shrouded in the dark, but we have got to take another step to discover that which lays hidden from view.

For me, I have just got to keep pressing forward, keep stepping through the darkness and trusting the Light to make my way plain. If I want this blog to continue to nurture my creative growth, I have got to keep blogging. If I want my art to stretch itself out and grow, then I have got to give it a platform to do so.

If I want Ascension Graveyard to be all that I believe it can be, then I have got to keep writing this daggum first draft! (LOL all you writers out there understand that torrid relationship one has with their first draft.)

So getting back to the thought I had, it is true that we will never know where we are going if we never take the first step…that is unless you plan on going nowhere.

Press forward! Keep dreaming! And keep seeking!

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets