WIPMarathon: January 2016

Here we are at the end of January! Is it just me or did it seem like a really long month? I already feel like it’s been 2016 for ages.

I’ve been super busy these past few weeks, but luckily I’ve managed to squeeze some writing in. So, I’m happy to present my first WIPMarathon post of the year!


 

GUESS WHAT GUYS????? I …. still haven’t finished my draft of I Chose the Monster. I know, so shocking! I still haven’t finished the manuscript I’ve been saying I would finish for like a year! Hahaha!

But, hear me out. I’m literally writing the last chapter. I was really, really hoping I’d finally get to the end this month, but I guess it was not meant to be. I can honestly say, though, that I think I will be done with this draft within a week, probably less. Yes, I’m THAT close.

Last WC/CC: 144,668 words / 51 chapters

Current WC/CC: 150,248 words / 54 chapters

(*screams* I know, it’s insanely long. I was hoping I wouldn’t go over 150k words on this draft, but hopefully it won’t be too much longer than that.)

WIP Issues This Month:

Endings are hard, man. The end of this draft is just … a mess. It’s extremely rushed and anti-climatic. But, I’m trying not to sweat it too much. The next draft is going to involve a lot of major changes, so that will probably affect how powerful the ending is.

What I learned this month in writing:

I have to accept that my first draft will be horrible no matter what. This has always been a big problem for me. Even though I know a perfect first draft is impossible, I think a tiny part of me always wishes I could get it right on the first try. But I’m really trying to overcome that. As I said, I think my second draft is going to be pretty radically different from the first––so I just have to keep reminding myself that nothing is written in stone, and I can always toss and/or rewrite something if I’m not happy with it.

What distracted me this month while writing:

The primary distraction for me this month was that …. I got a new job! (I mean, sort of. It’s temporary.) But I’ve been hired by a local author, Melissa Burch, to help her with marketing her new memoir and booking author events all over the country. It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun and I’ve been learning a lot of stuff that will probably be useful to me in the future!

Otherwise, I haven’t had too many distractions besides the usual: reading books, using the internet, occasionally spending time with real live human beings … you know. 😉

Goal for Next Month:

FINISH THIS FREAKIN’ DRAFT. OH MY GODDDD.

Seriously though. And then once I’m done with this draft, I need to start planning out the next one. I’m not sure how much I’ll get done in February in terms of getting words down on paper, but I’ll certainly be doing a lot of planning.

Oh, and I’m teaching another teen writing class, which starts tomorrow! I know at least six students have signed up so far, and two of them are returning students from my last class (YAAY THEY ACTUALLY LIKE ME) so I’m very excited about that. And this time around, I actually kind of know what I’m doing. 🙂

Last 200 Words:

I’m not going to post the last 200 words because they are extremely spoiler-ish, haha. But here is a recent snippet:

I don’t know what time is anymore, if it has ever existed. I am everywhere at once. I am every version of myself I have ever been.

I am the Nina Sylvain in the back of a car, trying to get to the safe area with my parents. I am the girl who chose to fight monsters––a painful, violent end––instead of accepting a swift and peaceful death.

Since that day, I have lived a thousand lives. I have fired bullets through hearts, lungs, and brains. Without blinking an eye, I have killed. And with each kill, some part of me died with my victim. Even if those victims were monsters. Somehow, I saw a little of myself in each of them.


I hope everyone has had a good start to the new year! And if you have any writing accomplishments/goals you want to share, feel free to do so in the comments! 🙂

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Useful Hashtags for Writers

To the new user, Twitter can be quite overwhelming. At first, it seems like a jumbled mess of statuses, links, and weird symbols. Admittedly, it took me a long time to get used to Twitter––but now that I’ve grown accustomed to it, I’ve found it to be one of the best ways to connect with other writers.

How do you find other writers on Twitter? The answer is: hashtags. It can be difficult to navigate through all the hashtags on Twitter, and to know where to look for the information you want. So, here is a brief list of some of my favorite writing-related hashtags, which have helped me to converse with so many fellow writers online.

#amwriting

If you’re looking for other writers on Twitter, the #amwriting hashtag is a good place to start. In this hashtag, you will find a ton of writers posting about their writing progress, achievements, woes, and advice.

Pro tip: If you want to get more specific, try searching for writers in your genre by tacking a genre onto the end of #amwriting. For example, #amwritingfantasy or #amwritingromance. There’s also an #amediting tag if you want to converse with others about editing!

#writetip

In need of some inspiration and motivation? Check out the #writetip hashtag to find a treasure trove of writing advice. It’s a good place to go if you need some encouraging words or some helpful advice. And of course, if you have your own writing advice to share on Twitter, you can always tag your tweet with #writetip so fellow writers can find it.

