Monday, October 10, 2011

3-Day Novel Contest

I guess we've been so busy preparing for NaNoWriMo that we haven't had time to post!

A few of us have been talking about doing another 3-Day Novel Contest, this time over either Thanksgiving weekend or New Year's weekend. Or possibly both. Either way, who wants to do it with us?

If we did it over Thanksgiving weekend, it would give those of us who aren't doing NaNoWriMo and who don't have company coming a chance to write. Also, some of us are to busy to have time to write every day, but can squeeze it in on the weekend.

If we did it over New Year's weekend, the people who are doing NaNoWriMo will probably have time to refuel by then and write a novel. (I think they'll have time. I've never done NaNoWriMo, so I don't know.)

So do you want to do it? If so, which weekend?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

NaNoWriMo - thoughts

(I have just changed my Blogger name, because I felt like it. I'm Tangela-that-was)

Last night I was plagued by insomnia, and one of the things I ended up thinking about was, what am I going to do for NaNo this year? I've thought up and thorwn away several ideas over the past few months, but this time I think I know for sure. And when I checked the blog today and saw Mari's post (it's not that scary and it's really fun, you can do it!) I decided I'd make it blog-official so I don't flake out.

I'm going to have another go at writing the story of my oldest character. She's existed in my writerly brain for at least six years, probably longer, and I've tried to write her story four times during those six years. I never got past the first chapter, but re-reading the attempts - the first one was when I was just starting and I no longer have it, but I have the others - I think each is better than the last. So this time I'm going to start work on a proper novel plan with a decently fleshed-out plot, and write her story.

To be honest, I don't know much about her, even though she's been around so long. Her name is Indri, and she doesn't have a surname because she was abandoned as a baby. She's seventeen, and training to be a Protector, a sort of secret bodyguard for the great and the good. During her final practical exam, things get a bit...out of hand and it is discovered that she has strange powers that only a handful of people in the world possess. From there, it's a case of her learning to use and control these powers, coming to terms with how they affect her life, deciding what it would be best to use them for and trying to find out where they came from - who her parents are.

And that's it, really. I don't even know where her powers come from. Writing this all down properly and getting it exactly right is going to be very important for me, so I guess I'd better get planning!

Monday, August 15, 2011

First NaNoWriMo!

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, I have decided to do NaNoWriMo this year. I'll probably die, but it'll be worth it. I figure that even if I don't make the word quota, I'll have at least gotten a good sta'rt on a new story. Responses to this announcement of mine have ranged from "Awsome, you'll do great!" to "If you think it's a good idea, I guess I can't stop you."

The story I have chosen to work on this November was inspired by a wonderful gift given to me just recently. That gift was a WWII Volunteer Nurse's Aide uniform. The matching cap, upon close inspection, had the owner's initials written inside! Who was 'M.W.?' We will probably never know. But I have chosen the name Mandy Weiman, and decided to tell this girl's story. It should certainly be interesting, if nothing else!

I'll try to post updates on here, but I can't make any promises. Goodness knows I'll be busy. :)


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


                If you’ve been reading writing-related blogs for very long, you’ve seen the many suggestions for how to write better. For example, sit in a comfortable chair, listen to music, eat right, take breaks, etc. This stuff is good, but there’s something better.

                I’m not suggesting that you stay in bed until noon. I mean things like:
                -Go to bed early enough at the same time every night.
                -Try running a fan for white noise.
                -Have a bedtime routine. It’ll help you get to sleep faster.
                -Don’t worry about tomorrow. It’ll take care of itself.
                -Exercise, but not before bed.
                Teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep a night, adults less. When you’re sick or worn out, sleep is one of the best healing agents.

