Writing Update #6: I finished my novel!

Word count: 84,094

I just finished writing the first draft of my novel! Woohoo!

I’m so happy this stage is finally over. It’s taken me about ten months to complete the draft, which is ten times longer than I’d originally thought. However, I wasn’t writing the whole time and took a few super-long breaks in between.

Drafting has had its fun times, and not-so-fun times, but now I’m ready to move on to the next step: editing. I’ve never edited a book before so it’ll be a big learning experience. I’ve already started the first read-through of the manuscript, and let me tell you, there’s a lot of work to be done. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to it. After all these months of rough-drafting, my inner editor, a relentless perfectionist, is itching to be let loose on my writing.

My goal is to revise this book over the summer and come September, have a (for the most part polished) manuscript. We’ll see how that goes. I’m feeling pretty optimistic at the moment. 🙂

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Writing Update #5: Almost There

Word count: 72,042

It took a good amount of motivation to start writing again after a month-long break from my book (and blog), but I’m finally back to working on it.

It’s been a long journey- over six months, to be specific. I’m so ready to finish up the first draft and jump into the uncharted territory of editing. I’ve never edited a novel before, but I’m looking forward to learning- and letting my perfectionist self out. Yeah, the one that has been going silently-but-surely insane for all of the times my grammar was garbage or I showed and didn’t tell, or couldn’t remember someone’s name and put brackets instead.

I estimate to have about 17k words to go until the end. So close, yet so far. I just gotta keep on trekking!

NaNoWriMo 2016

I’ve gone off the deep end. I’ve finally lost it.

Why?

I decided the night before November 1st that I was going to attempt Nanowrimo. It’s not like I don’t have a ton of homework, tests, essays, and of course, finals to worry about. Not to mention other general life-things like eating, sleeping, and exercising (just kidding, I wasn’t doing that anyway). But I’ve somehow got it in my head that I have to try.

Coincidentally, I have about 50,000 words left to write for my current book. Which sounds perfect, right? Well, the only issue is that it took me over three months to write the first 45,000 words.

Well, what can go wrong? The Earth will not stop turning if I don’t win, so I might as well try.

As of today (day 3), I’ve gotten 2,493 words down. I’m behind, but optimistic.

I wish you all luck with this year’s NaNo if you’re participating! I’m excited to see how this month turns out.

P.S. If you want to follow along or be writing buddies, here’s the link to my NaNo account 🙂

 

Writing Update #4: Halfway There!

Word count: 45,008

I’m officially halfway through writing my book. Woohoo!

My intended word count goal is 90k, but it’s looking like I might run over given the fact that I haven’t even reached the midpoint scene yet. Oops. My new deadline (I keep moving them further and further back) will now be December 1st. I’m hoping that’s realistic enough.

It has been a roller coaster of a process so far. There have been weeks where I wrote only one or two days, and then other weeks where I could afford to write a lot. It’s not very often I get to do that, though. I just try to find time to write whenever I can.

For example, there’s these 3 days in the week where I have about 35 minutes in between two classes. There’s not really much you can do in that amount of time, so I use it for a word sprint and see how much I can write. My record is 540 words. Even though it doesn’t seem like much, I’ve learned that even a little bit of writing here and there can really make a difference.

It helps that it’s a structured writing time because when I leave it to myself to write “whenever” it usually gets pushed aside.

I’m learning a lot about scheduling and organizing time through doing this project. (And, of course, writing!) Hopefully I’ll improve my productivity skills for the future.

Writing Update #3

Word count: 37,689

Wow. It has been a long time since my last update. I’ve just entered my sophomore year of college, and I’ve been inundated with schoolwork and an endless to-do list. But I’m still writing! Albeit very slowly, but as long as I’m making any progress I’m happy. 🙂

Balancing schoolwork (and life in general) with writing is definitely a challenge. My goal so far is to write five days out of seven. I tried to get myself to write every day, but some days it’s just impossible, so now I’m trying to be more flexible.

I’m really excited about this book and looking forward to finishing the first draft and getting to edit, which is my favorite part of the writing process. At least, line-editing is. I’ve never actually done a full rewrite/edit of a manuscript before, so that will be a whole learning process in itself. I can already point out a lot of problems that will need revising. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to it.

I’m still far away from the finish line, but it’s nice to have a goal to shoot for. It keeps me motivated. That, and coffee.

Writing Update #2: Motivation

Word count: 20,721

I’ve been making slow but steady progress in writing my novel lately. I’m happy to have made it this far in a short period of time, but every day has been a mini-struggle to find the motivation to keep going strong. (Especially when it’s so nice out!) So I’ve been trying out various methods of motivating myself to write.

One thing that has kept me moving so far is having a set deadline. My goal is to reach 90,000 words by the end of August. Although it’s becoming clearer to me that I’m not going to be able to finish the first draft by then, it’s still helpful for me to have a clear goal in mind.

I’ve found that the websites Pacemaker and Final Deadline are very helpful in keeping me on track and organized. You can set deadlines for projects and measure your daily writing progress. They have fun graphs and things to look at if you’re like me and get a little obsessed with statistics and word count goals. Best of all, they’re completely free.

I’ve also tried writing on a word sprint website called myWriteClub that hosts global word sprints. It’s kind of fun seeing how much you can get done in a short period of time. You can also see other people’s writing progress while you write for a bit of inspiration and competition.

