THE PLOT POST

 

I mentioned in several of my 500 February posts that I was going to post about different plotting strategies, but I realized that I’m note versed enough in different plotting strategies to really say which ones are best or even how to fully do them. I’m still pretty new to the writing game, and I’m trying to figure out all the nuances of plotting. I decided, because of the inexperience that I have, I’m going to create a post where I link readers to articles by people who do know what they’re doing, but I’ll give a short description of each plotting method. That way, anyone can just look at this article, skim for a plot method that fits their interests, and then check it out. Did I need to tell you exactly what I’m doing in this blog post? Probably not. I wanted to, though.

I also wanted to make two notes before I get into the rest of the post.
 First, there’s a spectrum of writers: pantsers (who write off the seat of their pants/ construct the story as they write) and plotters (who plan the story before writing). Knowing where you lie on this spectrum can help you figure out how much of a plot you need to construct before you start writing. I started writing as a pantser in high school and have shifted to a massive plotter in the past few years. Personally, if I find that if I get too off topic or don’t have constant goals while writing, my story won’t have the arc and won’t make sense. I need to have a solid plot before starting my writing, so realized that my opinions of this piece will be biased toward a plotter perspective.
Second, there’s a very slight different in plot and outline. Plot refers to the main events of the story, while outline is more of a description of everything (or most things) that happen in a story. These terms are sometimes used synonymously in articles about plot. I’ll do my best to differentiate between the two in this article, though, so I don’t further any sort of confusion on the matter.

 

The Ten Point Method:

http://theticklishpear.tumblr.com/post/99696024917/but-pear-where-do-i-even-start-for-nanowrimo-to

If you notice, this is a link to a post on tumblr. I realize that Tumblr is not the most reliable of websites, but I personally think that this is a pretty good description of this type of plot. A ten point plot (she calls it an outline) basically focuses on creative ten different plot points. The plot points can basically be divided into 6 sections: opening, event, complication, point of no return, climax, and ending. Three of those points only happen once (opening, climax, and ending). Therefore, the other three (event, complication, and point of no return) make up the other 70% of the plotting method. Pear, the writer of this post, described what events, complications, and points of no return are in the post.

Who is this method good for? This method is good for people who want just a quick outline of their plot, and not much else. This is also a good starting point for people who are really unsure of where to start with coming up with their plot.

My thoughts on it: I actually really like this plot model. I think that it’s a really a good frame work for coming up with a plot, because it makes you focus on THE most important aspects of your story. The way that plot points (an abstract term that I find confusing and dislike) are broken down into events, complications, and points of no return in this method is a big plus for me. The way that we’re made to look at more specific cause and effect actions seems to be a really good way of approaching the plot of a story. I’m almost definitely going to use this method at some point. (Probably for short stories more so than novels, but I might still use this as a starting point for plotting novels.)

 

The Snowflake Method:

http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/

This is probably one of the most in-depth outlining method I’ve ever seen. The method is focused around the metaphor of a fractal. You take some time (maybe an hour or two) and condense you novel into a 15 word sentence. Then you expand that sentence into a paragraph. Then you take each sentence of the paragraph and make it into its own paragraph. You keep doing this until you eventually get a multi-page long outline of your novel. What’s nice about this method is that it combines plotting with outlining. The first few steps are very plot intensive, making you look at your MC and the main conflict in the story. Then you look into developing plot points, which this method calls “disasters,” where something really big happens in the story that will make it harder for your MC to reach their goal.

Who does this method work well for? This method is great for people who want to spend a long time outlining their book and go really in depth with it. I feel like for anyone who is a plotter, this is the one of the best methods.

My thoughts on it: I have actually tried this method before, but not in full. I did the first few steps or so, before I started to feel like I had a good grasp of what I needed to do. To be fair, I had already written 20-30k words of my book by that point, so I generally knew what I was going for plot wise. Using the first few steps as an exercise was helpful, though. I do think that I’d use this method for my next novel, when I eventually get to planning for that.

