How to tackle a writing session (when your project is done)

writing session

All writers have that moment where you’re not technically busy with a big project anymore but you still have the urge to write (after all it’s addictive) or perhaps you simply want to keep the habit of writing regularly from slipping from you.
Whatever your reason is; now you’re sitting there in front of your computer (or notebook) but you have no clue what to write.
So I gathered the ways that I handle these days in the hopes that they help you.

 

First I would like to set some form of goal for myself to work towards for the day. That way I am focused and less likely to abandon my writing in the middle of a session.
There are two ways in which I can set my writing goal.

 

The first is a timed goal.

Back when I was still starting out with my writing and I still typed slowly I would give myself the goal of writing for an hour. This worked because it’s easy enough to just set a timer on my phone and then no matter how badly I write, or how slowly, I will still have given attention to my writing.

 

The second is a word count goal.

These days, whenever I sit down to write I give myself the goal of typing 1500 words which is approximately one scene from a story. These 1500 words can be achieved through any method.
It can be three flash fiction pieces or one long scene. Anything goes as long as I meet my goal.

 

Once I have my goal I need to figure out what I want to write (obviously)

I’ve got three exercises that I prefer to use for this.

Turn a melody into fiction.

When I was little I had an art instructor who would put crayons in front of us and turn on some music. We were then expected to listen to the music and start drawing lines that we feel represented it. A happy song was bright colour and a sad song was cold colours.
So essentially you have to represent the song in a different medium. You still with me?

Now, what you can try is to put on a song (perhaps one without lyrics) and then listen to it. You must pick up on the tone of the music and let it inspire your creativity. If this music was describing a place what place would it be? If it was describing a person how would they look? If this song was a scene from a story what events would take place?
Play around with it and write as much as you can.
This is one of my favourite exercises.

Use a prompt.

They are all over the internet.
My favourite prompts come from the fake red head. Her prompts are a lot more creative and witty than most prompts on the internet. I feel like the prompts honestly set my imagination on fire and that is why they work well for me.
Again just basically pick a prompt and roll with it. Try to get as much words down as possible.

 

Lastly – read through your old scrap writing and see if anything inspires you.

If you don’t already know – I am a big believer in the principle of saving all your old writing because no matter how bad the writing is you never know what a good idea is.
So if you are like me with a bunch of half ideas scribbled down somewhere or pieces of flash fiction saved on your computer then go read through it and see if anything jumps out at you.
Ask yourself if you can continue with this piece or if it connects to something else you’ve written.
Perhaps you had a cool magic system in one piece but the character wasn’t so great; then go right ahead and write a different version with the right character.
Play around with your old ideas because they might just spark some new ones.

 

Those are my favourite exercises and I promise you that I do not recommend anything that I don’t personally think will benefit you.
With that said I suggest that if you have a time sensitive goal you know where your recourses are beforehand so you don’t have to start googling things during your precious writing time. If the internet distracts you too much it’s better to just turn it off and stumble along on your own.

I hope this helped and as always if you liked this post please share it or comment. I would love to hear your favourite method of tackling a writing session.

My top 3 resources for writers.

3 writing resources

The only things a writer truly needs to write is an idea, some basic language skills and something to write on.
Yet if you do some digging you’ll find dozens of resources on the internet designed to make writing easier for us. Some resources are to inspire us while others are to help as plan or write faster.
I figured that since I’ve been writing for a couple of years now I might as well share with you my favourite resources so you can benefit from them as well.

The first one is obvious and you probably already know it exists.

 

Pinterest…

I tell people about the magic of Pinterest all the time and I still stick to it. Pinterest is an image based social media where you can see other people’s ideas, creations, thoughts and more. I use it throughout my writing process.
It has helped me pick names and faces for characters and I’ve even formed entire plots around some of the opinions that are shared on pinterest. So I suggest you open your Pinterest account and start searching. Look for photos and quotes.

 

Bibisco.

