#amwriting

A long break – and NaNoWriMo!

Posted on Updated on

I apologise for the long break between posts. I’ve reblogged a couple of interesting posts lately, but have not put up any of my own. The main reason for this is that my mother passed away in September. I’ve been dealing with that and trying to get back into my work proofreading and converting books, but I’ve also been planning my next novel. This is something I’ve been wanting to get serious about and do for a while now, and it’s a good distraction from my grief.

I have signed up with NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – to help me get focused and stay focused. For those of who don’t know what that is, it’s an event organised on the Internet for anyone who wants to write a novel and might need some motivation to just do it. Or if you just want to have fun while writing.

It was started in 1999 and originally had about 120 people doing it. Now it has thousands worldwide. It’s free to join and the goal is to write a first draft of a novel during the month of November. At least 50, 000 words in 30 days. If you reach the 50,000 word mark, you are declared a winner.

50,000 sounds like a lot, but if you break it down, it works out to be 1,667 words on average per day. You probably think that that’s still a lot of words, but it isn’t really. I can type that in about 40 minutes. Believe me. I’ve done it. Today even.

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo and although the day isn’t over yet, I have written 3369 words already! And it was easy! When I get into the flow of writing, time flies by and the words just magically appear on my screen, and before I know it, I’ve written a chapter.

A lot of people on the Net have recommended doing “Word Sprints” to help you get going. All you do is set a timer for a short period of time, say 20 minutes. Think about what you’re going to write first, before you start. Have it cemented in your brain. Turn off all distractions. Then start the timer and just write. Don’t stop for anything (unless the house is on fire) and just let the words flow. The secret is not to try to edit as you go or think too much about whether it’s good writing or not. Just go.

Once your timer goes off, stop writing and take a break. I did my first one just after midnight, then another 20 minute sprint this morning after breakfast. And the third one was a bit longer because my timer didn’t go off for some reason. It was about 35 minutes.

So I got 930 words done first, then 968, then 1498. It wasn’t hard. The sprints made it easy and made it so I didn’t stress about it. I just did it.

The other advice is to not edit your draft while you write. Just concentrate on getting to the end. You can edit later. If there’s something you need to change, just make a note of it that you’ll act on when you edit, and just keep writing.

I hope you have signed up, or are thinking about it – I think you can still join now. You can meet other authors on the https://nanowrimo.org website, participate in the forums, get help, get pep talks and motivation, and attend meetups near you. Even if you have no intention of joining, go check out the website anyway.

I think this is just the kick in the pants I needed to get motivated and stay motivated. I can’t slack off now… everyone will know… lol.

If you’ve signed up too, let me know in the comments below.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Giveaway is almost over and I’m excited!

Posted on Updated on

I put my book on Goodreads for a Giveaway and so far 375 people have entered! There’s only two days left until the winners are drawn and Goodreads sends me the list of the ten winners. I’ll sign ten of my books and post them out.

I’ve never done a giveaway before and it’s actually exciting. Yes, I’ll have to pay for the postage of the books, but those people will get my book and read it and hopefully put up a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

I’m gonna enter some giveaways myself and see if I can win a book or two. It’ll be fun.

I’m trying to decide what to put in the box with my book. Maybe a little thankyou card and a small gift of some kind…

It would be nice for them to get something extra.

Have you ever put your book up in a giveaway or won a book yourself? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

The thing about procrastination

Posted on Updated on

Life is short, people. Stop putting things off. You’ll run out of time. If you’ve always dreamed of learning how to play Stairway to Heaven on the violin, just do it!

But seriously, I’ve always had trouble with me procrastinating about something. I don’t know why, but sometimes it’s just too hard to make a decision, so I put it off. Or sometimes I get distracted, or there might be some other reason I don’t get to do whatever it is. I run out of hours in the day. That’s a really common problem for me.

I need to manage my time better. I know this. I’m working on it.

But sometimes something happens and you can really see the consequences of putting things off. My mother passed away on 6th September and I’m still in shock. She had a split in her Aortic Artery and they couldn’t operate. She’d already had open-heart surgery for this same problem six years ago.

There were so many things that I was going to do with her. For her. And now it’s too late. This is the ultimate price we can pay for our procrastination.

I’m rethinking things. Not only do I have to give myself a kick up the bum as far as working on my business and writing my next book goes, but I also need to look after my health. I’m fairly healthy, but need to lose some weight. I don’t want to have a short life. My mum was only 70, but my nan lived till she was 92. I want to live a long life and be there for my son and the rest of my family, and I want to write heaps of books before I’m done here on Earth.

So… I need to change a few things and just DO IT!

What about you? Do you put things off? Tell me in the comments below. What do you want to do and how are you holding yourself back?

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Goodreads Giveaway!

Posted on Updated on

I have organised a Goodreads Giveaway for the next month, starting today! All you need to do is click a button to enter – and that’s it. It’s free. Goodreads will pick ten people at random who will receive a signed paperback copy of my book, Tamisan (Tamisan Book 1). I will post them to the winners of the giveaway.

Here is the link to the book’s page on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35879941-tamisan

Scroll down to the section where is says WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK and click on Enter Giveaway. It’s that simple. I hope you win!

