NaNoWriMo-Best Writing Advice I’ve Received

Hey Writers! How are you doing! I hope great. Its Day #6 of NaNoWriMo, this and writers all over the world are pounding out thousands of words to get those novels done. I’m doing pretty well right now, but we all know there are days when we feel lost, when we need a little words of encouragement to help us out.

One thing that I always make sure to ask every author, when I meet them or interview them, is what sort of advice or tips they have for aspiring authors.

So today, I’m sharing some of the best advice that I have received for you, and sharing some of my own advice, and how helpful it can be to always be involved with other writers, for advice and support and encouragement.

I recently started a Facebook group, called the NaNoWriMo Support Group, and all of you writers are MORE than welcome to join us!

Now to the advice!

“Take risks and be brave. No one will write exactly the way you do. So take some risks and put yourself out there on the page. If you think, ‘I probably shouldn’t write about this…’ or ‘This is too weird/revealing to write about…’ that’s probably the very thing you should put into your story.”

-Libba Bray

With the novel I’m working on now, this really helped me. Sometimes I think, god is this seriously the weirdest story synopsis ever? But maybe that’s a good thing. I let myself write what feels right, even if it doesn’t always seem to be the best. We have to get out of our comfort zones when writing. 

“Write the kinds of stories you like to read. If you don’t love what you’re writing, no one else will, either.”

-Meg Cabot

SO true. I  could never write a mystery novel, or a crime novel. Those aren’t my cup of teas, so I write what I’m passionate about. I really hope to get back to my baseball idea because I love baseball so much. 

“Never let anyone make you ashamed of what you love to read and write. Always pursue your passion, and write/read relentlessly and shamelessly.”

-Rae Carson 

Passion. Passion. Passion. If you’re passionate about what you’re going to do and it’ll show. Its the same way I operate with my blog. Its all about what I’m passionate about, and somehow, you guys keep showing up! And that’s awesome. I hope it works for my novels too! 

“Don’t be afraid to write badly. All writers have awful first drafts. That’s why they’re called first drafts. Sometimes you have to just get through the story before you can make it pretty. I think a lot of new authors quit halfway through the book because they’re afraid that it’s not good. The first draft won’t be good. Just finish it and fix it later. The hardest part about writing a book is getting to that last page. and remember, it’s okay to write crap. Crap makes really good fertilizers.”

-Jessica Brody

This was HUGE for me. HUGE. I think sometimes I get so focused on writing well, that I don’t just write. Being able to worry less on whether its good and just getting it on the page has helped a lot. Marlene Perez quoted Nora Roberts when I met her, something about not being able to fix a blank page. That has really stuck with me the last few months. Sometimes you just need to write, and you can go back and clean it up and make it better later. 

“Just tell the truth and make it cool” and “Learn the rules so that you can break them.”

-Lex Thomas

This just makes me laugh every time I see it because it reminds me that while this is something that I want to make my career, it is also something that I really enjoy, and its fun and makes me incredibly happy! 

“It’s okay to write a shitty first draft.”

-Gretchen McNeil

Ditto. Keep writing, no matter how crappy it seems. We can always go back and fix it! 

“There is no such thing as an aspiring writer. If you write, you’re a writer, and I can’t wait to see what you do.”

-Stephen Chbosky

This makes me so incredibly. He wrote this on my “writing advice” poster, and I love it. For one thing, the idea of Stephen freakin’ Chbosky reading MY novel makes me start fangirling and I haven’t even published said novel yet. But its so uplifting and encouraging. I AM a writer. I write. I can do it. 

“Get rid of boring friends!”

-Eoin Colfer 

It seems funny, and silly but its true! Make your life exciting, fill your life with exciting and fun people. This will be inspiration for your books. The excitement of your own life will bleed into your novel. Be exciting, be your own inspiration! 

“Remember, its never too early to treat writing like its your career!”

-Shannon Messenger 

I love this piece of advice. By making writing a priority and a responsibility, it makes you accountable. I may not be intending to write an entire novel in the month of November BUT setting a goal, and holding myself accountable for keeping that goal. Treat like its something that HAS to be done and it’ll get done! 

“Make sure you have something worth selling before you take it to market. It’s all about the books. Focus on craft first. Too many writers take their work to market before it’s really ready, getting distracted by a focus on query letters, agents and publishers. Marketing a bad book is like trying to push a boulder up hill.”

-Cinda Williams Chima

This is awesome. Because once you’ve gotten over that crappy first draft, you gotta work very hard to clean it up and make it the best it can be. Write multiple drafts, and make it the best it can so that anyone you try to sell it to you would be insane to pass it up. 

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I hope you enjoyed the different writing advice, from some SERIOUSLY awesome authors :)

What is some of the best advice that YOU have received before? Share it below in the comments!

NaNoWriMo-Intro to My Novel and My Main Characters!

Hey guys! Its the 4th day of NaNoWriMo. How is everyone doing so far?

I’m actually doing really great! My goal was to be at 20K words by the end of the month on my novel. I’ve already been writing for about a month, more about and realized that I was at about 15K words, already. So that was exciting. I wrote day one and day two, and none yesterday, and I’m at just past 18K words. That’s fantastic. So I upped my goal to 35K by the end of the month, so I still have that 20K goal.

But anyway, now that I’ve introduced you all to my plan for NaNoWriMo post here, and you saw where I write and what I need to write in Friday’s post.

So today, you’ll learn what my novel is actually about and you’ll meet my main characters, and my important secondary characters.

My Novel Synopsis: 

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, 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.

