Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Motivation, Where Are You?

5 Oct

The Writer sits behind her laptop, biting her nails and compulsively checking her email. It has been a few weeks since she queried two agents. When will they get back at her? And there it is, the ping of DREAD. Because the ping could be the doorway that leads to all her dreams, or it can extend the journey even more.

And there it is. A NO. Again. It’s not a harh no, it’s a not a no that informs you that you’re completely rubbish. Yet, that makes it even harder. To be so close and yet so far removed from The Dream.

We all go through it, and yet we go on. How can we not? We are writers. At the same time, though, it’s extremely hard to stay motivated enough to pour your soul out onto the pages and build a bond with new characters. Especially when your dayjob already demands a certain level of perfection from you. So how can you keep firing at every novel with all you’ve got when you’re covered in cuts and bruises and really just want to go to bed?

Google is your friend. Other than actual humans who NEED to give you peptalks, Google will help you next. If you look for brilliant authors whose works were initially rejected, or famous novels that were rejected A LOT, then you actually find plenty examples. Examples that will give you hope and make you realise that when you stick to your guns and you believe in your novels, you can make it. And keep in mind that with each novel that you write and receive feedback on, you grow as an author. So if you don’t get your bookdeal with this novel, then maybe with the next one. Keep writing, keep improving and especially KEEP ENJOYING the process. If you’re going to be in the spotlight some day, you might as well make sure that you have enough experience to SHINE.

Shine-for-progress

 

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Writing prompts: Unspoken

24 Nov

Some things are better left unsaid is a saying, right? It could mean that some things we are better off not knowing, but in this case I’ll take it that showing can be better than telling. This set of writing prompts is about how the unspoken can be used to benefit a character, give them some depth with subtlety. Saying things out loud can sometimes make things seem trivial and in this case we’ll use that to our advantage. Oh, the wonderful life of a writer! Let’s play with some imaginary friends…

1. Friends
Showing respect for a friend is best done by actually showing respect. Your character is the friend of an eccentric writer with mental issues. Without being asked to friend regularly shows up and helps out the writer with little things. Show one of these acts of kindness and how both characters respond to this act. Feel free to add a flashback to show the depth of their relationship, but keep the dialogue to a minimum, or at least avoid deep conversations.

2. Grudge
Two colleagues, one (dangerous?) job, and one secret. Drop two characters and a moral dilemma on the page. One character (A) knows more about the other, because of a secret where A is the victim and B the perpetrator. Were they thrown together by fate? Or was it all planned from the start? Either way, A is now in a position to strike a blow, figuratively speaking or literally, that’s up to you. A lot of time has passed, however, and the victim has seen another side to B. Can he/she do what his/her darker side wants him/her to do? Why does he/she want revenge anyway? Make it interesting. A plot twist might not hurt.

3. Jealousy
Character A is in love with Character B, but Character B has just started dating Character C. How does A show (against his/her will) jealousy? Does B pick up on this? If so, how does B handle this? You can make A an extremely proud or shy character. How will A handle this new development without being able to say what A feels? Perhaps B feels the same way as A but can’t say it either. Dialogue could be very interesting here. Riddle it with clues for the reader!

Feel free to make your own variation. Hopefully this sparked something in that wonderful mind of yours. Grab the brushes and start painting a new world in your head. The unspoken words that someone holds in their heart are always the most powerful. They are unspoken for a reason. Tortured characters are the most interesting ones.

“…I gave you painted air – tears I couldn’t weep – truths I couldn’t speak – all the words that caught in my throat…”
― John Geddes, A Familiar Rain 

Unspoken

Pressure Makes Diamonds

2 Nov

The time of NaNoWriMo is upon us obsessive writers. We lock ourselves into a poorly lit room with our laptop, cookies and tea. Our phone is switched off and if someone has the audacity to knock on our doors, they’ll face the terror of angry post-its that have been plastered all over the wooden barrier (from which the handle has been removed). *Sigh* It’s a glorious and magical time and I have fallen in love with NaNoWriMo from the moment I heard about it. I like the idea of writing with A LOT of people. It feels like they’re right there with you in your Writing Lair and you share that wonderful world that is writing fiction.

This post isn’t about NaNoWriMo though, this is about pressure. The pressure to write a substantial amount of words consistently. I should start by saying that I have my very own NaNoWriMo every month. I make sure the novel I start is finished within 30 days. Then I give myself a two week break before I spend another four weeks chained to the desk. And then I give myself time to revise the former story. This I did when I had no job as well as second MA I was trying to get. This was when I sat at home all day. So, it wasn’t that hard, it was the only thing that kept me sharp and made me happy at the same time. Even if there was a post-it war on my wall, I still loved it. Because I’m a writer and we love that crap. The point is, that kind of pressure was good for me. It was a competition I was having with myself and it put my subconscious on high alert. The subconscious knows a lot and my first drafts get better the quicker I write them.

Now the question is, is that pressure still good when you do have a life? It depends, I suppose. I can’t even think of writing my normal 2k a day. I just don’t have the time. I do find that I’m getting into a certain rhythm, so I’m hoping I can schedule a daily amount of time for my writing, but for now I’m mostly writing in the weekend and about one evening on my semi-free day. I have to say once I do have time, the writing flows like a waterfall. I’ve been holding it in on all those days where I’m working or studying and it’s just been building up in my soul, ready to flow out of my fingers as soon as they touch the keyboard. And it’s a wonderful feeling, not to mention productive. So yes, once you have your rhythm, include writing into it, even if it’s fifteen minutes a day, because it will make your soul sigh with relief and it will benefit your story. Pressure makes diamonds.

 

*TIP: Set a daily word goal and write it down so you can actually see it and tick it off to ensure that proud moment you’ve earned.

 

pressure-makes-diamonds

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