My Novel: Handwritten Why?

my-novel

When writing my novel during NaNoWriMo a few years ago I choose to write it all out by hand.

Why did I write it all by hand? A few reasons:

  • With 7 kids in the house I was able to take a notebook and pen with me anywhere and write

  • I write faster than I am able to type

  • I enjoy seeing the number of pages written on get thicker and thicker

Drawbacks???

YUP, you bet there are.

Mainly, now I need to try and read my writing as I type in this 70,000 word novel. I was writing quickly trying to get this novel done in 30 days and well my handwriting suffered. Now, if I can’t read it, no one can… I try to figure out within the context of the paragraph what I was trying to say.

So far I have 11,700 words typed in. It feels like it is taking forever. I try and keep the words just as I thought of them back then.

I am careful only to write exactly what I wrote and have decided not to edit anymore till it as been completely typed it in. It has been a couple years since I wrote this novel and I am worried that I will “correct” something that doesn’t really need to be corrected. That I will end up calling the main characters shoes blue when later in the novel he reflects about his favorite red shoes from when he was 6.

I truly do not remember most of what I wrote in this novel. It’s just as much of a surprise to me as it would be for someone reading it for the first time.

AND I wrote it… What’s up with that?

Maybe it’s a total mental block, but I do not remember most of the stories in these chapters at all. I truly have no idea what is coming next and when I do remember a section of a chapter I am surprised with what the main character does. It’s definitely different for sure.

One problem I am seeing is I did not write this novel in order from chapter one to chapter 17. I wrote the climax of the book when I needed motivation so it is way before it would actually come in the book. So the chapter after that is, well, out of place. It will definitely be confusing when I go and try and sort out the entire novel.

I am writing my story notes within another folder in order to keep track of all my possible problems and also my main characters family’s lineage and also who the main character’s friends are.

For example, the names of the main characters’s friends on the school bus as compared to the kids who sit next to him in art class and the name of the bully on the playground as compared to his friend who lives down the street. If I start mixing those up it will be totally confusing.

I love My Novel!

I am enjoying reading through my novel as I type it into the laptop, a few chapters a night. The kids love hearing the stories also and it is fun to sit and read the typed in chapters to them each night.

Well, off I am to type in some more of My Novel. 

Happy Writing!!

 

I Love Writing and Reading

writingI think I love to read because I love to write or is it I love to write because I love to read? I spend a lot of time on the computer but my reading is almost always from a book held in my hand. I have read a few books on my kindle but it is not the same as turning the pages and watching that bookmark make it further through the book. When the kindle screen says I have 27% complete of the book I am reading it just doesn’t feel the same as that bookmark moving.

I have always loved reading.

My taste in genre has changed over the years. I had a long spell of reading mysteries when I was a teen and into my early twenties. Since my mid twenties I have mainly read non-fiction with a very occasional fiction book thrown in. Not sure why but one of my reasons I give is that I only have this limited amount of space in my brain and I don’t want to waste it with useless information.

Another reason is that I do a lot of studying for teaching my children. We are a homeschooling family. It is difficult to keep up with the educating of this crew. I try to at least have some knowledge about the subject matter they are studying. That means right now I am learning about:

  • the American Political Party System
  • State Government in a Democracy
  • Basis of Anthropology
  • Deserts of the World
  • Geography of the Southern United States
  • Learning About Maps

That is just the list of the history topics being studied this month.

Keeping up on the science, math, language arts, health, and elective courses just takes a lot of my time. BUT I love it!! I truly do. I guess I do not have to keep up with the readings I just love to read. Maybe it is an addiction??? Maybe not…

So since my oldest child began homeschooling in 1992 I have devoted most of my reading to non-fiction topics. What am I currently reading in addition to the subjects above? Glad you asked… I am reading The Origin of Species by Darwin and the Scofield Red Letter Bible. Not light reading but fun for me. (Here is a link to my study of the Origin of Species  that I am writing as I read through it. )

I also love writing.

That same sort of evolution of my reading style has occurred with my writing style. I am very careful that what I write can always be read to every age in my household. After writing a chapter of one of my novels I will, more often than not, sit and read this chapter to my children in the evening and see how they react to it. They are always willing to share their thoughts, all their thoughts, the good, the bad, and the really bad. Just kidding. They are very loving in their critique. Usually when reading it to them I can see where I missed explaining something properly and they have this look of “What is she talking about?” in their stare. It is very helpful.

BUT because I read it to them the writing I do needs to do many things like:

  • hold the attention of my 5 year old
  • hold the attention of my 17, 15, 13, 11, 9 year old, and my husband also
  • have topics that are appropriate to all their ages
  • my words are clean

The topics I write on now usually involve children growing up. This makes sense since I also believe in writing what you know. I am in the thick of raising these kiddos so it spills over into my novels.

The thing that has not happened is that I do not write non-fiction I only write fiction as novels. Writing to me is for fun, if I had to research and write I just am not sure how much enjoyment I would get out of it.

I love blogging.

Now I am a blogger. My blogs are all non-fiction for the most part. So thinking as I write I guess I have come full circle with both my reading and writing genre’s.

