Reading to Help Writing: Visit Veronica McDonald’s Blog Today

Today, another writer, Veronica Mcdonald, said I inspired her, and she wrote a blog post about it.  You should totally go read it, because it’s awesome and insightful: Veronica McDonald’s Blog

The purpose of the post was to discuss the impact of rereading the first chapter of favorite novels before starting to draft a new novel.

It all started, because I sent this Tweet:

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Now, I’ll be honest. Even though I loved this idea, I wasn’t sure if I would actual go through with it, until Veronica MacDonald encouraged me:


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Anyway, I think Veronica took this to a whole new level of awesome, by actually blogging about the experience, what she learned, and how it’s helping her. I was the lazy writer who just read the first chapters and kept all that to myself, so rush on over to her blog and check out her fantastic post:  Veronica McDonald’s Blog


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I know I’m a writer because . . .

Hey, all!

I’m reposting this blog post from 2 years ago, when I finished NaNoWriMo for the first time. I thought it was a fun trip down memory lane, and pretty much the entire post is still accurate and true. — Enjoy! (And leave me some comments about how you know you’re a writer!)

As National Novel Writing Month drew to a close, the good folks at NaNoWriMo asked us all to answer one question.  Interestingly enough, the question was more complex than I originally thought.  In thinking about my answer, I decided to add a new blog post for all my followers. Currently, I have none, but that’s neither here not there.

What’s important is that I not only survived NaNoWriMo, I also “won” by writing 50,000 words in the month of November. Technically, I wrote 60K, and honestly, I’m still beating myself up for not having actually finished the novel.  Neurotic writer behaviors aside, it was a great first NaNo experience! I’ll get back to finishing the novel tomorrow, but tonight I wanted to contemplate their very important question.

I know I’m a writer because:
  1.  I feel all kinds of wrong when I’m not writing.
  2. I have a baby names book but no children and no plans for children.
  3. I’ve Googled enough weird crap to get myself on a government watch list for life.
  4. The only sprint I’ve run this year was with @NaNoWordSprints.
  5. I’m unfit to function in society, unless it’s a fictional one.  If I need to choose a fictional one, it could take me years to narrow it down.
  6. I don’t care as much about publishing my novels as I do about writing them. It’s not that it wouldn’t be nice to be published. It would, but I’m going to write them either way.
  7. I have horrible insomnia, otherwise known as an overactive imagination paired with night owl tendencies.
  8. I mentally edit everything I read from novels to emails to grocery lists. (Yes, I’m constantly judging everything you write, even your texts!).
  9. I talk (angst) to my friends and family about writing, and they look at me like I’ve finally gone off the deep end. . . They’re right. I usually have gone off the deep end.
  10. I’ve used semicolons correctly; I felt totally justified in doing so.
  11. I know a lot more about epic antagonists, tragically good deaths, and anxiety-inducing love triangles than I have the right to know.
  12. I wake up in the morning and suddenly hate my current novel. I tell myself how stupid it is and how poor the writing is.  By the second cup of coffee, I’m ready to scrap it and move on.  Then, by lunch, I somehow hate it just a bit less. By snack time, I’m in love with it again, but by dinner, I’m ready to run it through a shredder for permanent execution.  Then, by wine-o-clock, I’m determined to sleep on it before I make any rash decisions, and as I crawl into bed, exhausted, I suddenly know what needs to be written, added, or edited next, in order to salvage the story. . . I get back up.
  13. I’m personally responsible for the coffee bean and tea leaf shortage of 2013.
  14. I easily have 10 blank journals, 30 ink pens, and a billion post-it notes by my living room chair at any given moment.
    1. Oh, my God! Where is the pen I need? I can’t write with these other 29 pens. It has to be that specific one! I only need that one.
    2. Gasp! I’m out of blue post-its? How can I survive with only six other colors? Oh, the horror!
  15. I absolutely hate to start editing, but once I start, I love getting so caught up in the story that I forget I’m editing and have to go back through a whole section.  It’s even better when I make myself laugh or cry.
  16. I suddenly say something intense that my character just has to say.  Then I realize I’m in the middle of a busy grocery store aisle, and everyone is staring at me.
  17. I get so caught up in writing that I either don’t hear the buzzer or tell myself I’ll get it in a second, but instead I burn my dinner for the hundredth time.
  18.  I send a manuscript out to my beta readers. Then approximately three days later, I totally freak out, tell them all not to read any of it, and sit down for a fourth, extremely frantic round of editing, before sending another revised version to all the readers . . .yet again.
  19. The next novel I write might be a quirky realistic fiction, or maybe I should work on that fantasy I’ve been thinking about, unless I want to go ahead and try horror, but I did sketch out some notes on that paranormal story already. . . (Update: I’ve written dystopian, Sci-Fi, fantasy, contemporary, romance,  and paranormal so far, but for NaNo2015, I’m tackling a YA Fantasy!) 
  20. I wish Santa would bring me Scrivener and a small, travel laptop for Christmas. I swear, I’ve only killed a few people this year, and they were all fictional. (Update 10/28/2015: I bought Scrivener for half off after finishing my first NaNoWriMo, and I’ve never looked back. I would never want to write without it!) 
Please feel free to share any thoughts in the comments or on Twitter through @BAWilsonWrites
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Outlining For NaNoWriMo

The outlining bug has bitten me, and I’m trying to get settled for NaNoWriMo.  In the past, the method to my madness often included putting up post-it notes all over my walls and pantsing between them. I decided to take a more thought-out approach this year. I outlined the first 13 chapters last week. Then I promptly had second thoughts,  so I set those aside and started all over again last night. I figure once I do that about 4 more times, I’ll be par for the course.

