Friday, September 23, 2016

What Writers Do: Writing Prompts

Hello again, Saturday is here at last. The week is over and my creativity has taken a noticeable downfall. I've written over 18,000 words since Sunday and I don't intend to stop, but what do writers do when we need inspiration or just an hour of downtime to scroll through Pinterest. We look up writing quotes, quotes from other author, tips about writing, and my personal favorite Writing Prompts.

Writing Prompts are some of the best ways to deal with writer's block or the dam that is blocking your flow of creativity. Sometimes I grab inspiration when I'm lacking, though sometimes it's both a blessing and a curse. Most writing prompts fit right into my stories but sometimes they inspire new ones, which is how I've come to write so many words this week.

I found a pin and my mind jumped. The story instantly drew me in and it was like I was in a car with no brakes, there was no stopping it once I started. Writing Prompts are all over Pinterest but it doesn't have to look like this:

Granted this is the usual style and type of prompt but you can draw inspiration from a quote:

A Simple Picture:

 or even a GIF:

The possibilities are simply endless. There is no limit to your creativity unless you choose to let that block remain. This means that you need to stop, research, or look up prompts. Sometimes opening Pinterest or your web browser can be a good thing, but don't forget to pay attention to the time. Set a timer if you must but once a story finds you and won't let you sleep take it and run. Basically, Pinterest can be research and I do my best research there.

Now, this isn't to say that inspiration can't be sparked on a nice long walk but since I've been chair bound for a few weeks with knee issues Pinterest has been one of my favorite sources of information. That's all for today, go be awesome, and keep your eyes open for information may strike at any moment.

The Writer,
Jennifer Williams. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

What Writers Do: Self-Editing II

Saturday comes far too fast but nonetheless, here is a What Writers Do for you, my lovelies. Today were covering Editing again. I didn't cover it very well last time so I'm going to hit it again. Since last time (see Self-Editing),  I have added two books to my editing count and I had five or six more ideas. It's really inconvenient to edit when story ideas keep cropping up out of nowhere, but I digress.

Every writer has a horrible first draft that they are likely to never show anyone. This is the draft that we edit, heavily. We won't even let our spouse read through this one because we know that there may be typos, auto-corrected words (If you're writing on your phone), and inconsistencies galore that we have to fix before we let a second set of eyes read or beloved book. 

Editing will test the very best of us, especially when we hit the dreaded "Writers Block". My writer's block usually occurs after I've written this gorgeous scene and my character taps me on the shoulder. I turn and they say something along the lines of, "nice scene, but that's not what happened." Then I end up fighting with that specific character for five days or five months before we come to an agreement and I edit that scene. 

This is hard to come to terms with. As I said, it takes me a few days or months to come to terms with editing the scene because it usually influences the next scene I wrote that then needs to be edited as well etc, etc. This is a prime example of what fiction writers (without outlines) go through when they edit. 

As I've said before, I don't usually have an outline. However, I do know what's going to happen. I see it play out in my head and if I dare to try writing down an outline, my creativity goes down the tubes and the story begins to feel staged and rushed. I can't force my creativity. I have to digress again.

Editing is like sanding a cabinet before you apply the satin finish. It takes time and half the time you'll wonder if it's worth it but don't stop. That feeling when you finish editing that rough draft and let your friends read it for the first time is scary, but when they love it enough to tell their friends that you've never met. It is the coolest thing ever. 

Anyhow, keep up the good work. Editing isn't a battle it's a war waged in the mind and on every page you write. Don't give up! Keep calm and Write on!

Go be awesome,
Jennifer Williams

Saturday, September 10, 2016

What Writers Do: Emotions

Saturday is here again my Lovelies and here is another What Writers Do. Today we're going to talk about Emotions and how we portray them. I'm going to jump in this deep chasm headlong because there is a lot to talk about and so little page. Just to be clear, I am not knocking any method of portraying emotions, just keep in mind that some methods are more effective than others. For today, I'm going to talk about the way I write emotions and let you be the judge.