Blogging gives me an outlet for shorter writings than a novel but with almost as much feeling as I have when I am writing my novels.

SUMMARY: I love READING and I love WRITING and now BLOGGING and feel they are very much intertwined in my life.

Tell me what you think…

Editing Ugh…

editing

I totally hate the editing process. Well, not sure if that is the correct word. I love reading through the book I wrote, so as part of the editing process, I like that part. I just hate cutting and adding to my book after I have that feeling of completion of the novel.

When I wrote my last novel my brother gave me some great advice, “Put it away and don’t look at it for 2 months.” This was wonderful advice. I had gotten over the ‘honeymoon’ stage of loving my book and could now read it objectively. But I still hated having to edit it…

While reading through it I found that the same part I thought was boring when writing it was still boring when reading through it this time. Ugh… fixing that section was not going to be fun.

I knew I needed the information contained in that chapter to have the story make sense. But I had written that section just like that. That chapter read like an encyclopedia article telling me what I needed to know.

Please do not take offense, I love encyclopedias and can sit and read them for hours. BUT that form of writing did not fit into this book at all. It was like the chapter that would make someone stop reading and not finish the book in fear that it was all going to continue reading like that chapter.

So I started editing that chapter and did not get through very far and gave up. That was a while ago a long while ago. Guess I should take a look at it again. For now I still have that wonderful novel with the boring chapter sitting in my notebook waiting to be edited.

What do you think about editing your own work?

Happy Editing :-0

Write, Write, Write

writing

 

That’s what I feel like. Like I am writing, writing, and writing. NaNoWRiMo started this past weekend and all I can think about is writing for that.

During every other month I am still always thinking about writing. During the day my thoughts are normally constantly recreating themselves into proper written paragraphs. I usually love it and can’t wait till I can actually get them either on paper or through the keyboard onto the screen.

But for NaNoWriMo my thoughts have to control themselves into writing about the same topic for the entire time I am writing. Normally my thoughts are all over the place. Just look at the list of my blogs. Constantly writing and looking for outlets to write in/on these various topics is so much fun. Writing about just one topic for 30 days is a challenge, not hard, just a challenge. I think that is why I take on this writing challenge each year.

How am I doing? You ask…

So my word count for NaNo has been great. The goal is to write about 1,662 or so words a day. I am right on track to finish on….

December 1st?!!

Ummm I just checked and I guess I will not be done on time. I will need to write a bit more each day in order to finish by the last day in November. Whoops, thinking I should have checked earlier. Sooo, I actually have not written my allotted words today but I will get to that in a just little bit. They are already in my head just need to get them on the paper.

Anyway, just wanted to chime in and say’ “Hi” during this crazy writing month. Off to writing!

Now… Are you doing NaNo? How is your word count coming?

Need some advice?

Write, write, write. Write whatever is in your head. Just write.

Happy writing!

To Outline or Not

story structure plot diagram

This week I am planning for my NaNoWriMo writing that starts next weekend. Sometimes I outline for this and sometimes I do not. This time I have a totally different idea for my writing and may do a basic outline for it. Not sure yet.

When I wrote my first novel I did not write an outline but I did draw a climax chart so I would not forget the order I wanted to have the important events happen. I guess that is kind of like an outline. It just looks like a hill with major points written on it. It reminds be that I am leading up to something and need to keep adding that little bit in each chapter that will add to the excitement or surprise of what is coming up at the climax. it also reminds me about my resolution at the end of the book and that my reader will like the conclusion better if my resolution/ending of my book is clear and concise. It least I like a good resolution 🙂

Above is what I mean by that climax chart. It is really called a story structure and plot diagram.

On a diagram like above (which is usually had written btw) I write in some ideas along the sides of the triangle going up and down. The ideas are like chapters I want to write during those times. I guess it is more like an outline than I like to think it is. An outline is way more detailed I think than this chart/diagram is.

This time my idea for NaNoWriMo is so random I may need to write an outline just to keep my thoughts straight and not take to long writing in any one section. Basically I will write out each chapter as a major point in my outline and under each I will list the topics/ideas I would like to cover in each chapter. I don’t believe I will go any lower in my outline than one sub-point. If I get to detailed I lose the feeling of wanting to write and kind of feel forced to follow directions. Something I don’t do well following direction, um… I mean being forced to write something instead of writing what I want.

outline

I guess that is my main problem with outlines. I am always concerned that it will feel like when I was in school and was required to write one before writing a story. They always make me feel forced to write. Guess I should be more careful with my own students. Sometimes I do have them do outlines but for the most part I let then wing-it with just a verbal type of outline.

November seems to start out like a long month to write but then towards the end it seems like it has flown by and is going even faster. Almost like that climax diagram above. The end of the month always seems like a sprint unlike the beginning of the month which feels like a marathon. Getting excited.

Now I am looking forward to writing next month. I know now what I will be writing about. During the time writing this post I have decided for sure what I will be writing about for NaNoWriMo. Yes, looking forward to it.

Happy writing.

