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.

mobile-phone-iphone-music-38295

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!

 

Advertisements

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 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 Take NaNoWriMo 5 Day Creative Tip Countdown Begins TOMORROW #NaNoWriMo #Fiction #Writing

Hello, Creatives!

We are just FIVE days away from November 1st, which means we are FIVE days from the start of NaNoWriMo! (National Novel Writing Month.)

This is the month for NaNo vets and newcomers to put their creative noses to the grind and crank out a 50k word novel in 30 days!

Starting tomorrow at 9am EST, I will be giving a daily tip to help you get ready to accomplish your writing goal.

Also, for those who are maybe stumped about what to write, I am adding a link to some of my favorite Monday’s Muse Writing Prompts to help you get started should you need a little bit of a boost.

Remember, if you do choose to use the writing prompt(s) be sure to omit the opening line from your overall word count.

MY ADVICE FOR HOW TO USE THE PROMPTS 

  • Use the pictures as inspiration and create your own opening line that will lead to the start of your 50k word count.
  • Use all 5 suggested prompts and dedicate 10k words to each prompt
  • Use all 5 suggested prompts and create 5 separate 10k stories for a Novella collection

BONUS: ENJOY THE WRITING JOURNEY NO MATTER HOW YOU CHOOSE TO EMBARK UPON IT!

Happy writing.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

3 Curious Ways to Build Character: Wisdom from the Writer’s Journal #writingtips #amwriting

When you build a character, you are really fueled by curiosity not answers. ~Andre Dubus III

I believe Andre Dubus III put the art of building characters in perfect perspective. We as writers are indeed driven by curiosity. It is our ‘watching’ of the world, and those around us, that constructs who our characters are and ultimately become. Even in our minds, we watch them, the characters who live in our imaginations.

WatchingWhen we allow the stories in our heads to tell themselves with an organic voice, we become witnesses, and thus stenographers if you will. We find our characters behaving naturally in their environments, shocking us with the choices they make, the thoughts they have, the people they connect with, their mannerisms.

Curiously, we keep our eyes on them, jotting down every detail. We watch. We build. It becomes like a game of Jeopardy. We have the answers to who and why. The story that we write around these ‘answers’ is where the questions come from.

The stories themselves are actually the questions.

HERE ARE 3 PRACTICES TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN BUILDING CHARACTERS

  1. WATCH: Take the time to watch your characters perform within your imagination. This doesn’t require actual writing but focused observation. Feel free to jot down notes from what you see but not so much to work your story (unless it is a scene that belongs in the story). What you are witnessing is getting you familiar with the nuances of each character’s personality.
  2. LISTEN: Pay close attention to what your characters are saying during these moments of focused concentration. The tone they use with the server at a restaurant does give you a clue as to how they would or would not respond to their ex if they called out of the blue.
  3. BUILD: Take what you’ve seen and heard during these moments and use them as tools for while you are writing. You build with knowledge. You gain knowledge from learning to understand, and understanding comes from watching and listening.

For some more tips on character building, and character watching,  read my article and writing exercise titled, Coffee with Character…or Tea.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

What are you up to Today?: Why not attend a Party!

author-page-launch

WHAT: The Official Author page of your’s truly, goes live TODAY! Stop by, browse around, find out what’s happening in my indie publishing world, bring your favorite quote, and sign my guestbook blog post!

WHEN: Today and every day!

WHERE: http://www.candicecoates.wordpress.com

WHAT ELSE: Take a read of the full First 3 Chapters of my 365-WIP also read the BOOK FLAP teasers to the novels competing to be published first in 2017.

warden

VS

nexus-gate-4037-use-banner-picture-image

 

Be sure to spread the love by spreading the word! Follow my Author page and get connected. You will be in the know for all things that I’ve got planned for my literary future.

WWW.CANDICECOATES.WORDPRESS.COM

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Write that Book!: 3 Reasons to Write Your Novel

I believe that everyone at some point in their life journey has made the statement, “I think I should write a book.” While many have said it, very few have actually embarked on the task when you think about it in terms of the ratio of said versus done.

Now, having completed several tomes myself (two are currently in Beta) I have to admit that writing a novel from start to finish isn’t the easiest thing to do BUT it doesn’t have to be as difficult as many of us make it out to be.