This one you probably haven’t heard of yet but it’s one of my favourite things ever.
It’s a computer program that helps you organise your planning. I specifically use it to help me shape my characters because it has built in character questionares (that actually work)
My experience is that it’s easy to use, it helps motivate and it’s just generally well rounded.
You can even write your story on it but I prefer not to because it just doesn’t compare to word’s Spelcheck.
I used this last year when I got stuck with Pink and it helped me slide past the probable very easily.

 

Finally Hemingway.

Hemingway is the ultimate spellchecker site.
You can copy and paste entire pieces of your writing into it and it will tell you which sentences are confusing. Which sentences are written with a passive voice and which words can be replaced.
It helps you trim your work and round off all the edges.

 

I hope that you try at least one of these things because they have helped me as a writer a whole lot and I wish for them to help you as well.
If you like this post and found it helpful please share it or comment.
I want to know what resources you would recommend. (I’m always looking for new stuff)

(Please know I only recommend things that I honestly feel you would benefit from)

A good week

Why is it that not every week is a good week? Why am I super productive during holidays and the equivalent of a potato during the school weeks?

I sincerely don’t get it! (It’s probably the emotional rest I get during holidays…)

 

In the past week alone I have…

Written an editorial calendar for July-Sept

I have written 7 blog posts (that’s one a day!)

Written my professional bio.

Arranged to write 2 guest posts

Scheduled my posts 2-3 weeks in advance

Got exercise! (so sore)

Wrote 5-7 flash fiction pieces

Went to a doctor for checkups

Practiced driving (I’m getting good)

Made an interesting lunch for 7 family members

 

 

Seriously why am I not this productive during the school weeks when I need to be (again it’s probably emotional energy)

 

 

I’m actually thinking of spring cleaning my room which is only something I do when I have *gasp* time.

 

Alright so now that I’ve bragged ranted about my week I should probably get back to it so I can bring you good content.

I’m going to clean my room and while I’m at it I’ll think of ways to make this energy stretch through to next week when school starts again.

Wish me luck

How I incorporated Mythology into my book.

Mythology in writing
Just earlier today I posted this post on Banshees from the Irish mythology but I figured I could also share how I incorporated this into my story.

In falling for Pink my main character Peggy McCarthy is a banshee which means that her scream heralds death.

But the thing is that when I started planning this story I wasn’t really sure where she gets this power from – I wasn’t exactly planning to use mythology.
So my first piece of planning for Peggy was how she looks.
Peggy is a 17 year old girl with pale skin and bright pink hair. She wears pastels or large sweaters. She wears a lot of armbands on her arms and occasionally she covers her pink hair with a beanie.

This does not sound like the pail ghosts that Banshees are sometimes described as.
So when I started researching banshees I latched onto the idea that they can shape shift. They are rumoured to be seen in three different ways – the young woman, the matron and the hag.
The stories also say that they only come out at night and that they hide in the forests.
All this came down to me as a mentality of hiding.
Banshees want to be hidden. The shape shifting is just something they do to hide.

 

So this worked perfectly for me because Peggy is an insecure girl who wants to hide. She has this voice of fear telling her to hide and run.
Peggy can’t shape shift in this book though.
I had to ask if you are a 17 year old monster who always feel like hiding, why the hell would you dye your hair bright pink?
The answer is so people don’t see the real you. People only look at her pink hair and ear piercings, which means that no one looks close enough to notice that she’s a monster.

 

My second problem was that I didn’t actually want Peggy’s scream to kill people, so I wove a reason, for her powers to be a bit duller, into her family lines.
Peggy is a half breed. Her mother was a banshee and her father was one of the people that her mother was supposed to haunt.
Her parents fell in love and raised Peggy together.

This fit like a glove because it explained why she can’t shape shift as well. Her whole Banshee side has been thinned out because her father is one of the very people that the banshees haunt.

This also leaves Peggy without anyone to haunt which is why she can live where she wants to and not have to follow anyone around.

 

The final thing of banshee lore that I added was her surname. If her father is from one of the families her mother had to haunt then there is a specific group of surnames that I could choose from.
So I chose the surname McCarthy which fit her name well, and also fit in with the rest of my story.

 

Do you think this works? Are there any more theories that you think I could add, or a question you would like to ask?

I really loved writing this story and I hope you will love reading it one day.

