Saturday, March 25, 2017

My Writing Process


What's my writing process? Well, it's really quite simple. All I do is stare a tree (for who knows how long) and then sit down and write about said tree. And in four days, I come out with a 200K word novel all perfect and ready to be published.

Ha! If only it were that simple. (But then, if it were, anyone could do it.) This is actually what I do:

The Idea

I found out pretty quickly that going out and looking for ideas doesn't work. It's better if I just let them come to me. (They really need to work on their timing though. :P) But even when they do come, they don't want to stay and chat. All they do is pop in and say something that doesn't make any sense whatsoever, and then run away.

So, I chase after them, asking questions as I try to keep up. Even though they don't stop, they are nice enough to throw answers over their shoulder, however unhelpful they may be. But, eventually, I get everything I need to at least start.

Plotting?

I actually don't think that I have a set way of doing this. It feels like it's different every time. With The Barrier, I did this whole outline thing, which I didn't follow very well towards the end. I practically pantsed Strangers. For that one, I just had a few ideas in my head before I wrote it. And finally, this new idea that I've started writing doesn't really have an outline. It's more just character sheets and backstories.

But two things that I need before I can begin is characters and setting. One thing that I have to do before I start, is get to know my characters. What they look like, what their personalities are, how they interact with other people, etc. Settings are also really important, because without that, I don't really know what my characters can and can't do, or where they can go.

So, I guess I don't really plot, but I'm slowly changing that.

First Draft

This is the part where I take my characters, throw them in some random place, and force them to interact with each other. I mean, in a way, that's basically what all writers do. Am I right?

Apparently, a lot of writers hand write their novels? I started out doing that, but not for very long. I found that typing it up is a lot faster. Usually, the only time I hand write is when I don't have my laptop on hand. I do like handwriting, it's just that my hand has a hard time trying to keep up with my brain. :P

The time it takes to write the first draft varies. It can take four weeks or it could take ten months. All of them are very messy and bad. But, I hear that's why we edit.

Editing

And then comes the first round of edits. I don't know about the rest of you, but for me, this is pretty much a love hate relationship.

The first thing I do is read through everything I wrote and just make small changes as I go (which are mostly typos). The reason I do this is so that I can figure out what and where I need to add, take out, or move things. Then, I create a new document and rewrite it.



So that is my writing process, if you can call it that. :P

And to wrap up, I have just one thing to say. At the beginning of this month, I said that I had a new novel idea and that I would add it to my Writings page sometime this month. Well, I got around to that the other day, so if you want to go check it out, feel free to do so.


What about you? What's your writing process like?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Homeschooling- Part 1

This week went by really fast. So fast that I actually didn't even start thinking about what I was going to blog about today until Thursday... Oops. :P And because of that, today's post is just going to be something fun (and not quite as long). If you are a homeschooler, or used to be, you'll probably be able to relate. I, myself, am no longer homeschooled since I've graduated.

Warning: Sarcasm overload. (Just kidding, it's not that bad.)

Let us start.


For some reason, when we first meet someone, they always want to know where we go to school. (It's like they know) I'm sure that a lot of us dread the flow of questions we will get after we tell them. I know I did, and actually still do. But here's three popular responses we get:

 Response #1

We do have to go to school, we just don't have to leave the house.

Response #2

I don't really know why people assume that homeschoolers don't have friends, but they do. Granted, some of us aren't very social, but we still have friends. Some of us even have a lot. Yes, I know, it's crazy.

Response #3

Yes, and if we actually did have a secret society, it would probably just be a co-op. :P

Hey! Snow day! All the kids who go to public school are throwing parties because they don't have to go to school. But with homeschoolers:


Homeschoolers don't get snow days. It's more like, Hey, you can make it out of your room? Great, come on downstairs.

This here, is very true, people:


If you are not a fellow homeschooler, I don't recommend making fun of them. Especially, not in front of them. The only time you can do that is if you are really good friends with them, but even then, proceed cautiously.

