Novel Writing · NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo – I Can See the Finish Line

How are you, campers? Exhausted? Delirious? Manic?

Whether broken or motivated by NaNoWriMo, I have good news for you! It’s the final stretch of Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017.

Well done us, we are still going, and whether we are set to win or lose, we are all winners. Imagine what your word count would be without this month?

How far have you come? I bet it’s a long way, and even if it’s not it’s some way, and that’s enough.

Keep on striving for the finish line. You can do this!

NaNoWriMo · Novel Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo – Is it Killing You Too?

Hello, Campers!

I am dying by word counts… Absolutely drowning in words. This NaNoWriMo malarky is excruciating.

I want to watch Netflix. I want to sleep in. I want to sit and do NOTHING. I want to GIVE UP.

But I won’t. I hope you won’t either. Keep on keeping on. Just keep swimming. We can do this.

Feel free to share your misery (or elation) in the comments. We’re in this together

NaNoWriMo · Novel Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo Doesn’t Really Matter – but you can do it anyway

Hello there everyone!

How are you this week? If you, like me, are participating in Camp NaNoWriMo you must be pretty darn tired. Well done. You’ve lasted the first week. That’s a real achievement. If you’ve already given up, don’t worry, you can always try again, or maybe it’s just not for you.

Here is something important to note down. Ready?

Completing NaNoWriMo does not make you an excellent author, and failing it does not make you a terrible one.  

This is simply a test of determination, and of how busy our lives are. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t become disheartened and give up on your dream of writing a book just because NaNoWriMo isn’t for you.

Also, don’t become complacent because NaNoWriMo is easy for you. There is still a heck of a battle to get published.

Let’s get some perspective and enjoy the NaNoWriMo ride. 

Novel Writing

Imagination: Why I love to Write

These quotes are so blinking inspiring! Any of you having a bad writing day, check these out. If you’re on top of the world, read them and feel even better. I hope you love them as much as I did.

Elixir: Creative and Reflective Writing

Imagine is an ancient word, borrowed from the Old French, from the Latin ‘imaginari’, which means, ‘to picture oneself’ although imagine currently means to form a picture in one’s mind.

To write is to imagine,not just an image but an idea, thought, impression, place, even a feeling. Can you imagine being present when the words below were first uttered or written? What or who do you imagine prompted them? What happened next?

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.

Henry David Thoreau

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

Albert Einstein

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to that…

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Novel Writing

The Editing Style Guide

Here are some great tips for those of you who are editing your novels, I hope it helps.

Nerdy & Wordy

Look, editing is hard. I’ve said it many, many times. When you’re starting, it can be incredibly confusing. One person tells you to do this, and another tells you oh God no. Do this. Do that. It’s hard. I can’t tell you what’s right for your story, but as far as I can tell, there are a couple basic things you need to know.

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Novel Writing

How to Outline a Scene like a Pro

Hello, lovely people, I hope you are well? You are? Great! I know I am, it’s Friday after all! The last few days I have been outlining my scenes so that I am ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in July.

I’m reading an amazing book by CS Lakin called The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction which I have found invaluable. Lakin gives a scene checklist which I recommend you get your hands on.

I have used this to ask myself set questions per scene, and they are helping me so much I thought I would share them with you. Let me know what you think!

​What is the action or revelation that is the high impact crux of this scene?

What new information will this scene tell the reader?

What is the purpose of the scene?

What do I want the reader to know by reading this scene?

What is the protagonist reacting to here?

What added extra sparkle does the scene have?

Where does the scene begin?

What action is taking place when the scene starts?

How is it different to the opening of the scene before?

What is the POV?

How will I show this POV in the first few sentences?

How will I show the passing of time from the last scene?

What is my hook that grabs the reader at the start of the scene?

Imagine I’m in the scene, note down the first five things my senses notice.

List all the conflict that will take place in the scene.

How will the high moment stand out?

What juicy revelations that come further along in the book do I hint to?

How will I end in a way that excites the reader?

By the end what has been resolved or left hanging?

What do I want the reader to feel by the end of this scene?

What is the beginning middle and end of this scene?

Do you use a similar list of questions, or are you more of a pantser? As always I’d love your comments and any wisdom you have to share.

Novel Writing

The Importance of Empathy when Writing Fiction

You can’t write a book unless you are empathetic. 

I bet some of you adamantly disagree with that statement. Of course, you can write an instruction manual or perhaps Non-fiction, but can you write fiction without empathy? I don’t think so.

The Oxford English dictionary described empathy as –

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

What have feelings got to do with writing fiction? Well, if you think about it, quite a lot.

The old saying goes “write what you know”, but as I’m sure you’ll be relieved to find out, most thriller novelists don’t know what it feels like to murdered in an alley. They haven’t been in a high-speed car chase, and they certainly haven’t lived the life of a serial killer. So how are they able to write about these topics?

They have empathy.

Many people think that this is a wishy-washy, bleeding-heart characteristic that isn’t of any real value unless you are a counsellor or a priest. Empathy is actually incredibly useful in many situations, especially in fiction writing. You can imagine and understand how your characters would feel in a situation you have never been in.

So next time you read a novel about violent murders or abuse, don’t panic, you are only reading the result of the writer’s empathy, not psychopathic tendencies. If you are a writer, I would advise one of the best ways to create authentic characters, is to learn to empathise with as many people as you can. It will transform your prose.