Week Two Update | NaNoWriMo 2016

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Sorry it’s a day late, but we are now well into two weeks of NaNoWriMo 2016 and it is time for another progress report. Before I get any further, I’m going to start by saying this past week was a complete and utter failure. I never quite made the comeback that I was hoping for after an abysmal weekend of writing. So this week is not going to have much progress reporting but more tips I’m hoping will help me get my groove back.

Progress Thus Far

What I’ve Written

I started week two of NaNoWriMo with my protagonist arriving in a new place where she would undergo transformation in the story. So I was able to write the scenes where she is introduced to the location and the new characters already there, which was fun but I required I tread carefully. So realizing I could not just word sprint my way through this part, I became intimidated by the document and threw myself into reading and research this past week. Here’s my embarrassing progress graph.

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But I haven’t lost hope that I can still turn this around. This weekend is the beginning of Thanksgiving Break so I am going to start treating writing like my job. I’m going to try to write at least 1,667 words every morning and beyond until I’m all caught up. In fact, I’m hoping to reach 50,000 words before break is over so I’m planning to do a lot of writing.

I’m at the beginning of Act II in my story, so exciting things are going to begin happening. I already have the next four chapters loosely outlined so I literally just need to sit my butt down and write them. I think the hardest bit is facing the unknown and needing to make important story choices. So what I’ve learned this week really speak to the problems I’ve been facing.

What I’ve Learned

As this past week was a struggle for me, these tips are ones I aim to follow the rest of the month and probably beyond as I attempt to finish this novel by the end of the year.

  1. Even on days I’ve overwhelmed with school or work, I need make sure to spend at least 10–30 minutes looking at my story and adding words wherever I can or notes. Even if it’s not specifically writing words that contribute to the manuscript, it’s valuable to spend time looking at your draft every day and thinking about your story so that you keep your interest piqued so that you’re ecstatic when you finally have a bunch of time to write.
  2. Keep a list of scenes I can use for word sprints, and alternatively for those I might want to go back after word sprints to add in more carefully later. I’ve been word sprinting with my writing buddy Sara at least twice a week this November and the past two times we’ve talked I’ve not been able to throw myself into sprinting as well because I wasn’t at parts of the story where I felt comfortable writing just anything. So I want to get better at saving scenes specifically for frenzied writing.

Next on the Blog

On Friday morning I leave for Thanksgiving Break, so I will be home with my parents for nine days! Once vacation is over there will only be three days left of NaNoWriMo, so naturally I’m hoping to reach 50K words next week. I’m not sure how that’s going to happen with so many other things I want to do next week, but I’m dedicated so that’s got to mean something. You can expect a new post tomorrow and then this week’s Week In Review on Sunday.

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Week One Update | NaNoWriMo 2016

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Hello and welcome back to my blog to my blog for another NaNoWriMo update! It’s now been a week since NaNoWriMo started on November 1st (see my What I’m Writing), so I have lots to share. I added bits and insights to this post throughout the weeks as they came to me so I’ve had to shave this post down into something coherent! I hope you enjoy ^_^

Progress Thus Far

What I’ve Written

As I mentioned in my post last week, I started writing my story from the very beginning. Strangely enough, I’ve managed to stick to writing chronologically and have just started Act II (new world, fun & games) part of my novel, if you’re familiar with the Three Act Structure. At the time of drafting this post (Wednesday ~1 p.m.) I have not yet started writing for the day and I’m at 13,362 words! I’ve managed to keep up with where I should be each day, with the exception of day 7 and it will haunt my dreams forever.

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I had hoped to get a much bigger head start on my word count over the first week of NaNoWriMo, but it’s been all I can do to keep myself writing a little bit each day so as not to fall behind. School has not actually been too stressful, but I’ve struggled at times with the scope and direction of my story. I started with a very loose major outline but I’m not certain how closely I’ll stick with it by the end. I feel like each day the world become bigger and new characters come in who threaten to topple everything. It’s fun, but I’ve been trying to write carefully so that I hit the major beats and make notes of the little things that could become important later.

