Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Well... it worked. Ha.

I rewrote my chores with a little help from Patricia...

* write for 15 minutes
* translate for 15 minutes
* find out what you need to do for "this thing", so that you can chop it into smaller pieces too
* find out what you need to do for "that other thing", so that that can be chopped too
* work 15 minutes with Auntie Sarah and future ideas

I feel pretty good right now :-D I have read this week's letter and today's chore, and I'm feeling quite confident about pulling this through :-) Maybe not these 100 days, though, but I will be starting a lot of things for my writing, that will carry me long way in the future, and I will be learning new habits and skills that will carry me even longer :-D

I have also discussed with my husband about these things, and that's always a good thing. Might be that I have all the time in the world to write - theoretically - the practice looks slightly different. I do have some responsibilities outside writing, which is only my work ;-)

Here's 100 ways to improve your writing. Do follow the links :-)

Angela Booth's 100 days writing challenge

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

7/100 DWC - pondering

I feel pretty stupid right now... I didn't manage to create myself chores yesterday, and today the idea is to do these chores...

I don't want to write. I have been writing all kind of stuff, just not WRITING. Like blog entries, comments, tweets, planning, and "stuff". You know. Anything you write to avoid writing :-D

*sigh* Now I'm going to go and write for 20 minutes :-D

Angela Booth's 100 days writing challenge

Monday, September 27, 2010

Competitions to keep an eye on

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

Yearly, in January

First Crime Novel Competition
Yearly, in Autumn-Winter

Writers and Illustrators of the Future
Quarterly competition

Day 6 of the 100 day writing challenge

I am supposed to be creating myself tasks so that I get the job done. A task is something that takes about 15 minutes to do. (That is, writing 2000 words is not a task :-D) (writing 1000 words might be ;-))

I am totally lost here.

So I went to see what others might have thought. Patricia Woodside talks about a lot of things in her blog, among others about the cliche portrait photos writers use :-D
I don't think it's much about the writers thinking their photo should be something like this, I think it's because those are very common positions in portrait art. :-D There's a reason to why a cliche becomes a cliche, and that's because IT WORKS.
I personally like the last category of portraits, the "hand-to-face" photo.  Charlotte Rains Dixon looks like a person I'd love to know, James Baldwin's photo is pure art, and Toni Morrison looks so cute in her portrait :-)
I think I would want a portrait of the author in her work place, but that would not be the office...

I personally love this set of portraits of Joyce Carol Oates - I suppose these are sofa photos ;-)

Here's the photographer Marianne Taylor talking about taking author portraits. (Not so much...). I like the cat photo :-D It looks spontaneous, real, not arranged, a spur of a moment... I think I'd go with that :-D

I have to say that I am one of these “everyone who might be interested in a book about Venice, rude mermaids, baddened magic, hot chocolate and curry. And books, of course. (Isn’t that everyone?)“, so I am interested in Michelle Lovric's books too :-D

Here's some photos about Carla Langhorst. I really like the one in the middle, when she hugs herself and looks a little bit up - the one with hole in the table. That hole is disturbing, but the photo I love. Isn't that "head-and-hand" photo? Sort of? I suppose I should go for the sitting-on-the-table shot, but...

I also like this one, of Philip K. Dick

P.S. Why is race such an issue in USA? I think Carleen Brice is 100% correct. I don't give a damn if the author of the book I read is white, black, red, green, yellow or orange. I don't care if the author is male, female, both or neither. I don't care if the author is 5, 15, 55 or 105. I don't care if the author is still alive or not. I don't care about the color of the characters in the book. I really believe the color is only skin-deep, and under that we are all the same, with flesh, blood and bones, the same feelings, thoughts, ideas and complexes. I might not know EXACTLY what Toni Morrison describes, but I know just as well what Salman Rushdie writes about, or Isabel Allende, or someone like Kelly Link; a white woman born 1969, who writes "slipstream or magic realism: a combination of science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, and realism", which is close to what I want to write. I'm not American, and there's a lot of things that are totally normal, common, general, usual things and phenomenons to any American, but not to me.