I haven't had the opportunity to say this since I've graduated, but I can't wait until I do:


Haha, I can just see the confused looks I'll probably get. But this will, more than likely, still lead to a ton of questions. I'm sure that all of us have been tempted to just make something up at least once before. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

When homeschoolers graduate high school and move on to college:


I actually don't know how true this is, because I don't go to college. But if you do, on a scale of 1 to 10 how true is this?

If you are a homeschooler, but aren't proud of it, just remember, not everyone can say this:


And to wrap this up, I want to share a couple of pictures that I really liked (because who doesn't love LotR and Star Wars?), but didn't know how to incorporate them into the post. :P



All these pictures are from Pinterest.


So what about you? Can you relate?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Unsupportive



You may remember that, in my February wrap-up post, I said that I was aiming to be excited all of March. The whole month. I also mentioned that I hit a rough spot already, a rough spot that inspired this post. I want to share, because I don't think that I'm the only one.

More than likely, each and every one of us is going to have a person, at some point in our life, that is not going to be supportive at all. They may already be in your life, and they may not. They could be a friend, close friend, family member, etc. Hopefully, they aren't a family member, because it's the hardest when they are. Believe me, I know this from personal experience. They've been there since I first started writing, and are still there.

The Lie

The unsupportive people will tear you down. You can't talk about writing with them, because they ignore you, say they don't care, or say that what you are trying to do is dumb. And even though the words may not come out of their mouth, what they are basically telling you is that you're not capable of doing anything, not capable of succeeding. You'll never be good at anything. You know that difference you want to make? Yeah, that's never going to happen.

Unfortunately, after a while, you might actually start to believe them. You begin to question why you are even trying. What's the point? You're probably not good at it anyway. You get discouraged. Maybe you should just give up.

The Truth

They. Are. Wrong. I am going to tell you what my dad once told me: You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it. And it's true! Don't let one person tell you otherwise. Besides, how many people have told you that you are good at what you're doing? A lot more than just one person, right?

God put this passion in us for a reason. He has given each of us different strengths and writing styles. We all have a certain genre in which we are really good at writing. Why? Because God is going to use us to reach different people. Not everyone likes the same books. And, He already knows which people He wants us to reach. Isn't that just so amazing and wonderful?! That alone, should keep you going, keep you striving to be the best you can be.

What I Do/ My Advice

To be perfectly honest, I believe the lie almost every time. But, every time I also find another reason why I need to continue. Yes, for me, the unsupportive person is family. But when they tell me that I can't do something, it only makes me more determined. When the right person says I can't do something, I am the type of person that says, "Watch me." (I don't actually say it, but you get my point.)

Not everyone is like me though. Talk to someone if you have to. I don't usually talk to people about it myself, but this last time, I did. And it helped. But most importantly, take it to God. Talk to Him about it. I mean, He gave you the gift and passion, so wouldn't He know exactly how to help you?

Also, pray for the person who doesn't support you. More than likely, they are struggling with something that you don't know about. Continue to be supportive of them even though they don't reciprocate. God loves them to.


But remember, you don't have to be a writer for this to apply. This can go for anyone. Don't let unsupportive people keep you from being happy and excited this month (and the rest of the year).


What about you? How do you deal with the unsupportive people in your life?

Saturday, March 4, 2017

And There Goes February



And there goes yet another month. Wow, did anyone else feel like February went by faster than January? I mean, I know that it's three days shorter, but this is just ridiculous. Thankfully, though, I was able to get a bit more done this month.



Writing

Writing went a lot better than in January. I've been working on Strangers, and it's somewhere between the first draft and the second draft. I don't know if that makes sense. It's weird, I don't really understand it myself. :P But I hit a trouble spot and realized that I had to do character sheets. I have never done character sheets before, so this was a new experience. And I found that it was a lot of fun! :D It's strange though, that I had to do that because I made up these characters when I was something like nine years old. You would think that I would know them really well by now, but I guess that wasn't the case. :P

Towards the end of February I came up with an idea for another book. I am currently working on an outline and character sheets for it. I'll probably add it to my Writings page at some point this month. I will say that I am super excited to write it. :D And the research that I'll have to do will actually be a lot of fun.