                Besides, you’ll feel better and be able to focus better. Your family will thank you! I didn't get enough sleep last night (we were watching the fireworks) and I can feel it today!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Timewasters. Terrible, aren’t they? You’re going through the day, and suddenly you realize that it’s time to go to bed and you haven’t written a single word.
                Time to do something about it! Here’s a list of the biggest timewasters I’ve found:
                -Reading (yes, read, but not when you should be writing)
                -Busywork (i.e., cleaning off your desk, making phone calls to old friends, etc. that doesn’t have to be done RIGHT NOW)
                -Excuses (“I’ve got a headache!” Well, take something for it and start writing. If you’re well enough to read this, you’re well enough to write. Just don’t remind me I said this the next time I’m sick.)
                Let’s start with the first one. If you write on a computer, see if you can change the settings so that it doesn’t show that any internet is available. (Some laptops have a key for that.) If it doesn’t, exercise restraint and don’t open a browser.
                If someone else is watching TV, go into another room – one where you can’t hear the TV. Or try noise-canceling headphones.
                Reading is good for feeding your brain, but you need to write too. Try reading only before you go to bed. It also helps some people fall asleep. (I am usually reading something exciting and suspenseful, so that doesn’t work here.)

                Everyone has busywork. But you don’t have to do it right now. Does your desk need to be cleaned off right this minute? Do you have to text your friends about sports events right now? If you need to, set aside a day (or hour, or something) for busywork and get it done. Then get back to your writing.

                As for excuses? *yawn* I’m too tired to finish writing this. Besides, I still need to practice piano. The often-spoken advice comes into play here – the only way you’re going to get much writing done is to sit down and just do it. Many people don’t want to WRITE. They want to HAVE WRITTEN. If you want to write a book, you need to apply pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

                Now then…seeing that I have no reason NOT to write, I guess I’d better start working on it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Writing-related sites

I’ve found the following blogs to be helpful ones to read. I don’t know how to make them all an English word that you click on, instead of clicking on the link. So, you get the website address:  When (think positively) you began asking agents to read your work, read everything on this site. It’s the only one I know dedicated to improving queries.  Fantastic site; it has a lot of great articles on improving your writing. The people here post every day!  More great articles on improving writing; this one’s mostly for people who write science fiction and/or fantasy. The archives here are definitely worth reading.  This is one of my favorite sites. It doesn’t have many articles, but the ones it does have are great.  How Not To Write has been around for a eons (or just several years, take your pick). Try reading the archives.

So, what writing-related blogs do you read? Are you a blogger?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I'm at a writing camp, for those of you who don't know and in the workshop this afternoon we discussed critiquing other people's work. There's a method we used, that I really like.

First you go through and make a note of all the words that catch your eye in the piece. This is called pointing. (e.g. 'laughing, sparkling self.')

Then you ask questions. This is for whatever you didn't understand about the poem, story, etc. (e.g. 'Why did Angel think the house was haunted? What clues did she have, because I'm not seeing any.')

And last of all, you do 'Say-back'. This is writing a little note explaining how you interpreted the whole story/poem/script. (e.g. 'This is a really sweet farewell scene between two people who obviously love each other. Very detailed descriptions made me feel like I was there.')

Make sense? I found it to be really nice and I got some great feedback this way.

Disclaimer: i cannot, unfortunately, claim the honor of having come up with this technique, only the example lines. And don't you dare steal those.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Concerning Endings

Hello all. I’ve been thinking about an entirely new idea for a story, which I might use for NaNoWriMo this year. Without giving too much away, it’s historical fiction and I will need to do a lot of research for it, so I’m still not sure whether it will actually happen or not. I don’t tend to get on well with historical fiction. Anyway, that’s not what I’m actually posting about.

The thing about this new story idea, like many of my unfinished stories, is that the ending could be either very tragic or quite positive. I always find this the hardest thing to decide when composing a plot. This new idea could be especially poignant if the main character were to die at the end, and I’m always worried about avoiding saccharine endings which aren’t really satisfying, but at the same time I have a habit of doing awful things to my characters which I should really try and break. This character I’m planning will have a lot of awful stuff to deal with, whatever happens to him at the very end, so maybe I ought to let him off being killed as well.

If this new story were to end positively it needn’t be a fairytale ending. I can see it ending realistically with all the action and turmoil over and the character contemplating a long, difficult but ultimately doable journey back to a normal life. It wouldn’t be a cliff hanger, because it would be very clear that a normal life is exactly what he’ll eventually achieve. But I still doubt it would be satisfying.

