Tag Archives: novel

Campfire Stories

Sorry this blog is a few weeks late. I skipped my November NaNoWriMo blog because I felt there was nothing new to write about it. I didn’t want to write the same blog over and over again. Instead, I decided to do two December blogs. The second one will be published on the 31st of December.

I mentioned before that I’m working on a collaboration. I am part of a group of writers that will be putting out a short story collection. The collection is called Campfire Stories.

The authors had to create a story inspired by a campfire. However, it was not strict. Each person could go in any direction they wanted: horror, tall tale, legend, etc.

We agreed to submit at least one story, and edit each other’s work.

I ended up submitting two stories. One is  a campy, horror story.  The other is about a ghost.

Round one of editing happened during October, so I had my editing notes going into November.

I gave up on NaNoWriMo early this year, and worked on my second drafts. I resubmitted the stories a week and half ago. My fellow collaborators have already read my work, and they gave me new notes.

It’s interesting to see what someone else thinks of my writing. I’m always excited to see the comments. I also love that four different people have read my work. They each have their own opinions and comments, which shows how differently readers can interpret something.

The editing process is so much faster this way. I used to want to hang on to my work until I felt it was perfection. However, it’s a lot easier to get a story to perfection with a critique partner.

Additionally, I created covers for the collection. I hope my collaborators like my work. I enjoyed doing it.

While there have been delays, we are mostly on schedule. Campfire Stories should be done by the end of January. 😀

I liked participating in this, and I would like to do something similar in the future. I’d love to run my own contest one day.

Have any of you submitted stories anywhere, or worked on a collaboration? I’d love to hear how other people’s experiences turned out.

Merry Christmas! Hope your holidays are fun and filled with joy!


Superstitious

In my past, I have been slightly superstitious. As time goes by, my superstitious nature tends to increase. I find myself crossing my fingers and knocking on wood during conversations. No jinxes! This superstition seems to be an unexpected consequence to my being poor.

I have been living off of my savings while trying to become a writer, so I have a fixed income so to speak. I don’t mind overall. March and April went well. I had finished April by winning CampNaNo. I wrote my blog happy and victorious with a small thought in my head: oh no, good luck please stay with me! I had ambitious yet reachable goals for May. I was excited and ready.

A couple days after I wrote the blog, I got the estimate to fix my car. It was an astronomical amount for me. What could I do? I paid for it. It wiped out my savings. I was in shock for the first day or two. I was not writing; therefore I fell behind with my goal. Ironic isn’t it? The clock is set. I have to write like my life depends on it because it does, and I stop. After the shock, came sadness.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Several years ago, I was getting in shape. I felt amazing. Then, I got sick. The illness lasted over a month. I lost all of my progress, and no longer felt like working out at that time. Almost two years ago, I finally got a third of the way through a fantasy novel. A grand accomplishment. I could not wait to finish. I was backing up my work monthly at the time. A couple days before my backup, my hard drive crashed. I lost a huge chunk of the fantasy novel as well as all of another personal project. Devastated, I had to go out and buy a new lap top. This depleted the savings quite a bit. I have not opened the fantasy  novel since. Although, I still hope to finish it. Shortly after the hard drive crash, my car battery died. I replaced it, then it died again a few months later. Startling. The company did replace it, but it was not a comforting day. Last year, I had a dentist overcharge me. He also did a filling incorrectly, so I had to have it done again (by someone else).

One step forward, two steps back.  Yes, I have become more superstitious. Always hoping luck will be on my side.

This time is different because my wiggle room is gone. I’m anxious.

I am moving up my editing schedule. I need to publish. I need to sell my book after publishing. If I don’t, well I’d rather not think about that. I want to finish the first draft of my Christmas novel since I’m in the middle of it, but I worry that it will take too much time.

I am writing this blog on May 11, 2016. I have had my setbacks. However, I am proud of my progress overall. I never give up. This time it’s one step forward, half a step back. I want to do this. With all that I am, I want to succeed. I have slowly started to get back into writing this week. I’m several days behind, so I adjusted my goal.

