Tag Archives: writing

Actually Finishing Something in July

Yesterday I came across this lovely challenge from Whisperings of the Pen blog, and even though it is already a week into July, I thought I would love to participate. Even though I am doing Camp NaNo, my enthusiasm for it is waning, so I believe this is just the ticket… a little extra motivation is in order! {especially taking into consideration my latest blog post…} So, thank you, Katie, for this marvelous idea!

realafsjavi

I’ll answer the questions from week one, since I am joining a bit late!

1. What is your writing goal?

50,000 words. No sweat. Jks.

2. Give us a short synopsis of your project.

Twelve kids find themselves magically transported to an island where they are chased by horrifying creatures, given a mission they know nothing about, and caught up in the preparations for a great battle. Their lives are in danger every moment of the day… But there is one way they can ensure safety from themselves: give in to the evil villains who are taking over the island and join their side. Or else, return home. Only they realize before long that getting home is impossible. They must choose…  stay safe and fight on the side of Evil… or stand for what is Good… and risk death?

3. How long have you been working on this project?

Since last year… it’s been somewhat of an on-and-off project. I’ve been brainstorming about it, but as for the actual writing, I did very little of it until this past week.

4. How often do you intend to write in order to reach your goal by August 1st?

Every single day and every spare moment I have!

5. Introduce us to three of your favorite characters in this post.

Gregory is the oldest of the group. He is 19 or 20, tall, dark-haired and handsome, responsible, and caring. He is a little bit like a teen version of Aragorn. He loves little kids and has a funny side to him, and is really good at keeping people calm in extremely stressful situations. He thinks well under pressure.

Lilian is a dreamer and though she is feminine and enchanting in some ways, she is also a little bit of a nerd. She will write anywhere and everywhere, usually without heeding what other people think. She is caring and quickly notices how other people are feeling and can adjust her mood to theirs and tries to make them feel better. Though she is incredible with words on paper, when it comes to saying what she means instead of writing, she is awkward. Especially around boys.

Lettie is 7 or 8 years old, as girly as they come. But she also has a nose for adventure and a love for animals. Two of her favourite people are Gregory and her oldest sister Hazel. Her best friend is her pet wolf, which gets her into more than a handful of trouble.

6. Go to page 16 of your writing project. (or 6, 26, or 66) Share your favorite snippet of the page.

There was a creature unlike any she had ever seen before. A greenish brownish scaly shape larger than a full-grown man flew by in a moment, but in that brief amount of time, Lillian had noticed that it was wrinkled and terribly ugly. Its large feathery wings spanned at least her own height if not more.

She turned to the others in shock. Their wide eyes betrayed the horror and bewilderment they were feeling at the sight of the frightening creature.

It disappeared over the treetops in the woods. The kids turned to each other, still gaping. “What was that?” Lettie whimpered, clutching her older sister’s arm.

Gregory shook his head in disbelief. “I have no idea.”

 

7. Tea or Coffee?

Tea is unparalleled, in my mind!

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Camp NaNo: the Novel-Saver for Procrastinators

When it comes to procrastination, I’ll be the first to admit that I am hopeless. Since I was 11, I have wanted to write, finish, and publish a novel and dreamed that by the time I was 20 or so, I would be a best-selling novelist, (don’t we all) renowned throughout the continent, and would have toured North America with reading tours and book signings, attended the movie premier of one of my books, and set up a career for myself as a full-time novelist. 

Well, it hasn’t happened yet… perhaps because it’s not quite so easy as I imagined it to be when I was 11. But perhaps also because I am an atrocious procrastinator.

And that is why Camp NaNo is my lifesaver. This is my third Camp, (and fourth or fifth time NaNo-ing overall) and I have been working on the same novel for all three of the Camps. This time, however, it is day 7 and I am still up to date with my word count. (My previous record has been 3,900 words- out of 40,000. Ouch.) I am striving to reach my word count of 50,000, which is ambitious; but I realized that if I don’t get it done this summer, I likely never will. 

Even if I fall behind, I am determined not to get discouraged. Even if it is a frugal count of two or three hundred, it is still worth writing something. 

This summer, I’m keeping myself optimistic and dedicated to writing- and finishing- this book.

Are you participating in Camp NaNo? How’s your experience so far? If you’re a procrastinator, is it making the writing process more motivating for you?

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Interview (Mis)adventures

It’s funny how easy it is to find character inspiration… especially when you aren’t looking for it.

