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”

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Posted in For Fellow Writers, The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

Everlasting: Free for the First Time Ever!

Good afternoon, fellow book lovers. 🙂

I have some exciting news to share today! While I have put Bridget’s Journey up for free on Kindle a couple of times over the years, I have never done so for Everlasting. But this weekend (Friday, August 10th-Monday, August 13th) Everlasting will be FREE to download on your Kindle or Kindle app for the FIRST time ever!

Everlasting Free on Kindle

This YA fantasy is perfect for those who love the Lord of the Rings trilogy or The Princess Bride as those were my two main influences when I wrote this book. If you want to read the synopsis or even an excerpt from the Prologue, head on over to my Everlasting page and check it out!

Then, when you’re ready, click the link below and you’ll be ready for an adventure with a missing princess, a farm boy, dragons and fairies!

 

Feel free to share this blog post to anyone you think might enjoy this fantasy adventure!

 

 

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 The Ponderings of Life

Announcement: Summer Mission Trip to KENYA

I am very excited to share with you the new opportunity I have to serve on a mission trip this summer.
As most of you know, I went on my first mission trip last summer to Red Springs, North Carolina, and had an amazing experience! I enjoyed it so much that I was originally planning to return this summer…but God had other plans. An opportunity came up for me to join the team going to Kenya and after much prayer and thought, I decided to see what God has for me there!

Proceeds to Kenya

In order to go on this trip, I must raise $2,900 by June 1st. As a way to help raise money, as of today, I am using all future profits made from the sales of my two self-published novels Bridget’s Journey and Everlasting toward the cost of this mission trip!

If you want to help contribute, please consider getting your copy of Bridget’s Journey paperback or Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/Bridgets-Journey-Valerie-Cotnoir-e…/…/

And Everlasting paperback or Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/Everlasting-Valerie-Cot…/…/B01B2AX00S/

Also, if you purchase (or have already purchased) the paperback of Everlasting you can download the Kindle version for just $0.99!

Thank you so much for your support! I look forward to telling all of you about my experience in Kenya later this summer!

Posted in For Fellow Writers, Words Upon Words

Leave a Review

After you are done reading Bridget’s Journey or Everlasting, I hope you will consider leaving a review for me on Amazon and/or Goodreads. I love getting feedback from my readers and your reviews can help others who don’t know me personally be persuaded to get their own copy of Bridget’s or Azalea’s story.

Click here to leave a review on Amazon.

Click here to leave a review on Goodreads.

Thank you so much!