What I’ve Learned

I had a few major revelations very quickly at the start of the month about how I write.

  1. I need writing sprints. I feel like all year I’ve procrastinated on writing because I wanted to be so prepared that I’d write a near perfect first draft. I’ve since realized it’s just not possible. There’s too much to juggle in a good story to keep track of everything that I want my story to have. So I’ve truly embraced the writing sprints to help me get the words I can out and have been making notes along the way of the things I’ll want to fix in future editing sweeps.
  2. My pacing is terrible. I don’t remember ever thinking this about my writing before but it was made immediately clear to me in the first 5,000 words I wrote this month. I’m not too worried about it right now, because I know it’s more important to have the important things written down than to have them well laid out. But it’s one of those funny things I’ve become aware of this quickly and is something I look legitimately forward to working on in my revisions.

I’m having a great time writing right now and I honestly can’t remember the last time I enjoyed it. I’ve not had any self-doubts or undue self-pressure yet, so I’ve felt secure to write and know that everything will most likely turn out okay in the end and it will be fun to see these words evolve as I continue to work on this story. I’m hoping to keep this outlook for the rest of the month and beyond!

Next on the Blog

I feel like the NaNoWriMo honeymoon period is over, but I’m still motivated and having fun with my story every day. In case you missed it and are interested, I wrote a blog post about my thoughts on the outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election 2016 today. I also had a big blog name change,  you may have noticed or seen in that announcement post yesterday. I’m hoping to have another post up this weekend, but I’m not sure what just yet so I’ll keep you on your toes.

Thank you for reading!
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What I’m Writing for NaNoWriMo ’16

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Happy November!

We are now in the midst of NaNoWriMo writing season and since it’s been a while since I updated you on my story, I thought I’d do that now at the beginning of the month as opposed to at the end. As you may recall, I outlined my novel in September, but I remember even then doubting the ending I’d devised and knew I’d have to change it if I wanted to stick to my outline this November. That did end up happening and I started NaNoWriMo with a loose outline.

My Novel

I am writing the YA fantasy/steampunk set in an 1920s-esque alternative universe; it’s basically novel that you may have heard me talk about all year if you’ve been following me on this blog since January. My story has been inspired by many of my favorite fantasy novels and movies. I’ve also taken much inspiration from my German literature & ideas class which is centered on German literature and culture from 1890–1950 (roughly), which you may be aware was fairly tumultuous period of world history.

I don’t think the final first draft will be completed in 50,000 words so I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish it over Thanksgiving Break which this year is November 19th–27th. Although in my wildest dreams I imagine this novel being the first of a prospective series, I’ve decided to start treating it like a standalone novel. So I’m going to spend the rest of the year after NaNoWriMo polishing it up, then hopefully I’ll be able to find some beta readers to tell me what they think so I can edit a bit more before I decide if I really want to query it at all or maybe even turn it into an interactive narrative…

Progress Thus Far

I think that if I succeed at NaNoWriMo this year, it will be completed owed to strong start so I decided to prioritize writing this first week of November before I get insanely busy with end of the semester assignments. I technically started writing on Halloween, just because I figured it was close enough and I also figured I may not write much this weekend because my parents come up for my mom’s birthday. So I woke up November 1st with 1,043 words in my pocket! And I set off with a goal to write 5,000 words every day from Tuesday–Friday.

On Halloween I got so much done, including my major assignments for this week! So the only things I need to do this week are to attend class Wednesday and a TA workshop on Friday. So if I don’t take advantage of this beginning of the month momentum, I would be terribly silly!

So if all goes to according to plan, I will be at 20,000 words by November 5th! I’m so excited to make this a reality.

Yesterday I decided to sit down before I started writing and make an outline for the parts of my story that I wanted to write that day. It worked splendidly and have decided to do the same every day and each time I sit down to write. I feel so much more happy with what I write when I have a direction and know that it’s all leading up to something important to the story as as whole.

I hadn’t really expected this, but I’ve actually been writing my story chronologically for the most part, meaning I started at the beginning. I hadn’t been too excited by former beginnings of this novel, so I was surprised I felt drawn to this part of the story right off the bat. So it will be interesting to see in a week’s time in my next NaNoWriMo progress post if I’m still writing in chronological order.

