When NaNoWriMo is over

You’re done! You’ve just completed your very first National Novel Writing Month word sprint and are looking at the ending of your finished manuscript. Now what? Do you go headfirst into editing, scratch every plot, twist, idea you had and begin all over again?

 No. You just wrote every day for an entire month straight, and your document is proof that it was worth it. Take a break.

 Yes, you need a break. Whether it's from one month to three months or longer, you need some time away from your story to get some new eyes and a fresh perspective on what your original vision of your storyline was. And here are a couple of ideas on what to do during this said break.

 1. Read

Yes, read. Whatever your go-to writing genre is, read that same genre to see how other writers write, which will enhance on not only your writing skills but also introduce you to the styles of other writers in your area of the writing craft that you enjoy. Basically, write what you read, so if you write fantasy, read fantasy. Write Christian fiction, read Christian fiction, and so on.

2. Write
You heard that. Don’t give up writing just because your story is done for the time being. Go write! Writing keeps your creativity flowing and keeps your skills sharp. If you can’t do another story right now, find blogs or websites to guest post for, submit articles to, etc or give feedback and edit other writers work.

 How do I know? I’m currently taking a break from my work in progress, The Adventures of Skylar Morgan with the current word count of ten thousand, seven hundred and twenty-nine words, and counting once I get my editing started and expand on the story some more by creating plots, twists, character development, etc. So, I’m taking this time to read, write, and give feedback on other people’s writing before I start my own editing process shortly after the new year.

When You're Face-to-Face With a Setback

Sometimes, as writers, we face some pretty frustrating setbacks. Some of which are so bad that all we want to do is to close our laptops, put away our pens, and just take a very, very long break. Maybe even an indefinite one. Whether it’s rejection from a publisher or you’ve lost an entire piece of work due to a malfunction, it makes you wonder why you’re still on this crazy, unreliable train anyways.

Today, I want to talk about those setbacks, and why they really aren’t the end of the world – even though that’s what they feel like. In reality, they’re actually pretty beneficial to your growth as a writer.

Why I'm Participating in NaNoWriMo (Bonus: My Tips for Surviving)

It’s October. As a writer, that means two things to me. The first is that I haven’t posted here in a ridiculously long time, which I sincerely apologize for. The second is that November is nearly here, which means NaNoWriMo is upon us. It’s something you hear about quite a lot as a writer, because it’s kind of a tradition in our field; it’s the big event that a lot of people work towards all year long.

Today, I’m going to be talking about why I’m participating this year, and why you should potentially consider doing the same in the future.

Writing a God-Centered story

A few weeks ago, I read a very gripping, first person, young adult fictional book. Besides the action, plot, twist and turns in this story, I still had a problem with it: the language. You see, the author claimed to be a Christian but the way he wrote the book, never reflected it. Now had I read another one of his books before the one I stumbled upon, I would’ve probably reacted differently. But the truth of the matter is this, there was still cussing taking the name of God in vain, disrespectful to parents/authoritative figures present. Some of the things that I don’t look for in a potential good book.

So, what’s the problem? It's only a teen book?

That’s right! It's a book written for teens and teens are reading it. And as a writer, I want to present something that gives them another option, a better option. An option that no one has to blush at because of the content. Why? Because when I became a writer, I made a promise for one thing and one thing only. To write a God-Centered story.

You see, we live in a “monkey see, monkey do” society. The teens we see in the stores, malls, schools and elsewhere, act upon what they watch, read, and are allowed to get away with. We can’t let them do whatever they want in the name of “self-identity” and then correct them afterward when they’re doing exactly what we have allowed them to do. Or as a friend so beautifully put it… “by reading those things we're teaching them to act that way and then getting upset when they do”.

Instead of exploding at the lack of good, clean, material for our peers or audience to read and glean insight from, why don’t we do something about it? What about writing God-centered stories.

When Characters Come Alive

It's alive!!!!!! Run for the hills!!!!!!

