Bricks, Seref Yucar

I hit a brick wall

It comes and goes but most of the time I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall. I’m stuck. The story is there but it won’t come out. I try to force it and nothing happens. Write, I say. Just write. Whatever comes out, let it out. Just let the words come out even if they are awful and nonsensical and don’t get me anywhere.

The worst of it is, I know where I want this novel to go. I have it planned out. I have a very loose outline that tells me that, barring any unforeseen character actions, I have 10 scenes left to write at about 1,500 words each. That’s 15,000 words which puts me at my ultimate word count goal of about 75,000 words. I wrote 50,000 words in one month last November and I can’t write 15,000 words right now.

Maybe I’m looking at it too clinically. Maybe I’m being too pragmatic. As I’ve said before, I’ve never been the type of writer to outline. Outlines make me feel claustrophobic, boxed in. Outlines kill my writing. That’s what I did here, I know it. But I thought I had to. I want to finish this book. I thought if I just gave myself a deadline – March 31 according to my day planner – then I’d be able to complete the draft. I need to complete this draft.

I’m tired of feeling stuck. Stuck not only in my writing but in my life. I know that plans don’t ever go the way we anticipate them to, but I guess I thought I’d be published by now. I thought that I’d have an agent and a book deal and a book on the shelves at the local bookstore and library. I’m tired of writing and failing again and again.
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Frosted Leaf, Aaron Burden

Editing: the re-read

The first step with any edit is to re-read everything you’ve already written.

I tend to go through a lot of varying emotions during that initial re-read.

It’s an ominous start because while I remember writing, I always have a feeling that the writing is crap. I don’t know what I’m getting into as I open it up and start on page one. Will this be awful? Will I have to toss it all and start over? Will I be surprised that it isn’t awful? Will I never want to write again?

Going into this re-read, I knew what to expect: the first half of what I wrote in November is really solid. The second half? Not so much. However, I was still surprised at just how solid that first half is. Sure, it’s wordy – I was trying to write 50K words in a month, after all – and slightly repetitive, but you know what? It’s really good. Like, really good. Like, even though I wrote it and knew what was happening, I still felt like it’s a page-turner and felt invested in the characters and the story. In fact, re-reading it is fueling my drive to want to finish it.

During a re-read, I do minor editing. Mostly for my typos and awkward word choices and unnecessary sentences or words. In the first half, I ended up cutting a lot that just didn’t need to be there anymore. However, I didn’t see any major edits that I need to do. I could probably add another scene or two, but I don’t want to add a scene just to up the word count. It needs to make sense and move the story along and right now, I’m not sure what that would be.

Then I got to the second half of what I have written.
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Snowflake, Aaron Burden

New year, new you? Just focus.

I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions. Inevitably I keep none of them. I rarely make it even a few months. Weeks, even, sometimes. Yet every year I still think that maybe, just maybe, this year will be the year I keep all of my resolutions.

Thinking on that, I don’t like the word ‘resolution.’ I prefer the idea of goals. And I don’t think that any goals I make for 2016 will be transformative. They might broaden my reading horizons. They might urge me to finish something or try something new for me. They might anticipate things I already know I’ll slack on. But they won’t change me. I don’t mean to sound negative about all of this though I know it’s coming across that way.

The way I see it, each year brings new opportunities. For me, the opportunities I want to take are those that revolve around things I already like doing or things I want to be doing. For instance, I read a lot and love doing it, so I want to make some goals about my reading list. Or goals with cooking or writing, things I already do and love. Another example is exercise. I hate exercising. In New York City, it was so easy because I walked everywhere and up and down steps every day. Now, I’m being a bit hypocritical to my own opinions here because I have actually added an exercise goal to my 2016 list, but it’s one I already know I’ll fail. On the other hand, I know I won’t fail my reading and writing and cooking goals.
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Sunset, Adrianna Calvo

NaNoWriMo: Week Four

Day twenty-two

Word count: 1,255

Went back to Artie’s POV for a little while and still feel like I’m repeating myself. That’s really what’s happening in my journey to 50K – repetition. Of one thing I’m certain: Artie’s voice comes a lot more easily to me than Penelope’s. This is one of the things I was afraid of when I decided to do a dual-POV novel. However, I don’t think it can be told the same way if I just stuck with Artie’s voice.

Day twenty-three

Word count: 1,023

I’m starting to regret attempting a time travel novel. This is HARD. I keep wondering if I need to explain better how time travel works or if I’m already over-explaining it. Or if I need to talk about it at all. I guess I never really stopped and considered what it would mean to write a time travel novel. I also have no idea where to go next. That’s no surprise but it is frustrating.
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Fall Leaves, Luis Llerena

NaNoWriMo: Week Three

Day fifteen

Word count: 2,144

Today I started the second POV in my dual POV novel. I’m a little nervous about being this far in before the POV switches, but it makes sense. Once I got to this point, it was natural to switch over, and thankfully I found Penelope’s voice just as easy as Artie’s. I’m worried, however, that they sound too similar. Hopefully this is something I can fix in my revisions.

I am doing something different with my POVs, too. With Artie, his narration is in present tense because it’s his present. With Penelope’s, forty years earlier, her narration is past tense. It’s not easy jumping from present to past and back again, but I really like this choice I’ve made. Hopefully it works too.

Day sixteen

Word count: 1,464

Everything about this is bad.

That’s the point I’m at today. The writing is bad. The story is bad. The word count is bad. I don’t want to do this. Why did I decide to do this? I want to give up. The revision necessary to make this even just good is already overwhelming me and I’m nowhere near that point. Ugh.
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