January 30, 2012

Why I'm a Plotter

Writing confession: I used to be a pantser.

This worked fine for short stories and drabbles. But for longer, chaptered stories, this resulted in meandering scenes, vague plots, and then surprise twists that weren't properly foreshadowed at the end. Pantsing works for a lot of writers, but it clearly wasn't working for me. I turned to outlining.

My first original manuscript (I wrote a couple novel-length fanfics) was a partial pants job because I wrote it for NaNoWriMo and my outlines had yet to reach any sort of coherent structure. I had only outlined part of the book, and I didn't actually know how it would end. To make my daily word count, I wrote down whatever struck me, and once I passed the 50k mark, I was so burned out that I just stopped even though the book was far from finished and I still had a week left in November.

It took me months to continue writing it (thanks to Tithe), and over a year to fix the mess I'd made. I had even skipped an entire plot point that I hadn't known how to resolve and left a note reminding me to come back and fill it in. *facepalm*

Learning to outline.

My second manuscript, in comparison, was meticulously outlined. I prepared by thoroughly world-building, completing simple character sheets (I'll cover character sheets in a future post), and writing a structured outline broken down into acts and scenes. As a result, I completed my first draft in four weeks.

Why outline?

• There's less chance of running into a plot hole b/c you'll hopefully have sorted those out BEFORE starting to write. Being able to look at the plot and story events as a whole works wonders for spotting inconsistencies and plot holes.

• There's also less chance of hitting writer's block. Having an outline means you know exactly what needs to happen and how to get there, so you can power on.

• Being able to look at the story as a whole can also help you spot issues with pacing. You can easily see the scenes that might sag and quickly make changes in order to avoid massive rewrites later on.

Stay flexible!

Being a plotter doesn't mean I stick rigidly to my outline. There can and WILL be surprises along the way. There were moments while writing my second manuscript when a new scene naturally developed that hadn't been in my outline, and I went with it. There were also moments when a plot idea struck me, and I made adjustments accordingly.

The purpose of an outline is to be your map. Some writers like to set out into the writing wild and find their way as they go. Some work well with only a compass to point them in the right direction. I like to have a clearly plotted route, with each stop marked along the way.

But that doesn't mean I can't take detours or change my final destination :)

Today's art: Rokudo Mukuro (I've been feeling nostalgic)

Have a great week! ♥

January 25, 2012

Comments Systems and a Pitch Contest

When I started this blog a year ago, I wanted the ability to reply to comments so I installed the IntenseDebate comments system to replace blogger's. Now, blogger has finally (finally!) added the ability to reply to comments, and I want to be able to take advantage of that feature.

Unfortunately, ID doesn't seem to have the ability to migrate comments to blogger. Their blogger exporter is disabled for reasons both vague and annoying. Disqus appears to have this ability, though, and I wish I'd known this before choosing ID over Disqus. That's what I get for not doing my research.

*shakes fist at ID* This annoys me so much, I want to remove ID just to rebel against their restrictions. But uninstalling means losing all your comments. So no can do.

On the bright side, using ID means my entry pages, once loaded, don't automatically jump down to the comments. Ever since the reply function was added, when I'm on anyone else's blog who isn't using an independent comment system, the page loads and then automatically jumps down to the comment box (only if they have the 'embedded' option set up, which enables replies).

Ctrl+home gets me back to the top quickly so I can actually read the blog, but it's getting intensely annoying.

Please to fix, blogger.


Pitch Contest

In other, more important news, there's a pitch contest going on at YAtopia.

Eight editors from Entangled Publishing are taking 2-line pitches + first 200 words for novels of any length, in any genre, for any age group - as long as romance is central to the story.

Yeah. GET ON THAT! ♥

Today's art: Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, from Okami!

January 23, 2012

Writing and Querying Resources

Happy Monday! I've already contacted the winner of the Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway, but I realized I should probably announce it as well so people aren't left wondering. The winner is Meradeth. Congrats!

On to today's post! If you're either looking for critique partners or preparing to query, here are a couple resources.


"Ladies Who Critique is a critique partner matching site for writers of all levels – published, unpublished, aspiring, hobbyists, even closet writers or complete newbies!

Think of it like a dating website, but ‘The One’ is your perfect critique partner. You can find 'The One' by searching for members based on the genre they write, their writing and critiquing experience, interests and more. Ladies Who Critique is completely free – and always will be!"

eta: "Men are totally welcome. We have a handful of guys using the site already. I know the name suggests otherwise, but actually the more the merrier! Come on over my friend!" ~Laura (site founder)

Resource Roundup – Querying Your Masterpiece

This post by bluestocking is a great collection of info and links covering everything from whether you're ready to query up through getting The Call. (my crit partner is awesome)

Today's art - Inuyasha in the rain:

Have a great week, guys!