 

The Mind Map Method:

http://fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue%2015/mindmapt.htm

Before writing this post, I had never heard of this method. I think that it’s a really neat method, though, for plotting multiple characters and subplots. The idea is that you writing your characters and their starting points on a piece of paper. Then you create a direct path for you characters from their starting point to their ending point. Then you start connecting the different character plots to each other, which creates subplots and exchanges between characters.

Who does this work for? People who are visual learners would probably love this. Mind maps are very visual and would provide a great quick reference. This would also be a really helpful method for develop subplots and visualizing how they’d work. I think that this will work equally well for plotters and pantsers, because you can get as in-depth as you’d like.

My thoughts: Subplots are kind of a mystery for me most of the time, and I am so happy that this plotting strategy came up with such an easy way to create and show plots. I also am a huge fan of mind maps. I use them all the time to figure out what I need to do for research in my creative nonfiction essays, and I’m really excited about the idea of using them for plotting.

 

Other Resources:

I picked out those three plot strategies, because I personally think that those are the best strategies that I’ve found. However, what works for me might not work for you! Therefore, I’m going to include some links to articles that cover 20+ different plotting and outlining strategies.

http://www.bookwormsapple.com/reflections/28-plotting-techniques-your-story

https://janefriedman.com/the-story-bible/

http://referenceforwriters.tumblr.com/tagged/plot

 

Two helpful websites and One awesome tip:

Plotist:

http://www.plotist.com/

I’ve talked about plotist on here before, but I wanted to formally recommend it to people. It’s a really nice website for putting all your characters, settings, events, and timelines for all your different stories. I’ve only just started using it, so I haven’t used all of the different features yet, but I’m super excited about the timeline one. During my novel writing process one of the biggest problems I ran into was keeping track of which day I was one (as my novel takes place over a span of six days). Also, last time I mentioned this website, their twitter tweeted me a thank you, which I thought was so nice. I feel like it shows that they really want to do the best that they possibly can for the people that use their website. Something about that just makes me really happy.

Pacemaker:

http://pacemaker.press/

This is nifty website for tracking progress on your story. I’ve been using for an even shorter time than Plotist, but so far it looks really helpful. I’m one of those people that likes to track progress by word count, and this website is really great for 1. logging that process, 2. setting up word count goals for specific amounts, and 3. representing that progress on a graph (similar to the graph used in nanowrimo)! What I also think is really neat for this website is that it can be adjusted to fit a lot of different needs. You can set it, so that you don’t have a word count goal over the weekend or that you want to have a lower goal on the weekend. You can also track progress by pages, chapters, or scenes, if word count isn’t your cup of tea. Lastly, YOU CAN ALSO TRACK EDITING!!! I am soooo horrible at making goals for editing my pieces (even though I really need to), and this program can let you come up with an editing plan where you track progress by pages for day. For example: I have a submission due in five day for a literary magazine, and I haven’t touched my piece at all. I put in my parameters for the project, and now I have concrete goals for how much I need to edit before submission day. My main complaint is that the interface could be a little more user friendly and the graphs could be a little more aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a really good website in every other aspect.

Story Bible:

So I don’t have a link for this one, because it doesn’t really need one? Story bibles are just a place (like a journal or a virtual folder/document) where you keep everything relating to your story. Articles, plot drafts, character questioners, inspirational photos and so on. I have one (a journal with a cover that looks like a postcard) where I jot down stuff about the novel that I’m working on. Once I get started with my longer creative nonfiction piece, I will probably start a notebook for it. (I might actually start a binder, given that a lot of the stuff I’ll need for the story bible will be printed out documents. Same idea, though.) I would highly recommend this as an organization system or dumping ground, depending on how you use it, for your stories. I’ve found that it’s super helpful to have everything you need in one place.

 

And that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope that this post proved useful if you needed direction in plotting methods or wanted to find some cool writing website to add to your favorites bar.  Have a wonderful week, and happy writing!

