Tuesday, September 29

Outlines



Some people like them, others don’t.  Do you have a preference?

Outlines can be simple to intricately detailed, they can be guidelines or rigid maps of point A to B.  Any way you look at them they are a resource  which means they are not necessary to drafting your story.

Why would you use one?

If you’re like me, when I first thinking about a story, the process is like a fire.  A fire that blazes brightly and if I don’t feed it peters out quickly.  In fact this will be the first project I attempt to complete (apart from short children stories) and knowing myself, I need something to push me along when I could easily get bogged down in an exciting scene or researching a historical tidbit.

Why wouldn’t you use one?

Many authors with loads of experience write as they create.  I love this idea but for now don’t have enough discipline to stick to one story but would be all over the place.  Some feel that when writing a mystery, they don’t want to lay it all out on the table, even to themselves but to discover along the way.
There is no right or wrong.  You may start with an outline and chuck it or get halfway through your draft and need to whip up a quick outline to keep you focused.  Whether you use one or not isn’t the issue, but using your tools wisely will help you to craft a story  that even you would read.


Here are a few Outline resources scattered about the web.

Working with Outlines

Developing an Outline:  This has become one of my most visited sites since starting school.  It’s chockfull of helpful articles.

Outlining (at the risk of being dry) :  Author talks about his use of them

How to Write a Novel: The Snowflake Method:  An in depth look on getting you started using the Snowflake

Outlining 101:  From Paperback Writer which I’ll talk more about later.  Also, check her other posts labeled outlining.

Are you Afraid of Outlines?  Three part series from Write a Better Novel
Part 1 (features example of John Grisham’s choice)
Part 2 (The Three Rivers Method)
Part 3 (Sing “I Did it My Way”)

I’ll be adding more links here.  Do you have a favorite way to outline?  Or do you prefer not to at all?  Share your opinions here!

Tuesday, September 22

Grammar Tips: Blogs

My first goal is to string along sentences in some semblance of coherency.

If you have surpassed me in this department, which is highly likely, here are a few blog posts that offer some grammar tips.


Posts for your perusal.
The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words: Copyblogger

40+ Tips to Improve your Grammar & Punctuation: Dumb Little Man

Blogs to browse.
The Grammar Phobia Blog

Grammar Blog

Motivated Grammar


How do you feel about alliteration? ;)

Saturday, September 12

School's Started and My Brain has Stalled

Naively, I didn't expect classes to start so intense or to eat up most of my time. Not that I am complaining, I'm really excited about learning a new trade, but I haven't been able to work on my blogs very much.

My posting schedule will remain the same, it's just time for me to be more efficient.

While I recharge my battery brain, take a look at NaNoWriMo's Blog.
I think I'll go out in the yard and nap in the sun, I mean write.


Do you have any large projects in November? Other than NaNoWriMo naturally.

Friday, September 4

Review: yWriter

Getting ready to crank out 50,000 can be daunting.  Doubts aside, I want to be as organized as possible going into November so when time-consuming occurrences happen, which they invariably do, I'll have a head start.  If you knew me in real life then you'd already know that organization and I have a love hate relationship.  Okay, so we're in counseling but I'm trying.
Speaking of trying, I'm giving yWriter a spin.  I'll add a list of useful software many like to use later but for now I wanted to tell you what I've thought of yWriter so far.

yWriter5 was easy to download.  I got it right from Simon Haynes SpaceJock site.  Not only is he a writer but a programmer as well.  I almost got distracted when I saw all the goodies on his site but since I'm so organized I remembered what I went there for... eventually.  Here's a list of some of his other projects.  They range from Mp3 players to timers and more. 

Alright, back to yWriter.

Pros
Easy to download
Wizard to help you get first project setup
Lots of tips, a pdf getting started guide and more
Keeps all scenes, outlines, character sketches even location and item descriptions all together
My favorite is the daily word worksheet to help you hit your goal
Free (although donations are accepted)

Cons
On a computer (for those who use more than one you can run this on a flash drive)
Deciding on what story to work on first

Want to see what is looks like? 
Bear with me as I try out Vistas snipping tool.  Use the Project Wizard Help to get started.  You can find it under the Project tab.
yWriterW
yWriterW1
yWriterW2
yWriterW3
yWriterW4
yWriterW5
Plus, look under the Help tab for more resources and tips. 
The pdf and link to SpaceJock's article page are just two examples.
yWriterW6
yWriterW7
Since I've just started using yWriter does anyone have any positive or negative experiences with it?  So far it's exceeded my expectations and now have one less excuse to be able to complete NaNoWriMo this year.

Tuesday, September 1

Doubts


 
As I begin to delve into research for my NaNoWriMo project I find doubts quietly creeping up.
  • Will I have enough time to write?
  • Will I be able to craft a story or will it be just a jumble or words?
  • Why did I have to pick a romance, can I really right a conceivable love story? 
These and many other nervous self-doubts are normal right? So what if I don't write a breakthrough story,no one else has to read it unless I want them too. I'm not doing this for any other reason but that I love meeting new characters and telling their tales. As long as I focus on that, I think I'll be okay.

I don't sound very convincing do I!
What about you? Are you nervous about making the deadline? I noticed on the forums a few days ago a list of links to similar challenges that take place throughout the year and while I don't want to use it as an excuse at least I know I can always try again in January.
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