writing

#WriteMentor: A Mentee’s Experience

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Hey everyone 🙂 How are you all making out? Did some of you participate in Camp National Novel Writing Month? I started to, but then I got busy with a new job (I’m happy as a clam!) and settled into a new routine.

Also, can you believe it is August 1st? The countdown is on for the Agent Showcase.

Today I want to share my experience with the mentorship program, #WriteMentor. I am beyond blessed to be part of this fantastic group of writers. There is an excellent mix of published authors and aspiring authors.

Without further ado, here is my experience of being part of a mentorship 🙂

1. Writing Community Broadens

I have met so many wonderful writers during #WriteMentor. I am part of the mentees Facebook group. We share how we are doing during revisions or ask writing craft questions.

My Twitterverse has grown as well. It is so fun to login and see what everyone is up to. Sometimes we post silly GIFS about how revisions AREN’T going smoothly, haha, or we just tag each other in fun little writing questionnaires.

I love meeting new writers, and #WriteMentor has brought new writing friends into my life for which I will be forever grateful.

2. Learn More About Writing as a Craft

As a writer, working with two brilliant and funny authors has been amazing. Their level of insight is really awesome. I received my final round of edits around ten days ago. I took a deep breath and cleared my desk, then sat down to read through their notes.

My jaw dropped many times. They were so spot on! They picked up on things that I didn’t even notice. Bringing some of these things to my attention has already shifted something in my writing brain. I find I am looking out for those problematic areas in my writing or noticing passive and filter words more.

I am so grateful for Amber and MB. They are the best. Thank you both for the time you put in this manuscript ❤

3. Grow More Confident as a Writer

My confidence has grown. I think every time you learn something new, you feel more sure of yourself. The ambiguity clears up.

For example, filter words are the worst, HAHA! Also, make sure the weather doesn’t drastically change in a scene without explaining why. Good ol’ continuity 😉

We will always grow and learn more. We can only get better! That is an encouraging thought. Even if I don’t get an agent or a book published in the next year or so, I know I am learning and growing. All of this is important on the journey.

We will get there.

Final Thoughts

A big shout out to Stuart White, who is an awesome, kind, and great encourager in the writing community! He is brilliant. You can tell he has a genuinely good heart and wants to help others. He is the mastermind behind this program.

Also, a big thank you to the rest of the mentors who are giving up their precious time to work with us. You are all amazing ❤

I hope someday if I get enough experience I can give back similarly and mentor a new writer. If you are thinking about applying for a mentorship program, I highly recommend it.

How has your summer been? What are you all working on? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Loie xo

writing

The Creative Benefits of Journaling

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Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels.com

Do you want to nourish your creativity? Perhaps you feel blocked from time to time. Did you know that journaling regularly can help artists and creators? Keep reading to find out more!

Benefits of Journaling 

Researchers have shown that the act of journaling is therapeutic. We often have a deluge of thoughts and ideas throughout the course of a day. By writing them down, we may gain insight about what we are thinking or feeling.

  • Notice trends in your creativity 

When journaling about my writing progress, I might take note of the time of day I felt most productive or creative as a writer and why.

  • Learn more about yourself 

This goes hand in hand with the previous point, but throughout the journaling process, I begin to see what upsets or energizes me. Maybe I will discover that I am at my best, creatively, in the early hours of the morning.

  • Clarifies jumbled thoughts 

I have a lot of racing thoughts, so I find it super therapeutic to write them down. When I do this, I can make sense of the tangle in my head. This is calming and I feel ready to move onto creative writing.

Free-Write 

Honestly, when I sit down to write in my journal, I just let my pen fly across the page. It may be a short entry, or it may be a longer entry. Sometimes I will sit down and end up writing a poem or short scene. Other times, I might grumble about how I feel or what I need to get done. If I journal in the morning, I write about any dreams I can still recall.

I even journal about the novel-writing process. After completing a chapter, I go back to my journal and discuss how it went. Sometimes, the practice of journaling about my novel helps unblock my mind if I’ve arrived at a deadend.

