A Nano Win, But It’s Only the Beginning

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I finished my NaNoWriMo story. Not only did I reach the goal of 50K words, I also ended the story. What I’ve learned from this experience is that I’m capable of cranking out a full novel within less than a month. It’s not perfect and it’s basically a super rough and dirty draft but the story is done.

Goals going forward:

  1. Take a break from Marlowe and work on finishing Aeva.
  2. Publish Aeva.
  3. Write new story I’ve been itching to start.
  4. Continue with first edit of TLS fantasy novel.
  5. Return to Marlowe and clean it up.
  6. First edit of Marlowe.

Here is a cut-and-paste from my Nano page with the updated “Marlowe” synopsis (still somewhat rough) and an excerpt. The excerpt is the scene just after Marlowe fights a cyborg that detonated.

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Cyborg Concept Art With Quote

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I’ve been working along on my “Marlowe” novel for NaNoWriMo and had an inspiration to make a concept art piece for one of the chapters. In this chapter, Marlowe meets her roommate’s boyfriend who has a robotic arm. He is essentially a cyborg but in their world, a cyborg is not a human with a robotic part or two. Cyborgs are more than that.

I made this piece using CS6 and the following images:

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Ready, Set, Go!

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Did you prepare for NaNoWriMo? Some do and some don’t and that’s okay. Just write! As mentioned earlier, I’ve prepared but not thoroughly — just enough to know what I hope to write and enough to keep myself inspired and motiviated. Last night, just after midnight, I stayed up until 1am to write a little. I got over 400 words in. Half the time was spent making sure I had my story straight.

In the evening, I was getting nervous about not having my plot straight, worried about who really were my characters, and worried about the setting. Earlier in the day, I saw a post on one of the Facebook groups I frequent. The poster had provided some helpful worksheets for plotting, character development, and scene/world building. I went ahead and downloaded them. She had offered them for free, so I figured, I might as well give them a try. If they don’t work for me, that’s no problem. At least I gave them a try. If they do work, then I’ve found something meaningful in guiding me toward writing better and faster.

I’m glad to say, they worked in my favor. But, to be honest, I think everyone can get something out of these worksheets. I’ve been writing all my life and have my degree in writing. The majority of my classes were all about the story structure (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution). Even when I studied nonfiction, the same structure applied. These worksheets are simple and easy to follow. I’m not trying to advertise for the designer. I’m just really thrilled that she is offering these for free and they are exceptionally well made. The designer is also a writer. Her blog and where you can download the worksheets is, The Wonderful World of Whimsy.

The way I went about the worksheets is I printed them and read them over. Then, in Excel (because I like having everything electroncially done) I took the information from the worksheets and wrote out my outline. The reason I also do it this way is because I have one main plot and many subplots. My main character and secondary characters all have a purpose. They all have a reason for what they do. There’s a domino effect of sort. I’m writing through one main character who is compassionate and who yearns for the family life and love. She is envious of those who have it but she likes to be around those who have it so that at least she can maybe live vicariously through them until, if ever, she finds that. In order to build that type of emotion, I need more than a few lines. I break the characters’ purposes into blocks so that when or if I lose sight of who these characters are and their purpose, I can toggle to it on my computer and keep moving.

With that said, I hope you are doing NaNoWriMo. And, whether you “win” or not, at least you’ve tried. To quote Tony Robbins,

No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.

NaNoWriMo 2018

Last November, I didn’t do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) because I was finishing up my master’s degree. I had wanted to but knew it couldn’t be possible. I’m excited to say, I am able to do it this year.

The first time I did NaNo (2016), I didn’t make a cover and didn’t include a synopsis. I rushed into it. I didn’t outline but did have a pretty good idea on what the story was about. I finished my 50K words, but it was tight. I felt like I just threw whatever I could into the story to hit my numbers per day. In the end, I felt I lost track of the plot and the main reason for the story. This time, I’m outlining to avoid all that. I’m sure there will be moments of the aforementioned, but my hope is to have less of it.

