Posted in For Fellow Writers, The Ponderings of Life

My Passport to Pinterest Tag

Today I wanted to try something new!

A fellow writer and blogger that I met through Lumerit’s (my college) Facebook group tagged me in this fun post idea! Here are the instructions to this fun activity that Rayleigh detailed in her post (which you can find for yourself here):

 

Created & Tagged by Livy at Livy Lynn Blog.

About the Tag-From Livy:

Pinterest is my happy place. My darling boards are sprinkled with puppy dogs, castles, the rainy streets of London, and LOTS and LOTS of pink! Pinterest is such a wonderful place to express yourself, share your personality, and design a visual haven of all the things you adore! So naturally, loving Pinterest as much as I do, I decided to create the Passport to Pinterest (Bloggers Tag!)

As bloggers, I know we’re always brainstorming fun new post ideas. So what could be more fun than mixing your enjoyment of blogging, with your passion for Pinterest?

Rules:

1. Open your Boards.

2. Open http://www.random.org (Or any random number generator website or app of your choosing.)

3. Enter the number of pins on your first board. For example, my first board is “Hair {S T Y L E S}” with 35 Pins. So I typed in the number 35.

4. Click “Generate.” (I got 4)!

5. Find that number pin on your board (I used my 4th).

6. Share the image of that Pin in your new Blog Post, and a little blurb about why it’s important to you!

7. Continue the process with ALL or as many of your boards as you like!

8. Tag another blogger! (Or two, or three…or ten! The more, the merrier! :D)

(Link back to thank the blogger who tagged you!)

I don’t believe I’ve ever posted about Pinterest in the past, so this should be a fun way to introduce you to my Pinterest life (granted, I don’t use it as much as most people 😉 )! I have quite a few writer friends who like to utilize Pinterest as a sort of visual storyboard to ignite their creativity, but I think I use mine more as a place to organize my many fandoms. Not ashamed. 😉

Continue reading “My Passport to Pinterest Tag”

Posted in For Fellow Writers, Words Upon Words

Less is More

Well, here I am after a whole summer of no blogging. In my last post (in May!!) I mentioned wanting to get better at blogging more frequently and proceeded to do…not that. However, I have realized time and time again that we can do nothing to fix how we have acted in the past…but we can attempt to do better in the future.

This month and last I have thought a lot about different posts I’ve been wanting to write up about a plethora of topics. And then there was a day when I wondered if my blog needed a more distinct focus. Looking over the collection of blog posts I’ve made over the past two years, I have written everything from an account of my summer adventures, book reviews, writing updates on current and future projects, NaNoWriMo, mission trips…the list goes on and on. The only recurring theme is my desire to follow the Lord’s lead in my daily life and to continue writing the stories that are constantly buzzing in my head. And I recently decided…that that’s okay. So, my blog is a little bit random in both the timing of its posts and its topics. My personality is kinda like that, too–I like and do a variety of things at a variety of times. Why don’t we just go with it? 🙂

What I want to focus on today is a phrase I’ve been dwelling on for a number of months. Pretty much ever since my aunt edited Everlasting with me two years ago. Any of you who have read my work recently know that I have a habit of being…a little wordy. The more I write, the longer my novels get…which is a natural process–but to an extent. The first book I ever finished was perhaps around 60 pages. My second was closer to 100. Bridget’s Journey was 200 pages once printed and so on.

When I finished writing Everlasting in 2014 (I believe) it was around 125,000 words long. Aunt Andrea helped me get it down to 120,000, but regardless, when printed, it is close to 350 pages. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. When I hold that thick book in my hands, do I feel a sense of accomplishment? As in, I wrote ALL of this? Yes, of course, I do! But is there a time and place for it? Another yes.

When reading through the red notes Aunt Andrea sent me for Everlasting, the phrase she repeated most often was: remember, less is more. I’m not sure I fully appreciated what she was trying to tell me until long after I had published Everlasting. I know not all writers are like me, but I personally get very attached to certain scenes and paragraphs. And when someone (who is obviously outside of my head) shakes their head and says… “that’s a little convoluted” or “I think you could say the same thing in half the amount of words”…I take it as an offense. Or I just don’t want to let go. “But I worked hard to put those sentences together!” I think. Or, “But isn’t that such a great sentence?” or “doesn’t it sound so good, though?” Maybe. Maybe it does. But is it necessary to tell my story? Not always.

