Posted in Methods, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Where to Start?

Now that I’ve decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo (some of you may have too), it’s time to decide where to start. This is where the time to decide what project to work on for the month comes in. My project for April is currently ongoing at the moment and I do have a few chapters written. Camp NaNoWriMo will be used to write 50k words of that story. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any planning to do.

For those who don’t have a project in mind, I’ll offer some advice. In my humble opinion, I feel that Camp NaNoWriMo is all about writing (I’ve probably already said this before and I’ll continue to say it). It doesn’t really matter what you write, only that you’re writing. We all have a story inside of us and that doesn’t necessarily mean that this story will or should be share with anyone else. Maybe it’s a story you have to write for yourself.

The story can be anything. If you want to try your hand at fan fiction, go ahead. If it’s mystery, or romance, or science fiction then, go for it. It’s not going to be perfect – it never is – but at least you’re going to try and that’s all that matters.

Most of the writers I’ve met keep an idea journal with them. What’s to stop you from choosing an idea from there? However, in case that you can’t seem to choose something, there are tons of story idea generators out there. A quick search online gives you a lot of websites. Choose ones that interests you.

Once you have a story in mind, what I like to do is to keep a separate notebook or folder for this story. This is where I place all my notes so that I don’t loose anything and they’re easy to find. The method of developing the stories and generating ideas differs from person to person. I tend to think (daydream) scenes with my characters or maybe it’s just a phrases but I take note of everything because I might use it later. The scenes I think about don’t always make it into the writing itself but it is a place to start.

Now, what I won’t go into is naming the characters. It must be done. What I will say is that it’s okay for character names to change. For now, especially for Camp NaNoWriMo, use a name and, if later you don’t like it or doesn’t fit well, change it. The name doens’t have to be perfect right off the bat. I literally used “the Vampire Prince” has a name for almost half of my story on wattpad because I finally figured out a name for the Prince. It can be done.

The next “step” is a little tricky. We have to figure out what’s going to happen at the beginning, middle, and end. Planning is probably the second hardest thing, I believe, when writing. Editing is the first hardest then, writing. So, how are we going to plan?

For starters, there isn’t a correct way. It depends on how you write. Do you need a detail plan or do you just mostly wing it and see where that leads you? This is where having scenes in mind can come in handy. If you have a scene, you can figure out how the characters are going to arrive at that point. Maybe that scene is how the story starts. Planning is a lot of brainstorming and trying to fit it all together.

Lastly, if you’re new to Camp NaNoWriMo and/or writing, try both ways. Write down a sequence of events. It doesn’t have to be too in depth. Rough ideas or scenes help too. I find using flashcards for this helps. With the scenes on each flashcard, you can rearrange them how you like without deleting, copy and pasting, or starting over on a document. You don’t have to be a newbie to do this either. When I’m not too sure on which scene should go first, I take out some flashcards and lay them out in front of me.

Overall, find an idea and try brainstorming about it. The idea might change but the more you think about, the more it can help. April isn’t here yet so, you have time. Be flexible in your thinking and planning.

As always, thanks for reading.

Posted in Methods, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Can I really do it and How?

Writing a novel, much less 50,000 words in a month, can be a bit daunting. Every year/ NaNoWriMo month I ask myself I can really do it. I ask if I’m ready to commit to a project and to all those hours of writing. Every time, I ask myself “why not?”. Why don’t I just try? What do I have to loose?

Upon making that decision, I tend to start panicking because it means I have to prepare and block off hours of my time to even write. Then I find that I’m going about it the wrong way. While my goal may be 50k words, someone else might be 30k or 40k. It all depends. There was a time where I knew it was going to be a busy week so, I gave myself a different goal.

Campnanowrimo allows you to change your overall goal for the event. So, if you believe that you can only write 35k words then, it’s possible to track that progress. There’s also the option to have a writing buddy in case you want a partner in crime.

Once you decide you’re really going to do it, the next question is “how?”. How are you going to complete set set goal for NaNoWriMo? The answer depends on the person and commitment. Plus, each project is different. You could write an anthology, biography, poems, etc.

First, it’s important to figure out your end goal. How many words are you going to write in the month? Mine will be 50k words. My project will be to finish up the rest of a novel that I’m working on at the moment. I believe that 50k words should be enough to complete the story. That might change and 50k words may not be enough but, for right now, that’s what I have set. Set a manageable goal.

Next, what will you be using? I don’t plan on using any software. The story is posted on Wattpad and I’l be using their site to work on the story. I won’t be posting every day as I finish my daily goal but there is where I’ll have all the chapters. If I’m ever away from my phone or a computer, I don’t mind using pen and paper to write. I don’t find it a chore to type up what I hand wrote.