#pubtip

Similar to #writetip, #pubtip is full of life-saving advice about publishing your work. The real selling point is that a lot of literary agents frequently use this tag––so they definitely know what they’re talking about! (Also check out #querytip for advice about writing/submitting queries to agents.)

#wordsprint

If you enjoy word sprinting, #wordsprint is the place to go. Many writers participate in word sprints on Twitter, and I’ve often found it to be a fun way to reach my word goals and to encourage fellow writers.

Pro tip: One of my favorite alternatives to #wordsprint is #1k1hr, in which writers attempt to write 1,000 words in an hour.


 

How about you guys? Do you use Twitter? Have you explored any of these hashtags before, and do you have any others you would add to the list? Comment and let me know!

Brigid Writes Things is now WordFare!

As you may or may not have noticed, the name of my blog has changed! What was once “Brigid Writes Things” is now called “WordFare”.

Why the name change?

I never really liked the title “Brigid Writes Things”. I always thought it was too boring/generic, and I don’t think it’s fun or attention-grabbing.

Not only did I want a more catchy title for my blog, but I also wanted to make it clearer that this blog is not just all about me. (Don’t worry, I’ll still post plenty of things about myself, though. *hairflip*) I wanted a new title that conveyed a broader sense of what the blog is about. It’s not just about me, but about discussing writing and helping other writers!

Why WordFare?

I’ve been trying to come up with a better blog title for a long time. I tried thinking of lots of clever writing-related puns, but nothing good ever came to mind––a lot of ideas I had were already taken, or they just didn’t “click”.

Then today, I was taking a walk and the phrase “WordFare” popped into my head as I was trying to think of blog titles. I like the sound of it––it kind of sounds like “warfare” but … not. So it’s kind of a pun, I guess … ?

But also, I looked up the etymology of “fare” (I’m a huge word nerd, sue me) and found out it’s derived from the Old English word “fær” which means “journey” or “road”. So, the combination of “WordFare” seemed like a cool title to me since it could be interpreted as like, a “journey” of words.

Hopefully you all like the new title, and I hope the transition isn’t too confusing!

Music Monday: 1/25/16

I can’t believe it’s already the last Music Monday for this month! January has gone by crazy fast.

Hope you all had a terrific weekend. As for me, I went to NYC with my family––and of course, it had to be the second-biggest snowstorm in NYC history. The only reason we went was to see “Spring Awakening” on Broadway (we’d had the tickets for like two months) and ….. it was cancelled last-minute. Like, we literally walked up to the theater right after they’d made the decision. 😦 And then it wasn’t like we could do anything else because literally everything was closed and almost all travel was banned (including the subways!) so that mega-sucked. But hey, I got to see Times Square for the first time. And it was definitely a crazy weekend that I’ll always remember. 😛

Well, enough chit-chat. On to my two music recommendations of the week!

Hayden Calnin – White Night

Do you ever discover a song/artist and feel like “HOLY CRAP, WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE.” That’s how I feel about this song. I first heard it about a week ago and I immediately fell in love. I then went on to listen to everything Hayden Calnin has recorded so far, and I am so thrilled to have found his music. His voice is so powerful, and the chorus on this song just gives me chills. As of right now the music video only has a little over 5,000 views, but I hope this song gains popularity. The video is also really nice and it’s about LGBTQ characters which is awesome, so check it out!

St. Lucia – Dancing on Glass

I got to see St. Lucia a few years ago at Boston Calling, and really enjoyed their performance. At the time, I wasn’t so familiar with their music––and since then, I still haven’t listened to them much. But their newest single, “Dancing on Glass”, has made me want to look into their music again. It’s a very fun synth-pop song with an 80’s vibe, and I really dig it. It makes me really excited for the band’s new album!

If you would also like to participate in Music Monday this week:

• Share 1-2 songs. It can be any genre, it can be something new or it can be an old favorite. Whatever you want!
• Share a music/lyric video of the song.
• Tell us some of your thoughts/feelings about the song, artist, and/or music video.
• Submit the link to your blog post at the bottom of Lauren’s post here (where it says “Add your link”).

What did you think of my music choices this week? Comment and let me know! Also, feel free to let me know if you have any music recommendations for me. 🙂

5 Free Writing Tools to Boost Your Productivity

Sometimes I just need an extra boost to get some work done––and even after downing a few cups of coffee, I can’t seem to find the motivation or concentration to write. Luckily, the internet is full of useful tools and websites for writers. If you need a little extra motivation, here are five free writing tools I highly recommend:

WiseMapping

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If you’re a visual thinker and you enjoy mapping out your stories, WiseMapping is totally worth a try. If you create a free account, you can use the site to create detailed “mindmaps” to help you visualize your ideas. You can also embed, print, and export your mindmaps for use elsewhere.

