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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