When I go to write a scene, I want to convey as much emotion as I can so that the reader feels what is happening in the characters mind and body. I don't say they were sad or they were hurt. I describe how they are feeling, which is more complex than it sounds. Let me give you an example and warning **spoiler alert**

This is a sample from when I first started writing (this is an unedited first draft mind you):

   “Agent Spiriter, we have a confirmation here that says you are going to meet us on Tuesday of next week instead of last night,” The man at the farthest seat said and I recognized the voice. I immediately saw a vast array of memories with him in it.
   In that moment, pure agony, and utter defeat had me writhing on the couch as I screamed. Michael came over to the spot beside me and ten minutes later, I finally calmed down. I could feel his gaze on my skin, but the weight was nothing compared to the pain.
   “Kalista, it’ll be okay. I’m here! Don’t move you’re covered in bruises and welts,” he tried to calm me as someone tried to get his attention from the phone... 

Talk about agonizing pain. She had nothing to compare it to... Maybe it's just me being a perfectionist, but I feel like I could have written that better. Anyway, that was almost eight years ago. Here is an example of what I wrote just this week:

(...)his voice breathed along my skin and he walked down the stairs. I reinforced my shields and clenched my hands in the cape that shrouded me in shadow. I gazed into his eyes and saw an image of him talking with Justin and Ephraim. I covered my face with my hands and dropped to my knees.

“They want to hurt me. (...)” I barely managed to mumble through my hands. A female presence approached me and looked up into glowing pink eyes set in a long, gorgeously thin oval face surrounded by pale blonde hair. 
“It’s going to be alright Kalista. We won’t let him do that to you,” she promised, sincerity shining in her pink aura. (he) stood behind her, jaw dropped in perplexed horror at her declaration.
“(omitted name),” his condescending tone hit home and my breathing shallowed. She pulled me close and tucked my head under hers, like a mother whose only thoughts were protecting her child.
“No, I won’t let that corrupt body of hypocritical morons destroy her(...),” she authoritatively declared. His aura softened at her determined moral center and her fiery spirit. He nodded and gestured toward the door with a sweep of his left arm but he wasn’t looking at us anymore. His eyes were focused down the street.
“Take her inside. Quickly... we have company,” he informed her and in that instant we were inside. I pulled back with fresh tears on my face and she set her hands on my cheeks, brushing the tears away with her thumbs.
“Shh, Esca T’soulus (Sweet child),” she comforted me and pulled me close again. My entire body began to shake with the coming hysteria and she kissed the top of my head.

Anyway, that's two different ways of writing emotions. One is just telling you and the other is describing how the emotion made the character feel. It's hard to describe and yet I hope I did it right. (Clears throat and takes deep breath) Anyway, You can see that writing emotions into a scene is hard, especially when you omit big chunks of the scene, but I didn't want to give too much away. All the emotional scenes are important to the plot. It's hard to let you see them and not ask myself if that was too much. Well, I think I've taken up enough of your time, but I hope you can see that Emotions are just What Writers Do. 

Now, go be awesome.
-Jennifer Williams 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

National Novel Writer Month or NANOWRIMO

Hello, Lovelies. This is for those of you that have no idea what I was talking about on Saturday when I mention NANOWRIMO a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month. So, I'm going to jump in with some general information directly from the NANOWRIMO website

"National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel."

That's the general gist of NANOWRIMO. NaNoWriMo has a friendly environment, a great community, and easy-to-use interface. I enjoyed being a part of the journey in 2014 though in 2015 a lot of things were happening and my novel fell flat on its face. There were a few things that led up to that: plot, character strike and I think health issues, to name a few. This year, I'm on top of it and preparing now to participate. 

