2012

A whole year has passed by already, can you believe it? I certainly can’t. This will be my last post of 2012… dang, it better be good. However, my inner muse and mind must think otherwise because, as of eight o’clock this morning, I’ve had this lingering ache behind my eyes and temple. It’s hindering my attempts at writing prose for some reason, therefore I will resort to the next best thing. Lists! (Go with me here…) Here are some lists of things…

Accomplishments (Aka – What did I even DO this year?)
– Turned 23 (So hard on my part)
– Landed a solid 8-5 job in my hometown
– Finished my Sci-Fi novel
– Got Cinder, my new kitten
– Survived surgery (it wasn’t a bad thing, I was just nervous)
– Moved out of my parent’s house
– Moved into a condo with my sister
– Had some freelance articles in the Chugiak Eagle River Star (and was paid for it!)
– Survived the Pirate Pub Crawl
– Created my own freelance editing company: Edit, Revise, Perfect.
–  Completed the 2012 National Novel Writing Month challenge (my first time!)
–  Went on a sailing adventure
– Was published in the Fall 2012 issue of Alaska Women Speak
–  Applied to graduate school (okay, only one thus far)
–  Successfully maneuvered the birthday-holiday-craziness while living in two households

Plans (Aka – What the heck will I do in 2013?):
–  Turn 24 (phew!)
–  Apply to graduate school (three more in the works!)
– Freelance more articles for the Star
– Freelance edit as much as possible
– Hopefully hear back from a university
– Go see Star Trek 2 and Despicable Me 2
– Go on a vacation… I’m thinking Florida… or a cruise.
– Possibly move (how stressful would that be? Sheesh…)
– Possibly start graduate school (whoot!)
–  Celebrate the holidays with my family

Writing Plans (It’s going to be awesome, that’s right, I said it!):
–  Do a “final” edit on my sci-fi novel
–  Query my sci-fi novel
– Do some more fluff pieces on fanfiction and fictionpress (to get
my mind out of the deep)
–  Complete my 2nd sci-fi novel
–  Work on my novella series
–  Possibly go to the writer’s conference in the summer (this
could be my vacation!)
 

Other Good Things (whaaa?):
– Apples with caramel
– Sweet potato
–  Baked glazed fish
– Smoothies with boba (yes, the first four were food. I am,
apparently, hungry.)
– Hanging out with family
–  Hanging out with friends
–  Sitting with a purring feline
–  Being busy but not stressed
–  Game nights!
–  Movie nights!
– Gaming – Zelda mostly, but I do play Mario
– Vlogbrothers (these guys are hilarious! And sometimes quite
deep too…)
–  Feeling confident about oneself
–  Waffles on Saturday morning (yup, I’m hungry.)

That’s it. This isn’t such a good post writer-wise, but in a way it is good to look back and to plan for the future… much like you have to do when writing a good novel. (No? Well, at least I tried. Hmm, I had three ‘good’s in that one sentence…blerg. ) Now, I must take some aspirin, chug some water and get back to work.

See you in 2013 – have a safe and happy new year!

Warm regards,
Kellie

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Holidays (and what they can teach us)

Time slowly draws near to the holidays, decorating the trees with ornaments and tinsel, the houses with lights and colors, and the hearts and souls of people with that special kind of joy. Personally, I celebrate Christmas, but my friends celebrate in many other ways ranging from Hanukkah to Yule and not one is type of celebration is more important than the other. What is important, though, is family. Spending time with family, friends and loved ones is what this winter season is all about. I honestly believe that.

Another thing I believe is that in order to create a truly believable character you need to incorporate friends and family. You don’t need to invent a new holiday in your story to do so (although, who would say no to a Beat the Bots day or a Moon Gathering?) but you should, at the very least, introduce your readers to the presence of family and friends.

Family can be involved in the character’s life in many different ways. It can be something as vague as mentioning them in passing, as simple as a flashback, or as direct as having the readers encounter them in person at some point. But regardless if the main character’s parents are dead, living, or something in between, they have structured your character, they are important to them, and they should be addressed as such at one point or another.

Friends should also be involved in the character’s life. Even that stereotypical loner guy has one person (or animal or being of some sort) they call a friend. Side-stories and subplots can come from these friendships – the quest for the girl or guy, the fight breaking out in the corroder, the brunch in the café. It’s good to round out your main character with the people who regularly surround them.

See, instead of focusing on one or two (or five?) characters, you need a whole world of them. You don’t need to introduce them all, of course, but, just like I would never know everyone in my world but I do know a few, your characters should know a few as well.

That’s one thing I’m missing in my NaNoNovel – yes, I’m still working on it! Almost complete actually, with the first draft at least.  – I couldn’t believe when I got to the 5th chapter from the end and had not yet added a solid friend (or even a peripheral one) to one of my main characters.  My entire work had shrunk into three people. Three people! There is an entire world to work with and my focus narrowed down to my main characters. Hence this being only my first draft.

It’s okay to do that, though, okay incorporate more characters later, just as it’s okay to slash characters later too. As long as the end product is something that makes sense, something that you’re proud of, and something that reflects the realities (or your world’s realities) of life, you’re golden.