Why is the phrase Aunt Andrea had to repeat to me over and over so important? I think the main reason is this: when I’m trying to tell a story with a certain set of characters going through a certain set of circumstances, in my attempt to tell my story in a beautiful, exciting or descriptive way, the true message or meaning of my story (in part or as a whole) can get lost. Lost in all those words. For example, when I was describing Azalea’s wings transformation or her farewell speech to her friends at Fairy Meadow, the true awe of those wings or the poignancy of her speech can lose its shine if I go on and on either about things that don’t matter or about something I’ve basically already said ten times over. If I take twelve okay sentences to say something that I can write in three to five, then are my readers really understanding the importance of the main message?

I am a visual person and I like to be mentally prepared for anything I come across. When I’m reading a book, I like to know exactly where my characters are, how old they are, what they look like, etc. Only then do I feel at peace and ready to go on whatever adventure lay ahead of them because I can picture them clearly in my mind. Hence, that desire leaks into my own writing. So, I over-write.

When I finished writing Bridget Returns almost exactly one year ago, it was 136,000 words. But as a sequel to a 50,000 word novel, I knew it didn’t need to be longer than Everlasting. So I went back and edited in January. Now, I’m editing again. I started several different subplots when first writing this novel, but many either didn’t come to a conclusion or the conclusion wasn’t very satisfying. How much better could Bridget Returns be if I spent my time solely focusing on a main three to five plots instead of having scattered attention over ten to twelve? That’s what I’m hoping to find out.

I hope I’m slowly (quickly??) learning to apply the concept of “Less is More” in my writing life and that the next time I edit a book with Aunt Andrea, I will be better able to accept her comments and be willing to see what my story could be instead of what I think I want it be. Because it can always be better.

The more talk, the less truth. The wise measure their words. Proverbs 10:19

Posted in For Fellow Writers, Uncategorized

NaNoWriMo Day 17: Halfway Point

For those of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year–we’ve made it to the halfway point! There are now only thirteen days left to write the few thousand words you have remaining. For all the words you’ve written this month (whether it be a few thousand or even just a few hundred), good job! Every word counts and gets you closer to finishing that story that’s been sitting in your head for months or even years.

I’m currently sitting at 25,676 words. Only 25,000 more until I reach the goal.

November has been going by quickly, but it’s been an encouraging month so far. Having so many writing friends has really helped make this year’s NaNo so much fun. I’ve written with friends twice already and I’m headed to join my cousin Erin again this afternoon. My family has also been really supportive and asking me almost daily, “Have you written yet today?” I have found a lot more time to write this year than last year, even between life’s usual busy activities like work, babysitting and Sociology. I look forward to getting past that 40,000 I got stumped on last year and hitting that 50,000 again!

In our writing group on Facebook, a lot of inspirational images have been shared that I really wanted to pass along.

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I have been trying to take Endeavoring a little slowly simply because there are a few kinks I didn’t get around to hammering out last month. So far I’ve found a good balance between writing, allowing myself to explor my characters and find out who they are and how they react to certain situations, as well as stopping to ponder how something works or what this character’s motivation is.

It’s funny to think that I’m halfway to 50,000 words, yet I’m still finishing Part One of Endeavoring, which is essentially setting up the stage for the rest of the novel. I guess introducing all these characters and their backstories is going to be a little more complicated than I thought. 😉 That said, I can’t wait to reach Part Two and start Crystal and Zechariah’s relationship. They have yet to meet and I am still a little apprehensive as to how they will interact with one another. Only time will tell!

I’d like to end this blog post with a quote from my writing this week and some more inspirational quotes that will hopefully give you that extra boost you need to write those last few thousand words! 🙂

To Crystal, falling in love with a human was unthinkable. Yes, once upon a time, humans and fairies had been friends. But never had they intermarried. Never! It was unheard of—and for good reason. Humans and fairies shared little in common to begin with. To get married was like asking for the world as they knew it to end. Completely.

~Endeavoring

I’ll try to post my progress in NaNo again next week before the 30th!

Posted in For Fellow Writers, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2016: Novel Reveal

Tomorrow begins my favorite time of year.