Daily Practice

It’s best if you get into the habit of journaling twenty minutes a day. By sitting down and writing, you may surprise yourself by what appears in your notebook! Perhaps you will get a new idea for your latest work-in-progress or discover a solution to a problem you have.

Morning Pages

If you want to learn more about the creative benefits of journaling, check out Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. She highly recommends writing Morning Pages. 

Happy writing, friends!

Until next time,

Loie xo

 

writing

Creating characters

July 3rd, 2018

Hello, lovelies! I hope you are having a good week so far. Happy Camp NaNoWriMo for those of you who are participating, whether you’re editing, writing, or outlining. I hope to write a novella set in the world of THE LOST SAGES, and explore one of my secondary characters, Tsura. I’m excited to learn more about her 🙂

I’ve decided to start blogging about the craft of writing, with the hope of better understanding it. In my own search to understand various techniques, I’ve found some neat books and informational videos.

The wonderful thing about being part of a writing community is getting to share information and tips with one another. After you read this blog, I would love to hear your own thoughts on how to create compelling and real characters 🙂

Writing video notes 

I stumbled upon Kim Chance’s writing videos on YouTube. I really enjoyed listening to her break down some of the various craft elements. In this video, she shared how she creates well-rounded characters. Kim kindly provides a character profile questionnaire that can be found on her website.

She discussed these key points: cultural influences, mannerisms, occupation and socioeconomic status, family relationships, spirituality, and education. Life experience is a big one. What have the characters gone through or what has happened to them before we meet them on page one.

In my book, THE LOST SAGES, Evren is poor and alone at the beginning. This really influences her decision making when Captain Sa’av, infamous pirate, arrives on Ionoke Island, seeking a navigator to bring him to the sinister Sea Queen’s lair.

Personality, of course, is a huge one. How does a character view themselves and how do other characters see them? I loved these two questions!! Oftentimes, we can see ourselves in a different light than those around us 😉

Growth

To become three dimensional, the character must experience some change over the course of the novel and journey.

What is the character’s goal? What is the motivation behind the goal and what is at stake if the character fails? For example, if Evren does not find the sinister Sea Queen’s lair, then her and Captain Sa’av won’t be able to retrieve an antidote to an epidemic that is claiming the air from thousands of lungs across Tarkais.

Question Time

Do you brainstorm all the details of a character before writing them? Do you have an image of the person or perhaps a feeling or situation they are involved with?

When I received an edit letter from a manuscript critique I won, the editor kindly suggested I begin to think about how Evren moves, talks, and interacts with others.

There were some things I knew from the beginning when I drafted THE LOST SAGES. But as always in revisions and rewriting, I learn MORE about my characters. A bit of backstory sheds new light. It’s amazing, the continual unfolding and learning that goes on.

Building Character 

With the help of the questionnaire and a character profile sheet an editor sent me, I found I had plenty of questions to answer when it came time to brainstorm Evren.

I also like to listen to music and let my brain wander, imagining Evren in certain scenarios and wondering how she would react. Free-writing also helps a ton before drafting a novel. I write a random scene with Evren in it. This allows me to see how she would handle a confrontation with a character or a dangerous situation.

Finding their voice 

I find voice a bit tricky and elusive. However, each draft I write or re-write, brings me that much closer to capturing the voice of the character. I think details in the book revealing how they walk (do they slouch, stride, or saunter) and talk (do they have a lisp, accent, or use certain words repeatedly) for example, help with capturing the unique voice of the character. Everything that makes them unique and different, will stand out.

Captain Sa’av, in the first draft of this book, was ice cold and arrogant. I realized early on that wasn’t really him. In fact, he was more goofy and eccentric. Evren appears to be uptight at the beginning, but she really relaxes once she is around people whom she feels safe with. All of this I discovered as I re-wrote.

What do you do?

How do you create characters? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Until next time,

Loie xo

writing

Writing is re-writing

May 2nd, 2018

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Good afternoon all!

Some of you may have heard this phrase before: writing is re-writing. A lot of the time, we look at the finished book in our hands and don’t realize the amount of drafts it took to get to the final copy. As a reader, I certainly didn’t know much about the process of writing a book.