So I want to ask: in general, which do you tend to prefer, in your own work and in books you read? Happy endings or sad ones? Do you find ambiguous endings unsatisfying or do you like the realism of them? And does anyone have any tips for writing historical fiction?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Critique Partners

 Hello all,

I thought today I'd talk about critique partners, for lack of a better subject (and because I have no progress to speak of on Journey).

                A critique partner is usually a writer (not necessarily published) who reads what you’ve written and offers suggestions to improve it. They’re a lot like an editor, but they are friendlier. You repay the favor by reading their work and offering suggestions.

                If you belong to a writing club, you might do something like this already. Or, you might have a family member or friend who reads a wide variety of things and is willing to read and discuss your work with you. I know my family is VERY honest about mistakes I make ;)

                So, I’m encouraging you to find a critique partner if you haven’t already. They’re extremely helpful. When picking one, look for the following:
                -So honest they’re not afraid of hurting your feelings
                -They read a lot, so they know what good writing looks like
                -They have time to do it (some people are really busy
Bonus points if they’re a writer. They don’t have to be.

If you don't have a critique partner, go get one. Your writing will thank you. 
Also, there are websites that offer critiquing. A Google search should turn some up.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to come up with fantasy names

It sounds like most of the people blogging here write fantasy, so today I thought I’d talk about how to come up with names. Sometimes they come when I mistype something. Sometimes they pop up in my head just as a random syllable. Sometimes I get them from a name generator. I’ve gotten a few from baby name sites, but then there’s always a good chance that somebody has the name you want to use. My favorite method is this:

1.       Look around the area you’re sitting/standing/somersaulting/skydiving in. Make a list of the stuff you see, like calculator, frame, notebook, pencil, lamp, etc.
2.        Take one of the words (here I’ll use calculator as an example). Split it up into its separate syllables, or just wherever it divides easily. So now calculator would be Calcu and Lator.
3.       Decide what the names sound like. I’m using Calcu as a traitor, because that’s what the name sounds like to me. But Lator sounds better, like a good person. So I’m using it for a town councilman.
4.       If the word is only one syllable, try scrambling the letters or completely reversing the word. So now frame would become Mafre. 
5.       Sometimes you can just look around at labels and signs and combine words. If you see a DVD cover for Star Wars, then you can use the last part of Star and the first part of Wars and come up with Arwa.

Try not to get the names too hard to pronounce or spell, though. While I really like the Lord of the Rings, it’s hard to pronounce some of those names!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pen Names

What do you guys think about pen names? My opinion is that you could use your own name, unless it’s one of the following:
-Hard to spell
-Lots of variations of that sound the same but are pronounced differently
-Hard to pronounce
-Something really common, like Smith or Jones
-A name of somebody famous, like Dickens (not necessarily an author)

My last name happens to fall under numbers 2 and 4, so I was thinking of possible pen names. The only option that I’ve thought about much is Abigail O’Laughlin. Anyone here write under a pen name?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hi, My Name Is...

Captain Dreadnaught (that's what it is on a different blog I write on, so that would make sense; I'm not trying to usurp power by using that name, I promise).

Anyway. I got started in writing because I thought I’d make money. Naive to the core! Now, I do it because I like it. Writing, I mean, not losing money.

My parents don’t know that I’m writing – and I’d like to keep it that way. It’s nothing bad, really! I’m writing a novel, as well as a short story, and I want to give them my written works for Christmas gifts. Whether they’ll be done in time is a different story (pun intended).

I’m currently working a fantasy novel, tentative title Journey. I call it fantasy because it's set in an imaginary world, but there isn't much in the line of magic or dragons or that sort of thing. To give you an idea of what it's about, here is the query letter. (A query is what you send to an agent to hopefully get them interested in your book.) Without further ado, here it is:

Sixteen-year-old Tasri Oberens barely breathed as she listened. The man continued speaking to the crowd.
“Come to me, all you who are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The man turned, and Tasri couldn’t hear what else he said. She pushed through the crowd toward the man. She had to hear more.

                A hand grabbed her hair. A man’s voice rasped, “Tasri Oberens! I told you not to be around this man any longer! You have a choice: kill him or be killed!”

                [In a regular query letter, you’d put the word count of the book and your contact info down here.]