National Novel Writing Month! Or as I often refer to it: NaNoWriMo.

For those who haven’t already got wind of my November obsession, NaNoWriMo is a personal challenge for any and all writers to write a novel in 30 days. To be more specific, 50,000 words (because let’s be honest, since Everlasting, I’m never going to write a novel as short as 50K. I tried and it’s just not physically possible anymore). This is my fourth year participating and I can hardly contain my excitement! But some of you might be wondering…why? Why do I enjoy this intense writing challenge SO much?

Throughout next month, I hope to blog about my progress as well as how I write during NaNoWriMo (my writing environment, writing buddies/supporters, what I listen to, etc.). Until then, I’ll try to explain what’s so compelling about NaNo in the first place.

There are several reasons, but the main one is the motivation. Whether or not I reach 50,000 words in one month, the excitement that fills me as I outline in October and the push it gives me to keep writing despite writing blocks or lack of inspiration is what I enjoy experiencing year after year. There’s something so thrilling about planning my next big project for November and getting it ready in time. Writing a good half of my novel during November is just so fun and reaching the 50K word mark is such a fulfilling accomplishment.

Another reason I love NaNo is the community. Each year, more and more people join the NaNoWriMo “family” and I have more and more friends to encourage/be encouraged by. When I first started doing NaNo, I had maybe one friend nearby who was also doing it. Now, I have so many friends, near and far, who can help push me to the finish line! It’s so much more fun to do something like this with other people. I also love how encouraging my family is to ask how my words are coming, to remind me that I need to write and who understand when I’m at my computer all day that I’m not trying to ignore them. Even now, both my sisters have joined the NaNo wagon!

The first year I participated in 2013, I wrote the bulk of Everlasting, finishing it in January of the following year. In 2014, I wrote the first half of The Moonrose Sisters (tentative title); last year, I wrote half of Bridget Returns. This year, I am so thrilled to announce that I am writing…

…a prequel to Everlasting! A book I am currently calling Endeavoring.

Everlasting-Cover-Final

When I first finished Everlasting a few years ago, I had no intention of writing another book in that world (much like what happened with Bridget’s Journey and Bridget Returns). Everlasting had always been just one story. But the idea of a prequel popped into my head (I think from Mom, but I can’t remember exactly) soon after I finished writing and by the time I was preparing Everlasting for publication last year, I started putting some ideas together. After deciding officially that Endeavoring would be my next NaNoWriMo novel after Bridget Returns, I let the characters sit in my head for a year. When I finished writing Bridget Returns a month ago, I started plotting, character sketching and some major outlining. Last week, I finished the foundation of the plot, all the character sketches and most of the outlining. I plan to finish my outline this week as I start…WRITING!

To give you a little idea of what this prequel will entail, I’ll submit the description I wrote for Endeavoring on the NaNoWriMo website:

Long before Malachi ever rode on Bonnie into Fairy Meadow and met Azalea for the first time, King Zechariah of Memiana and Queen Crystal of Orutia were attempting to bring peace to their kingdoms.

But Zechariah and Crystal hadn’t always been friends. Zechariah was raised by his parents to hate fairies. But as he continued growing up without his father and alongside his younger brother, the mischievous Sebastian, Zechariah started to create his own opinion on fairies and their beautiful, but tragic kingdom of Orutia. Crystal, on the other hand, was taught by her parents that humans were not enemies, but long-lost friends who were confused and afraid.

Both young heirs to their parents’ thrones, both seeking a better future for their people, King Zechariah and Queen Crystal begin to change the course of history. Fairies and humans had hated each other for hundreds of years, but all that was about to change because of two people and their strong desire to bring peace.

To put it more simply, the prequel is going to be an extensive prologue to Everlasting with much, much more detail than the actual prologue the novel has. I want to show my readers who Zechariah and Crystal were, what they did to bring about peace and why they fell in love.

