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Back in the Game: Writing

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FOLKS!

Tis the Season to by Jolly…or so they say. Let me tell ya, it’s been one bu-humbug beginning of the holiday season for me and my family. First of all, this year–uh Hi, yeah, where the heck did 2013 go? I have NEVER experienced a year fly by as this one has. I’ve been in denial and pure bewilderment of how the months have flown by. Thanksgiving came, and my family didn’t even prep for it till the day before. It didn’t feel like a holiday. We were so confused. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m that annoying girl who is blasting Christmas music November 1st. I’m the girl humming and singing Christmas tunes ALL. FREAKING. DAY. Christmas decor and spirit full swing because it’s my favorite time of year. I live for this time. We have Thanksgiving, then my Birthday, then Christmas, then New Years! It’s the best two months ever…and yet…I felt…NOTHING.

The Christmas Elf had not stuck me in the butt with a Christmas Spirit candy cane and it was beginning to worry me…then upset me. My worst fear was that the season would come and go and come January, BAM! the holiday spirit would hit me…when it would be TOO LATE.

*breathes dramatically into paper bag*

Well folks, no worries cause it finally happened! Christmas Elf poked me in the buttocks and I blame happily CMA Country Christmas Special on ABC. I woke up, fixed myself some breakfast and coffee–of course–and put on the rerun of the Special. I got happy, and sappy, and emotional, and full of cheer! Our home on Sunday had my mother’s friends–the decorating brigade–come over and deck the house. Our tree came, was dressed and other holiday trinkets filled the house in lights and green, white, and gold. I spent the day making homemade Christmas cards and mistletoe ornaments and for the first time all season, the Holiday music finally went on.

So, hey! I’ve missed you all! It’s been crazy since Thanksgiving. I received that weekend my Epic Reads book bundle from their Thanksgiving Giveaway!445f2aa45b7511e39fcf12ec3b121d3d_8

I had never heard of this series or author, but since it was my girls from Epic Reads recommendation, I figured it should be good. It’s the CRASH series by Nicole Williams. Um, so first, let me say…I thought this was just some little YA obviously romantic book…what I wasn’t expecting…a steamy, sessy (on purpose slurred the word sexy) “YA” (I would say New Adult) romance novel. I picked it up curious because I was in the mood for a light, no big world-building read. I wanted something I would just fly through and have fun reading for the weekend. So I put down my dystopian/fantasy lovelies for the weekend and picked this up. Hot Dang, yes it was steamy but let me tell ya, I. LOVE. JUDE. AND. LUCE. I was immediately SUCKED into their journey. They’re relationship–mylanta was a rollercoaster of events and emotions and I just could NOT put it down. I read the first two books in one day…then I found out there was a THIRD!

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Hello Kindle purchase. Read that one and finished it the next day. I loved  following these two through 4 years–from high school, to college, to after college–and the epilogue! It truly was the best, most satisfying Epilogue I have ever read. You closed the book, after the last page, of the last book and smiled cause it was just so darn cute how it ended. (no spoilers here)

This is definitely not for the kiddies (I would say). It was a fun read, I loved them. Talk about a book hangover. I loved Jude, but would and could never date someone like him. Too much drama, temper issues and overprotective but it worked for Luce. They worked dysfunctional and beautifully together. *chuckles*

Oh, can we mention for a second how cute the *book shimmy* tote is? Right now I’m using it to haul around my writing tools.

Speaking of which…let’s get to the subject at hand…

Back in the Game: Writing

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Remember that I went to Lauren Oliver’s Writing Workshop at my town’s book fair? No? Well, I did and it was amazing! Since then, Thanksgiving came and things got crazy. I felt motivated but also overwhelmed by my new draft concept. I had much brainstorming/outlining research to incorporate now that I had access to all this new shiny guidance into writing but I think it felt too big to chew. So what does Des do…what she does best–plugs her ears with her pointer fingers pretending the world could go on pause. But it never does. The world keeps living, moving and next thing you know, you’ve stuck yourself in time, wasting time because life didn’t pause, giving you a time out.

2 weeks guys…Two. Weeks. I let time and little inconveninces hold me back. Some of you know about my laptop betraying me–turning all mal-func-tiono on me. I have needed a new laptop since July. Luckily, my mother’s office has a special but functioning-well-enough desktop I borrow from time to time when she’s not working at it. My iPad has been at least helpful for menial tasks but my writing style and comfort can’t deal with the mini keyboards made for nimble Tinker Bell fingers these iPads sync with. I’ve tried writing on it but I type so fast that on those, I am constantly making mistakes which drive me insane! Anyway–apologies for the complaining–I am grateful to have even what I do have, there are many without more important necessities.

So, as you see–procrastinating excuses that I allowed to come and waste time. I was getting discouraged but took the time to read. On my first draft, I had tackled hours and days at a time writing, that books took a back seat for a few months. I was able to take advantage of this time to catch up on some reading. I have so many books in my TBR (to-be-read) that I am itching to read! I wish I was a faster reader, dang it!

