Working towards the Goal

This week has been full of headaches and too much drama. Valentine’s Day was nice. I stayed home and played WoW (World of Warcraft) with my fiancé. Granted, running D&D campaigns has been a good hobby and a stress reliever. Playing Savage Worlds (ETU) has also been great too. Come to think of it, I have a lot of things to be thankful for. I just need to remember that there’s more good than bad.

Speaking of good, I learned something very useful. While it is a little embarrassing to say this, I will say it anyways. I finally learned how to make an em dash in Word while only using my keyboard (CTRL+ALT+ -). Somehow, I feel like I should have known this shortcut but didn’t. At least, now I know.

I have also been going through Sarah’s edits of the 8k words I sent her, and it’s been very helpful. One of my goals this year is to send Clan of Ash agents by the summer. While I have more agents to research, I’m looking forward to it.

The rewrite of Crimson Queen is going well. There’s a scene that can go in two different directions and I think I made my decision. I’m going with the easier approach as to why my main character is alive and nobody knows about this. Plus, this approach also adds to the conflict later on and the risk factor goes up. There’s always a present danger of my main character being found out.

While I still have a lot to do, I’m steadily working towards my goal even if it’s a little bit at a time.

 

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Progression

After a very long month, I was finally able to sent out my 8k words to Sarah from Lopt & Cropt. At the end of last year, I entered a contest on the blog, A Writer’s Path. I was the winner of said contest and having 8k words edited by a professional was one of the prizes.

Sarah provided a free sample edit before I sent over the 8k words. Thanks to her wonderful feedback, I got a broader feel and sense to my story (Clan of Ash). While I planned to send my 8k words to her immediately after her initial edit of 15-20 pages of my manuscript, I didn’t. Instead, I focused on NaNoWriMo which is where I wrote Clan of Blood, the sequel to Clan of Ash. Let me tell you, that broadened my view of the story even more.

In essence, this caused me to look back at the 8k words I was going to send Sarah. I ended up rewriting almost the entirety of those 8k words with a few exception. I did copy pasted a couple of sentences here and there the plot for those scenes stayed the same. They were just rewritten in a better way. I even discovered a minor plot hole that I fixed right up. That being said, I have to make a couple of more changes down the line but I already have a few ideas on how to remedy that.

Even as I wait for Sarah’s response, my work doesn’t stop. While I didn’t make any new year’s resolution, I did make goals for myself. One of those goals is to completely finish rewriting Crimson Queen. Slowly but surely, I will.

Endings – the First Draft

Writing the ending of a story can be tough. Knowing how the story is going to end is just as tough. There is no clear-cut way to figure how your story is going to end. Maybe you have it all planned out from the start. Maybe you didn’t figure out the ending until halfway through the story. Or maybe, you don’t have any idea how it’s going to end. Sure, there might be ideas floating around in your head but nothing is concrete and that’s okay.

Personally, I don’t usually figure out the ending until I get to the point where I can’t write anymore. Granted, this doesn’t happen to me often. Most often than not, I have some idea of how the novel is going to end.

Now, the good thing about writing the first draft is that nothing has to be perfect. The most important part is that it’s the first draft. This means that there’s going to be many more drafts of the same story. While the concept will stay the same and in some cases it won’t, everything else will change.

For the purpose of this post, I’ll stick with figuring out the ending for the first draft of the story. It’s not a novel just yet because the purpose of the first draft is to simply put the idea down on paper. That way, the idea has finally gotten out of your system and you can focus on writing the actual novel. I would also like to add that this isn’t about writing a satisfied ending.

When writing the ending of the story, what I do is make a list of all the potential ways to resolve the issue/problem/goal that has been the main focus of the story. Making a flow chart of the events leading up to the turning point/climax can be very helpful.

While you might not ever use one or any of those resolutions to the conflict, at least you started thinking about it. The process is to help your brain to think productively and creatively.

Once that list has been formed, try to figure out how to get from point A to point B. What would need to happen for that outcome to occur? It’s good to keep in mind that nothing is concrete. As much as you want the story/ending to be perfect, it won’t be. It’s not meant to be. At least not yet. Start with small steps and then take the bigger steps. Write those multiple endings/solutions and pick one that works . . . for the moment. There’s nothing stopping you from changing it after the first draft.

Even as a last resort, skipping the end is an option too. There is only one story that I skipped the ending. I didn’t necessarily write it out. However, I knew how I wanted the story to end. While this is nitpicking, at least, for me, I knew how it was going to end. It’s what worked for me.

At the end of the day, find what works for you. Every writer is different.