January 20, 2012

2012 is a Good Year for Films

Tons of movies I'm looking forward to this year! In no particular order:

The Hunger Games

The Hobbit

The Avengers

The Dark Knight Rises

Snow White and the Huntsman

Jack the Giant Killer

Rurouni Kenshin

John Carter

And this one isn't a film, but I'm still SUPER stoked about it :D

Legend of Korra

What are you looking forward to? ♥

January 16, 2012

On John Green and My Laziness

So I've been wanting to write a blog post about how much I love John Green (in a platonic, non-stalkerish OMG I LOVE YOUR BOOKS AND YOU ARE AWESOME TOO sort of way) for a while now. As in, ever since I first started this blog. But I just didn't know how to capture in words my nerdfighter love for nearly everything the man either puts to paper and/or speaks in a slightly alarming but impressively rapid tone of voice ("nearly" only b/c I am still incensed that his 'Ball of Suck' contained UNICORNS!!!).

But then I came across this post about Five Reasons Why John Green Should Rule The World, which pretty much says everything I would have wanted to say, and it also included video evidence of John Green's awesomeness, which was also something I wanted to do. So, naturally, instead of writing my own post, I'm just going to direct you guys there.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT THE FIRST TWO TIMES: Five Reasons Why John Green Should Rule The World by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-turner

And if, for some reason, you haven't yet gotten The Fault in Our Stars, why not?!


January 14, 2012

Saturday Savvy Sensation + Pitch Slam Weekend at YALITCHAT.org

Today, I'm being featured on Laura Barnes' Saturday Savvy Sensation, in which I talk about my dubious platform-building knowledge (which pretty much translates into 'I pretend to know what I'm talking about').

Come say hi? ♥

Also, there's an Agent/Editor Pitch Slam going on this weekend at YALITCHAT.org. Two agents and one editor are taking 4-5 line pitches for completed YA novels. You must be a member of YALITCHAT.org to enter, but website registration is free :)

Have a great weekend, all!

January 11, 2012

2011 Numbers, 2012 Books to Look Forward to, and a Pitch Contest

2011 Numbers

I read 36 books in 2011, excluding about a dozen manuscripts from CPs and beta exchanges. Not a bad number, but not that great either. It's about one book every 1.5 weeks. I'd like to do better in 2012.

In 2011, I also wrote about 110,000 words. A good number, but nowhere near what other writers would be able to boast =P Since I want to write two novels this year, I'm hoping to beat this number!

2012 Books to Look Forward to

Some books I'm particularly excited about in 2012. Many don't have covers yet, so they weren't included in this, and there are many more I simply haven't read about yet. I'm positive this list will grow as the year progresses =P

What other books should be on this list?

Pitch Contest

There's a pitch contest going on RIGHT NOW at Jami Gold's blog for stories between 10k and 60k words, judged by six (6!) editors at Entangled Publishing.

So if you've got a short story, novella, or novel that fits the word count and the guidelines (see the post for what each editor is looking for), then what are you waiting for? Go make your pitch!

Have a great rest of the week! ♥

January 9, 2012

Dear Wonderful World

Yesterday, I came across this beautiful mini-comic by a Hwei, an amazingly talented artist I've been following for a couple years now. I didn't know what to expect when I started reading it. All I knew was that I loved her work and that this would definitely be worth reading.

Boy was it worth reading.

It is a story about a gently depressed bartender who makes a wish and then thinks about it (instead of the other way around as is generally recommended)

Dear Wonderful World

♥ Read the rest HERE. ♥ (I promise it ends well)

Have a wonderful week!

January 2, 2012

2012 Goals and a Brief 2011 Review

I'm terrible at keeping resolutions so I generally give myself one goal to strive for. In 2011, it was to get an agent.

This year, I'm keeping it simple. My goal is to write two novels. I'm already world building the first. Whether or not I write the second book will depend on a number of things. But if not that one, then I'm sure I'll be able to find something else.

The things in 2011 that I'm MOST proud of:

♥ Starting a new blog. I already had a blog over on LJ, but I wanted one a) clearly separate from fandom and b) on blogger where the majority of the aspiring writers community seemed to be. It was scary and I had no idea what to blog about, but I don't regret it at all.

♥ Trial and error with a couple critique partners until I found Bluestocking, Mindee found me, and Anna and I sort of found each other :) I am so, SO lucky to have these ladies on my side.

♥ Sold a short story and a novella to two epublishers (under a pen name).

Signed with an agent o_o Same agent as my CP Mindee. We think it must be fate :)

♥ I never gave up. Despite the oftentimes crushing disappointment and the perpetual self-doubt, I knew that the most important thing was to not give up. Pick yourself up and push on, push on, push on.

Here's to 2012

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