Writing poetry can be an intensely, deeply personal experience. For those of you that have been around the blog for a while, you probably know that there was a time where I had some of my poetry and writing posted here. Well, someone from irl found my blog and i took it all down because it freaked me out. I mean, I was on the verge of deleting this blog completely and then i realized how absolutely ridiculous that would have been and i changed my mind. But basically, that experience (and specifically the way it made me think about my poetry) has inspired me to write this post.
It’s November!!! The leaves are finally changing color, it’s getting COLD (which I didn’t think I would ever enjoy, but the warm October made me actually miss it), the holidays are almost upon us, and generally everything is amazing. Plus– it means that it’s time for NaNoWriMo!!
For those of you that don’t know, NaNo is National Novel Writing Month. Basically, it means that a whole bunch of people try to write an entire novel (50,000 words) over the course of a single month, with varying degrees of success and failure. If you’re interested in joining or just want to learn more, click here (yes I casually directed you to my profile, add me as a friend while you’re at it) I tried to do NaNo last year and failed miserably, both because of a lack of time and because I hadn’t planned anything out in advance. This year, I’m taking a very different approach to “novel” writing.
I’m super excited about today’s post, because it’s written by Savannah over at The Book Prophet! I absolutely adore her blog, because it’s so full of great reviews and posts and literally everything. Plus, she’s great to talk to! So if you’re looking for an awesome new blog to follow, head over and check her out. Starting to write a book is SO FREAKIN HARD and so Savannah’s post will surely come in handy for lots of us bloggers who want to take the next step to becoming a writer. Make sure you let her know how much you appreciate the help by commenting!
How to Start Writing a Book
Hello everyone! My name is Savannah and I blog over at The Book Prophet. Joce gave me this great opportunity to write a post on her blog and I decided that I would talk to y’all about the fundamentals of writing a book.
Besides being an avid reader myself, I am also a writer, as many of you probably are as well. Reading and writing kind of go hand-in-hand. If you like reading books, there’s a big chance you love writing them as well! Only, reading a book and writing a book are two very different things.
When you read a book, you’re being carried away to another land, while when you write a book you’re the one to carry people away.
Sounds more difficult, right?
Well, it is.
I’m here to give you that extra push to start writing the book you’ve been imagining in your head since the beginning of time. You might not know where to start, you might be too afraid, or you just might think you can’t do it.
I mean, those are all valid excuses, but they’re stupid excuses too.
I’m here to remedy those doubts because I used to have those doubts.
TBH I still do.
Side note: There’s no particular order to do these steps in.
Choose your project
All projects start with an idea. Once you have an idea, then you can expand that idea and start thinking about what characters would fit into that idea, create a structure for your story, a world, etc.
You might also be wondering how you know if the idea you have is THE idea. Well, little grasshopper, when you find the right project to start you get a tingly feeling in your stomach and you can’t stop thinking about your characters and story!
With the book I’m currently writing, I am always thinking about how my characters would feel in a certain situation, plot points to add or delete, etc. These characters and the story I want to tell is flowing through my veins and when you’re passionate about something, you will write it.
Create your characters
Creating characters that are unique and three dimensional is so hard! Besides world building, creating characters has to be one of the most difficult parts of writing. What helped me create my characters is by filling out a character form (http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/jun98/how-to-create-a-character-profile-6986).
Filling out all the entire form forced me to learn about my characters from every angle and point of view possible. You never know when you’ll need to tap into your character’s past or delve into their passions and emotions!
These forms not only help you learn about your character, but it also helps remind you of who your character is. I think we all sometimes forget vital aspects to our characters. I for some reason can’t ever remember their birthdays.
Create your setting
Whether your book takes place in a fictional world or a real-life location, you have to have a mental picture of what that world looks like. When you already know what it looks like – and even smells like – then when you get around to describing it in your book, you’ll be both consistent and less stressed.
Having a world where your characters live and thrive and die in is something that’s way more important than you’d think. Depending on where your character lives can change aspects of your character.
For example, if your character lives on a pirate ship they’ll probably know how to fight and will automatically know how to swim! And life on a pirate ship would make anybody kick butt with a sword.