Advertisements

500 February- Day 16-17

Day 16: The Quick Deet’s
WC: 295
Total WC: 8,960
Time: ~10
Music: some playlist on Spotify that I forgot the name of

Day 16: Thoughts on the writing session

I underwrote yesterday do to a snow storm. (That might be the worst excuse I’ve ever used.) Basically my entire morning was kind of thrown off by the fact that I had to wade through six inches of snow to get to a dining hall for breakfast, and then I had to do it again to get to the place where I spend my morning doing homework. After having done all this, knocking me off schedule by half an hour or so, I was almost convinced that my college was going to call a snow day. I spend the majority of the morning checking my email for something saying that all classes were canceled or that my professor had canceled class. That did happen, of course. (Six inches is pretty much nothing in the snow country that I live in, although afternoon classes got canceled after we had accumulated over a foot). Because I couldn’t stop checking my phone about cancelations, I wasn’t able to focus enough to write my daily 500. I also didn’t force myself to write that afternoon either, as I elected to have snowball fights and play Portal instead. (I swear, I’m a really dedicated writer, guys!)

Anyway, I didn’t end up writing much because I let distractions have my attention. (I also might have gotten a teensy bit bored of the piece that I was writing, while I took a break from writing my novel.)

 

Day 17: The bit where I say my word count and stuff associated with it!
WC: 918*
Total WC: 9,941
Time: ~50 minutes
Music: none/ I can hear the songs from the radio in the building (mostly popular stuff)

Day 17: The writing session breakdown:
Today was a different sort of writing day, because I didn’t actually write that much. I spent my time today organizing my novel. I have two main word docs that I use: one where I just write everything down when in no real order and one where I order everything into chapters. I feel like that system appeals best to my creative nature and my neat organize nature. It’s like putting random, unfinished thoughts down in random notebooks, and then transferring the best thoughts to a nice notebook with a beautiful cover. Today, as you can imagine then, consisted of me moving about 7-8k words into the organized document and then looking around for the massive dangling threads in my story. I spent my time after that scrounging around in a really old (like almost two years old) draft of my novel for a scene I wanted to repurpose for my current draft. Hence the * on my word count in the above section. I added 918 words to my draft today, but I only about 300-500 of those words were freshly written. I decided to count all of them, though, because the new words were so integrated with the old ones that, the revision looked radically different than the old version.

Also, if anyone is curious, my current (organized draft) is up to 45,074 words, while my creative space draft is at 47, 145. That 2k discrepancy comes from a series of notebook entries that my MC wrote, and I’m not sure where to put into the novel yet. I’ll have to find a place at some point.

Additional Thoughts:

  • According to a report I saw this morning, we accumulated about a foot and a half of snow yesterday, and there’s a chance of maybe an inch or so more today.
  • They’ve gotten better about heating the building I write in, and my fingers are not as cold as normal.
  • One of the snowballs that I got hit with yesterday managed to get stuck behind the lens of my glasses, and I didn’t realize it was on the inside (I thought it was on the outside) for five to ten minutes.
  • I have decided that I’m re-doing that post about plots that I’ve been referring to all month, because I realized that I don’t have the authority or expertise to tell other people how to plot. Instead I’m going to find a bunch of good articles on the subject and do a quick review of those methods and include the links. Like some beginning writers (if not most), plot is one of those things that I struggle with. I know the general trend of how to construct a plot, but when it gets down to how to determine what’s a plot point and what isn’t I still have some fuzziness. I don’t want to misinform anyone, and that realization took about two weeks to fully brew and come to the surface before I recognized that that was why I was hesitating about posting my plot post, which has been fully written for a week or so.
  • I just realized that I could have been ordering an Earl Grey Latte at Starbucks for months, and I haven’t been. You can’t imagine the amount of disappointment and excitement I felt in line when I realized that.
  • The after thoughts are not always related to writing, and I always get a little nervous when I write them to put in a post. I wonder whether anyone reads them or if they’re seen as annoying. In my head, though, they’re like the comments that actually define parts of my personality to the reader. And, if we’re honest (and I try very hard to be), there’s something very enjoyable for me, to write all these thoughts down and know that someone might read them and respond to them (either in their own thoughts or in the comments).
  • I currently have 6 different word documents open. All of them are writing related. Four of them are different documents containing bits of my novel.
  • I’m attending a workshop today, hosted by the English department at my school, where we’re going to go over how to submit to literary magazines, and I am so excited.
  • I also have to craft and submit a piece within a next few weeks to determine which writing class I want to take next semester. I also need to talk to my advisor, because there’s a small chance that I might do a directed study course instead of a normal writing one based off of the study abroad program that I’m doing over the summer.
  • Does anyone else ever feel that once they start feeling like they have everything under control that they realize there’s actually a bunch more stuff they need to figure out? (see above comment for me.)
  • I am honestly so excited about this novel. I feel like I’m really starting to get to a point where I can say “here is a readable draft,” which, after three years of working with these character, I can’t even describe how far I feel like this story has come. I feel like a proud mom.
  • Also, I changed the header image if anyone noticed. I was getting bored with how my blog looked using the same image every day. 🙂