When I first began writing more seriously in 2012, I was a newbie and didn’t know much about drafting and revising. I finished my first complete novel during NanoWrimo that fall and then in January took a look at the manuscript. It was awful. There were plot holes and two dimensional characters and hardly any description. The bits I did like I saved and then decided a re-write was in order. That was when I began researching how to re-write and revise.

Marissa Meyer has a great series about how she brings her story idea to a complete novel. She outlines what she does in each stage from brainstorming, research, first, second, third drafts, etc. I found that to be quite helpful when tackling my own first re-write.

Presently: the continual learning curve 

I received feedback on my current fantasy WIP, THE LOST SAGES (formally titled EVREN) and am working on it now. There was so much helpful feedback that I’ve created a TO DO list and am tackling each one separately. Even though it feels like I have to climb a mountain, I know in my heart of hearts that I will be so proud of this book when I’m done.

The thing I am realizing too is, this book is one of the first projects I’ve taken on and I am learning SO much. I am receiving insight into myself as a writer and where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I am learning a lot about grammar and proper punctuation and the age old, show don’t tell rule as well as the infamous info dumping in fantasy novels 🙂 It is all good and encouraging. I know this is the path I need to take to grow as a writer. I want to feel confident in my ability to pen a story and have the proper tools in my toolbox, as Stephen King explains craft.

I am at the point in my writing career where I can sense a few things coming down the road. I want to write stories I am proud of and that have heart in them. I want people to to resonate with them and perhaps see themselves in the characters. I also want to write the best story possible. I don’t want to settle.

This week I have been thinking a lot about creativity and projects we take on. Sometimes if we take on too much, our writing suffers because of it. I’ve noticed that I haven’t been able to focus as much and find it hard to return and work on THE LOST SAGES. I sat down and wrote in my journal, trying to discern what was keeping me distracted. Too many projects on the go. I needed to narrow my focus and so I have. Now, I set myself a reachable goal for each week and hope to have this latest draft done by June.

What are you all working on? How many drafts do you write? I would love to hear below.

Until next time,

Loie xo

writing

Staying motivated

April 18th, 2018

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Hi all *waves* How are you all making out? We are well over the halfway mark of April 😀 Today I am working on an edit letter for my critique partner and then plan to add some words to my Camp NaNoWriMo project later. After, household errands: clean the fridge, give Maggie May a bath, bake blueberry-banana muffins, and buy groceries.

Motivation and finishing projects 

Today, I thought I would talk about motivation. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. The never-ending energy I seemed to crackle with in November during National Novel Writing Month seems to have disappeared as of late.

I do notice a cycle with my creativity where in the fall, I find I can write thousands of words and my mind is simmering with new ideas. For some reason, the spring brings a new wave. I focus on edits and blog posts and research.

But I know that perhaps someday – if I am on a publishing schedule – I will need to switch the writing and editing hats effortlessly. So, how does one stay motivated? How does one focus on a project? Even if it may be the last thing you want to do?

1. Go for a walk 

Fresh air and pretty nature scenery tends to clear my mind and allow me to refocus. I can then usually come home and get to work.

2. Do something creative and different other than writing 

I like to bake or sew or make candles. My Mum is teaching me how to sew and it is a lot of fun to flex new creative muscles.

3. Magical cookies (from Susan Dennard) 

Write a list of the magical things or what Susan Dennard calls ‘magical cookies’ about your book, to try and generate that excitement again about WHY you wanted to write this particular story in the first place. Check out this link for more info about magical cookies.

4. Music

Listen to music that inspires you. Just breathe and be present with your project. Turn off Twitter, Facebook, and your phone. In this day and age, it is SO easy to get distracted. Try to have some quiet time with yourself and your story. Have a notebook nearby or your laptop so you can jot down any ideas that pop into your head!

5. Reward yourself

By making plans or marking events on my cute doggy calendar, I have a visual reminder of what is happening during the week. For instance, today I will be meeting a friend for lunch. That is something I am excited about so I will work extra hard this morning.

What motivates you and helps you stay on track? I would love to hear below in the comments 🙂

Until next time,

Loie xo