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!

 

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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!

The Right Time: Writing Prompt 1 Results

Writing Prompt: “3rds” Song: The Right Time, by Warren Barfield (Click the song title to read lyrics and hear the song.) Album:“Red Bird” 3rd line in 3rd verse of 3rd song: “We were barely getting by” Note: From my view, I have chosen to count the chorus as a verse. To view the original Prompt & Rules, click HERE.

The Right Time

“We were barely getting by. Carlos liked to believe that everything was just fine, but me, I knew better. Seven days straight drinking cold water and wearing underclothes that were so filthy they could stand up straight on their own was not fine.

“Life’s too short to be gripping all the time.” Carlos managed to throw that line at me every time I looked like I was going to wage a complaint. In all honesty, there wasn’t anything that Carlos could do that he wasn’t already doing to make things any better. We had a roof over our heads, really it was a tent he had managed to pinch from some local store a few months back. He hated stealing, but he hated being cold more than that.

More than just being dirty, finding our stomachs growling louder than any conversation we could seem to have, what seemed to bother me the most was his optimism. I suppose one of us had to be the optimist. One of us had a whole long life to live and the other…well the other of us was on precious borrowed time, time that should never be spent with complaints, no matter how much clay gets caught underneath your fingernails.

Apart from the stealing, we did other things that weren’t always on the shining side of the law. All of it was harmless. Just two kids out pocking a joke or two with no cares in the world besides seeking a good laugh and make believing we were a pair of lost boys on Neverland.

That was mostly true.

There wasn’t much to care about besides living in that moment. At least I let Carlos believe that I believed that. That is what friends are for, to laugh with, cry with, and run away with when it seems there is no hope.

Homes for the un-adoptables. What is it that makes a kid unwanted, unable to be placed? What does being unadoptable even mean? Did it mean that Carlos and I, and a slew of others, were broken, mistakes, unfit for love?

Carlos somehow managed to not think so. He said it meant we were born free. It meant we were created without confines and made to live in the dreams that others would never get to live.

I had always been the realist, not so much a pessimist, but a guy willing to look at the facts and call a spade a spade. We weren’t wanted because we were too old. Thirteen isn’t cute and cuddly. Carlos said if age had anything to do with it then what made us not cute when we were babies in the system?

I kept the hard truth to myself. One of us wasn’t wanted because of sickness and a quick expiration date on life. Parents didn’t want that. They wanted to be grandparents. That meant their kid had to grow up. If they wanted to watch the beginning and end of a life in less than twenty years they would get a puppy, not a thirteen-year-old old boy.

That is why we ran away. That is why I ran away and I am so glad that I did because if I hadn’t done so, ten years ago, I would have never gotten to see Carlos reach the height of his life. I would have never come out of my shell and anger. I would have never been able to tell his grandmother, seven months after he passed, what a great kid he was. I would have never been adopted by her and become the man I am today if it wasn’t for Carlos.

THE END.

I really enjoyed writing this and seeing how the story unfolded around that first line, “We were barely getting by.” I felt like I was taking a risk, hitting on a subject that is so sensitive to many, being an “unwanted” child, lost in the system. I hope I was able to bring the short tale full circle and create a tale that is uniquely its own apart from the song that lent its inspiration.  Thanks for reading, and I will be posting my BONUS round next week!

~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!

Writing Guidelines…What you do with what you learn

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One of the wisest things a writer can do to better their craft and navigate the path to their desired literary success is to realize that they, in fact, don’t know everything but have room to learn just about anything.

One of the best things we can do to better gain wisdom is to learn from those who have gained the success that mirrors or resembles that which we are aiming for.

A few years back my eldest sister created a creative writing workshop book while she was on sabbatical from teaching at the University level. I had the privilege of being her guinea pig for the project, using the workbook from start to finish.

Out of the many writing exercises that she cleverly produced, the one that I enjoyed and affected me the most had to do with gleaning wisdom from the authors that I most read and/or admired.