Isn't it true though of every spooky movie? One of my childhood times of hearing this dreadful time was one of the original Veggie Tales movies. Even as writers, we have kinda the same problem when we're in the middle of a story and we are very frequently interrupted by our characters. Sometimes, as the story plot insists and unfolds, we may either, harm this sassy character, or just abruptly kill them just to be resurrected and torment us later because we couldn’t live without them.

Its almost like they’re really alive and not just a figment of our imaginations. In hopes of explaining how this happens, I asked my fellow young writers if they were willing to share conversations that they have with their characters, this is what Cassandra Hamm had to say about it:

Me: Seali, you can’t do that.
Seali: Why not?
Me: *flustered* Because its not okay.
Seali: Why not?
Me: You just kidnapped her!! How are you not understanding why this is not okay?!
Seali: She is my brother’s future mate. *blinks at me innocently* I am just helping Slay.
Me: Seali. *frowns* You need to take her back
Seali: Why?
Seali: She is my future sister. *smiles* Now she will live with Slay and me.
Me: *groans

Character conversations range from something like that to the characters discussing anything that comes up in the story along with the characters involved. Like Joanna's conversation for example:

Me: What would you think if I killed you? 
Character: You can't. 
Me: You want to bet? 
Character: Sure! You, being an author, can only kill a character and make it official by writing it. But me, being your narrator, can't die. Because if you kill me, you can't write it, 'cause I'm not around to write it for you, therefore, it never officially happened, therefore, you can't kill me. *smirks* 
Me: *glares* Some days I hate you. 

Character: Only 'cause you know I'm right.

Or as some conversations might go……

Sale Day (fiction piece)

Hi, all! Today I'm here with a short fiction piece! Hope you enjoy! -Kirstie
Mr. Coleman bustled around the now quiet shop, pulling out things from the shelves, putting other things back, straightening here and there.
Perspiration running down his brow, he glanced at the clock. Sighing with relief, he slowed his efforts. He still had half an hour.

Its a matter of Perspective

Hello my fellow readers, I come to bring you......a matter of perspective. What's that you say? Perspective? Where are you going with this, Natalie? 
Let's look at the definition of the word perspective. The dictionary defines this word as:

A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

And in writing, that is exactly what we do. In some cases, we write things from the character's point of view or their perspective. I was given my first opportunity to write from a perspective when I was in high school, studying the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. One of my assignments was to write the argument of Charn's destruction from the point of view of the Queen's sister. Trust me, it was not an easy task to do but completely fun in the long run. Here's what I mean though, I will first give you the original written scene from Magician's Nephew itself, and then the perspective I had written in high school on the exact same scene. *Please note that all of the characters, names, and original text are from Clive Staples Lewis' Magician's Nephew. All Rights Reserved.*

“It was my sister’s fault,” said the Queen. “She drove me to it. May the curse off all the powers rest upon her forever! At any moment I was ready to make peace-yes and to spare her life too, if only she would yield me the throne. But she would not. Her pride has destroyed the whole world. Even after the war had begun, there was a solemn promise that neither side would use Magic. But when she broke her promise, what could I do? Fool! As if she did not know that I had the secret to the Deplorable Word. Did she think-she was always a weakling-that I would not use it?
“What was it?” said Digory
“That was the secret of secrets,” said the queen Jadis
“It had long been known to the great kings of our race that there was a word which, if spoken with the proper ceremonies, would destroy all living things except the one who spoke it. But the ancient kings were weak and soft-hearted and bound themselves and all who should come after them with great oaths ever even to seek after the knowledge of that word. But I learned it in a secret place and paid a terrible price to learn it. I did not use it until she forced me to it. I fought to overcome her by every other means. I poured out the blood of my armies like water-”
“Beast!” muttered Polly
“The last great battle,” said the Queen, “raged for three days here in Charn itself. For three days I looked down upon it from this very spot. I did not use my power till the last of my soldiers had fallen, and the accursed woman, my sister, at the head of her rebels was halfway up those great stairs that lead up from the city to the terrace. Then I waited till we were so close that we could see one another’s faces. She flashed her horrible, wicked eyes at me and said, “Victory.” “Yes” said I, “Victory, but not yours.” Then I spoke the Deplorable Word. A moment later I was the only living thing beneath the sun.”