For The Writer Who Loves-or Needs!- to be Organized

Standard

I don’t know about you, but as a writer I have everything EVERYWHERE. Random pieces of paper fill my desk, purse, and even pockets. When I have an idea and can’t get to a notebook I grab whatever I can.

I also have all my notes scattered. A variety of notebooks have ideas, blog posts, things to do etc…I can’t keep everything in one spot.

For the last little while, planners have become an addiction for some people. There are all sorts of templates, print outs, and even Youtube videos about how to make your planners functional and pretty.

I have looked at all sorts of planners but I haven’t found one for writers. And on the rare time I do, they are lacking something. I wanted a set/planner that covered all the basics of writing life.

I gave up on finding such a thing until yesterday. My friend announced her most recent secret project, and it makes my little writing heart happy.

planner

The Writer’s Complete Planner All sorts of pages for the writer who needs to get orgainzed!

Sherry started a new Etsy shop called Writers Corner Shop, and is selling the planner pages she has created.

The pages cover many of the basics, from story boarding, blog posts, goal list, self publishing tracker as well as traditional planner must haves like a calendar and bonus: beautiful divider pages with inspirational quotes. The kit contains 35 different pages to help you sort out your writing life.

planner2

The pages are beautiful!

planner3

You have your choice of grey scale or colored pages. You can print these off without it being an ink guzzler! 

The full set, which is available as an instant download, is just $12! If you’re interested in grabbing these up for yourself or checking out the store, you can check out The Writer’s Corner shop and see what’s what!

Advertisements

How I am Prepping My Life For Nanowrimo

Standard

There is more to Nano prep then just writing outlines and character sketches. Right now I am doing the most important Nano prep I can do: sorting out life in general. If I can do that, then I will set myself up for a good chance at success.

Cleaning House: There isn’t much time in November to take care of the house like you’d usually do. I know if I sit down on November 1st and my house isn’t sorted out it will be a major distraction. I will want to finish cleaning and organizing which is wasted time. This week I started my fall cleaning: the upstairs bedrooms are freshened up, swept and mopped. Most of the downstairs is sorted. For me, as long as my kitchen and bathroom are clean I’m a happy camper. Having any big cleaning done for November helps prevent junk, dishes and laundry from piling up. Nobody wants to deal with that come December.

My office: Not only will a messy house distract me but so will a messy office. I did that room first. My desk is tidy and I can keep notes, snacks and drinks near me. I have a big comfy blanket on the floor so Foxy, our greyhound, can come in and keep me company while I write. Whatever writing space you are using, make sure it is tidy and organized.

Writing Fuel: With Halloween coming I’ll be picking up some extra goodies, especially if they are on sale. You can’t sit and write a novel without chocolate or another form of fuel. If you vise is coffee, pick up some of your fave flavors before November.

Food prep: This one will be easy for me since hubby is leaving for work. Since I will be only cooking for one, leftovers and easy meals will be my best friend in November. I do plan to make a few bigger meals so I can have leftovers for a few days. The last thing I want to do when I come home after work is spending a lot of time cooking and on clean up. I will want to get to my laptop ASAP.

Warning Friends it’s Nano time: Not that I have a super busy social life, but come November I will be posting on FB that it’s Nano, which means hibernation mode. Partly, at least. Pen pal letters will have to wait until December, some coffee dates will have to wait. People who care about you and support you don’t mind waiting a little while for your time.

So, how do you prep for Nano? What other non-writing ways is there to get ready?

Writing: That Impostor Feeling

Standard

You know that voice you hear when you’re writing something and it says things like “Omg this is total crap”, “You really should go back and edit this before you write another word” or “This is worst thing ever written”. 

That voice is the inner critic. The voice that makes you doubt your idea, your story or that last sentence you just wrote.

I learned to tune that asshole out a few years ago. My first time taking part in Nanowrimo, to be honest. There wasn’t any time to listen to him. I couldn’t stop and edit because I had to get to that 50k word goal.

Well, now I have a different voice in my ear when I write. It’s the inner critic’s big brother. The voice that makes me feel like I’m an impostor. A fraud.

This goes beyond the inner critic. This isn’t a matter of writing a horrible paragraph. This is the voice that says “Why do you even write at all? Your stories are garbage and there are soooo many great authors out there. Why are you even trying?”

