Ten Effects of Being a Writer

I’ve been a serious writer for a few  years now, and I’ve found that the deeper I get into this world, the more it affects my life.  Here are ten examples of the effects that writing’s had on my life:

1. I’m taking English 101 at my community college.  When I got a 77% on an outline, I really really wondered if explaining that I was a “pantser” would be a good excuse to my professor.

2. I did, however, get an “A” back on my first essay, and the teacher wrote “I rarely give out A’s on the first try.  But it was deserved!”  Well, thank you teacher!  Believe it or not, I have just a little experience with writing. *wink wink*

3. When we did an in-class “live” essay one day, I was one of the few students who finished the whole essay in the 50-minute class period.  Why yes, professor, I HAVE been practicing writing super fast!  Why? Um, you know, NaNoWriMo and 1,667 words a day.

4. Things like this happen: on aforementioned “live” essay day, we met in the writing center.  I was trying to figure out where I was supposed to be in the writing center, so I went to the lady behind the desk.  And THIS happened:

Me: Hey there.

Lady: Can I help you?

Lady: You’re wearing a NaNoWriMo shirt!

Me: yes!  Yes I am!  🙂

Lady: Oh gosh!  You’re wearing this year’s NaNoWriMo shirt!  That’s awesome!

Me: Yes I know!!! XD

Lady: See what I’m doing right now?  *Points to the papers on her desk*  This is for my NaNoWriMo novel!

Me: Dude.  This is awesome!  *highfive*

5. I personally own no less than fifteen notebooks.  I KNOW what makes a good notebook.  Therefore, when I go to buy a new journal for myself… well, it’s a rough process, ’cause I’m super picky!

6. I own no less than fifty pens.  Therefore, when I go to buy new pens… I stand in the “office supplies” isle for half an hour, stroking the cases, shifting back and forth between one gel pen and another, debating price vs quality…

7. Frequently, I don’t reply to people’s texts.  Later, my excuse is usually this: “Sorry, I was writing….”

8. Some nights, I don’t get enough sleep.  There are three reasons for this:

1) I’m reading a really really good book.  And because I’m a lover of words, I just can’t put it down.

2) I’m writing.  A really, really good scene.  That just can’t wait until morning.

3) I actually go to bed at a reasonable time.  But then, JUST as I’m about to fall asleep, BAM!!!! This genius idea comes crashing into my brain, and if I don’t get up and write it down, it will be lost forever.

9. Coffee.  I’m just gonna leave it at that.  (Okay, I included a pic of my cool new mug.)

10. Lately, I’ve been thinking this a lot: “Hmm, that sounds like fun.  Nope.  Wait.  It’s in November.  Sorry.”

What about you guys?  What are some crazy ways that being a writer has effected your life?

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P.S.  As a writer, I really hope I got the whole “affects vs effects” thing right.  🙂

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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
  • WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENS IN CHAPTER 2
  • 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)

Two Months

With the beginning of September, a lot is happening.

School just started (I’M A SENIOR!  WOOT WOOT!)

I’m working on getting my driver’s license.

I’m even having a Lord of the Rings marathon this Saturday with a bunch of friends.

But on September 1st, I realized something else:

November is two months away.

(I can hear the groans of all the experienced writers – oh no, not NOVEMBER.  She can’t be talking about NaNoWriMo already!)

Well, yes and no.

I’m talking about my goal for the next two months.

My goal for the next two months is to get my current WIP – The Sound of Color – off to Beta Readers.  Which means I need to finish this second draft, do a read-through to catch any remaining plot holes, and do another read-through for paragraph/sentence/grammar editing stuff.

Two moths.

And then it will be finished, and my Beta readers can have at it in November.  While they do that, I’ll be busy writing.

Because this year, I’m doing NaNoWriMo.  And I’m gonna win.  (Or die trying.  Or both.)

I already have the next story in my head that I want to write (the one I mentioned here) and I’m soooooo excited to make it into novel form.  It’s weird to be more excited about writing my second novel than I was about my first.  But, I guess the first was so much fun, let’s do it again, right?  (Or rather, the first was so much hard, let’s do it again!  ‘Cause I’m a masochist!)

But I can’t even express my excitement.  To be FINISHED with TSOC (though I love it dearly) and to be WRITING my NEW STORY!  OH GOSH I’M CANT NO NOT WAIT EEK LIKE NOVEMBER COME ON HURRY UP JUST KIDDING DONT CAUSE I NEED TWO MONTHS TO FINNISH MY CURRENT NOVEL BUT STILL HURRY.

*deep breath*

What are y’all doing in the next two months?