If you are not a member and want to give 50K words a try, go to: https://nanowrimo.org/.

If you are a member and want to be buddies, my member name is, waltzoftheflowers.

My story is a sci-fi dystopian speculative with some cyberpunk. It’s called, “Marlowe.”

The rough synopsis (will likely change):

After the great war, in what was once the United States, a new government emerged. They hired a clean-up company to remove debris and junk to clear out land for homes and farming. This company used machines and robots to assist in the cleaning. The robots are cyborgs: half human, half robotic parts. Cyborgs could only be created by using dead human parts but there are secrets the government doesn’t intend for anyone to learn. A girl named Marlowe will unearth the truth.

The temporary cover:

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I have a playlist I’m putting together for my story. Here’s one that I’ve imagined to go along with a scene. The scene is when Marlowe learns that her friend was converted into a cyborg without his consent. He finds a way to talk to her and asks her to turn his switch off (to kill him). She refuses.

It’s Getting Close…

The anthology I’m in is getting close to release date. I’m both excited and nervous. Exited because this will be my first published work. I don’t think this feeling will ever get old even with other works I’ll be releasing. Nervous because this story is close to my heart. It’s a fantasy story I’ve been dreaming for a long time…maybe 10 years, maybe longer. There were times when I wanted to trash the story or told myself, “It’s just practice,” but I’m glad I perservered. It’s a great feeling to know that someone cared enough and was interested enough in my writing to want to publish my work. I am grateful to be amongst the other authors in this anthology. It means so much.

 

First Edit Update on Fantasy Novel TLS

It’s been some time since I’ve worked on my fantasy novel. I’ll call it, TLS for now. Reason being, I graduated this past May (the 5th) with my Master’s of Arts in creative writing. My capstone project was to finish my fantasy story, this TLS one, and I did. It was an intense ride and so after I graduated, I took a week to relax. Out from relaxation, I started the first round of editing. It’s been a slow start.

It hasn’t been easy getting back into the mood of TLS. Last week, I spent about four days writing Aeva, the sci-fi outer space novella. Aeva was just in my head. Yesterday, after reading a book by George R.R. Martin, I had the urge to write TLS so I dug in and cleaned up a little bit of dialogue.

Here’s the original:

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And, here’s the edited:

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I’m happy with the changes but nothing is permanent yet. This is only the first edit.

A Teaser Clip From Current WIP

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In this teaser, Petra, the commander of the knights, is upset that she’s been removed from her position. She blames it on Jharyn, who was given her position.

WARNING: This clip contains foul language and violence.


It was then Petra lunged at Jharyn, punching him on the left side of his jaw. He stumbled, and a look of shock fell on his face. “I told you about the Ravens, you bastard! You should have backed me up! You should have fucking backed me up, you son-of-a-bitch!” she raged. With her right hand in a fist, she back swung it across his right temple, catching him in the eye and the bridge of his nose.

How to Make a Reader Cry

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There are different approaches to making a reader cry. The tips below are what works for me and what I think is the simplist way. It is not the only method out there or the only method I use. If you are new to writing and want to know how to go about making your readers cry, this is for you. If you are not new to writing, give it a try anyway. You might learn something new.

1. Create a character that readers will get attached to.

2. Make it quick. This means don’t dwell too long on the sad scene. You lose momentum that way.

3. Work backwards. For example, if you have a character that will die, know from what, how, and why.

If you still struggle, I recommend practicing short pieces. Write a short story, around 1,000 words focusing on one to two characters. Describe/show what they are doing. In the final few sentences, tell what happened.

[NOTE: This is the short version on how to make a reader cry. This is meant for beginners, new writers who are clueless about making their readers cry. I didn’t want to bombard new writers with an extensive breakdown (as I’ve seen other blogs have done because it can be overwhelming). Start small and build your way up. I may post an in-depth version later for those who want a bit more.]