Music Monday: 4/25/16

Oops, it’s been three whole weeks since I last did a Music Monday post! I apologize for my forgetfulness; I’ve been a little scatter-brained lately. 😛

Music Monday is a meme started by Lauren at Always Me. Check out her blog for the rules, and to link up to your own Music Monday post if you decide to do one!

Without further delay, here are my two music recommendations of the week.


Lydia – Georgia

I’ve been a Lydia fan since I was in high school. The band has gone through a lot of transformations since then––shifting band members, breaking up and getting back together, etc. As a result, their sound has also jumped around a bit, but I’ve always loved their music regardless. I recently discovered they’d released an album last year and I’d never heard about it for some reason, so that was a bit of a pleasant surprise! I’ve been listening to this album a lot recently, and it has a lot of good tracks on it. “Georgia” is probably my favorite, though.

Andrew McMahon – Synesthesia

This song came out a couple years ago, and I remember liking it back then. But I’d kind of forgotten about it for a while, and recently I “re-discovered” it and I’ve been listening to it quite a lot. Something about this song really speaks to me; I love the lyrics, and there’s something that feels very honest and comforting about it.

Thanks for joining me, and I hope you liked my song choices! To see all my past song recs, you can check out my other Music Monday posts, or you can listen to this Spotify playlist.

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Camp NaNoWriMo (April 2016): Week Three

Only a little more than a week of Camp NaNoWriMo left! I’ve been a bit busier than usual lately, so I’ve fallen slightly behind. But I still think I can catch up in these last 9 days.

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Week Three Progress Report:

Last Week’s WC/CC: 57,563 words / 23 chapters

Current WC/CC: 60,156 words / 24 chapters

Progress Since Last Week: 2,593 words / 1 chapter

Progress So Far This Month: 9,656 words / 5 chapters

How It’s Going:

In terms of word count, this has been my worst week so far. I’m trying not to despair about it, though. At least I’ve kept up my streak of writing every day this month, so that’s something to be proud of! And I’m not too behind on my goal, so I think I can still make my 15k monthly goal.

As for the story itself, I’m still floundering a little bit. I didn’t write as much as I wanted to this week, so I’m still working my way towards some more interesting chapters. But I think in the last week, I’ll be writing some more fast-paced scenes.

An Excerpt From This Week:

Sure enough, when Gabriel lifted his head, he saw Matthias sprinting down the street––dodging the other people around him, his coattails flapping madly in the wind.

“Henry, Gabriel!”

Gabriel smiled, surprised by how genuinely relieved he felt. “Told you he wasn’t dead.”

“You didn’t, though.” Henry pocketed the few coins they had made, and stuffed his hat back on his head. “You just said it wouldn’t be funny if he was dead.”

There was no more time to argue about it, because just then Matthias came stumbling to a halt in front of him. Bright redness dappled his cheeks, and he bent over for a moment to catch his breath.

“Good God, Matt. Is something wrong?” Henry demanded, stepping forward.

Matthias waved him off. “No, no. I just ran from the school, that’s all. I realized I forgot to come by this morning and tell you I was fine.” He stood up straight again, adjusting the collar on his jacket. “It was just … I was running a bit late, and I had an exam. And I needed to pay Lena first.”

“Ah, that’s right,” Henry said. “Lena.” He drew out her name as if it had some kind of secret significance, but he sobered when Gabriel threw him a look. “So, how is she? She didn’t decide to … turn us in, I take it?”

“Not that I’m aware of,” Matthias said, finally starting to get his breath back. “In fact, she said she would help us again if we needed it.”

“Again?” the Beckett brothers both said at once.

“You can’t be serious,” Gabriel said. “I thought this was just …” He couldn’t even seem to find the words to finish the sentence.

Matthias looked between them with a surprisingly shocked expression, as if he couldn’t understand why they weren’t thrilled about stealing dead bodies.

And that’s a wrap on Week Three! For those of you who are also working on something for Camp NaNo, good luck in the sprint to the finish line. 🙂

Why Smaller Word Goals Might Be Better Than Larger Ones

I’ve often found that setting word goals is a good way to motivate myself. When I’ve been procrastinating too much, sometimes a certain word goal can help me get back on track.

But other times, I find word goals intimidating. Sometimes I’ve told myself I’m going to write 1,000-2,000 words a day––but the thought of it would be so exhausting, I just wouldn’t end up doing any writing at all.

This is why I’ve found that sometimes setting smaller word goals is better motivation than setting large word goals.

It’s all a matter of figuring out what works best for you, of course, but for me the ideal daily word goal is somewhere between 300-500 words. It’s enough to write a good chunk of a scene, but it’s small enough to not seem too daunting.

