Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Quick Update

(errr, if you haven't read my last post then do that so this makes a little more sense)

My writing group seemed to like the story idea, and validated some ideas I was thinking. There are still a lot of questions and "What ifs..." I need to answer, like how to avoid killing off the POV's parents and how to get the elephant on the top of the mountain. And I've got about ten different endings to choose from. I think the outlining process will help me find the ending I like best. So, on to the outline!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ideas Are a Good Thing

I've been struggling since the LDS Story Makers conference. Not so much with the ability to write but with the ability to come up with an idea that I can fall in love with. So not writers block: ideas block.

Last night, I'm proud to say, I found an idea that I have fallen in love with. I am 99% sure this is what my book is going to be about, unless my writing group convinces me otherwise when I meet with them tomorrow.

For now, I'm outlining. Outlining is a new thing for me as I am used to discovery writing, but I am going to be feeling a lot better working from an outline. When I did (or rather, started) NaNoWriMo last year I had worked off an outline for the first handful of chapters, figuring I would finish the outline by the time I got that far. And wrote them I did... without finishing the outline. Where I had an outline, my productivity FLEW. When I ran out of outline, everything came to a screeching halt. There were tire tracks/skid marks on my kitchen floor and everything! In the end, I failed NaNoWriMo, but I learned a lot. Most importantly finding out how invaluable a tool an outline can be.

I've decided that before I write a story I want a complete outline. I might go back to my NaNoWriMo sometime. Maybe finish it for the 2011 NaNoWriMo? I don't know. But not until I get the entire outline complete. I still like the underlying theme of that story, I just need to find the right ending. Funny, I don't even remember the main POV's character name. Not good...

I've read a lot of great stuff this week. But I wanted to just highlight the one that stood out the most.

One of the people in my writing group, Nova Wahl (a brilliant and talented writer and photographer) showed me something called the Snowflake method of developing a story. It isn't on her blog so I'll link the URL here. If you've been struggling putting together the outline of a story I suggest you start here. This has really helped me with my new story idea. Based on the feedback from her on Facebook, it sounds like it has really helped her, too.

Otherwise, insomnia has still been my nemesis throughout the week and we do battle almost nightly. Coming up with this idea right before midnight didn't help much as my head started racing. Again, skid marks and everything right on my bedroom carpet! But, unlike my other ideas, I still loved it in the morning and even into the evening of the next day.

Until next time!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Wasn't Raptured, So I Guess I'll Blog

Not to brag or anything, but by my count this is the fifth time I've survived the end of the world. And look at me, I'm at 20 followers!! I'm so lucky, exclamation points just do it no justice.

Before I get into what I'm doing I think I should point something out: I'm a VERY slow reader. I get really jealous when I hear people say, "Today I read this book and tomorrow I'm going to read such-n-such a book." A book in a day? That boggles my mind! My problem is two-fold: I read at about the same pace I talk. Also, I don't like skipping things. So I'm so far behind on my reading list which grows more than it shrinks. There is a plus-side to this: I remember what I read better than my speed-reading friends. Plus, I think I enjoy the journey more, too.

So, of recent news...

1) I'm reading a great book called "20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them" I would highly recommend this for any writer. It first goes into some writing fundamentals and how there is really only two types of stories (character and plot driven). But then it gets into 20 different plot devices and what MUST be included in each, ending them with a check-list just so you can make sure you cover all the points. So far, I've loved it, though I can see quite often how most stories will have more than one of the twenty in them. The thing I've liked the most about it is that it has triggered some ideas while reading them. Good, I need them!

1.5) I've finished reading "A Crown of Swords", book 7 in the Wheel of Time series. Only took me two weeks to get through it, that is probably a record for this series. I'll start book 8 tomorrow.

2) I've had insomnia. Drats! So much for getting on an early morning schedule. Another non-interesting fact about me: I've had on and off insomnia since the 6th grade. This week I've been hit with a nasty taste of it with no sign of it easing. But when I do finally get some sleep I still plan on adjusting my bedtime back a few hours and using the morning to be a more productive writer. I know I should use the late night hours I spend tossing in bed writing instead, but I do find that such writing endeavors rarely bear fruit worth keeping. I know my limits and I try my best to live within them.

3) I follow some awesome blogs. So here are some of the highlights I've seen in the last few days:

3a) Tristi Pinkston shared a video of Elder Uchdorf called Create. I love that it says that we can all create, no matter who you are, reminding us that we are spirit children of the most creative person in the universe and that the more in tune we are with the spirit the more we can have a capacity to create. I think this came right when I needed to hear it.

3b) Matthew Tandy has a goal of writing one sentence a day, which can sometimes lead to even more. You may think that one sentence isn't very much, but it is more than I'm doing now. I like reading his little tidbits that inspire him to keep reaching that goal. It makes me think I should be doing the same thing. Day 10 was particularly inspiring.

3c) If you need a pep talk, swing by Stacy Cole's blog, particularly her recent blog on Procrastination and how to beat it. Talk about some much needed preaching!

3d) Rebecca Blevins wrote out some lessons on what she has learned watching television shows. Mostly it deals with hooks that come with commercial breaks, and how to introduce them into your writing. Good stuff, here!

I'll keep my eye out for more interesting blog tidbits of useful writing information. I'm hoping that this becomes a regular habit so please feel free to point out any writing blogs you think I should be following.

Thank you for reading, and for those following, thank you for caring.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Wow, I have thirteen followers!! I'm shocked and humbled, thank you.