Outline your plot
Outlining isn’t necessary, but it helps a lot once you actually start writing your book. If you don’t have an outline it can feel like you’re walking through a desert with no map or any direction to – anywhere, really. I’ve only outlined one of my books and it’s the book I’ve had the least trouble writing AND the most fun writing! Although outlining isn’t necessary – I’ve heard loads of successful, published authors don’t outline – it does help you from getting writer’s block and from feeling lost in your own book.
I hope this post helped you figure out how to start writing your book! Now go and let the words flow because there’s no better time than today.
Or tomorrow, if you’re a procrastinator like me.
Did you adore Savannah’s post? Wasn’t it GREAT advice for starting your book? What’s your current WIP? Are you a procrastinator too? Do you love Savannah as much as I do?
It’s taken me a long time to think clearly enough to write this post, or to even think that I wanted to, so sorry for being so late to the party. That being said, I tried my very best…
For those of you who don’t know, I chose this year to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, and in the beginning, I could not be more excited.
In the beginning, my word count was set to 50,000– I don’t know why I would ever do that to myself. It was obviously a far reach goal, considering in the past 3 combined months I’d written 16,000. So, about 3 days in, I lowered my goal to 30,000 which is far more reasonable and also proving slightly unattainable. I wrote for at least a few minutes every day for the first 2 weeks, but then April break happened and it was alal down hill from there.
Plus, my blog posts have become super rushed in the past month. It’s super hard to write high quality posts 3x a week (so about 3,000 words a week) when you need to write 7,000 additional words on a story. 10,000 words is wayyyyyy too much for me to handle. The fact that I had to lower my word goal is proof of that.
Before I go any further, I need to take a second to say that I LOVE MY CABIN!! I joined one with a lot of other teenagers, and so we all have a ton in common while simultaneously living on complete opposite sides of the world with totally different life experiences. It’s given be a great perspective on everything, and I spend far too much time procrastinating with them. I love it.
I ended up reaching about 10,000 words, which isn’t terrible, since that was a good kick start on my story and so now I have quite a few chapters down. Plus, I managed to outline a whole shit ton of it, which is more than I’ve ever done for anything ever, so props to me for accomplishing my primary goal in life.
One problem that I did come across is that I kept changing the way people looked and so it’s going to be a bitch to go back and edit. I’m trying to ignore that semi large problem and just keep pushing forward.
Anyways, I know a lot of people were really successful at Camp NaNo, but writing on any sort of timeline just isn’t for me. I’m very slow and just kind of need to be suddenly inspired to even sort of start moving in the right direction.
But, regardless of how I did, I’m really want to finish this story eventually and I think camp helped me get closer to that goal.
Did you win Camp NaNo? Do you outline your stories? Do you think I’m an absolute disaster and want the chance to yell at me? Go ahead!
BEFORE WE START: JUST A REMINDER THAT YOU ONLY HAVE UNTIL THE END OF APRIL TO SUBMIT YOUR BOOK BLOGGER AWARD NOMINATIONS. READ THE RULES HERE! I would appreciate it if everyone could spread the word
For those of you that don’t remember, I had the pleasure of first having Adrian Burrows on the blog a few months ago, when he wrote a really helpful, slightly comical post about how he became a writer. He also happens to be the author of Escapades in Bizzarchaeology, which you can find out more about in that post. But today, we have something a little different and really, really, cool. A short story that he wrote and wants to share with all of us on my blog!!! I LOVED this when I read it, and it’s had me thinking for a long time, so let’s get to it. (ps. I have a question for you all at the end, and Adrian wants to know the answer too, so get ready 🙂 )
Bishop Rutherford raised a bushy eyebrow at the verbal indiscretion, the gentle, swirling sweeps of his quill coming to a brutal and sudden stop upon the parchment laid in front of him.
‘I’m fucked’ reasserted the old man, spluttering the words from beneath beer splattered beard.
Rutherford gently eased the turkey feather into the ink pot at his desk and crossed his gnarled fingers in front of him. When he spoke, it was of the calm demeanour of a man who has seen far too much and understood too little.
‘To be fucked once could be seen as an accident, to be fucked twice? One would have to see that as intentional’.
The old man looked confused, at least Rutherford assumed that the expression was one of consternation. It was rather hard to tell, the saggy skin of the old man’s face seemed to simply crumple like paper into an undiscernible mess. Rutherford thought it best the old man sat down, and gestured with ringed fingers to the chair.
