Beginning Again, Goals, and Re-Introducing My WIP | Novel Progress #1

Yes, I am back! I will resume blogging about writing here on Betwined Reads. I feel like I’m finally in a good place where I can talk about my novel writing progress as I have both the time and the excitement to do so. To show that I am serious about it (or rather super excited about it), I’ve created a new page in my navigation bar where you can easily access all the Novel Progress posts I create on my writing journey.

In this introductory post, I will talk about what you can expect from these new weekly Wednesday posts, my current writing goals, and hear more about the novel I’m currently writing.

The Format

In each post, I generally start out with a general update about how my novel is progressing. I will likely try to highlight the most noteworthy things I’ve realized or accomplished. Then I will share some tips or advice I have found that related to whatever I’m currently working on, including links to resources I’ve found valuable. And finally I will end with some self-prescribed “homework” goals I hope to complete by the next time I write.

These posts will go up every Wednesday, unless there is an unforeseen circumstance. In October, I think I will try to organize more formal posts related to NaNoWriMo preparation, which will hopefully be useful to anyone who has not participated in the month-long writing event before or who needs the extra push to join in the frenzy!

Writing Goals

As I stated in By the first day of fall…, I hope to be already writing by September 22, 2017. This goal still stands, but I do not intend for this to mean that I’m writing everyday. Rather, I’d like to be writing specific scenes every now and then so that I may hone the craft, if you will. It’s been so long since I dedicated time to actually writing and I want to be practicing regularly each week on any scene that I feel inspired to write at the time.

If I’m doing that regularly, I think I will be in a good place to participate confidently in NaNoWriMo in November. I want to the most prepared I’ve ever been before by the start of November 1st so that 50,000 words is a breeze and I’m happy with the quality of my words.

My WIP

I’m currently writing a novel I’m calling The Log when I talk about it online. It’s not about a log, although, each time I think about it I feel like I should find a way to include one…It’s a YA novel with a young (~15 y/o) female protagonist set in a fantasy world which is like a steam punk version of the early 20th century. I’m not heavily basing her world on any one country, but in my head I am kind of referencing early U.S. history of the founding and expansion as I world-build. There’s magical creatures, adventure, mysteries, secrets, all that fun stuff!

End Note

I hope you’re as excited about these posts as I am! I think that many book bloggers out there are also aspiring authors or even just writing enthusiasts, so hopefully there’s a little something for everyone in these upcoming posts. I love reading and hearing about people’s writing progress as they tend to inspire me when I’m feeling low and also make me feel less crazy about pursuing this crazy project.

Thank you for reading!
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What I’ve Been Up to During Hurricane Harvey…

Hi! 

I had two posts I wanted to go up at the end of last week, but then my job and general procrastination prevented me from finishing them. Then there was the anxiety of preparing for Hurricane Harvey. Where I live was not in Harvey’s direct path, but we’ve since been continuously pelted hard with heavy rain and it’s been hard to predict when it might stop. Meanwhile I’ve been getting constant tornado and flash flood alerts on my iPhone over the past couple of days.

One good thing that has come from this bout of horrible weather is that I didn’t have to go to work yesterday and, thus, I’ve had three days off essentially to relax after all the chaos of last week as people rushed to my workplace to stock up for hurricane essentials: water, bread, and batteries. Therefore, I’ve had time to catch up on my reading!

Last Thursday I picked off a four books from my shelves that I decided I wouldn’t mind reading this weekend and I’m happy to say I’ve made my way through three of them. The fourth, which technically would be considered a reread, I’ve decided I would like to take my time with and, therefore, I’m putting off until I’m more on track with my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Recent Reads

Maus I by Art Spiegelman | I honestly can’t remember if I finished this one the first time I read it. I can see myself having faked it, as I picked it up for a group assignment in which we came up with a thematic unit plan. I’m happy I decided to give it another chance, even if it was only because it was a graphic novel I knew I could zoom through. It was a pleasant read, despite the horrors depicted. It shows the complexity of human nature during dangerous times. 3.5 stars.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | I don’t remember the last time I read this one, but I still remember reading it in 5th grade vividly as it was probably the first book that made a big impression on me. It was also one that I remember made me want to become a writer. Reading it as a adult, I find myself still very attached to the characters. The main thing that surprised me is the rather simple plot. 4.5 stars.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling | I bought this book two years ago when it came out and I’m happy I waited this long to finally read it. It’s one of those that seems to have come to me at the perfect time. I don’t entirely relate to Mindy in interests or personality, but I admire by her work and work ethic. This book’s final chapter blew me away and has made me excited to give everything I do my all. 4.5 stars.