                The main problem I’m having is making it long enough. Right now it’s almost 14K words. I have a bunch more stuff to add, but the length will still be an issue. Another problem is the pacing. It was way too fast, but with the additional stuff, I think it will be better.
                I’m also working on a short story (fantasy, same world as Journey), but that one's pretty much on the back burner.
              My goal for tomorrow (not today; it's late, my time) is to write another scene for Journey, however long it takes.

                I write fantasy, I have about notes for about 20 plots on my computer in several different genres. What genre do you write?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tales of a Lady Pirate

Tales of a Lady Pirate

So, I just finished editing Tales of a  Lady Pirate, one of the first major stories I wrote. And now, of course, I'm thinking I may just have to rewrite it entirly. It's an awsome story, and I love it, but there's so much more that could be added.

The story is of a 17 year-old, high society girl living in 1840's London. Her name is Nora Weatherby, and she's got a younger sister named Faith who bugs her a lot. :) Their father is a merchant sailor, and rarely home, and mom is overbearing and abusive. In an attempt to gain herself a bit of freedom, Nora starts to sneak out at night and play her violin in a tavern. There, she meets up with a pirate named Terry (whom she blackmails into giving her a share in his prizes) and an Irish printer's son named Liam who partners up with her for the shows.

Then, Mrs. Weatherby finds out about Liam and the show, and disowns Nora. She stays the night with Liam's family, then the two of them are forced to leave town with Terry after the police find out that Terry's a pirate. Eventually, through a serious of strange events, Nora ends up becoming the captain of Terry's ship, having Faith join up, and getting married to Liam. It's really a wonderful story, and I'm hoping I can turn it into something better than it is now.

So now I need to start editing 'Lady of the Moon'. The one that took me a year and a half to write.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

On the Therapy Couch

I seem to have this awful habit right now of working with characters who are severely messed up in all sorts of ways. I've finished editing Contact 2009 for now, mostly because I got sick of all the wholesomeness and romance and pretty little fairytale ending, and now I'm juggling three different, well-established stories which all have as their protagonist someone who really ought to see a councellor.

The Notebook story is back after a long hiatus, for starters. The main character is a young man who, for convenience's sake, I'll call Ankh (which is actually only the first quarter of his real name). He's a poet in a world which has no time for anyone who can't make money or work down a mine. For the past seven years he's been throwing his entire emotional life into his poetry because he's had nothing else, so he was always very shy and withdrawn. He has a serious phobia about large crowds. But now he's fallen in love with a girl he's not allowed to be with, and he's not good at dealing with difficult emotional situations in the real world. He is getting very angry and depressed, and it's only going to get worse.

Then there's Prototype, which is in editing yet again because if I leave it alone for more than a month or two I start getting the itch. I've mentioned Xenna before, I think. She's somewhere between a pirate and a freedom fighter, with a permanent identity crisis going on because she was created as a weapon of war, but developed free will and escaped. She's half mostly-human, half cybernetic implants. I also suspect her of being bipolar. She tries and fails to kill herself twice during the story, which only covers the last month or two of her life. And then she saves humanity by self-destructing and blowing up the bad guy, right after her unwanted sidekick finally gets the guts to tell her he loves her. Nice.

And Seline. Her story has no title as of yet, since I have very little idea where it's going. What I do know is that she's from Mars Colony, where authority broke down about a hundred years ago and now there's nothing much left except rival scavenger gangs and smoking debris. It taught her to be pretty damn tough, and then she managed to escape to Gamma Six and became a police officer. She's sort of locked out all her childhood memories to protect herself, but they've recently started surfacing in nightmares. This is way more problematic than it sounds, since for complicated reasons the nightmares could end up getting her deported. The only person she's told about it is her husband Dex, but even though they truly love each other things are always a bit awkward between them because they're different species, so they can't have kids, and if they tried Seline could get seriously hurt because Dex is two feet taller, twice as wide and about six times as strong as her. And then she meets Felix by arresting him for running out on a doctor's bill, and he's everything Dex isn't, so they really get on each other's nerves and she constantly wants to punch him. But it's going to turn out that they're having the same nightmares, and I have a feeling they're going to end up getting drunk and doing something stupid. This is the first story I've done where the personalities are creating the plot along the way, and it's fun but also quite depressing that the personalities automatically create such a messed-up plot.

