How-To: Survive Nanowrimo

Also known as Survival of the Fittest.

30 Days. 50,000 Words. (I wish every single one of you good luck.)

Nanowrimo is here! And that means writers all over the world are boarding up their windows, locking their doors, and ignoring all further social interaction or human contact. Starting today, writers will start their long journey of 50,000 words by the end of the month. That adds up to about 1,667 words a day! Phew, that’s a lot of work!  Continue reading

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Putting Yourself Inside the Story (Better Known as Second-Person)

The other day I did a post on first-person vs. third-person. And lately, I have this sudden interest in second-person, so I figured I should cover all the point of views.

Second-person is a point of view that fits in between first-person and third-person. It basically puts you, the reader, inside the story. It is as if you are the main character and everything around you is. . . well, actually around you. In second-person books, you aren’t the outsider that looks into the inside and watches. Now you are the main character.

It is actually a really interesting point of view to use, though I don’t think I could ever read a second-person book, much less write one.

Stuff like, “You lean closer to hear what they are talking about, but they spot you snooping, and they stop speaking almost immediately,” is second-person. Can you imagine that? Being put into the story?

I think the problem some people might have is decisions. When the writer/author, is writing the book, they usually don’t make decisions based on what the reader might choose. So, second-person obviously isn’t the real you. Still, it’s a pretty unique point of view.

Though, I think first-person makes you seem more like you’re the main character. You wouldn’t talk about yourself saying, “You went to the store the other day.” No, you say, “I went to the store yesterday.” But I guess it’s just the matter of placing you inside the story. Kind of like the author referring to you as he/she writers it.

Picture

I have never read a book about second-person, but I would like to see how it feels one day. It wouldn’t hurt to try something new in the world of literature.

Finding Time to Write

Writing just is not getting any easier.

One of the hardest things to overcome as a writer is finding the time to write. Because, truth is, life is in the way. Jobs, family, friends, college, and anything else in your life that just keeps blocking your keyboard, the way to your imagination and writing. We do not all have the time to write ten thousand words a day. Which is exactly why there are tips and tricks to finding the time to write.

Here are some tips to finding the time to write:

1. Commitment. As a writer, there is a lot you have to commit to. It is almost like selling your soul to the Devil once you release your imagination and become a writer. There is no going back. Which is why as a writer, you have to be committed. There are no buts or ands in the world of writing.

Taking the pledge as a writer means always sticking to what you do best. Which is writing. You always have to remember that. Staying committed will lead to success. But if you do not commit yourself to the world of writing, well, let’s just say you will not be too successful.

2. Your schedule. Our schedules are constantly packed tight. Meetings at work, going out with friends, or just being lazy for once. What you can do is you can tweak your schedule a little (just a little) to make a little time slot to write. Take some time out of exercising at the gym or catching up with friends to commit yourself to writing an hour a day. Though your schedule might be packed from one end to the other, you need to find just a few minutes in a day to type up a storm cloud of words.

3. Set a goal. Goals are always good. Setting a goal is always a good idea. After finding the time in your schedule to write (see above), you will need to set a goal. How many words you want to write, how long you want to write, and what you are going to write today and what you want to accomplish. Making a goal of writing five thousand words in an hour and successfully completing one chapter will bring you closer and closer to slapping “The End” onto your novel or short story.

You can also set a bigger goal. Such as when you would like to finish your book. If you want it finished by December, sort out how many words you will have to write a day to be able to reach your goal on time. There is nothing like succeeding. And, let’s not forget, if you fail, try, try again.

4. There are going to be those days. You are a writer. You are going to have those days when you feel lazy, or burnt out, or your inspiration seems to have been sucked right out of you. And that’s okay. You do not always have to write. Take a break, a deep breath, and just relax. If you go too fast, you are going to tire yourself and your brain out. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

Take a day, or a week, off. Replenish yourself until you feel better and ready to write again.

5. When life gets in the way. That is another obstacle, isn’t it? Life gets in the way with everything. We cannot spend an entire week on our laptops writing or scribbling away at our notebooks without life coming back and snatching you away. Don’t become a social recluse or ignore family and friends just because you want to write. If life gets in the way, do not ignore it.

6. Words. Ah, yes, words. Aren’t words what make us writers? You are going to need words, so always keep a dictionary or your phone near you in case you need to look up a synonym for beautiful or you need a word that means repulsive.

7. Write. This is probably the most important advice of all. There is nothing else to say except write.

Write

Also, I would like to thank the Dollar Shave Club for this amazing opportunity. I really appreciate it.