I have set some writing goals for March. I want to get 10,000 more words on Strangers, and the first 5,000 words of this new book. Yes, I may have set the bar kinda high, but the past two months weren't as productive as I would have liked, so I've decided to make this month different.

Reading

I read five books in February. Not as much as I was hoping to read, but at least we are being consistent. :P

Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss      Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire      Between Two Worlds by LeAnne Hardy      The Thorn by Beverly  Lewis      Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt                           
 My favorite for the month? Well, it's actually a tie between Martin Hospitality and Lies Young Women Believe. Both are sooo good and I highly recommend reading them. My least favorite was Tuck Everlasting. I liked the story, I just feel like it lacked in some areas. It would probably be a good book for children.

I'm hoping to get more reading done this month. And guys, I'm beta reading for the very first time this month! I actually signed up to beta read two books. Don't really know if it was a wise decision, but both of them looked so good and I didn't have time to ask an experienced person. But I shouldn't have a problem since this month isn't going to be super busy or anything.

Blogging

My ramblings in February:




Posts by other bloggers last month:

Jonathan's post When All You Want is to Inspire was so good and you need to go read it right now.

Abi did a post in which she gave 50 facts about her book Martin Hospitality. There are no spoilers so go check it out.

Audrey's post You'll Never Know was the inspiration for my post about trust. I definitely recommend reading this.

Other News

You may remember I said that in January, I never felt well rested. Well, February was a little different. I was still tired a lot, but this time I kinda did it to myself. I don't care though, because I was happier (I consider this a good thing :P). And again, not much happened this month. One of my nephews had a birthday. I followed a few more blogs.

For some reason I'm really excited for March. Two of my nieces have birthdays, has it really been a year already?! And the new Beauty and the Beast is coming to theaters!! When I found out that they were making a new one, I could not believe it. This is my favorite fairy tale, guys! :D

I have decided that I'm going to be excited (yes, excited. don't question) for the whole entire month of March. (I have already had a rough spot, but trying not to let it affect my mood.) This shouldn't be to hard, right? :) I mean, we only have 27 days left to go. Or, if you want a smaller number, 662 more hours! :D


How was your February? What did you accomplish? Are you excited for March?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Trust

This pic is from Pinterest


Before I even begin, I want to say that last week Audrey Caylin did a post similar to this, which you can find here. And her blog post brought things to the surface that I haven't thought about in a while, things that I'm going to talk about today.


So. Trust. This is a big thing for me, and definitely something that I struggle with... a lot. It is extremely difficult to gain my trust. Outside of my immediate family, there are really only two people that I trust a hundred percent. Actually, it's probably somewhere in the nineties. (You may have guessed that one of them is my best friend. The other is a really close friend, but I tell both of them almost everything.) But sometimes, even the people we trust will let us down.

Although today we have to be careful who we trust, we know for sure that there is Someone who will never let us down. Ever. We can trust Him a hundred percent (even more really).

There are times we try to take matters into our own hands, because who knows what's best for us better than ourselves? And there are times when we tell God that we want His will and say that we trust Him to work everything out, but... we are so afraid of what the answer will be, that we try to make happen what we want to happen.

When we do things like that, we are basically telling God that we trust Him, but not enough to give the matter over to Him completely, telling Him that He isn't capable. But God is capable. Look around you. Everything you see He made from nothing! If you trust him with all your heart, just imagine what He can do for you.

I am pretty future-oriented, and I know that as an adult, a lot of my choices are going to affect the future. But I don't even know what my future is and what it holds for me! There are so many things that are unforeseeable, and not knowing bothers me. But at the same time it's exciting, because I know that if I trust God, in all that I do, I will be a lot happier in the end.

Only a few months ago God tested me. My boss asked me if I wanted to work full time. But in order to do that, I had to give up my summer job, which I love. I did not want to give up that job, so I tried to think of a way I could do both. I even had a few people tell me that they thought it may be better to work full time. After about three weeks of praying, I finally told God that I would give up my summer job if that's what He wanted. And I meant it. Almost immediately I got His answer, and I am glad to say that He wanted me to keep the summer job. Afterwards, I realized that God was testing me, to see if I would give up something that I love if He asked me to.

