NaNoWriMo-Exclusive Excerpt from The Reawakened!

I apologize to those of you who read the incomplete version of this blog post yesterday. My days are all SO mixed up, cost and I’m all over the place. This post was supposed to be posted today, treat December 1st, now that NaNoWriMo has completed.

So how did you guys do? I want to know! Share with me your experiences, your successes and struggles, and show me what you’ve written! Tell me what your book is about. I’m so proud of all of you who took a dive into writing a novel.

I’m also proud of myself. What? I am! I got some MAJOR work done on The Reawakened. It normally takes me SO long to write a novel. Another Chance for Summer took me TWO years, and A Little Less than Famous took a little more than a year. With this novel, I’ve accomplished SO much in this month and I’m proud of myself for it!

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, my word count is officially at: 61,295.

Which makes me a NaNo winner! Yay!

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So exciting! Now, for the most exciting part of this. You get to dive into a little piece of my own novel. Keep in mind that it IS a rough draft, and any or all of the words that you see below may not necessarily make it into the finished novel. But I think they will!

Please note also that this is all copyrighted to me. I will literally hunt you down and sue you a hundred times over if you take this as your own. You have no idea. I will do unspeakable things. I don’t show it often, but I can get pretty angry. I don’t mean to be harsh but this is my baby, and I trust you all in showing you a bit of my novel, and my hard work. Please don’t betray my trust!

As you may recall, this is the synopsis for The Reawakened:

Katy Valentine has a normal life in Brooklyn, NY, going to baseball games with her dad, spending nights dancing at clubs with her best friend, Madison, and trying as best as she can to avoid her next door neighbor and bane of her existence, Ash Matthews. Things are predictable, but normal and Katy is happy. That’s when the Z virus hits. Within a month, a huge chunk of the population has fallen ill, and died due to this mysterious virus. Before anyone can figure out what it is, or where it came from, the bodies of the victims disappear, all over the country. Katy ends up locked inside her own house, scared to go outside, scared to let anyone in, until suddenly the bodies reappear, reawakened and its like every zombie movie come to life. Except this time, they’re faster, they’re smarter, and they work together to get the one thing they want.  And the only thing they crave, the only thing they fight for, is human flesh.

Now, this scene is about…hmm, 1/4 of the way through the novel. Maybe. Maybe less. Its hard to tell when its not finished. Katy and Ash are at her home, barricaded inside to keep themselves safe from the virus when Katy’s best friend, Madison, calls and tells her she’s out at a rock show. Katy and Ash decide to go after her, and bring her home, to keep her safe.

Enjoy!

We made it down to the venue in no time at all. Ash paid the cover charge and I handed over my ticket. I passed my coat over to a guy just inside and hoped I’d get it back at the end of the night.

Three-One-Six were already playing when we walked in and I forgot my purpose for a moment. I had been waiting for this show for months, and now that I was here, all I wanted to do was listen to the music and to dance. They were my favorite band and every time I saw them live, they seemed better and better. Plus, over the years, Madison and I had become friends with them and I looked forward to hanging out with them, going to late night diners, after the show. 

“This is your favorite song, isn’t it?” Ash shouted at me. 

I turned to him, surprised. “How did you know that?” 

“I pay attention, Kates.” He shrugged. “Let’s dance.” 

I hesitated. “We came here for Madison.” 

“Come on, its one song,” he said, walking backwards toward the crowd dancing in front of the stage. “Besides, Madison is probably in there somewhere, so dancing would only be helpful to our cause.” 

I felt myself beginning to give in and Ash seized his chance, taking my hand and dragging me into the crowd. I let myself be pulled in, feeling the beat of my favorite song flow through me. I wanted to dance. I wanted to dance so badly, even if it had to be with Ash. 

He stopped when we’d made our way to the stage. He took my shaking arms and wrapped them around his neck. His hands came to rest on my waist and he pulled me closer, right up against him, every part of us touching. 

“We’re too close,” I shouted, swallowing hard. 

Ash leaned down, the cocky grin in place. “Don’t be nervous, Katy,” he whispered in my ear, causing me to shiver a little. He started off slow, his hips moving against mine, picking up speed to match the song. He was an amazing dancer and my hands were too tight around his neck and an overwhelming warmth was spreading through my body. My hands loosened and traveled down his broad shoulders to his arms. I knew I’d come here for a reason but I couldn’t remember why. My mind was cloudy. I couldn’t think of anything except the feel of his body against mine, and the pulse of the music. 

What would your girlfriend think of you dancing with me?” I said. breathless, when the song ended. 

He hadn’t let me go. His arm was wrapped tightly around my waist and his other hand was on my thigh, right below the hemline of my dress, pushing it upwards. “I don’t have a girlfriend.” I gave him an exasperated look, trying to ignore the fact that my hands were still gripping his arms tightly.

“I don’t,” he repeated. “Not anymore.” 

I suddenly felt uncomfortable, uneasy about the little distance between us, and the serious expression on his face. Ash almost never looked like this, and it only made him look that much better. I started to pull away. 

His hand shot up and his fingers wrapped around the back of my neck, holding me in place. “Now, where do you think you’re going, Kates?” he said, a small smile on his face. 