If you have not heard of the Dollar Shave Club, they are this amazing organization that supply razors (handles included) for a low monthly fee ($1, $6, $9.) How it works is: You pick out a razor, then select your monthly fee, and the Dollar Shave Club will send the razors to your door. It’s simple, easy, and no trouble.

The Dollar Shave Club shaves both time and money, and that’s super-awesome in my opinion. 🙂

Young Adult – A Genre

Ever find yourself wondering into the Young-adult section in your local bookstore?

Young-adult is just another one of those popular shelves in Barnes and Nobles or any other local bookstore. The young adult age range is from twelve to eighteen, from preteen to teenager. Though, you should never feel ashamed if you are past your teen years.

Young-adult books are constantly being read and reread, and it seems as though young-adult just continues to bloom and blossom in popularity and numbers. Books such as The Giver, Harry Potter, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson are a few examples of popular young-adult books.

Young-adult books flourish in ranks. No doubt.

YA

The genre is usually tied with a sub-genre. YA fantasy, YA science-fiction, YA (insert sub-genre here). Either way, it is a genre.

The young adult genre will most likely appeal to teens, but it’s fine to be too old to be considered a “young adult” and still read the genre. But YA books are mostly made for teenagers. The book(s) will usually have a teen protagonist. Almost always. And it will usually have problems that teens can relate with (except for being slaughtered in the Hunger Games.)

Boyfriends/girlfriends, drugs, drama, parties, and school. Isn’t that what teenagers usually do? (Not implying that teens do drugs.) Anyway, there needs to be something in young-adult books that connect the reader with the main protagonist. Something that they can say, “Hey, I can relate to that.”

It’s all about the connection between the reader and the narrator, the main character. It is all about being able to understand the feelings and emotions and problems that the protagonist goes through.

The thing about writing young-adult books, is being able to make the protagonists seem like teenagers. Teenagers usually don’t sound completely wise and perfect. They shouldn’t, in fact. When writing a young-adult book, keep in mind that you should be able to execute a believable narrator.

Young-adult a genre among dozens of other genres. And there is always a new book in the young-adult section of your local bookstore to discover.

First Person vs. Third Person

Today I want to discuss the point-of-views that writers use. The most common types of P.O.V.’s are first person and third person. There are a lot of perks and quirks and disadvantages to writing/reading in first or third person.

Point-of-view is HUGE when it comes to reading and/or writing a book. It determines a lot when it comes down to the very core of point of view. Once you start with one point of view, it’s hard to switch to the other in the middle of the book. You might find that you enjoy writing in first-person more than third-person, but you already have half a book done. So, it’s very important to figure out which P.O.V. you prefer.

Figure out which point-of-view you prefer before you start writing. Though it’s never too late to switch to first-person or third-person when drafting and revising, it will be too late if you send it off to be published and you discover how much you really wanted it to be a different point-of-view.

point of view

First person has come to be really popular the past decade, with books such as If I Stay, The Fault in Our Stars, and Twilight being some of the most popular ones. First person uses terms such as: “I went to the store,” and “I fell asleep.”
Notice how they use I such as when you speak to someone about something you did.

First person lets the reader experience more feelings and more background to the character(s) at hand. You are able to delve into the character’s head and experience everything they experience through their eyes. You understand what they feel, what they see, what they smell (sometimes,) and that’s first person.

You don’t say, “John sang at the karaoke bar.” (That would just be weird to speak in third-person in reality.) Because, you really say, “I sang at the karaoke bar.” It’s just like talking about yourself, in a way.

The only thing is, when you read first-person, you’re stuck with that person. You’re stuck in the character’s head, and there’s no way out.

You also get a limited view in first-person.

1st person

On the other hand, third person is like being an outside-viewer, almost like observing from afar. You see some things you naturally wouldn’t see in first person. Books such as The Maze Runner, The Last Song, and Eleanor and Park are a few examples of third-person.

Third person gives you an outer-perspective. One where you experience things the main characters might not. You also might find out some secrets of things that the character won’t know until later.

You are also not stuck in one person’s head. You get to see all the characters’, and what they are doing and/or feeling. It is as if you are in the clouds, looking down upon the characters’. You see and experience everything in this whole new perspective.

I have always found that I like first-person better, but I have recently started branching out to third-person. It might be a good idea to try one out yourself. Even if you despise third-person, you should try and read a book in third-person. Perhaps it was just the writing, or the characters, but some third-person books can be as amazing as, or even better than first-person.