My Immediate TBR

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit | I’ve read this book a few times over the past few years since I first read it when I was…maybe eleven or twelve years old. It’s a great one to revisit every now and then and it stands the test of time in my opinion. It also helps that this is one of those classic books that I think has inspired my own writing.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | This is a reread that I feel strangely apt to read right now as summer nears its end. It’s not one I would have thought to pick up except that I know it can be a quick read. It’s another that I can see being of value as I begin to write and I’m also interested in seeing how the experience is changed knowing as I do the ending, which caught me completely off guard before.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones | I want to end my journey through rereads with this one as Howl’s Moving Castle is a book that I consider a major source of writing inspiration. I think I’ve read this book a couple of times in the past as a young adult and I think it’s one that I will continue to reread throughout my life and leave with new insights.

Writing Update

I think I’m really close to nailing done my plot. Last week before I had to leave for a work shift,  I got about 3/4 through my plot by just summarizing. I realized that morning that I could waste no more time just hoping I’d work it out by thinking about it. I needed to write something down. Anything. Because I can’t make something of nothing. I’m so glad I did this because when I got home later that evening I was happy with most of what I got and could identify things that I did not like. Three such problem areas I found could be fixed by just moving plot points around!

The main thing I’m struggling with now is just the conclusion. I feel like I have a few ideas for things I know I want to happen with the protagonist but I need to figure out what would best and most satisfyingly challenge her to become who she needs to be.

I’m hoping to end the month of August with a conclusion I’m happy with. I’m also eager to share in more detail how I’ve been able to plot my story this month in case you might be able to benefit. In my last post, I said I wanted to be writing by September 22, the first day of fall. That’s still the goal, but I don’t think I’ll have a set word count for each day. I also have a feeling I may also be writing this book for NaNoWriMo, but more on this later…

End Note

I’m excited to finish my rereads so I can begin to read some of my new books! I may still do the book haul post I was planning, but if I don’t, you can probably expect to hear about my latest acquisitions in a September TBR. Not sure what my next post will be, but it will almost certainly come this week as there’s loads to share! I just need to make the time to write the posts in between my reading!

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In Which I Did Not Forget This Week Was #MakeMeRead | TBR

Oops!

In my head, for some reason, the #MakeMeRead It Read-a-thon started next Sunday and not this past one! Luckily I think I should be able to make it through my top two reads voted for last month: Sense & Sensibility and Persuasion, both by Jane Austen.

I own both of these books in an large leather-bound anthology of Jane Austen’s work so that’s going to be interesting to read from again. I first read Pride & Prejudice from that tome, so I’m wondering if it will bring back any sense memories. At any rate, I look forward to finding movie adaptations to watch after I finish these books to see how they compare.

I’m just excited to beat this reading slump I accidentally fell into when I started The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I’m about halfway through it, but I moved it to the put-down-for-now shelf on Goodreads as I’m rarely in the mood in sit down and listen to it. I hope to one day find it in a physical format, as it was getting really exciting the last time I listened to it. My life at the moment just does not suit audiobooks.

Writing Update

I thought I’d sneak in a cheeky writing update to fill you all in on what I’ve been doing aside from reading (and to buff up this post since I don’t really like doing the odd short posts). Around last week I decided to commit myself to writing again as I missed it and have felt more motivated. I’ve been watching a lot of writing videos on YouTube ranging from author interviews to creative writing students sharing their writing journeys. It’s been really inspiring.

I’m currently in the planning phase of my novel. I’m using Scrivener to organize all my notes and the story has already changed a lot from its original inception. I feel like I’m in a visual headspace right now with envisioning settings, but per usual I’m stuck on what needs to happen in the story. In the past, I would probably just started writing and figure it out as I go. But I can’t shake the fact that the story will be much stronger if I know where I need to end up.