So even though I was afraid of what the answer might be, I gave it to God, trusting that He would take care of me, no matter what.

But remember, even if we make the wrong choice, God will not give up on us. "The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down" (Psalm 145:14 NKJV). "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand" (Psalm 37:24 NKJV). Isn't it wonderful to know that even when we fail, He'll still be there?

Everyone struggles to trust God in some way. So I encourage you to find verses in the Bible that remind you to put your trust in Him, and only Him. Then, commit them to memory so you'll have those reminders whenever you need them. Here are a few verses that help me:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

"For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?" (Isaiah 14:27 NKJV)

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6 NKJV)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Here's A Little Something



Since I feel kinda bad about not having more snippets to share with all of you, I decided to share a short story today. Now, I have only ever written two short stories, but it was this one that made me realize that I might actually be good at/enjoy this writing thing.

I don't write romance. But this story is basically a love story, and the only reason I even wrote it was because I had to for school when I was 16. This was my first love story and I haven't written one since then (and don't plan on writing another one any time soon :P). This is a contemporary retelling of The Courtship of Miles Standish. And just so you know, I changed some things so this isn't exactly how it was written originally.

Here it goes:




Reunited

        "You ready?" asks Marvin.
        "Yup," I reply.
        We both lock our apartment doors, and are now ready to go to Denny's for breakfast. I moved into my apartment roughly two years ago. Marvin lives in the apartment right next to mine, and it didn't take us long to become good friends. He took it upon himself to help me adjust to the city life, a life I wasn't used to. Marvin is a well-known detective in this area, and I work at the local airport. When we aren't working, we do almost everything together.
        As we walk to Denny's, which is just down the street a ways, Marvin speaks, "Dave, can you do a favor for me?"
       "What is it?"
       "I want you to ask Ashlee to go out with me."
       "Sure, no prob- wait, what did you say?" I ask, coming to a complete stop.
       Marvin stops to and turns to me. But he doesn't seem to notice the surprise that I know must be written all over my face. Ashlee works with me at the airport. We've developed a wonderful friendship, and feelings for her came with it, feelings that have become well-developed over the past few months.
       "I said I want you to ask Ashlee to go out with me."
       "W-why me?" I stutter, trying not to give myself away.
       "You're good with girls, you always seem to know what to say. Besides, who else could I ask? You'll do it right?"
       "Well-"
       "Thanks. I owe you one." Marvin claps me on the shoulder before moving on to Denny's.
       I stand there, stunned. I really don't want to ask Ashlee to go out with my best friend. Should I tell Marvin that I can't do this for him? No. No, I can't say anything, because then that would mean I would have to tell him that I have feelings for Ashlee. And if I tell him that, our friendship would be over for sure.


      "You're quiet today," says Ashlee softly, from her seat across from me.
      We're on our lunch break, and today we chose to go to Wendy's. We sit at a small table near the entrance, my back to the door.
      I look up from my burger. "Am I?"
      "Mhm." Ashlee studies me for a moment before saying, "Is something wrong?"
      I stare back at her. How does one tell the woman he loves that his best friend wants to go out with her? What do I do?
      Then, without even thinking, I blurt out, "Marvin wants to go out with you."
      Oh, how I wish I could take those words back. That wasn't how I wanted to bring this up at all. But even if I could take them back, it's to late now. The damage has been done. By the expression on Ashlee's face, I can tell that she is already very upset.
      "If he wanted to go out with me, then why didn't he ask me himself?" she asks, almost accusingly. 
      "Well, he-he's very busy and he doesn't have the time," I say, trying to explain and make things better, but instead only making the matter worse.
      "If he doesn't have the time to ask me himself, then the answer is no!"
      "But he's a great guy and-"
      Ashlee shakes her head. "No! What about us? What about you? Don't you have feelings for me?"
      For the second time today, I am caught off guard. "I-I do. I mean, I don't. I mean-"
      Ashlee stands up abruptly. I look up at her and see that her eyes are shiny, and when she speaks, her voice is thick with tears. "I thought you liked me." She begins walking past me towards the door.
      "Ashlee," I say as I get up, reaching out to her.
      "Just leave me alone," she says as she runs out the door.
      I run my hand throw my hair as I turn away from the door. I notice a guy staring at me from his table across the aisle.
      "Dude, you messed up big time," says the stranger.
      "Yeah."
      I can't believe that just happened. What have I done?