 On the Blog

I do not want my blog writing to interfere with my novel writing this month, so I’m going to be trying to restrain myself to weekly update posts. I also hope to be able to read and get other things done this month so I may also be blogging about things not related to writing, but hopefully not to the extent that it becomes a distraction from writing! I am also planning to relaunch my BookTube channel (you may have seen a post that wasn’t ready to go up this past weekend *facepalm*), so I may also have writing videos up on YouTube.

Next on the blog, you will hopefully be able to see my thoughts on Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, the short story anthology I read two weekends ago. I haven’t dedicated a blog post to a single book in a long time so I’m excited to give it another shot soon. Until then…

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3 Tips for NaNoWriMo ’16

tape3tipsHappy Halloween!

I hope you find yourself having a little more fun than I am on this little holiday. I have a class tonight that I will need to attend, but before that I actually plan to have an early “Pre-NaNoWriMo Kick-Off Party” with my writing buddy between 4:30 p.m. when she gets home from work and 6:50 p.m. which is literally the latest I can wait before I need to dash off to class. We plan to do writing sprints over Skype and basically just get a headstart on NaNoWriMo because we’re old-timers now and can’t stay up till midnight to start writing. (Well, I could. But I won’t want to!)

I’m so excited she’s decided to participate this year, even though she’s more on the revising side of writing right now. We’re going to try to Skype every Tuesday, Thursday, and one weekend day each week and be accountable to ourselves to reach our respective goals.

As I’ve been horrible about blogging this past month, I did want to make sure to do a little post that hopefully you will find helpful if you’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. If you haven’t heard of it, basically the goal is to write 50,000 words by the end of the month (here’s a LINK to the official website where you can learn more and make an account, and/or ADD ME as a buddy). It’s not to late to decide to participate if you haven’t already! It’s low risk (no one will publicly shame you if you don’t win) and offers high rewards (in the form of a novel draft).

I’ve managed to condense my most important tips for surviving and winning NaNoWriMo into three points listed below. (I also provide a bonus tip for finding inspiration down below).

1. Plan Ahead and Be Flexible

Writing 50,000 words in one month may be a massive undertaking if you are not in the regular habit of writing. I’ve found the more you practice, the faster you will become. But there’s still a learning curve as you figure out how to get yourself in the writing mindset, by which I mean the mindset you need to be in see your world and characters and know where you want to take them. For me this usually involves reacquainting myself with what I’ve written previously or my story notes. I don’t have the luxury of thinking about my story all day, so I personally need to account for time spent warming up to write when I sit down to write.

Most of us don’t have all day to think about and write our stories. You, like me, may be a student or have full-time job you can’t afford to lose or even be a parent. Life becomes a juggling act during NaNoWriMo, so I recommend that you make lists or do whatever equivalent to that to make sure you don’t let any of your other commitments fall slack or by the wayside. I have personally have a calendar with major deadlines and trips so that I can visualize the month. And every week, actually more like everyday, I make time to write a to-do list of all the homework and chores I want to get done. I don’t always get everything on my to-do list done, but I often plan ahead so that there’s time later for tasks that can flow onto the next day. So remember to plan ahead and be flexible.

2. Know Where You Want to Go (Plot-Wise)

Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, I think anyone who’s serious about writing can only benefit by knowing where a scene or the whole story more broadly speaking needs to end up. I used to be a big-time panster, so I would plot a little as I went but never feel the need to stick strictly to my plans. The only real guide in my head, if you can call it a guide, was a basic idea of when a plot turn needed to happen. I don’t really recommend this method if you want to write something good, something that might one day be publishable.

Instead I would recommend having at least 5–7 major scenes planned for your story (or whatever makes sense for the size of story you’re shooting for). Because if you have these scenes in mind then you’re major task is then just to figure out how to best connect them, and that might be a good guide which still allows you to discover the story along the way (à la pantser). Along the same lines, having at least the vaguest idea of where a scene needs to go before you start writing each day could also help keep your story from spiraling out of control.