He was leaning down to me, and all I could think was that he was going to kiss me, and that I wanted him to. I didn’t care that he was Ash Matthews or that I hated him or that he made my life miserable. He was inches away from me and he was incredibly sexy and he was a great dancer and it had been too long since a boy had kissed me. My heart was beating wildly in my chest, matching the beat of the song, and he was only a whisper away. 

Then a scream rang out above the music. 

And I knew exactly who it belonged to. 

Madison. 

I pulled away from Ash, my eyes wide. “Madison.” 

The band had stopped playing and everyone was looking around in confusion. I started pushing my way through, shoving people, Ash at my heels. 

I found Madison by the entrance to the restrooms. She was sobbing, her hand pressed across her mouth, lipstick smeared across her lips, and mascara running down her round cheeks. She was wearing a white lace dress, and she almost seemed to glow in the darkness of the club, surrounded by so many people dressed in black. A dark substance was spread across the front of her dress and I realized quickly that it was blood. She looked like an angel, a beautiful tiny avenging angel. I reached out to her at the same moment that she vomited blood all over the floor. 

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I hope you enjoyed this little peek into the world of The Reawakened! I’m going to continue to work VERY hard on it, and hopefully you’ll all be able to read it someday! I definitely hope so!

Happy Writing and Reading everyone!

NaNoWriMo-My Experience

Tomorrow is the last day of NaNoWriMo! How did you do everyone?

If there is one thing I learned from this month, cost its that, this whether you met your goal or not, you are still a winner in my book. Writing a novel is NOT an easy task, and honestly, not everyone is made for it. So merely taking on this task makes you winner.

And if you wrote! If you wrote at all, that makes you a winner. Whether you wrote a thousand words, or all fifty thousand to meet the goal of NaNoWriMo, you are a winner! Seriously! Getting the words down on paper is the hardest part. Once you have words down, you can go back and change them or make them better or any of that.

This is definitely something I’ve learned from NaNo. I started off with a goal of 20,000 words. Once I had typed up all the writing I had done in a notebook (thanks for the advice, Cornelia Funke!), I realized I was already at 14K, and I only had 6 to write for the entire month. I knew I would be busy with blogging and school work and that sort of thing, but not that busy. So I switched my goal to 35K, which would still bring me at 20 for the entire month.

As of right this moment (and I still need to write today and tomorrow), I’m at 59,515, which brings me almost 25K over my goal AND brings me nearly to the goal of NaNo in the first place. You’re supposed to write 50K in the month of November and I’ve written 45K. And again, I still have to write today and tomorrow! So I’m confident that I am going to reach it.

Its funny, when I started my journey into the world of NaNo, I thought writing an entire 50K novel in one month was a crazy endeavor. I still think it is. I don’t think writing an ENTIRE novel in one month is the best idea. But I do love the idea of pushing yourself, and getting those words down on paper. I accomplished so much writing this month, so much more than I would have if I hadn’t pushed myself.

So here are the things I learned and gained from NaNoWriMo 2013.

Setting Goals = Great Motivation 

Seriously. Goals are amazing. For me, setting a goal, whether large or small, really holds you accountable. It also helps when you TELL people that you’ve set this goal because they can hold you accountable as well. But more on other people later. I hold myself accountable. I set a goal for the month and I hate not meeting my goals. I told myself that I would write at least 1K a day, and I told my writing friends and my boyfriend and they would hold me to that, definitely.

The way I see it is…my ultimate goal, and probably yours too, is to become a published author. And a published author is a JOB, its a career. You sign contracts, and produce books, and you need to treat it like a job. And its never too early to start doing that. By telling yourself that you need to write every day, no matter if you have “inspiration” or not, you’re being productive and you’re getting work done and you’re acting like a real author.

Writing Crappy Really IS Okay

No, really! Its going to be okay! I know that not all 59, 515 words that I’ve written so far are good. I know I will have to go back and fix things, move things around, and that kind of thing. I know that there are inconsistencies and there are some things that I need to more thoroughly research. There is a lot that is going to make it better. I realize that.

But by recognizing that and just writing, again, I got so much more done. You can’t fix a blank page, and I’ve written so much that a blank page is laughable. Once I really started to recognize that, yes, Sara, some of this is going to really suck, I just started writing. I have it down on paper. And I’m proud of it all, even if all of it isn’t that good. Because my novel has a skeleton now, it has a little bit of flesh and all that, but it can be better. But I have that skeleton to work on. And that’s great.

My Novel Changed Before My Eyes

It did! I was surprised at the changes I made while writing, and the surprises that met me around some of the corners. See, normally, I don’t force myself to write like this. It took me two years to write Another Chance for Summer and a year to write A Little Less than Famous. I’ve only been writing The Reawakened for about a couple months, and I’ve written SO much, and I’ve learned so much about it, while working so hard on it this month.

One, we came up with a title, The Reawakened. The title comes from one of my followers, Amber Harvey, and she won a personalized, sign copy of Legend by Marie Lu. So thank you for that, Amber! I’m right awful at coming up with titles so I’m glad I can make you guys do it!

Two, I introduced a character that is going to be incredibly important later on. I would have never expected that, at all, but I introduced them, in a small scene and realized…oh they are important. They are incredibly important and I know just to do with them…

Which leads to me to three…The Reawakened is NOT a standalone novel like I had intended. It is definitely a two part. I’ve already started thinking and outlining the second novel, since it helps with the first, AND I have a title for it as well. I’m very proud of that. I’ve decided to end The Reawakened so that it is either an ambiguous ending or a nasty cliffhanger, so that no matter what happens in its publishing future, it’ll be okay. But I was very surprised when I figured out that…yeah, I’m not done.