So, this post was by way of being a very long and tedious confessional. Clearly, I need to get all my characters some therapy sessions. One wouldn't be able to afford them and the other two are far too proud, but I'll give it a go.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nightmare Week

Why did I ever think that writing for 3 hours every day was a good idea? It might have been for someone, but not for me. I ended up sleep-deprived and crabby with everyone, and had my mom asking when I was going to be done. It worked perfectly fine for the first couple of days, then I gained the hour. I was stupid enough not to finish my days quota, thinking I would finish it the next day. Turns out, procrastination is deadly.

That same hated hour stayed with me all through the week. I was barely able to keep up with the three hours i had, much less contend with an extra. Then, the sixth day, we were gone the whole day, and I only managed to cram two hours in before I collapsed at the keys. So, on the final day, with my mom breathing sighs of relief, I ended up with five hours to do. After going to church. And not having slept well for the past six days.


The only good thing about it, was although my eyes were red-rimmed, I did get a lot of decent writing done. And not only on the one story. So, now I'm thinking I might try it at least one more time. But only two hours a day this time. I never hope to be so stupid again.  I need my sleep.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Brief Update

Wow - there are people here! I just read the new posts and felt the urge to write something, so this is a short overview of where I am right now, writing-wise.

Fist, I'm not writing much right now because I'm revising for exams most of the time, but since the sun is now being much more friendly and Dad repainted the garden bench today I might start giving myself time every day to sit outside with a notebook. My most recent attenpts at new stories have been rehashings of very old ideas, both of which have ground to a halt before making 2 pages, and an interesting take on an urban legend I came across which has potential but could also get really out-of-control and stupid. We shall see.

Most exciting news (even though it happened about a week ago now) is that I have finished another novella-length story! Contact 2009 has, as you can probably tell from the title, been waiting for this a long time, and now it needs massive editing. The problems I intend to fix are that a) there is so much dialogue and not much of anything else; b) I think I've written it just for myself, so there isn't really enough description to make it understandable to anyone else; and c) there isn't enough exploration of, well, any of the stuff going on here. I want to include more of the alien language I have been working on, more of their culture, and massively more character development. I want memories and flashbacks and some sort of understanding of where my main character has come from and exactly what she is choosing to leave behind when she - whoops, spoilers!

So yeah. A novella in editing, two failed rehashings (both of which, by the way, were the third versions of their stories - I should really take the hint) and an interesting-but-difficult brand-new project. So stands my writely existence.

The Willow Project

Greetings, fellow writers! As promised, here is an update on how things are going with me writing-wise.

  1. Combined two story ideas of mine. They really mesh well together, which makes me happy.
  2. Semi-plotted out the combined story, which I will henceforth refer to as The Willow Project.
  3. Wrote out Chapter 1 and part of Chapter 2.
  4. Suddenly got a rush of inspiration\ideas just from writing this blog post.
My story with the code name "The Willow Project" is, in a nutshell, about magical bonds being broken between two "symbiotic," in a way, races, an abduction, and a magical item that is the catalyst of it all. I am quite excited about working on this story, and also by the fact that it is going so well so far.

Keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Nephy out for now!

Hellooo! aka, Guilt Trips

Hi everyone! I just joined the gang, so this is my first post. To let you know a little bit about me... I'm 15, I love to read and write (obviously!), crochet, act, listen to music, etc. Is that enough?

Anyway, I've been really disappointed in myself lately. I haven't been writing nearly as much as i would like to say I do. Sometimes I don't write for a couple of weeks, or I'll try to edit and only get a couple of pages done before i get stuck. sad, no? So, after being put on a guilt trip by an old lady wanting to read my story, I made a vow. Not on my laptop, sadly, but I intend to keep it nonetheless. For at least the next week, I shall work on my books/stories for at least three hours a day. It's been two days, now. We'll see how I do. Thankfully, the story I chose to work on is one of my faves, so that should help.