Not only that, but smaller word goals help me focus on what’s important. I’ve found that if I try to tackle an enormous word goal in one day, I only end up writing a lot of filler and dancing around the point of the scene. With a modest goal, I have less of a sense of panic. It’s not about cranking out a massive amount of words, but about making those few words count. As the old adage goes: it’s about quality, not quantity.


How about you guys?

  • Do you set word goals for yourself?
  • If you do set goals, do you prefer smaller or larger ones?

Camp NaNoWriMo (April 2016): Week Two

As of yesterday, week two of Camp NaNoWriMo has come to an end. For all of you who are participating, I hope you’re making good progress and cranking out those words! Week two always seems to be the hardest, so I hope you are all pushing through. I believe in you! 😀

In case you missed my update last week: I am using Camp NaNo to continue working on The Resurrectionists, which I started in November for NaNo ’15. My monthly goal is 15,000 words (500 words a day), which will bring the whole manuscript to around 65k.

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Week Two Progress Report:

Last Week’s WC/CC: 53,605 words / 21 chapters

Current WC/CC: 57,563 words / 23 chapters

Progress since last week: 3,958 words / 2 chapters

Progress so far this month: 7,069 words / 4 chapters

How It’s Going:

Week two was a bit tougher for me than week one. I still managed to stay on track and to write every day, which is great! However, I felt like the actual writing was a bit rough this week. I kept putting off writing until late at night, and at that point it just kind of felt like a chore. Like, “I have to do this or I can’t go to sleep, so I’d better do it.”

As a result, I feel like the two chapters I wrote were not particularly exciting or interesting; they both consist of somewhat lengthy conversations that don’t seem to have much of a point. In some ways it’s been helpful, though, because it’s made me realize I need to work more on my characters’ personalities and motivations. I keep starting scenes thinking, “Okay, what do the characters want in this scene?” And then I discover … I don’t really know. So, that’s a bit of a problem.

Additionally, as I said last week, I’m still playing things by ear. That is, I’m essentially making this story up as a go. In a way, it makes things feel more spontaneous and fun––but also, I feel like at times I wander too much from the main plotline because I don’t know how much I should be revealing yet. I think I’m getting into some of the more important chapters soon, though, so hopefully I will have some more interesting things to write in the next few days.

An Excerpt From This Week:

Cyrus walked along the length of the desk, trailing his fingers along the edge. “Yes,” he said, “I believe she’s going to be all right. I didn’t have time to check on her progress this morning, but Alice and Isaac are taking good care of her, I’m sure.”

“Alice and Isaac,” Matthias repeated. “You told me they were––that you’d …” He couldn’t seem to form the words, because they still seemed too preposterous to believe.

“Yes.” Cyrus smiled again. He had now walked around the desk, and stood facing Matthias with his hands clasped behind his back. “I brought them back.”

“You resurrected them.”

“Well …” Oddly enough, the professor chuckled. “It sounds so serious when you put it that way.” When he saw the shock on Matthias’s face, he sobered. “I’m sorry, I suppose I shouldn’t be joking about it. You’re right, Winters. It is quite a feat––a miracle, one might say. But I can’t take all the credit for it.”

Matthias frowned, not understanding. “Someone’s helping you?”

The professor looked down suddenly, and turned to look out the small classroom window. “Not exactly.”

“I don’t understand, professor.”

“I’m sorry. What I meant to say is … not anymore.”

Something about his distant expression, and the grim tone to his voice, prevented Matthias from asking further questions.

Cyrus cleared his throat. “I can’t go into detail––not now, anyway. But I can tell you, I once had two … colleagues, I suppose you could call them. Many years ago. Brilliant men, both of them. Unfortunately, we went out separate ways.”

Something about the vague anecdote seemed unsettling to Matthias, although he couldn’t quite place what it was. But he had the sense that there was a lot more to the story than that.

Happy end of Week Two! We’re halfway through Camp NaNo already, and I wish the best of luck to anyone else who is participating. 😊

Camp NaNoWriMo (April 2016): Week One

It’s already a week into April, which also means that the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo is coming to an end. For those of you who don’t know, Camp NaNo is similar to the usual NaNoWriMo––except it takes place in April and July, and participants can set their own word goals and have a bit more freedom with the project they’re working on (that is, it doesn’t have to be a novel).

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As I’ve mentioned, I’m using the month of April to continue working on The Resurrectionists. It was my NaNo ’15 novel, which I hadn’t worked on since November. At first I was a little nervous about diving back into it, but so far I think things have been going pretty well.

My goal for the whole month is to add 15,000 words to what I already have (which will add up to a total of about 65,000). So, that’s 500 words per day! You can learn more about the story here, if you’re curious.