Happy Writing Everyone!

 

 

500 February- Day 11 &12

Day 11: The quick overview of the writing session
WC: 120
Total WC: 4,149
Time: ~10 minutes
Music: I kept switching between playlists to find something I liked. I didn’t like any of it.

Thoughts about the writing session:
This was the first time this month where I had sat down to write and wasn’t about to write the full 500 words. Part of that was a time constraint. On Thursdays and Tuesdays I have a 10:00 class instead of an 11:30 or a 2:30, so I generally have a few hours to write in the morning. Yesterday I had a test and a bunch of things to for my 10:00 class (and the lab following it), so I didn’t have my normal 30 minutes to write. I also didn’t write after getting back home, because I was incredibly tired. (I watched Bob’s burgers and ate chocolate for a few hours). So I really just didn’t create the time in my day to do the full 500 words, and I am a little disappointed about that.

 

Day 12: The quick overview of the writing session
WC: 1,635
Total WC: 5,784
Time: ~ 1.5 hrs.
Music: “Morning Commute” playlist on Spotify (not sure if I’d recommend it)

Thoughts about the writing session:
I feel like it’s safe to say that I wrote a little bit more today than I did yesterday. I actually wrote three times the 500 word goal (plus a bit). The reason? I wanted to finish the novel. I knew that I was really close to tying up the end of the novel and I just wanted to do it today. The session got off to a rough start with me checking every 100 words until about 400 to see if I’d hit the writing requirement for the day. After a bit thought, I forced myself to stop checking until I felt like I had finished writing. Often times, I get distracted by word count goals and want to just write until I’ve finished the amount. The word goal, though, doesn’t always line up with me finishing a scene or a section. So today I wrote until I finished the section. Since it’s my 2:30 class day, I felt fine spending that much time writing. I’m also really happy with the ending. I’m sure that in a month or two I’ll be thinking “This is crap!” and edit all of it to make is 1000 times better (as I do with nearly everything). For now, though, I’m incredibly pleased and excited about where I’m at in my writing process. Tomorrow will probably be an organizational day (I tend to write scenes non-linearly, so I have a document that I use to put everything in order), so I might just work on a short story instead of my novel. Overall, though, I am incredibly happy about how my writing session went today.

 

Additional Thoughts:

  • The fire alarm went off while I was writing up this post.
  • My fingers, as usual, are very cold right now.
  • I need to back up my novel on an external hard drive tonight.
  • I have a meeting in 15 minutes that I don’t really want to go to, even though I’m super excited about the subject of the meeting.
  • I’m literally so happy about writing the ending of my book. I still have other work to do, BUT I WROTE THE ENDING! I know what happens at the end!!
  • I’m continuing to play around with plotist.com, and it’s continuing to be interesting.
  • I found out about two free websites (one of them is called zotero and I forgot the other one) that organize pdfs and you can tag them and add notes to them. So that would probably be helpful for anyone who works with a lot of research.
  • I’m going to be designing a new D and D character tomorrow, and I’m pretty stoked.
  • I need to find better playlists on Spotify, and I’d love suggestions if anyone wants to comment them.

That’s it for today! Happy writing everyone!!

