Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Writing

This is the first time that I have tried writing during the holidays. It's insane! I haven't been able to sit long enough to get a good rewrite in on my novel, and I haven't let any new ideas flow out of me for weeks! I could use the excuse of finals, and holiday shopping, but shouldn't I be able to write regardless??

Today, I was watching the snow fall on my car, and a character came to me. She was very annoying, and screaming for some paper time.  She was younger then my normal characters, and quirky, but let me emphasize again the word "annoying."  I knew that I couldn't give her the typical excuses that I give my other characters, so I gave her about a page and a half before putting duct tape over her mouth and closing my laptop.

After weeks of not being able to write anything new, you would think that I would be relieved that I released a new character out into the world, but I feel overwhelmed. She will not be going away anytime soon, I just have this feeling. The problem with her is that she doesn't have a conflict, and she really doesn't have much of anything. She has a setting at the moment, but she does a lot of talking about herself. Can I really make time to listen to the endless amount of chatter she has to get to a main plot and resolution?

I guess time will tell..  Are you a writing machine during the holidays? Or do you find yourself making excuses, and putting your characters off for a different time?

Anyway, that's my update -- to all of my followers, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! <3 See you all in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rewriting Phase 1

Where is my novel? It's stuck inside of my laptop, waiting for me to open it up.  Why haven't I started to rewrite? Well, I'm not exactly sure. I guess you could say I'm scared. My first novel is sitting on a shelf inside of a closet. I gave myself permission to shelve it quite a long time ago, in anticipation for its rewrite.  I am scared to read what I spent 16 days pouring out of me.  I am scared that once I do finally sit down and look at it, I will be either be pleasantly surprised, or really disappointed.

Therefore, I call this blog Rewriting Phase 1... I wish there was someone to hold my hand during this process. Self-soothing has never been a strong point of mine. However, I know I must go at this alone-- or not so much alone, since my characters will be happy to have my attention again.  

Phase 1 supplies
A notebook
Favorite pen

Phase 1 tasks
Reread each chapter
Mark up entire pages
Write notes in notebook

Wish me luck. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last Day of Nano - Now What?

Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo!

Although I have been declared a "winner," I am kind of sad that I finished as early as I did. It would have been fun to cross the finish line with so many of you that did so today, and those who are still attacking their keyboards with pure determination! GO YOU!!!!!

So tomorrow is December 1st - time for finals at school, and Christmas shopping? well, yes.... but it's now time for me to dust off my 16 day novel, and take a look at what I have done. It's time to sit down and have an intimate conversation with each chapter, and to weave in the ribbons that will tie the book together.

Am I scared? Absolutely! -- Will I succeed? -- Absolutely!

The rewriting process is not something to approach lightly, and I plan on being completely dedicated to this book.

So what is next for you? A month off? more? Will you be starting a new book right away?

Congratulations Nano-writers - YOU DID IT! and if you didn't -- there is always next month! <3

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Goal Complete - but not "The End"

I have a certain ritual when I enter a book section of a store. I walk around and read all the titles, running my hands across the shelf so that I don’t miss one. Most of them,  I imagine starting with a desire – a desire to create a story and share it with others. As I do this, I envision my book sitting on the shelf among the other books, and I feel what I can only describe as a child-like excitement at the thought of being published.  There is a story behind all of these books, and it’s not just the one written on the pages – it is the one about the person who wrote it.  A story that includes planning, endless hours, sweat and tears, rewriting, and finally the anticipation.

This leads me to my conclusion of NaNoWriMo. I passed the 50k mark and finished the first draft of my book on November 16th. Why didn’t I write this sooner? I wanted to bathe in the fact that I made a goal, and I achieved it. I also wanted to let my characters rest. They worked so hard to help me with this story and deserved to take a break.  I almost feel it would be premature of me to celebrate this achievement. There is so much work to be done at this point, and it really is just the beginning.

I did not type the words “The End” when I was finished, because the fact remains that I am not finished. I’ll save those precious words for when I feel the book is truly complete and ready to be sent off.  This is the first time that I have written something that I feel has the potential to be sitting on the shelf with many of the others. I am so fortunate to have met so many people during this journey, and I look forward to continuing these friendships. I look forward to seeing some familiar names on the shelves as we continue our quest to be published, and I look forward to sharing my sweat and tears along the way.  November  is almost over, but my writing will continue.    
So as I soak in this moment, I say thank you for all of your support, and I look forward to what our futures will bring!    

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nano Day 15 - Don't Rush It!