Angela Booth's 100 days writing challenge

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Elfwood is refusing to log me out :-(

Now, they say you need one account for each area. I joined Elfwood, the artists' area, for already some 10 years ago, and now wanted to join Wyvern's Library as well, as I write stories too. But when I try to join, they log in me automatically, so that I cannot join in with a new name for Wyvern's Library. And Help section is for some weird reason not working. :-(


I don't like this new editing window either. The cursor doesn't show the correct place of itself. Stupid.

So, I'll publish the story here.

It's inspired by "kantylena"s vampire portrait "Let there be darkness"(Now, as Elfwood is gone, the picture is gone as well. Right now I'm really sad I didn't save it and use it as illustration for this page... I'm pretty sure Ekantylena would have allowed it.)

I was turned into a vampire some thousand years ago... it feels like yesterday and still I can remember every day of those years, every full moon, every winter and the howling of wind and wolves as if it was yesterday...

I was turned Anno Domini 999... The last year before the New Millennium turned in. It made the whole world mad. People were punishing themselves or others to please the angry gods that had allowed the fictional timeline grow into one thousand. Some people killed themselves, others killed others.

I was found by one of the murdering mobs, or let’s say, I found them. I was out gathering something for the family to eat, and when I returned home, I found them there, our home was burning, my family murdered... I can still remember their bloody mouths, breath smelling copper, rot and decay. I was fifteen, and they say pretty, so the mob caught me to play with me. I was raped by most of them, over and over again.

Somehow I managed to gather my strength and take a sword from one of them. It was heavy, and I stumbled. I fell on one of them, and my weight together with the weight of the sword drove the sword straight through his black heart. That was all I could do, and it gave me some kind of odd satisfaction. They had taken my home, my family, my purity, they would eventually kill me, but not without losses. The others just laughed and raped me again. I was left there laying on the ground, half-dead, with the dead man, and the wolves were coming.

With the wolves came a man... his hair was white, long and streapy, his face was covered with cloth, he was wearing an armless tunic, hose, boots and a cloak. He kneeled by me. I was too weak to defend myself, too weak to even care, I just waited for death to come a release me from my pain. He saved me. He drank my blood and forced me to drink his. I died.

When the moon rose I was born again. I woke up feeling wonderful. The wounds, bruises and pain were gone, so were the wolves and the strange man. I felt strong and more alive than I had ever been. The stars shone brighter than ever, I could feel the most tender wind on my skin, I could hear it... I could feel the heartbeat of the earth itself and the song of the universe above me. I also felt the hunger.
I rose up, took the sword where it was stuck in the ribs of the dead man, this time with one hand, and smelled the air. The mob that had raped me could still be tracked, so I started running. I was amazed by my ability to run... it was so natural to me now, as if the earth and air itself had carried me forth, the earth supported my steps, the air held me up in the difficult terrain, and I didn't get tired. I didn't even get breathless.
I let my legs work and examined my new being. I didn't need to breathe. My body breathed, because it was used to breathe, but I could hold my breath for minutes without ever getting to the feeling that I was going to choke. All the time I was running, easy and swiftly, and the scent of the group got stronger.

I came to a village and found the men's horses. They had decided to spend the night in this small village, probably planning on pillaging it in the morning. One by one I tracked them down and killed them. The hunger was so strong I couldn’t help but feeding on some of them before I killed them. Some woke up before I was done, but most didn’t wake up, ever. I felt pity for a young boy, he couldn’t have been much older than I was, and I held my hand. He jumped up and fled screaming into the inn, screaming about a murdering ghost in the stables. I got out of the stables and hid before he had even got the door to the inn open. Soon they all came out, with torches, and went to see if the boy had spoken the truth, and they found all their friends killed, their bodies swimming in blood.

Crawling in the hay with a sword wasn’t easy, so I had snatched a dagger from one of the men. It was easier to handle and the killing went more swiftly. I could move without any noise now, I was just a shadow, a ghost. I slipped behind the men in the darkness and slit their throats. The panic started spreading. Someone set the stables ablaze. They managed to save most of the horses and put them in a pen nearby, and after that they all went inside and locked the doors after them. I let the horses loose and climbed inside through the chimney. It was hot, but I didn’t need to breathe, and the few burns I got healed immediately. My clothes burned and I came out of the fireplace black and naked. The men froze with a horrible look on their faces, but I didn’t wait, I snatched two swords from the closest men and started using them. I don’t know how I knew how to use the swords, but I was effective and it was a great joy. In just a few minutes there was only one living creature in the room, and that was the young boy. He was white as bleached linen, spotted with blood and stained with ashes from the burning stable.