I have a list of things I was planning to work on today before I realized #MakeMeRead was this week, but an idea I had as I was preparing lunch was that maybe writing is the most important thing to do right now. I want to work on my craft without procrastinating because I don’t have a plot, so I’m thinking I might start writing a well-known story. Then I can begin practicing writing and take my time on my own novel…

I don’t know! I’ll fill you in on what happens later. I’m thinking about how I can bring back writing updates without killing my motivation to actually write. That reminds me, I still want to do a post about why I stopped blogging about writing…

End Note

I will definitely be back this weekend with a wrap up for this read-a-thon. I’m thinking it will be possible to read more than two books this week, but I don’t think I’m willing to read the rest of the options I presented in the poll. I might instead pick up some other books I’ve been wanting to read/reread.

It’s not fall yet, but it’s been rainy where I live and I’ve had fun pretending it is fall as it’s the time of year I feel most inspired. I’ve also been re-watching American Horror Story season one about the murder house and it’s reminding me of my first semester of college because my roommate and I would rush home every week to catch it when it aired. It was the best.

Thank you for reading!
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Time for Camp NaNoWriMo!

Hello friends!

As promised I’m back again this week with my official Camp NaNoWriMo announcement post in which I will share my personal goals for the month-long event and some tips for my fellow busy bees who are crazy enough to want to join me on this journey.

In case you don’t know, Camp NaNoWriMo is a month-long writing event that happens officially twice a year in April and July. These events are more relaxed than the official NaNoWriMo event that happens in November in which a 50K novel is the official goal. In Camp, you can feel free to set your own goal and write whatever you want, including scripts, poetry, or even revisions.

I will personally be trying to write a really short first draft of a new novel idea I developed in March.

Disclaimer: This post will not be helpful if you don’t know what you want to write. I do hope by publishing this post two days before it starts so that hopefully you have enough time to scrounge something together!

Word Goal

Because of how busy I anticipate April being, I’m only setting a goal of 20,000 words, which translates to roughly 667 words per day.

Tips

This is my final month of my final semester of grad school so I have a lot of things to do. I have three final projects to complete, all of which involve 12-15 page papers due at the beginning of May. I also have to keep up with my regular tasks of assigned reading and grading which is part of my job as a TA. Oh, and I really need to start looking for jobs! So taking on Camp NaNoWriMo right now maybe is not the best idea, but I’m doing it anyway!

The tips I have to share that I know will get me personally through this month in one piece are:

  1. Be Organized. To do lists are my best friend. I write one every week at the beginning of my weekend. I plan out everything I want to accomplish on each day. And I break down larger projects into discrete units so I have more boxes to feel good about once I’ve marked them off. 🙂
  2. Set a Reasonable Goal. I’ve done this by setting only 20,000 words as my goal which means roughly 667 words per day. I think this goal should be achievable on top of the writing I will already need to do for my regular assignments and my final papers. Additionally, I think its enough that I can write it in about an hour of uninterrupted writing.
  3. Utilize Writing Sprints. Don’t underestimate the power of writing sprints. Particularly if you feel like you don’t have enough time blocked off to write. The Camp NaNoWriMo official Twitter page if likely to host several sprints throughout the month. You might also encourage your writing buddies to partake in your own writing sprint parties! (Who says you can’t be social during a NaNoWriMo event?!)
  4. Plan Ahead. If there are some days of the week you just know you will not want to write, then make sure you get extra writing done early so that you don’t feel guilty about it.
  5. Don’t Fall Behind. There’s nothing more disheartening than falling behind on something when you still have so many other things to do. That’s why I plan to start Camp off really strong this weekend on April 1st so that I get that rush of achievement early on and do not feel guilty if I don’t manage to write on my busiest days (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Plans

Camp NaNoWriMo begins on April 1st, which this year is Saturday so if you’re a real go getter you could stay up Friday night and start writing right at midnight if that sounds exciting to you. I personally think I may wake up early and have myself a little write-in after breakfast. My plan is to get a good head start early in the month and write a lot during the weekend. Ideally I’ll work on my novel a little every day, even if it’s not properly writing.

If you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo too, let me know in the comments! I hope write weekly updates, but I don’t feel confident committing to that schedule. If I have blogging time I also want to do other posts, some of which I hope will go up next week, so stay tuned for that. Thanks to everyone who’s been showing my blog some love. I really appreciate it!

Thank you for reading!
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March Writing Goals

Hello lovelies,

It’s been a little while, but I’ve actually been productive. Starting last Sunday, my writing buddy and I decided to Skype every day for at least one 20-minute writing sprint. Despite some procrastination on my part and exhaustion on hers (she’s not on a spring break yet), we’ve managed to do it thus far. It’s been amazing. The hardest part of writing for me has always been sitting my butt down to focus and do it, so being accountable to her has been helpful.

