October Hiatus? NaNoWriMo?


[hahy-ey-tuh s] 

nounplural hiatuses, hiatus.

1.  a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.

(Thank you, dictionary.com for that fabulous definition.)
If you’re a person (like me) who follows any TV series, you know full well the definition of this word Hiatus.  For people who watch certain shows, it means a long wait between seasons that can be quite annoying. *Cough* Sherlock *cough*

Anyways, here’s a little blog post to say… this blog is going to have an October Hiatus.  I want to take some time off to focus on my actual book-writing projects (and on my homework) as well as on some other creative endeavors.

I hope to see you all on November 1st, where I’ll probably have a post up about how great the first day of NaNoWriMo is going and how excited I am for the month ahead.

Until then, keep your hearts in your story and your fingers on the keys.  Good luck.

P.S. NaNoWriMo starts in a month!  Are you lovely folks signing up?  If you’re looking for a buddy, my NaNo username is SharpieBeth, and I’d love you to friend me.  I’m always looking for more friends to sign up for that crazy adventure with me.

gandalf share in adveture


P.P.S If you’re super sad that I’m not filling your October with lots of posts about NaNoPrep, feel free to check out all my previous blog posts in the NaNoWriMo category right here.  You might find some inspiration.

End Goals

Sorry I’ve been gone for a while.  You can assume that when I’m not blogging as much, it also means I’m not writing as much.

College Life has kinda got me like:

bucky being epic.gif

I can hear your response:


Okay, yes.  I’m being dramatic.  I only have 2 finals this week, and neither one will be that painful.  Hopefully.  I’m really enjoying college, and I’m also really ready for break.

So. Writing.  I’m still writing The Sequel, just not as fast as I’d like to be. (This is the sequel to my finished-and-edited novel, The Sound of Color.)  I’ve been reading a ton, and not super motivated to write.  I’m feeling very un-motivated.  I think this is why:

I don’t feel like I’m moving forward.  There’s a voice inside my head going what’s the point in writing the rest of this series if it’s never gonna get published?  And I think this has to do with the Querying Phenomenon.  Let me explain.

In all other parts of the writing process, it’s fairly easy to see your progress.  For example, in writing the rough draft, you can see your word-count go up.  You can measure that your plot is moving forward.  You have an End To The Story, and each paragraph you write gets you closer.

Same with re-writing.  Each scene you cut or add is a tangible step towards the finished story.  Okay, editing can seem endless.  But you know that the novel will only take roughly four or five “passes” before it’s “done,” or at least “good enough.”  (Four to five is my own personal number.  You may have your own, and that’s cool.)  With each editing pass, you can feel the story getting stronger, better.  You’re streamlining, adjusting, and you can see the Final Product take shape before your eyes.  There is a clear end to editing.

But querying?  Not so much.  There’s this far-off day when maybe an agent emails back, asking for more chapters of the story.  There’s this impossibility that perhaps they’ll like that chunk enough to ask for the whole story.  And then, perhaps, per-maybe-haps, they will sign you on.

And even after that, there’s more work.  More edits.  And finally, finally, you get published.

Getting an agent… it just seems so improbable.  Agents get tens of thousands of queries each year, and they might take on two or three new clients in that year.  So the “getting an agent” thing is just hard.  And it’s not like “oh yes, once you send out the magic number of 43 query letters, you are certain to get an agent.”  Nope.  Your first query letter could land you an agent.  Or your 402nd.  Or you could sent out 1,000 and never hear back from an agent, except for “no thank you.”

If I just knew how many query letters my personal novel required, I would have finished by now.  Like if I knew it was going to take exactly 78 query letters, I would have sent out those 78.  But as it is, there is an unknown number between zero and infinity.  It’s hard to make a single query letter, or even ten, seem like a substantial stepping stone compared to an unknown infinity.

That’s not to mention that each and every query letter requires about half an hour of research.  It’s a lot.  And it’s not really fun research.  It feels like half an hour down the drain when they reply a week later saying, “This sounds delightful, but most fantasy novels should be over 100,000 words.  Your isn’t.  So thanks but no thanks.”  (I got an email back basically saying that.)

And just when I was feeling ready for another round of queries, the holidays hit.  Most literary agencies close shop in December and January, so I can’t start querying again until then.  So, here’s my goal.

By February 1, 2017

  • Finish the re-read/edit of TSOC that I’m doing now
  • Re-evaluate (for the 100 millionth time) my query letter
  • Write my synopsis (because some agents are evil and want an amazing query letter AND a flawless first ten pages AND a 1-2 page synopsis.  Yay.)
  • Be ready to send out fan-tab-u-lous query + first 10 pages + synopsis when necessary

Also, if time:

  • Finish the rough draft of The Sequel.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you’re doing finals this week, best of luck.  Study like Hermione Granger is watching you.  Be kind to yourself, and be kind to others.  Remember that stories are important.  Your story is important.  Someone out there needs to read it, so please keep writing it.

I’ll be over here studying, reading, and writing.  Oh, and also drinking coffee like this:

this, my friend, is a pint

I’ll see you when I’m on Winter Break.  And as they say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome.

NaNoWriMo explained in terms of LOTR gifs

NaNoWriMo is coming soon.  And for those of you who still aren’t quite sure what it is, let me explain.  But a picture is worth 1,000 words, so… have some gifs.