*Note: The widget for the giveaway isn’t displaying properly, but the link still works.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

The truth about PLOT and STORY

Posted on Updated on

My eyes have been opened! I just watched a YouTube video from Just Write called “What Writers Should Learn From The Lord Of The Rings” and what he says about plot and story is amazing!

He talks about the difference between plot and story and includes things like the character arc in his definition of story. He says that they are separate and that in The Lord of the Rings, the climax for each of them comes at a different point in the film. I won’t try to explain all the details here. Just watch the video for yourselves. It knocked my socks off. It also explains why there’s such a long ending.

I think that this is a really important thing to understand if you want to write good fiction.

Here is the link:

What Writers Should Learn From The Lord Of The Rings

I hope you find it as interesting as I did and I hope this has been helpful to you.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Said is NOT dead

Posted on Updated on

I hear people on the Internet, especially on YouTube, say that their English teachers had told them that “Said is dead”, meaning, don’t use the word “said” when writing a novel or short story. I don’t remember my teachers saying that specifically, but they did insist that we use more “interesting” words to describe speech. I’d never really thought too much of it until recently.

A few AuthorTubers were talking about this and saying that it’s okay to use said. In fact, they’re saying that if you do use it, it kind of floats to the background and your readers don’t really notice it. It’s almost invisible, which is a good thing. I thought that what they’re saying made sense, but it wasn’t until I picked up a book written by someone who had used anything but “said” that I realised exactly how much it changes your writing.

I found myself noticing every word they used. Replied, reciprocated, insisted, intoned, argued, countered, retorted, interjected… the list goes on. The first things I noticed was that it didn’t feel natural and it didn’t fit with the style of the writing. The next thing I noticed was that it started to really annoy me. “Said” would have been better than most of the words used.

Sure, there may be instances where you need to make sure your readers know how something was said, and that’s fine. Use another word. But “said” and “asked” are quite adequate for most things.

Although, if you write, “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!”, you don’t need to write ‘Sarah yelled’ afterwards.

Another thing you can do so that your writing isn’t full of he said, she said: Try to use an action rather than just telling the reader that someone spoke.

For example, instead of this:

“Are you coming to the mall with me?” asked Mary.

“Um, I don’t know,” said Jill.

“We could go to that shoe shop where the cute guy works and then we could get a smoothie,” said Mary.

“Okay, I’ll get my purse!” exclaimed Jill.

Use this:

Mary strode into the living room. “Are you coming to the mall with me?”

Jill cringed. She didn’t want to go, but didn’t want to upset Mary. “Um, I don’t know.”

“We could go to that shoe shop where the cute guy works,” Mary insisted as she twirled a lock of her hair around her finger, “and then we could get a smoothie.”

A devilish smile spread across Jill’s lips. “Okay, I’ll get my purse!”

Which example sounds more interesting?

On a side note, when writers say “Said Mary” instead of “Mary said”, it rubs me the wrong way. To my mind, the books I read in primary school when I was learning to read would use “Said Mary”, so it makes the writing sound childish. And it seems to sound worse when written in the present tense. Or maybe that’s just me.

Is it just me? Or does this bother you too? Let me know in the comments below. Or tell me if you think “said” is dead.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

No warmups – just write!

Posted on Updated on

There is a lot of advice out there about preparing to sit down and write your book. Some people tell you to free write or journal beforehand. They say to just write about anything that comes to mind. I’ve sort of tried this and it’s okay. But I guess I didn’t love it, or I’d still be doing it and this blog post would be totally different.

This advice is usually meant for someone suffering from Writers’ Block. To help them get unstuck and back into the swing of things. To get their mind muscle back into writing again. And this may work for you. But I don’t think we need to free write every time we sit down to write.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this advice. It’s just that it doesn’t always apply. Or it doesn’t always work for us as writers. I think maybe we have to look at other factors, like the time we have available to write. I have plenty of time, but a lot of people don’t. You might only have an hour or less per day. Or an hour a week. However much time you have, it is precious. If you spend that time writing about something totally unrelated to your story, then you won’t get your story written.

As I’ve said in a previous post about writing faster, a good idea is to plan ahead and know exactly what you’re going to write about in your allotted time. Then sit down in the chair and just do it. Planning ahead really helps to eliminate Writers’ Block, because you know what you’re going to be writing about. It’s in your head already. You might have been thinking about the scene you want to write on your way home from work, and now that you’ve set aside time to write, it all just pours out onto the keyboard.

If you do find you need to write something to help with Writers’ Block or there’s something you’re stuck on, try writing about something related to your story. Those words won’t be wasted. You could write a totally unrelated scene, a scene depicting something that happened in one of your characters’ lives in their childhood, an “interview” with the main character or the antagonist, or anything you can think of. And don’t forget, you don’t have to write your scenes in chronological order either. You might be having trouble writing a scene because you keep on thinking about this other scene that is more exciting because it’s a fight scene or something. Go ahead. Write it. Just do it!

You’re the author. You’re the boss.

As we write, we establish our own routine and we learn how we like to do things and what works for us. What works for you? Do you like journaling or free writing? Add your comments below and we can start a discussion.

I hope this has been helpful to you.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.