      As I approach my apartment, I pull my keys out of my pocket. Just as I am about to unlock the door, Marvin opens his and pops his head out into the hallway. Great.
      "Hey, I thought I heard you," says Marvin with a smile. "Come on in for a while."
      I hesitate. I don't know how much more of this I can handle today. Why can't it just be over already? But then again, maybe he won't ask me about Ashlee. I mean, he doesn't even know that I talked to her yet. I find myself entering my friend's apartment.
      "Do you want anything?" I hear Marvin ask from the kitchen.
      "No, thanks. I'm good."
      I can't say that Marvin's apartment is exactly appealing. Anybody can tell that he doesn't have good taste. All they have to do is take a look at this place. It practically screams man cave. Just as I sit down on the plaid sofa, Marvin comes out of the kitchen with a cup of coffee in hand.
      After sitting down in a chair that matches the sofa, Marvin speaks. "So. Did you ask Ashlee if she would go out with me?"
      Wow. It didn't take long for him to bring that up. I'm already beginning to question my decision to come in here. But I did, so I may as well just get it over with.
       "Yeah."
       "What did she say?"
       "No."
       "What?" cries Marvin, clearly surprised. "Why?"
       I don't even get a chance to answer before my friend continues.
       "Maybe she didn't know that you were talking about me and not some other guy." He pauses. "I want you to ask her again."
       Now it's my turn to be surprised. Why can't he just accept the fact that she rejected him?
       "She was very upset when I asked her, and she made it clear that she isn't interested in going out with you. Besides, I'm probably the last person she wants to see right now, or the next week for that matter."
       "But-"
       "Marv, I can't."
       "You mean you won't!" yells Marvin, who is very angry now. "I thought I could rely on you. But I guess I was wrong!"
       "Marvin-"
       "Just get out!"
       Knowing better than to stay and try to reason with him, I stand and exit the apartment.


       I don't crawl into bed until about one in the morning. The day's events keep replaying in my head: Marvin catching me off guard at Denny's this morning when he asked me to ask Ashlee to go out with him; how upset Ashlee had been when I had asked her; and how angry Marvin had been when he found out that Ashlee had rejected him. In one day, two great friendships had been ruined. Even though these things keep me awake for a very long time, I finally manage to fall asleep.
      The next day, I find that Marvin isn't in his apartment. At first, I think that he must still be mad and didn't want to see me, so he just went to work. But later, I find out that Marvin had been called away to help an agency with a case in another state. I don't know when I'll see him next, since the length of time for these out-of-state cases is always unpredictable.
      A week later though, I am told that Marvin had been shot and killed while checking out an anonymous tip. This is so hard for me to believe, so hard to accept that Marvin, my best friend, is really gone. I keep thinking that at any moment he'll walk into his apartment and everything will be fine, that it had all just been a bad dream. But that never happened.


     About two weeks later, I sit in my living room, a certain girl very much on my mind. I know she has feelings for me. Over the past couple of weeks I have become quite sure of that. I know I have feelings for her, feelings that are very hard to ignore. If I pop the question the worst that could happen is she'll reject me. But I'll just ask her again because I know she's the one for me even if she doesn't. I can't live without that girl.
     Well, that settles it then. I jump to my feet, grab my coat, head out the door, and am on my way to Kay Jeweler's.
     But when I pull into Ashlee's driveway, I begin to have doubts about this decision. What if I'm wrong? What if she isn't really the one for me? Did I rush into this?
     "No," I say aloud. "She's the one. I'm sure of it."
     I exit my car and walk determinedly to the front door. But what if- stop it Dave, I think. I knock on the door, and Ashlee opens it before I have the chance to run back to the car and drive away.
     "Hi, Dave. What brings you here?"
     Instead of answering, I get down on one knee. But before I can pop the question, Ashlee squeals and hugs me. Well. I'll take that as a yes.


