This is the second week of November and I’ve officially been writing for NaNoWriMo twelve days and it have been twelve crazy days. At the beginning of week two of NaNoWriMo (last Wednesday), my motivation was so low! I just couldn’t get myself to write and eventually had to force myself to keep going. After that Wednesday, things went up and down, my motivation is still not that high but it’s better than it was. On Friday I almost didn’t write at all, which was so demotivating! However, on Saturday, I suddenly wrote 3k.
NaNoWriMo has started and I am so excited! Last week I wrote about how I really wasn’t excited and since then a lot has changed! On Tuesday, the day before NaNo started, I finally realized that working on a WIP that didn’t excite me anymore wasn’t gonna do me any good. I, instead, changed my story idea to something that I’ve been wanting to write since this summer and had been afraid to start. And it is so much fun to write!! More about that story idea later.
What I noticed already is that my drafting is going way easier and faster, because I’ve finally come to realize that drafting does not need to be perfect. My draft is gonna be a mess, with incoherent sentences, spelling errors, repetitions and messy dialogue and you know what? THAT’S OKAY. This draft can be as messy as I want it to be because in the words of Jen Wang: First drafts are like practicing dance moves in your room alone in the dark; it doesn’t matter what it looks like because it’s just for you.
So what’s my story idea?
You might remember, I once wrote a post with several story ideas that I was considering writing for NaNoWriMo, one of those was a transgender Mulan retelling. I was so excited for that one and I’ve finally decided to just go for it. Research can come later, now I just need to get the story out.
The story initially was set in 5-6th century China because that is where the story of Mulan originated but I’ve decided to change it to modern-day China. I wanted to include modern media and it was much easier to make the story diverse, which is something I really wanted.
My current working title is Making Mountains Bow. The story is about Xiulan, who is a transgender boy but not openly because his family doesn’t understand. I don’t want to spoil the entire story but it includes: an amazing sibling relationship, quirky friends, a tragic death, a war, dragons, expectations, betrayal, battles, strong male and female characters, and much more!
I have created many character aesthetics for my story, some of which are below! Some of these characters I haven’t introduced yet and there’s even one that I have no clue how to work into the story.
I’ve currently written 6.813 words and I’m really happy with that! I hope to write another 1-1.5k today, but I have obligations so I’m not sure I’ll be able to write a lot. So far I’ve had one day on which I just couldn’t write more than 1k, which was because I wasn’t feeling very well.
I’m having a hard time finding snippets I love, because the prose I use right now is not that good. But that doesn’t matter right now, anyway, I can change it in the rewrite. I do have a lot of dialogue that I just love so here are some snippets from that:
“You look like shit,” she said pointedly. Another thing about Kailee, she never knew when not to talk. She had no filters between what she thought and what she said.
“Well, thanks, I hadn’t noticed,” he said sarcastically. He felt like it too.
“Wild night?” she smiled, “got to meet any cute girls?” She and her girlfriend had just broken up a few weeks ago but she was already on the look-out for new flings.
“Ha, if you call my sister cute, then yes. Or champagne, is champagne a cute girl? I met a lot of champagne.”
She grinned widely, “ooh got a little tipsy, then?”
“I think I rambled on about the stars, walked into twenty people, puked in a bush and then woke up with an axe hammering my head. Figuratively then.”
“So your ordinary Friday night.”
“I’m sorry for ruining your night,” he said softly, the guilt biting at his voice.
“No! You didn’t ruin it, you were a sweet drunk. Very… wise.”
He chuckled, “oh god, I made a fool out of myself, didn’t I?”
“Only a little bit.”
How is writing going for you? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? What’s your favourite snippet that you wrote in your NaNo project? Any tips or tricks you’ve discovered?
I am looking for people who are Chinese and/or transgender and would like to help me out with the representation, so if you’re either of those and don’t mind me contacting you ask some questions while writing, please let me know!
I have mentioned NaNoWriMo and Inktober a couple of times on here probably, but I’ve never updated how these things were going, so that’s what I’m gonna do right now.
