To Plan or Not to Plan?

So you’ve got your story idea together right? You’ve started building your characters and molding and shaping their personalities? Now it’s time to decide whether you are a pantser or a planner when it comes to writing your novel. What’s a pantser, you ask? Well that’s when you are fortunate enough to be able to just sit down at the blank screen of your laptop and begin writing with no plot or course of action laid out before you. If you are one of those writers let me please just give you a virtual round of applause because I have tried writing that way before and the amount of time I had to use up to go back and forth to see if I had this detail or that detail just right, or to check the timeline and make sure that I hadn’t made some huge error and it just did not work for me.

I, like a lot of writers, am a planner and I try as much as I can to plan out every detail that I can. In terms of writing my novel I have realized that I have to have an outline. I typically do a short brief outline with just some of the major points of the story and where the plot twists are and the dramatic parts and the whodunit aspects of the story. After I get a general outline together then I take my character sketches and I begin the more detailed, chapter by chapter, plot twist by plot twist, part of outlining.

Now I think there’s a misconception that when people outline they follow the outline to the tee and I have heard a lot of people say that’s what they don’t like about outlining but the outline is just a general road map for you to follow but the story almost never follows the outline down to the letter. In fact I almost never stick directly to the outline but having that outline does help me stay more on track then I would if I were just writing without a blueprint.

Where the outlining process can get a little broad and diverse is in the method in which you choose to outline. I for one like just getting a legal notepad and writing my outline by hand (this and the character sketches are the only things I write by hand). The other methods of outlining that people typically use are creating a storyboard with a bulletin board or you can storyboard in a digital format now with Pintrest or whatever digital format works for you to create a visual idea of your story. Some people choose to do a graphing (or mind mapping) method. There are also programs that will help you outline in a particular digital format such as Scrivener.

Now you don’t have to outline in order to compose a good story for NaNoWriMo. Outlining doesn’t necessarily make your story any worse or better. Like I said in my last post, it’s just a matter of finding and doing what works well for you. I hope that some of this information helps you and the next post I will be giving you a few YouTue channels that I think you should check out that will help you in your Preptober adventures. Until next time… #HappyOutlining

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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It’s the First Day of Preptober!!

It’s the first day of October and we’re getting into that holiday season but for writers it’s also a special time of year for a whole other reason. This is the month that we as writers use to prepare for the marathon month that November has become called National Novel Writing Month. Realistically if you’re serious about participating in NaNoWriMo then you probably have already formulated the idea for the story that you’re going to work on in November and you may have even began sketching out the characters for your story. If you haven’t, don’t worry, that is what the month of October is here for. There are many aspects to prepping for the NaNoWriMo experience but I’m here to give you some suggestions over the course of this month that will hopefully help you in the many ways they have helped me.

Today I’m going to focus on the first step you really need which is the idea for the story and typically a main character to center the story around. Now there are many different ways to start your planning process. Some people like to think of the way their story is going to end and kind of work their way backwards. I for one have never been able to start at the end but it works for some people. There is also a very small group of writers who like to start with the middle and build the story outwards, usually building up to the end first and then back in the other direction to the beginning. Then there are those strange birds like myself who actually like to take a story idea from the very beginning (sometimes even thinking of the opening scene) through to the middle and work my way to the end in a chronological order.

Now I know plenty of writers who have to have their character first and I will admit that I have had some stories where the character literally spoke to me and told me the story they wanted told but those occasions were rare for me. Most of time the story that needs to be told comes first and then the character presents themselves to me afterwards. After you’ve built the story idea and this is not to be confused with an actual outline) then you want to begin developing your characters. Some create character sketches that give the basic details of those characters and their background and their personalities and some like to go all in and create a character bible of sorts where the spend several pages on each character.

You have to find what works for you because one writer’s method may not be what works for your story. Once you have your story idea built and your character sketches done the next step is creating your outline, but that I will discuss in more detail in the next post. Throughout this Preptober series I will also include tips and specific book suggestions, as well as sharing some YouTube channels with you that can be of some use and help to you. Until the next time… #BePrepared

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Despite My Urge to Give Up…

Never give up

I tell you if it is not one thing it is another and when the devil is busy trying to get in my way he really does pull out all of the stops. So week one and two for me was plagued with technical difficulties that would just hit one by one, back to back.

Last week, while the week started off rather strong with a fair amount of productivity, I had a physical injury that kind of left me unable to sit up and type or write anything. I was in so much pain that it almost brought me to tears to even try and move to do anything. That physiccal injury has unfortunately carried over into this week and although I am trying to ignore the physical injury it is very hard to pretend I am not hindered by it.

It just would seem that there are mini obstacles stacking up in my path like mountains trying to keep me from moving forward. I am pushing through and while my goal will more than likely not be met by the end of November, I will take comfort in the fact that I didn’t (like last year) just completely throw in the towel and say the hell with it and just stop even trying. Last year was a bad year for me creatively and this year has not exactly proved to be much better but I am going to make the best of the rest of the days left in this year and kick 2015 off with these two projects that I’ve been taking on during NaNoWriMo and use them as my positive start for next year. Well back to my writing cave I go, hope all of you who are participating in NaNoWriMo are doing well.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Due To Circumstances That Were Beyond My Control…

Technical Difficulties 1

So last week was really rough, at least in the writing part of my life. As most of you know I am attempting to do dual projects this November for National Novel Writing Month. I posted last week about me getting off to a rocky start and after I posted that (maybe the very next day) my rocky start turned into a complete halt.

