You Are a Warrior

I like to think of the Avengers as warriors, instead of soldiers.

Soldiers are noble—they fight for their country, to protect those they love. They have honor, and camaraderie.

The Avengers…we are different. I was not surprised when we fought each other over the Sokovian Accords. Warriors have their own personal reasons for fighting. A sense of responsibility. Of past trauma.

Someone like Steve fights because he cannot help it. He needs a purpose for his strength. Why have abilities if you do not use them to help people?

Stark fights because he feels guilty about his past. Thor fights to protect a realm he cherishes. Each of us has a reason. I can see them all like fault lines in our minds. Are we each broken in a way that makes us strong, or are we on the verge of shattering entirely?

It is a delicate balance.

I think writers are the same kind of people. Warriors. Each writer has a reason. A deep, driving urge that encourages them to put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard. When you are a warrior, sometimes you must fight alone. Sometimes you must push on past your fear, past your uncertainties. Sometimes you are very lucky, and someone like Hawkeye tells you to put the past behind you, to fight for the present.

So you step up. You become an Avenger, or sign up for NaNoWriMo. You commit to use these maddening, frustrating abilities in a world that doesn’t make sense. Because you are a warrior.
That is what NaNoWriMo is all about. It gathers up all the lone warriors, driven by individual motivations. Whether you have a detailed outline or absolutely no plan how to defeat the robot horde you helped create—you are a warrior, and telling your story is one of the most important battles you’ve ever faced.

Do not lose heart. It is a big job, and scary. But you control your own fear. And you can win this battle.


Plotting and Planning and Being a Slow Writer

In the grand scheme of Team Iron Man and Team Cap... I'm not sure where I stand. I Follow Mr. Stark and understand his point of view, but Captain Rogers... his point of view is different yet also makes sense.

And yet, this isn't really about teams. This is more of "what do you believe" separated into two groups. I don't like being made to choose when I understand and don't have a problem with either choice.

Thankfully, there's absolutely nothing in writing that is like that. Or is there?

Two teams: Pantsing or Plotting.

I used to say I was a pantser, or one who wrote "by the seat of their pants". I hated outlining. I hated the thought of outlining.

But then I looked back at my notebooks and realized that I did indeed plot. Just not the whole thing before I started. And I felt lost if I didn't know what was going to happen.

I tried plotting a book last summer. An entire book using the J.K. Rowling method. I plotted it and it was beautiful. And then nothing else happened with that outline. I tried writing the story a few times, but never really got going.

Another division that doesn't get talked about a lot in writing: the people who write fast and the people who don't.

A lot of the time, it seems like I am a really slow writer. But I just finished a novel (well, 32K words...) and it took me about two months. Which to some is really fast.

Like with the dilemma between the Avengers, I don't know where I stand.

But may I submit that it doesn't matter?

The point of being a writer is to tell a story in your own unique way with your own process. I am a writer who plans a bit, getting what I need to know of my story, and then writing, making things up and planning more as I go. I write at my own speed with my own length of novel. I do not need to compare myself to other writers, unless I wish to learn from them.

NaNoWriMo is coming up. I have managed to write 50K during November once, last year. And now I have a novel I don't really want to go back and edit. Not entirely, perhaps, because I wrote it all in one month. But I don't want to try writing a novel that fast again for a while.

Instead, I am going to use NaNoWriMo to my advantage, not worrying about how many words I write in a month, but using it as a tool to encourage me to work on whatever story I'm working on.

Good luck in all your writing endeavors, no matter what your process is.

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Vision out.

Write What You Love

Sometimes, I get a little tired of what I’m working on. It feels like all I ever do is write the same stories over and over, just in different formats. As if I’m never producing anything exciting or original to share with the world. Of course, I’m also trying to save the world at the same time...but that’s beside the point.

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We’re already more than a third of the way through October, and many of you may be preparing for NaNoWriMo in November. In fact, preparing for November is the exact reason that I’m writing a shorter post this week - it takes up more time than one would think.

If you’re losing interest in your work, or if you’re unsure what to do, let me ask you this:

What stories do you love?

Is it the exciting stories where every action flows into the next? The suspenseful stories? Stories with complex characters? Ones with bittersweet endings?

Many writers are also avid readers (although it’s not a prerequisite!) and what we enjoy reading tends to affect what we enjoy writing.

So today, I’ve got two tricks of the trade for you to try, tricks that I myself have used more than once. Sadly, they aren’t impressive fighting maneuvers. (I’m still trying to learn those.)

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First, there’s a brainstorming technique.

Make a list of the following:

~ What book clich├ęs frustrate you?
~ What topics do you feel aren’t written about?
~ What were the flaws in a book you didn’t like?
~ What were the virtues of a book you did like?
~ What books would you love to read?
If there’s a book out there you want to read, then write it! It’s as simple as that. Don’t wait for someone else to write it for you.

The second piece of advice that I have to offer is this: Look at your manuscript with the eyes of a fan.

It may sound silly, but I’m my own biggest fan. Of course, I’m my own biggest critic as well. But when I’m losing motivation, when I don’t feel the same love for my work as I normally do, I have to take a step back.

Imagine your favorite fandoms, the way that you react towards the stories you love - and then imagine someone applying that same love to your novel.

Yes, there may be flaws in your plot, uncertainties in your world-building, problems with your character development. But every author's work has that. No one writes a perfect book, not J.R.R. Tolkien or J.K. Rowling or any other famous author.

Your story has merit - and someday, I hope to be one of your fans.

Announcing October Twitter Chat

Hello, readers.

I'm here to announce that this month's Twitter Chat will be on October 22 at 8:30 PM EDT. We will be discussing NaNoWriMo preparations and strategy.

We hope you will join us!