‘I’ve found the right person?’ questioned the old man as he creaked his limbs onto the wooden seat.
‘That rather depends’ intoned Rutherford ‘on what you mean by the right person?’
‘You’re the bishop, who offers’; at this the old man spoke in wheezing whisper, as if afeared that the shadows of the room hid away prying ears, ‘hell insurance?’
Rutherford’s eyes widened slightly, though the old man was not aware of this, for the dark deep bags surrounding them, hid any expression.
‘That is not a service I have been called upon in quite some time, the nature of your fucking must be severe indeed for you to require such a thing.’
‘I’ve been told’ the old man continued ‘that you can stop me from going to hell, that you can make sure I avoid that fate?’
The old man peered at the Bishop, wetness forming from the mess of his milky white eyes.
‘Is it true? Can you do it? Can you guarantee God’s forgiveness?’
Rutherford nodded, the fatty bulge of his neck folding into itself.
‘And if not God’s forgiveness, I can guarantee the Devil’s ignorance. For a fee.’
‘Anything’ the old man spat with desperation, ‘anything’.
‘This is not a fee that a man would like to pay. Are you certain?’
The old man reached forwards, grasping at the warped wood of the desk, ‘Yes. Please God yes.’
‘Very well’ Rutherford eased his bulk from his leather chair, and with a sweep of fine flowing robes, moved to the corner of the room. From a compartment, hidden from the old man’s eyes by the weakness of the pale candlelight, Rutherford retrieved an aged parchment and unfurled it upon the desk. He pointed with a stubby finger at the small and plentiful writing upon it.
‘A straightforward enough piece of legislation. And by the grace of God invested in me, capable of sparing you from an eternal fate of hell and fire.’
The old man grasped for the parchment but Rutherford swiftly swatted his hand away.
‘Can you write?’ asked Rutherford. It was a rarity for any of his clients to be able to do so, but he liked to ask, for if they could it would save him the tedious work of having to transcribe their dull transgressions. Thievery, adultery, murder. Hate, shame, fear, grief and pain. A man, Rutherford knew, could become distant and detached by the constant and reliable tedium of human frailty.
To Rutherford’s surprise the old man nodded. The Bishop whipped the quill from the pot and passed it to old man, a flick of ink darting from it to stain the wood of the table. The old man gripped the stem of the quill with trembling fingers.
‘Simply write your crime upon the dotted line. I, and the glory of God the everlasting, will take care of the rest for you.’
The old man slowly wrote four words on the parchment, his body tense and taut as he did so. And yet, Rutherford considered, on the completion of the fourth word the figure sagged and placed the quill upon the desk with focused consideration.
Rutherford gathered the parchment in his hands, turning it to face him and read the four words.
He read them again.
‘What is the fee?’ asked the old man.
Rutherford’s eyes glanced up from the parchment to focus on the man. He considered the possibility of this frail and feather light figure reshaped and reformed into the man he claimed to be.
‘What is the fee?’ repeated the old man.
Rutherford snatched the quill from the table and rammed it into the old man’s neck, who let out a soft, aching wheeze from the very depth of his lungs. Rutherford twisted and pulled, cold and crimson, across the papery skin. The old man’s life blood poured forth, darkening the deep red knots of the wooden desk, as his soulless body flopped, discarded, to the floor.
Rutherford carefully slid the bloodied quill into the ink pot from whence it came.
‘The fee is far greater than you can pay.’
Isn’t that amazing? Aren’t you desperate to know what the words are? Me too! But unfortunately for all of us, Adrian told me that he won’t let anyone know, because he’s thinking about making it into a longer story for all of our enjoyment. Still, we’d both love to hear your guesses, and who knows, maybe it will provide him with some inspiration!!
What do you think the four words were?
Thank you so much to Adrian for letting me share this story with everyone here!!
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~ Now Venture out and Change the World ~
For Valentine’s Day this year, I wrote a sonnet to my mom, because I normally write her cute poetry since she’s my only possible Valentine (you are either going to judge me or completely relate so I’m not too worried). This year, I decided to publish it, because I was really happy with the way it turned out! I would love it if you guys could go check it out and let me know what you think, preferably by leaving a review on the site, but you could leave it here too if you want! Feedback (both positive and negative) would be appreciated!!
