Monday, December 23, 2019

Exploring Writing Resources #2

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately because I want to see what others are doing to help propel themselves through tough spots in their projects. I am at a crossroads and I have completed the beginning and the end of my first novel -- not on purpose, that's just how it happened -- and I need a compelling middle.

I came across this site called BookBaby and I identified with it because my husband released his new CD (Cosmic Stowaway) through CD Baby. While searching through the site, I came across their BookBaby Blog. Wow! Talk about a resource! You should check it out, really! No matter where you are in the process, they have amassed tons of articles on any number of topics -- some you didn't even know you wanted to read!

Now, I know many writers keep a journal. I have kept personal journals in the past but I would just abandon them after a few months. While I was searching through their blog, I came across an article about keeping a "short fiction journal."  I have a WIP journal, but I think a fiction journal is a snippets journal, right? Little ideas and scenes that may or may not go into a story or create a plot that can be turned into a novel. Many "TV" writers use slips of paper and sticky notes for these things. The thing is that while the fiction journal can include those things, it can be used for so much more than I ever thought. For example, you can use it to flesh out characters to be used in future stories or creating new plot lines or just writing down scenes, snippets, and dialogue.

Now, I'm sure this is nothing new to many of you writers out there, but it was a great help to me! You have to remember, I'm a technical writer by trade. We work with specs and programming tools and other resources to create technical manuals, help text for software programs, etc. We don't keep journals for future projects because it's, well, unnecessary.

Finding an article that actually explains using a short fiction journal in a bit more detail than most blog posts I've read in the past is simply gold to me. I had to share this on my blog because I've now read a few more of this author's posts and she is very good at providing concrete examples. Her name, if you're interested, is Dawn Field. So, if you go to BookBaby Blog, look her stuff up. You might just mine a little gold for yourself.

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Exploring Writing Resources #1

I had to miss this year's NaNoWriMo, but I am beginning to work on my novel again after a very long break. I am reading a lot of blog posts and articles about writing a novel because it is much more difficult than one would think.

You can have a couple of great characters and a great plot, but so much more work goes into fleshing out those main characters, the supporting characters, and a story line, that you can become discouraged very easily. I often realize that I need to return to the beginnings and write character sketches so my characters don't (unintentionally) switch gears midstream.

While I intend to finish my novel in 2020,  I thought it I could take a page out of the NaNoWriMo book. I was reading a blog post By Rae Ell of Barely here Books entitled "How to Write a Killer First Chapter: (AKA What Your First Chapter REALLY Needs)" and ended up buying her book. I just did this today, so I haven't read the 54-page book yet; though I'm hopeful that my small investment will yield some good tips to help me write and finish this novel. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Book Review: The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #5)The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVED THIS BOOK! So many levels of human goodness and failings.The realities of human nature abound with jealousies between friends, lovers, and newcomers come to light. Secrets are revealed that will give you insights into the characters you thought you knew from the previous books. These secrets will haunt you. The characters become more real, more human, more uncomfortable with their own feelings. This is  especially true for Clara and Peter, Olivier and Gabri, and Ruth. But, of course, this is a murder mystery and the culprit must be found. This ending will surprise you. A must read for Louise Penny fans!!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Learning for Writing - Do You Need a Platform?

Sometimes to stay focused on your writing, you need to spend time increasing your skills at other extraneous tasks which are just as important. So, while I am not actually writing, I am learning. I am on the email list for Gabriela Perreira's DIY MFA updates. She sends out some great info on increasing your writing skills as well as things you need to learn to build your base.

I tapped into a great FREE webinar from Gabriela yesterday. And while it was a teaser for her upcoming Pixels to Platform workshop, it provided some important information that writers need to think about. Their social platform and how to build one.

All too often, writers do one of two things...spend all to much time on social media trying to sell their books at incredibly low prices, or they spend most of their time writing and forget all about their social media platform.