Take From What You Know

100_2831

Just a pretty picture

Some of the best advice I ever got when I first started writing was this, “Take from what you know.” Pretty simple. I would be more likely to clearly describe an event or anything if had actually done the thing, or seen it, or experienced it in some way. This is not true for everything. Sometimes I write from the experiences of other people that I know.

I can write about how I see what they are feeling while they are speaking of the event. I may ask for more details and watch how they say them. Watch their facial expressions and body positioning. I watch so I know how they felt while they were seeing this thing or doing that event.

While writing my novel I would very blatantly take from cool events that were happening in the peoples lives around me. I remember going to a friends house and listening to her tell a story about something that had happened to her as a child. My book was at the point where the main character was a young child. I had my friend expand on what she was talking about and asked if it was okay if I adapted that story for my book. She loved the idea and so that story is part of the characters life in the beginning of my book.

But most of the time I take from my life, my husbands life, or from the lives of my family members. Like when I was a kid and I remember how my sister felt at her first all purple birthday party, the one where she got a balance beam that was handmade by our Grandpa. I remember that like it was my own. So I can use it better than say how it would feel to be a man in my seventies taking the bus for the first time. I could guess, I could ask others, but it would not be as real in my story telling as events I have felt myself in some way.

This gets me thinking about the NaNoWriMo next month. I wonder if I could try and write a novel this time that is not from my experiences. Nah, I think that would be way too hard. Thinking I may write the sequel to “I’m Ricky”. I already have it in my head anyway. But trying something totally new would be a huge adventure. Still thinking about this.

That’s’ how I feel about writing from what I have experienced. What are your feelings about writing from what you yourself have experienced compared to writing from what you haven’t? I would love to hear.

Happy writing!

What is NaNoWriMo?

Link to NaNoWriMo site

Click this to link right  to the NaNoWriMo site

 

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It runs from November 1st-30th each year. There is a goal to right 50,000 words in your novel by the months end. You can use the site to track your progress and get encouragement also.

The man who started it set the 50,000 word goal by just taking a novel off his shelf and estimating how many words were in it. There are badges for finishing.  Here is my badge for writing 50,012 words November 2013:  nano2Why use NaNoWriMo? I joined because I needed the encouragement to get this novel out of my head and onto paper. Let’s face it, there is not time to write an entire novel and still live a regular life with 8 kids and homeschooling and all the extracurricular stuff they all do. No way! Until I found NaNoWriMo. Now, I know that 2 of my kids are out of the house and one their own but still 6 at home is quite a few.

I had so much fun writing my novel. The website helped me figure out each day what my goal needed to be for that day in order to get done in time. Those first few days were a flash of brilliant words, the last days were a rush to the finish, and the middle was hard just plain hard. My problem was I wrote the first part of the book, then the climax of the book, and then the end of the book all in the first few days. Then I added the other chapters in as I went through the month. When I got to the end watching how many words I need to get done each day on that meter on the site I was a crazy writing maniac, just ask the kids. I finished but man was it hard.

Without the site telling me I needed to do that certain number of words each day, I know I would have caved into the pressures of the day and not written the rest of the book. The site was encouraging with email and info on the site helping to get my mind going in a direction I may not have thought of.

Each day you add your word total onto the site and it shows you on an awesome graph how you are making progress toward your goal. The last part of the process is to add your novel into the site validation section. This section validates that you actually have all the words in your novel that you said that you wrote.

I did not do that last step. I had an excuse, I had wrote my entire novel. Why? That is for another post.

I totally love this NaNoWriMo site and I am hoping to write another novel this year. I have absolutely no idea what I will write. Well, that is not totally true. I do have an idea and actually an outline of a novel I wrote a few years ago I could use. But this year I think it will be a challenge just to write something I have no outline for. Something totally different. Something that will make my kids laugh and think and question their mothers sanity.  Happy Writing!

 

What if My Mom Hates My Book?

ricky

I participated in NaNoWriMo in November 2013. I succeeded. I wrote a novel. But that’s it I never finished up the process.

I have a wonderful novel that I love. It was in my head for so many years just waiting to be written down. So the NaNoWriMo that November was a breeze. I would write and write and the kids would wait for me to read that days entries to them each night. It was helpful because it showed me where my writing wasn’t as clear as it needed to be to get the point across. It was also very encouraging, like a jolt of caffeine to get me going on to the next 5,000 words.

But…. my mother has no idea what my book is really about. I love my mum. I talk to her almost everyday. But what she likes in a book and what I wrote in my book are two different things. I am guessing even if she hates it that she will think of something nice to say about it. Of course she will but I want to know what she really thinks. Um , well maybe that is an overstatement. I want to know what she really thinks as long as she doesn’t hate it.

Yes, that is my biggest fear with my book. It is the reason I have not finished the editing process. It is the reason it sits in the notebook gathering dust. (The reason and fact that I wrote my novel with pen and paper is for another post.) I fear she will hate it, utterly detest it. One day I will climb above all this imagined fear of that hate of my book and edit and publish it. Till then, “I’m Ricky” will sit with his hand in the air waiting to be called on.

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