 

Scribophile

I recently joined a website called Scribophile. It’s basically a website for writers where they can post their work and have critiqued by other writers. The website utilizes a system through karma points. These points are awarded when you critique other people’s work. Through critiques, you rack up the points to post your own stories. You need 5 karma points to do this. So far, I haven’t managed to get 5 karma points yet but I’m getting there.

The stories are posted by chapters which the minimum is 3k words give or take so, I tend to read the chapter in one sitting. The website has this really cool mechanic where you can critique a work using their in-line critique option. It basically allows you to add comments and small edits throughout their work just like you can if you were editing with a pen.

There are also forums where you can discuss different topics with other writers and the Academy that provides free resources. Of course, the website also features a premium membership which cost money. However, signing up for the website is free.

While using this website, the one thing that I’ve found valuable is writing a critique. Thanks to college, I’ve had a lot of experience critiquing other’s works and so, I know how to write a critique. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m a little rusty at it, but when I wrote the critiques, my mind shifted.

Sure, I had edited my own work but that’s nowhere near what your brain goes through when critiquing someone else’s work. It is during critiquing, that I find, that I actually – kind of – know what I’m doing. It’s a good feeling when I realize that I know what I’m talking about. While I might know everything and critiques are only, in a way, personal opinions, feedback on any work is important. You need a fresh pair of eyes.

The story gets so wrapped up in your head that you can’t really see the big picture anymore. I’ve had a lot of experience with this and, just taking a break from inside my head to read/critique someone else’s work, gave me a huge energy charge. In one instance, I realized that a writer had the same problem as me. The setting wasn’t all there and I was able to point that out which made me more aware of what my story was lacking too.

So far, Scribophile has proved, at least to me, to be a very helpful resource. While I might not be on it at all hours of the day, the time I do spend on the website has been very valuable to me. All that’s left for me to do is to get 5 karma points and post my first chapter up for critiques.

Starting the New Year

2018 has started out to be very productive. I have finished my first book of the year called Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 1 by Hideyuki Kikuchi. Now, on to Vol. 2 which I have to find somewhere in my closet. It’s a series that I’ve been meaning on reading for a while now and I hadn’t been able to find any of the paperbacks for until only recently.

Each day has been filled with productivity and I won’t think about how my motivation might diminish in the future. Instead, I’ll focus on the now and worry about all that later. There are a few changes I wanted to implement in my writing routine. I don’t it’s anything drastic so to speak. This week, I’ll start off with including a scene I wrote for the prompt: “Do you remember the first time we met?” he asked.

“Do you remember the first time we met?” he asked.

“No,” she replied icily.

His face contorted in pain. “Casey,” he began.

Casey turned her body away from him. She focused on the breeze pulling at her braid and on the darkening clouds overhead. A few families were speckled throughout the park. The sings squeaked with every push and the children’s laughter reached Casey’s ears.

Of course, she remembered when they first met. It had been a day much like today. The only difference was that it was raining. She was practicing for a marathon and he was riding his bike without his glasses. Their meeting started with a trip to the emergency center. Casey took a deep breath distancing herself from those memories.

“What do you want?” she asked bluntly. “After all this time you call me and want to speak. What do you want?”

She twisted around, resting her back against the uncomfortable bench. Her arms were crossed. Jonathon reached toward her but stopped.

“Why do you think I want something?”

Casey clenched her jaw. Her gaze was focused on the dancing blades of grass in front of her. “Because you’re the type of person who uses people and discards them like trash.”

“You don’t know me.” Jonathon’s voice was low.

Casey smirked. “I date you for almost two years,” she said softly. “Trust me. I know you.”

“Why are you making this difficult?” Jonathan suddenly cried. “I just wanted to talk.”

His words reawakened a long-buried anger. Casey swirled around. “Oh, so now you want to talk,” she spat. She stood. “You didn’t want to speak when it actually mattered. When a simple explanation sufficed. You’re unbelievable.”

Jonathan jumped up. “What was I supposed to do? You didn’t want to tell me –”

“It was none of your business,” she interjected.

“You were my girlfriend!”

“Because that actually mattered back then,” Casey retorted. Her hands clenched. “I was only your girlfriend when it was convenient for you.”

“What was I supposed to think when you disappear for days with another guy? There were pictures Casey. Was I supposed to ignore that?”

Casey’s chin trembled. “You were supposed to trust me.”

That’s what I have so far. I might expand this a little more once I figure out enough details. Mostly, I was making things up as I went. In my humble opinion, I don’t think it’s a bad start.