Let’s start with the basics: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) takes place in November, and people from all over the world attempt to write a novel of 50 thousand words. Inktober is a drawing challenge that takes place in October and basically it means you draw one ink drawing per day for each day of October.
Inktober was a bit of a mess. I did not realize how much time it was gonna take me to draw every day. And then it was not just the drawing, I was much of a perfectionist and wanted to make them look good when I uploaded them. This meant, scanning them with my printer, then editing them in photoshop (making the background completely white) and then uploading them. This was just too much work to keep up for an entire month. I also didn’t prepare anything the month so I had to think of topics while I was drawing and it became too draining combined with two big projects and university. I had to stop. I made it to day 8… Anyway, here’s what I drew in those 8 days:
I wish I could tell you how excited I am for NaNoWriMo, but I can’t. I’m still doubting whether taking part is even a good idea. I was planning on continuing with my current WIP. I’ve been referring to it as Our Shattered Minds and it is a YA fantasy about four magical outcasts who get caught up in a rebellion that wants to steal their magic. The concept is quite fun and I love the characters but I’ve been watching a lot of writing videos lately and it has made me doubt about every single thing about it. I don’t know if the plot is strong enough, I still don’t have an ending, I’ve been doubting whether my writing is good enough and basically everything has just put me off from writing it.
A couple of days ago, I was scrolling through pinterest as usual and got inspired for a title for another one of my story ideas. I’ve talked about the one before but I’m trying not to tell people (spoiler: I fail), anyway, it has sparked my excitement over that other story so much I just want to start on that one instead. The problem with this is that I can’t start it right now. I need a plot, outline, character profiles and I need a hell of a lot of research. I really want to do it right, so I wanna do a lot of research before I actually start writing it. And 3 days before NaNoWriMo starts is probably not the best time to start this.
So what am I going to do about NaNoWriMo? Honestly, I’m still in doubt. I want to try to participate, I really do. And I guess I could continue with my WIP, like I was planning to do. I might try that? But I also might give up after day 1, which would be really sad. It’s also so sad that every time I get stuck in this cycle of getting a story idea, being super excited about it, writing quite a big part of the story and then losing all motivation to continue. It feels so hopeless.
Well. Anyway. I guess I should try to get excited for NaNoWriMo because if it’s not gonna happen in the next couple of days I don’t know if it’s gonna happen at all.
I really wish this was a very happy post about how I completed Inktober and was super excited about NaNoWriMo, but I guess life is not always about the successes and more about what you learned along the way. If you want to follow me on the NaNoWriMo webite: go here (you can also see the complete synopsis of my WIP there), and if you’d like to see more of my art on my instagram: go here.
Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? How are the preparations going? What do you do against the writing blues (Idk if that’s a thing but I just made it up). Or are you taking part in Inktober?
It was a bit of a strange week, on some days I wrote a lot on some not at all. For those who (still) don’t know what it is, Camp NaNoWriMo is basically a smaller version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), in which you can set your own goal. For NaNoWriMo your goal is 50k, but for Camp NaNoWriMo I set my goal to 15k.
I have just finished the one-but-last chapter I was planning to write for Camp, and tomorrow and the day after I will write the last. It feels good to have so many words down already, but I feel I’m getting into the mid-month slump. Luckily, or sadly, depending on how you see it, I will only be participating for two more days. I’m going on vacation and won’t have my laptop with me.
I am really looking forward to going away and I plan on getting some more inspiration while I’m away and maybe add some minor storylines and add some character development, things like that! I think a small break from writing can really help me get inspired again! I will be writing (or at least try to) while I’m away, but that will be on paper. With an actual pen. Yeah, I guess I’ll see how that goes!
I only started writing “seriously” in (or after?) November of this year, when the bookish community suddenly was all about NaNoWriMo and I, silly girl as I was (just kidding I’m smart), started low-key panicking, because should I participate??? I hadn’t written much before that and with a very busy month I decided not to, but I loved how the entire community was suddenly all about creating new stories instead of only reading them.