Write or Die

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Write or Die has been one of my favorite writing tools for years. There’s a desktop version available for purchase, but the free online version is great as well. You just plug in a word goal and a time limit, and get to work. If you stop typing for too long, the screen will start to turn red and annoying noises will play. On days when I’m lacking in motivation, a session or two with Write or Die always helps me get out at least a couple hundred words.

FocusWriter

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Maybe Write or Die is too intense for you, and you don’t work well under pressure––but you still like the idea of a distraction-free writing zone. Never fear! FocusWriter is an excellent, easy-to-use app and a very helpful writing tool. It’s a “name your price” app, so you can download it for free if you choose. It has several different backgrounds to choose from (or you can import your own) and a full-screen mode. You can also set daily word goals and save/export whatever you’ve written.

Coffivity

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Coffivity was created under the premise that the ambient sounds of conversation and activity in a café boost creativity. The site is simple and free to use, and you can choose from several variations of café noises. There’s also a free app for iPhone and iPad.

Hemingway Editor

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If you’re in the nitty-gritty editing stage, Hemingway Editor may be of use. Just paste in your text, and it will mark up overly complicated sentences, adverbs, and passive voice. It has a paid desktop version, but the free online version is still a fantastic tool to help you clean up your writing a bit.

How about you guys?

  • Have you tried any of these sites/apps before? Did they help you?
  • Are there any other free writing tools that have helped you a lot?

Comment and let me know!

Music Monday: 1/18/16

Happy Monday, guys! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Last night I went and saw the new Star Wars again––we saw it in 3D and we were in the front row, so it was super intense. I think I loved it even more the second time. 😉

Anyway, on to my song choices for this week’s Music Monday!

Little Green Cars – The Song They Play Every Night

I love love love Little Green Cars, and they deserve so much more recognition. (And I will forever be bitter that they were going to have a concert in the town next to my college, and canceled it last minute … *cries*) Recently they toured with Hozier, so I hope they are on their way to more fame! I’ve been waiting a couple years for them to release new music, and about two weeks ago they finally released this new single. “The Song They Play Every Night” is everything I could hope for from this amazing band. It’s a bit on the melancholy side, but it’s really beautiful and haunting and I love it a lot.

Haiganoush – Sorry

I literally came across this song less than 24 hours ago, and I have already fallen in love with it. I was just poking around on Soundcloud looking through some of the trending songs, and this track immediately caught my attention. I love the beats in the background, and the singer’s voice is really lovely and interesting. Looks like Haiganoush––a brother and sister duo from London––has only released a couple songs, but I look forward to seeing what they do next!

If you would also like to participate in Music Monday:

• Every Monday, share 1-2 songs. It can be any genre, it can be something new or it can be an old favorite. Whatever you want!
• Share a music/lyric video of the song.
• Tell us some of your thoughts/feelings about the song, artist, and/or music video.
• Submit the link to your blog post at the bottom of Lauren’s post here (where it says “Add your link”).

Do You Write Every Day?

Odds are, if you’re an aspiring author, you have probably received (or given) the advice to write every day. There are, of course, many benefits to daily writing: You’re constantly making progress––even if it’s just a tiny bit! Plus, it’s like exercise: The more you do it, the stronger you get.

But admittedly, I don’t write every day. I try to write every day. Sometimes that means I write 1,000 words. Sometimes I just open Scrivener, stare at the document for a while, and end up closing it again.

So, what’s holding me back? I wish I could write every single day, no matter how busy I am. But there are some days when I feel too tired, or I feel like my writing sucks, or I don’t know where to go with the story––or a combination of all these things.

The rational part of me realizes that I should write anyway, even if it’s just two words, even if it sucks. Plus, I feel bad if I don’t write for several days in a row. But sometimes it’s hard to get past that little voice in my head whining about how it’s too hard, how I’ll never finish this story, how I’ll never be “good enough”.

As difficult as it can be, though, I try to conquer those fears every day. Even if I feel stuck, I try to get something down on paper. Some days I don’t. But on the days I do, I always feel good about it, even if the writing isn’t perfect. If anything, at least I’m practicing and (hopefully) improving. I’ve never felt like anything I’ve written has been a waste of my time––because all of it, every single word, has been a learning experience.

How about you guys? 