Ever since my last blog I've been wondering when I should do the next posting. I already had a subject in mind (hint, hint: see the title) but wanted to give some time for my last blog post to ripen a bit before doing another one.

When I asked Authors Incognito what the appropriate waiting period should be I was advised that it was up to me but that I should be consistent and not do it on a whim. Well, FOR NOW, I'm ignoring that advise. But after I find my stride and get more familiar with blogging I think that is exactly what I should and will do.

For now, let me get to the topic and hand and discuss some of the decisions I've already made.

My first decision is that I want to write a book. I've wanted to since the second grade when I wrote about some ghost that faked his own death so that people would stop terrorizing his town. Hey, cut me some slack, it made perfect sense to a seven year old!! I've also decided I don't want to stop there but eventually publish a book.

But, truth be told, I can't find the time in my day to take on quite a feat. I work one and a half jobs, have family responsibilities, fulfill church callings, and still try to fit in a little fun and a social life.

Well, in order to do this, I needed to give up gaming. You are reading the blog of a former World of Warcrack addict. And it was harder to quit than you would think. "Why?" I hear you asking, "Can't grow up?" No, it was nothing like that. But WoW was an opportunity I had to bond with my two brothers, who were also addicts. But as soon as they quit playing I had no other reason to stick around so I've moved on and haven't looked back. While it is nice to suddenly find a LOT more time on my hands, I must admit that I miss the fact that my brothers and I don't talk as often as we did back then. They've moved on to another game but, other than casual gaming, I've made the decision that I cannot get sucked into a game like that again.

My town, St. George (did I mention this is the best city on Earth?) hosts the hardest Ironman in the country. So for the last two years I've been toying with the idea of doing the Ironman. I've ran a marathon, I've done centuries, I've done shorter triathlons, I love doing every 13-miler that becomes available, but doing an Ironman was something that I had never done and it got more and more tempting the more I thought about it.

But when I went to the LDS Story Makers Convention a week and a half ago I realized that there was no way I could train for an Ironman and write a book. So I knew I had to choose between the two and I've chosen the book. So I'll keep training for the St. George Marathon in October and do all the foot races and centuries that we have in the area; I do want to keep in shape. But I'm dropping out of a lot of the races I had decided to do to prep for an Ironman so I'll have more time for a book.

As for TV, I get sucked into shows that have epic storylines (ie, Lost, the 4400, The Event) and there are a handful of other shows that just tickle my fancy in general. Well, a few weeks ago I went through the Tivo list and erased about five shows I was watching, holding on to just a few. Again, a few more hours freed up!

And it looks like God has made a decision for me as I just got released from Young Mens (well, almost) which practically frees up an additional night a week. Of course, I'll still need to make some room for my new church calling (Gospel Doctrine Instructor) but I think I just netted some additional time.

Last decision is to adjust my bedtime. When I did NaNoWriMo I got up extra early and wrote, and I got a lot done. I need to get back on that schedule and, truth be told, I like that schedule. The early morning belongs to me (me, me, ME, BRUHAHAHA!!!) while the day belongs to my job and the evening belongs to all the other responsibilities I have in life. This is good because usually, at night, the creative energies are gone and I find myself staring at a blank piece of paper more often than not. The right side of my brain is in full operation when I first wake up.

Recently somebody in AI had asked how somebody who is so busy can find the time to write. One response I loved, by Donna Weaver: "It's all about priorities. You don't FIND time to do what's important to you. You MAKE time to do it." So, that is what this post is all about. I'm announcing that I've decided to make the time.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Why I'm writing this blog

I attended the LDS Writer's Conference last week in Salt Lake City. And the advise was, "Let there be a blog. And your blog had better be good, that man (and woman) may benefit from the words that proceeds from yonder keyboard." Or something like that.

So, here is my blog.

There are many purposes of this blog. The first is to share with those who are interested my journey in writing a book. I'll try not to throw out any spoilers or anything, but I think I can talk about the writing process without giving too much away and discouraging you, dear reader, from picking it up in your nearest bookseller sometime in the future.

It is also to motivate me because if I can get some readers I'm going to have to write blog posts. And these blog posts cannot say something akin to: "Sorry, folks, I've got nothing." Peer pressure is a very motivating force so I give all of you permission to chastise me if I'm not being the manuscript factory I need to be.

Also, I would like to find others of similar interests. I'll admit it, the main reason I went to the conference was because my favorite author, Brandon Sanderson, was said to be making an appearance. So go I did expecting to get a little something out of the conference and then completely geek out as Brandon Sanderson strolled into the room. Well, nothing went as expected. For one thing, Mr. Sanderson probably didn't want me embarrassing myself in his presence and decided not to show up. And the other thing unexpected was that I met a TON of cool people. I got a lot out of the classes. I even joined the Authors Incognito of like-minded individuals. I'm pumped and excited to keep in touch with them and maybe meet more people. This blog is my hand extending out to you and saying, "Hey, nice to meet you. I look forward to getting to know you." Hopefully my joviality doesn't scare you off.

And finally, at the conference they heavily stressed in the conference establishing an online presence. I've been working on that. My twitter feed had nothing to do with writing and the items I did write were nothing more than a joke to amuse anybody worth following (okay, mostly me, I need to be honest). I also knew I needed to create and start using a blog. So here it is. My blog. I hope you can feel at home and I look forward to any feedback.

I know it isn't perfect and I've still got a lot of work before I'm happy with how it looks. So never mind the "Under Construction" sign that is hanging over my monitor.... please pardon the dust at least. I'll get this to state that makes me feel all zen-like as soon as I can. But welcome, nonetheless.