I have always loved the holiday season, spending time with friends and family, just enjoying their company and enjoying life. Your characters – no matter how old, young, solitary or social they may be – should have that circle of companions in their life too.

May the holidays treat you well and see you next Friday!

Warm regards,
Kellie

An Odd Quandary

So I’ve come to a dilemma. A crossroads. A quandary, if you will.

I have too many things I’d like to write.

I know, I know! Talk about your first-world problems, right? As if having too many stories to tell is a bad thing, as if having too many characters conversing in my mind is unfortunate, as if the plotlines are gathering dust in their disuse.

And yet, somehow, someway, it is and they are. I’m not actively spending time with every one of my stories and, so, I feel them drifting – no, not drifting, fading would be a better term – fading away almost. And I don’t know how to stop it. (Well, I do know, but it seems tricky to me. Continue on…)

For example, in this moment of time I am trying to focus on finishing my biopunk NaNoWriMo novel – at 53,000 words in I’m about 3/4ths the way done. I have to admit, at the end of the NaNo event I kind of fell off writing for a week or so, I didn’t write much at all actually. I’m back on now, with a goal of writing at least 1,000 words per day. It’s a lot of work and I enjoy doing it, and you’d think my muse would understand that I only want to focus on this one thing.

She doesn’t.

No, instead of only thinking about gears, wiring, and splicing DNA, I’m coming up with ideas for character flaws in my fantasy novella series. I continuously have a hankering to write in the sci-fi universe I created. I have random images for a fictionpress poem. I even have some ideas to spice up old fanfiction pieces. This is not biopunk. This is not my NaNo Novel. Why do I have these ideas springing into my head?

And it’s not like I’m… complaining per say. I like that I have these ideas. I always try to jot them down. I like that my creativity is taking this leap forward.

But sometimes… sometimes I feel like if I don’t write in my other stories I’ll somehow loose them. Like they won’t be as focused in my mind’s eye. Like the characters won’t be as bright as I know they are now.

And I know what the solution is: take some time for each story. Delegate a day each week to one specific idea – my sci-fi novel, the novella series, fictionpress or fanfiction – and just stick to it. It seems simple.

Here’s the kicker, though, I’ve never written in multiple stories at once. I don’t really want to try it, either, honestly. I prefer to finish this NaNoNovel before jumping into a different world. Yet it seems like that’s what I should do. And so, I think… perhaps… I’ll try. I think it would be best to start with little things – poetry for my fictionpress, some fluff fanfiction maybe – and see how that goes. If it works then I can write in my sci-fi universe and the novella series AND my NaNo Novel all at once.

Having never done this before, though, I have to ask… Has anyone actually done this before? Is it hard? What kind of suggestions would you have for a multi-universe writer?

Anything would be helpful at this point so if you have any ideas, throw them my way!

Enjoy the weekend… let’s hope for snow, eh?
Warmest regards,
Kellie

November 27th, 2012

(Yes, I do realize today is actually the 30th of November but…)

After 27 days, 1,667 words (or more) per day and a never-ending desire to finish what I began, I finally hit 50,000… and then I continued writing to 52,000. Then I stopped. The novel is far from finished. But I’ve reached a turning point. Closing the word document, I didn’t write anything more. Instead, I copy, pasted, and validated the count.

Turns out, I have enough.

Winner-120x240

So it’s done. After months of agonizing over if I should even do it, weeks of planning out the characters, the setting, and the plot-line, and a whole day of crossing out names that didn’t fit, I finished my first National Novel Writing Month with time (and words) to spare. And I feel pretty darn good about it, too. I’ve always wanted to try it out and finally at 23 years of age, at the 2012 NaNoWriMo event, I did!

Is the novel perfect? Heck no! But it’s still words on the page, 52,000 words more than I had 27 days ago. I’ll keep writing until it’s finished and then I’ll go back, edit the thing to pieces, rebuild and start all over again. This is just a first draft. There’s a lot of work still to be done.

I’ve seen people shrug their shoulders and say “I just got to 20,000 words” or “I’m not going to make it this time” and they’re sad about it. Disappointed almost.

But here’s the great thing about NaNo, even if you “just” get to 20,000 words (a feat in itself) you still have 20,000 more words than you did before. The same goes for 10,000, 40,000 and 200. Are they brilliant? Possibly. (If so, I respectively loath and tip my hat at you.) But probably not if you were, like me, writing in the midst of work or late at night. Yet it does not diminish the fact that the words are still there. If you have one brilliant thing every few pages, then you’re golden. Take that one line, or word, or character, or setting, and build off of it. By all means, spin off the NaNo novel into some uncharted territory and see where it goes. You may never look at the NaNo novel again. Or you may grab it, dust off the old overused words, polish it up with some new images, and love the end product.

The way I see it, as long as you had fun and tried your best, that’s all that really matters. So be proud of that word count, however small or large it might be, and move on. I am. Well, moving on in the story at least.

Have a lovely weekend!
Warmest regards on this last day of November,
Kellie