I'm going with the same approach I had in 2014. That book was the only book I ever wrote an outline for. It's hard to believe that it actually worked but it did and I'm going to try it again before I call it a fluke. Anyhow, what happens during NaNoWriMo is simple. You make an account before November, create your book cover (if you want) and write a synopsis (optional), then on November first you start writing. You tally up your word count every day and log that into the website, which tracks your progress. It's really a neat way to motivate prospective authors to finally write that novel they've been pushing off. 

The thing about NANOWRIMO is a great start to your own writing journey, but it's just the beginning. You can't just write a book and leave it sitting in your documents folder or in a dusty notebook somewhere. All it does is take up space. You need to get it out there to inspire or entertain others. This is the stage I'm at now. Taking my books from the first draft to the printing press, so to speak. It's been a process and I'm still working on it. 

Well, that's the short version and you can check out the link above to find out more or even participate. If you do, be sure to add me as a writing buddy. My Author Page is under Writing in Waiting, which is where I got the name for my blog too. Now that you know what NaNoWriMo is you'll understand what's going on the blog here in November. 

I can't wait to participate again this year. At the bottom of this post is a sneak preview of my book cover for my NaNoWriMo novel. I hope that helped you better understand what I was referring to and maybe you might try tackling NaNoWriMo 2016. I'll have another What Writers Do on Saturday but for now, Go Be Awesome.

-Jennifer Williams, Writer In Waiting. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Writer's Life

Hello, Lovelies, it's Saturday and you're probably expecting another What Writers Do Blog but this week I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to write about my short-term goals for the month. Yep, I'm putting this out there for all of you to read and we'll see how I did on the first Saturday of October. I'm entitling this series The Writers Life and I will write one blog on the first Saturday of every month to share my goals with you. Enough with introductions, let's go. 

First: Writing Goals. I'm aiming to write at least a thousand words a day all month long, which I've done so far. I know it may sound impossible but I did National Novel Writing Month in 2014, which is 1,500 words a day, and I had 50,000 words by the middle of the month. For me, It's not about the word count, it's about sitting down and actually writing. Once I start writing, I tend to loose track of time and my word count. I'll be updating daily on word count via Twitter if you want to follow me there, feel free.

Second: Editing Goals. I want to edit at least two books this month. Editing isn't a huge problem for me. I can edit a book in about three days if I devote all my time to it but I don't want to edit to like that. Right now, I have close to six first drafts that I need to edit and/or bulk up. So this will hopefully be easy. 

Three: My Nanowrimo Goals. Yep, you read that correctly. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. If you don't know what NANOWRIMO is, it's National Novel Writing Month, which is every November. I want to gather all my ideas and characters for the Novel I have in mind. I tried to do this last year but realized too late that I didn't have enough content in that story to make the mandatory 50,000 words.  Also, I'm going to do a blog this coming Wednesday about NaNoWriMo and what it's all about, so if you want to know more about it, stay tuned for that. 

Four: Book Goals. I want to get a second draft ready for conference. Next month I'm going to a writers conference and I've never been to one before. I'm not sure what all to bring, but I know I want to at least take a chapter of my first Spirit Novel Chronicles  book with me, if not the entire first book, in print. This is a bigger goal since the first book is only a third of the way done at this point, though I have the outline all in my head so it won't take too much longer to get it all down. 

Five: Personal Goals. Here's the big one. Some of you know that I am an introvert, big whoop, right? Wrong. I have a bit of social anxiety that brings on stress which causes my head to hurt. Part of that is from my concussion almost five years ago now. I trip over my words and stutter where I never did before. It makes me nervous that what I say isn't coming across right or I'm not saying it properly, which causes my head to hurt on a massive scale. I have to watch that, but I don't want it to hold me back from talking about my books. In September, I'm going to step out of my comfort zone and push myself to talk to five people about my books. Whether it's someone who doesn't know I'm writing or someone who knows that I write but nothing about what the content of my books are or what they're about. 

There are my five goals that I am going to accomplish this month. We'll be back to our usual What Writers Do series next week. I hope this inspires you to set your own goals for the month and stick to them. Now stop reading and go be awesome.  

-Jennifer Williams