The same goes for writers and readers who do not enjoy first-person. Some readers and writers get annoyed at how “He said” is replaced with “I said.”

It’s not an easy job writing, and it only makes it harder if you do not enjoy the perspective you are writing in. It is up to you on whether or not you prefer to write first-person or third-person. It is what makes you feel better and more comfortable when writing.

As a writer, it’s important to find what brings you comfort and relaxation when writing. Find what you are comfortable with, and stick with it, because some writers cannot stand writing in first-person. Others cannot stand writing in third-person.

Find which one you like the most, but also, do not forget to try other perspectives. You might find how much you enjoy first-person or third-person better than the other.

I have also written a post on second-person.

Dealing With Writer’s Block

There is only way to describe writer’s block. . .

It isn’t easy. It isn’t fun.

At least once in your writing career, you will find yourself facing writer’s block. And it won’t be easy. You’re bound to hit the brick wall sooner or later. And it will suck, bad.

Writer's Block

What’s the cure to writer’s block? I’m still figuring that out. You might never experience the stone wall that will one day appear in front of you. Or maybe, you will. And when you do, you are going to be so frustrated and angry and annoyed that it seems writer’s block will never go away. An incurable unfamiliarity, you think. But one day you’ll figure it out.

It is only through the wisdom and experience of writer’s block that you might never have it again. A trial that will tire you out, take away your inspiration and your alacrity will. . . disappear. There is no other way to put it.

Just think: you had it all. The plot, the characters, the setting, and then it all comes crumbling down. All because you slam into an invisible barrier called writer’s block. And you’re allowed to hate it. Writer’s block is hate-able. Not at all hard to despise and hate.

You’re a writer, right? So why should you experience writer’s block?

Easy. Writer’s block is a common “disease” that spreads around in writers’. You suffer for a bit, then you pull yourself together. You have to. After all, it’s no good to sit around and whine about writer’s block. There is a way to fix the problem, to make it all better and make the big scary wall go away.

You can make a road plan. Plan out where you are going with your story, where the characters’ are going. Figure it out, and the retched writer’s block might not be so bad.

Still, you’ll have your moments.

I Got Nothing

Emma Stone

It is going to take time, but all you have to do is force that wall back and make it through. You’ll figure it out and soon you won’t even remember writer’s block. It is a matter of time, though, before you get through it. At first, you will be upset. Then you will lose all your inspiration, and after that, you will want to scream at your blank computer screen. Calm down, though. Writer’s block isn’t so bad.

Sometimes when you write so fast and furious and it’s nonstop, you run out of fuel. There’s a thing that gets you going when writing, and you might just drain all of that out of your system after writing 30,000 words in a week. So take a step away from the computer, tablet, or typewriter, whatever you write on, and take a deep breath. Take a little break from writing. Pile up on some books to get your inspiration and motivation going until you are oozing ideas and a fabulous writing attitude (sorry for the mental image.)

Just take a minute to breath, away from Microsoft Word, or some other writing program you use. Relax and let all your brain muscles relax, drink in what you’ve accomplished, and don’t worry about how many more words you have to write. Or your deadline when writing a novel. It won’t help. Inhale, exhale, inhale; you will feel better in no time.

Have you ever had that steam come out of you when reading? Where you read through three hundred to five hundred books in only two days? That’s what you might have lost back when writer’s block hit you upside the head, instead, in this case, it was writing. Refuel your system, and writer’s block will disappear for now. Just do not overdo it like last time.

You also have to understand what writer’s block is. Writer’s block is when you do not know what to write, or how to continue your story. You might open the floodgates for a few days and the story will practically write itself, until you burn out.

Don’t neglect your writing. Best to press the pause button until you are ready to press play again.

For me, it’s been the past year I have had writer’s block. My ideas are squash (translation: they suck), and all my stories fall right through the floor, into the pit of my other hundreds of thousands of book ideas that failed to impress me and inspire the wheels in my brain to work. Perhaps I need to take my own advice. Perhaps I need to take a step back and stop trying so hard to write something good. I have been forcing myself to write something magnificent, something intelligent with amazing characters and sinister villains and witty dialogue.

Don’t force an idea. Let the story evolve and write itself. Let it bloom from a seed to a beautiful flower in your mind until you are ready to sit down, place your callused fingers on the keyboard, and write like never before. All of the writer’s block is gone. For now. Hopefully forever.

Go toward writer’s block with a headstrong attitude and surpass the challenge before you.