I was tasked with:

  • Making a list of 4 of my favorite authors
  • Find a quote of theirs that spoke about their writing process (and from there)
  • Come up with 4 guidelines that I could follow to help me in my creative process

The 4 authors that I chose (in no particular order of popularity) were: Garth Nix, Frank Peretti, Tamora Peirce, and of course, Octavia E. Butler. Below are their quotes and following are the guidelines that I created from what each author had to say.

1. Octavia E. Butler:

    Genre: Sci/Fi

(This quote is in regard to a bad sci-fi movie she had seen when she was twelve.)

“Geez, I can write a better story than that.” So I got busy writing what I thought of as Science Fiction.””

*What a learned from her statement is that sometimes noticing a lack in the craft of others can lead you to find the strength within your own.

2. Garth Nix:

Genre: Young Adult Sci/Fi

I am the audience and I try and write a book that I would like now as a mature adult and that I would have enjoyed at thirteen or fourteen and upwards.”

*What I learned from Garth Nix is in order to write a convincing piece, I have to write it selfishly, as unto myself. But I have to write in a way that others can latch on to it as well.

3.Frank Peretti: (I have two quotes for him actually, but only one birthed a guideline.)

Genre: Horror/Christian/ Supernatural Fiction/ Young Adult

The best way to convey a spiritual truth is by telling a story because stories work.”

And

Don’t try to find truth by looking within yourself; you’re the one who’s confused.”

(The last quote just needed to be shared 😉 )

*What I learned from Frank Perretti (who holds the trophy for being the first author to get me to read a book all the way through for leisure. The book was the Oath. LOVED IT! It starts off with a knife, and blood and a woman running through the woods…curious aren’t you;) ) is that the truth is people like or are more comfortable by the imaginary. They become characters and make the story personal. They live the prose out in their minds as if they were their own memories, and can often glean strength to face their reality.

4. Tamora Peirce.

Genre: Fantasy/ Young Adult

(About getting ideas for her books…)

Some, I stumble across watching in nature programs…watching my mother and sister produce blankets from balls of yarn and crochet hooks. I thought of it as a kind of magic and wondered what all could be done with thread and magic.”

*What I learned is that everyday life is more than enough inspiration. The Lord God Yeshua Jesus gave us all we need to make masterpieces of our own.

Bonus: Victoria Osteen

Let peace be your umpire.”

So above are the things that I have learned. Below are my guidelines based off of the quotes I’ve gleaned from. You will notice that they are not exact to the quotes or what I have learned from the quotes. They are more the children born out of the marriage of the two:

MY WRITING GUIDELINES:

  • There is always room for your work if it is well thought out and concise.
  • Write what pleases you, but what others can connect to as well.
  • Stories are necessary for telling truths. Tell the truth.
  • You have all you need for you masterpiece so make it happen.
  • With everything I do, do it with peace as my ultimate guage and guide.

For me, these guidelines are freeing and very encouraging, like Chopsticks.

NOW YOU GIVE THIS A TRY:

  1. Take some time, look up some quotes from your favorite authors.
  2. Jot down what you glean from it  upon your first read (or after ruminating over it.)
  3. Come up with some guidelines of your own based off of the quotes you have read and what you have learned.
  4. Find an inspirational quote from a non-writer that inspires you.
  5. Put them into practice and then let me know how they worked for you.

Want to see my guidelines in action? Click and follow my Author Page at www.candicecoates.wordpress.com

Writer's Table

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

5 Benefits of Participating in Writing Prompts: Wisdom from the Writer’s Journal

Writer's TableWriting prompt: (In my opinion is) The Creative springboard or theme from which a story is directed or born…In less fancy words, it is a writer willingly giving up creative control of their imaginative ideas in order to grow through the ‘prompting’ of someone else’s.

I don’t know about you, but I really love writing prompts. Writing prompts do two things simultaneously; they cause us to surrender control while incubating our process in a controlled environment.

Writing prompts create boundaries while enabling us to write with inhibition of our previously set creative  ‘boundaries.’

Through them, we sample other flavors of genre and creativity while learning to laugh again, gaining a creative adrenaline boost that comes from facing a challenge, whether it’s through the boundaries of a time-limit, word limit, or even theme or opening lines.