3. Set Aside “You” Time

Writing is supposed to be fun, so you don’t want to end up hating it or life in general by the end of the month because you’ve burned out. Balance your time for writing with time for other things, like homework, chores, and exercise. You may find yourself actually wanting to do homework and chores when you’re supposed to be writing, and vice versa so as long as you’re being productive and remember to balance everything out by the end of the day or week, you shouldn’t need to feel guilty while working on anything.

Exercise can be really good for stimulating your mind as well as your body, so I strongly recommend it, even if it’s not something you regularly do. It’s not that hard to add some leisurely walks to your daily routine, and you may even find walking around might give you some new story ideas. If you’re like me and don’t like to feel like you’re working out, I recommend something like Pokémon Go to distract you. Audiobooks are also a great idea if you find you’re reading suffering during NaNoWriMo. In addition to being good for you, exercise may also make you feel better about yourself so I can’t recommend it highly enough.

For Inspiration

Other than reading or immersing myself in other forms of storytelling (i.e. TV or film), I often feel most inspired when I find writing advice and tips from other writers. Don’t let yourself spend too much time searching for stuff by your favorite author, especially if you’ve never done this before, but I would say if you’re feeling low and wondering if you have what it takes, spend some time looking to the words of wisdom on writing process from other writers who are doing what you want to do.

If you’ve read (and liked) the Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer’s 9 Steps from Idea to Finished series might be of interest to you. V.E. Schwab also often blogs about writing and I enjoy reading her honest posts as she works on her novels.

Thank you for reading!
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The Last Week of October ’16 | Life & Mind

lastweekoctI’ve been a little stressed recently by how little time I’ve felt I’ve had for recreational reading. In addition the readings I’m assigned every week for my three classes, I’ve also been reading a lot of articles related to my research topic. So it’s not that I’m not reading, it’s just that I have a lot of untrackable reading. But I’m thinking I’ll start talking more about some of the more interesting academic articles I read here on my blog.

I like to reflect on what I read, which is why I love documenting every book I read on Goodreads and in wrap ups each month. I feel like it makes it easier to look back and remember what was going on in my life whenever I read any given book. So I want to talk more about the reading experiences I have as a student, as there has been so much recently.

This is something that’s been on my mind recently, and since I haven’t posted in a while I wanted to do a random little post talking about some of the things on my mind as the month is near its end.

Currently Reading

I just finished Slasher Girls and Monster Boys which I decided to finally pick up this weekend while I was house-sitting for my parents. It was the first weekend I felt I could allow myself a personal book selection and it felt so luxurious. It was a fantastic read, overall, and I still find myself marveling over the beauty and the horror of some of the stories in this anthology. If you possess this book and haven’t yet read it, I think this is the perfect time of the year to read it.

This week, I will be reading Cat and Mouse by Günter Grass which is due for next week. I’m hoping to finish it before the weekend so I can start another book before the end of the month, possibly Boxers by Gene Luen Yang which is a graphic novel I’d love to be able to breeze through, along with its companion novel Saints. I have to read three additional books for my German lit. class over the next couple of weeks so that might preoccupy the first half of November’s readings, but I’m also hoping to squeeze in some fantasy novels.

I’m still planning to participate in NaNoWriMo 2016 this November, and I really wish I had more time to read books that have inspired my own novel with the hopes that by reading good writing I’ll be more likely to write good words. We’ll just have to see how the next couple of weeks unfold, because like I said before, I also have a lot to read that isn’t just books!

NaNoWriMo 2016

I’m sorry I never quite worked out the time for my NaNoWriMo Prep series! Some of my most favorite posts to do are on writing tips/advice, so do know that all the posts I proposed earlier this month will most likely come out eventually. Even if they don’t make it out over November. I might have a laid back summer next year, so maybe I’ll generate some sort of plan for June/July geared towards preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo July.