When I reach an exciting part in a book that I am reading, I am forced to pace myself. Yes, of course I could skip the pages and find out what happens to Character A, or even browse over the pages towards the end to know what the result will be.  If I allowed myself to do this, I would feel cheated. I would feel like I missed out on the experience.

As I near the 50k mark of my book, and begin bringing the dramatic climaxes to a close, I am left hoping that I am not cheating my readers. I need to make sure that I am not rushing the answers to them. I am so excited to see the end result that I feel I might be concluding conflicts a little too quickly. So my advice as we all get closer to our goals is to make sure that we are not rushing our scenes.  It is my goal over the next 14k words to really think out the resolutions to the conflicts that I have presented, and to let them breathe.  I will not cheat the ending for myself or my readers.

Do you find while writing that your own excitement might rush the plot?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nano Day 13 - Virtual Writing Space

I am sorry that I haven't written in a few days. Unfortunately, my TMJ is having one of its episodes, and I have only been able to sit at my computer long enough to write on my story, and do my homework. I make sure to take the opportunity when I'm feeling well enough to write, thankfully I haven't missed a day, and the 30k mark has arrived.

Those of you who regularly read my blogs know that I use my Second Life character as my muse. She is also the source of most of my photo's for this blog, and is a great creative outlet. Someone very dear to me created a place where I can take my character to write. It is my very own virtual writing loft, and it is a very happy space. It is the kind of writing room that I hope to have someday. Therefore, I give my most sincere thanks and share with all of you a few pictures to show it off. (Notice the WRITE on the wall - Simply PERFECT).

I sat my character down, tabbed out, and typed over 4000 words tonight. It was exactly what I needed after a very long week! <3

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nano Day 9 - Kicking and Screaming

I love the fact that I can get lost while I write. The daily stress can quickly dissolve into the scene that I am writing, and for moments at a time, I can be the puppet-master of my own world.

Lately, two of my main characters have interrupted my peaceful writing. One of them, the youngest, feels that his age is too young. The other, well she can't decide on if she wants to be referred to in her full name, by her last name, or three different nicknames. It's exhausting! I will think that we have settled on an effective nickname, and then along the way it changes. 

The great thing about Nano, is they can kick and scream all they want, but I don't have to change anything right now. I don't have to worry if one character is acting way older than he should, or if another character has three different nicknames. I am confident that by the end of the story, he will know exactly how old he is, and she will have decided on her name. Until then, I will remain calm and peaceful, and continue to lose myself among the river of words. 

Do you find that your characters rebel mid-story? How do you handle it?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nano Day 8

I am now at the part of my book where all five of my main characters are together in one scene for the entire weekend. I have been leading up to this part of the book for almost 20k pages, and now that I'm here, I feel a sense of fear. Whose perspective will I tell it from? How will I merge all of these personalities into one house for one weekend? Thankfully, it's only a few chapters, and things will go back to semi-normal. I would love to hear how your Nano books are coming? If you are not participating in Nano, then how is your writing going? Make sure you remind yourself why you started writing to begin with -- tap into that energy! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Late Night Writing - Nano Day 5, 6 & 7

I am starting to notice a pattern with my writing for Nano. I am waiting until the very last part of the day to start. It's not that this hasn't worked for me --I've exceeded 15k and feel like I am at a good pace with my story. Only last night did I fear that I was revealing something too early in the story. I still haven't convinced myself that I didn't, but for now, it will remain where it is.

The problem with waiting until the end of the night is I risk not being able to get my word count in and possibly my creativity is not as keen as it would be if I were to do it earlier in the day. Frankly, by this time of night, my brain is fried from other things. My goal for the next 10K words is to produce them earlier in the day, and then if I want to write later in the night, it's perfectly acceptable. I'm not sure if my fear is that I will sit down and stare at a blank page, or if I am just afraid that I won't be as creative if my brain is fully functioning.

Even today, I sat down to start writing, and now I'm blogging.

What time of the day do you find is the best for your writing?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Free Giveaways After 100 Followers Reached!

So why the giveaways?  I will be honest and admit that my blogging is for me, however, there is such a thrill with sharing my words with others. I love getting comments, and knowing that someone else is feeling the same way, or has a story that they can share with me. I spend so much time reading other blogs, and commenting when I can. I love when others recommend a blog to me, because usually I fall in love right away. I want to get the word out about my little place in the blog world, and at the same time reward my followers.  Writing can be a lonely journey, and by having this blog, I don't feel so alone anymore! Here are some of the items I will be giving away. I may add more as my follower list grows :)

Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life        On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft      The Elements of Style: 50th Anniversary Edition   2011 Writer's Market

So how does this work?  It's very simple.  I need to reach 100 follower by the end of Nano, which is the end of November. So if you like my blog, and you think it's worth spreading around, then repost and retweet. I will be doing a random drawing of those who spread the word on December 1st or after 100 followers are reached.  Leave your comment here that you have reposted somewhere in your writing world!  Thank you so much, and leave your own blog, because I will be returning the favor! <3 Kristy

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nano Day 4 - Don't Forget Your Imagination!

