Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The 4-Part Writing Special // Questions on Writing

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So here we are at last - the final set of questions!  Hope y'all have been enjoying getting to know Words of Gold (and everyone else's WIPs).  And I have no pics for today - sorry!

What do you do to get yourself in the story?

Usually I just start writing.  After a few sentences, I'm deep in the world and the MC, loving every word.  If I just don't feel like writing, I'll re-read some previous chapters to remind myself why I'm writing this book. 

Do you do anything extra - art, covers, character journals, glossaries, playlists, etc. to help you with your story?

I can't draw to save my life, so I mostly just stick to looking for pictures on Pinterest.  I have a Betrayal and Bravery playlist with music that fits the mood (as well as songs that I can imagine the characters singing/playing).  I do character journals (of a sort) as my pre-drafting process, and also make a list of all the characters, animals, and places (so I can keep things organized).  Sometimes, when I'm in an applicable situation in life, I might pretend to be a character.

*eyes Sarah and Evangeline*  So that's why you might occasionally see me mumble while tacking up a horse....

What is your writing process?

Step One:  Get amazing idea.
Step Two:  Write it amazingly.
Step Three:  Publishing with amazing company.
Step Four:  Get amazingly rich.

Read and learn, people.

Ha ha, nope.

Actually, I usually get an idea.  Maybe a character, or a brief plot.  I don't start writing a new story, but rather, I save the plot and just add to it.  Maybe a month or so later, I've got characters, a full plot (more or less), and a brief synopsis.

Once I have decided how the story will go (via a synopsis; I can't work with outlines), I bang out the first draft.  This usually takes me a month to two months (most of it during one month, then just finishing the last few chapters during the second month).

Then begins the process of editing.  I usually do a read-through and take notes.  Add new and remove un-needed scenes.  Edit all remaining scenes as required.  Send to fellow Pennites for feedback.  Make changes after receiving said feedback.

And then repeat as many times as needed until all the scenes are what I want.  Then I go on to editing grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc.

There you have it!

Anything you learned about yourself or your writing that you would like to share?

I've found that I need a balance between planning things and winging things.  I would much prefer to wing it, but if I do, the story usually ends up not being done very well (rabbit trails all over...).  If I plan every detail, I get a different but also unpleasant result (the story is short and terse).

Finding a balance of just enough preperation so that I can successfully wing (more or less) my writing is necessary (and possible).

(Not to mention I can apply this to anything in my life - work, running, cleaning, etc. to complete said things.)

What keeps you going when you start to worry you’ll never finish?

I remind myself that I don't have a set-in-stone deadline.  If the story isn't turning out so great, I can ditch and start another, or I can re-plot and make changes so that it can continue. 

If life is busy, I just remind myself that little bits at a time can add up.  Or I can just take a break and return when theres more time.

As long as I keep pushing forward, bit by bit, I will finish.

(I will add that I don't often feel that way - just my personality...)

What inspired you to start writing, and how long have you been at it?

I like to think that I've always been a writer, and my family and friends just continued me along this path. 
My dad always told the best bed-time stories, and my parents taught me to read at three years old. 
Growing up, my sister and I would always play stories with our toys - there was always a bad guy who needed to be defeated. 
I devoured every book I could get my hands on. 
Sarah and I wrote stories together on hand-made books. 
Every personal notebook I had contained story attempts. 
I was always looking for new books to read, and not always able to read something new. 
When I got my first laptop, I immediately started writing with it, and never looked back. 
So I don't know when I exactly started. 

What author is your writing style similar to?

Honestly, I have no idea.  My style tends to differ depending on each story.
What writing goals do you set, and how do you reward yourself for meeting them?

I set monthly goals, in more of a "get as much as you can done with this book in this time, be it first drafting, editing, or plotting."  Sometimes I'll do word count goals (when applicable), but that's about it.

I reward myself by...being happy with my progress.  Maybe a day or two off to just read or do other things.  But nothing fancy, like a trip to get ice cream or a movie binge.

What does a regular writing day look like for you?

I don't write in the mornings, but I try to get in 10-15 minutes during lunch break on weekdays.  This is usually my blog post writing time. 

My WIP writing time is in the evenings, between family devotions and bedtime.  That can be between 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the events of the day and what must be done that evening. 

How many ideas do you currently have saved on your computer/flash drive?