500 February- Day Ten

THE STATS!
Day: 10
WC:  510
Total WC: 4,729
Time: ~25 minutes
Music: None (I had my headphones on too, but I forgot to turn on Spotify)

Thoughts:

I did not want to write today. Not one bit. I wanted to go back to my warm bed at home and sleep. I wanted to head down to Starbucks and get a super sugary drink. I wanted to do so many other things beside write. And then, to try to get myself in the mood, I started filling out novel details in a website called “Plotist” (which is actually a really awesome website that you should check out). Once I started doing that, though, I didn’t want to start actually writing. I wanted to keep filling out things about the book that I’ve nearly finished writing. And then I wanted to work on a different project instead of my main project.

So basically, today was one of those days where I had to force myself to open my novel document and work on it whether or not I felt like doing it. That is what I did, eventually, and once I was going it didn’t take too long to reach the 500 word goal. Although, I did get really fidgety around 411 words, because I wanted to be done writing.

I think there were for two reasons that I didn’t feel like writing. 1. Today was in-between-scene writing. I had a bunch of stuff that my character was doing that I felt like I needed to summarize (even though I’ll probably change a lot in revision if not just cut it completely) and it just wasn’t super interesting to write. I just felt like, personally, I needed to write it so I had a sense of the timeline of the last day of my book, which was enough to justify writing it at all. And 2. I’m almost done writing the ending. I’m probably less than 1,000 words away from putting the last few sentences of the novel down, which is really weird. I know that I still have a ton to do with this draft (I have dangling scenes and characters all over the place), but I feel like once I write the ending, then that’s it. Once Adam drives Vincent to the airport, their stories are effectively done. I’ve been working on various versions on this “first draft” for years (seriously, I started writing about Vincent in my senior year of high school, and I’m currently in my sophomore year of college), and to think that I’ve finally found a good ending spot for Vincent, it’s really weird. And slightly emotional? I’m sure that I’ll form more thoughts/feelings about this in a few days when I finally “finish” the story, but knowing that the ending for my characters is coming is just…. it’s so strange.

 

Additional Thoughts:

  • I really wish that my Starbucks sold London Fogs.
  • The literary magazine deadlines are coming up at school, and I still haven’t figured out what pieces I’m going to submit for them.
  • My fingers are so cold. I might have to get a cup of tea for the sole purpose of heating them up.
  • The website I mentioned earlier (http://www.plotist.com/) is actually super cool. You can put in character descriptions, timelines, settings, and stuff like that. I’m pretty stoked about it. I also heard that it has a feature that tracks your word count, but I haven’t figured out where that is yet. But if you like things to organize your stories, I’d definitely suggest looking into Plotist. It’s a free too, which is great!
  • To combat the impending end of my story (even though I’ll probably be spending another year or so editing and revising it at least) I’m really in the mood to start planning another story. Some sort of sci-fi I think? Or maybe a mystery? Maybe a space murder! Imagine that, you’re stuck on a different planet with only 6 other people in your crew. One of them gets murdered. One of them is the murderer, but you don’t know which one. Plus you can’t afford to not trust your crew mates, because you’d probably die. Oh boy. Wouldn’t that be fun? A fusion of Andy Weir and Agatha Christie?
  • It’s so hard to find visual representations of your characters. Google images always gives me super attractive people, but my characters are normal looking. They aren’t supposed to look like models.
  • Also, Morgan (from morganpbillings) mentioned the 500 February Challenge in her most recent blog post about the effectiveness of word count. It’s a really interesting read, so you should definitely check it out. 🙂

Alright, my fingers are still cold, so I’m going to stop writing and get some tea. I hope you all are having a great day and that words come to you, like seagulls to an unsuspecting plate of french fries.

Happy Writing!

500 February- Day 9

The quick facts:
Day: 9
WC: 578
Total WC: 4,219
Time: ~30
Music: None

Thoughts:
Today’s session took me a little longer than normal, because I kept getting distracted by thoughts of other projects. I probably should have been about to get that amount done in about 20-25 minutes, but 30 still isn’t bad. The writing went really well today, though, and I’m really happy with what I produced.