  • Do you write every day?
  • If you do: how do you do it?
  • Do you have a specific time/place dedicated to writing?

Music Monday: 1/11/16

Hello everyone and happy Monday! (Well okay … as I’m writing this it’s 11:30 pm so it’s cutting it a little close, but oh well.) Ready for some music?

Recently I’ve been realizing that I love a lot of songs that incorporate a children’s choir––so this week I’m sharing two songs that fall into that category. 🙂

King Creosote – Bluebell, Cockleshell, 123

This is the only song I’ve heard by Scottish singer King Creosote, but it makes me want to listen to more of his music! This song is really lovely in my opinion––it’s short and sweet and the lyrics are interesting. I love the singer’s voice and the children singing as well. 🙂

Mr. Little Jeans – Oh Sailor

This song is so pretty and it always makes me feel better. It’s very soothing and dreamlike, and I love the children singing in the chorus. It’s just such a sweet song.

Hope you enjoyed my recommendations for the week!

If you would also like to participate in Music Monday:

• Every Monday, share 1-2 songs. It can be any genre, it can be something new or it can be an old favorite. Whatever you want!
• Share a music/lyric video of the song.
• Tell us some of your thoughts/feelings about the song, artist, and/or music video.
• Submit the link to your blog post at the bottom of Lauren’s post here (where it says “Add your link”).

Are You a Planner or a Pantser?

I’ve never considered myself a very organized person––but for a long time, I always carefully planned out my novels. Before writing a single word, I would sit down and try to figure out the entire plot, scene by scene. By the time I sat down to write the story, I would pretty much know the whole thing from beginning to end.

This outlining method worked just fine for me for a few years. Then … something happened. I would get excited about a story as I was outlining it––but when it came to writing it, I would feel like all the life had been sucked out of it. I would lose interest after a few chapters. And even if I forced myself to keep writing, it would feel like a chore.

The idea of “pantsing” a novel (that is, writing it without planning it first) had always scared me a bit. I couldn’t imagine diving into a story without a full outline (or at least most of one). To me, that was comparable to being dropped in the middle of an unfamiliar city without a map.

But more recently, I’ve started to find detailed outlines suffocating. I missed the days when I could throw myself into writing without abandon––when writing felt more like an adventure and less like a rigid path I had to take.

When I started to write The Resurrectionists––my NaNo ’15 novel––I was nervous that I didn’t know enough about the story beforehand. I had a vague idea of the first couple of chapters and a little background research. But otherwise, it was a mystery to me.

I thought I would get stuck after a few chapters and have no idea what to do. Instead, I soon found the opposite to be true.

The more I wrote, the more I understood about the story. The more inspired I felt. Writing didn’t feel like a chore because I didn’t feel like certain things “had” to happen. I could let the story flow naturally without worrying that I wasn’t following a pre-planned set of events.

And that made the process of writing much more fun. Not only that, but I think the story benefited. I took risks with it that I might not have taken otherwise.

Sure, I got stuck sometimes, and I would plan another chapter or two––but I wouldn’t get too carried away with planning. I left room to experiment and to let the story keep surprising me.

At least for now, I seem to have found a balance between planning and pantsing that seems to be working well for me, and I plan to keep trying it with The Resurrectionists and other future writing projects.

But enough about me! How about you guys? Do you outline your stories before you write them? Do you “pants” your stories? Do you do some of each? Comment and let me know!

Music Monday: 1/4/16

Happy New Year, everyone! Last week I had a lot of fun reviewing my top 10 favorite albums of 2015, and I’m looking forward to another year of wonderful music.

Now it’s time for a regular ol’ Music Monday! This week I bring you two pretty songs that I hope you guys will enjoy.

ABBY – Hush

This song comes from German band ABBY off their second album, Hexagon. “Hush” is a beautiful song––it’s dark, intriguing, and atmospheric. I haven’t been able to stop listening to it lately, and it’s definitely good music for writing inspiration!

Famy – Ava

I was obsessed with this song about a year ago, and recently I have fallen in love with it again. Apparently it was featured on Teen Wolf, but otherwise I think this song is really under-appreciated. It’s a haunting and gorgeous song and I love it a lot.

If you would also like to participate in Music Monday:

• Every Monday, share 1-2 songs. It can be any genre, it can be something new or it can be an old favorite. Whatever you want!
• Share a music/lyric video of the song.
• Tell us some of your thoughts/feelings about the song, artist, and/or music video.
• Submit the link to your blog post at the bottom of Lauren’s post here (where it says “Add your link”).

Hope you guys enjoyed my two song selections! What have you all been listening to lately? Have any songs/playlists been inspiring your writing?