“Do you want to live?” I asked him.
He nodded with big eyes, then shook his head.
“I... I don’t think I do... after this. It’s too much.”
“I understand”, I said and killed him.
I felt empty.

I didn’t want to eat anything, my hunger was silenced for a while. I didn’t know at that time that it would return, every time. I would feed and feel satisfied but the next night I was revenously hungry again. I opened the doors and went out. The village was quiet, now. I stood in the yard and felt the night air on my naked skin. I felt also something else. The sun was rising, and as the first morning rays hit me, it hurt. I watched my skin starting to blister and smoke, and it wasn’t healing, it was getting worse. I hurried inside and the sunburn healed itself. I put my hand out of the door just to see what would happen, and the same thing happened. I couldn’t be in the sun anymore.

I looked around me. There were corpses lying all around me. I couldn’t stay here. They would find me, and understand what had happened. They would bind me to a pole and let the sun burn my sins away, and I would die a second death. I fount the cellar hatch, and went there hiding. It was lovely cool and dark there. I found a place behind the beer barrels and lay down there. I don’t have any memory of what happened during the day, I must have slept, but I don’t remember sleeping. I just closed my eyes and was dead to the world. I got up later that day and sneaked up to the inn again. It was empty now, all the bodies had been moved and someone had even washed the floor, but they couldn’t take the thick smell of blood away. It was dark and quiet and I went out again. Stars had come out, and it was beautiful. I started running again. This time with no goal.

I had been running a couple of hours and left the village far behind me, when I noticed that I wasn’t alone. Someone was running with me. I turned my head and saw the white-haired man. I stopped running. So did he.

“I can smell you have eaten”, he said.
“I have... but it was yesterday and I am hungry again.”
“That is the way it is. Where are you going?”
“I don’t know. Away.”
“Would you like to join me?”
“Why not? For a while, at least.”
“Come with me. There is a cloister nearby. We can eat there.”

I nodded my agreement, and we went to the cloister. It had thick walls, but it was not a problem for us. He climbed first and I followed him. We slipped silently in to the monastery and found the sleeping monks easily. He told me to choose a fat one, they can loose more blood without it bothering them. The one I chose woke up while I was still feeding. I stopped and looked at him, in my black nakedness, and he stared at me for a short while, unable to even scream, so scared he was, and fainted. I finished the eating, and left.

“Are you an incubus?” I asked my companion.
“Why do you ask?” he asked in return.
“The monk whose blood I was sucking woke up. I think he thought I was a demon or a nightmare. A succubus.”
“Indeed you are beautiful, my black friend.”

I looked at myself. I was still black from the soot, and still naked. I hadn’t even noticed it. Now I got very aware of it and covered myself with my arms.

“Follow me”, he said, and lead me to a castle. There were no people there, but all the things were in place, untouched, as if the castle was sleeping.

“This is my home. You can wash yourself here, and I will get you clothes. You can stay here and use everything that is in here as you like.”
“Don’t you live here?”
“I only sleep here now-a-days.”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last night I dreamed about writing...

I haven't been thinking of anything but writing the last week, it feels like.

It's day 3 of the 100 day writing challenge, and - as always - I'm getting committing anxiety :-D It doesn't feel the least sensible anymore :-D I'm going to keep my promise to myself this time, though.

Warrior Wisewoman is looking for submissions for volume 4, so if you write "Feminist" sci-fi, take a look.

Then some blogs... or something...
First I stumbled over "Back To Writing -event at Story Crafters"
The Aspiring Author has abandoned her blog. Her Book Connection looks interesting, but...

I went to Story Crafters Forum, and that isn't working anymore. *sigh* The Storycrafters' Community doesn't exist, neither does Story Crafters.The Story Crafters' blog is abandoned as well.

I found Jean Lauzier's homepage and blog though. Jean was leading the Story Crafters.

Now I'm tired. I woke up before 6 A.M. and now it's three hours later :-)

See you later, alligators :-)

Angela Booth's 100 days writing challenge

Day 2 of the 100 days writing challenge

 Well... Today I was feeling ok, but as the home is getting more and more grubby, I spent most of the day doing something else than writing.

To me being able to earn 200 dollars a day more than I do now; that is 200 dollars a day :-D would be amazing. I read a research about how in Sweden the medium income is a lot smaller than the medium income in USA, and to an American 200 dollars a day might not sound much. It is that to me. I would be quite happy with 4000 dollars a month, and less than 50.000 dollars a year. I would consider myself rich. :-D I don't need to be a millionaire, just earn 200 dollars a day with my writing.

Writing is something I can do even when I'm ill. The freedom is amazing...

I don't know what I am going to write. I have my writing journal full of ideas and such, but they all seem kind of equal. Equally good, or bad, I don't know. And I can't choose. :-D

P.S. Some ideas about how...
200 articles in 100 days
1000 Articles in 100 Days?
Niche Site Challenge
Writing minisites

100 day challenge at Writing Spirit Blog

"the dullest pencil is better than the sharpest mind"

Angela Booth's 100 days writing challenge

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

100 Day Writing Challenge 2

I, Sanna Ketutar Jensen, commit to writing at least
one hour a day, 2000 words or 8 pages a day on my novel.

At least.

Plus that I also commit to doing my best to reach the 200 dollars a day promise given in the 100 Day Writing Challenge, because I don't have the slightest idea what it might be... all I know at this moment is what I do doesn't work :-D
It is quite possible I'm not a freelance writer, and I don't have what it takes to make money with my writing, but at least I'm going to try. It's just 100 days :-D


(added later)

Now I have read the first post, and I notice that I have misunderstood something.
I think I have misunderstood everything. Well... Better soon than never, huh?


(added a lot later)

Ok, I'm going to do this.

1) to get a novel manuscript in submitting order. I'm aware that 100 days is a bit short time, but more miraculous things have happened. Also, NaNoWriMo happens in the middle of this 100 days chunk of time.

2) I'm damn going to earn $200 a day more than I do now. It's supposed to be possible, so I'll at least give it a try. I don't know how it's going to happen, but... I'm going to make it happen.

I suppose this will help a little:
Are you subbing? Try the race score challenge

Let's get some writing done, then.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

100 Day Writing Challenge

100 Day Writing Challenge

"Your objectives: By then end of the 100 Day Challenge you'll be making at least $200 a day more from your writing than you're making now, and you'll be well on the way to making at least $70 an hour from your writing."

Oh... Right now I don't make a penny from my writing. I wouldn't say no to $200, but I wonder how it's going to happen...

10 ways to make a 6-figure income as freelance writer

I am sure I'm worth at least 20 dollar an hour... But it doesn't matter how high *I* prize my skills and capacity, because I don't think I have the skills and capacity desired...

I don't think I know enough of any language to work as a proofreader. It would have worked in Finnish some 10 years ago, but now I have been living in Sweden and daily using not Finnish, so my Finnish is rusty... I'm sure I could learn enough of any language, though, but proofreading is not what I could do, right now.

I might be able to ghostwrite books, but... if I can't manage to even write my own book, how could I ghostwrite? Or write "poetry, novels, short stories, a musical comedy, movie music, and a few other forms."

I don't know anything about annual reports, fundraising letters, speeches, or copywriting. I can learn, but... I don't have any of those skills right now.

Makes me think why the heck do I even think I am a writer :-D Obviously, I can't write :-D

Right now I'm worth 3 dollars an hour... No, I don't live with that. We live mostly on my husband's income. I would most certainly love to change that, but I don't know if I can.

Right now ANY productivity would be increasing productivity.

Also... outsourcing... I have social phobia. Of course it would be ridiculous to hire a $100 writer to do my cleaning and such, but right now I'm not a $100 writer, I'm $3 disabled woman... I suppose that's what he means with the first 2 points :-D

Ad incomes from the blog... now... who reads this blog? And how many of the opportunities you as an American do I, living in Sweden, have? I know it's internet, but still...

I have my specialties, but I believe the people interested, can't pay... on the other hand... why not?
Also, I believe anyone can learn anything and get new specialties... *hmm* I'm just not interested in things like money and computers, but I shouldn't need to be either. A lot of the world is not.

"You can create and sell your own information products, such as books, e-books, subscription Web sites, newsletters, videos, audiocassettes, and special reports."
Eh. I can? I wonder... I'm lousy at marketing, especially my own work. *sigh*

Well... I'm starting to realize what my problem is ;-)

That's actually quite a hefty motivation to start doing things.

What exactly is $70.000 in Freelance Income?
Can I really make money freelance writing?
How to become a location-independent freelance translator
How to make money freelance writing

Angela Booth's 100 days writing challenge

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Ok... so I'm one of the easily enthusiastic idiots always joining every darn "tempaus" going on... and it's all Watery Tart's fault.

I decided to join NaBloWriMo. (inter)National Blog Writing Month. It's October. Yes, that month in 10 days, that leads to Halloween and NaNoWriMo.

I decided to dedicate my 30 days of blog writing to writing novels :-D

Don't know what to write? There's tons of blog prompts and memes around. It's not going to be a problem.

Are not able to write every day? Well... you can "cheat", and use the "post options" option, and write several blog entries right now. Opt them to post different days of October, and if you CAN post that day, move the pre-written entry to another day.

How to write a good blog post?

Problogger's 10+ tips

  1. Make your opinion known
  2. Link like crazy
  3. Write less
  4. 250 Words is enough
  5. Make Headlines snappy
  6. Write with passion
  7. Include Bullet point lists
  8. Edit your post
  9. Make your posts easy to scan
  10. Be consistent with your style
  11. Litter the post with keywords
And you're off :-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

NaNoWriMo sucks?

NaNoWriMo sucks?

First, I would like to say that I don't give a dime about "popular opinion". I just think you're making a henhouse out of a feather. The admonition to flame, because you are expressing an opinion you assume is "unpopular" is flaming in itself. Seems to me you wrote the darned thing just to poke people.

Might be that NaNoWriMo sucks. Nevertheless, it's better to waste 30 days of November by "playing" NaNoWriMo than use it to play some silly game at Facebook.


Because you will have written SOMETHING. Even if it's not the minimum of words needed for a novel, it's SOMETHING. YOU WILL HAVE WRITTEN SOMETHING.

Sounds silly? Not to me, besides, who cares? I don't mind if people think I'm silly, acting silly, sounding silly or looking silly. Most of the people who think things shouldn't be silly are boring and, frankly, stupid. I'd rather be silly than stupid.

Your favorite bloggers take a pause from writing blogs for 30 days? WTF? You shouldn't be expecting people write blogs just to entertain you. I read somewhere that the best way to writers to actually become published writers who actually write books is to not write blogs at all. Because, as you say, it is writing, and every word written on a blog is a word away from the book one is supposed to be writing... I really think you prefer them being away for only one month, in stead of being away for ever, and you got the chance to read them only when their book comes out :-D

"So why are bloggers shutting down one writing operation to open up another writing operation. Each about as useful as the other in terms of improving writing skills. I just don't get it."
Because NaNoWriMo isn't about improving writing skills. It takes just some fifteen minutes to write a blog entry, and you can write almost anything. It is quite acceptable to write a blog entry that is mostly links and a couple of words in between :-D Nevertheless, NaNoWriMo is about WRITING A NOVEL. A blog is not a novel. Sure, a draft isn't a novel either, but closer to a novel than a blog is. :-D

Of course, writing a novel is much more than writing the first draft, and NaNoWriMo recognizes this. There's something called NaNoFiMo and NaNoEdMo ;-)

"So, if a writer has to be encouraged to do the first step - The fun one - what are the chances they'll ever get around to the rest of the steps?"
Actually, bigger.
Firstly, you must have the first draft to be able to edit and rewrite, so that you can take the next step and start selling your work, so that you one day will experience the joy of seeing your name on the cover of a book.
Secondly, the first step is usually the most difficult one in any enterprise.
For example, I have a dog. I also have social anxiety, which means that I don't like going out and meeting people. I also don't like clothes, but I have to wear them when I'm out, so walking the dog starts with stopping what I am doing (usually writing), getting dressed, getting the dog "dressed" and then forcing myself out of my comfort zone to a place where I might meet other people. Walking the dog is actually quite enjoyable, and so is editing and rewriting...

"I suppose they would say that it encourages writers to write and finish their novels."
I wouldn't use the word "encourage". I would use the word "challenge".

"Anyone who needs an imaginary competition to start writing may want to consider another line of business"
Uh. A lot of things in this world are done simply because someone made a bet, because someone got challenged, because someone thought "I'm sure I would write a better book than this!". Some of the things created of spite, or some other such reason, are good, enjoyable, nice, fun, interesting... Just think about Frankenstein's Monster and "The Vampyre" that inspired "Dracula", both born from a such bet, dare or challenge one cold and rainy summer when a group of friends entertained themselves by telling horror stories...
NaNoWriMo is just a challenge like that.
Don't like Frankenstein and Dracula? A lot of people don't. So what? A lot of people do, and these have inspired a lot of other novels, movies and other creative projects.

There is 101 things in 1001 days, or "day zero project"
Perhaps this kind of challenges were fad in the early 00's. Perhaps we get more done by challenging ourselves and setting deadlines.

Might be that the "true" authors cannot not write. I cannot not write either. But I spread the writing in so many venues; blog entries, opinions in internet forums and newspapers, diary and journals, ezine articles, letters, whatnots... NaNoWriMo forces me to pull myself together, by giving me a frame, without which I would never finish such a big task as writing a novel. Might be that I never write anything anyone wants to read, or publish, but I want to write anyway, I want to write a novel.
Am I to be ashamed of this?
Am I not to write, because I probably won't ever win any literary prizes?
Am I not to write because I like the challenge called NaNoWriMo?
Am I not to write a novel, because I can't manage to write it,
being driven only by my need to write?
I'm sorry, but I refuse to be ashamed for being a spineless bum, for getting excited and inspired by challenges and I refuse to stop writing just because I don't fulfill your expectations. I refuse to "consider another line of business", and, frankly, I am hurt and offended by your attitude, which I think is extremely prejudiced, limited and intolerant.

Frankly, if your only REAL problem with NaNoWriMo is that it reduces your opportunities to entertain yourself by reading people's blogs, I think you should start doing something sensible with YOUR November. Instead of sour-puppying and attacking desk drawer authors, you should set yourself a reading goal for November. Make it a National Novel Reading Month, and try to read 10 prize winning novels.
(BTW, There is NaNoReaMo. It was created 2007, as a copy of an older version. It is August and the challenge is to read as many books as you can, and a book is defined as "any book at least 150 pages in length" - paperback, hardback, ebook, anything. (That's about 40.000 words ;-)) You might need to check things like that before you present your ideas as something new. :-D)

About the difficulty of writing NaNoWriMo: Don't. If it's too hard for you, don't write it. You don't need to.
But, if you want to, you can always write it with two fingers - then your left pinkie never needs to leave the shift button. But it still takes 17 steps. As does InNoWriMo... You still need to hold and let go of shift, you see... You can also just call it NaNo, like so many others. We all know what you mean ;-))
Also, you can put it in... what ever that's called. The possibility to have some words automatically written. Or put it in your memory and glue on place. You don't really need to write it even once. Just copy and glue.
1. mark
2. copy
3. ctrl+v

But to rename it INM just because the existing abbreviation is complicated, is also stupid. INM is already being used: Independent News & Media, Integration New Media, Instituto Nacional de Migración, Institut du Nouveau Monde, Instituto Nacional de la Meteorología, Iraqi National Movement, Institutul Naţional al Magistraturii, International Network Management... NaNoWriMo doesn't mean anything else. It is also funny because it's so quirky and complicated :-D I love the abbreviation, because it is impossible, complicated, funny and unique.
Besides, who the heck would pronounce INM "in me"? Why have "international" in at all? Why not just "Novel Month", NM, [en em]? (Which, btw, means "not much" in internet lingo ;-))

I enjoy "the intensity of trying to write a draft in a month" WITH A LOT OF OTHERS. Of course you could do that on your own, or among your writer friends, but the idea of "competing" with the whole world is nice. I suppose there is something in people that makes them want to come together to do things, like Earth Day, New Year's eve celebrations or bees. It's just more fun the more people there are doing the same thing.

Not all NaNoWriMo participants try to publish their novels.
Some publishers publish crap that has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo isn't responsible for the amount of crap being published in the world.


"The fact that people who want to be writing as their full time job choose to lean upon NaNo in order to 'force' themselves to write is sad"
I disagree with you. I think it's great there is NaNo to lean upon, and what ever makes people to get their story on paper is great.


"I can't say I would enjoy having people read something I threw together in that short time."

"Charles Dickens wrote his literary classic A Christmas Carol in just 2 weeks.
Samuel Johnson wrote Rasselas: Prince of Abyssinia in an amazing 4 days.
Barbara Cartland took only 5 days to write each of her books, resulting in an amazing 623 best-sellers during her lifetime. The hit self-help book Don't Sweat the Small Stuff is still selling in its millions - and was written by Dr Richard Carlson during a 12-hour transatlantic flight.
Even the world's best-selling novelist, Agatha Christie, claimed to have written all her manuscripts in under a month. In a BBC interview, she said: "I find no reason why one month isn't adequate time to write a book"."

It is not so that the more time you use to do something, the better the results. Sometimes one can create masterpieces in very short time, sometimes one destroys the work by editing it too far.

Anonymous said: "Wow, you like to complain."
DustinM said: "Thank you, Anonymous, for your input. First, let me just say that we here at appreciate all feedback. In your case, I can assure that your input will be given the exact amount of thought and attention it deserves."

That is, more than anyone else. :-D I have to say, that's the best comment of them all, this one included :-D Dustin sure likes to complain :-D

Character quirks

"Language is a virus" gives "recommended links" and one of them is "1001 character quirks" - and I am a bit... well... not offended, but irritated, perhaps. Of course everyone should be able to create ebooks and sell them and buy them, if they want, but... 1001 character quirks?
I mean, quirks are... like... me not eating onions, leeks, garlic or anything alike. Me being fascinated by swords. Me wanting to have my bedlinen neatly folded and esthetically beautiful. I suppose I could write 1001 character quirks right now, just thinking about me, my husband, my family and every other person I know well enough to know about their quirks.
Of course, the ebook is not only about quirks, it's more about how to flesh the characters, but... the name puts me off. I suppose it would be a good book, as I like what J.Timothy King has to say, but... uh. What ever.

Anyway, here's some free advice on creating and writing characters:

Holly Lisle: How to Create a Character

How to create a fictional character from scratch
How to create a character for creative writing
Character resources at Fiction Factor
Character creation at MenWithPens

Name that character by Anne Marble
tips for writers at BabyNames
Naming your character by Sharon Hunt
The Secret to Naming Characters by J.Timothy King
Fiction writing: naming your character

Using character sheets in fiction writing
Melanie L. Marten's character sheets for great fiction
"in depth" character sheet - several sheets and questionnaires combined
Creating a character sheet
Character Worksheet part I at Adventures at Children's Publishing, part II and part III

Jennifer Blanchard's Free character tools to help you create your NaNoWriMo Character and even more character tools

J.Timothy King: When to use character quirks
Absolutely lovely and adorable 1001 character quirks in designing a roleplay character at WOTC
Character quirks at NaNoWriMo
The Phobia List
50 character quirks :-)

Aunt Sarah's Handy-Dandy Plotting Recipe

I have found several references to this, but as no-one knows what's on the internet tomorrow, I will post it here:

How to Plot When You Can't
(c) 1997 Sarah Smith

Here's a very simple, mechanical way to develop a plot. You can do this with index cards, if you're not a computer type. If you have a computer, it's a little easier. We'll do it the handmade way here and the computer-literate can look at "Software Solutions." [I don't know if the software suggested still exists or works.]

Start with some book ideas and a stack of index cards. Write down whatever you've got. For example, my initial ideas for a book always include an ending, some neat scenes, and some characters with goals.

Write each on a separate card, one thing per card. For example, "Miriam wants lots of money."

Then go through the cards and think about what cards ought to exist because these cards exist. For example, suppose your climax is going to be "Miriam throws Henry down the well." This card implies that Miriam exists, Henry exists, Miriam has some reason to get rid of Henry (the money?), and there's a well.

Write these down too, each on a separate index card.

Now go through those cards and think about what cards ought to exist because they do.

Cards can be questions: "Why does Miriam want money?" Or admonitions: "Make this interesting, not obvious!" Or scene bits: "Miriam rubs thousand-dollar bills on her skin."

Eventually you have a big stack of cards in no particular order.

Sort through the cards. Decide whether they belong to the beginning of the book, the middle, or the end. Most background and scene-setting happens in the first half, often the first third, of a book, so the card "There's a well" probably belongs in the beginning. So does "Miriam exists." "Miriam throws Henry down the well" probably belongs toward the end.

Some cards don't belong anywhere. They're Leftovers.

Now you have four piles of cards: Beginning, Middle, End, and Leftovers. Put the Leftovers aside for now.

Start with the cards in the "Beginning" pile. Sort them so they begin to tell a story. What's missing? Add that, one item per card. Adding cards may suggest other cards. Add them too, putting them in whatever pile and sequence seem appropriate. You'll end up with some ideas for scenes; you can rubber-band or paper-clip those cards together. You'll probably have a lot of material that doesn't seem to fit anywhere yet, and a lot of questions.

When you think you know what the beginning is about, go through the "Middle" pile. What can you add to the Middle pile that follows on from cards in the Beginning? Add it, one item per card, wherever seems appropriate. What characters disappear from the Middle? Should they disappear from the Beginning pile as well, or will you need them in the End?

Don't discard any cards; put them in the Leftovers.

In the End pile, you'll find more stuff that should have been prepared for in the Beginning and Middle, so you'll have to add cards to the Beginning and Middle or take cards out from the End.

When you're done, go through the Leftovers. Is there anything that you really want in the story, or anything necessary that you've left out? Where could you put it?

Look at the scenes again. Do the scenes flow naturally from each other? What cards--especially clues--could be inserted into scenes toward the beginning of the book, so you can have them available to dig up later?

Keep doing this until the piles of cards begin to look like a natural-born story and most of the cards are clipped together into scenes.

Then put all the index cards into a little box and begin to write the story. When you get stuck, use the index cards to remind you what scene you're supposed to be writing and what it's supposed to do.

That's all, folks.

it's time...

How to survive NaNoWriMo

I know... I still haven't established a writing routine. I have been on it for four years now, and it's still not happening. I'm a... well... something.

Surviving NaNoWriMo

Do romance writers have a more active sex life? Romance readers do...

Survive NaNoWriMo and a Busy Life

Christmas? Oh... I had forgotten all about THAT.


How to survive NaNoWriMo - by preparing for it before November ;-)

Preparing for NaNoWriMo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, 12, 13, 14, 15...

You get the idea. You may not write a word of the actual novel, but you may do everything else - like research, character development, collect writing prompts and inspiring images and other things to beat the Writer's Block, read, watch movies, follow the discussions in buses, read the newspapers, write the synopsis, sketch the storyline, plan the plot,

Try to remember three things.
1) you are writing 50.000 words - the first draft. It is very seldom the draft doesn't need editing. 99% of authors rewrite their draft, most of them do it several times. It is ok to write "I don't know what to write" 9000 times. Stupid, but ok :-D
2) your story doesn't need to be coherent, intelligible, the same it started as or anything. It just needs to be.
3) You can burn the thing in December if you absolutely hate it. The thing with NaNoWriMo is NOT to write a publishable, readable, enjoyable novel, but to write. Get used to the work needed for writing.

Also, you know the book you hate and think you would write better and wish you had written? That is a great idea for NaNoWriMo. Just write Twilight, Da Vinci Code or Outlander the way you wish it was written. :-)

Another interesting link
Short story writing
Some writing exercises

L.S.Russell's Novel in 100 days
Days 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

What's in name by Celise Downs
Mindmapping by Judy Cullins
Procrastination by Suw Charman-Anderson
Creative Burnout by Scott Berkun
How to write a novel, collected information

Language is a virus - writing resources

Friday, September 10, 2010