This asshole is hard to tune out. But I’ll do it.

The last few days I feel like I snuck into the the cool kids house party, but nobody has realized I’m there. I came in the back door, been hanging out by the snack table when I am not hiding in the darker corners of the house.

And it’s only a matter of time before I am caught and thrown out.

Last night I went for coffee with a friend of mine, who is also a writer. She has a number of novels published, short stories published and she is a fantastic story teller. The night before we got together for coffee, I was thinking about how prolific she is and how I wished I could have her talent. While having coffee, she told me she wished she was more prolific. And I had to laugh, and I admitted that the night before I wished she was as prolific as she was. It just goes to show, every writer is hard on themselves, for one reason or another.

When you have these self doubts, ignore them. It’s hard at first, trust me. The easy way would be to quit doing what you love. But then the bastard in your ear wins. And who wants that?

My friend shared this article last night, How to Keep Writing even when you feel like a fraud. I found it really helpful.

So, if you have this impostor feeling, don’t give up. I know I won’t.

 

 

How to Critique a Story When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

Standard

It isn’t always easy to give feedback when an author, friend or otherwise, asks you to be be a beta reader. At least, it isn’t always easy for me.

I’m not used to critiquing. In the beginning, I was crap, no doubt about it. But over the years I have slowly gotten better at it. Between people reading for me and being a beta for others, I have grown better at giving helpful feedback.

Tip 1) It isn’t easy if you feel like you are going to hurt someone’s feelings. Just approach it with tact and know that the author needs your help. Writers can’t approve and grow if everyone keeps telling them “oh I loved your story” with no other input.

Tip 2) Read the story first as a reader. Don’t worry about picking out issues unless something catches your eye. Then read the story again, slower this time, and keeping an eye out for issues with characters, plot and even grammar. Not every beta reader will find every problem. Just do what you can.

Tip 3) Don’t focus on the negative. I try to point out one positive thing for every few points of constructive criticism. Writers need to know what they are doing right, along with the hiccups of their story.

Tip 4) Take notes. As you are reading, jot down what you like, the plot issues, etc…Then later on use these notes to organize your thoughts when giving feedback.

Tip 5) Make sure to let the author know if this is a genre you typically read or not. I know when someone is reading one of my vampire stories, if the supernatural isn’t their thing, then my sights are set low for how much they enjoy it. And that is totally ok. I am looking for issues with pacing, if I have a cardboard character, etc…

I hope this helps. I still don’t feel totally comfortable giving someone feedback, but I do my best. And after all, practice makes perfect. 😉

 

Planning My Story Bible

Standard

What’s a story bible? Something to help keep your universe and characters in order, especially when writing a series or epic fantasy. All your important info at your fingertips for when you need to find the name of your hero’s first cousin or how your magick system works.

I started making one for my Lily and Quinn series, but I have recently decided to start fresh. The biggest problem for me is that I am a total journal junkie, so now I have to figure out what to use for it. (Word docs or something on your comp works too! I just like having something I can hold in my hand.)

I also want to break mine down a bit more then I did originally. Is that what I should do or is that the planner/journal junkie inside of me? Hopefully it will all work out so that the series bible I make will be helpful and not one big mess. 😉

This is how I plan to break mine down. If you have made one, or plan to make one, I would love to hear what other sections you have in yours! 🙂

Characters-A) My writing buddies know I am a huge fan of visual character sketches. I am going to put a photo or two per page of what my characters look like. (I have some from magazines and those I printed). I will also make bullet point notes on physical appearance, so that if I just want to double check on my hero’s eye color, I will open to the first few ages of my notebook and find it.

Characters-B) The character sketch. Bullet points on my characters and notes.  I will be sure to leave extra space. My fictional best friends tell me something new about them on a regular basis.

Timeline- I have four short stories published with this world, and a fifth on the way. Not to mention novels I have started/written. I will have a section to timeline for linking important events, plus bullet points on what happened in each story.

Vampire/supernatural lore- One big thing I had to come up with in my stories are my vampires. What kills them, how a person turns, abilities, etc… On top of that I have other supernatural creatures and a magick system, so I need to have sections devoted to that. I almost wrote myself in a corner once with how the vampire system works in my universe. I don’t want to do that again.