Oy!  So most of my ideas get their own folders, and then I have separate folders dedicated to shorter, less-fleshed-out ideas,

So these are the folders on my flash drive...

sci-fi novel
(half-finished draft with Evangeline and some friends)

Betrayal and Bravery
fantasy trilogy
(current WIP)

Char ne Rayft
fantasy trilogy sets
(history series for the world in Heritage of Kings; some finished and unfinished drafts, only outlines for others)

Heritage of Kings
fantasy series
(co-writing with Evangeline, some books are in edits, some in drafting, some outlining)

No Suit Left Behind
superhero/spy novel
(co-wrote with Evangeline, completed draft)

fantasy novel
(first draft, in editing)

Song of Stones
Tolkien fanfiction
(don't will never see the light of day)

Stars of Darkness
futuristic trilogy
(two finished drafts, third one slightly outlined)

Strength of Swords
fantasy/sci-fi novel
(working on turning ideas and characters into a plot)

A super special story that I will be talking about next week
(whoop de doo!)

Flash Fiction
A bunch of blog post ideas/written drafts

A folder with a few old RPGs
that I may turn into actual stories someday (if my friends don't mind)

A number of half-started stories
that may someday get better plots/characters so I can try again
A note on my phone with 7 different story ideas I'm fleshing out
So yes, lots of ideas!  I can't wait until they are all written and printed.  :)
That wraps up the 4-Part Special!!!!!!  Thanks so much for sticking with me through this journey, and thanks to everyone who took part in it!  I hope you enjoyed sharing information about your WIPs and learning about some awesome up-coming stories!

Links will be provided, as usual....

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The next 4-Part Special will be in February.  Please sign up if you're interested!  Not only do you get to answer questions about your WIP, you get to help decide what the questions will be!!  (And that's half the fun!)

I will be blogging over NaNo...once I figure out what to post about...


  1. The writing process is #Relatable. I will get amazingly rich too. XD

    1. Yes. We all will publish our books, get rich, and move to a private island for writers where we can all write together and be as nonsocial as we wish. :)

  2. GAH. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who pretends to be characters!!! It's a rather bad habit, especially now that I'm supposed to be an adult. *scowls*.

    I loved reading about your stories ideas, and I greatly enjoyed this series!


    1. It's a great way to get to know a character!! But I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Nice post, JD. I think your writing style is similar to Shannon Hale.

  4. Oh the days of handwriting stories while giggling with each other. Sometimes I miss those days, but I guess we still have similar situations. They just happen to involve more fangirling than giggling.

    1. I think it involves more evil laughs that giggling, but that's just me. :) And muffled gleeful chortles when we're in public.

  5. Oooh, lots of intriguing ideas right there. ;)

    And THANK YOU, Julian, for this WIP special - I've had sooooooo much fun!!!! :D I can't wait for the next in February!

    1. I wish I could snap my fingers and have all those ideas written and polished!! I'm so glad you had fun with this special!

  6. I sometimes slip into my characters while doing something, too! It usually lasts a few minutes [of sassy internal dialogue] before I realise I've been making faces and bobbling my head. (And Sister 1 is just sitting and watching me. Smirking. And then asks who I was arguing with.)

    Maybe I need to try your style of plotting! because your description of what happens when you don't plot/completely plot sound just like me.

    Thank you for arranging the Special, Julian - it's given me an opportunity to talk about my WIP, as well as pointing out a few things to think about before NaNo. :)
    - Jem Jones

    1. I'm glad this special worked out for ya, Jem! Thanks for battling time zones and taking part of this!

      (And I would suggest trying out my way. It may work for you!)

      Lol! At least I'm not the only one!

  7. Wow, you have many cool-sounding ideas!!! :D

    Thanks so much for hosting this; I've enjoyed reading everyone's answers and seeing the community it's created. <3 I might have to join in the next one!

    1. I'd be glad to have you join! It's been lots of fun, and getting to see everyone answer the same questions you did was great!

  8. This was awesome! I'm sad to see this over, but thank you so much for organizing it and letting me take part!

  9. Enjoyed getting to know you better, Helena. Particularly the part about you've loved stories ever since you can remember and your transition from reader to writer. I think all good writers start out as readers. I'm impressed how much writing you squeeze in on lunch breaks and the evening. Thanks for hosting this series!