Third, while this doesn’t seem like a big deal, I feel like I should mention it. Check out the website for the event. CampNaNoWriMo has a resources and pep talks during the event to help writers. They have a twitter account with word sprints and topic starters last time I checked. Plus, when you input your daily goal, the website helps you track your progress and let’s you know how many words you must write to reach your goal in time.

Lastly, I won’t be going into too much detail on how to actually plan (or not) your project for April. That post is for another day. What I will say is that Camp NaNowriMo is about opportunity. It challenges you. Maybe it’s your first time participating maybe it’s your fifth, but overall, we all together to write and I really think that’s amazing.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

Reeling and Powering Through

Life has taken priority of my time at the moment and, because of that, I’ve been absent for a few days. Too much is going on and I haven’t found a way to balance it all. I thought I had a schedule set up but that fell through. Most of everything that I thought would happen has fallen through and I’m still reeling from that.

I know that not everything is going to go exactly as planned, but it still doesn’t feel good. I’m not discouraged because I don’t have time to be discouraged. While it is tough to keep powering through with no results, I just have to keep doing it. I’ll have to change the way I approach things and try to get better results.

On the plus side, during all of this, I have continued to write and post on my wattpad page. The sequel to The Vampire Princes goes to High School is going well. Speaking of which, I have decided to finish writing the sequel of The Vampire Prince for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. This doesn’t give me too much time to plan, but I already have a vague idea of what the rest of the book is about. All I have to do is put it on paper. Writing is probably the only thing that keeps me sane. Plus, I enjoy doing it.

Since April is only about two weeks away, I’ll be writing a mini-series of sorts for preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo. There will be six to seven posts in total and, through the month of April, I’ll post updates and new things I discovered with my writing and how well my planning worked. I’ve come to find that each time I participate, I have switch it up and discover other ways of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

Overall, I’m excited about it. So, stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Posted in Methods, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Plotting Subplots

I’ve made up my mind on what story I’ll be working on for National Novel Writing Month this November. Unlike the other times before, I won’t be starting from scratch. Instead, I’ll be rewriting an entire novel. This novel is currently on Watford and I absolutely don’t like it. It’s terrible and I just made things up as I went and that somehow made a story.

So, since I already have the majority of it already written, I can use that to help me write. I believe I mentioned beforehand how I might have read something where it’s better to rewrite a story as opposed to editing first. I’ve found myself agreeing to this logic. Knowing myself, I know that most of the time I’ll end up rewriting whole sections of the story and calling it editing. To avoid that, I’ll just rewrite from the start then edit.

Now, I know the main plot for my story (the vampire Prince goes to high school). I might change the title later but for now, it’ll stay that way. However, I need to plot out my subplots. I use the same method as I do to figure out how to plot a novel. The first thing I do is to list my supporting characters. Then, I figure out what they want.

For example, one of my characters named  Carlos wants to  let the public know that vampires take advantage of the system because everyone is afraid to speak out and demand  justice. So, what does he do? He technically joins  ” vigilantee” organization that broadcasts messages over vampire wrongdoings, etc.

Knowing all of this, I use the information to feed conflict into the story. My main character, Rin, finds herself in a position where she needs to cooperate with the vampire Prince and this “vigilantee” group doesn’t like that. They believe vampire and humans shouldn’t mix. Run feels pressure from everyone.

That it but one subplot that runs through the story. I have plenty more to work with. The trick is to figure out the purpose your characters have in the story. What do they contribute? This is true to the characters surrounding your main character. Do they want to help or hinder? Are the rivals? What obstacles, if any, do they present? Use character motivation to your advantage. If goals conflict, that makes for perfect conflict.

Personally, I don’t fill out character sheets for anyone. They sort of tend to develop on their own. But this might not be true for everyone. Find out what works for you and stick to it. Out on a word document, on paper, online, whatever works for you. Just have it written down somewhere so you can always go back and refresh your memory.

A good trick I found was to draw a line with plot points that I know will happen in the story. Then, I add more points as my subplot surface. This method gives me something visual to look at and it’s not only in my head. I can easily erase and move around points of I have to.

As always, thanks for reading? For those  participating in NaNoWriMo, how do you prepare? Why are your methods?

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt – Alien Magic

Camp NaNoWriMo has come to an end. By some miracle, I was able to complete my monthly goal of 30k words. Due to school and work, 30k words were all I could manage this month and even that proved a bit tricky. Starting in November for NaNoWriMo, I will actually try to write 50k words. There’s a lot of preparations to do for then.

For today, though I usually share some of my writing, I will only post writing prompts that I like. I’m going to take a small break from writing and recuperate.

alien magic