I haven’t had much time to work on my story at all this month, except for maybe 2–3 days here and there. I’m a little worried about what I’ll come up with over November, but not so much that I’m in a panic. I have a rough outline for the novel I want to write, but I’m actually open to specific parts of that changing, so I’m not going to kill myself trying to stick to the outline. Unless I’m able to work on the outline this weekend and fix the problem areas I’ve already identified, in which case I do hope to stick the outline!

But I also have been keeping a list of short story ideas for side characters in this novel, so I’m prepared to be happy with a combination of a novel and some short story drafts. I think my flexibility here will ensure that I’m able to write 50,000 words and end the month with a good foundation, which is all I really end right now I think.

End Note

I hope you enjoyed this little post. I feel like I definitely psyche myself out sometimes when it comes to writing them, when blogging should just be a fun way to organize and record my thoughts. There’s a lot of post ideas swirling around in my brain, so I’m hoping those will materialize this weekend. I’ll probably do an official What I’m Writing for NaNoWriMo post soon, along with some sort of wrap up for the month. I also want to do a post about my grad school research and potential projects I’ll be starting soon. I just need to get on top of my school work and some upcoming deadlines in November.

Thanks for sticking with me! Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see more of in the future from this blog!

Thank you for reading!
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I Am a Weary World-Builder | #AmWriting

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As I mentioned in last week’s post (Before I Start Writing | #AmWriting), the most work I need to do at this point is world-building. I know that most people have no problem doing this and, in fact, find this the most exciting part of pre-writing. I personally struggle a bit with this, I think because as I imagine stories I do so within a blend of worlds that I’ve experienced in other people’s works. Does anyone else do this?

As I really want for the world to be able to inform the writing as I work on my first draft, I’m prioritizing world-building at the moment. The first thing I did was open a new Scrivener project so that everything could be in one place, so I’ll start there.

Scrivener Binder

At the very top of the binder is my Seven-Point Plot Structure summary that kicked off this new writing project. Right below that is a page with my Series Trajectory. I really want Hollow Combs to be the first in a six-book series, so I have a general idea of what will happen to my protagonist in subsequent books. I find it handy because it reminds me of the direction I ultimately want for certain characters’ futures as I’m writing so I remember what can and can’t (or shouldn’t) happen.

Then I have my Manuscript which is divided into three folders for the three acts of my story (which I’m using as a loose framework right now). My aim is that I’ll be able to plot the story a bit more than I have already before I finally start writing, so I’ll have nine chapters within each folder and 27 total. I think in the final draft I’ll actually have more than that though.

Magic System

The thing I most needed to work on was the magic system for my story. I knew I wanted magic to be commonplace and to have a growing societal tension around its use, but I didn’t know much more than that. I don’t really want to go into all the details of it, but I will say that there are differing school of thought on magical practice within the world. And anyone can do magic, but some are better predisposed to become great at it. But I don’t see this magical necessarily existing within people, but being more science-like.

My protagonist is special in that her relationship with magic is different. She is not exactly more powerful than others, but she can do things that others can’t because of a secret that will be discovered possibly later in the series. The antogonist becomes who she is because she abuses and corrupts the natural order of magic.

 End Note

For next time, I’m hoping to get more into the finer details of how magic training works and how my protagonist will learn it in this book. Then I think more about who my side characters will be in this story because my protagonist will need to interact with others and make allies. I also want to think about how I can responsibly depict diversity in this novel. It’s been a big topic of discussion on social media recently and I want to do my part, even if my story is in a more traditional fantasy vein.

Even though I’m 100% hispanic, I think I’ve always pictured all my characters as white. I don’t know what to think about it. Maybe it’s because of the white-washed culture and history I’ve grown up and feel most comfortable within as I’m fairly light-skinned. So I want to see if there’s anything I can do that promotes a different cultural influence in the landscape, and perhaps in the magic as well, without it feeling like tokenism or appropriation.

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So, I’m Doing Camp NaNoWriMo… | July 2016

CNW_Participant

At the end of June after months of dragging my feet with the weight of my novel looming over me, I decided I stop messing around and finally begin writing. Even if I didn’t know everything I needed to know, I just needed to start. Even I ended up scrapping everything I wrote from the final story, I needed to write something. I still feel like it shouldn’t have been such a difficult thing to do, but I’m proud to say I’ve been doing it. Slowly, but surely.

