FOCUS and Our Lives In Story Structure

time dreamingAs I prepare the material for this evening’s writers’ meeting, my mind drifts back in time to an event I can’t relive, can’t change. It was decades ago. I’m no magician. I can’t go back and undo the past; I can only live with the results.

Then I jerk my mind back to focus on the task at hand: preparing notes for the meeting.

We will be discussing the 2nd part of Act II tonight and the Hero’s journey. I’m going over an email a member sent sharing her ideas on this. She writes, “We either go with the flow, give up and be miserable, or we take the risk and go on a journey no matter what we leave behind.”

And my mind wanders to the past again, thinking about my life and comparing it to the Hero’s journey, to the structure of a story. I went with the flow and gave up. I know where that led.

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Why Do I Write?

Why I writeI’ve been asked many questions over the decades concerning writing, but one that often stands out is: Why do you write?

I’ve answered this with a question of my own: why do you fish, why do you build houses, why do you do what you do? The obvious reason is because I want to.

Telling others why I loved fishing was easier than explaining why I loved to write. I mean, to many, writing was school work, which they were thankfully graduated from and wouldn’t have to do again.

Lately, I get this question with an add on: Why do write so much?

Ten years ago, I couldn’t answer this question nor the simple one (why do you write) as accurately as I can at this moment. It’s not that I’ve thought about it any more; the answer simply comes to me when I’m asked.

Why do I write like a mad woman?

The Short Answer

I have stories that need to be told before I die, and I want to live where I love.

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What I learned about writing two novels at the same time.

NaNoWriMoFor NaNoWriMo 2018, I wrote two novels at the same time: Revelation Stones and Beyond the Myst. I didn’t plan it that way. My goal was to complete the first novel. The second one started as a homework assignment from my writers’ group.

I focussed on the book I wanted to complete first, writing a minimum of 2,000 words a day for it. I wrote 1,500 words a day for Beyond the Myst.

To keep the stories separated in my mind, I wrote Beyond the Myst in the morning between 5:30 am and 7:20 am. If I didn’t reach my goal, I spent a few minutes after the morning chores to complete it. I wrote Revelation Stones from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Often I finished early, so I was in bed by nine o’clock. I get up at 4:35 am, so I need to go to bed early.

Before each writing session, I’d envision the scene I was about to write. This put me in the mood to write and provided details I might not have considered. I run scenes in my head like movies, so I get a clear idea of what I want. The scene is basically written before I sit down to the computer. I just record what happened.

I’ve never tried to write two full novels at once. I have written a short story while writing a novel, but usually I’d write the short story in a few days, then return to the novel writing. This whole experience of writing two in one day was completely new to me. Here’s what I have learned listed under the benefits and the drawbacks.

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My 2018 NaNoWriMo Experience – Why Was I Successful

NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo 2018 has been extremely successful for me. My record for words written in a month stood at 60,000. In November, I shattered that and wrote 143,770 words. That’s an entire fantasy novel. I’m thrilled, shocked and every other word that means unbelievably amazed. I never knew I could do it. There are two reasons for that:

  1. I’ve never done it before.
  2. Others said it couldn’t be done.

So, how did I do it? I’m not exactly sure, but here’s what I think I did right.

The Writing Stage

The stars aligned in 2018 and after completing several assignments and miscellaneous projects, I was left in the middle of October to complete the draft for Revelation Stones, the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series. I had also started a small assignment from my writers’ group, one I thought would be a short story. However, it turned out to be a full-blown novel, one that ties in to the Castle Keepers series. I predict it will be 100,000 words. I called it Beyond the Myst.

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NaNoMoWri is Fast Approaching

Here we write again. NOVELmber is almost here, which means thousands—maybe millions—of writers across the world will challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Are you onboard? Are you up for the challenge?

The last time I participated was in 2015. Since then, my schedule hadn’t aligned with the challenge but this year, it does. I’m working towards finishing the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones. As of last night, it was 43,334 words complete. I have about another 90,000 to go.

I’m also writing Project M, which is turning out to be a full fantasy novel, not the short story I expected. I’m debating on where it will fit in with the Castle Keepers series. Technically, it is book 4, but I’m leaning towards it being the first book in another series. It intertwines with The Land of Ath-o’Lea but can lead to additional stories not related. Time will reveal its purpose. So far, 10,183 words have been written.

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Filter Words – Who Knew? Not Me

A week ago, I stumbled onto a YouTube video discussing filter words. Never hearing this term before, I watched, listened and learned…and discovered I was guilty of using filter words.

What are Filter Words

Although I’m relatively new to the idea, my understanding is: words that create distance between the reader and the detail the character is seeing, hearing, tasting or feeling.

In other words, we are not using one of our senses to digest the story, rather instead, we are being told through one of the character’s senses.

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Two Vital Questions to Ask Yourself About Writing

Thought for the dayWe are all looking for our path to success, but our paths are drastically different. We all don’t get to success the same way, and we don’t all identify success in the same manner.

In my years of reading about marketing and writing, the same questions pop up, and by answering these two questions, it makes us better able to plan our writing careers. In fact, the answers to these two questions are vital in making important decisions in our publishing journeys.

Last week, I posed these two questions to members in my writers’ group. They have a month to think over the answers, but I’ve been thinking about my answers for much longer.

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