Additional Thoughts:
I also want to point out that I’ve been doing this challenge for exactly seven days (I didn’t write over the weekend), and in that time I’ve amassed over 4k words. Those are four thousand words that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, and I really love how much I’ve felt like I’ve gotten done just by taking half an hour (pretty much) every morning to write. I also really feel like I’ve been living up to my title of “writer,” this past week, because I have actually been writing. Before my “writer” status was based on the things I’d written in the past and thought about writing, but not on my current projects. Now, I feel very content saying that I’m working on a project, and I imagine that I’ll be mostly done with it in a month. I’m really excited about it. T

hat said, if anyone wants to try this challenge (to write 500 words a day) with me in the next 20 days, you could write ~10,000 words by the end of the month, which is a huge amount.

500 February- Days 5-8

I’ve been trying to do the 500 February challenge, where you write 500 words a day. Inevitably, I slipped. Over the weekend (6-7) I got sick, and it took a massive amount of energy just to finish the homework I needed to get down. I didn’t have the energy to write, and I realize that that’s a lame excuse. I should have made the time, but I didn’t. It happens sometimes. However, this morning (the 8th) I’m back on track with writing, and I think that it’s to remember that missing a day or two isn’t the end of the world, as long as you get back to work in a timely manner.

Day 5 quick details:
WC: 533
Total WC: 3,007
Time: ~30 minutes
Music: none

Day 5 Thoughts:
I didn’t feel like working on my novel at all on Friday. I wrote about 12 words for it, before switching to write an idea that had been nagging me to write it all week. So I wrote a little more than 500 words of that different idea. Will I continue to pursue it? I don’t know. My new idea is very much based off the style of The Martian. It’s about a magazine sending a journalist to Mars with a NASA crew. I don’t really have a plot for it, so I’m not sure where it’s going to go. I do know, though, that I don’t want it to turn into a “being trapped” on Mars story line. That’s way to similar to the The Martian, and I wouldn’t be able to achieve it to the level and accuracy that  Andy Weir does.

It was fun to write, though. I might go back to it, if I hit another wall on my current novel again.

 

Day 8 quick details:
WC: 634
Total WC: 3,641
Time: ~25 minutes
Music: “Viral Hits” playlist by Spotify

Day 8 thoughts:
After not writing at all over the weekend, I was expecting to have trouble getting back into the groove of writing. I didn’t have that problem at all. I had the best writing session that I’d had all month (save day 1). I didn’t run into the same block that I had on Friday, and the words just sort of flowed today. They went in a direction I hadn’t expected them to, and I’m really happy with the result. I can feel the ending is almost here. I have to finish the scene I wrote today. Add one scene of the different characters leaving, and then the final one of my character leaving for his plane. Then it’ll be done. Of course, I’ll need to go back and add some additional scenes, and finish up scenes that I’d left unfinished. I’m getting close to finishing my draft, though, and it’s really exciting.

Additional Thoughts that I enjoy adding:
– Using the List app on your phone is a super helpful place to write down ideas for blog posts, stories, and your novel. I can’t believe it took me this long to figure that out.
– I’m still working on that Plot blog post I promised to put up a week ago. It’s taking longer than I thought, and I’ve been busy.
– I feel like I’ve made a lot of excuses in this blog post.
– I wished that tea/coffee/latte vending machines existed, and I wish that one existed within a ten foot radius of me at all times. @Starbucks get on that.
– Has anyone ever invented latte flavored chocolate bars? Because I’d love a vanilla latte chocolate bar, oh my goodness.
– I swear, I got like nine hours of sleep last night, why am I tired?
– If you feel like procrastinating on writing, Steam (and maybe other video game sites?) are having sales right now. I got three different games for just under $10. I also got one game for $20, but that one wasn’t on sale.
-Should I be encouraging people to procrastinate? … probably not.