When I was a little girl, I would create elaborate stories in my head, and sometimes I would be so convincing that I would actually believe they were true. Some would call this compulsive lying, but I like to think of it as an overactive imagination. I always felt like I knew something that others did not. Reading would eventually allow for me to realize that I was not the only one with an imagination, and although I am still growing up (I don't think we should ever fully grow up) I realize that my imagination has caused many different emotions in my life. Here are just a few- jealousy, fear, anger, anxiety, as you can see a lot of irrational emotions pop up.

The power that we as writers have is the ability to channel that imagination, and use it the way it is meant to be used. It is a power that we can unleash onto the pages of our manuscripts, and we can be as irrational or rational as we wish. 

Every once in awhile I have to tap into that imagination, and remind myself that it's okay to let go. It's okay to let my characters feel a certain way... It's okay to be me!

I love my imagination - it is who I am, and it's what makes me the kind of writer that I have always wanted to be. So jump on that hot air balloon, fly through the sky, over the ocean, reach for that sunset, and don't forget the most important thing -- your imagination! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unexpected visit from my muse - Nano Day 3

Meet my MUSE! 

Today was an interesting day. I knew that I was already well ahead of my word count, and a sort of cocky feeling spread over me. "I got this," I said out loud while doing other things, and going about my day. I glanced at my characters for a while, and at one point felt like they might be hiding on me. Perhaps I had overworked them. It wasn't until I started up Second Life, and walked around my virtual world -- that I became inspired. I have been part of Second Life for four years now, and it has always been a source of distraction from the real world, but also an inspiration for my writing. I have gotten so many creative ideas from this world, that I truly believe I wouldn't be where I am, if I hadn't played. 

Here I have been worrying that my Muse wasn't going to visit me at the beginning of my book, and then I realized it was right in front of me (the above picture). I sat my Avi down in the virtual world at her computer, and let her start typing, while I put down the browser and pounded out over 2000 words to bring me to the 10,000 mark. WOOOOT!

Has your muse visited lately?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Do you schedule time to read blogs?

I have noticed that my favorite thing to do besides write, is to read other blogs. I can get so lost in the flow of catching up on what people have had to say, and adding new blogs to my subscription list, that before I realize it - hours have flown by. 

I am curious as to how you manage your blog reading time? Do you set aside a certain amount of time, and once that time is up-shutdown? 

Do you only read certain ones? How could you possibly choose?

I honestly have been reading ones that come to my email, and then following links on Twitter, but I know I have been neglecting those that I have subscribed to...

What's your strategy?

NaNoWriMo Day 1 and 2

I had hoped to write this blog yesterday, but I was pretty wiped.  The past two days have been a success. I have managed to get over 6000 words in so far, and I'm still trucking along. I'm getting to know my characters a little bit more, and throwing them into some pretty dramatic scenes. It will be interesting to see how things progress. I am happy with it so far.

If you want to follow my updates - you will find me on twitter at @kphilbrick
If you want to be my Nano buddy - My username is KristyLee 

Things I have learned so far.

**Highlight words that I need to either find a different word for, or fact check - (this has been hard for me to do, but helps to not interrupt my creative flow)

**Be patient - I know what the story is about, and I know how it will end, but I need to be more patient on how I will get there - the characters will guide the way

**JUST WRITE  - This is a big one- I have heard a lot of writers give this kind of advice, and I must admit that it is true. Sometimes it really is just about sitting down and doing the writing. I had a notebook with me today, and wrote a complete chapter by hand. There are no excuses -- JUST WRITE!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How To Quiet Your Characters At Work

I wish that my writing career allowed for me to spend my time at home preparing my characters for November 1st,  but the reality of it is – it doesn’t! I have to work, and take care of my two kids, a home, a dog, and all while finishing my degree full time. 

Last night I spent a few hours doing character interviews, and this morning, they were still asserting themselves. I was unable to focus at work, and with only days left, I knew I needed to come up with a strategy to quiet them. Here is what I have done in past situations like this.

1.      1. Jot down notes – I carry a notebook with me, specifically for Nano, but I recently read an interview where the writer did all of her notes on napkins. 