And that’s where four comes in…I’m at nearly 60K. I was aiming for a 75-80K novel, which leaves me only 15 to 20 K left to write. But I have SO much more that needs to happen in the story so I’m not sure how that’s going to work. I found that this is going to be a much larger novel than I had originally intended but I’m okay with that. Maybe it’ll end up right where its supposed to be once I’ve done edits and such but for now, its probably going to be closer to 90-100K.

The 15 Beat System is Gold 

I have to give some major props and thanks to Jessica Brody, who introduced me to the 15 Beat system. The 15 beat comes from the book, Save the Cat, which is a book on screen writing. However, you can adapt it to a novel as well. Its less specific than an actual plot outline, and for that, I love it.

I find that when I write an entire plot outline, I end up being so bored with my novel because I KNOW what’s going to happen each and every second of the way and its just boring. I’m just not a fan of it. I ditched my new adult/baseball/romance novel because I completely outlined it and I was SO bored. I may go back to it, because I really want to, but for now, just ugh.

With the 15 beat system, there are 15 beats, or plot points, you must hit to create a successful episode. Like I said, it works wonderfully with a novel. Instead of a fully specific plot outline, you have these 15 beats you have to hit throughout the story and it helps you as you write. I don’t know what will happen between each one, and its fun trying to get to each one. It really is. Its the most beautiful way to outline your story ever. Really it is.

Ditto the Book Bible

Make one. Seriously. It helps SO much, especially those of you who may be like me and are really bad with consistencies.

Check out my post on it here.

Have a Group of Supporters

For so long, I kept myself distanced from other writers because of so many reasons. There were two main reasons though: I am a competitive person and I didn’t want to have to compete face to face with someone. And I also didn’t want to  constantly have to measure myself up to people. I was SO lacking of confidence in my own writing that anyone else’s writing was always infinitely better than mine.

But I have learned that this is SO wrong. I’ve surrounded myself with fellow writers and we’ve supported each other so much this month, and we’re going to continue to support each other as we continue past NaNoWriMo. I created a Nano Support Group on FB and now converted the group to an Aspiring Authors Support Group. If you’re interested, you should definitely join.

Its also incredibly helpful to have people in your life who believe in you and support you. I really realized (again) how lucky I am to have such a creative and passionate boyfriend. We spend so much time together, not even talking, but its okay. Jon will be working on his music, and I’ll be on my computer, typing away. Its wonderful! We really support each other. I don’t know how many boyfriends would understand my desire to be on the computer for hours on end, but he does, and it helps me in my journey to finish my novel.

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NaNoWriMo has been an exciting and productive journey for me, one where I learned a lot about myself as a writer, writing in general and a lot about my novel as well. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished this month and what I hope to accomplish in the future.

For now, I have to do some last minute writing for today and tomorrow so I’m going to get to that!

Also, come back tomorrow for an exclusive excerpt from The Reawakened!

You don’t want to miss out on that!

Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo-The Reawakened Playlist!

Hey ya’ll! How’s it going? We’re nearing closer and closer to the end of November, tadalafil which means that we’re heading closer to the end of NaNoWriMo.

Now, mind no matter what your goals are, you’re a winner! Because setting the goal out to write a novel, and doing the hard work for it? Its an incredibly daunting task and I commend each and every one of you who decides to do it!

And if you don’t finish, its okay!

But keep writing :) NaNoWriMo is only one month, and I want to see some finished novels from all of you!

Now, let’s see, what is today’s post? Oh yes! MUSIC! I love music! In high school, music was my LIFE. I was so passionate about music, it was insane. I’ve fallen a little bit out of it, because I focus more on keeping up with all the books and the book world, but I still love music.

And music really helps me to write. I know there are some authors who listen to music and there are some authors who need silence, but I definitely need noise. I write with the TV on, but mostly I write with music.

I’ve noticed that a lot of authors do playlists for their novels, and I realized I’ve never done that before. I just put on whatever I feel like listening to, but I decided to change it a bit for The Reawakened.

So that’s what this post is. I’ll be posting the songs I’ve been listening to like crazy, in order to help me write the novel.

You may want to pay attention a little bit too! Since you guys can’t actually read The Reawakened, you can get a little sneak peek of it by paying attention to these songs!

So here is my The Reawakened playlist!

Also, if you click the song title, it will take you to the song on YouTube for you to listen to!

