So You’ve Finished NaNoWriMo…Now What?: Words of Advice & Flash Fiction #Writing #WritingAdvice #MondayMotivation

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Slow Cooked

*Original story posted for Week 54 of Battle of the Blogs in 2016.

Her fingertips feathered the keys of her keyboard, driven by the ache to write something, anything. Words, for that still, silent moment, apart for the whistling of the wind outside her window, seemed to elude her.

She drummed her too-long fingernails against her writing desk and let out a frustrated sigh. She knew what she wanted to say, knew how to fix the mistake that was before her, she just had to muster her patience and allow the words to flow forth in their own time.

Writing from scratch and revisions never came in a microwavable package. The finished product always promised to be good, better than good, but it required the stamina of a crock pot, slow-cooked until the words fell from the pages into the reader’s imagination like succulent meat dripping from their bones.

As if savoring the aroma that wafted from her imagination, she closed her eyes and smiled as the scene played out upon her eyelids. Yes, she had it now. Her fingers, set at the ready, danced across the keyboard with the familiar music that delighted and sped up the beating of her heart into a glorious tattoo.

Like feathers upon the wind, the story floated around her, until the scene was finished, the revisions were done, and the belly of her muse was full as if from a savory meal cooked to perfection.

THE END…BUT NOW WHAT?

Many of you fantastic creatives set out over the month of November to create a literary tome of excellence. You set up your outlines, isolated plot points, and then when the first of the month hit, so too did your fingers hit the keys on your keyboards.

The adventure was fruitful, some days were more exhilarating than others, but still, you managed to reach novel status or at least get pretty close to it.

But now what? Now that NaNoWriMo has come and gone, what are you to do now?

  1. Keep Writing: Just like with the character in the short story above, you have to keep writing your story. If you didn’t reach 50k words in the allotted time that is okay. Every story, every piece of art grows at its own pace. Honor that, but do keep writing.
  2. Acknowledge your first draft for what it is: Novel status achieved or not, there is still worthy work ahead of you. Microwaves are good in the kitchen on an emergency basis, but microwave works of fiction aren’t good anywhere. What I mean is that you still need to ‘work’ your story into perfection even after you write the final words ‘THE END’. That moment is actually the beginning of really turning your WIP into a masterpiece
  3. Give yourself a deadline to finish the first draft: My first go at NaNoWriMo took me a little less than 30 days to hit novel status and 96 days to complete the story as a whole. For me (with many of the stories I’ve written…and like you, need to polish for publication) 90 days is the sweet-spot. There is less pressure to continue with manic writing, but enough of a push to keep you focused.
  4. Give yourself breathing room and time to mentally regroup: I recommend writing until your story is actually finished BUT sometimes, some narratives are so complex that your mind and muse simply need a break. Take a few weeks off if you need to. Either remove yourself from the story completely for a spell, or give yourself distance but allow your mind to gently work through the conflicts that are still ahead.
  5. BONUS ENJOY THE ROAD AHEAD: After completing 30 days of writing, you’ve earned it! Give yourself a pat on the back for coming this far. It was no small thing, but you did it!

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Helen Keller

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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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!

 

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!

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!

Back from Sabbatical: What’s on in My Creative World?

Hello, Fellow Creatives! It’s been several weeks since I made an official post. Yes, I have done as I suspected and dropped a few creative seeds here and there but this is a legit planned and on purpose posting.

Over the past few weeks, I have been taking the time to go over my answers from the 12-week Creative Course, Sow the Seeds and Seize the Dream. What I discovered most was that even though I created the questions, I was able to gain a lot of creative introspection once I answered them. As a result, my creative path is more fine-tuned.

If you haven’t given the course a go I do recommend it!

SO WHAT’S NEW?

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I initially planned to dive right back into my scheduled postings with a Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt, coupled with a motivational piece to get you going for the week.  What changed my plans was the realization that November 1st is just a week away!

For those of you who may not understand the significance of that, November 1st marks the first day of NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. It is a time where writers all over the world dedicate thirty days to attempting to write a brand new novel. Some writers continue with older pieces but they only document the word count they’ve acquired during the month of November, hoping to gain 50k words or more!

Since this is what is about to go down, I’ve decided to post a few helpful tips over the five days leading up to November 1st to encourage and help those who’ve decided to give NaNoWriMo a try.

So be sure to look for NaNoWriMo Tip Number One on Friday, October 27th.

For more on the what’s, why’s, how’s, and when’s of NaNoWriMo, click HERE!

ANYTHING ELSE?

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Keep your eyes open for updates for my debut novel, NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, book 1 of the MINISTERS OF TIME SERIES. The book is scheduled to be indie published in Winter 2018!

I will also be opening my new Etsy shop, Said Logic, offering Tote Bags, Mugs, T-Shirts, Hoodies, and Wall Art. Pieces inspired by authors, friends, and musings that encourage are all coming soon!

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That is it for now, Creatives. As always, stay creative!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Hunger in the Veins: Flash Fiction #Monday’sMuse #SciFi #Thriller

Vein City. That wasn’t its true name, but that’s how he felt about it. From there the very lifeblood of the world seemed to flow. He flexed his hands and watched his own veins pulse. It had cost him nearly everything within him to get there. 

Flipping open his wallet he stared at the nearly faded photograph of his family. So much had happened in so little time, but it was enough to wipe his mind clean. He couldn’t even remember their names. All he remembered were their faces.

That would have to be enough.

Truth be told, few men ever came back from the grave in the way that he had and those that did were only shells of themselves.

That was what Embryous was all about. Taking fully grown men and women, developed in every form of the word but not in their hearts, not in their emotions. Emotions were fickle. They got in the way. They kept the underdeveloped, the embryous, from doing what they were designed to do.

He flexed his hands again. They still burned from the crushing grip they’d held on…what was his name? He glanced back at the dead man’s face. Daryl, his name was Daryl. Daryl’s eyes were cold, lifeless, the product of Embryous, meaning dead.

In fairness, the Daryl had asked for it. They all had. Anyone who looked him in the eye saw his hunger. For anyone who tried to stop him from feeding his appetite, that look was the last thing they saw. Nothing would keep him from his former life. Nothing would keep him from his family.

That was why he was in Vein City. His family was his lifeblood and he was determined to live again.

THE BEGINNING…

*I don’t know if I will ever get around to fleshing out this tale, but I am curious about the nameless main character and Embryous. I have an inkling that things for him are not what they seem and finding that out will be like kicking a hornet’s nest. Anyhow, these are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt August 21st, 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: August 21st, 2017 #CreativeWriting #Monday’sMuse #WritingPrompt

OPENING LINE (S): “Vein City. That wasn’t its true name, but that’s how he felt about it. From there the very lifeblood of the world seemed to flow. He flexed his hands and watched his own veins pulse. It had cost him nearly everything within him to get there. ”

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “Monday’s Muse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

My results will be posted the week’s end.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!