In December I hosted a project I called Short Story Society in which I, and with me several other bloggers, wrote a short story each week. As to kind of make up for the missed NaNoWriMo and to get the writer juices flowing. Though it wasn’t a huge success (my organization skills definitely were not on-point and many people only participated for part of it), I really liked it.
It got me excited for writing and that is what Camp NaNoWriMo also did for me back in April. If you don’t know what it is, it is a smaller version of NaNoWriMo (there is no “real” camp, it’s just online). You can set your own goal, in words or hours, and you have cabins to cheer each other on. In April I wrote 30 thousand words, which is more than I have ever written on a single project.
July is coming up, and in July there is another Camp, and only yesterday I’ve decided to participate. And I have no plan, no outline, nothing. Just a story idea. *help*
I will be writing the story I was talking about yesterday, with the magic and awesomeness and I CAN’T WAIT 🙂
Why participate in Camp NaNoWriMo?
Because you love writing. This is obviously the most important reason, if you don’t like writing this is definitely not for you.
Because NaNoWriMo is just a bit over your head. A little. Or a lot. It’s really nice because in Camp you can set your own goals, and if that goal is to write 3 poems of 20 words each, go for it. You can also set it at 100k if you want to die, it’s all up to you.
Community and support! There is, of course, your cabin, you can either make one or get sorted in one. You can chat with your cabin mates and help each other out. It is fun and it’ll help you get more motivated (which is my next point).
It helps you get more motivated to write. I can set a daily goal for me any day of the year but it doesn’t seem to work for me. Sometimes I don’t write for days or weeks, other times I write a lot on one day. Having a consistent writing schedule is hard and having Camp really helps to keep me accountable.
It makes you excited to write. Aren’t you already excited??? I AM.
It is fun and you meet new people. There are also virtual write-ins on youtube which are lots of fun to participate in, and there are writing sprints and well, there is an entire community of writers out there and they are all awesome.
Why not participate?
Okay, but seriously. There is only the stress that you give yourself. You don’t have to write, you don’t have to outline, you don’t have to prepare. But it’s useful and quite stressful sometimes.
I am trying to avoid the stress by putting my word count goal not very high. I have set it to 15k, which is half of April’s goal, but I am also away for almost half of July so I think it’s fair. I calculated a daily word count of about 750 words, which is very doable. I decided to not rush too much with this project, because I feel like that will make the end result 10 times better.
Are you participating this July? Have you participated before? Do you write or not, and why?
Camp NaNoWriMo only just started so I haven’t really done much writing yet. My current word count is 1670, so I have to write at least 330 words to make it to my goal of today. I hoped to have written more than I did the last two days, but instead, they have been filled with excitement and other fun things!
Yesterday, after writing over a thousand words, I went with my parent to get a puppy! It’s going to be ours in 4 weeks and it is so adorable! (see picture below). We’re still looking for names and it’s very hard, we can’t seem to agree on anything. It’s a boy by the way. My dad wants to call it Bowie or Jenga (seriously, Jenga??), my little sister Stiles (Teen Wolf, of course), my mum wants Bo (or Beau? I’m not sure) and I don’t think my brother cares. I was convinced of Karou or Kaito but hey apparently those are weird names?? Now I’m thinking Marley is absolutely the cutest thing, but I’ll just have to convince the rest of my family of that.
I spent all afternoon hugging pups and they're so freaking adorable 😍 Look at this not yet named cinnamon roll that will be ours in 4 weeks! pic.twitter.com/RQI18ODYAr
Another exciting thing that happened today is that I got a job interview this week and I have never had a job interview before. Frankly, I don’t even know what the job is going to entail exactly so I’m kinda tense about that.
Anyway, I was gonna write about writing so let’s go back to the topic. My outline is not as elaborate as I would have wanted but I think I like it this way. I have a vague idea about what’s going to happen in a chapter but in what way exactly is all up to me now. I like that, because it feels like the story just goes wherever it wants to go, instead of following a kind of protocol. It “floats” and I’m sure it’ll all be fine once I got my story all started. It’s all introduction right now anyway.