Novel Theme Song: 

Nightmare by Set It Off

They’re coming, creeping from the corner

And all I know is that I don’t feel safe
I feel the tapping on my shoulder
I turn around in an alarming state
But am I loosing my mind?
I really think so
Not a creature in sight
But what you don’t know is that

My breathing gets faster
And so does my heartbeat
I wish this was over
I wish that this was a dream

The Rest of The Playlist

Sidewalks by Story of the Year

From the sidewalks, 
Running away from the streets we knew,
Side walks, 
Like the time we thought was made for you

All of the days have passed us by, 
All of the sun is gone…away

Partners in Crime by Set It Off

You’ll never take us alive
We swore that death will do us part
They’ll call our crimes a work of art

This tale of reckless love
living a life of crime on the run
A brush to a gun
To paint these states green and red 

Zzzz by The Cab

I’m high and dry, and kicked to the ground
I’m lost, and I’ll never be found

Singing myself to sleep 
and you’re still my favorite melody
It’s been three weeks
How long can his go on?
Singing myself to sleep
You’re haunting every memory 

Distance Disturbs Me by Set It Off

Separated by a scream,
its just a bittersweet success with a dash of failure
I’m hanging by a thread, intentions cut to shreds
I’m starting to lose my grip so 
Someone please distract me, I need a new obsession
Am I just going crazy?
I’ll never learn my lesson because

I would kill to be a mile away
or feel the breath you’ll take
But fate won’t let me

Swallow the Knife by Story of the Year

So let’s make this night be our best mistake
So let’s take the time to wipe the blood away
Now our hands our tied
and our world is caving in

Now our hands are tied
and the problems lie within
So we pray for night
to start over again 

Just One Yesterday by Fall Out Boy 

If heaven’s grief brings hell’s rain
Then I’d trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday

I wanted this song so bad for City of Bones. I really want it in City of Ashes or City of Glass. Let’s do this.

Monsters by I Am King 

And there’s something behind the clouds
that we can’t see
All things that once had meaning drag behind me
We’ve been living a lie
We’ve been living a lie
A masquerade that will end in destruction
You’ve been living a lie
You’re not all what you pretend to be

Get down on your knees
and we see the darkness and the light
Entwine, as the end of the world
becomes so clear to me 

It’s Over When It’s Over by Falling In Reverse

Take it back, take it back, my friend, 
All the things that you said about the end. 
This is it, this is me telling you it ain’t over til it’s over

Death Valley by Fall Out Boy 

We love a lot 
So we only lose a little
But we are alive
we are alive 

We’re gonna die
It’s just a matter of time
Hard times come, Good times go
I’m either gone in an instant
or here til the bitter end
I never know

In Dreams by Like Moths to Flames 

I’ve been asleep for too long
In a life that’s not my own
Never wanted to feel alone 

Come wake me up
I’ve been asleep for too long
Never wanted to feel alone
Lost myself
Slow to love
So cold

We watch the world turn
But never stop to think about who we are
Take me back to the start
Mend all the pieces that fell apart 

Breathe by Sienna Skies 

There comes a time when we will choose
A time in life which we’re confused
this feeling we will share exists
It sometimes translates with a kiss
The floor is ours
Let’s not waste any time now
Or we’ll regret everything 

Nothing Like Today by Divided by Friday 

Take me back to when I had it all
Before I let my feelings fall
‘Cause lately I’ve been hating who I am
I took for granted what I had
and watched it wash away
But tonight, I’ll let it out
Tonight, will be nothing like today

No Control by Set It Off 

Fall to my knees, God I beg you please
Show me just an inch of mercy
help me, help me, I’m doing all I can
Pretend I’m unaffected, but their pain became my present 

Swear this isn’t what I wanted
God, this house is haunted
The way that this could, if things were a melody
And after all of this we’ve been through
I wish we could switch shoes
This life ain’t fair for us all

My walls are built, and on display
I drown in guilt, due to dismay
Maybe someday I can see how this has shaped me
Bite my tongue, with swelling lungs
I gasp for air and let this go

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I hope you enjoyed listening to some of the music that has been inspiring to me!

What are some songs or some bands that help you when you are writing? Share in the comments!

NaNoWriMo-Character Fan Casting

Hello all! I hope your writing is going well, story or your reading, more about if you’re not a NaNoWriMo participant!

Today’s post is a little fun. See, here’s the thing: when you’re writing, and you’re putting your character together, of course you have an idea of what your character looks like in your head.

But for me, its sort of blurry. I know generally what they look like, but its hard to truly picture them. I feel their characteristics and their personalities stronger, and that’s how I see them.

So sometimes, I do use famous people as guiding tools for my characters.

Plus its just fun! I think every writer secretly wants their book to become a movie and secretly hopes to see famous people playing their characters one day. So here is my guilty pleasure fan casting for my novel, The Reawakened:

Zoey Deutch as Katy Valentine

Katy Valentine

Katy has long brown hair, large brown eyes, and is about average height. She is strong, trained in various self defenses and fighting techniques, due to her dad’s worries about her safety. She’s definitely beautiful, but she’s strong, fierce and she has quick wit and even quicker sense of sarcasm and temper.

I had never even heard of Zoey Deutch until she was cast as Rose Hathaway in Vampire Academy, but I’m already head over heels for her. She’s beautiful and she’s showing that she can play a fighter. Katy would probably get along with Rose, so Zoey is a great fit. She also fits the description of Katy in my mind :)

Robbie Amell as Ash Matthews

Ash Matthews

Ash is tall, built, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He’s the captain of both the varsity football and baseball teams at St. Joseph’s Prep. He’s stocky, built, with strong muscles and a flat stomach, and is incredibly athletic. He has a fun personality, preferring to put humor in every situation. When he’s serious though, he is a very determined and ambitious person.

I have to admit, Robbie Amell made an impression on me before I even created Ash Matthews. I’ve really only been writing The Reawakened for a little over a month now. When I was trying to come up with my main male counterpart to Katy, I was watching The Tomorrow People, and I was just smitten by Robbie, and his good looks, his incredible body and his charm. After watching a couple YouTube videos, where he answers fan questions, I just was sold. He is Ash Matthews, and Ash Matthews is him.