Yesterday I stumbled on Kami Garcia’s website and blog. She had some GREAT posts about her writing days–what they look like, what she does, what tools or resources she uses and that little girl (me) who LOVES school/office supplies beamed with excitement and organizational ideas.

http://www.kamigarcia.com/what-writers-do-all-day-2/

kami garcias writing bin

During my first draft, I attempted being a pantser–writing by the seat of my pants…just diving in with basic outline and letting it come as it would. Now, it’s not that it was a TERRIBLE outcome but the reason I had to completely change my concept was because the ending was not going to work. It never had an ending–not one that effectively worked. Now, of course, I didn’t find out about this till, Oh I dont know, word count 67,000–right as I was finishing the first draft completely. I could have avoided the mourning and pain if I would have figured out the important details from the beginning, way before tackling chapter one. Now, other authors dont need detailed planning, they write like the wind and it all works out. Apparently, I’m not one of them. Good to know.

The last two months, I’ve been on a research binge. I’ve rummaged through Jodi Meadows blog and tips on writing (Which was amazing) then I went to Lauren Oliver‘s workshop (Oh, yeah–also Ha-mazing), and recently Kami Garcia (co-author of Beautiful Creatures series and the recently released Unbreakable) gave me the spark I needed to jump back in.

I was determined. What I loved was seeing an author, who has published multiple books, still using as a part of her writing routine, books on writing & plotting. The learning never stops. Thats awesome. She mentioned two books. I tweeted her and asked which should I get first. She recommended this one:

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I went to Barnes and Nobles but they failed me and didn’t have any of the Writing books I wanted. Their Writing resource section kind of sucked, sadly. So amazon.com it is!

After that, I went to the Dollar Store, because let’s face it, theDollar Store is your friend! I love it. I wanted to get a couple writing notebooks specifically for each book I’m writing and some organizational items. Books, Coffee, and Office Supplies are my weakness! I’m easy to pleased *grin*

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I got myself a couple composition notebooks, pens, a small Notepad to carry around with me when ideas strick, a portable book light, crayons and sharpeners. What I also appreciated about Kami Garcia was how she shared her visual inspiration board method. I am a very visual person. I typically search the internet for hours, looking for images of fashion, people, locations, etc. that seem to inspire my story. I bring some of them up and organize them like a collage on one side of my screen when writing. All that to say, the crayons and sharpener was for that.

Already, I had to personalize the first composition notebook to match the theme of Book one.

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I get all nerdy and excited, doing projects like this. This sucker’s gonna get stuffed and written all over!

My nocturnal nature would not be denied. I got inspired at eight o’clock at night–went, did my errands and returned home by ten o’clock. That’s when the research continued. I stumbled upon a book vlogger on YouTube, who I follow–she posted a video explaining a Writing/Plotting Outline method she learned. The video was clear and very useful.

3 Acts : 9 Blocks : 27 Chapters Outline


Come one in the morning, I collected my goodies and found the coziest, dreamy spot to start my writing journey again…In front of my lit up tree!

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2013-12-05 15.21.58 Had me some English Breakfast tea with a touch of honey. Gathered my writing notebook that I’ve been jotting everything down in the last two months. I had all of my Lauren Oliver notes in there as well as Jodi Meadows research notes.

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2013-12-05 15.23.08Through Kami Garcia, I found out about this thing called a “beat sheet”. Before detailed outlining, a beat sheet helps you simply jot down bullet points of your story. Answer the major question without needing to know the details yet. Gives the skeleton it’s beginning building blocks leading to outlining. The Kami Garcia link I posted above has the links to where I found PDF’s and details on what a beat sheet is and does.

It’s a great feeling to find your stride again. Pumped to begin tackling my new concept and draft. I miss my two MC’s (main characters). I need to live in their world. Crossing my fingers that Santa brings me a laptop this Christmas.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season. Hope everyone’s Hanukkah was blessed and wonderful and everyone’s Christmas and New Year’s is amazing. May 2014 treat many of us much better than 2013 treated some of us. I got beat up by 2013. 2013 is my nemesis and I’m glad to see it go, though again, still freaking out–it flew by too quickly. I barely got a chance to blink and catch my breath.

Congrats to all the NanoWriMo folks who tackled those novels. Whether you reached your goal or not, it never takes away from the experience which is always beneficial. Practice makes perfect.

What is everyone reading this season?

I still haven’t finished Mockingjay…don’t shoot me! I don’t know why it’s taking me forever to finish that darn book. I want to know how this whole series ends already! As soon as I do, I will post my review.

Anyone watching the LIVE special on NBC of The Sound of Music? I’m such a theatre geek! My family invited me over for dinner and event watching.

Have a great evening everyone! *hugs*

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