I didn’t want to announce my participation on July 1st, however, because I wanted to make sure this was not another failed attempt. I’d been telling myself I needed to write all of June and it just never happened. So I wanted to make sure it was indeed happening.

As of my writing of this post at 3 p.m. on July 13, 2016, I have written 2,914 words. Not a lot. But I’ve finally made a breakthrough I think is going to help me write the first real words of this novel very soon.

 What I’ve Been Writing

So you might be wondering what exactly has taken me almost two weeks to write in 2,914 words. Well, I’ll admit, I haven’t been writing everyday. More like every other day, as strangely enough as if it were planned. But my writing, if you look at my stats has mostly been a few hundred words here and there. Even though I’ve wanted my story to materialize, actually putting in the effort has been hard for me. Don’t ask me why.

So what I’ve been doing to try and be productive has write in journal-like entries my notes for potential directions the story could take. The most story-like writing I’ve done is 979 words of a prologue involving the villain of the story and her origin. It never got finished because I hit a fork in the road of what I wanted to happen. Since then, it’s been in limbo because I’ve…changed the nature of her villain-ry. I might rework these words later, but right now its just a block of text on my Word document with a strike through it like so, as during Camp NaNoWriMo you do not delete words.

I’ve written questions for myself that I’ve attempted to answer that has helped me make decisions that fixed problems I’ve had in my head. It’s been brilliant. One of the biggest problems I’ve had to this date is how all these ideas and characters I’ve had in my head (and in bits and pieces of past drafts and notes) connect. And in a burst of inspiration this morning, I’ve found a way to establish these connections in the first three chapters.

There are still some lingering logical questions and holes in my understanding, but I’m hopeful the answers will emerge as I write. I’m also hopeful that I have as much fun writing these three chapters as I had envisioning them. My writing pal Sara, who is much further along on the first draft of her story (see Wattpad for her story), told me that she discovered that the first 10,000 words of a novel submission are the ones that really count towards getting an agent/book deal/whatever, and that’s partially why I’m really excited to work hard on my first three chapters.

I’ve written many novel intros for this story I’ve been trying to write, but none have seemed so good as the ideas I now have. Even though I’m behind and should be working hard to catch up, I am probably going to devote as much time as necessary to writing these chapters right. I have a chance to really introduce the world and the conflict of the story here, and I don’t want to do a sloppy job. So hopefully this doesn’t have mean I’ll be going too slow.

All this being said, my main task for the next four days I have left until I go out of town is going to be writing these three chapters and doing a lot of work world-building. I have a rough idea of the world and the magic, I haven’t done a great job of naming or strictly defining anything so I’ll need to work on that over the next few days as well.

Goals

It has always been a dream of mine to become a traditionally published author one day. I don’t know how close I’ll be to finishing this novel by the end of the month, but it has been my year-long goal finish it by the end of December. I am, of course, also hoping to meet my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month.

I am also hoping to be able to share my writing with you all, my dear blog readers, as soon as I can. I imagine I would like to publish the first few chapters of my novel on Wattpad when they’re as close to done as I can imagine them being. I don’t think I can promise that will be this month or the next, but I do see it happening this fall if all continues to go well on my end.

 End Note

According to my story stats on the Camp NaNo website, I need to write 2,479 words everyday to meet my 50,000 word goal for the month. But my personal goal is be all caught up with where I should be by Sunday night, because I’m going to be on vacation from Monday–Friday next week and I don’t know how much I’ll be able to write, but I do know I don’t want this whole thing to come to a screeching halt.

I’m hoping to do more regular updates on my writing progress for the rest of the month, not necessarily every Wednesday but whenever I feel inspired or have had a particularly good writing spree. I am thinking I’ll probably have another post up as soon as I’ve written the three chapters I was talking about above or Sunday; whichever comes soonest!