500 February- Day Four

The quick details of today’s writing session:

Day: 4

WC: 543

Total WC: 2,474

Time: ~20 min

Music: Hamilton soundtrack

** In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, I created a writing challenge for the month of February. The goal is to write 500 word every day of the month, and I’m updating my blog with how it’s going. If anyone wants to join in, it’s not too late! If you’re doing it/ about to start it comment below so I can follow your blog and cheer you on!**

 

Thoughts on the writing session:

Today went much quicker than every other day so far. I think that was partially, because I was writing a lot of dialogue. One of the things that I’m trying out in my draft are thought conversations, which is basically when my main character, Vincent, talks to himself in his head. I think that it’s fairly common for people to have conversations with themselves, especially when trying to make decisions. (E.g. Should I have the burrito or the salad? Well you haven’t eaten any vegetables today. Alright, I should have the salad, then.) Or maybe that’s just me, and now I’ve admitted my craziness to the world.

Either way, I decided to have that internal dialogue running throughout the book. Today the conversation in Vincent’s head was about waking up next to his crush and oh my god what should I do?? I’ve done other conversations in the past, and my absolute favorite happened when Vincent was feeling really, really out of it. I had the internal conversation breaking down the tasks he had to do to take a shower, and gently trying to guide him to feel better. That might not have been the best description, but, trust me, it was really cool.

 

Additional Thoughts that kind of have to do with writing, but have more to do with my love of talking when no one can interrupt me (why do you think I’m a writer?):

I told everyone to listen to Hamilton yesterday, and I’m going to say it again. Hamilton is ridiculously amazing, and you should listen to it. A lot of the songs have very different moods to them as well, so if you’re stuck when writing a fight scene you should listen to “Ten Duel Commandments” or if you’re writing a scene where your character is about to meet the love their life you should listen to “Helpless.” Your character just lost a child? Listen to “Stay Alive- Reprise” (for the fear of the parent/ actual death of the child) and “It’s Quiet Uptown” (for the grief of a parent after a child’s death). Seriously, there’s a song for every emotion in this musical.

Sticker charts are incredibly rewarding. I have one going for this writing challenge, and it’s honestly why I’ve been very on top of writing and posting about it.

Also waiting until after I’m done writing to get a drink (like a latte…) from Starbucks is a good strategy. 1. Because I want to get through my writing quicker, and 2. Because I don’t get distracted by the drink when I’m writing. (Have I mentioned how distractible I am?)

I’m going to spend some time looking for a literary/ literacy based charity this afternoon. The club I run- a college literary magazine- has to do a fundraiser this semester, and I’m going to talk to some administration people about donating that money to a charity.

Also I really need to buy a reusable Starbucks cup, because I’m trying really hard to cut down on my trash production.

 

Alright, that’s enough rambling from me. I hope you all have a great day.

Happy Writing!!

500 February- Day Three

The “dirty” details for today’s session (the phrasing of that sentence makes this seem a lot more raunchy than it is):

Day: 3

WC: 562

Total WC: 1,931

Time: ~25 minutes

Music: none (I didn’t feel like taking out my headphones)

 

Thoughts:

Today was the easiest day so far. I finished in about 25 minutes instead of the 30+ that it’s taken the past two days. I also managed to get to about 275 words before I felt compelled to check my word count instead of about 100. I still feel like I’m writing too much after the “climax,” and I’m wondering if maybe my climax isn’t where I thought it was, but I honestly don’t know. I guess I’ll figure that out during revisions. Overall, I think this writing session went really well. It took some convincing for me to start writing, but once I was doing it, everything flowed pretty well.

 

Additional thoughts that no one asked for, but I’m going to write anyway:

I’m listening to Hamilton while writing this post, and I seriously recommend writers listen to this musical. Why? 1. Because it has excellent story telling techniques, covering every theme from love to revolution to betrayal to death to legacies and so many, many key elements in universal stories and 2. Lin Miranda’s attention to language is incredible. If you’re a poet, you need to listen to this musical. It’s all done in a rap style, and the way it uses sound is incredibly close to how you can use sound in poetry. UGH it’s sooooo good.

I went into Starbucks with the intention of getting an Earl Grey Latte with vanilla (also called a London Fog!), and somehow walked out with a Chai Latte. Why is that you ask? I got nervous when I was ordering.