Friday, April 15, 2011

An Unoriginal Post Title

Hi everyone - remember me? :P If I remember correctly, I have only ever posted once on this blog and I swear on my laptop (think of what this entails - every single character I've created, along with every single word I've written has been sworn upon. And that is deep, my fellow writers.) that I will make the greatest effort in the future to post much more frequently. With that aside, let me fill you in on how my writing life has been going lately. Most recently (as in, the last week, at least) I have been a complete writing DUD (if you do not count the writing assignments I had to do for my 'beloved' (yeah, right) novel study. Yes. Not a word has appeared in my word processor on my laptop for a nearly significant period of time. Before I get totally boo-ed off the blog, though, in my defence, I did go through a surprisingly long writing streak a little while ago and I wrote three, quite decently long short stories. And yes, I edited them, which is usually completely unheard of for me, because normally my stories sit neglected in my numerous writing folders or my desktop, avoided by my Inner Editor, because I know they are not exactly golden. One of those short stories may also blossom (for lack of better word) into a novel. I feel good about it, which doesn't exactly happen for every single document I save onto my hard drive. Moving right along to my current werewolf novel, I have been itching to revisit it and since I will be spending a good chunk of time in the car traveling tomorrow, I figured that tomorrow would be a good time to do just that (coincidentally, there also happens to be A YARN STORE right across the street from where I will be spending most of my day. I get an hour and a half lunch break, so I figured that if I got between 15-30 minutes to eat then I will be very happy. Even more so if I leave said yarn store with a yummy skein of sock yarn). But I am beginning to ramble -nips rambling in the butt-. I think I'll briefly revisit the last chapter for flaws and do all that fun editing stuff, then move on and write as much as humanly possible (hopefully) for the rest of the trip. Worst case scenario, I can just stack yarn on top of my laptop and knit the rest of the ride if I get discouraged. As much as I would love to just knit, I believe my writing needs more tending to than my needles. Or, you know, I could also just go and work on another story. We'll see how it goes. On that note, I think that's enough for one post. Happy writing. ~K ETA: there appears to be something wrong with my computer (grr), so the lovely structured blog post I wrote has been mashed into one, un-professional looking lump. -blushes-

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In All Seriousness

Hey, everybody reading this blog; long time no see! I am here to give you a little update on what's going on with me writing-wise.

Well, I really want to get serious about writing for publication (digital novel, self-publishing, publishing house, etc). There's a small problem, though: I have over ninety different plots created since I was fourteen years of age, and I have no idea where to start.

A writer friend of mine, Blackbird, gave me some good advice:
Pick out stories that share similarities and combine them in a way that makes sense.
And so I shall. I have made a list organizing all of my plots by genre; now just to find a way to combine some of them so that a solid story may be created from them.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On Guilt

My writing mojo is back after a week or so's hiatus, and it has come back with such a vengance that I find myself becoming extremely unfaithful to my stories. When one feels guilt, one confesses, which is what I intend to do here.

When my mojo came back I started a short story, working title 'Europa Station', which is supposed to be a monster-horror story. Isolated research base. Last man alive. Giant ice worms. It was meant to be a bit of fun, and it is fun to write but it inspired me to pick up some of my older stories too:

'Contact 2009'. The title betrays its age. Inter-species romance story, with the message that where you belong isn't necessarily where you come from. This is one of my many very basic stories with little plot that I make up to get myself to sleep when insomnia turns up, but I decided it was better than most and started to write it down. Before I resurrected it this time round, it had been dormant for at least six months.

'Seline' is the working title for the other one, since that's the main character's name. Psychological horror, shared nightmares, etc. Has no real direction, but I really like all the characters and it writes itself. This started as a single scene about a year ago, then I dropped it almost instantly and left it until now. And now it's back too.

Oh, and there's also the 'notebook story' that I started in September, which I really want to finish but can't because I like the characters too much to disturb them, as I've left them at a happy point. That sounds sappy and mildly insane. Oh well. I'm feeling guilty about that, too. So, three stories actively on the go and another hanging around in my brain all the time wanting to be worked on, plus the two dozen dozing in my laptop. The result is constant nagging guilt and a longing to just sit around all day every day just writing.

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hide my laptop under my bedcovers and write in the dark until midnight or so, for the third night in a row.