I am so excited to start writing this book. I don’t think I’ve been this ecstatic about a book since…probably The Whistler Daughters (though, don’t get me wrong, I’m always excited to start any and all of my books. I would never start writing a book reluctantly. That would be no fun! It’s just that the emotion comes in varying degrees). Endeavoring is going to be different than any book I’ve ever written before. The main characters have personalities I’ve never explored in the past, the plot is much more political than anything I’ve dared try and the major themes and points and more complicated than the usual black and white issues.This book is going to be just as much a challenge as an adventure; just as much a learning experience as a joy. I am so looking forward to sharing more as NaNoWriMo begins and I wish the best of luck to all who endeavor to reach 50,000 words in November! 🙂

 

Posted in For Fellow Writers, Uncategorized

Writer High

I don’t normally write random posts like this. Most of the time, my blog posts have some sort of announcement, update, story, etc. But this time, I just wanted to write about a moment I had a few days ago. An ordinary, every day moment for anyone else, but a big moment for me, a writer.

Who knows, there might already be a word for this or a better phrase than the one I’m using, but the phrase that came to mind once I experienced this feeling was: writer high. Maybe joy, success, inspiration, hype or a number of other words fit better, but…nah. For those of you who go to church, you’ve probably heard of the term “spiritual high”. Often times, we’ll hear people talk of having them during a church camp, retreat or mission trip. It’s sort of this feeling of being on “fire for God”, you could say. All of a sudden, all you want to do is live for God’s glory. That’s the sort of feeling I got on Saturday, but for  writers.

While waiting for my editor to look over The Whistler Daughters, I’m busying myself with finishing my NaNo 2015 novel, Bridget’s Journey the Sequel–which yes, has yet to be properly titled. Over the past week and a half I’ve been reading over what I’ve already written and making notes of how to fill certain plot holes that will come up later in the novel. Besides the obvious remembering what conversations and milestones have already been reached, I was mainly reading what I’d written to get that inspiration back. Because I’d lost it. Spring of this year I had a lot of schoolwork, spent time with friends, had a lot of visitors and prepared for my high school graduation. Therefore, I wrote little. By the time summer started, I began my long list of vacations: graduation present trip to Texas, mission trip to Kenya, trip to see family in New York and Canada and lastly, our family vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia. In between all these vacations, whenever I sat down to write, I just couldn’t. In fact, by the time I got home from Kenya, I’d decided to move on from BJ2 and just work on starting the editing process for The Whistler Daughters. Once I’d finished that, though, I knew I had to go back to BJ2, and I wanted to. I want to finish it before NaNoWriMo, so I can start a new story.

The truth is, I hadn’t written a scene in BJ2 since late May or early June by the time I finally picked it back up last week. I think I was getting too close, maybe, and needed some time to take a step back and reassess the novel. While I liked the last two scenes I’d written for the break, something about it didn’t feel right anymore. I felt like I was getting off track and losing the point, where I was trying to go with Bridget and Cynthia and their plotlines. I just didn’t have any inspiration left. It wasn’t a writer’s block, really, since I had the next several scenes mapped out. It just wasn’t flowing the way it had in the beginning when I was writing during NaNoWriMo.

So, when I began reading it over last week, most of which I hadn’t looked at since November or December, I started to rebuild up all that inspiration I’d lost over the spring and summer. I remembered what my end goal was and re-fell in love with my characters. By the time I’d read everything I’d written, I was ready, so ready, to start writing again.

Then on Saturday I read a scene that I hadn’t liked from the moment I wrote it. I knew it was dumb and unlikely, but I told myself I just had to keep going, had to keep writing. But I couldn’t move on until I’d fixed it, no matter how insignificant it may have seemed in the long run. So I scrapped it and completely re-wrote it. I’ll admit, it’s only a three page scene and it doesn’t have anything directly to do with Bridget. But when I fixed it and made it not just better, but the best, I was just filled with, yes, a writer high.

I’d done it. I made a so-so scene into a great scene. It made more sense, it flowed better and the reaction from the character was more in tune with who that character really is. Definitely one of my writing pet peeves is when I write a scene where my character does or says something out of character. It’s no one’s fault but my own. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of writing, you just have to start over. So after re-writing this scene, I ran and jumped around the house, feeling all giddy and excited inside.

I’d done it. I’d gotten that inspiration back.

To me, the writing life is always about these moments, these little victories. These moments are what keep me going and push me through the future lows of writing, the doubts and the writer’s blocks. In these moments, you remember why you’re writing this story and why it’s so important to finish it.

So now it’s time for me to finish it.