I will keep you updated.

*Knocks on wood.*

wood

Are you superstitious?

Update (June 16th): I met my adjusted goal for May. I hope to do the same in June. I also found this article:

http://writerscircle.com/five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2/?utm_source=twc-twcfan&utm_medium=social-fb&utm_term=20160511&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2&origin=twc_twcfan_social_fb_link_five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2_20160511

 

 

 


My Second CampNaNo Win!

I participated in CampNaNo this past April. CampNaNo is a writing competition of sorts. You write with a virtual cabin full of people cheering you on.  I was able to set my own goal, and I achieved it! This is the second time I have accomplished this. Although last time was heartbreaking as I lost my work. This time I made sure to back up my work daily! CNW_Winner_180

I ended up sticking with my Christmas story, which is about a boy who needs to learn the meaning of Christmas. A mysterious man tells him the tale of Santa Claus, and how he came to be.

Over half the draft is done! It has been strange writing it so far because a huge portion of it is not overly Christmassy with jingle bells and elves. A lot of Nicholas’ life involves not being Santa, and this story dives into that part. However, in a few more sections I will get to the North Pole part. I cannot wait! I want to write about beautiful lights, and hard working elves.

I hope to finish the first draft soon. Then, I’m going to put it aside. It will need a rewrite, and a few edits. It probably won’t be out this year, but my fingers are crossed for 2017!


Picking and Choosing

I thought I would have been done with Tapestry by now. Unfortunately, it needs more editing, so I have put it aside. I did not expect this to feel so sad. I know it’s not gone. It’s just waiting for me to come back to it. However, I really wanted to publish it this spring. I’ve mourned the loss of this particular goal, and now I am working on something new.

I have moved away from the angst and emotion of Tapestry, and onto romance. It’s a big change, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve twisted a couple of tropes, and it seems like it’s going to be a fun adventure. This time, I am doing things differently.

I am going to release parts of the story separately, so people can get a feeling for my main character. I hope this builds my audience. I have planned the plot accordingly. This means I will be editing smaller chunks at a time, which will probably work well for me. Additionally, I have done character profiles this time around!

This also means I am putting aside my Christmas story for the time being. I say this as snow falls outside my window. I wish I could have finished it, but I don’t think it would have been done on time for next Christmas. I am trying to focus on a project I can get done this year without lowering my standards for my stories.

Under the sadness, I am happy. I do love my new characters. It sucks when I have to choose between my stories, but it’s part of the job.

I will be submitting a short story for a writing contest this month too! It’s my first time writing Science Fiction. I enjoy trying new genres. I am in the final draft of the story. I can’t wait to submit. That’s everything on the writing front.

How has your new year been going?

I am thinking of writing a couple of posts on my new year resolutions. I am still trying!

-Kalen


The Struggle: NaNoWriMo

For those of you who have read my blogs before, this won’t be a surprise. I failed NaNo again. It started out okay. I decided to continue on with my Christmas story from a previous year. It was not my original plan, but I cannot write 50k words unless I know what I’m writing about. I don’t outline. What I do is write.  Just write. Not 1,667 words. Just any words that enter my imagination. I write however much I can for as long as it takes for the story to take root in my mind. Once it does, I got it. I know what the story shall be. There are twists and turns along the way, but the general story is there. I did not have this knowledge with my original story choice, so I changed it. The Christmas story already had over 14,000 words, so it was a good choice.Print

By November 2nd, I had my story. I was ready. Then, I fell behind in my word goal. All it takes is a few days before it starts to feel impossible. NaNo also does not allow for breaks, and I need down time.

Long story short, I got 9,612 new words for the month. I love every single one of them, and I love my story. I will continue writing it after I have finished editing my current project. As of last week, I reverted back to my short story anthology because I want to finish my edits.

While I did not meet the 50k word goal, I am happy with my progress.