Week One Progress Report:

Current WC/CC: 53,605 words / 21 chapters

Progress This Week: 3,105 words / 2 chapters

How It’s Going:

Not bad! Jumping back into the story has not been as difficult as I expected it to be––maybe because I was still thinking about the story and planning it, even in the months I was focusing on other projects.

During November, I found it useful to try a combination of outlining and pantsing. So for this month, I’m trying the same thing: I outline a little, but I try not to plan more than a couple chapters ahead. I’ve found that this way, it doesn’t feel like I’m trying to force the story in any direction. I’m allowing myself to just explore it, and it’s much more fun and surprising that way. Not only that, but the flow of the story feels more natural to me. It’s like using stepping stones to get across a river; once I’ve jumped onto one stone, I figure out how I’m going to jump to the next one––rather than trying to leap across the whole river at once.

As for my word goal, I’ve found 500 words per day to be very doable. It doesn’t seem too overwhelming, but it’s enough to make some good progress every day. I haven’t written anything yet today, but I only have to write about 400 words to reach my daily goal, so I’m not worried about it.

An Excerpt From This Week:

At last, she had let the silence last for far too long, and she felt herself weakening under Elmira’s desperate gaze.

“I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “I have to tell you the truth.”

“Which is what, exactly?”

“Which is …” She took a deep breath, willing herself to say it. “It’s true, what he said. You were dead.”

At that, Elmira shrunk back as if she’d been slapped. “But––But I’m not. I didn’t––” Her breathing started to go ragged. One hand flew to her chest.

Oh, no. Alarmed, Alice lurched to her feet again. I shouldn’t have said it. Now I’ve killed her … “Elmira?”

“I can’t feel my heart. Or … I can, but something’s not right.”

Alice felt the mechanical clicking in her own chest, and she drew in a deep breath as she tried to find the words to explain it to Elmira. At this point, she’d nearly forgotten what a real heartbeat felt like. If she reached deep into her memories, she could faintly recall it––the organic, heavy thudding of a human heart. What it felt like to be alive.

“I know it feels strange at first,” Alice said. “It took me months to grow used to it. But you will, in time.”

Elmira kept her hand against her chest, her brow furrowed. “So you’re saying you’re … This happened to you, too?”

“Yes.” To prove it, Alice drew the collar of her dress down slightly to reveal the scar that ran through her chest. She didn’t like to look at it, but she’d seen it often enough in the mirror to know what it looked like. After a year of healing, it was still very visible, but not quite as ghastly as it had once looked. It had faded to a white, puckered trail that ran from the hollow of her throat all the way to her stomach. After her own initial operation, she had been alarmed at how quickly it healed––but Cyrus had reassured her that it was normal.

Slowly, Elmira lowered her hand from her chest, and leaned forward slightly to stare at Alice’s scar. Then she leaned back again, looking away shyly. “What––What happened to you? To both of us?”

At the question, Alice tried not to wince. She didn’t like to remember her life before. As strange as this new life was, it was worlds better than where she had once been.

“We died,” she said simply. “And Cyrus brought us back.”

Thus concludes week one of Camp NaNo! Thanks for joining me, and I will update again next week. 😀

How about you guys? Is anyone else doing Camp NaNo? If so, what are your projects about?

#WIPpetWednesday: 4/6/16

Hey guys! I’ve decided that for the month of April, I’m going to skip my usual #WIPWednesday post and just stick to posting my #WIPpet for each week. Why, you ask? Because I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo, so I figured that I’d do the same kind of weekly update that I posted during NaNo in November. Tomorrow marks the end of the first week of Camp NaNo, so stay tuned for more updates on that!

If you didn’t know already, I’ve decided to take a month-long break from I Chose the Monster to work on The Resurrectionists for Camp NaNo. So this week, my WIPpet comes from the latter.

#WIPpetWednesday is a meme started by Emily at A Keyboard and an Open Mind. The rules are simple: every Wednesday, post a snippet from your WIP, with the word count being related to the date somehow.

Today is 4/6, so here is the first paragraphs of chapter 4. (The 6th paragraph should probably be like 3 paragraphs but lol oh well, I’ll leave it for now.)

It was another minute or so before Matthias felt as if he could breathe again––and even then, his chest still ached as if a giant stone had been crushing him.

At last, Henry gave a low whistle and interrupted the silence. “Can you believe that?”

“I’m not sure if I do,” Gabriel muttered. He had been rather quiet during the whole ordeal, and now he nervously adjusted the hat on his head. “She could’ve been lying.”

The other two said nothing. They all watched as Lena disappeared into the shadows. Not long after, a light appeared on the hill––a lantern in the near distance, which seemed to be her indication to them that she was still there.