Just this morning, I had a job interview downtown. I realized I had forgotten to bring a watch or a phone with me and looked around on the walls, hoping to see a clock. There was none.I was getting panicky… should I continue to wait in the foyer or should I enter and look around for my interviewer? There was no receptionist and it looked like the hallway to the interview room was locked. There was a doorbell. Should I ring the doorbell? Would that be stupid? Maybe it was only meant for particular people. Should I wait? If I did, would I be late? Would the interviewer come out looking for me? Would the receptionist call me? My head was a NASCAR racetrack as a million questions raced through my head. (It’s safe to say, I haven’t had many interviewing experiences)…

old_clock-wallpaper-1920x1200 An older couple entered the room, and I greeted them with a friendly hello. Then I went back to nervously waiting and rebuking myself for forgetting to bring some method of telling time. It occurred to me I could ask the couple for the time… but should I? I had walked in 15 minutes early… Sure, I could ask them once. But in a couple minutes I would need to ask them again (when I’m nervous, my time-telling skills get all jumbled up) How awkward would it get asking them three or four times in a quarter of an hour?

Then… I spied it. A watch on the man’s wrist. And he held it… just so. I could read the time if I tilted my head and glanced at it for a moment.

I tried not to look too creepy.

Finally, after a few discreet glances, I smiled sweetly at the woman and asked if she knew whether the door was unlocked? “They told us it opens at 10,” she replied with an accent. “Are you going for an interview?”

When I replied in the affirmative, she continued “You be strong, don’t worry about what they say. Don’t let them worry you. Show you’re confident. You can do it… just walk in there, and God will be with you.”

A young woman walked into the room. I recognized her from some research I had done on my job. Lovely red, curly hair and an attractive, pretty face. Was she about to be interviewed? Or was she my interviewer?

“Go ask her,” the woman next to me prompted. A bit too loudly.

“Go on,” she encouraged.

“Yes, I will,” I replied, while making up my mind that I would wait a couple minutes. Just so as not to give the impression that I need instruction from strangers on how to ask other strangers about how to enter a hallway.interview

“Go ask her,” the woman repeated. She was a lovely lady and I was charmed by her considerateness for me, but I wanted to make a good impression… approach the girl as a result of my own initiative. Interviews are all about good impressions. I was going to showcase my initiative, my social skills, my communications talents, my leadership in getting up from my seat, walking over to her, and asking the astute question...should I go in now? I’m sure I would have awed her with my brilliance, but she accosted me first.  I walked in after her through the door… 3 minutes early, according  to the man’s watch.

She left for a moment to find my other interviewer, and in the meantime I seated myself and admired the large windows, spanning across the entire wall. My curiosity and writer’s instinct (ever on the hunt for story inspiration) were picqued by two men some distance away. They looked like they were having a heated discussion. At least, one was. The other was more subdued and, after a few moments, walked away.

The angry man lumbered closer to my window. His movements were uncontrolled and I wondered if he was drunk. There was nobody else outside and his back was turned to me but I could hear him still shouting, though I could not make out the words.

Then, raising his arms, he yelled: “she’s dead! she’s dead!” in a voice of remorse, anger, hurt, hopelessness? But none of those words can describe his voice. My heart all of a sudden reached out to him.

Just then, the interviewers re-entered. I tried to focus, and managed decently. Sometimes, in the middle of my sentence, I would hear yells and would inadvertently turn around to look, and one time I saw him, hands cupped at his brow, peering in at us throughwater_hand-500x336 the window.

I didn’t see him as I left the building. But I hope that he will be healed from whatever hurt or anger he is carrying in his heart. And perhaps his pain will be captured, some day, in the life of a character in one of my novels, and perhaps then it will be set free.

Because that is the job of a  writer. Find the pain in the world, capture it, and wash it clean. And behind the scenes, it is God who makes it pure and beautiful.

 

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A Cure for Writer’s Block

Over the past couple of months, I have have been doing some work on my novel-in-progress. I am determined to get a substantial amount of it written this summer, for I feel that if I don’t write it now, it shall never be done.

Image My sister is extremely excited for Camp NaNo, starting next month, so I hope that her motivation and influence will rub off on me. Which is not to say, of course, that I am not excited for NaNo, for I very much am, but rather, that I keep coming to a standstill with the actual writing and dialogue. It seems so dry and as soon as I write it, I despise it. The general ideas flow quite unrestrictedly, however. I think that is my favorite part of writing: reaching out for the ideas and images that float into my head, capturing them before they escape, and immortalizing them on paper. It is because my ideas are all the moments of action and excitement; but when it comes to the actual nitty-gritty details of writing the story down successively, all the in-between, boring, dry parts are unavoidable.