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Exciting Developments! | Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2

Camp NaNoWriMo | Week 2 Summary

I did not write all that much this week, but I am really happy with what I’ve accomplished with my story in the 5,188 words I’ve managed to record. The bulk of my writing time has gone to outlining. I had not had a very clear idea at all of where my protagonist was going in this novel after scrapping my original idea on March 31st. In today’s post, I just wanted to record some of the things I’ve been working on that have made me excited to continue returning to my story document each day, even if only for 10–30 minutes at a time.

camp2A lot of my most productive time came from getting out of my apartment. The polaroid to the left shows the place I like to go: La Madeleine, a country French restaurant (not unlike how Olive Garden is considered a Italian restaurant). I like to get a quiche Lorraine and sometimes petite cesar, then I just drink water which I can refill myself from the drink machine. It has a great writing atmosphere. There’s loud French music that drowns out the chatter. But a lot of time the chatter is great background noise anyway. As long as no one brings their baby, then it really sucks.

One of the best things I ended up doing last week was moving from Scrivener to Word as I feel a lot more freedom to write and see everything on Word. I also set up a Table of Contents that allows me to quickly jump between all the chapters as I plot, which has been the best thing: to update the table and see new chapters pop up and get names. And, yes, I’ve been naming my chapters. It’s not super important, but it’s fun and helpful for remembering what happens there.

At the top of each chapter, I have also been writing short lists of what I anticipate writing in that chapter. It’s been a really great way to organize my thoughts and not worry I will forget anything. The hardest thing when I first started doing this was I realized I didn’t know how my beginning and end connected. Something was going to have to give. And it was just yesterday that I realized what felt the most right, and I really feel like I’m working on a novel now! I know what the protagonist needs to do and why she needs to do it.

Without any further ado, here are some of the exciting story developments I’ve made over the last week!

Exciting Developments

For my own personal record, I thought I would share some of my story developments that I’m most excited about having happened over the last week. That way when I begin to feel down about my story or overwhelmed by my undertaking, I can return to this list and remember my excitement and maybe even refocus if that’s becomes the problem (as it sometimes is).

As I mentioned above, I connected the beginning and end! It turned out to be a problem of knowing exactly who is the antagonists and who are the allies. I had a very fun idea for the antagonist of this story that I’ve realized doesn’t work for this novel, so setting them aside has helped tremendously. Also, I was unsure about the allies of my protagonist because my protagonist has trust issues and I’m still not 100% sure what she wants. I know what she needs, I just don’t know what she wants. I don’t think she does either, though, so I don’t feel too bad about that.

My protagonist now has friends! I’ve always struggled with populating my stories with more than just the important characters and I feel like with these new side characters there are so many more possibilities. I also think they will make my character more likeable. In my head, my protagonist has always been a tad surly and I’ve recently began to worry others might not be as amused with her as I have been. Her friends I think will help her loosen up.

My story has a new environmental theme! I don’t want to go into too much about the specifics, but I’m really happy with my current ideas because it works with the magic of the world that I’ve been developing and also I’m not sure I’ve come across any books that do what I would like to do, to the extent to which I want to do it. Could I be any more vague? Sorry! ^_^

My story will have a play on the “chosen one” trope. In fantasy, it is difficult to avoid this trope, and it’s not one I personally am too bothered by. It’s never felt unnecessary in anything I’ve ever read. It’s probably a sign of how integral it is to the genre. But I have some larger ideas now for how to play with the trope. All year, I’ve had prophecy in mind, but recently I’ve discovered how it would be turned on its head. So I’m excited to play with that as I continue through the series, as I’m not actually sure how it would apply in this first book.

My mentor character has become more complex! A month or two ago I created a mentor-like character for my protagonist. Over the last week, she’s become a much more dubious character, which was a little hard for me because I liked her before the change. But I think was ultimately the right decision. Before, she was a lot more straight-laced and now she’s a bit more savvy to things that are happening and…I don’t want to say unreliable, but I do think readers will not know what to make of her at first. Which I think can only make the story that much more interesting.