Jamie Chung as Madison Wu

Madison Wu

Madison Wu is Katy’s best friend, a tiny little Asian girl who makes up for her small stature in her large personality. She’s beautiful, with long black hair, and perfect skin. She’s on the Honor Society, does as much charity work as possible and is the head of the dance committee.

It was hard to pick Madison. I immediately thought of Brenda Song but she just didn’t fit right to me. The more I looked, the more Jamie popped out to me. She has shown, in her different roles, that she can play a variety of roles, and I think she would be a brilliant Madison. I think she’s a bit too tall to be Madison, but she’s very fitting in my head.

Jon Bernthal as Frank Valentine

Frank Valentine

Frank Valentine is Katy’s father, who is a New York City cop. He’s Italian in background, and has dark brown hair, and dark brown eyes. He’s young, only 38, having only been twenty when Katy was born. He’s fit, and healthy, always ready to work hard at his job.

Jon is the first person that came to mind when it came to Frank. I like someone young, but who can also portray that protective side too. I’m think early Shane in The Walking Dead, not later, crazy, obsessive Shane. I’ve seen Jon in other roles as well, and he’s always portrayed strong characters, protective characters and he’s just a perfect fit for Frank.

Kellie Pickler as Jennifer Flynn

Jennifer Flynn

Jennifer Flynn is Katy’s mother, who is young and strong in her Irish looks. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, and freckles all over her face. She is only 36 years old, having only been 18 when she married Frank and had Katy. She’s an elementary school teacher, who has incredible fashion sense.

I honestly had NO idea who I could even picture for Jennifer. I literally couldn’t picture anyone. I was googling for blonde actresses to find someone to fit the person I had in my head. Now I know Kellie Pickler is not an actress, but a singer, but she jumped out at me. I was watching Ellen, and she was the guest on the show, and I thought she was amazing. She’s ten years younger than Jennifer is supposed to be but I think she would be great, and she could carry that maturity well. And she looks like I picture Jennifer, exactly.

Bill Cobbs as Bert Washington

bert 2

I can’t say much about Bert. Bert will be in The Reawakened toward the end, and he is very pivotal to Katy and her future. He’s an older, African-American man, who is quiet, but incredibly intelligent and incredibly brave. Bill Cobbs was actually the first person I thought of, and if anyone else ever played in Bert in the never-going-to-happen-movie of my book, it would take adjustments.

Alex Pettyfer as Liam

Liam

Liam is a character that surprised me. He is making a small appearance in The Reawakened, and I realized that as I wrote him, he was becoming more and more important. Again, I can’t say more than that but he is important. He’s kind of the All-American boy, blonde hair, green eyes, from the deep South. He’s going to be an interesting character as the story moves along, and he’s going to create some tension. I know a lot of people don’t like Alex Pettyfer, but he’s so hot and I will forever have a crush on this boy, and he’s Liam. You’ll see when you read about Liam. He embodies the confidence and easiness of Liam.

Sarayu Rao as Razi 

Razi

I can’t say literally anything about Razi. I just can’t. It would ruin the entire book and that’s awful. But this is exactly how I picture her, except older, probably more like 50s or 60s. I think Sarayu is her thirties. She has such a perfect look and I hope you’ll see that when the book eventually releases, one day, because I am optimistic with this book!

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Happy Writing Everyone!

NaNoWriMo-Tackling Writer’s Block!

We’re near the halfway point of November, visit this which means we’re halfway through NaNoWriMo. Now that the novelty and excitement of the challenge has worn off a bit, sometimes people can run into second week slumps, or they can slow down considerably.

And I’m hoping that this will help you to continue.

I will start by saying this one thing: there is no such thing as writer’s block. Don’t get all crazy on me, hear me out. I don’t think there’s actual writer’s block. There are other things getting in the way of you writing: lack of motivation, distractions, thinking too much.

So what I’m really going to be tackling in this post are the problems that come when you just can’t seem to get those words on the page, and how you can deal with them.

Now, these are all ways that I deal when I have a hard time continuing my writing, and bits and pieces that I’ve picked up over the past couple years in meeting all the authors that I’ve met. Everyone is different in their writing strategies but I do hope that this helps a little bit.

1. You’re Thinking Too Much

This is the one that I struggle with the most, which is why I’m writing about it first. I think way, way, way too much when I’m writing. I’m thinking about whether or not the grammar is great. I’m thinking whether or not the actual writing is good, or if the scene that I’m working on now fits with earlier scenes and whether it’ll fit with future scenes. I’m worrying if what I’m writing is good enough, if people will like it. I’m comparing my writing and my story to other writers.

And I have to stop doing that, and so do you! I think we all fall into that trap and it has to stop. So many writers that i’ve met over the past year have told me the same thing over and over again: Just write. Just write, and don’t be afraid to write really badly.

The point is to write. Just write. Don’t think about whether its good, or whether it makes sense. Not yet. Don’t worry about that yet. Just write. I will never forget: a few weeks ago, I met Cinda Chima and Marlene Perez, and Marlene quoted Nora Roberts, saying, “You can’t fix a blank page.” Just put your pen to the paper, put those fingers on the keyboard, and write. We can always go back and make it better!