The last thing I use to find motivation is other people. I love reading blog posts and watching vlogs about other writers working on their own projects. I’ve always found it interesting and inspiring to see other people working towards their own big goals and dreams.

What do you use to motivate yourself to keep writing? Have any tips?

Have a great weekend!

 

Writing Update #1

Word Count: 8,032 (yay!)

So it’s been one week since I started my novel and it’s going pretty well. I’m almost up to writing plot point one. I was off to a great start but fell behind towards the end of the week. I’ve been busy packing and preparing the past few days because…

drumroll

I’m leaving for Europe today! I’ll be gone for the next three weeks train-hopping through Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy with my best friend. I’m super excited! (Which explains why I’m writing this at 1:00 a.m. instead of sleeping.)

I’m bringing along a blank journal, a book, and a notebook for the long rides. I’m hoping to write every day, whether it be journaling or working on my book. I even taped my entire outline into the notebook for convenience. Given it’s a trip and sometimes I just don’t get time to write, I’ll be happy if I get even a little further in the story.

That’s all for now! See you all in three weeks 🙂

 

 

Novel #2 Outlining: Plot

Finally, after months of planning, I have finished the outlining for my novel and I’m ready to start writing!

For the past week I’ve been plotting. First, I compiled my plot notes and created a list of scenes that I thought might go into the book. Some were important scenes while others were completely random.

Then, I wrote every scene on an index card and proceeded to organize them into a coherent order.

I like using the index card method because it’s easy to rearrange scenes and get a bird’s eye view of the storyline. I also like being able to physically move them, rather than just cutting and pasting on the computer.

Now I’ve just printed out all of my notes and outline. All I need to do now is just start! 🙂

I’m so excited!

 

 

Novel #2 Outlining: Creating Characters

So I’m in the middle of creating and fleshing-out characters for my novel. It feels like a totally new process than what I went through before, and that’s exciting. Instead of spending so much time on plot, this time I’m focusing solely on developing realistic, multi-layered characters first.

That said, it’s not necessarily easy. For a while I didn’t know where to begin, and even now that I’ve started I keep asking myself, how do I choose what goes into a character’s backstory? How much detail should I go into? Are my characters realistic enough?

Of course, there are no right answers to those questions, but I’ve been reading Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress to give myself a starting point. It has some fun, character-building exercises at the end of each chapter. I’ve also found a list of 100 questions online to answer about my main characters that’s been extremely helpful. Here’s the link.

I find it very interesting how much backstory affects the way the characters seem to turn out. Just one event can have a big effect on a character’s demeanor and personality. I feel like this is very true to life, in that people’s pasts- and how they deal with them- make up a part of who they are, however big or small. I guess that’s the whole idea behind creating backstories- to emulate how real people develop into who they are today.

Anyway, for now I’m just going to continue adding more detail to my characters’ lives and descriptions. I’m still not sure of when they’ll be fleshed-out enough and when I can move on to the other steps of the outlining process.

One thing I’m working hard to get is a distinctive voice for the main character/narrator. Maybe when that happens I’ll feel ready to move on.

How much character development do you do before starting a story? Do you go into a lot of detail or just dive in?

Have a great week!

My Creative Summer Bucket List- 2015

Hey everyone! In order to motivate myself to experiment and do creative things this summer, I’ve created a bucket list of random activities and goals that I hope to accomplish come September.

1. Start Writing a Novel

This is definitely the biggest goal on my list. I really want to improve my writing, and the only way I know how is by practicing. Plus, I already have a rough idea for a story that is begging to be told!

This goal ties in with one of my biggest life-goals: to be published. I decided to abandon my first novel because I consider it more of a learning experience than a project I want to pursue in the long-term. So I’m going to work on a new project that I can really put my all into for the coming months and- who knows?- years.

2. Paint en Plein Air

Painting “en plein air” basically means painting outside. It’s done in the light of day, with the subject actually in front of you.

This is something that has interested me for a really long time. I haven’t gotten around to trying it, though. This summer I want to learn how to paint outside with oils and hopefully improve my painting skill in general.

3. Read Books

I love reading, but it always seems to be on the bottom of my list of things to-do even when I have free time. I think reading will help me be a better writer as well, so I am making it a top-priority.

4. Practice Watercoloring

I really love the way watercolor paintings look, with their subdued colors and softness. I admire the way some artists can use layers of watercolor to create atmosphere and depth. I’m going to practice watercoloring in order to hopefully learn some of these techniques and improve in general.

5. Develop my Illustration Style

This goal has popped up pretty recently for me. I’ve been drawing for a long, long time, but in the past few years my artistic aims have shifted immeasurably. I started drawing characters and illustrating a few years ago, and now I’d like to begin developing a unique illustration style.

6. Make Zines and Mini-Comics

Zines are something I’ve discovered pretty recently and have fallen in love with. I still don’t quite understand them, but I think they usually feature art, writing, or both in a booklet made of printer paper or any other type of material you can think of. The endless amount of possibilities that come with zines really excite me!

7. Document my Norway Trip

On July 18, I will be heading to Norway for a two-and-a-half week trip! I’ll attempt to document it through art-journaling, painting, drawing, and photography.

Well, this is definitely going to be a busy summer! I can’t wait. 😀