Most of what causes the process to be difficult are:

  • Over-thinking
  • Lack of confidence
  • Perfectionism
  • Thinking its already been done before/ Someone took your idea

These four are definitely creativity killers not just in the world of writing but in the world of doing just about anything that poses a challenge but holds interests to you.

What are the cures to these nasty bugs:

  • Think less, do more
  • Believe that trying is worth it even if you ‘fail.’ (Failure is relative.)
  • Remember that no matter how sharp we are at our craft there will always be a flaw
  • Your idea is unique even if it resembles someone else’s…how many vampire stories are out there? I rest my case…sorta.

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for you to leave the ocean of ‘sayers’ and become part of the flock of ‘doers.’ It’s time for you to WRITE THAT BOOK!

If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.” ~Beverly Cleary

“Many Great Authors began their writing careers in meeting their own imaginative and literary need. Perhaps that ‘book’ you crave to read, but can’t seem to find, rest deep within the soil of your imagination. Perhaps it’s time you begin to bring it to light! Write the book!” ~ Candice Coates

Octavia E. Bulter is a celebrated Science Fiction author. Her success grew from watching what she said was a terrible Science fiction movie and saying to herself that she could write better than that, and you know what? She did.

1.WHY should you write that book: If a concept has been playing like a movie in your mind for more than a month (or even a week) you should give it life, even if you are the only one to read it.

And don’t worry if you thought up a great storyline only to find that someone else has tried something that seems similar. Here is the reality, many people have shared ideas and they’ve never even discussed them before.

As I said, there are so many vampire novels out there with the undead being in love with the living. Or think about how many mail-order bride romance novels there are. Similar concepts but if you’ve ever read any of these, you would find they are vastly different.

So write your book because your idea is worth sharing.

2. HOW should your write that book: I recently read a book by Mark Batterson called Chase the Lion. (Great book!) In it, he describes his concept of using the 80/20 rule when it comes to writing. I liked what he had to say BUT I kind of have a similar but different view of it.

Putting it in my own words, 80 percent of finished work is better than 20 percent of daydreaming about it. Daydreaming without any work done will only lead you down a rabbit hole of nothingness where you let in those four creativity-killers.

Let your first draft be just that, a first draft! Go on and misspell a few words, dance over correct grammar, and use ‘to’ in place of ‘two’ too many times. It’s okay. Goodness, even let the plot slip a few times.

Your job during the 80 is to bring the bones and muscle of the story to life. The skin and clothes will come during the rewrites. Yes, there will be rewrites…at least three.

Putting down the words even with the mistakes is HOW YOU WRITE THAT BOOK! You get out the 80 percent and then weave through the 20 percent during second drafts, editing, and beta.

3. WHEN should you write that book: NOVEMBER 1st of ANY YEAR is a great time to write that book or to at least get it started. Why? Because that is NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. Check out the official site here www.nanowrimo.org.

Participating in NaNoWriMo gives you the chance to connect with other like-minded creatives who are running toward the same goal, like a marathon except you are using computers and being pretty sedentary…and probably packing in the calories instead of burning them but that’s beside the point.

The point is you will have a platform to gauge your progress and be encouraged by that of others.

Me, I like to use June as my Novel Writing Month, but any 30-day month will do just to get you started.

Just get started. Write that Book! Why? Because it’s in you. How?  By sitting down and doing it. When? Right now is a good time to start!

WRITE THAT BOOK!

Writer's Table

*Original image acquired from Pexels.com: https://www.pexels.com/photo/fashion-legs-notebook-working-5279/

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Chapter 28: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

Ascension Graveyard..jpg 2

Chapter 28

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

HL: I have to tell you that, meeting you, having this interview has changed my perspective of things so much. I admit, I was very uncomfortable at first.

ECT: In order to survive, all creatures must learn to adapt…change. Change is often a very painful experience. But bless it all if it isn’t worth it.

*          *          *

Wesley cupped the man’s hand before pulling him into a tight embrace. “It’s been too long, Uncle Arnie.” He smiled, leading the man beyond the front entryway of his home. Stepping into the front room he said, “Did you leave your bag in the car? I can go and get it.”