2. Take a Break

On the other hand, don’t FORCE yourself to write. Take a break and go do other things, things that don’t require a lot of thinking. Take a walk, go out to dinner, play a game. I would NOT recommend reading a book or watching a movie. You want to focus on your story, and immersing yourself into other stories may only hinder you while you’re feeling blocked.

So definitely take a break. Sometimes getting away from the story, and distracting yourself from it for a bit can really help with bringing your focus back to the story. I’ve heard from authors that they’ll take a bath, or a shower. Get up, put some music on and have a dance party.

Sometimes just getting away from the actual keyboard but not the story helps too. Close the laptop or notebook, and just kind of lay back in bed and focus on the story. Visualize it in your head, play out the scenes like a movie, and sometimes that can help to put them into words. You can play with the scenarios in your head, until they seem to work better than what you had them at before.

Lastly, maybe talk it out with someone. Tell them where you’re at, what’s going on with your characters and maybe tell them your concerns. As an outsider, they may have some insight to where your character could go from there. Sometimes talking it out can help lead you in the direction you want to go.

3. Work on Something Else

This can mean so many different things. For me, I either work on my blog, because its a way to write but its not nearly as stressful, or I work on another scene in my novel.

Now some authors don’t do that, and they recommend writing in a linear matter. Some authors jump around. Its all sort of up to you. I have never had an issue with writing future scenes, in fact it helps me. Sometimes its hard to push yourself through those hard scenes, the ones that are slower, and are more build up and less action. I can understand that. I’m sort of stuck in that right now.

But what I do is, I either push through, reminding myself that I get to write a fun action scene at the end of it OR I just write the action scene. I write the exciting scene because its fun. Sometimes, in writing that more exciting scene, I answer questions that haven’t even been asked yet, and it helps me to write those slower scenes. I know exactly how I want to lead up to the scene I just wrote. It gets me excited for the story again, and I’m writing again.

It also helps to write other things as well. Write for your blog, if you have one. Write in a journal, or do a writing exercise. Keep using your writing skills, and maybe focusing on something else for a little while will help give you that motivation to continue your story.

4. Eliminate Distractions

Turn off the TV, turn off the wi-fi. Make sure that you are writing in a clutter free zone.

Now, I can write with all of those, but I’m also the oldest of six kids, and I live in a house with eight other people. Peace and quiet are concepts that I’m just not familiar with and I’ve gotten VERY comfortable with noise. In fact, silence bothers me and it can be a distraction for me.

But for most people, you need to cut out those distractions. Turn off the TV, get yourself to a quiet place, where you’re alone. Play music. Music can help, but don’t let it distract you too much. I usually only listen to music when I’m confident in what I’m writing. When I’m less sure, I tend to write in silence.

Definitely turn off the wi-fi. This is one that I have the HARDEST time dealing with. I get distracted by Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter. Don’t let yourself be distracted. Just write. When you have nothing but the blank page in front of you, you can concentrate on it, and write. And remember, it doesn’t have to be good! JUST WRITE. Make sure you have nothing around to distract you. I’ll put my phone on my charger, on the other side of the room, and I’ll clear the space around me. Make sure the only the that’s between you and writing is the keyboard or the pen.

There are softwares you can purchase, for fairly cheap (think 10-15 dollars) to help you out. Freedom will block out all internet for a period of time, up to eight hours, in order to promote productivity. For those of us who use internet for research and such, there’s Anti-Social, which blocks out sites like Facebook and Twitter. Definitely check these out.

5. Set a Goal

This can be in any form. Set a time limit, or a word goal. This holds you accountable, and you’re more likely to finish the work if you’re holding yourself to it. Tell someone that you’re working on this goal, someone that you know will remind you and hold you accountable as well.

Set a time limit. Tell yourself you’ll write for an hour, two hours, three hours a day. Set a time for that. Tell yourself, “I will write for an hour from 8 pm to 9 pm before I go to bed”.

I set word count goals. I tell myself that I must write at least 1K words a day. Sometimes I bypass it and sometimes I don’t reach it at all but the fact that I made the goal, and I wrote something is better than not sitting down to write anything at all.

You can also set weekly goals as well. We get busy through out our weeks because of work or school or family commitments or social commitments and its understandable. Set yourself a word count goal for the entire week, so that you can write at your own pace through out the week. Keep yourself accountable.

6. Treat it Like a Job 

Author Shannon Messenger told me, back in May, that its NEVER too early to start treating writing like a job and I’ve really taken it to heart. Put as much effort and time as you can into it, if you’re passionate about it and you want to get it done. Create a schedule for yourself and commit to that schedule. Tell yourself that you cannot make plans during certain hours, because you are working. You wouldn’t skip out on your job for things (for the most part), so don’t skip out on writing either.

Also, the more time and commitment that you give to your writing and your novel,  the better it will be and the more likely you are to get it done. Treating it like a job will only help you to get better.

Sometimes, I just don’t believe in getting inspiration. Once you’ve published that first novel, and you start working on new ones, you’ll be on a deadline. You can’t wait for inspiration. Treating your novel like a job now, giving yourself set times to write and deadlines to meet, helps prepare you.

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I hope this helpful for you guys and that you don’t get stuck in the midpoint blues!

Good luck with everything, and don’t forget to check out my NaNoWriMo Support Group on facebook. I’m surrounded by a little more than a dozen of the most supportive friends and writers and it has been a great group. Definitely head on over!

