In the mind of a Writer

Archive for September, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 is coming. . .

Notes for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is coming up (in 30 plus  days or so. . .)

November 1st, the day we writers start writing/typing in fervor as if we are racing a marathon with our fingers. We mumbled under our breath while we slip on the wrong keys or misspell common words. We race to get the words out hoping that our story becomes clearer as into the sprint. We hope that our characters and our muses agree to follow the plot or at least to not stray too far.

I’ve learned from my three years of NaNoWriMo that outlining, note-taking, character profiling, and brain storming is greatly needed in preparation. I cannot just simply write without nothing. It is like if I tried to build a house without wood or nails.

So now I’m starting my outline and my notes hoping to have all the pieces and characters stew in my brain.

I have a characters profile to help build a characters to make them real. I even use actors/models to use their looks in my heads.  (This is a link to a basic character sketch. . .

You can make it as basic or complicated as you want.  I am very character heavy when I write my stories; I feel there will be no plot without the characters. )

Plot questions and journey (I plan to write a blog about this.)

I outline simple at first . . . The divide into section and outline each section. So the story is practically in front of me. (I also plan to write a blog about this as well. You may not write a perfect outline. . . it could just be a few sentences or lists just leading you into a direction.)

Practicing writing (I do this so I don’t get tempted to work on NaNoWriMo project early.)

Blogs ( and )
Short stories
Rewrites of other stories
Finishing/ editing old projects

Over the next week, I will be focusing on my NaNoWriMo project. This is the link to my previous NaNoWriMo blogs . . .


A Writer’s confession


It’s interesting that I am a writer. (Well, actually I’m a story-teller that writes for future generations to read.)

Growing up, English class and I had a complicated love/hate relationship. I loved to tell stories and write, and because I did I was in the accelerated (gifted) classes. I’ll be honest; I hated to read out loud. I was always afraid of stumbling over my words or mispronouncing something. This made silent reading complicated.  I read slower than most of the advance class and my fear of making a mistake made me taken back by my reading. I read only what I was supposed to read. I should have read more.


When I met my boyfriend Tom he was really well-read. I had taken enough advanced classes to keep up with him, but he really blew me away. We both had a love for horror: paranormal/occult. We both loved vampires. He got me into vampire novels (not Twilight, but that is another blog.)
We decided to read novels together out loud. I was very hesitant at first, but he really encouraged me. He taught me how to laugh at my mistakes, and how to correct them. He helped me with my struggle with pronouncing.  I wish I had met Tom as a kid, because maybe I would have read more.


If you are young, and you want to be a writer, make sure you read. (Find genre you enjoy, and read as much as you can.)

Things I’ve learned as a Writer Part 1

Things I’ve learned as a Writer Part 1


1.    Be flexible. Sometimes your characters and/or muses will take you to places that were not on the plot but add something extra to the story.

2.    Be patient. Writing a novel takes time. (Roman wasn’t built overnight and neither was any polished novel.)

3.    Be persistent. I have never had a novel written overnight. I learned that I had to push myself day after day to make sure I got something on the page. (I love what I do, but there are times that a sunny day looks better than finishing that scene or chapter. I usually make sure I finish it and then enjoy a reward.)
4.    My first draft was never a polished gem. 99% of the time I will not write perfectly the first time. (I have never seen an author ever publish their first draft.)

5.    My inner writer and inner editor are different pieces of me. My inner writer is usually messy, but needs to get the story out. She likes to work any time after noon and likes to party on the weekend.
The inner editor is neat, strives for order. She loves to organize and works in the early morning like 5am and be done by 2pm, 4 at the latest. She appreciates a good night sleep. (She is cranky when she sees a grammar error or word she missed.)

6.    I made time to write. I don’t usually push myself for a word count (unless it was NaNoWriMo). I was happy just to get words on a screen or paper. It really does add up. I calculated all of the words on one of my flash drive and I was over a million.

7.    Reading is a necessary for writing. This is especially true if one wants to be main-streamed published. I read to know format, how to write decent dialog, and to understand what the difference between tell vs. show.

8.    Word count does count. Publishers look at word count. (I heard that anything under 80,000 words is considered a novella. Novels are considered 80,000 words and up with an average novel between 85,000 and 100,000 words.) Many editors will charge by the word.

9.    Internet can be a bigger distraction than a help. I writing sprints (where you give yourself a time: 20 minutes, 45 minutes or even an hour and you just write.) However sometime I got distracted on the internet or when I sprint on facebook. (I have muted facebook sounds or turned off the internet just so I can get writing done.)
Facebook games are a horrible temptation for me.

10. Taking a break can be a good thing. I have been pressured to get thing done by a deadline and that can be stressful. Sometimes a half an hour or an hour break can help the brain process.


Beta Reader lessons


I had around 50 beta readers. Some would say that it was too many readers, but by September 1st, I had only gotten about 10 messages back with feedback. I had also gotten a few extra messages from those who knew the 1st was coming, but that they hadn’t finished and needed more time. I was fine with that.  I wasn’t online on the first as I had monthly errands to do, so I had given my readers an extra week.

I knew when I decided to have readers that at least 1/4th would lose interest, 1/4th would have something happen in their lives, and at least 1/4th would need extra time. I believe that at least 10% would just forget.
 I was pretty surprised that 40% answered back on the 1st or before.


I have gotten some pretty good, useable feedback. There have been many suggestions that I am already trying to add and/or change to my novel now.

I am very grateful that so many read the novel and gave their feedback.


Things I have learned from beta readers. . .


You need to have flexibility. You never know when life is going to give you and /or your beta readers challenges / obstacles. This can push them away from the novel. If you have a deadline then you simply need to cut those who have not given you feedback.

(Parentheses) are frown upon. I had some parentheses on a few of my lines. I had questions while editing the second times, and I forgot to go back. They distract the readers. I know I use them on my blogs. . . do they distract anyone reading my blogs? Please let me know.

Do not get offended by the feedback. Every one has their own opinion or angle. I read all feedback. I may not agree with it, but sometimes I someone needs to tell me when something doesn’t make sense in my work.  

It’s not over—not by a long shot. I still need to edit. It never stops. Writing is art, and I believe that true art is never done.