Posted in Writer's Problems

Story Beginnings

One of the teams at the wagon train.

The other day, my mom, sisters, and I were the outriders for a wagon train in our part of the state. (It’s funny the wide range of places you can learn about writing!) After our waltz/drive around the neighborhood, we were talking to some of the teamsters. Ya know, swapping cowboy/horse stories and generally being friendly. One of the teamsters told a story that got me thinking about story beginnings.

One thing I’ve noticed about cowboy stories is that they usually start with the teller’s relation to the person in the story. That’s actually what got me thinking about the subject. My grandpa wasn’t there and I thought he’d get a kick out of the story. However, then I realized that it wouldn’t start off very interesting if I said, “so, the teamster that I just met yesterday–Mark, I think–well, his cousin had a farm with some Black Angus cows on it that he wanted to breed.” There had to be a more exciting way to start it than that! After all, it’s a mystery story, where the calves turn up the wrong color, and where a rogue steals the cows from their rightful, princely bull! Continue reading “Story Beginnings”

Posted in Writer's Dreams

Writing on Vacation

Writers are never on vacation… or so it has been said.

My family and I might be taking our vacation a little late… I mean, August is cutting it close to when school starts again, ya know? (Knowing that school starts in 21 days is making it feel like the summer absolutely swooshed by. Anyone else feeling it too?)

Here are some ways that you can keep up with writing as you’re on vacation.

Via Ze Notebook

The good thing about the whole notebook thing is that it really goes anywhere you want it to. I took my notebook down to a balloon festival this weekend. (Okay, I only wrote half a chapter, but…) It fits nice into a backpack, or a suitcase, or a big purse. Then all you need is one pen and you are on your way! You can write in the car, write on the beach, write in the hotel room, write in the tent… there are no batteries to run out of, no screen to crack, and if you ever get in too big of a jam, you can use the empty pages to start a fire (and then listen to your mom when she says to never visit Alaska in the dead of winter.)

Or Laptop

Laptops. Oh the everlasting practicalness and transportability of them. Bedroom? Yup. The beach? Oh yeah. The Appalachian Trail? Uh… if you wanna pack it. Which I wouldn’t suggest. Might wanna go with the notebook there. 😉 Even so, the laptop is great everywhere else. You can write in the car and the hotel room and if it’s charged enough, you can write on the beach and in the tent too!

Writing Prompts Are Great Too

You know all those writing prompts you have on your Pinterest board? Like this one? Or this one? Well, now’s the time to knock them out! Have fun, write to your heart’s content. The wackier the prompt, the better. 🙂 I mean, there are some really awesome ones out there. Like this one:

But Short Story Contests Are Awesome

Ya know… if you don’t want to work on your own, long novel, you could always take a “vacation” from it and try a short story contest. Here’s a site you can check for contests. Look them over, pick one, work on it… bingo. Who knows? You might even win! Wouldn’t that be the perfect vacation? *stares dreamily* prize money… my precious!

Beach scene with smiling sun

Yet If You Need It… Complete Break

You know what? If you’ve been writing for a long time, call it quits and take a break. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Enjoy the sand. Or the mountains. Or old Faithful. Or whatever and wherever you are. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, and take it easy. Have a blast and then when you come back… well, your characters will still be there. Hopefully… they haven’t been too ornery in your absence.

 

So what have you done for vacations? Or have planned? How do tackle writing while on the move?

Posted in Writer's Problems

The Lovely World of Word Counts

Good morning! It was a beautiful day when I woke up at 5 AM. The black darkness… gorgeousness. If for some reason you can’t get up that early to see it, I’d suggest staring at a black piece of construction paper– there’ll be the same soul-enchanting effect. I will admit though, it was gorgeous when the sun started showing its face and flooding the landscape with it’s red rays. Try it sometime. Construction paper will not, unfortunately for some, have the same effect.

Anyways, I was wondering what you all thought of the ever present word count. It seems like sometimes, a huge deal is made out of it, while other times it sits idly on the sidelines. What do you guys think about it? Is it worth the hype? Or should it be tucked away in a box in the attic? Continue reading “The Lovely World of Word Counts”

Posted in Uncategorized, Writer's Problems

Writing Apps

Our balloon being all American-y. 😛

Please excuse all the 4th of July references… this was supposed to be last week’s post.

‘Ello, y’all! How was your Independence Day? It was great for my family: morning balloon flight, relaxing in front of the TV (finally got my sisters to watch Night at the Museum), and then supper at Applebee’s. We were going to go on an evening balloon flight as well, but the winds were a bit too much, and so instead I got to eat Fiesta Lime Chicken! (Definitely try it out, guys. Delicious!)

Anywho. Today I want to talk about the different writing apps. I thought it would be interesting to see what you guys use and what is your favorites.

Word/Pages/Google Docs

I’ve never used Word… I have a Mac and so it’s Pages for me. However, I think the two are pretty close, as is Google Docs. This way is probably as simple as you can get on a computer. There’s a document, you type in it, format your headers however you want (if you want) and bingo. Your story takes form and you can write your heart out without any hassles or any wait.

However, sometimes we want things a little more than that. For example… if you do any research for your writing, you can’t keep it right there with your story. Character spotlights or info… also in another document.