As an added bonus to my shiny, new words, NaNo introduced me to cool, new people this year. It was awesome! For the first time, there was a weekly write-in in my area! I went to three out of four meetings, and had a great time. Breaking up word wars with conversation is fun. I hope we have it again next year, and maybe for the Camp NaNos. I also participated in an online group, and gained some writing buddies! The social aspect of NaNo is nice.

On a completely different note, how was your November? I decorated the Christmas tree this last Friday! It was time consuming, but fun. It looks glorious. Perhaps I will post a picture ;).

Until next time,

Kalen


Goodies Galore

It’s that time of the year again … HALLOWEEN!

jackolantern_pumpkins_192705

How did your night go? Did you dress up or go out and celebrate?

I dressed up as Emma Swan: The Dark One. I love it. It was a great reason to break out my dark blue, sparkling lipstick. I was excited and ready to hand out some candy. BUT no trick or treaters came this year! More candy for me 😛

As a writer, the end of Halloween also marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo. I could write about my NaNo prep, but I didn’t do any. As usual, I am a quasi-rebel. I have the start of the story, but nothing else. I hope I’m ready to win, but I don’t want to talk about that. I will probably write a post about how it went, but right now I want to focus on the important stuff: CANDY.

In preparation for tonight (Halloween/NaNo), I have thought a lot about candy. I have tons of Halloween candy, which I will enjoy with my one of favorite characters, Jack Skellington. Milk Duds, Kit Kats, and Yorks here I come! I might add some chips to the mix too. I have tea and donuts, a writer’s best friend, to keep me going through day 1. I also have left over tacos ingredients for lunch. If I get reach my own personal goal, I am going to go up a notch and have gourmet chocolate as a special treat. I might try firecracker chocolate or rocky road.

It’s nice to have a special treat as a reward for good work. Although, it does not have to be candy. I have my eye on an incredible journal. What do you use to reward yourself? Or do you use something else for motivation?

Until next time,

Kalen


How It Goes

It’s less than one week before June, and there’s so much to do! I am behind on my editing, but I am determined to finish it. I can’t wait to have the anthology ready for publication. Plus, June is the start of JuNoWriMo. It’s my first year participating and I’m excited. I am going to be one of the sprint leaders and a featured author on their website! I’ll be sprinting during the afternoons on Mondays and Wednesdays. During the month of June I want to finish editing, and write a huge chunk of another novel!

I’m nervous because there’s so much to get done this summer. Editing takes longer than writing for me. I go over the scenes multiple times, ponder how to make it perfect, add copious words, and I take some out. Sometimes it feels never-ending. The novel I am writing over the summer has already been started. I need to reread what’s there. Try to find where my mind was when I was writing it, and go back to that mental place.

I hope to squeeze a novella in too, but it’s not looking good. We’ll see and I’ll keep you updated. I hope I can do it because I love the concept. It’s a dark fairy tale with a sexy Prince Charming. I don’t want to let him go!

And I am officially a Goodreads Author! It took a few more steps than I had anticipated, but it was intuitive enough. I created my page and added my flash fiction story, Flowers, under my name :D! I can’t explain how exciting it is to feel like a real author with all the author accoutrements. Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13794103.Kalen_Williamson


The Breakup: Write Chain

**(I realize I just published a post about my write chain. That post was written five months ago, and I put it up to keep you guys informed so you know what I’m referencing in this post. I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago).

I made a decision to give up my write chain. I have been going for 500 days. The original plan was to give up on day 500 and take the day off, but it has been a long day. There was an ice storm which took out the power lines leaving me with no electricity. Instead of having a fun celebratory day 500 and washing laundry, I did almost nothing.

I spent 2 hours grocery shopping. Thankfully my house is cold enough where I think my groceries will be fine. It’s the logic I’m using. Initially the power was supposed to be back by the time I was finished. It hasn’t come back. It’s been 25 hours and it is expected to be at least 13 more.

