Tag Archives: Prompts

Read Until Your Eyes Stop Working

I have been on a binge recently. After reading Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, the realization dawned on me once again that I can devour books quickly if I really want to. It was read in about two days, most of one being spent inside while it rained.

I picked up the sequel, which is what made me want to read the first. An article featured on NPR had come up and I got interested immediately. He does an incredible job writing and being humorous as well as captivating the whole way through. Then again, it’s my kind of book, I love the social and scandalous when it’s done well.

After the first book, I had picked up another, just on a whim. “I can read a lot, I’m going to find all the books I was interested in.” Not to mention that I already, obviously, have a stack waiting for me to get through at home. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre that I’ve been meaning to read, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Dune, Beautiful Ruins, Ancillary Justice (and the next two books in those series, solely because it’s scifi, awarded, AND the author lives within five miles of me), The Glass Magician, Starship Troopers, The Secret Garden, The Giver…

The list goes on, and on… I want to get through them all, but I’ve picked up even more books from the library to read through by the time the date’s up. My reading list looks a lot like my writing prompt list: So many to keep me busy and yet it keeps growing faster than I can knock any off.

And I’ve been diving into articles online left and right like I haven’t before. I’ve spent hours just poring over long texts.

Of course, I mind none of this. But while I’ve been engaging myself in all sorts of things, time after time, week after week, I’ve been neglecting wordpress and those I follow on here.

I can commend myself for being a prolific reader in the recent days, but I keep meaning to keep up with people here, and it always slips my mind. Even if I do mail notifications for those I enjoy most, I’ve famously been bad at it regardless. Not just with these blogs, but also namely with the roleplay blogs that I had mentioned before. I’m even guilty of friends sending me stories and not reading them for days or weeks.

I am terrible. If I don’t see something, I’m not reminded of it, but even then, I can tend to be flaky for other reasons. Interest or a lack thereof, time constraints, or my head simply not being in the place for it.

With ease, I can dive into text and language. I can mosey around and find things. I like a lot of what I see with those I follow here, but a lot of my attention, especially in the beginning, was focused on putting out content and not really forging networks or connections with anyone else. Or doing so, but not strongly.

But, as my reading has encouraged and inspired me to read more books and more articles and engage myself more frequently, it’s also inspired me to work on other aspects, like the careless negligence of my followers, who are all parts lovely!

It has been nice, having the time and ability to indulge so often and so deeply. I must say that I love going back and forth between writing all day and reading all day. When I can lose myself in a universe, whether it’s self-made or someone else’s, I know it’s been a great day. I always end those days feeling productive, and my mind continues in a whirring daze until it shuts off.

Here’s hoping it’ll last me a while!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Guest Post: Push Yourself, Because Nobody Else (Usually) Will

It’s easy to write when you have a good idea and a good head of steam. The words just flow. You fall into the easy sense of your own writing bath, and it’s warm and comfy.

One of the things I love doing to Wordsmith is to give her a prompt for the day. It’s a game we play; a challenge to her writing limits by putting in something that she wouldn’t have thought of herself.

What she doesn’t know is that I’m giving her these things based on being inspired by her writing. (Well, she knows now.) Or based on things I’ve seen during my travels. Or just being ornery.

The idea is that by doing this, I’m facilitating her writing chops by having her rise to meet any assignment I give her. She doesn’t have to do it right away, she doesn’t have to succeed; it’s like serving a tennis ball over the (Inter)net. “Here, see if you can hit this.”

Sometimes she lobs it back with casual grace. Other times she smashes it back and I can’t help but return it with a similar piece of my own. And other times she chases it down but can’t quite wrap her head around the concept. So I know where her writing strengths and weaknesses are.

At one point in my life, I had someone doing that for me. “Write a scene without using any metaphors.” ‘Write a short story and use 6 out of these 10 words.’ “Describe an object without using the sense of sight.” “Write a scene about X, but don’t use ANY of these words.”

The first choices we make as writers is what defines our writing flow. But if we keep choosing that choice — the same stock characters over and over, the same situations over and over, we run the risk of getting too comfy with our writing — writing the same thing over and over. I’m sure you’ve seen it in some of your favorite authors. It should never be like that.

The best authors craft up a world, a self-contained character with a life independent of any of his or her predecessors, every time. You should never have ‘previous novel’s protagonist copy with their name and hair changed.’ as the main character twice in a row.

Change it up. Dare to be different. Dare to push yourself to craft something unique from the story before. Every year I do the NaNoWriMo I deliberately switch genres from the previous year, just so I separate myself from the last elements of the last novel with a whole year, if not more.

Mash two genres together that don’t normally go together. “Ballet Drama” and “Western”? Or maybe three– “Mystery” and “Survival” and “Historical Piece”?

If your first instinct is ‘you can’t, then you aren’t pushing hard enough. Try to come up with an idea to make the plot work. I mean, heck. The Japanese anime writers do it all the time…. check out Hetalia: Axis Powers, for example, where someone mashed up World Politics with Anthropomorphism.

(Yeah, I know. I said, ‘What? How did they ever think of that?’ too.)