I try not to linger on sentences, because I have the tendency to do so, but so far I’m just working hard on making the story go on and not worry about the way I wrote a sentence. I’m also struggling a little with present and past tense, I just keep mixing them up. That’s really annoying and I’m trying to keep it at present tense, but past tense comes much easier for me. Maybe I should switch? Somehow that feels weird for a contemporary told from first person perspective. What do you think?
Day 1: 1097 words
Day 2: 1670 words (so far, I’ll write some more later tonight)
How will I ever find myself a partner, if every student here is vicious like a dog being protective of their special toy?
To anyone looking through the window, we would seem like a regular family: a woman, a man and two kids. But our family is not as it seems. It’s weird and it’s broken, but it’s my family and I love them.
Aesthetics (because I’m a sucker for aesthetics and I can’t help it)
How is your writing going? Do you have any puppy name suggestions?
This is the final post in this project in which I prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo in April *sad face*. I really enjoyed this project, I loved writing posts and the guest posts were just amazing. I just want to send out a huge thank you to Hannah, Trisha, Claudie, Savannah, Blaise and Tiana for helping me out and giving such good advice!
The fact that this is the last week also makes me slightly stressed because my preparations have been standing still for a week or so. I still need to work on my characters and elaborate my plot (3 words for one chapter is not enough outlining!).
The last topic I’d like to cover is dialogue, which is incredibly important for a book and its characters. For example, I like characters much more if they have a distinct voice. So here are some tips.
Know your characters. One tip that I really think is useful is from How to Write Convincing Dialogue. Think about how your best friend or mother or significant other would respond to a certain situation, this is quite easy if you know the person well enough. I can almost hear my friend talking to me in my head. And if you know your characters well enough, writing dialogue becomes almost as easy.
What is important when you want to find your character’s voice is to know what they know and who they are.
Are they intelligent? This affects the way in which a person speaks, they might have more elaborate arguments, fact-check their arguments, be a little more conservative with their opinions and so on. Their choice of words might also be different, they might use more difficult words to express themselves.
Are they extroverted or introverted? Introverts might speak less, but when they speak they often really know what they are talking about. My introverted self always stays in the background when having conversations, because I only want to “add” something valuable to the conversation. I don’t like talking for the sake of talking. I think many introverts are the same, so this is something to keep in mind.
Do they have an accent or are from abroad? This affects intonation and also their choice of words, they might not use words that don’t exist in their first language.
Do they use metaphors or references? In our modern world, it is quite usual to use references to modern media and characters from books, movies or series. So what you need to figure out is what are their interests? And if the person is a little dreamy, they might describe something more often with metaphors than others.
Are they sassy? Sarcastic? Witty? Positive? Negative?
And so on.
Some practical tips:
First write the dialogue and then the narrative. This makes it easier to see if the dialogue flows or not and removes the distraction of the narrative.
Mumble the dialogue to yourself.
Use body language to describe the way in which characters act. Body language is a surprisingly large part of communicating, so use that to your advantage. Just a simple frown might be way more useful and feel more natural than a sentence about how a person doesn’t believe what the other person says.
Don’t overdo it. Not everything has to be said, and repetition is not fun to read.
Make sure that the conversation adds something to the story. Oh, how often I read a dialogue in a book and then think: wait, what was the point of that?
Remove the obvious and unnecessary. It’s not fun to read a conversation that goes like this: Hi – Hi! – How are you? – I’m fine, how are you? – Good, good, a little busy. (and so on).
Give it a little flair! Make sure the characters express their own voice. Don’t let them say things they wouldn’t say. All of this comes back to knowing your characters well enough.
Don’t add too much subtext. I personally hate to read dialogues that are continuously disrupted by long descriptions of what a person does or what the surroundings look like.
I hope you enjoyed this project! I loved working on it. I might continue with a different but similar project in the future, so if you’ve got ideas or topics you’d like to read about, let me know.