For some unknown reason my Microsoft Word program, in which I use to actually write (blog posts, novels, articles, etc.) just stopped working. Seriously every time I tried to save it would shut down automatically, then it started to just shut down when I tried to type, and then Microsoft Word just wouldn’t even open anymore. I was in writer’s hell (if there is one) and I could’ve literally cried because I felt like the control of whether I wanted to actually write or not was taken from me.

Now for my non-fiction (self-help) book that I am working on I could still manage to get some work done as far as research goes but when it came time for me to sit down and get back into my fiction novel (in which I was fully prepared to do) the program simply would not work. I don’t know how I got it working again for me to be able to type this blog post but of course I am hoping to be able to get quite a bit of work done this week to make up for the days that I was not able to last week.

I am wondering if there is anyone out there who has been in the middle of a project and had their programs just completely shut down on them? I have a lot of lost time to make up for but I will try to still keep up with you guys while I am recovering from my program failure. Hope all of you are being productive and writing your hearts out!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Off To a Rocky Start

NaNoWriMo 3

So as most of you know National Novel Writing Month started this past Saturday and we are already at day 5. I will admit that I thought that since I decided to take on the task of finishing up two projects that had already been started that I would have a bit of an easier time beginning this NaNoWriMo challenge. Sadly, nothing has been further from the truth. I think the first sign of trouble that I had was the fact that NaNoWriMo was beginning during a weekend which is typically the time during the week in which I opt not to write.

The weekend is normally when I like to relax, catch up on TV (which fuels my creativity even more), and do more reading for pleasure then actual writing or research. And while I did manage to write a little on my non-fiction (self-help) book and I tried to re-familiarize myself with my novel, I definitely did not get any real numbers stacked towards my end goal. The second issue is also that with my fiction novel, I haven’t touched it in quite some time and while I have been re-familiarizing myself with it, it’s not that easy to just jump back in it.

Nevertheless I am not going to give up and I am ready to really get underway on these projects. I completely underestimated how hard it is to re-start a project, let alone two. I would almost be willing to say that it is harder to re-start a project then to just start a brand new one. But I went into this NaNoWriMo knowing that my goal was not necessarily the 50,000 word goal that they traditionally set for participants but rather to complete these two projects, or at the very least, be closer to finishing by the end of November. So that does help take some of the pressure off of me because my goal is different than most people doing NaNoWriMo.

I hope that any of you who are participating are having an easier start than I am and hopefully you will leave a comment here and let me know how your project(s) are going. Happy writing everyone!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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The Day Before All Things Get Pushed To the Backburner

Day before NaNoWriMo

It is a proven fact for me that I don’t work very well when I am stressed. I constantly worry about whatever obstacle it is that has me stressed out and there is little to no creative spark inside me to actually produce anything of merit. With the week I’ve had last week, and this week not bringing about any type of resolution for the problem the stressed does not even begin to express what I am feeling right now.

Nevertheless I really need to get into the National Novel Writing Month Spirit because I have not one, but two projects to complete this November and I have an opportunity coming up that relies heavily on me completing them. I suppose on the plus side of things, these are two projects that have already been started and it’s not a brand new project to tackle.

So my question to all of you who will be participating with me in this challenging task of completing a novel (or book) in just 30 days is are you ready to get this done? Do you have everything ready to go and are you clear on the direction that your project will be going in? What are some things that you are struggling with as you prepare to write your book? Feel free to share your plans here with me. I hope that all of you are ready and remain productive.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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The Challenge Ahead: Getting Mentally Prepared for National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo1

The good thing about working on two unfinished projects for National Novel Writing Month is that I don’t have to complete the task of writing an outline like I would normally do for a new project. However the challenging thing about it, aside from the fact that I will be working on two books at the same time, is that they are two different types of books. One book is my novel that I started about two years ago and the other book, which I started working on about nine months ago, is non-fiction, more of a self-help/motivational book for writers. The two projects couldn’t be more opposite of each other so I’m not sure how the contrast is going to affect my production.

While National Novel Writing Month will not be new to me, trying to complete two different projects at the same time that are not in the same genres. I am a little more confident about the non-fiction project because I started it more recently and it will be fairly easy to jump back into it. The fiction book, I’m afraid I might have taken too much of a break from that one to just jump back in. Either way I am determined to make the best of the month of November and to attack these projects as if my life depends on it (they really do, lol). Once November is over and I (hopefully) have my two finished projects I plan to immediately get them into the editing phase so I can get the ball rolling on getting these books published.

I have my work cut out for me and for any of you who have participated in NaNoWriMo, you already know it is not an easy task to accomplish. I will share the process with you as it goes along and I hope if any of you are doing NaNoWriMo this month please feel free to share with me your process and how you’re achieving the task. I guess November will be a pretty busy and productive month!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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http://write2bemagazine.com/

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