90 days to your novel

Ok. Day 2, but not really.

Sorry Ms. Domet. I did Day 1 and 2 together.

Today, I started day three and may work in day four tonight depending on what the husband does.

Day 3: creating character sheets. Ms. Domet says characters are a fundamental part of stories and the part often remembered. I’m not sure I agree 100%, but I definitely agree 80%.

Some of my favorite books are ones that I remember because in the end the chandelier crashed down or the boy got a bell his parents couldn’t hear. So I think those ones were more important for plot or theme, but I can’t argue that other stories I can’t remember the plot but I remember Velveteen Rabbit and the boy who got sick and the beautiful angel. So, yeah, characters are important too.

In the past, I made character “sheets” for my main characters. By sheets, I mean a loose non-formal collection of traits and important facts that I know I will forget and need a refresher on. One of my favorite things to add to my character sheet is a picture of a model/actor/person who most resembles the character.

This exercise is a little more and a little less involved. As a good student, I am doing the exercise as suggested by the book. There is a formal set of questions to answer.

But wait, don’t just stop at main characters. This book asks for a minimum of 10 character sheets. Wow! These will be the best thought out supporting characters I have ever made. Maybe they will be the best too.

Sadly, the visual element is missing. I have rough description of characters but no visual to go with it. Truthfully, I don’t use my picture all that often, but I really enjoy getting to search through the internet plethora of pictures to pick out my characters.

So I’m done with the first ten. Yes, that’s right. I’m being an overachiever. Since I am using this book for a story I already had outlined, I’m going to keep going. I’ll have 15 character sheets for sure and maybe more.

Current Book – 90 days to Your Novel

Ok. I say I live in fantasy and that I am an aspiring writer. Then my blog is full of craft projects. Time for that to change. I started reading a new craft book. It’s 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet. (Click the picture for the Writer’s Digest page about this book.)

 

The first section is about outlining. Ms. Domet emphasizes the importance of outlines but says there is no single perfect outline.

So I’m thinking about outlining. I’ve tried multiple outlines and non-outlines. One of my early completed “novels” was one I wrote based on a character sketch I loved. It had no plot and little conflict.

So I outlined my next “novel” with my sister. While shopping for vacation clothes, we roamed through the stores creating the plot. Other shoppers steered clear, and the folks at Qdoba happily cleared our table the second we finished eating.

I attempted to outline my next “novel” by using the outlining suggested by Jim Butcher on his LiveJournal.  Thank you Butcher, but it wasn’t for me.

So on to the next, The Snowflake Method. (Assume images are clickable with links to the correct webpage. :))

 

I thought I did ok with the snowflake method. My critics did not agree.  *sigh*

One of my critics suggested sticking to the 3 Act or 4 Act structure. No problem. I tried it. It’s as comfortable as wearing blue jeans inside a pair of sweat pants.

Then, I found Dan Well’s 7 point plot structure. This makes a lot of sense to me. Oh yeah, here’s a pic.

Ms. Domet says outlines don’t fit each person. If it’s true, I’m not sure I’ve found my perfect fit. Her suggestions include using notecards, flow charts, standard outlines, and spreadsheets.

No matter the outlining method, I am a spreadsheet user.

Care to share your outlining development or the method that works for you?

Different Materials and writing style

Today is a writing day for me. I sat down at my computer and stared at the screen. Nothing.

So I went back and read the last chapter, hoping to jumpstart the creative juices. Nothing. Well, I did edit the old work a little, but that wasn’t the point of today.

Solution. I pulled out a notebook and wrote down the part of the outline I wanted. Amazingly, that was the solution. 1.5k words on paper, and I had renewed self-confidence.

I ran back to my computer, typed up all my beautiful words, and nothing.

Sigh. Looks like it’s a paper day today.

Yeah, it’s a paper day. I can take my dog to the dog park and let him run with the other dogs while I write. Gotta go.

Inundated with Options

I made a blog. Great. Now what?

I like yellow brick roads. Ones that start off small and get bigger. When I’m comfortable with what I know, I build to it.

I started with the basic blog. I opened the beginners tutorial. It says choose a theme. There are a lot of themes. The tutorial tells me to watch out for things like columns, customizable headers, and themes that will automatically make mobile and tablet pages that are easier to access. (I’m not sold on mobile access. Some of my favorite websites have nothing useful on their mobile access, but my blog could be different, right?)

I picked a theme and set a header and a background. Then there are widgets and add on applications. Everything wants to spiderweb together, and I don’t even know if I like my blog yet.IMG_0014

I started with something small, but the more I play with it, the more I feel like an ameba in the ocean. What I am now worried about is that building and keeping up all this networking will consume my time to do the things I love. If anyone has advice on how to balance electronic networking with life, let me know.

Shiny New Things

Yesterday, I started this blog.

Then I spent hours wanting to play with it and love it and post every thought I had. I restrained myself under the assumption that less is more. All the excitement over the shiny new blog has me thinking about beginnings.

So I want to know:
1. When did you start writing?
2. After you decided to be share your work, where did you turn?

My giddiness is a pattern. Take writing for an example.

I’ve always written. I won school contests as early as 1st grade.

My alma mater - Go Bluejays
My alma mater – Go Bluejays

I even had some poetry in high school published in college magazines. Then school ended. College required me to shift focus. I still wrote, but I had to get the writing bug. The one that infected me with a great idea followed by four, feverish weeks of writing. College ended and work began. Writing became an exercise in short sprints written between tasks or after work while dinner cooked. I no longer submitted pieces to local magazines. I no longer entered competitions. I was a closet writer.

Last year, I decided I needed a support group. Hello. My name is Louise. I’ve been writing for 23 years.

Finding a support group is not that easy. I missed out on the convenient methods such as maintaining my connection with my English teachers or joining a group hosted by the college. As an adult, none of my friends were interested in a writing hobbyist group.

So I did what any good person would. I googled. Google scoffed at my attempts to find local writing groups. It suggested classes at a university. No published websites or meetings groups came up in my searches. The one group I did find, met on Wednesday during the normal work day. Why, Google, do you not create things on my whim that work perfectly in my schedule.

Finally, Google told me I needed to join a program called Nano. I was in luck. There would be a Camp Nano in July. So I joined. Nano Badge

I like Nano in many ways but not in others. Camp Nano introduced me to two people who would actually discuss writing and ideas. Great. But they both live far, far away.

Never fear, Camp Nano told me. In November there would be local events and a bigger program. I met a group of four writers who agreed to meet and talk with me after November. Thank you Second Chapter for being there.

Google also introduced me to Scribophile and Critters where I could inundate strangers with my writing. These online communities kicked my backside, scolded me for disorganization, shoved craft books under my nose, and prodded me until my writing improved a little.

In 9 months since deciding to do more than binge write at home, I have found programs I enjoy and built a small circle of folks I can rely on.

The Start

I’m an aspiring writer. It is not all I am, but it is part of who I am.

I dabble in prose enough that I finished a novel length first draft. Great.

So I look around. What should I do with this collection of words? The internet, writing groups, organizations all have different ideas.

Revising is one I am choosing. Revising the writing only seems appropriate.

Editing is in the works.

A query has been drafted.

The summary needs work.

But then what?

Make a list of agents. Huh? How?

Develop a platform? Like wood and nails? Like 70’s Kiss shoes?

Build a network? I thought my computer was already plugged in.

So many suggestions and most of which I do not know how to implement. So here I am, starting with a basic blog. Learning the ropes. Contemplating in written form to myself wondering how such thoughts will lead to developing a reputation.

Welcome to anyone who wishes to join me on this journey.