The Bad Guys- Some of my villains have been killed off, while others are still (possibly) at large. Each one of them, dead or alive, will have their own page of notes. Even the dead ones might come back, since I plan to write a prequel or two.

Setting- My universe is pretty much where I live, but with changes. I need to make notes on certain places, such as where characters live, favorite places to go, etc… If my world was in a sci-fi setting or alternate universe, my notes would be way more in depth.

Maps/photos- As with my characters, I like having a visual as well as written notes to look back on for my setting. I will use my own drawn maps for some of it, as well as sections of real world maps.

Notes- A section for other story ideas and things I want to include. This will be in the back section. Sometimes when I am out, I make notes in my phone, or on scraps of paper. I need to keep my ideas together in one spot for a change, so my series bible will be the best spot for them.

Every writer has their own tools, and for me, a series bible will be a valuable tool.

 

Getting Back In The Writing Grove

Standard

Aside from not reading last year, my writing sadly went to the side as well. Although I did manage to write about 10k during Nanowrimo, so the year wasn’t a total waste.

I feel sad when I think about the writing I could have done over the last year. How lack I have been. My wedding planning really did consume me, so it isn’t like I was slacking off totally.

It is a new year and a fresh start. I have gotten back to my book pile, and now it’s time to get back into the word mines, too.

Last night was our first writer’s group meeting of the year. I love my group. I always find inspiration or am given a kick in the butt to get going.

I have two projects I want to work on this year at the very least. One will probably be a short story in a series I write. (You can check it out along with other great authors and stories over here)  I also have an idea for a genre I have yet to write. I have no idea yet if it will be a short story or novel yet. Time will tell.

My problem right now is getting back to the groove. But thanks to one of my friends, I have a plan now. I tend to put too much pressure on myself which is a big way of setting myself up for failure.

I am going to start off by writing for fifteen minutes a day. Fifteen minutes is a small chunk of time, and it will help getting the wheels greased. If (and when!) I go over the time limit, bonus! I also need to make notes and brainstorm but of coarse that won’t come from my writing time.

So, if you are having a hard time writing, try to write for a short time each day. Don’t stress or put pressure on yourself. Writing should be fun, not a chore.

What are some things you have done to get back into writing?

Now if you will excuse me, I have an opening scene to work on. 😉

 

When Your Novel Isn’t Going According to Plan

Standard

When we sit and jot down notes about our novels or sit down and plan them at some point we generally get a feel for what we hope/want/think will happen.

Sometimes when the day comes to actually sit and write it, everything is going fine and then suddenly-BAM! All of a sudden there’s things happening that you didn’t expect. Or the general feel for your novel has changed. And sometime those characters sound wimpy when they are supposed to be strong. Or sound like a cardboard cut out, when, in your head you SWORE they had a personality.

Right now I am taking part in NaNoWriMo. I decided to do something fun. Something for me. I wanted to get creative and have a world where I could have a free for all.

After a talk with a friend, I decided to write a twist to a classic fairy tale. During the creative process I decided it would be a dark fairy tale. I decided that there would be other fairy tale characters after all. I made my map and figure out what magic and creatures would potentially be in my story.

On day six of NaNo, my dark fairy tale isn’t that dark. It is way more on the…romantic end that I wanted it to be. And my heroine isn’t as…kick ass as I wanted her to be. My villain is more like a cardboard cut out then a person.

So what do you do when things aren’t as you’d wanted?

Roll with it. This is a first draft. You won’t finish a first draft if you keep going back to change it, edit it, alter it in some manner. Take some notes and keep on going. I will work on making my heroine more kick ass, so now that will be part of her character development in the novel. As for making it dark, I will keep it in my mind as I write and when edits come, I will change what I have written to suit the rest of the novel. As for my villain, well, she needs improving. At least I know that.

Even when your character does something unexpected, roll with it. The characters are telling this after all, not you. (This is where Mr.C would look at me funny.) I have written novels where my basic outline got thrown out half way through writing. They just weren’t relevant anymore.

So, don’t get too upset. Don’t get mad or frustrated. Words can be erased or deleted. Have fun and roll with the punches. 🙂