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Archive for October, 2008

Midnight tonight signals the start of NaNo (as well as my 24th birthday)! I’m going to try and begin writing some then, even if I only get a few hundred words. I tend to stay up late on any given night anyway (on average going to bed around midnight or so) and normally I’ll stay up until 1 or 1:30 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Anyway, not sure how much coherency there will be to my late night writing, but it’s fun to actually do so for NaNo.

Before then though, I need to crank out as many chapter summaries as possible; I’ve gotten a few past the point I ended at during last NaNo so I won’t be writing blind 😛 However, I’m thinking I won’t come anywhere near close to writing the rest of them, so I probably will  just have to follow where the story takes me. Normally it’s difficult for me to write without some sort of basic outline, but it’s not impossible. Besides, most of my summaries end up changing a great deal as I am actually writing. My characters end up doing things I don’t expect, which I know every writer at some point has experienced.

I’m also realizing that I think my novel will be way too long with the course I was following, so I think I’m going to do a number of major changes (such as Kaiyo never discovering her father’s identity and profession until much later on). It’ll take out bigger chunks and hopefully speed the story along, as I think it’s kind of plodding along now.

I’m wondering if I should make her father’s identity a mystery to the reader as well but I’m still on the fence with that one. Part of my thinking is if the reader  knows his identity for most of the book, they’ll get frustrated seeing Kaiyo never discovering it. But then I’m not sure how much the reader will like being kept in the dark for a longer period of time without becoming annoyed as well. I can’t dwell on that now though or else it will take away precious thought space on the edge of NaNo.

Anyway, good luck to all of the rest of you out there embarking on this month long novel adventure!

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I realize it’s been too long since I’ve blogged. Unfortunately work has zapped all strength from me this past week. It’s been non-stop busy and generally I’m too tired at the end of the day to want to do anything that requires thinking (or more time in front of the computer).

However I pushed myself today, realizing such habits would NOT do me well during NaNo. So I continued on with my chapter summaries, hoping that I may actually finish them by Friday at midnight and the start of November. Not sure if I’ll make it, but if I don’t I’ll just do my best to write without them–who knows, that may actually end up being better for me.

Anyway, I still promise to keep the blogging up, if not for a daily update on word count and some story progression–that’s what I planned on doing over a month ago when I devoted myself to being a consistent blogger 🙂 And there will be NO EXCUSES to avoid it 🙂

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I believe one of the reasons I’m so fond of writing is because I was captured by the written word at an early age. I simply cannot remember a time when I didn’t have a book in front of me.

It started very early:

Reading at a young age

And of course, it was my duty as a big sister to teach my little sister how to read:

My earliest memories go back to around 3 or so, and I can remember sitting on the living room floor, reading one of those big Disney books based off the movies (Sleeping Beauty was my favorite) and having my parents point the words out to me as they read the story out loud.

One of my dad’s favorite stories to tell (though I’m not sure how much truth there is to it, haha) is that at age four or five, I’m studying a cereal box and then ask what the word “carbohydrate” means. Of course I don’t really remember this particular story, but I did read the sides of cereal boxes all the time when I was little, so I suppose it’s not out of the question.

Anyway, I remember I started telling stories before I could write; I’d have my mom transcribe them for me. I have a whole huge folder of these stories, now faded by the years. Still it’s interesting to see what kind of story my four-year-old self came up with.

I used to love to watch Reading Rainbow too (anyone remember that show?). I’d always try to rush to the library shortly after to get the books they recommended.

I had a lot of favorite childhood books, I was especially fond of The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein; Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw; and of course the funny Wayside School Stories (Sideways Stories from Wayside School; Wayside School is Falling Down; Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger). And then as I got older I loved the American Girl books; those books were, in fact, what got me started in writing historical fiction (as my first “novel” was written at age 11, all handwritten :P) All of these books (and MANY more) helped shaped me into the writer I am now.

And of course I can’t forget the influence of family. My dad has always been one to weave stories around seemingly insignificant events, but somehow captures everyone’s attention. He doesn’t write any of them down (as they’re all based off his life) but he’s got a way of talking and grabbing your attention. His life has really been one amazing story and perhaps one day I’ll collaborate with my sister and we’ll write it all out.

Then of course my mom was the one who spent most of the time reading to me and helping me along too. I suppose I get the artistic gene from her since she was always good at drawing and art.

And my little sister (no longer “little” anymore). She and I would always come up with stories revolving around our dollhouse people, complete with names and character quirks. We did the same with our stuffed animals; we had complete histories for their little world and everything. And now, I’m happy to say, she’s becoming a writer too 🙂 She’s writes more along the lines of fantasy and sci-fi but that trait has worn off on her too 🙂

So I’m posing the question to those who read my blog: do you remember what age you started to read? What were some of your favorite books as a child? Were there any children’s books that inspired you?

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A little more than a week and the NaNo craziness begins!