There is some hope of rescue, however. At the library, I discovered a gem of a book called “The Writer’s Idea Book” (what more tempting title could there be?) written by Jack Heffron. It is replete with over 800 prompts  to help the writer recall his own experiences and feelings, and then weave them into the lives of his characters to give them greater depth. Brilliant, in my mind.

Here are a couple sample prompts:

“Write about a public gathering you attended in a place you visited. A baseball game or street fair, an outdoor concert or historical reenactment. Put yourself there by freewriting or clustering, allowing your mind to wander back. Write about the people you saw, the smells in the air…”

“Use the description above as a backdrop for fiction, writing at least one scene in which characters deal with some sort of conflict while attending the event….”

“Begin a scene with a line you’ve overheard someone say recently. It needn’t be a catchy or powerful line. Something mundane will work: “How much are these pants?” “If you’re good, I’ll let you pick out some candy at the counter,” “Is he ever on time for a meeting?” Begin there, and move forward, providing a completely different setting and context for the line.”

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Letters4Life Canada

The Canadian version of the letter campaign: http://www.letters4life.ca/

Let’s write 100,000 prolife letters to end abortion!

In Canada, 100,000 children die every year because of abortion.

100,000 letters could change that.

Do you want to make a difference?

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1 Million ProLife Letters!

Some teens in the States have organized a campaign, called the 2012 Pro-Life Letter Writing Campaign, whose goal is to write 1 million letters to the President opposing abortion. This is the last week of their campaign, so if you could help them out, that would be great!

1st step: Write a letter and address it to:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
step 2: send your letter and take the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3N57QY5

you can find a form letter and more information on the site: http://theteenagelifeclub.blogspot.ca/#!/

Be a voice for the voiceless.

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How to Lose Your Blog Followers in One Easy Post…

 

 so, do you ever experience those moments where your brain is all a jumble and you can’t think at all- simply because the night has cast its mysterious aura (if I’m using this word incorrectly, it’s cause I don’t even know what it means… but it does sound right in this sentence to me!) and your grammar is all messy and disshevelled just like my hair when I wake up in the morning…

and then you wonder, is ANYBODY going to read such a useless, time-consuming post?? so then you begin to berate yourself for wasting the time of poor, unsuspecting victims who innocently click on your blog only to go BAM! and find themselves lost in the world of your *ahem* insightful and intelligent (…) musings about how to write a post when it is nearly 4 in the morning.

So why don’t I be a little more productive- and *GASP at my ingenuity and astounding ideas! oh the capabilities of my humble brain! oh the marvels! oh the- well, I’m sure you have grasped the remarkable aspects of my mind and it is needless for me to go much more into depth now.

So my ingenious idea is to:

OFFER GUIDELINES on how to write a late night post!!!!!!!

1. Write about your remarkable mind and the thoughts you come up with. The most incredible insights come at around 3 in  the morning.  Even telepathy becomes possible at this time of night/morning. Now, this has been proven multiple times to be a fact. For example, if you are having a sleepover and you shine a flashlight at the clock to see what time it is, your friend should be perfectly able have this knowledge transferred to their own mind without the necessity of spoken words. Eyes widened= 1 am. Quiet gasp= 2am. Small squeal= 3am. Sudden burst of incontrollable laughter and the sudden fear of death by suffocating from the excess of giggling= clearly past 4 AM.

2. Allow your hands to explore the keyboard. Out of consideration for my poor readers who are most likely no longer reading at this point, having had sufficient proof of my insanity, and out of concern for their own sanity probably abandoned this blog forever, I have taken extra precautions to keep my spelling correct. Because you really have no idea how many typo’s I’m making, but for the sake of my dear lovely readers I’m doing my very best to avoid every single one. But now, to get it out of my system: ckdjiefoajnvnhfiehjakljaoj ;kanmla;ipauut787rfjinhjlzcv;aidoeifkjlann aldjf

okay, that was fun! (btw, that was totally random keys so if any words came out of it, it was unintentional. This mostly applies to the risky possibility that I might have accidentally written some bad word in a different language that I don’t even know)

3. Go to sleep and stop writing before you lose every single follower you ever gained.

So that means, goodnight!

And good luck with your next endeavour at writing a late night/ early morning post! I’m sure you’ll keep my valuable guidelines in mind 😉 jkjk I don’t want you to lose all your readers!

Okay, ciao!

P.S.  to all my followers- I love you!!!!!!!! 🙂

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