I return to my school and work schedule this Tuesday, but we’re resolved to continue our with our habit while she has the week off. Whereas we Skyped mostly evenings this past week, I think we’ll be doing it in the mornings this upcoming week. I’m excited by this because I’ve often considered mornings to be my favorite time of day.

There’s about two weeks left in March so I wanted to write this post, just as a way to keep myself motivated. I love making time in my day to write, but I’m still waiting for that feeling that comes from writing something you think means something and will be worth it.

Goals

  • Write for at least 20 minutes every day.
  • Write at least 400 words every day.

End Note

Spring Break is officially over for me and I have a rough week ahead of me, so my next post will probably not be up until the weekend. I’m currently reading Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner so I’d love to have a book talk up on that next week. I may also have a post up for this week’s #Wordbound. The prompt?

Thank you for reading!
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Author Photo & Bio | #Wordbound 9

wordboundI decided since my writing update this weekend was so well received to start doing the occasional writing-themed link up. One I really like by a YouTuber I really like, Kristina Horner, is #Wordbound Wednesdays. This weekly writing meme is provides you with prompts that were created with a the goal of keeping the collective excitement of the writing community alive throughout the year beyond NaNoWriMo.

This week’s prompt was to take an author photo and write an author bio. Here are mine:

Lori is a graduate student and book blogger interested in all things new media. She is perpetually working on her first book which tends to be a blend of familiar stories and her favorite genres. A life-long lover of the written word and stories of all kinds, she enjoys writing stories with realistic female characters, complex sub-plots, mysterious world conflicts, and a touch of witchcraft & trickery. When she is not writing, she is busy reading about media and its effect or assisting with undergraduate classes. Sometimes she can also be found eating, sleeping, or binge-watching talk shows on YouTube. She currently lives in Dallas while she finishes up her Master’s in Emerging Media & Communication and looks for a job while she contemplates going for her PhD. 

End Note

Since this is a fun little exercise I’d like to see more people do, I’m going to tag two writer friends I have to do this too: Elle from Nishume Chronicles and Ely from Tea & Titles. I also encourage anyone else to do it who likes the idea of it as well and leave a link in the comments so I can see it too!

Thank you for reading!
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Writing Again (Maybe) | Writing Update

Hello one and all!

It’s 9:36 p.m. right now as I start this post and I’ve just had a fantastically productive day. I got a lot of homework and assigned reading done today giving me the opportunity to spend a couple of hours thinking about my next writing project. I’ve not been recently inspired with exciting new ideas, but that old familiar itch to write has returned and I’ve wanted to think seriously about my next move.

I’ve known for a while now that what I’ve really needed was a break from my old WIP and a blank slate to try something completely new. So I decided to do that today. Before I could back out, I texted my old writing buddy asking her if she wanted to do some writing sprints tonight. As she’s recently hit a wall in her editing, she was up for it. So there was no turning back.

With a blank Word document and no ideas, our first sprint and I started writing. I made up a name and before I knew it my new protagonist came to life and I love her already.

I don’t want to get into details right now, but the story I developed tonight is a hybrid of different stories and genres. The main goal I set for myself when I started writing was to make sure whatever I wrote would be fun. I don’t want to worry about originality or combatting cliché tropes. I just want to live vicariously through my characters and write a story that I’d love to read.

These are some of my tentative writing plans.

I’m thinking of writing this novel in seven parts. I want to outline and plan out what will happen in each part before I write it, so that’s what I’m going to do: plan each of the seven parts. I want to know where they will start and end and what major things will happen in them. So I’m going to work on the ending first.

Also I’m thinking about participating in Camp NaNoWriMo April. I don’t expect to be less busy in April, but I think it’d be a good idea to test my limits. And if I have my seven parts well planned by the end of March, then I should be all set for Camp. I like the idea of writing the novel in seven days, each of those days being a day-long write-in. Also, depending on how much I actually write this month, I may not even need to write 50,000 words to finish this novel.

End Note

I don’t know when my next writing update will come. I didn’t even know when I woke up today that I would be able to squeeze in writing time before bed! I’m planning to work more on this story tomorrow night, but I don’t know what the future hold beyond then. My spring break begins this weekend so I’ll have a lot more free time, but that doesn’t mean all of it will be spent writing; I also want to read! And I also want to work more on this blog. ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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