Other than that, I have been staring at my ceiling. I haven’t been able to sleep. I’m tired. Luckily, I finally found a gas station with power and an available outlet. So I find myself writing. Day 501.

I am bored out of my mind. The 21st century doesn’t have much without power. Writing on paper isn’t the same for me especially since my stories, notes, and whatnot are on my computer. Cleaning is hard when leaving the haven of covers results in freezing. Plus, cleaning is beyond boring without any kind of background noise.

Anyway, I decided on a new plan. I am going to keep writing because I have to get my stories finished. However, whatever day I skip is whatever day I skip. It’s time to stop writing every day.

I realized this when I took a small break for myself after the craziness of the last year and ended up still writing 80 words every day. It wasn’t much, but I still noticed it. I want a real break. I also want to see the effects of forging the chain … how much better are my writing habits?

Plus, I am very goal oriented. I am more concerned with getting the 80 words in anything (like a journal or different piece or brainstorming session) than finishing my current project. I want to change the goal to: finish the project any way. Even if that means writing 2000 one day and nothing the next. I want to mix up methods, and see what the results are.

This isn’t to say that I have not appreciated my write chain. I have. It has pushed me when I needed it. It helped me create the best journal I have ever had. My journal is amazing and I hope to keep up with it. I also want to keep up with my random thoughts, brainstorming, and blogs. It’s been a great journey, but it’s time for a different one.

If you want to know more about my write chain below is another blog I wrote about it.


My Write Chain Challenge

Almost a year and a half ago, I joined a writing challenge, which involved writing every, single day. Each day was a new link. If I skipped a day, I’d have to start over. I can’t believe I have written every day for so long. There have been challenges and comforting moments.

When I first started the challenge, I was writing something near and dear to my heart, and I was determined to write it because I had put if off for too long. This kept me going for over two months. I accomplished much of what I wanted to write, and the story began to fade. I was going to edit it; and added editing to my Write Chain Challenge daily goal, so I would either write or edit each day. This idea quickly evaporated. The story was a mess; editing was harder than I thought. I gave up because it became clear my goals for the story still needed to be worked on further. That story was not ready to be finished.

This is when I hit my first bump with the challenge. I did not have a new replacement story, nor did I have a particular goal. However, by this time, I had too many links to give up on writing daily. Therefore, I started a journal. It’s nothing I can publish, but it kept me writing. This went on for several months, and I learned a couple of things from it.

I ended up thinking of a flash fiction story due to a journal entry, and I improved my writing. I used more adjectives and details. I could write the entry similar to a story if I wanted. It wasn’t like this every day, but when it started popping up in my writing, I was pleased. This was also a writing accomplishment I had not previously achieved.

Throughout my life, I have bought journals and have been given them as gifts. I love them. They’re colorful and meaningful. Some of them come with lockets in different shapes and sizes with cool keys attached, others look like they could travel through time and belong to anyone. Every time I got a new one, I was excited. For one whole week, I would write my daily thoughts and desires. Then, poof! The magic was gone, and the lovely journal would be put aside. Now, I have more consistent entries spanning a year! Another side benefit is that a journal entry can be about ANYTHING: feelings, story ideas, daily activities, frustrations, observations, quirks, etc. Later, when writing fiction, this information can be useful for character building as well.

My journal has made my write chain links strong and consistent. Of course, when the time was right, I put aside my journal and returned to fiction. From time to time, I still write an entry to keep it going, though because it is definitely worth it.

There have been hard times along the way. Days when it was extremely tempting to give up, and stop writing daily. I have used a couple motivational ideas to keep my going. Starting out, I knew I had a commitment problem, so I picked the perfect number of words. Sixty wasn’t enough because it was too easy to accomplish without much effort. Surprisingly, eighty was my perfect number. Some days I would get to 77, and sigh. Three more words were needed. I forced myself to continue, and ended up with close to a 100 or more. I make sure to finish my sentences when writing instead of writing the exact number of words needed and stopping mid-sentence. It’s a great trick for adding more words to the daily word count.