2.       2. Send yourself a text or email – Give your characters a job, and have them send the email for you!

3.       3. Leave yourself a voicemail – I have done this before when driving. 

        4. Let your characters interact within your workspace - This is what I chose to do this morning. Instead of   fighting them off, I invited them to sit with me. Only a few showed up, but I could visualize how they would interact with the patients. It brought me closer to them, and it seemed to quiet my mind. Thankfully, my six-year-old character is a quiet one, and played by himself in the corner, while his mother chatted with everyone who walked through the door. 

         What is your strategy? 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Clearing Clutter for a Healthier NanoWriMo

Here is my writespace -

The next logical question would be - how can I possibly write like this??? The short answer --I don't! Typically, you will find my fingers clicking away hunched over my laptop or net-book in whatever area of the house I can fit.  This is of course a huge risk to my neck and back, and I am sure my creative flow.  So with NanoWriMo quickly approaching, I took the time to clean my workspace.  

That is much better right? Here I sit ergonomically correct, writing this blog, and realizing that I have taken the first step of setting myself up for a healthier writing month in November. Honestly, though, I really do think clearing the clutter to provide an open space where your characters can live freely is important to a successful writing habit. The old writespace screamed "Go Away!" This new clutter free area is inviting and quietly says "welcome, come and have some coffee and begin your comfortable day of writing." Try it!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lost & Found

I wish I had an amazing excuse for my lack of blog posts, and twitter updates.  In fact, I haven't even taken the time to try to come up with something clever. Instead I will just say that I stopped writing. I could come up with about a zillion reasons why this happened, but the bottom line of it all is -- I stopped.  I wrote my first novel, completed it... put it away so I could rewrite it after some of the love for the characters had worn off... and that was that.  Five months later--here I am.

I have been doing a ton of reading, and it continues to feed my passion for writing.  Here are some of the books that I have read over the last couple of months:


I officially signed up for #NaNoWriMo today as well. I have a few plots kicking around in my head that are demanding to be put on paper-- that's my job right?

Thank you to those who kept in touch, and I look forward to getting to know my new followers.

Have a great day!
<3 Kristy

Friday, June 18, 2010

Finding the Time to Write!

It is 5:00 in the morning, and I am wide-awake. It seems that my internal clock has chosen this as my new wake up time. The house is quiet and the birds outside are making the neighborhood aware of their existence. (I am happy to report that after waiting a month, I finally have birds coming to my new bird feeder, YAY)

I started on a new WIP yesterday. What I thought was going to be a possible short story series quickly turned into a novella or novel series. I love the feeling of starting something new. My heart races and my fingers type as if they are on autopilot. The world stops around me, and I completely submerge myself into the new world that I am creating. When it’s good, it isn’t work—it’s pure enjoyment!

Someone asked me yesterday, “between going to College, being a mom, working, and taking care of the house, how on earth do you find time to write?” My response, “writing is my outlet from all of those things. It’s not a task, but a sense of strength in my life. I find the time because I love it!”
I don’t mind when 5am rolls around and the characters in my head are awake and ready to start their day—now if I could just convince myself to work out at that time!  Oh well, another day maybe J   

Do you find it a struggle to find the time to write?

Currently Reading

Friday, June 11, 2010

Unleash Your Inner Muse!

My Muse visited me this morning with a completely new plan. She wanted me to write a short story as a different challenge for myself since finishing the first draft of my novel. I spent the morning going against her and telling her “no way!” After much debating back and forth, I am pretty sure she swore at me—can a Muse do that?

I decided it was in my best interest to listen to her, so I sat down and wrote my very first short story. I finished within an hour, and it is sitting on my lap as I type this. Is it the best short story ever written? No, and it needs a lot of well-deserved attention, which it will get. However, this short story is a symbol of my getting past the limitations that I have set upon myself somewhere along the way. Statements like “I am horrible at short stories!” or “I could never write a short story!” crushed my ability as a writer to listen to my Muse, and create work that captures the essence of who I am as a person. 

I am sharing this, because I know that I am not alone with this type of negative self-talk. So stop it! Start believing in your writing abilities. Try something that you have been telling yourself you would never be able to do. You might actually find out that you are capable of a whole lot more than you have ever imagined! 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Weekend Book Review - Stephen King "On Writing"

I want to write this as quickly as possible out of fear that I will forget all the emotionally driven words that came to mind while reading “On Writing” by Stephen King. I literally just put the book down, and I am satisfied with the result. So here we go:

At times while reading, I felt as though I was sitting in front of Mr. King having a conversation with him. I will admit that I have never read any of his work, only watched the movies that stemmed from his writing. Being from Maine, I have always known a lot about him through his work with the community. I will be picking up his books because of this book. I enjoy knowing more about his thought process during the writing of his books.