While I’m here, I decided to write a brief introduction to what a sonnet is, and why I decided to write one.
A sonnet is a form of poetry that has a fairly strict format:
- 14 lines
- Rhyme Scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
- In other words, there are three quatrains with every other line rhymes, and then a rhyming couplet at the end
- Iambic Pentameter (note that I didn’t quite follow this in my poem)
- 5 sets of stressed and unstressed syllables, I think per line. This is supposed to tell you how to read it, but becomes incredibly difficult when you are trying to write it
These poems are normally used as an expression of love, and since they’re short people think they’re easy to write. They’re not.
When I write poetry, I mostly write it in my head, and then once I have a few lines all figured out, I pull out my phone or a piece of paper and scribble it down, then go back to my head. The reason for this is that it’s really freakin’ hard to write poetry that rhymes on your first try, unless you want to sound like a 2nd grader writing about the fat cat who sat on the mat.
It makes it even harder when you are writing for someone else. I think this is crucial though, to write good poetry. Even if you don’t plan on giving your sonnet to someone else, you should at least picture someone so that your poem has a good flow and you can feel the passion in the words. Don’t love anyone but still want to write a sonnet? Use book characters, that normally works. Or, make up a romance for yourself, but make it detailed. You met at the drive in when you were 30 cents short for popcorn, and he paid for you, then proceeded to talk to you the whole time the movie was on and you hated him but fell in love… or something like that. Even if these details don’t really come into play while writing, the undercurrent of emotion will be there. The more complex, the better, because the poem will sound genuine.
That’s all I have for today!! I’m going to ask you one more time to read my poem because I’d love feedback!!
Have you ever written a sonnet– Share links below! If not, do you think you could write one? What advice would you like to hear before starting to write poetry? Do you have any advice to give? What do you think of my poem? So many questions, so much I want to know– comment below!
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~ Now Venture Out and Change the World ~
Okay, I have to admit it. This is kind of a filler post. Ahhh! What am I doing! I know, that’s what I was thinking. But T5W is always a fun community to be a part of and I wasn’t able to finalise the book review post I had planned for today (Yes! There’s one coming!)
I actually have a longer version of my 2017 goals here, on a page that will be pinned to my menu all year, so feel free to check it out for challenges, TBR, blogging goals, and more! Because of that, I decided that I’ll focus on elaborating on why I have some of the blogging/reading goals that I do this year!
1.Read More Books (I’m a book blogger, for Pete’s sake!)
In 2016, I only made it through 19 books. 19!! And this has been typical over the past few years, as school has come to take up more and more of my life, overcoming me with the burden of high school and college on the horizon. But, I am upping my Goodreads goal to 25 for the coming year (please don’t laugh) and in an ideal world I would get 50. But, even though many of you will get 200, I need to do what works for me. And 25 reviews is 2 a month, which is decent as far as that is concerned. I have actually become inundated with requests to review books, so I’m really excited to start getting through those, ASAP!
2. Become Wayyyyy More Involved in the Blogging Community
This past year was my first online, and I didn’t even realise that there was a blogging community at first. I used to have a fandom-instagram account (in my scary, please-don’t-talk-about-it preteen years) and so I probably should have guessed that something existed, but I didn’t really comprehend how AMAZING the community was until recently. So, I’ve put a bunch of twitter chats on my calendar, and I’m making a point of reaching out to as many people as possible.
3. Reach 300 Followers
This is quadrupling my current number, but considering 80% of these followers came in the last 2 months, I think I can do it. Hopefully this goal will come naturally because of the fact that I’m doing everything else right. In long term, I want to make it to 1,000, but I’ll give myself more than one year for that.
4. Start Reading more ARCs
I haven’t done one yet. Most of the books I read are purchased or from the library, and I recently just read my first from Blogging for Books and received my first from NetGalley. This should hopefully also inspire me to read a few more books than I would have otherwise.
I really want to start writing a full novel rather than drafting a bunch of different ones. I’m not sure if I’ll get to it, since college is starting, but that’s the goal. I really enjoy writing, and it takes the stress away, and it would be incredible if other people would have the opportunity to read my work!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post about my goals!
What are some of your goals for the coming year? Do you have any advice for me to meet mine? I want to know, so comment below!
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~Now venture out and change the world ~