Happy Writing Everyone!

NaNoWriMo-Character Interviews

Hello Writers and Readers! Happy Monday!

I hope you’re all having a good week, viagra 100mg immersed in the world of reading and writing, for sale and enjoying the fun of being a part of a nerd world.

I’m working hard on my novel, pounding out as many words as I can. I’m a little over 30K right now, which leaves me at about 15K-ish for the month. It also has a title now too! It is called The Reawakened, and I’m so excited about my awesome title, that I’m just dying to wake up every day and write!

In today’s NaNoWriMo, we are going to learn a little more about my characters, Katy and Ash. You can read about the basic 411 of them, and the other characters in my novel, in this post here.

For now, let’s dive into the character interviews. I had never done this before, until my good friend, Hayley, from Geek and Book Nerd, asked me to do one to help her in her school assignment. I realized how much help it was, to sort of break down my character. I surprised myself in interviewing Katy then and now I’m hoping to learn about her and Ash in these interviews.

I hope you enjoy!

Katy Valentine Interview 

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Katy Valentine. I’m 18 years, living in Manhattan, NY, and attending St. Joseph’s Prep as a high school senior. I live with my dad, who is a New York City cop, and spend two holidays a year with my mother in a small town called Constance in Nebraska.

What makes you happy? 

Reading. Escaping into a world that is so unlike our own, even the world that now exists, with the reawakened running over the world. I used to spend a lot of days immersed in science fiction and fantasy books and movies and TV shows. I also love to dance.

What makes you afraid?

Before the virus and the reawakened, I would have said, I fear losing myself, of trusting someone as much as my dad trusted my mom. Now I fear for my life, and I fear for the lives of those who I’m trying to survive with.

What are you hopes and dreams? 

I hope to survive. I hope that there will be a time when I can pick up a book and read it and enjoy it again. I want to be able to go dancing again, and I want to be able to go to a baseball game. I want to get married and have kids and go back to school. My dream would be that things would go back to normal. I wish the reawakened would go away.

What is the plan? With the reawakened? 

To survive? I don’t know. It seems like everyone has  plan, and a different plan at that. Some people say the plan is to just survive. Some people say there’s a place to escape to, where you’re supposed to safe. I don’t know. My immediate plan is to NOT shoot Ash in the face.

Who is Ash? 

Ash is my next door neighbor. Well, he was my next door neighbor. He’s kind of the bane of my existence. He drives me insane, which is kind of hard to deal with because he’s also kind of ridiculously good looking and its intimidating. He is pretty much impossible to take seriously because he’s always making jokes.

Do you like Ash? 

Nate is a complicated person. The guy is ridiculously good looking, and he makes me laugh. My best friend Madison would say that I’m in love with him, but the guy is infuriating. Cocky, can’t take anything seriously, and has been driving me insane since we were five years old.

I’m sending some denial. Are you sure you don’t like Ash Matthews?

Okay, let’s be clear on something: everyone likes Ash Matthews. How can you not like Ash Matthews? The guy is smoking hot. Do you know how many dark haired guys there are with blue eyes that pale? Or ones that have flat stomachs, and impressive arms? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But he’s Ash! He can’t take anything seriously, everything is a joke to him. He eats all the rations, and he’s always touching me.

I’m really thinking that there is a lot of denial with you. 

Can we maybe talk about something else?

What do you think your strengths and weaknesses are?

I’m stubborn and determined, which really could go either way, as a strength or a weakness. I know how to fight, due to years of my dad paying for kickboxing and karate and self-defense classes. I’m fast, I think I can run really fast. But I’m terrible with a gun, despite hundreds of dollars for lessons.

What are some things you miss about the world before? 

New York pizza. My dog Bandit. Going to a Mets game.

Ash Matthews Interview

Ash’s interview is shorter, because the story is all in Katy’s point of view and anything Ash says will be too revealing to the story.

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m Ash Matthews. I’m eighteen years old, and I am a senior at St. Joseph’s Prep. I’ve lived in Manhattan since I was nine years old, and before that, I lived in Boston, with my parents, who are lawyers. I play both football and baseball at the school, captain for both. I’m a quarterback and a pitcher.

What makes you happy? 

Playing sports, watching sports. Making a play that makes people cheer because it makes me feel good. And I like seeing Katy. I like hanging out with my friends. I love making people laugh.

What makes you afraid? 

Not being important. I don’t like the idea of being insignificant. Sometimes I don’t know what the point of being here is if you aren’t doing something important. That’s hard to deal with right now because all I’m trying to do is survive. My life is important and I’m glad I’m surviving but I wish there was more to it.

What are your hopes and dreams? 

I wanted to make something of my athletic ability. It probably sounds stupid but I had hoped I could get a scholarship for football or baseball and continue playing sports. Sports seem so insignificant now but it was what I was good at. Now I just want to get to a place where I feel safe, and where the people that I love feel safe.

What do you think of Katy? 

Katy is an amazing person, and I don’t think she sees that sometimes. She’s strong, and stubborn as hell, but she’s resilient. If there is any person in this world that I’d have to have by my side, its definitely her.

What do you miss about the world before the reawakened? 

I miss my friends, and I miss the laughter and the humor that used to exist. Every time any one laughs now, its like…it feels wrong. It doesn’t feel right with the way the world has been. I miss being happy and making people laugh.