I have never been much of a fan of horror, but I am inspired, so horror books will now be on my list of things to read. The writing tips within the book are priceless. As someone who writes out of pure enjoyment, I found it offered a tremendous amount of common sense advice.  I say common sense, because when reading it, I found myself smacking my forehead and saying, “of course, that makes sense!”
Here are a few points that I enjoyed.
·         Do not stop a piece of work just because it is hard. 
·         “Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around” (p94).
·         Fear is the root of bad writing. Let go of the fear!
This is only a small percentage of what I got out of the book, but I relate to them because they are the issues that I am having right now with my writing.

I recommend that you read this book if you have not already. It inspired me to continue with my craft, and not give up! I make many errors within my writing that would drive Mr. King crazy. It is okay, I am working on it!     
For the record, my first draft was a lot longer than this. I used his formula and cut it down 10%. J

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Goodbye Mr. Rat, Hello Sleep!


For the past two weeks, I have been dealing with a rodent who I will refer to as Mr. Rat.  How do I know that this rat is male? I don't, but if I think for a moment that it was female, I will assume there might be babies, and honestly my poor nerves can't handle it.  Mr. Rat moved into my home and started harassing me from the beginning.  He made loud chewing sounds in the walls, and scratched through the night.  I originally thought it was just a mouse.  The mousetraps went up and soon they were being carried off into the unknown.  I thought wow, strong mouse. It took me quite awhile to admit that it was actually a rat.  

The rat haunted my peaceful writing sessions and would pop its head out at the worst times. I ran screaming from the room once when it ran near my feet. Sleeping was not an option. As soon as I would lay my head down, I would hear it sniffing around and the pitter-patter of its feet across the floor. A live trap and some larger traps later, I thought I had it taken care of. I was wrong!  I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning waiting for it to be trapped. It walked half way into the live trap and then left it as if telling me that I was stupid to think it would fall for that.    

It was time for the poison--I didn't want to have that around my house, but I couldn't let Mr. Rat run my life anymore.  It was placed under the cabinets, and I waited days for it to take its toll.  Mr. Rat continued to walk around the house at night, and wake me from my dreams.  It became so bad that if someone rattled a bag I was up off the couch searching him out.    

Today was Day 2 of my schedule, and I was staying on task! I was just about to sit down to write a blog entry and work on a chapter of my book when I caught a shadow out of the corner of my eye.  It was Mr. Rat.  I chased him into my sons' bedroom, and there I waited ten minutes on my knees with a large pot in my hands.  Eventually, he came out of hiding, and I covered him with it! He was captured.  I'm happy to say that he no longer resides in my home. I dropped him off in the woods near some water.  He didn't look too well, and I'm sure that he probably had tasted a bit of the poison.  I did feel bad for him for a second, but I tried to give him plenty of opportunities to leave my home without harm! I am hoping that this is the end of the story for Mr. Rat and myself.  A second chapter dedicated to possible baby rats is not something I look forward to writing!  Mr. Rat lived in my home for a few months, and I thought it appropriate that he have a place in my writing.  Goodbye Mr. Rat, hello sleep! 


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Finding Balance

Writing requires a certain amount of balance. Actually, life in general requires a certain amount of balance. Balance is something that I have struggled with my entire life. If I am successful in one area, I am usually falling behind in another. May left me feeling overwhelmed and stressed out about what I have yet to accomplish. Therefore, June is the month where I find balance between my daily responsibilities and my writing.

Last night I sat down and made a simple schedule that I can stick to for the week. I want to emphasize simple because I typically make very elaborate beautiful lists that serve very little functionality. I have a morning and evening routine adapted from (I love her!) My schedule includes the 2 h’s – homework and housework—after these are completed, I have writing time! This includes writing at least a chapter of my book and working on at least one of my blogs. I scheduled reading time, as this is very important to me. Most importantly I have to fit in mommy time with my kids J we all enjoy that!

So how am I doing?
Day 1 – I have had a successful day. I completed my 2 h’s and spent some mommy time with the kids. I am writing later than I normally would be, but I am doing so with a much clearer mind. I am excited to be moving towards the goals that I have set up for myself. Finding the balance in your life is about realizing what you want to achieve for yourself, and making the time to do it! I had to give up some phone time with friends, and keep my social networking down to a minimum today in order to cross off everything on my list, but the point is I DID IT!