Not only that, but November 1st is also my birthday (I’ll be the big 2-4 this year). What can be better than birthday cake, word counts and word wars?

I am hoping to get more of my chapter summaries done; the goal is to finish those but I’m uncertain if that’s going to happen. I am trying, though I’m normally utterly exhausted from work when I get home at 4…and I only work five to five and a half hours a day. It’s hard for me to want to do anything but laze around on the couch during the week. It’s sad; I need to push myself more despite the exhaustion.

Work has been a little on the crazy side, considering now I’m the “official” office admin assitant (the PC term for secretary). This past week there have been times where I seriously had to remind myself to breathe as there was so much to keep up with!

I’m still missing things here and there; if not for the former AA  (who stil technically does a lot of the AA work and helping me transition) I’d be making mistakes left and right. I’m getting things slowly, but there is SO much that I have to remember it’s insane.

Let this be a lesson to anyone who desires to work in the real estate industry 😛 It’s ever changing and ever frustrating.  Agents can be very demanding, though most have been very understanding that I’m still learning and that it’s not going to happen overnight (in fact it’ll probably be another six months before I feel truly confident). The industry is constantly changing though, especially with the slow economy (even though I wouldn’t think that by the number of closings I am processing on a weekly basis). Still, I shouldn’t complain, as it is a job and I do work with many good people.

So I’m trying to balance myself between the madness of work and the impending insanity of NaNo–though I’m looking forward to the latter 🙂 Cranking out 50K + words in a month could be considered a mark of insanity, too…then again, I’ve not met one writer in life that doesn’t border on the sane/insane line 😛 It’s what makes us be the wonders that we are 🙂

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So, I did manage to get some of my book worked on. Not any actual writing itself, but considerable work on my chapter summaries. I moved them around, added some, deleted others, etc.

I’m also going to condense them a bit so they aren’t as convuluted as they are now. I started working on the smaller summaries this weekend getting up to about chapter nine or ten.

I know it seems like I’m stalling the actual writing part–which I am because I’m waiting for NaNo. I figure now is the planning and re-organizing stage. There’s lots of little issues I’ve been finding as I go through the older summaries and I’m trying to fix them now. Key word there: trying.

I need more weekends where I’m out in the middle of nowhere with no distractions like TV and internet. That seems to be the only way I ever get anything done. Perhaps I ought to try working on my novel more out at the local bookstore or Panera Bread or something. I may get more done that way!

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I’m going to give an honest effort to try and work on some of my novel this weekend. I’m not sure if I’ll work on the chapter summaries for NaNo more or try to edit one of the chapters that may be getting critiqued in the next few weeks.

We’re supposed to be heading up to church camp this weekend for our church’s small campout (about 30 people show up…that’s half of our church :P). Considering there’s really not much to do there, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to work on the computer some (the cabins have electricity and showers otherwise I would NOT be going up there this weekend with the cool fall weather nights). I suppose we’ll see.

Not sure how much time I’ll have Sunday, as we’re going to a cabin that my husband’s aunt and uncle are renting. But I’m hoping that evening I’ll be able to get something done.

Well I have to get going…violin lessons in a half hour!

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I know I’ve been wondering whether or not I should have a prologue in my story. I’ve read that a lot of agents don’t like them and many will reject the entire manuscript because it has a prologue. Personally, I think that’s a bit overboard–I’ve read plenty of books that were published and that the prologue added to the story.

I was reading on Writing World that for a book to warrant a prologue, it needs to be one of the four following:

  1. Future protagonist–meaning that the prologue is set after the events of the novel and show why the following story occurs. It also needs to be written in the same POV as the rest of the novel.
  2. Past protagonist–It shows a defining moment that occured and made the protagonist who/what  he/she is and helps the reader further understand the character.
  3.  Different POV–Obviously this is that the prologue is a relevant event seen through the eyes of another character. The relavence HAS to be seen at some point in the book. It helps an author pull of plot twists that would not otherwise be revealed or known to the MC.
  4. Background–Normally these are used in fantasy or sci-fi novels to give a background to the world that the story is set in that the reader would not be able to pick up on in the story. Again, it has to be relavent to the story. This one is the hardest one to master and do successfully.

Currently, my novel is using a mix #2 and #3. It starts off with Kaiyo as an infant, a few months old. Obviously we don’t see in her viewpoint as she is so young, but I have it through her mother’s. In it, I briefly introduce her father–who throughout the story remains obscure to her–and show him parting from Kaiyo and her mother. I don’t go into the reasons behind it, simply to say that it’s safer for them both. I thought by using this, it would show some background to her story and thus is a “defining moment” when her father determines to stay out of their lives.

I’m wondering if it’s really needed or not, though I do like the fact that it’s there. I do have to change some of it. I figure I’ll decide on its necessity as I edit more.

Anyway, if you are writing a novel, do you have a prologue? What’s its significance? Does it use any of the four types of prologues or mix of them? I’m curious to see how many actually use them in their writing.

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