I also realized that I quite prefer the revision process to the writing process. In revision you can get really nitpicky about things, and I LOVE doing that. (Would it surprise you that I’m one of those people who color codes their book shelves and religiously uses their planner system?) Writing is still really fun, of course. I just get worried that I’m not going in the best possible direction for the story, you know?

 

Alright, that’s it for my rambling for today. If you want to join in on 500 February (a writing challenge to write 500 words a day for the month of February), it’s not too late to join in on the fun! Feel free to use #500February to post updates on how you feel about writing or if you want any writing tips.

Happy writing!!

500 February- Day Two

It seems like I might be doing daily posts for 500 February (Don’t know what that is? Check out my post here!). The quick details of today’s writing:

Day: 2

WC: 506

Total WC: 1,369

Music: “Daily Lift” playlist on Spotify

 

Evaluation of today’s writing session:

Writing was slow today for two reasons 1. I didn’t have a scene planned, so I was trying to figure that out while typing and 2. The music I was listening to didn’t really match the mood of my characters. Similar to yesterday, the first one hundred words were the toughest and probably took 10 minutes on their own. I hit another road block around 460 words, because I had felt like I hit 500 before I checked my actual word count.

Additional Thoughts:

I’m currently working on the book’s resolution, having hit the climax a little while ago. I’m starting to worry about whether the resolution is too long, and if I should try to speed it up by writing less. I was thinking about all of that when I was writing, and I realized that it might have stunted my work today. The thing about drafts, especially first drafts, is that you are going to spend so much damn time revising, so over writing at this point in the process really isn’t a bad thing. So if anyone is struggling with the same feeling that too much is happening after they hit the climax, remember that you can always revise it later. For now, just keep writing.

 

Also, to anyone joining late- 500 February is a challenge I’m putting out to writers. Where we write 500 words a day for the month of February. While it did start yesterday, feel free to jump in now! If you start writing 500 words today, you’ll end the month with 14,000 words, which is a lot! So join in on the fun, and if you post updates like I do, tag them with #500February!

Happy Writing! 🙂

500 February- Day One

                For those of you who don’t know what 500 February (called FF from here on out) is, it’s a challenge for writers. The goal of FF is to write 500 words every day for the month of February, ultimately writing 14,500 words by the end of the month. It’s sort of similar to NaNoWriMo, but without the high word count (1,666 words per day) or the need to start a new project. I created this challenge, and, in an attempt to get other people interested, I’ve decided to write up semiweekly (hopefully, daily) posts about my progress throughout the month, showing all of my challenges, failures, successes, and thoughts throughout the process.

    _________________________________________________

It is 10:16 in the morning as I write this sentence. I’ve already finished my word count goal for the day. Here are the quick details for the day:

Day: 1
Word Count: 863
Total Word Count: 863
Time: ~30 minutes
Music: Hamilton soundtrack

I found starting to be very difficult this morning. I really was tempted to go on the internet and procrastinate, because I was scared about starting, which seems weird to type. The project that I’m working on right now is a novel draft that I’ve been working on since November, so it’s not like it’s a new undertaking. There is a certain worry about going back to writing these characters, though. I haven’t written them in about a month, and I was really nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to write them in character. The first two hundred words were the toughest. Once I had gotten through those, though, I was comfortable writing my characters again.

                The other point I had some trouble with was at 418 words. I was really close to hitting 500 words, but I wasn’t quite there. Part of me just wanted to stop writing at 418, say “Well I gave it a good try,” and stop writing for the day. I was able to work through that momentary block, and finish well above 500 words.

Overall, it wasn’t too overwhelming of a writing experience. Once I got back into it, I felt very at home. I worked on a scene I’d started back in January. I think that I finished it, and I’ll move onto a different scene for tomorrow. And that’s really it! I hope that anyone else who is trying out this challenge is successful today (and successful can be anything from easily hitting 500 words to having a really difficult time and managing to write a solid 150). Please, please feel free to comment about your experience or ask for advice. I’m more than happy to help out in any way I can! (I’m very good at finding research and resources for writing projects if you need that. I can also be your personal cheerleader to get you through this month!!)

Happy writing!