Posted in NaNoWriMo, The Ponderings of Life

NaNoWriMo 2018: Thoughts and Results

This is the first year in quite a few where I didn’t introduce my NaNoWriMo project in October and/or give one or two updates in November. C’est la vie!–as they say. My October was absolutely nuts and my November was pretty busy as well. (One of the reasons being a trip to New York City I took with my mom and I’m looking forward to blogging about meeting my FAVORITE childhood author, Gail Carson Levine, soon!) Needless to say, now that I’m here, I’m excited to talk about NaNoWriMo.

Some of you might remember that two years ago my NaNo project was a prequel to Everlasting (which I call Endeavoring). It was an opportunity to peek into the lives of Azalea’s parents, King Zechariah of Memiana and Queen Crystal of Orutia, and find out how on earth an optimistic human and a pessimistic fairy fell in love. I succeeded in writing 50,000 words that month and continued to write another 10,000 throughout December of that year into March of the next.

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2018: Thoughts and Results”

Advertisements
Posted in The Ponderings of Life

Onward and Upward

It’s that time of year again.

As 2017 comes to a close, I’m looking back on my New Year’s resolutions and patting myself on the back for the ones I reached…and crossing my fingers to do better next year with the ones I didn’t reach.

Here are my 2017 New Year’s resolutions I posted a year ago:

  1. Read 40 books.
  2. Finish writing one book (probably Endeavoring).
  3. Edit Bridget Returns.
  4. Edit and self-publish The Whistler Daughters.
  5. Year after year, I want to become more like Christ–as Colossians 3:12-17 says so perfectly.

How did I do?

Continue reading “Onward and Upward”

Posted in NaNoWriMo, The Ponderings of Life

NaNoWriMo 2017: Book Reveal

 

This is my fifth year participating in NaNoWriMo. The first time I really participated in 2013 (and won!) it was a thrilling challenge filled with adrenaline and feverish typing. As the years have passed, however, the challenge has become easier. It used to take me hours to write 1,000 words. Now, if I put my mind to it, I can write close to 1,500 words in under an hour. The real challenge NaNoWriMo presented the past two years was finding the time to write rather than the previous struggle of writing fast enough. College takes up a lot of my time and energy and when all my work is done for the day, I’d much rather watch an episode of our current K-Drama with my family than write another scene or two.

Last year, I completed the 50,000 word mark in Endeavoring, the prequel to Everlasting. I haven’t touched that project since March and was hoping to finish it during NaNoWriMo this year. However, I had an important deadline this fall to complete four Lumerit courses (12 credits) by Christmas, so I was not able to finish the other two projects I had planned to work on in September and October. So, this year I’m doing things a little differently.

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2017: Book Reveal”

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 NaNoWriMo, The Ponderings of Life

Bridget Returns~Seventh Novel

On Saturday, October 1st, I finally finished writing the recently titled Bridget Returns.

With 137,000 words, I finally completed my NaNoWriMo 2015 novel. The feeling of finishing a book really never gets old. A feeling of exhilaration starts tingling down from my heart to my fingertips as I type every author’s two favorite words: The End.

Now, while there is still much work to be done before I am ready to present Bridget’s sequel to you, I’m just so happy to have finished it. This is the seventh book I’ve finished writing and hopefully will be the fourth to self-publish. What a journey it was from November of last year to today. This book has hands down given me the hardest time in more ways than one. I don’t think I truly knew what writers block was until Bridget Returns. 😉 Even though this book was probably the most plotted out before I began writing, for some reason, I just had a hard time delving into the story. It took me about halfway to get really passionate about the plot and characters. After November ended and NaNo’s motivation sizzled out, I dragged on in the spring of 2016, writing a scene here and there when I had time. By the time the summer started, though, I was burnt out and didn’t care anymore.

It’s strange, now that I’m on the other side, to remember asking my sisters (in July, I think) whether I should quit on Bridget Returns and move on to other stories. Man, am I ever glad they said, “No!” and reminded me that I always finish what I start. So, I took their advice and plowed through. In August, I decided to go back and re-read what I’d written already, to remember what the goal of the book was and find where it went wrong. Once I figured that out, I started writing again. It wasn’t easy, but it did get easier. And then, I finished it, writing almost half of it in September.

So, was it worth it to bite the bullet and just finish it? Absolutely! Even with my major outlining, Bridget Returns really changed a lot from what it was in the beginning to what it ended up being. It also turned out twice as long as I planned, but at the same time, the story became a lot more important to me as I continued writing. It was no longer just a sequel to a book I’d written in middle school. I guess just as I grew up, so did Bridget. Bridget’s Journey, don’t get me wrong, is a sweet book, but Bridget Returns brings in a lot of elements that the first doesn’t have. There’s more at stake, decisions hold more weight and relationships are both more delicate and stronger. The character developments were bigger and better than I’d hoped. And who would have thought it possible–but the characters themselves ended up teaching me some valuable lessons.

I hope whenever this one is published, my readers will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it (mostly 😉 )!

P.S. Now that I’m done writing Bridget Returns, I have been going back and forth between reading through it for the first time and plotting my NaNo 2016 novel. More details on that to come soon…