Meeting My Main Characters

Katherine “Katy” Valentine

The 411: Katherine, also known as Katy, is the main character of my novel, the protagonist. She’s eighteen years, and a senior in high school at St. Joseph’s Prep, which is a Catholic private school. She is a non-practicing Catholic though, mostly because she and her dad would rather watch sports on Sunday mornings. She is living in Brooklyn, NY, with her father, and her dog, Bandit. Most of her time is spend hanging out with her best friend, Madison, reading as many fantasy and science fiction novels as possible and going to listen to live bands and dancing. She has a fun personality around the people knows but can sometimes be judgmental and sarcastic around those she doesn’t know, or like. She has a sort of dry sense of humor, and when she’s feeling particularly scared or nervous, she tends to have more sarcastic comments. She tackles a lot of things with sarcasm.

The Physical: Katy is five foot four, with long brown hair, and really large brown eyes, with an olive skin tone that she gets from her dad’s Italian side of the family. She is Irish on her mom’s side. She’s strongly built, and has legs that are her major strength, and she’s very swift. She’s taking gun lessons, and she has the arm strength but has terrible aim, and has to continually work on it.

Conflict: Katy is going to spend a lot of the novel, figuring out how to open herself to trust other people, especially people who have earned her distrust, especially when it comes to Ash and her mother.

Name: I picked the name Katy because its a name that I really enjoy, and its a name that I’m always sticking in my stories. I think its fun when its Katy, but classy and traditional as Katherine. It means “pure”, which is completely unintentional. I am playing with that though, and you’ll have to read the novel to find out!

Ash Matthews

The 411: Ash Matthews is the second main character of the novel. He has lived next door to Katy and her father since they were nine years old. He is very important to the story, but since we are in third person, everything that we get of him is through Katy’s perspective. He’s a jock, as quarterback on the football team and a pitcher for the baseball team at St. Joseph’s Prep. He is full of humor and pranks, and spends most of his team teasing Katy and calling her “Kates”, and playing pranks on her at school. He tends to be the life of the party, and he has a hard time taking anything seriously. He’s dating Heather Carr, who is equal to him in popularity. While Katy tends to meet things with sarcasm, he tends to meet it with humor, and its hard sometimes for him to take things seriously.

The Physical: Ash is very well built, and athletic, due to his sports experience. He is 6’4, and has strong arms, and legs, wide shoulders and a narrow waist. He has messy brown hair, and impossibly pale blue eyes, and freckles all across the front of his face. He’s built very athletically, and is great health. He always has a smile on his face, and has many different ones. He has  genuine smile, a teasing smile, a smirk, a flirtatious smile.

Conflict: Ash is going to struggle with his own emotions in the novel, being able to accept them, and being able to take things seriously and not always meet it with humor.

Name: Ash has gone through a ton of names before I finally settled on Ash. First he was Nate. Then I realized it basically Nate and Kate, and that’s just kind of weird, so I ditched it. Then it was Lucas, and I realized that every boy character in YA is named Lucas so then I ditched that too. His name is Ash, which literally means “from the ash tree”. I liked the name, is the story there. Maybe. Read the novel :)

Meeting My Main Secondary Characters 

Madison Wu

Madison is Katy’s best friend. She is Asian American and lives with her parents and her three younger sisters. She’s incredibly ambitious, as a member of the Honors Society, the student class president and the dance committee chair. She’s dating Ash’s best friend, Brody, and is constantly trying to hook Katy up with Ash, despite his constant teasing. She’s a bundle of energy, and is always convincing Katy to get out of the house and go and have a great time.

I honestly picked Madison because its pretty, and because her parents are society people, and named their kids “Madison, Lexington, Victory and Brooklyn” because they love New York so much. It was kind of fun to do that.

Frank Valentine

Frank is Katy’s father. He is full Italian and has lived in their brownstone in Brooklyn since he was a kid, and inherited it from his dad when he passed away. He and Katy’s mom married young, when they got pregnant, and lived with his parents, until they divorced and Jennifer moved back to Nebraska, where she grew up. He is a cop for the Brooklyn PD and is very dedicated to his job, and works long hours, leaving Katy to kind of fend for herself. They are really close though, and spend a lot of their days at Mets games. He is also VERY protective of Katy, requiring her to take gun lessons, and constantly sliding pamphlets about self-defense and rape awareness under her bedroom door. He’s average height, black hair, brown eyes, and has the olive tone of his Italian family. He’s built healthy, and his hands are calloused and covered in scars.

Frank means “free” or “truthful”, which plays a lot into the character that Frank will become.

Jennifer Flynn

Jennifer is Katy’s mother. She lived with Katy and her father in the brownstone in Brooklyn until she and Frank divorced when Katy was 10 years and she returned back to Nebraska, where she grew up. She remarried a man by the name of Caspar Flemming but kept her maiden name Flynn. Her and Katy have a very rocky relationship, ever since Katy made the decision to live full time in Brooklyn with her dad. She’s mostly Irish, with a hint of Scottish background, and has dark blonde hair and blue eyes and works as a second grade teacher. I can’t say much more than that because you learn more of her character as the book go along.

Jennifer means “Fair Phantom”, and yes, that was done on purpose. ;)

Razi Cylon

I can’t say anything about her except that she’s the antagonist of the novel and that her name was chosen very carefully. I wanted a name that was fairly unique and a name that you could remember. I wanted something that worked well for an older woman, and this name really stood out to me. I looked up the meaning, and it meant “my secret”, and that is going to play out very well.

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I hope you all enjoyed learning a little bit about my novel, and about the main characters that you’ll meet in the novel!

I’m working on a title, and I’m going to be having a contest/giveaway for my novel. It will be posted tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest and I hope you all can participate!

Now, I gotta get to writing, since it’s day four and I haven’t written anything!

Happy Writing Everyone!