The biggest question I have is, "How important is it to have thousands of followers in order to be picked up by an agent or publisher?"  I see some writers who have 20 or 30 thousand followers on Twitter and I wonder if they bought all those followers (which you used to be able to do) or if they cultivated them organically.  Obviously, the latter method will take work and a semblance of a posting schedule. This takes away from precious writing time. If, in fact, it's necessary to have a platform that supposedly provides some guarantee of readership to a potential agent or publisher, then you must choose the best way to develop one.

I have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a blog. I really don't see the point in an Instagram account because I don't draw or paint or take photos. For me, writing in the blog is the exercise that keeps me in the zone. Then, all I have to do is share it on Twitter and Facebook, right? Not exactly. There is a whole science to gaining followers on Twitter. And these are the followers you want to fill in your for your potential readership. So you interact on Twitter. You follow people, you mention people in posts, and you like or retweet their posts. In turn, they follow you and retweet your posts. Eventually, you create a network.

Organically creating a following is a long journey. I only have 600+ followers. But, I've been lax of late -- got side-tracked for a long while and ignored the Twitterverse. But, as much as we writers need to be writing, apparently we also need to be social -- online anyway. My suggestion is, if you don't know how to build a platform, you can find many resources to learn from. Find one that resonates with you and good luck building your platform!! Oh and don't forget to follow me on Twitter -- @NCOverton313. Thanks!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Over the Moon

Just need to share this from my husband's new CD "Cosmic Stowaway" --

He wrote this one for me! ❤️❤️❤️ Check out his other songs on YouTube! I am so very proud of him. Motivation to finally get back to and finish my book!! 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Book Review: A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny

A Rule Against Murder (Armand Gamache, #4)A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the first Armand Gamache Series that was not set in the familiar location of Three Pines. I suppose such a little place should not be filled with murderous residents and guests, so this was a good switch. Plus, it was set during the Gamaches' anniversary get-away. Not only was Armande Gamache solving a murder in his usual calming fashion, but we were able to see a different side of him. The family man. He and his wife became more three-dimensional characters. We can identify him and we can begin to understand how he approaches the murders he and his team solve. Bravo!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

New Blog, New Motivation

(I have retired my WordPress Blog -- Journey Through the Word Forest -- and started this new blog: Writing the Journey.)

After my husband finished his long-awaited (and AWESOME, by the way) CD, I started thinking about my project and how much I truly want to finish it. I have let so many things get in the way over the past several years — yes, I said several years.

The idea for my novel germinated back in 1997. The main idea of the book has been overhauled a few times and I started writing the novel about 10 year ago. My problem is that I let other things take, home, volunteering, etc., so my calculations of time actually spent working on my novel add up to about 9 months. Seriously.

My talent for procrastination is incredible. I can make up any excuse to avoid doing something...even those things I really want to do, like writing. While work, home, and volunteering are all valid reasons, they do not take up the whole of my day. I feel like, if my husband can finish his CD, then I can finish my novel, right? Of course, I can. I just need to stop procrastinating. Hmmm. How does one do that exactly? This is the 64 million dollar question.

I decided my first step is to take advantage of the fact that we are moving to another state soon to step back from a few things, specifically my work with the Foundation. More recently, I decided to resign my many posts there at the end of the year if we don’t move by then (we must sell our home before we can buy another to move). I want to finish my novel, do some traveling with my husband, and just get out more. Right now, I have become so entrenched in the Foundation I always have something to do for them, not really good for me anymore.

Step 1 will also help me reduce my stress levels, which are astronomical with a huge move on the horizon. Writing is relaxing for me, so that will also help relieve stress. My second step is to allow myself to drift and actually think about my novel, where it should go from where I left off, creating and organizing a timeline, and just allow the ideas ruminate. Creativity happens when you allow it to ruminate.

It’s never been about writer’s block, just lack of attention. I have made promises to myself before, so how do I know this time will be different? I am a procrastinator, after all. Well, I Don’t know that this time will be different. However, I DO know that if I don’t try, I will never finish my novel. So, I’m resolving to try again.