When you find the right motivation, and the right idea, the push will become a pull. And suddenly you’ll be expanding your writing universe in a wholly unexpected direction…

Good luck…

Feedback and Other Bits

As I was writing the entry “Preparation,” I paused, just as I was about to type in a question to those who read the blog. I stopped and went into something else instead, because the last time I tried a question, I didn’t get an answer back.

Of course, that was at the beginning of the blog. So I think I want to try again.

The point of this blog, in a lot of ways, is to learn. Not just for me to help teach people what I’ve learned, but to learn from everyone else, from the readers, from their insight and experience and apply it as needed. This blog may belong to me, but I want it to sprawl with information and different testimonies about certain ideas and thoughts, I want there to be more than just my touch.

Which is why I have a guest writer, and I wouldn’t mind having more. I’m admittedly a little nervous about reaching out for it, though, because I’m not sure what to expect or what kind of guidelines to set, but I am interested in more opinions and more of the blog being inspired by the people who love it.

I wanted to use now to thank everyone who does keep coming back for more, to see what I (and Friend) have to say. It helps me put more into this every day that I write for it. ❤

I sometimes struggle with my own confidence about what I say. I don’t want to lead anyone astray, but the worry gets to me enough that it’s caused me to trash a few posts. I have been writing for years, but I’m still learning. Eventually, I’ll get into the process of publishing and be able to share my experience and thoughts with that, but after seeing others tackling the subject before me, I get skittish and feel under prepared.

Then there’s that maybe I should post less. I drew up a prompt sheet when I made this blog, and even while I keep adding to it, I’ve done just about everything on it. Like writing, though, I suppose I can never really run out of ideas.

So, feedback, what do you think? More posting, less posting, is there a topic you want me to cover in specific? Is there something I should go back over because I wasn’t clear enough? And, since I didn’t get to ask it before, what are you plans for November? How do you prepare, if you’re going to do NaNoWriMo?

I look forward to hearing back from you!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Mish Mash Part Two

That’s all today is. I’m not feeling very wisdomous today so it’s just going to be a bit of everything.

I had a goal for the month going, based on a prompt list I made back in February. These are just all sorts of different ideas I’ve come up with and been given in the months, along with novel goals and the like, to go back to on days where I want something to do. Altogether, typically the number is around 45-40. I started at 30, in Feb/March. But it keeps growing, For every one that I take off, two more get put on.

So this month was 15. Last month there was none because of Camp, and the month before was 15. I’m sitting at 45 today. And after my writing frenzy, I’m just feeling like going a little slower. So I’ve made up to 10 so far… And there are three days left in the month. And I’ve spent a few hours so far just playing in Scrivener instead.

Scrivener, by the way, is very nice. It’s huge, but it’s nice. I geeked out to the max when I got it, I was so excited. There is a way to transfer things over to Scriv, but I’ve been doing it manually. It is a heavy program, like I said; every time you create something new, it’s a project. It’s not RTF, it’s a scriv file, that gets its own folder. So it’s not like notepad or Roughdraft where you can just open it up and start writing. No, this is all about commitment. Not bad, but can tend to be a little intimidating.

That said, there are still a lot of good features to it that are definitely worth the money and the effort. If you ever get flustered or don’t know what to do with something, don’t worry, the tutorial is HUGE. Absolutely enormous.

I wanted to get my novel is ship shape for Scriv, which, maybe I should have just transferred, but it’s going well. I still have yet to use all of the tools and really do it up– probably do that tomorrow or later tonight– but I’m working on a different project for now.

Even if you can’t afford Scrivener, and you want to give it a look-see, you can trial it for a month and see how you like it. If you’re a big project builder, I recommend it. If you’re someone who has lots of smaller projects, maybe not. Something that Friend pointed out was that since it’s not RTF it doesn’t have much flexibility on where you can read it, if you have a machine that doesn’t have Scriv. So that’s kind of turning me off, but I still like it, overall.

I’ve been slacking, but this month has been kind of a bad one. Next month will be better. And then it gets cooler and I don’t have to worry about sweating buckets when I take the trash out.

I think next month also starts the NaNo prep, officially. Know what you’re going to write yet? Because I sure the hell don’t. I thought about pantsing it, but I am so not a pantser by nature. It’s one of those, “challenge yourself” deals. Just in case I ever need to pants again, which I did a lot of in July. But I have a few ideas, one which came from a really strange but awesome dream, in fact. We’ll see which one wins.

I was looking at thought bubbles the other day, at a particularly hilarious post she made about Camp Nano, and there was one thing that stuck with me after that. We strive for 50k words during that month, but no, it’s not technically a novel. Novels are a lot bigger. They take more time and energy and thoughtfulness and care and all sorts of things, but, there are some that are within the 50-100k range. Young Adult novels, novellas especially. I imagine Ocean at the End of the Lane by Niel Gaiman was somewhere under the 100k mark, since the book was 180-190ish pages long.

At that note, though, I do want to write something that I can finish in a month. I want something I can see the end to without breaking it into a trilogy. Friend has made a few of those, but never went back to the stories to revise or edit anything. I want something I can manage in that month, and work on, that’s malleable and finish-able in under a year, even if the intention is not to publish it. I like finishing things. It feels good.

Lazy day abounds, though. I think I’ll finish my work in Scrivener and then work on the chores of the day. Tomorrow will have some kind of wisdom, I think.

-The Novice Wordsmith