 End Note

As I now have a much better understanding of the story I’m writing, I really hope to be at 20,000 words by next Wednesday. That’s not anywhere near where I should be on the 20th, I don’t mind if I don’t fully get all the way caught up until the end of the month. Even if I don’t end up making it to 50,000 by the end of the month, but to 40,000 I’ll be really happy with myself. I plan to continue writing past April, so I’m not going to stress myself out about an arbitrary deadline.

If you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month, I hope you’re doing well and staying motivated. Motivation and staying excited about what you’re doing is so important for succeeding. If you’re no confident about what you’re writing find a way to become inspired again. For me, that’s by watching others talk about their writing on YouTube. And getting feedback on what I’ve written from my writing buddy. Let me know what inspires you in the comments below!

Thank you for reading!
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Camp NaNoWriMo| Week 1 Survey

CNW_Participant

Welcome back to my latest installment of Novel Progress, which I’ve re-labeled temporarily for the month of April in which I participate in Camp NaNoWriMo! Sorry if you saw an earlier version of this post; I forgot to reschedule it after deciding it would not go up at its normal time! Also, I did not end up writing what I wanted to write for my novel before I wrote this blog post so I needed extra time to decide what exactly I wanted to talk about.

I’ve decided to give these Camp NaNoWriMo progress updates this month in the form of a Q&A survey! I’m thinking I will try to answer all these same question each week, but I might add questions as they arise. I’ve also just realized if you have any suggestions I could also add those as well!

1. When are you making time to write?

I’m just going to admit here and now that I have not gotten off to the greatest start this week. I’ve only written one day and so I’ve been sitting at 1,917 words since April 2nd. I got super busy with class assignments (which you might know if you’ve been following my VEDA videos). Also, I’ve struggled with writing motivation, doubting myself and my story. But enough is enough and I finally know where I want to go from here.

On my class days, I’ve felt most inspired to write in the afternoon between 3–6 p.m. I just think it’s a great time between lunch and dinner to sit down during the day and be productive. The only problem has been that it’s also been my favorite time to do my assignments.

2. What scenes have you written thus far?

The very first thing I ended up writing on April 2nd was an introductory chapter in which my protagonist has a chance meeting with a character that is going to become very important in her life and the story further down the road. I really love this character and would love to write more about him so I’m trying to focus my attention on my protagonist and what she needs to do.

3. What are the next scenes you know you are going to write?

At midnight, I had a really cool idea for where the climax of the story will place in this draft of my novel!  I think it is a really cool idea that will allow a lot of fun things I’ve had in mind to be realized! I’m really excited to beginning crafting the image of this place and begin brainstorming about the scenes that will happen here and the events that will lead to this place.

I also have ideas for the encounters that my protagonist will experience with the villain(s) of the story that will lead up to the climax!

4. What are you most excited to revise after April?

I feel like my storytelling voice is very passive right now and I can’t wait to try and make the story more exciting simply by experimenting with my writing style. I feel like it’s important right now to just write everything that comes to mind about setting, description, etc. and so I can’t wait to convert my telling language into showing language.

5. What are you going to do differently over the next week?

I’ve realized (through writing this post actually) that I have a window of time in which I most would like to write that I need to prioritize for strictly writing. So I’ve decided to treat the hours between 3–5 p.m. as hours exclusively dedicated to writing and working on the story. So I will prepare for this block of time, ahead of time by making sure I’m able to sit down and think of nothing but what I’m writing.

Also, I’ve realized that I’ll write more if I go on a scene-by-scene basis. In my last Novel Progress update (Novel Progress #8 | Camp NaNoWriMo Game Plan) I had had this grand plan to write a chapter per day, but that’s become unrealistic given the unexpected change my story underwent on the last day of March! So I’m switching to a Word document in which I’ll be able to scroll up and down and writing wherever I feel most inspired to write.

 End Note

I am hoping to have a much better second week of writing now that these major assignments of the beginning of the month are out of the way. I anticipate the end of the month becoming very frantic again with final projects, so I really need to have a really strong writing game over the next two weeks. I know I can do this. I keep reminding myself I’ve done it before! If you are participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, let me know in the comments below! I hope you’ve been able to write more than I have. But if you haven’t, just know it’s not too late to get started.

Thank you for reading!
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