Anyway, I haven’t had much time to update the blog, but here are some pics from my character development pages. There’s still work to be done here, but I am making headway. Some of these characters have already changed some or might not appear in the story much (or at all) anymore, but they’re still part of the world, regardless:

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2015-10-13 11.37.14 2015-10-13 11.37.22 Continue reading Outlining For NaNoWriMo

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I see a lot of writers stressing about their first lines on social media, so I decided to do a bit of research into first lines.  I collected as many as I could, mostly in the YA genre, and I studied them, dividing them out into categories that made sense to me (though I’ll admit many could fit in several categories, so when in doubt, I went with my gut reaction).
Here are the 7 very non-scientific conclusions I’ve drawn, based on all the reflection:


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This is just for kicks. Mom found it in a box while cleaning out old stuff to pack and move. I’m tentatively considering rewriting it as an adult. It could be a fun challenge for a blog post, but I haven’t decided. For now, it’s simply amusing.

Translation (exactly as written, errors included):

The Rabbit who wouldn’t hop. 

Once there was a little rabbit named Pizza. Pizza was 10 weeks old. and she had never hopped.

Her frinds always said it was fun. But she always said in her snaught voice, I’m positive it’s not fun hopping’s for babies and I’m not a baby so I refuse to hop.

One day she got hopalongidise (hop-along-itis) she had to hop 5 times a day for a week. When her mom told her this she got red in the face. And said in her not so snaughty voice I’m positive it’s not fun hoppings for babies and I’m not a baby so I refuse to hop. Then her mom yelled at her and said you get up this instant and hop 5 times

So she crowled out of bed and hopped five times. She liked it so she did it every day.

the end
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8 Terrible Titles

The wonderful @AnnMarjoryK challenged me to do #8terribletitles, right in the middle of #WIPmo and #NaNoWriMo. Since I won’t let words from the new novel out to the world yet, I pulled up my previous novel, BLOODBOUND, YA Space Fantasy, to complete the task.
How It Works: #8TerribleTitles:
1.  Open your manuscript and scroll to a random passage
2.  The word or phrase where your cursor lands is your first terrible title
3.  Repeat until you have eight terrible titles
If you’re not ready to share your manuscript, that’s okay! Grab the nearest book and play along. Better yet, grab your friends and see if they can guess the book by its terrible titles.

1.  Far, Far Away
2.  The Problem With Eyes
3.  I’m Not The Terrorist
4.  Every. Single. Time.
5.  Back Of Our Pants
6.  Two Gunshots
7.  Bloodlust Churning Inside Me
8.  Fingers Through Mine

I was going to add amusing commentary, but I think they stand well on their own. 😉
Just for kicks, I tagged a few writing friends in my Tweet, but I would welcome and encourage anyone who wants to participate to join in the fun.
Sadly, I must confess that I have a strange urge to write a few novels with these terrible titles. I particularly like #4 and #8 . . . (Oh, dear! Save me from myself!)
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#WIPmo Goals for Week 1

As if joining NaNoWriMo wasn’t enough, I’ve jumped in on #WIPmo too! Check it out here: Ami with an I

Below are my goals for week one, which ends on Sunday, November 9. Each week, we will set goals and answer new questions. I decided to post my #WIPmo comments and goals here for additional accountability.

#WIPmo Week 1 Comments: 

1. Twitter Handle: @BAWilsonWrites

2. Writing Goal: I will write 2.5K per day on my NaNo novel and edit at least 1 chapter from my previous novel based on CP notes. Since Sunday is day 9, that means I need 22.5K by the end of Sunday on my NaNo novel (which is all I focused on the first four days–currently at almost 13K), and I need to edit 9 chapters of the Space Fantasy (starting from chapter 4, so I’ll get through CH 13). This seems like a lot, but I’m not working most of the week, which seriously helps. I want to get ahead now, as it will get harder.

3. What you’re working on: YA Dark Contemporary (Yeah, I totally made that genre up, because I’m not sure what genre fits it best yet.) Etta lives to log on and escape the ugliness of her life, but online, no everyone can be trusted, including Etta herself. (Okay, that’s the worst description ever, but I’m not going to take time to fix it now.)

4. Writing Where/Wear Of Choice: I like to write from my recliner or lying on the floor with my dog. I usually wear my gray yoga pants or fuzzy pj pants and a cozy, worn out t-shirt or long-sleeved tee. However, I’m visiting my mother this week, so I’m writing in her living room (and she rarely stops talking to me).

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