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I hope you all enjoyed reading and learning more about Katy and Ash! They are becoming so important to me, and I can’t wait til you can learn more about the both of them in the actual novel.

Check back later this week for more posts on NaNoWriMo, including advice on tackling writer’s block and maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll post a very small excerpt to The Reawakened!

Happy Writing everyone!

NaNoWriMo-Making a Book Bible

We’re a week into NaNoWriMo!

How is everyone doing so far?

I’m doing really great. I’m writing this late Thursday night, this and I just finished writing for the night. I actually had to tell myself to stop so I could pick it up again tomorrow. I’ve heard its helpful to leave off in the middle of a scene because you’re eager to get back to it, page and its easier to jump back in. I started off NaNoWriMo at 14K words and I just surpassed 30K tonight so I’m feeling good.

I hope you’re all doing good no matter how many words you’ve written! Remember, NaNoWriMo What a Nerd Girl Says style is all about the focus of your novel and writing. Which is sort of the focus of today’s post.

Last week, right before the lovely ladies of the Fierce Reads tour embarked on their actual tour, they did a Twitter Q and A. Well the first question I asked was how they managed to handle all the world building of their novels.

My current novel, Oreo Surprise (okay, its not the real title, and its a long story), is my first dive into something that’s a little more complicated than contemporary YA. There’s more to the story and the world and its hard to keep track of.

And Jessica Brody suggested that I put together a book bible. Of course, my question was: what on earth is a book bible?

And basically, it comes from TV. They create a sort of bible on a television to keep track of characters and story lines, and all sorts of things like that, especially in the event that new writers are brought to the show. However, this can also work REALLY well with a novel writer, of any genre, really.

I spent most of my first day of NaNoWriMo working on my book bible, and I continue to work on it as I write my novel, and learn more about the characters and the story.

So I’m sharing the sort of things that I include in MY Book Bible, and other things you can include as well :)

Title

This part of my book bible is blank. I have no title for my novel. Sigh. I’m just SO terrible at naming things.

Genre:

I find this to be important to define in your book bible. It might change! And that’s okay. But having an idea of what you’re going for will help to keep you in that direction.

Character Profiles

I break it down between main characters, secondary main characters, and then strictly secondary characters. For the first two categories, I really get in depth with those. I dive into their histories, their likes and dislikes, their physical appearances, physical strengths and weaknesses and their mental strengths and weaknesses.

Whenever I make a comment about a character, or create a character trait or memory, I jot it down under that character in order to keep track. Everything that I need to know about that character is in this section, so that I don’t make the mistake of giving them conflicting memories.

I also like to keep track of the secondary characters to, even the smallest ones. It helps to make sure I don’t use the same names twice, and that I keep the story lines in order. This part of my book bible is SO important and critical for me. I have a HUGE tendency to contradict myself.

Character Playlists

This just helps me because I like to listen to music while I write. If there is a particular song that reminds me of a character, I will put it under that character, and I try to create playlists for that character. Music has a way of representing so many different emotions, which is why it resonates so much with us, so I love using it as inspiration and motivation.

Settings 

This is where I do everything from jotting down all the information I can about the actual location of where the story takes place, but also the details of my main character’s house and room, and the details of some of the journeys she has to take.

I like this section because I’m starting to put together a sort of map that is becoming important in the part that I’m working on now. There’s a big quest sort of part in the novel, and it requires Katy to pass through quite a few states, and I’m doing a lot of research on that, and I put that all in this section :)

Virus Breakdown 

This is exactly what it sounds like. In this section of my book bible, I break down the Z virus that causes the “zombies” of my novel. I broke it even further down into Symptoms, How Long it Manifests, Reawakening Processes, How it Spreads, etc.

This is an important part if you’re writing a world building novel. You need to break down your world building. This can be in settings and characters, but you can break down your class system, or your magic system. Once you have a hold of that, writing about it falls easier into place. Its not easy, but its easier and that is always good for a writer.

Beats

Jessica Brody is the most amazing author in the entire world for introducing me to the 15 beat system. She pulled it from the book, Save the Cat, which is actually a book on screenwriting. You can adapt it into novels fairly easy though. You break down your story into 15 beats, the opening image, the set-up, the midpoint, the bad guys win, hope is lost, etc. Having the fifteen beats sets the stage for the rest of the novel, and is not as daunting as a full plot outline.

You can check out the book, Save the Cat, for full details, or check out this article on it, which I found incredibly helpful!

Plot Outline 

Once I settled on the fifteen beats of my novel, I dove into a full plot outline. I am VERY vague with this. I usually only do short little sentences to explain what I want to happen, in order to be able to switch it around or change it as necessary.

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This is the way I have my own Book Bible.

Here are some other things I’ve found that people include in their book bibles:

Gadgets and Gizmos

What can NOT Happen in the Book

Character Interviews

Research

Back Stories

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Whatever you put it into your book bible, and however you organize it, it is definitely a tool that is available to aid you in your novel writing adventures.

I have found to be an incredibly helpful tool, and I am so glad that I decided to make it. It has been instrumental in this novel, and how I’ve been able to move forward with it as well as I have. I definitely recommend doing this for anyone who is jumping into a novel that requires even the smallest bit of world building.

Happy Writing Everyone!