“At any rate, she knows all our names now,” Henry said. “No matter what, she has the power to turn us all in if she wants to. So … I don’t know. I suppose we might as well finish this if she is, in fact, going to let us get away with it. What are you thinking, Matt?”

The question caught Matthias off-guard, and he shook his head. “I …” He looked down at the shovel, which he had dropped at his feet. He looked at the meager hole he had started to dig. Again, he looked back up to the top of the hill where he could see Lena’s lantern flickering in the distance. The rational part of him argued that he should go after her and tell her that they weren’t going to go through with this after all. It was a terrible idea. It was wrong. Besides, he didn’t even know if Cyrus was sane, or if he was truthful. Maybe the professor wasn’t working on anything miraculous. Maybe he wasn’t going to pay them as well as he’d promised to and Matthias would have nothing to repay Lena with. But on the other hand, he felt like it was too late to turn back. And if it was all true––if Cyrus really was working on something important, if he really was going to pay them handsomely, if there was really a chance of this becoming something significant … he realized he didn’t want to give it up.

How about you guys?

  • Are any of you also doing Camp NaNo? What are your projects/world goals?
  • If you also posted a WIPpet, please link me to it!

Writing Chronologically Vs. Writing Out of Order

You’re writing your first draft, and all of a sudden you find yourself at a road block. You just don’t feel inspired by the scene you’re trying to crank out. Soon, your mind starts wandering. You find yourself longing to write a scene that doesn’t happen until further down the road.

What do you do? Do you skip ahead to that more exciting scene? Or do you stick to the scene you’re writing?

There are costs and benefits to each, and it depends on what your writing style is like and what works for you.

Reasons to Write Chronologically

  • You won’t get confused about the order of scenes. If you don’t write chronologically, you might not know how to piece together all the random scenes you’ve written.
  • You get to experience the progression of the story and characters. If you’re writing in order, you get to experience firsthand how the story unfolds. You’ll live through the plot at the same rate as your characters––and therefore, you might have a better understanding of how your characters develop over time. This might also help you avoid continuity errors.
  • You can use exciting scenes as rewards/motivation for getting through the scenes in between. If you write all the most exciting scenes at once, what is there to look forward to? It may be hard to get through the slower scenes––but it helps to know that if you get through those scenes, you have something more exciting to write later!

Reasons to Write Out of Order

  • It could help you get unstuck. If writer’s block is absolutely killing your motivation, trying a new scene might help you get your mojo back.
  • You might end up writing fewer unnecessary scenes. After you’ve written the scenes you’re most excited about, you might discover you need less filler between them than you might have written otherwise.
  • If you have a brilliant scene planned out, it might help to write it down before you forget it. Ah, forgetting what you were going to write: it’s happens to the best of us. Every writer hates that feeling. So if you have a thrilling scene in mind that you don’t want to forget, it might help you to write it down before you lose it. If it ends up having continuity errors in it, you can always go back and fix it.

 

As you can see, there are compelling arguments for both. I started a conversation about this topic on Twitter, and I got a bunch of interesting and varied responses! I love hearing about everyone’s writing process and what works for them.

How about you guys? Do you prefer to write your scenes chronologically or out of order?

Music Monday: 4/4/16

I can’t believe it’s already April! It snowed here the past two days, which has made me pretty upset. 😛 I WANT IT TO BE SPRING, DAMMIT. *Takes a deep breath* Well, hopefully the weather will warm up again soon. I guess we’re paying for having a pretty mild winter, haha.

Sorry I skipped Music Monday last week, but hopefully today’s two song recommendations will make up for it!

Music Monday is a meme started by Lauren at Always Me. You can check out her blog to find the (very simple!) rules, and to link up to your own Music Monday post if you want to do one.


 

PVRIS – You and I

PVRIS (it’s pronounced “Paris” *shrugs*) is a three-piece rock band from Lowell, Massachusetts (very near where I live!!). They’ve been steadily gaining a loyal following, and it’s cool to see a local band gaining so much fame! I’m going to see them in a couple months, and I’m super excited. 🙂 Their songs usually have kind of a pop-punk vibe that makes me nostalgic for my teen years, but I also like the electronic/dubstep edge to this track, “You and I.” Plus, the music video has a lot of cool visuals.

Sheppard – Geronimo

I came across this song sometime last year, and it’s been one of my favorites since then. It’s really catchy and upbeat, and it always makes me feel happier. I also like the music video: it’s a little strange maybe, but it’s cute!


How about you guys? What have you been listening to lately? Do you have any song recommendations to add? Also, feel free to link me to your Music Monday post if you wrote one!