If you want to grow your creative writing muscles, keep them toned, participate in a weekly writing prompt.

Here are 5 benefits of doing so:

1. You know that you will have something to write about: Sometimes it seems our creative wells run dry. We have the itch to write but no idea what to write.

Participating in a weekly writing prompt ensures that you will always have an idea to springboard from, a starting place.

2. Not knowing exactly what you will write about, week to week, keeps you sharp: Knowing that there will be a writing prompt but not knowing what it is exactly, builds your creative reflexes, keeps you excited and hones your skills, mongoose-like writing skills (whatever that is like.)

You become accustomed to readying yourself for whatever curveball may come your way.

Check out these reflexes. This guy, Evan Longoria, is SHARP! Write like he catches! Be ready for anything. Be Evan Longoria.

3. Writing Prompts loosen you up and ready you to try new things with your writing: If you aren’t like me, genre-jumping isn’t your thing. You might just be a genre purist, but hey romance writer, unicorns and aliens fall in love too.

Try a prompt that takes you out of your comfort zone.

4. [While doing a prompt] You are less inclined to take yourself too seriously thus you are able to better enjoy the fruits of your labor as anything can come from a writing prompt: As with any craft, one can become stiff, locked in a cycle of ‘perfection’ or ‘status quo.’

Writing prompts break that down. They don’t destroy our expectations but they enlighten and heighten them, reminding us that we always have somewhere to grow.

5. You may get a great short or even a full-length novel idea from doing one: What may start out as a simple exercise can turn into a great novel.

Writing prompts have the potential to draw out of us fresh creative water that has always been inside us, we just didn’t know it until we took up the challenge to find it.

Bonus:  By participating in [weekly] Writing Prompts you have the opportunity to build a great writing community with others who are also  faithful participants!

Bonus Bonus!: Community leads to excellent constructive feedback and support, and we all need that!

If you are interested in doing a Weekly Writing Prompt, check out BlogBattlersit’s a great community with faithful creative writer’s tackling random word writing prompts. You can also try my prompts, Monday’s Muse, a weekly prompt that gives the opening line and image with a 20-minute writing window for you to create a story. There are also a few others you can explore on my blog by clicking HERE. 

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Will You Create With Me: The Hope of Future Writing Prompts

Last year, about mid-way between starting this blog and now, I started developing Writing Prompts and Exercises.

For at least the last few months I have not created a single prompt, as I have been striving to get my life in order so that I can have more time working on the blog and writing my beloved novels. 1378764042vcbiu

As March was reborn this 2015, I found myself asking the God of Creation, what was I supposed to do now that there were no distractions to keep me from blogging. I mean yes, the simple answer is to create blogs, but I am a person who likes to “sow” and not “throw” my seed if you get what I mean?

In answer to my query, Yeshua Jesus gave me the simplest answer; “Do what you did at the beginning.”

What did I do at the beginning? I allowed art to bear fruit in whatever way it saw fit, but I allowed it to do so within parameters. In short, I made a deal with myself and my creativity to spend 15 to 20 minutes free flow writing, and an equal amount of time exploring different expressions of art.

I say all of that to say this, will you create with me? It will help us keep in touch.

I enjoy doing free flow writes so much, but I really like doing them with an image as inspiration.

My proposal:

  1. Post an image at the beginning of the week on the blog (It will be housed under my FICTION Tab in the Main Menu on Mondays, titled Monday’s Muse. )
  2. Underneath that image I will write the first line that comes to mind. (Some images I will leave without a first line for you. You can even leave me one of your choosing and I will attempt to create a written piece off of the best line I choose from your comments (I will need those posted by Wednesday.)
  3. YOUR TASK: Link up with that image and create a semi-free flow write (as I will be giving you the first line) of your own within 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Once you have finished your story, attach a link back to my blog and lets see what we each come up with. Let’s create together!

If this sounds like something you would like to do, check out my page every Monday and be ready to share your results by Thursday that same week! I will have a Category titled Monday’s Muse under the Writing Prompts Tab.

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets