Uncategorized

How I wrote 12000 “non-crappy” words in one day…

Yes. This. Happened.

Two weeks ago, I wrote 12000 “non-crappy” words in one day. This had never happened before. Anyone who writes knows how mentally exhausting it can be to pour words on the page, to type sentences and immersing yourself in someone else’s head for a long time.

I am somewhat of a fast writer. I can do sprints. I sometimes use the Pom0doro method (you know, working for 25 minutes, then take a break, then work again for 25 minutes…more info here).

The most I had written before in one day was I think about 7000 words.

But 12000 words? And 12000 non-crappy words? That had never happened before.

So, how did I do it?

  • I was on a deadline. Being on a deadline definitely helps stay focused when all you want to do is get up and stop writing. Because you’ve been at it for so long. Because your wrists hurt. Because you feel like everything you write is shit.
  • Those words had been simmering for a while. It took me about 5 months to write and revise LOVE IN B MINOR. I know for some it seems fast. For others, it is long. Everyone has their own rhythm, their own strengths and struggles. This novel is set in Paris, and when the attacks happened in Paris, I had issues getting back to writing about this city I love and not being there. Then, I realized 20000 of the words I had written didn’t work. So, I had to scrap 20 000 words. This gave me a long break I had not planned and during this time, I thought about how I could make my story stronger.
  • My husband helped. A lot. He took care of everything else. He gave me the space I needed, he cooked dinner, he picked up lunch, he cleaned, he went grocery shopping,  he put himself on my schedule so when I took short breaks, we could do things together. He understood I needed this time. Which was really really helpful. I had no other worries on that day than to get the words on paper.
  • I woke up at 4.30 a.m. And wrote all day. (did take a short nap because honestly, writing for that long did take a toll on me). I took short breaks here and there. I made breakfast. We walked the dog. I stood up and walked around.
  • I knew what I was about to write, but I also let my fingers run on the keyboard. Since those words had been simmering for a few months, my very non-detailed outline (really I only did a few sentences per chapter) still helped me in the direction I wanted to go. And I already knew which direction was a dead-end since I had already taken that road. That helped a lot in trusting myself more when I had to slightly amend the loose outline I had created. Especially as I usually don’t use an outline so it was kind of new for me.
  • I had polished the earlier chapters as much as possible. So, when I first warmed up by re-reading the events happening before what I was about to write, I could immerse myself in the story without hearing the little voice in my head nagging me to “correct this, change that…” That was helpful.
  • When I didn’t want to write anymore. When I was tired and cranky. Tracey sent me gifs of puppy. And it worked.

🙂 So here it is. The explanations behind my 12000 words in one day. It wasn’t magic. It wasn’t easy. And it certainly wasn’t something I had actually planned on doing but it worked…


LOVE IN B MINOR comes out on March 15 and is currently available for pre-order at a special price of $0.99 (Amazon around the world. * iTunes * Kobo * B&N)

LOVEINBMINOR

No promises. No fake tomorrows. That was the plan.

New city. New life. At least, that’s what nineteen-year-old Jen believes. On the surface, she’s living her dream: dancing in a prestigious dance company in Paris. But her sister’s death and the mistakes she’s tried to bury haunt her. She’s become a pro at hiding who she truly is, and she definitely doesn’t want a guy to derail her, but a one night-stand she can do. Nothing more. She definitely doesn’t plan to see the sexy stranger who made her laugh for the first time in years ever again.

Girls don’t walk away from Lucas Wills. Bad boy turned rock star, he’s got his share of groupies. Always upfront, he doesn’t promise fake tomorrows because love can destroy everything. Been there, done that. His ex not only lied to him, she stomped on his heart, used him to become famous, and almost ruined him. So, waking up alone after a night beyond his wildest imagination with a girl he just met shouldn’t upset him, shouldn’t inspire one of the saddest songs he’s ever written, shouldn’t make him want to chase after her.

When Jen, the one-night stand who got away, auditions to be a dancer in Lucas’ next music video, they can’t stop their growing attraction. But Jen’s secrets and his ex could shatter the careers they tried so hard to build and their hearts…they will have to decide what’s more important and if love is worth the fight.

Amazon around the world. * iTunes * Kobo * B&N

 

revising, writing

It takes courage…

Browsing Pinterest, I came across this:

                                                                                                                           Source: dawncamp.bigcartel.com via Susan on Pinterest

It made me think at all the time writers need to show courage to be true to their stories…

  • Sometimes it is about writing in a way which scares us a little because we´re not sure we can. It seems too powerful, too out-there, too crazy, too elaborated, simply too much for our ability but we take our chances.
  • Sometimes we reach a place in our writing which is painful but we power through.
  • Sometimes we know we´re breaking the so-called writing rules but we go for it.
  • Sometimes we wonder if we will ever succeed but we keep on writing.
When the writing gets tough, it may just mean we have to overcome our fear, whatever it is. We´re all courageous in our writing one way or another and we should remember it.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. (Mark Twain)

Tell me, what is one scary moment you had to overcome in your writing  journey?

Blogme MAYbe, writing

First loves…

Today I am combining Blogme MAYbe (brainchild of SaraMcClung) with the First Loves Blogfest organized by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Here are the first loves of Natalja…Natalja had a promising career as a ballet dancer until her knee decided to give up on her. Now, she´s back in New Jersey with a broken dream, a broken mother and with no idea who she is without her pointes.

Her first movie crush: She remembers a night of watching dance movies with her friends from the ballet school, laughing so hard her stomach hurt but the very first movie she loved was at a pajama party with Beverley when she was 6 years old: Cinderella from Walt Disney – Since then she has always wanted to dance the part.

Loving music: Chopin. Anything by the man. That´s what her parents used to play on the piano. That´s what she first learned with them when they let her touch the keyboard. She can remember her dad playing this particular piece with her mother waiting for him, all dressed up before a date. A broad smile, the kind she no longer has and he was looking directly at her…Lost times.

A book is more than words on paper: Again, funny how happy memories can resurface so easily if you let them…Her mother reading to her at night, reassuring her that Baba Yaga would not come after her and that Vasilisa the Beautiful was safe.

                                             Source: etsy.com via NoelandNicole on Pinterest

 

 

 

Falling in love for the first time: Natalja gave ballet her heart, her body and her soul...She wonders if she will love someone the same way, with all that passion. She’ll have to wait and see.

 

So tell me, what/who were your first loves? or your character’s first loves?

Blogme MAYbe, writing

The very first blog post – what was yours?

This month (well until my honeymoon :D), I will be participating in Blogme MAYbe. This wonderful idea is the brainchild of SaraMcClung and is a weekly blog format with an easy schedule to follow. For more information and join the fun (you can at any time!), simply click on the banner created by the super-duper-talented Tracey

On Wednesdays, the prompt is: May I ask something about you?

I started blogging less than a year ago (in September)…I wanted to connect somehow and I wanted to practice writing in another setting. However, I wasn´t quite sure at the time what my blog posts would be about. I started thinking I´ll write funny stories about my commuting and I ended up changing along the way, focusing more on my writing/reading and on the little/big events of life. So while I am still “commutinggirl”, I don´t talk a lot about my actual commute. It only pops up from times to times.

My first blog post was entitled: Starting point – The one who likes to sit down but does not want anybody sitting next to her 

What was yours? and when was it? What did you learn along the way?

(I know that´s more than one question but I´m a tad curious)

Blogme MAYbe, Observations, personal, writing

Your significant other is a writer? Don´t panic! 10 rules to follow…

This month (well until my honeymoon :D), I will be participating in Blogme MAYbe. This wonderful idea is the brainchild of SaraMcClung and is a weekly blog format with an easy schedule to follow. For more information and join the fun (you can at any time!), simply click on the banner created by the super-duper-talented Tracey. On Thursdays (yes it is already Thursday on my side of the world), the prompt is: May I tell you something about someone else...

Enter my husband aka The Chemical Engineering. He already wrote a guest post with his review of The Hunger Games and he´s back with wonderful advice 😀

Your significant other is a writer?



Don´t panic! 10 rules to follow…

First I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who commented on my last guest post. I meant to answer to everyone, but I am just a very lazy and inexperienced blogger. So please accept my apologies. Despite my bad blog etiquette my wife let me do another guest blog entry. Thank you!

Today I would like to share the ten ground rules that should not be broken when your significant other is a writer:

1. Don’t criticize the Twitter usage

Even though it might seem like Twitter is taking over all aspects of life, for some reason it seems to be an important tool for all of the writers who like to share short messages about everyday tasks and events.

2. Make sure to read new blog entries

You might not care about monthly book reviews, but you better know if he/she mentioned you in a blog post. I suggest to quickly fly over the post and look for some key words (Ctrl+F). I look for “Hubby” and “Chemical Engineer”.

3. Make educated comments about their WIP

First you needed to figure out what WIP stands for, but that is not the end of it. When reading two (very similar) versions of the same paragraph you better decide which one sounds better. Comments like “They are good” will not be accepted. A literary analysis (like back in the school days) is the least a writer would expect from their significant other.

4. Blogging takes time so just accept it

Blogging entries have to be done at a particular time. Wether it is Road Trip Wednesday or Happy Friday Posts. They are all important and have to be done at the planned time no matter what happens (yes, this article had to be writtenon a Sunday). All comments have to be addressed as well. The 24 hours in a day should be enough time for this.

5. Buying more books is essential

A writer can never have enough books after all they are “research” and will help in refine the writing style. Room for storing the books can be found anywhere even if it means double stacking the books in the book shelf. Next apartment/house will have to have a room just for books.

6. Don’t make fun of the way he/she talks to other writers

It doesn’t matter if it sounds silly and is absolutely not how grown-ups are meant to interact, this is how they tick. After all they are writers and should know much more about communication than anyone else.

7. Learn how to spell correctly

I don’t know how to spell in any of the three languages that I know. I am so happy that some programmer came out with spell check. I don’t know how I would do without it. When I write an e-mail to my wife I really don’t even run spell check. She takes my misspelling almost as an insult and does makes fun of my spelling at any opportunity that she gets (and there are many opportunities).

8. Don’t bore a writer with technical things (at least not my writer)

As a good wife, mine of course asks me about my work day. I know that if I want to keep her attention I only have about 15 seconds to explain anything technical about my work and most importantly I need to keep it simple. That is also true if we talk about anything else technology related. I guess fictional writers (maybe except science-fiction writers and again this only applies to my writer) are just more into interpersonal relationships and stories and can’t be bothered with the little things like science.

9. Try not to argue that characters in a book/film are fictional

In the mind of a writer characters become almost as alive as any other real person. There is no point in explaining that a character that died, didn’t really die, but just acted out a role. It’s like explaining a child that Bambi’s mother wasn’t shot by hunters.

10. Don’t think that your guest entries in the blog are just as good and/or funny as his/hers

This one is pretty straight forward. You are the engineer (or non-writer) and she is the writer; deal with it.

I was able to come up with these rules only because I have broken them many times. I hope you can agree with some of them. I am going to continue and break them from time to time. It is good to remember them in certain situations, like when you annoyed her and can turn to her with a smile “thanks for the mention on the blog today”, but following them all of the time would just be a bit boring and practically impossible.

reading, Road Trip Wednesday, writing

It takes a village to raise a reader or a writer…

Before I get started on today’s RTW, here comes a little blog announcement…

I am thinking of organizing a blog fest the first week of May, where we could all share a typical day from our time in High School and include a little memory, a quote or a song which reminds us of those years. Would you be interested in signing up for something like this? Once I know there is a bit of interest, I’ll make a post with the details and even a button (wow!) Let me know in the comments 😀 It could be fun and inspiring!

Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: Who has helped you on your reading/writing/publishing journey? 

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”  At least, that is what Ernest Hemingway said. The act of writing is usually lonely. We write at our desks or elsewhere. I write in a train but I’m still alone with my thoughts and my muse. However, the process of committing oneself to writing, to aim at becoming a better writer doesn’t have to be lonely. When looking at this prompt, so many names came to my mind, I had to smile.

To all of you reading this: Merci!

gif- thank you Pictures, Images and Photos
To my parents: For reading to me at night before going to sleep, for indulging my love of books by taking me to the bookstore and the library at all ages, for giving me books as gifts, for letting me roam their own books…for understanding my love of the written word. For encouraging my writing without maybe even knowing it and for now letting me know that they believe in me.

To my sisters and brother-in-law: For letting me borrow their books and for reading my first attempts at writing which was not school-related without laughing at me.

To my 4th grade teacher and his wife: For letting me read ahead and for encouraging me to continue turning the pages.

To my French junior high teacher: Especially for my writing, for encouraging me to take risks with school assignments and making me feel like I could do anything.

To my German high school teacher: for opening my reading world to a different language early on, for challenging my critical thinking, for encouraging me…

To my high school friends: For listening to my dreams of becoming a writer and for reading one of my first real attempt at writing a novel. Little did I know it was YA 😀

To my friends (especially you Tonya): the ones who know about my writing and have been encouraging me, not treating me like my dream/goal is insane. Tonya: thanks for being my cheerleader from across the ocean and for pushing me at the beginning to send you more of my WiP 😀

To the authors (from Ancient Greece to now): Thank you for your creativity, your words, your passion, your drive…thank you for giving me the chance to go through so many books and knowing there are so many more out there. Thank you for inspiring me in my writing and for showing me that it can indeed be done.

To the writing community: I receive so much from you ladies and gentlemen from reading your blogs, your forum posts, your tweets and from SCBWI. On reading, hopping from blogs to blogs mean that my TBR explodes with joy on a regular basis and a special shout-out to Jaime and Katy for pointing out books which became favorites of mine. For writing, I get thrilled when others receive great news, I relish in reading about the experience with the craft and I am so grateful to Tarah for reading some of my writing and giving me feedback and to Heather for letting me do it for her.

To my hubby: I probably shouldn’t use any of the nicknames we have for each other on this blog but you know which ones I want to use right now 😀 (no, not that one, NO definitely not that one!…yes that one :D). Thank you for pushing me, for challenging me, for hugging me, for being there, for being my rock! Thank you for listening to my rants, for listening to me swooning other characters and plots. Thank you for letting me dwelve into social media and be patient towards me as I tell you about my tweeps and blogfriends…Thank you for being you. And thanks for agreeing to “listen” to my MS once I’m done polishing it…I love you.

Who helped you along your writing/reading path?

Books, Editing, revising, writing

A “Tada” moment or saying goodbye to my darlings…

My first round of revisions mainly consisted of changing:

  • the tense (I only figured out in Chapter 22 that I needed to write this in present tense – my novel has 25 chapters, oupsie)
  • the first name of my main character (how did I even think of calling her Laura? She´s an Erin through and through!)
  • one subplot of my story…

It was tedious but necessary. However, it wasn´t painful and when I was done, I thought: I´ve done it! I may have some more changes but nothing too too major. Yep, I had not yet realize what revising could really entail.

 
 

William Faulkner said: “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” and Stephen King added: “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings“.

While I accepted this at face value, I didn´t realize what it really meant. I spent two years with that novel already. Scary. While I tried my hand at other stories, it´s the one I always came back to. I rewrote it, I changed some of the subplots along the way but the more I worked on certain parts, the more they became engraved in my heart. Some dialogues, some images, some parts of the story just needed to stay…until I came to a “Tada” realization: my story sucks.

Ok that was dramatic. It doesn´t suck. At all. Actually, it´s pretty great. But the way I was tiptoeing around it, afraid to hurt it had more to do with the fact that I was afraid of hurting my own self-esteem. What I finally saw was how much better my story could become if I actually dared to change it a bit. I am not rewriting the entire thing but I am deleting the first chapter (Tarah´s feedback on it helped with that…I finally saw my story more as a reader than as a writer…), I am changing the curse a bit to make it 1) more dramatic and 2) more coherent. I am adding one or two layers to some of the characters and I am taking the story to another emotional level. It will be a lot of work and it will not be the end of it (since I know more changes will probably come once it´s going through the beta-reading). but it will be worth it.

So, basically, my story with revising has been a bit like this:

 

Source: pinterest.com via Elodie on Pinterest

And even though, I fell on my butt the first time around, the important thing is that I still managed to go back up and transform it into a “Tada” moment 😀

How about you, did you have any “Tada” or “Aha” moments in your writing/revising recently?