Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Music to art by

November 20, 2013

We are just beyond the halfway point for NaNoWriMo and listening to music is a large part of my writing experience.  This is especially true when writing in public places where I need to drown out the noise. Music can also reinforce the emotions that I am writing into my story.

If I had the time, energy and a decent computer I would come up with playlists like some authors do. Alas, I do not, so I use Pandora or whatever I have on my computer to do the job.

I listen to sound tracks to movies, usually Lord of the Rings, as these do not typically have lyrics and put me in “the zone.”   I also enjoy newer Radiohead and have done so since I was writing papers in college. My husband enjoys listening to Celtic music while he writes.

I LOVE to sing along to music and I find that it can be quite distracting to myself and those around me, so I try to avoid this during writing.  I end up focusing on the lyrics and not the page (and create quite a racket).

What do other writers listen to?  What about those who do other kinds of art?


NaNoWriMo prep

October 27, 2013

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? It starts in just 5 short days!  Have you plotted everything out yet?  Have you figured out a schedule so that you can get in your word count every day? Are you stocked up on your caffeinated beverage of choice? 

You haven’t?  What is wrong with you?  Panic!

Well, not really.  I haven’t yet prepared for NaNo yet either! Ok, so I started a little.  I have an idea in mind and have fleshed out the characters a bit, but that was because it was the story I was going to do last year. (I switched stories at the last minute)  It might be a good time to sit down and at least get an idea for your story.  Maybe think a little about your characters and a little about the plot so you have someplace to go when you sit at your keyboard on November 1st.  You don’t want to sit down and freeze– drool is not very attractive!

One suggestion I have is write a little bit in your character’s voice so you are not just meeting them for the first time when you sit down to write.  This does not count towards your word goal, but it sure will make it easier to get into your character’s head when you are writing about them come November.

Another suggestion is to come up with a plot and some major plot points.  Having an idea for a world or some characters in difficult situations is all well and good, but that is not the same as having a plot.  I discovered this 2 years ago when doing NaNo.  I had a vague idea of some characters and the word they lived in, but so what?  I didn’t know what these characters were going to do with themselves or what the point of my story was.  If I were a discovery writer that would be all well and good, but alas, I am not.  Not knowing where I am going makes me freeze up.  Doing a writing exercise without a main plot in mind to start with is all well in good, but for me 50,000 words without a plan is a daunting task!

Here is a quick rundown of a few of the places that I go to for writing information (with a few duplications from my earlier NaNo post)

Writing excuses podcasts:

These are just 15 minutes long and include various topics (you can hear all of the archived podcasts) by published authors.

 *You can listen to these, get great advice, and get all excited to write!!


Jim Butcher’s Livejournal:

It has been a while since he has posted, but the advice that he gives on plotting is great. I also think that Jim Butcher is my favorite author, so if I could write anything close to as well as him I would be so happy!


Michael Stackpole’s 21 days to a novel (ebook):

This ebook leads you through character development and plotting before you start your novel.  It may be a little late for this now, but this is what I am using to get ready.  You could do this in fast forward if you have time, or maybe take the main points.


Terribleminds by Chuck Wendig:

Author Chuck Wendig blogs about writing and writers.  Warning, he is also very good at swearing, often in creative, but entertaining, ways.


David Farland writing tips:

Author David Farland (Dave Wolverton) gives writing tips that can be delivered to your inbox daily.

Get yourself into a writing state of mind.  Work on your writing every day of the week until Nano starts and then write every day for a month!  I need to take my own advice, so this evening I will sit down in my local cafe and work more on my story and characters.

I intend to make this more than just a mental exercise.  I want to make NaNoWriMo productive!  The wonderful thing about it is you can make it whatever you want it to be!  Write fanfic! Write a memoir!  Retell fairy tales! Write that novel you have been jonesing to put down on paper!

Just write!

NaNoWriMo or bust!

September 27, 2013

It is nearly October, which is almost November, which is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.  What is NaNoWriMo and why should you care?

NaNoWriMo is the opportunity to challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  50,000 of whatever words you want.  They don’t have to be good words or even coherent words, just words down on paper (or the word document).

Now, for the sake of it being a bit more fun than just writing down random words you should probably strive to write a story.  The important thing about this exercise is that you shut off your inner editor.  That’s right.  You are going to write and write and not worry about whether what you just spent 2 hours working on was crap or not.  Just keep moving along.

Why should you do this?  I did it because I wanted to see if I could.  I write best under pressure, or at least with goals and deadlines.  I had attempted to do this for the past 3 years but last year was the only year I accomplished my goal.  I am not sure why.  I wasn’t even going to do it last year. I was getting ready for a long distance move. It was the holidays. I was lazy. But none of that mattered once I got going. I worked my butt off and even finished my word count early. I would go on an add 30,000 more words to complete my first draft during the months after NaNo.

So, what did I do differently this past year rather than other years?  I had a plan.  I did not go in with a blank slate.  I don’t work well that way. I have a tendency to freeze up, so I wrote an outline.  I developed my characters.  I used Michael Stackpole’s 21 Days to a novel. I took his writing workshops at Dragon Co and found it helpful then bought the ebook. You can find it on Amazon here: Remember that even if you have a plan you do not need to follow it.  An outline is not there to restrict you, it is there to give you a logical structure to follow and to help develop your ideas so they don’t flounder.

Perhaps you are a seat-of-your pants type of person. Doing NaNoWriMo (or attempting to do it) has taught me that I am not that type of person.  I suspect that if you are you might want to at least consider writing down a few thought ahead of time. . Reading Stephen King’s On Writing may inspire you because that is the type of writer he is.  Even if you are an outliner you should read it.  I found it fascinating.

Another way to prepare may be to read some books on writing or listen to writing podcasts.  I love Writing Excuses (  They actually talk a little bit about NaNoWriMo in some of the podcasts and have done some of the pep talks that are sent out throughout November.

Why should you join on the website and participate rather than doing this on your own?  For one, it puts you in contact with other people who like to write. You can be inspired by others in the group and perhaps you can inspire others.  You can meet people in your area that are participants (this part is optional– some people I have talked to did not like this aspect but I did). It will give you goals and deadlines (to stay on track you need to write an average of 1667 words per day).  You get pep talks from authors throughout the event.

If you like to write think about participating. It’s free and fun and you can make it into whatever you want it to be.  If you decide to participate feel free to add me as a writing buddy.  My username is krinaldo.