Getting ready to start on October 31st:

gif (2)

Word sprints with friends like:

final count 42

I myself sitting pretty on 43

Drinking coffee like:

this, my friend, is a pint

Trying to meet your daily word count goal like:

Leggy county kills on oliphont

Sleeping like-

Oh wait.  I forgot.

one does not simple sleep during nanowrimo

Your friends who drop out half way through November are like:

I would have gone with you to the end

When you realize you’re behind on your word count:

gif (5)

Finally typing the words “The End.”

gif (7)

You on December 1st like:

it's over it's done

Your friends/ family on December 1st like:

yes Mr Frodo

Your writer friends see that you’ve won:

you bow to no one

Reading some of what you’ve written:

gif (6)

Realizing that you’ve written an ENTIRE BOOK:

gif (8)

To Plot or Not to Plot

To Plot or Not to Plot, that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to plan

The twists and turns of the outrageous novel,

Or to take arms against the way of plotting,

And by opposing, pants it?  To write; to live…

Well, perhaps that’s not as good as Shakespeare’s original.  But like Hamlet in this scene, I am plagued by indecision.

My next novel shall soon be upon me.  (*cough* November *cough*)  And I really really want to be able to write it in 30 days.  (Or at least 50,000 words of it.)

But what if I get stuck?

Here’s what I know about my New Book so far:

  • Who the MC is (a magician)
  • What she does for a living (trains magical creatures)
  • Who she lives with (her crazy great-aunt)
  • Who her pets are (a talking unicorn and an immortal owl)
  • What a minor conflict is going to be (she can’t get any business for several months, and she doesn’t know why)
  • An opening scene/ inciting plot point

But that’s IT.  There’s so much more that I DON’T KNOW.  Such as:

  • Who the Bad Guy is (or if there is one!)
  • Why the Bad Guy is keeping my MC from getting clients
  • What’s gonna happen when the MC trains her baby dragons
  • Why the MC’s parents are dead/ out of the picture
  • What type of Magical Government exists (think Ministry of Magic from HP)
  • What type of character arc is going to occur (like how does my MC grow up as a result of this story?)
  • Who any of the MC’s friends are (their names, their jobs in this story)
  • What the MC’s favorite color is

And the most embarrassing one?

  • What the MC’s name is

Okay, she had a name at some point, in some opening chapter scene thing, but…  I forgot her name.

So.  My question remains?  Do I plot my story?  Or do I leave it up to chance?  Do I allow myself the joy of exploring a new plot as I write, knowing that it brings with it a higher chance of getting stuck?

dreamer of far-flung dreamsFor now, yes.

Maybe I am and will always be the Pantser, the dreamer of far-flung ideas and the writer of impossible plots.

Or maybe not.

Arg, this is all so new to me!  This is the first time I’m beginning a novel with the intention of making it publishable.  The first time I’ve ever really considered the thought of plotting ahead of time.

It’s a bit scary.

But I refuse to be a plotter.  I detest the thought of outlining my novel, the thought of breaking it up into pieces before I begin bringing it to life, the thought of knowing where it ends before it begins.

So I think that I will compromise, but only a little.  I will allow myself to dream in this world, to introduce myself to the characters, to get to know the story.  But I absolutely forbid myself to see where the plot will take me.

I’ll even write myself a speech to prove it:

Sons of Notebooks, of Keyboards, my brothers!

I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.  A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our Pants and break all bonds of spontaneity.  But it is not this day!  An hour of woes and plotted novels, when the age of Pantsers comes crashing down.  But it is not this day!  This day, we WRITE!

By all that you hold dear, on this good earth, I bid you PANTS, WRITERS of the WEST!

THIS DAY (aragorn)

Some Epic Music (for those epic scenes)

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the newest writing-related thing I’ve stumbled across:

Epic Music.

Perfect for helping your eyes stay open into the late hours of the night, perfect for giving that boost of energy to push through just one more paragraph.

My new favorite song is called Eternal Flame, by Audiomachine.

Take a listen.  Your life will be better because you spent four minutes of your time on this song.

And if you loved it as much as I did, check out the other music by Audiomachine.

Aaaaaaand since you spent four minutes listening to that song, I’ll keep this blog post nice and short today.  🙂  Especially since I already talked about writing and music here.

If you’re interested in more epic writing music, check out this playlist:

“One Day” by Hans Zimmer (from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack)

“Binary Sunset,” “Jedi Temple March,” “Across the Stars,” and “Duel of the Fates” by John Williams (from Star Wars)

“Flying Theme” and “Forbidden Friendship” by John Powell (from How to Train Your Dragon)

“Flying With Mother” and “Where No One Goes” (from How to Train Your Dragon 2)

“Asgard” by Brian Tyler (from Thor)

“Summer Solstice” by Audiomachine

“Berlin,” “Waterfall,” and a bunch of others by The Piano Guys

“Flight of the Order” and “Fireworks” by Nicholas Hooper (from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

“The Battle” and “Prince Caspian Flees” by Harry Gregson-Williams (from Narnia)

“I am the Doctor” and a bunch of others by Murray Gold (from Doctor Who)

“Song of the Caged Bird” by Lindsey Stirling

“Forth Eorlingas,” “The Last March of the Ents,” “The Lighting of the Beacons,” “The Breaking of the Fellowship,” “Concerning Hobbits,” “The Misty Mountain Song,” and soooo many others, by Howard Shore (from LOTR)

Literally any song from the movie Spirit

“Expression” by Helena Jane Long

“Meet Princess Zelda” a others from Legends of Zelda: Twilight Princess (and many other Zelda games)

“Mountains” by Hans Zimmer (from Interstellar)   oh my gosh this song gets me every time

Basically any song by Hans Zimmer

okay I know I said I was keeping this post short but you’re the one who’s been reading this entire list.