Scrivener

Scrivener is created specifically for writers– awesomeness. That makes it a little more complicated than just Pages or Word. For example, each chapter (or scene if you so choose) is in a different “document” within the document. It makes it amazing for organizing chapters and/or writing chapter 31 before chapter 28. (I’ve never done that before. Huh uh. No way.)

Character sketches? They’ve already got an outline set up for you! (It’s a pretty basic one, but it works). Research? You can download web pages right into the document itself. It even has a subsection for “Places” if you want to use it. (I haven’t yet, but I completely intend to as I do more research into the ‘wheres’ of Death’s Whistle). Another downside… it costs money. Upside… I got it for a Christmas present about two years ago and haven’t stopped using it since then!

I like how it’s flexible, it’s easy enough for me to understand yet complex enough for all the features, and it’s always worked for me. If you don’t mind me saying, ich liebe es.

Storyist

I’ve never used Storyist, but I think it’s a lot like Scrivener, only for Macs. Have any of you bought/used Storyist? What do you think of it? Would you recommend it?

Pen and Notebook

This is most likely the easiest of all of them. Take a pen, take a notebook, write. (I just gave you the secret formula… use it wisely.) It does take longer, sometimes, than working on the computer. And then you have to copy it to the computer most often to edit it.

However… I like the notebook thing. When I pull out a brand new notebook or, as I like to call it, a brand new slate, you know I’m serious about the story. I don’t have a laptop (have you seen the prices for a nice one? I’m not that rich until my books hit New York Times Bestseller list) and so the story in the notebook is portable. I can work on it for a couple minutes while I wait for the rest of my family to get their supper, while I wait for my eyes to droop enough for sleep, while I wait for my toast to… toast. Yes, I do have to copy it into the computer. Yes, that can take a long time. However, copying everything, word for word, helps you to get a good look at your story that I don’t think you would ordinarily get. I find a lot of places to fix, boost, destroy when I do that.

I don’t do this with all stories. Listening to Destiny and Death’s Whistle weren’t written in a notebook, however, several of my other stories were and I think I’m starting to like it better and better.

What do you think?

What do you guys use? What’s your favorite? What would you like to try? Let me know! I’d love to talk about it!

Posted in Uncategorized

Hilarious Movie

Okay. Yeah. Yesterday I completely forgot what day it was and forgot to post. So here’s a funny movie to try and make it up to you guys. I’ll make sure to have a post ready for you next week!

Posted in Stories

Ten Ways To Cope With Writer’s Block — Kellyn Roth Blog Tour!

Hello, hello!

Guess what? I’m a part of Kellyn Roth’s blog tour for The Dressmaker’s Secret and Ivy Introspective!

First, however, a quick tip of advice for you. If you want your summer to be absolutely amazing… GO TO A ZOO AND WILDLIFE SUMMER CAMP! (That’s the reason I haven’t posted lately… been gone and didn’t get a scheduled post up in time). I had an absolute blast, made some amazing friends, and learned a ton! Go. Just go to one. You will never regret it!

Anyways. On to the blog tour. Continue reading “Ten Ways To Cope With Writer’s Block — Kellyn Roth Blog Tour!”

Posted in Challenges/Awards

The Candy Book Tag

Hey, guys!

Phoenixdarkscales from God is Awesome and at Work nominated me for the Candy Book Tag! I’ve seen it around and always thought it looked like fun, but now I get the chance to do it!

Anyways. Getting started.

Sounds cool, right?

Right.

Dogsong by Gary Paulson. I’ve heard a ton of great things about it, and then I picked it up and was completely lost.

Um… well… I have, uh, several.

  • The Raven by Mike Nappa. EVERYONE PICK UP THIS BOOK AND READ IT!
  • The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. *squeals*
  • Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy DeMoss, Erin Davis, and Danna Gresh
  • Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

Ew. I hate those things. Black jelly beans. *shudders*

My black jelly bean books are:

  • Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa
  • All the Shakespeares (I’m so sorry Shakespeare fans)
  • Books with no purpose

Um… I don’t really read romance?? So… er… maybe the little side romance of The Raven? I loved watching The Raven, Marv L. Deasy, whichever of his names you go by, crush on Trudi was so cute.

Ermm, I really don’t read horror that much… so the scariest horror I’ve read was Monster by Frank Peretti which is labeled “gentle horror”. It gave me just enough chills that I’ve been putting off reading This Present Darkness for the past two years. Hehe. *glances warily over shoulder*

King’s Folly and King’s Blood. The fact that they are 500+ pages might help with how long it takes me, but it’s also this roller coaster for each of them. “Ugggghhhh, this book is so boring…! NO WAY THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN WHATHAPPENSNEXT?? Errrrrgh, do I have to finish it?? Only two hundred pages left. Fiiine. WHAT??? NO!! YOU CAN”T END THERE!!! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT??? I NEED THE NEXT BOOKKKK!!

The first series of 39 Clues. The one where they’re actually looking for the clues. 😉 And Narnia. And Robin Hood. And Winne the Horse Gentler. And Keystone Stables. And Black Beauty. And… you know… all the rest of those amazing books.

 

My Nominations!

Maggie from Dreaming of Guatemala

Smudged Thoughts