      "You may kiss the bride," says the pastor.
      And I do as I am told.
      When we are at the reception, I see Marvin's ghost, and the specter is walking right towards me. Next to me, I hear Ashlee gasp, so I know she sees him to. But as he gets closer, I realize that it is Marvin himself, not his ghost.
      "Marvin," I say, just barely managing to get the word out.
      "We thought you were dead," says Ashlee, her voice just above a whisper.
      "Yeah, sorry about that," apologizes Marvin with a smile. "I went undercover, and I didn't find out they had told you I was dead until right before I left to come back here. But they wouldn't tell me why they had to do it."
      "Well, we're glad you're back," says Ashlee sincerely as she hugs him.
      Together, Ashlee and and I tell Marvin everything that had happened while he was gone. We asked him how he felt about our decision to get married. Marvin is happy for us and gives his blessing. I couldn't be happier. Not only have I married the woman of my dreams, I reunited with my best friend the same day.




*peeks out from where I've been hiding* Yes, I know. Romance isn't my forte. Believe me when I say that I am sooo glad that they only wanted a short story and not a whole book. *cringes at the thought*

I am not sorry I put you through that. But I would love to know what you think.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

My Writing Environment



We all have a writing environment, even if you don't know it. Each of us have different things that we do, and preferred surroundings that help us write. Today, I am going to tell you about my own writing environment, so I'm just going to jump right in head first.


What I Have With Me

Apparently, some of you need to have certain pens, notebooks, clothing, etc., but I don't. I prefer to have everything I'm going to need, or will probably need, for at least the next two hours, before I sit down (once I sit down, it's not likely that I'll move for quite a while). When I sit down, I spend about five minutes checking to make sure that I have everything. Laptop, notebook(s), writing utensils (usually pens), earbuds, sticky notes, books I'm currently reading, and coffee (which is a must). Some of you may be thinking, "Wait, where's the food?" The answer to that is, I can't have food when I'm writing. It's like a distraction for me. I'm still trying to figure out why, but I'll let you know when I do. :P

Fun Fact: Eating dark chocolate every day helps reduce stress. :)

Surroundings/Conditions

I get distracted easily. So I prefer to be in a place that is at least somewhat quiet. Having loud, active younger siblings doesn't help. I only have one, but the dog mind as well make it two. :P I also seem to write better when it is rainy, snowy, stormy, or gloomy outside. And, I can make it rain if I want to. You don't believe me? I'm hurt. :( I can teach you if you want to be able to make it rain to. Yes? Okay, this is how I do it.

Music

Oh, yes, I listen to music while I write. Always have. One of the reasons I listen to music is to block out noise that will be distracting. Some people can't listen to music with lyrics while writing. I don't have a problem with that, although it does take a minute for the music to become background music. Like when you're in a store and they have music playing. You are aware/know that it's playing, but you aren't paying any attention to it. And, if I know that I have an emotional scene coming up, I may switch the song to something slower, something that's not upbeat. (I don't listen to many upbeat songs, so most of the time, I don't have to switch it.)

Location

I'm almost always either in the living room or my bedroom when I'm writing. In both places, I have a spot on the floor that I really like that gives me a lot of room. When I'm in my bedroom, I write by hand, and if I'm in the living room, I type, using my laptop. It's weird/strange, I know. :P Some people like to go to coffee shops to write. I have a very hard time writing in public places (libraries count), mostly because there are way to many people I don't know or trust. So I'm never going to be able to fully concentrate, since I'm watching everybody.



So that's my writing environment. Just one more thing before I end this. Last week I told you that I would try to get snippets up on my writings page. Well, I got one on there. And so you know, I probably won't get snippets up for "The Barrier" until after I do the first round of edits (right now it's kind of a mess).


What about you? What's your writing environment like? Do you have quirks of your own?