Arnold waved him off as he scanned the room with his eyes. It was a force of habit. Too many years on the force had ingrained it into him. “No, son, I rented a room outside of town.” He finally brought his steely eyes in line with his nephews. “Fewer distractions the better. If I stay here, I’ll get to thinking about your folks or worse, find myself fishing until the lakes are empty. Neither are good ideas, though the later is beyond tempting.” He cupped Wesley’s shoulder and nudged him towards the sofa. Wesley didn’t resist.

They spent a few minutes on catching up. Arnold Anderson had always been like a second father to Wesley. When Wesley’s father died of a heart attack several years ago, Arnold had made it a point to fill in the gap that his brother-in-law had left in the boy’s life. It wasn’t easy living out of state or working the crazy hours that he was required to work. But he did the best he could. Felons didn’t keep nine to five shifts.

Chapter 26: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

Ascension Graveyard..jpg 2

Chapter 26

“I just want to know that you have what you need and that you move carefully.”

Michael’s jaw clenched. “I’m a surgeon, Pastor Wesley. I have made a career off of moving carefully.” Michael didn’t mean to come off cold. He understood Wesley’s nervousness. He was having fits of his own.

Silence answered him before there was another response. “I didn’t mean any harm, Michael. I just don’t want any mishaps. Etta got away last time, twice actually. I don’t want it to happen again.”

Michael turned his tea saucer at Dahlia’s against the cool marble table top of the booth he waited in. He was waiting for Rachel, not just because Pastor Wesley had motives for leading her down a certain direction, one that would ultimately expose Etta Castle Teague for what she was, but because he had a genuine interest in the woman. Both men had their reasons for doing what they were doing. Michael just needed to make his clear. More so he needed to do it without being snappy.

“Pastor, I need you to know why I’m doing the things you’ve asked of me. I’m doing this because I believe in what we stand for. I’ll speak to Jørn about coming to a meeting when I next see him because I know he is a Christian and he needs to be in community. I will speak to Rachel as soon as she arrives because we are all against ascensions and the evil it brings out of people. That being said, because I believe, I intend to do my absolute best, when I speak to both of them, to ensure the desired results. But that doesn’t mean that I’m willing to jeopardize my chance with Rachel in the process.”

Remembering Why You Write: Wisdom from the Writer’s Journal

So you’ve decided that you are going to finally sit down and write a novel. Fantastic! Making the decision to actually sit down and do so tends to be one of the hardest parts of the novel writing journey.

But more difficult than anything is the art of bringing  your story from the start of its labor pains clear into a fulfilling delivery.

Let me begin by quoting a part of Scripture from the book of Isaiah:

Isaiah 37:3b “…for the children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to give birth.

To every trial and trouble, no matter how great the fruit, there tends to be one common denominator, that my friend is the root. ~ Candice Coates

The root cause of what keeps so many brilliant writers from accomplishing their goal of completing their novel is DISCOURAGEMENT.

Discouragement takes many forms and comes from many directions, some external while others internal, but all can rob us of our strength to carry on to the end.

Rather than mapping out a list of discouragements that keep you from completing your novel, I am going to encourage you to declare 3 reasons or more for why you are writing in the first place.

Whatever your 3 reasons are, I’d like for you to think of them as the 3 branches that form the anchor that keeps you steady during any discouraging storm.

Here are 3 reasons (but not the only reasons) why I write:

1. I write because it is cathartic: Writing a story, word-weaving is very relaxing. It brings me a sense of joy and pleasure.

Remembering that I write for self-relaxation removes the pressure of performance. If I have achieved my therapeutic goal by jotting down a few fictional words, then I have done well.

2. I write because I love to tell a story: Being able to give life to the characters that live in my head is an honor and privilege, one that allows me a get away from the cares of reality without even leaving the comfort of my home…although I do enjoy actual travel.

3. I write because I enjoy the challenge: I love trying new things in art, be it visual or written. Being able to put my own spin on a certain genre is something that gets my blood flowing.

To not have the answers, but to discover a new way of weaving words to present an age old topic like romance or science fiction is a reward all in itself.

So, why do YOU write? Taking the time to create your anchor is such an important part of your writing journey and process.

For me, remembering the therapeutic benefits, the love of the process, and the Anchorchallenge of trying something new, always brings me back to my keyboard.

Remember what called you to yours in the first place and let those reasons be what keeps you there as you start and finish your novels!

Happy writing.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!