My word count goal was also useful for hard times and challenges. I have had quite a few of these. When my computer crashed, I had to get creative with how I wrote my words until I could get a new computer. I used paper notebooks, and on an especially creative day, I used a cell phone app. I would not write a novel this way, but it was perfect for temporary use. On exhausting, difficult, sad, or celebratory days, I could always spare five minutes. Whether it’s a family member in the hospital or Christmas, I could still manage my word count goal.

On days when the motivation was not there, I had to remind myself I only had to invest 5 to 10 minutes. I would push myself to do it, feel accomplished, and yet not annoyed or exhausted since the obligation was more than reasonable. This kept my write chain going because I knew if I quit, I would quit for awhile. Which brings to me to a powerful motivation to write: I wanted to keep the chain going.

Once I had some links behind me, I did not want to have to give up and start over from the beginning. The thought of starting over was daunting. All my previous links would vanish. All those days, gone! 

As this over-analytical thinking takes longer than writing my 80 words, I stick with the writing. On my worst days, I start down this path, sigh, figure it’s not worth all the hassle of giving up, and continue to write. It has gotten to the point where my brain is learning to head straight towards the thought “Just write” with shorter and shorter trips down the Give Up Highway since it’s already been there and already knows all the pros and cons.

It’s important to remember your daily goal is your minimum goal. The sky is the limit when it comes to the maximum to write daily. In less than a year, I have written over 115,000 words! I find that number extremely inspiring! Sometimes, it’s a matter of just getting started.

Lastly, I want to address the inspiration muse. Artists everywhere talk about the muse. She’s a fleeting beauty. Getting inspired can be as easy as a random thought, the latest popular incident or controversy, listening to a great song, watching a fascinating movie, reading a touching book, or finding fun pictures and quotes. All of these things can be found anywhere on the internet: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Netflix, Amazon, images found on search engines etc. If the internet isn’t available or isn’t particularly inspiring that day, there are museums, libraries, parks, and personal life events. The latter doesn’t have to be big either; a small life event can lead to interesting story seeds.

The trick is in the timing. Inspiration lasts for less than 5 seconds. Once it is felt, it must be acted upon immediately. Any hesitation and it floats away. On great days, it comes back. On less wonderful days, she can be gone for good. Even if it is at an inopportune time, like in the middle of an epic scene of a show I’m currently watching, I have learned it is best to take a few minutes and write. It’s a record of the inspirational idea, and words to add to the story.

Happy Writing!


NaNoWriMo: The Most Awkward Time of the Year

I have spent a few years trying to get into NaNoWriMo. Theoretically, it sounds like tons of fun, and thinking of it in October is amusing. The dream of 50,000 words a month is alluring. It’s a wonderful and somewhat realistic dream. Then, November comes and the story changes completely.

It’s great having buddies … until they skyrocket to 50,000 within the first week. I am happy for my friends, but I feel like the slow one in the class.

Miss a few days and that easy 1667 multiples quickly into an impossibly high number.

Being a rebel sucks. I try to aim lower to motivate myself, but it’s against the rules. It adds a layer of “whatever” to the mix.

Once behind, all the emails are irrelevant. It’s hard to have second week blues when your word count shows your still in week one.

Not to mention, it’s during the time of the year when I would rather stay inside instead of meeting up for write-ins. I had nothing to do for seven long, hot, awful, tedious months. Now it’s the holiday season, my room temperature is comfortable, and I want to curl up and watch TV. (I do love parties, though).

I’m not sure if I am going to try next year. If I do, I will probably refrain from the frills in order to stay motivated.

Oddly, I write much more outside of this month. As a writer, the hardest month for me is NaNoWriMo.

All that being said, the prizes are pretty great, and it is fun to talk to people. CONGRATULATIONS to those who won NaNo. And even if you didn’t win, it’s still great if you enjoy it.