The Irish mythology known as the Banshee

Okay let’s talk mythology.

 

Irish mythology_ banshees

 

On to draft 2 of my story Loving Pink and I once again had to revisit my research on Irish mythology to make sure I have all my facts right.
To those of you who don’t know in my paranormal romance novel the main character, Peggy McCarthy, is a banshee.

 

Banshees are a very popular Irish Myth, and basically they would be described as Female spirits whose song or scream is a sign that someone is going to die.

 

Physically they have been described in many different ways over the years.

Some people say that they are gorgeous pale ghosts with white hair. Yet other times they are described as horribly ugly old hags.
They have also been described as plain washerwoman who looks much like everyone else but the clothes they wash have blood on it.
A common theory is that they are shape shifters that can transform from being a beautiful young maiden, to a mother, to a hag.

 

There are also conflicting stories for where they can be found.

Some of the more plain versions say that the banshees are found in Irish forests.
The more common myth though is that banshees follow certain Irish families around. They haunt the families, mark the deaths with their voices and then take care of the deceased spirits.
These families are of Goidelic origins which means that they are decedents of natives of Ireland and not decedents of the English, Norse or Norman invaders

 

With so many conflicting stories though, the question of the banshee’s origin is often lifted.

Where does the myth of Banshees come from?

There are strong beliefs that the myth of Banshees come from the traditional Irish keeners – who are woman that sing a lament over someone who died.
You can clearly see how the banshees and the keening woman can be connected. Except where the keeners sing after the death the banshee sings before the death; thus heralding that it will happen.

 

This has been really awesome topic for me to research and to bend a little to fit my story.
It’s really interesting to me, and it’s the reason why Ireland is at the top of my travel list.
If I have any facts wrong feel free to tell me, because I’ve only found all this out over the internet anyway 😛

(My top source: Irish Celtic Jewels) Read it for more information.

 

If you like this post please share or comment, I would love to hear what you think about banshees.

 

The creative process #3 : Practice and improve

Creative life #3

While I’m writing this, I am sitting on my friend’s bed after finishing reading a book. I’m a whole town away from home and I have no homework or day job here.
I only have a friend and books.

I like it here.

 

So for the first time in two weeks I feel inspired to write a blog post on the topic of being creative again.
So to continue on with the creative life series let me share with you how important it is to practice and improve.

 

The creative process step 3: practice and improve.

We started off by gathering inspiration, then we copied a bunch of other artists but right now we need to practice and improve our art.

Start with taking a look at something you created recently. It could be anything from a poem to a dance routine. Examine it and notice if there is anywhere you can improve. Think according to all the little rules you’ve picked up from other artists and compare yours to “the standard”
The standard by the way it how good other artists are.
Look at how your art differs from theirs and ask if you want to keep it like that or change it.

(disclaimer: I’m not saying you need to completely copy someone else and lose your individuality. I’m just telling you to honestly try and improve your work.)

 

Now that you know what you want to change – change it. If you can, keep both the old and the new version.
I personally like to keep everything I write so when I make changes I create a whole new file on my computer. I hardly ever delete until I’m sure I have the version I want.

 

Step 2: get feedback.

Another important part of improving your art is to get feedback from someone who knows something about your art.
This means you can’t just ask your mum and ask her what she thinks. (sorry mum)
Get it to someone who knows what they’re doing. Preferably get it to someone whose art you admire or someone who you know is better at you in your art.

Ask them questions. Ask them about the things you feel needs to be changed if they agree then you make the change if they don’t agree the choice is up to you. If they dislike something you like honestly think about what they don’t like and ask yourself if they are correct. No being personal at this stage. You need to ask yourself if your art will be better or worse without the thing they dislike and make the change yourself.

 

Now this is a process you repeat constantly.
You create. You get feedback. You improve. You create again but better.

 

I hope this was helpful to you. I hope to bring the last part which is all about creating original content out soon enough.

Sneak preview into my work in progress.

 

I know that I should publish a creative life post but unfortunately I haven’t written it yet…

 

Sneak preview

 

I’m not going to make any excuses but to make it up to you I will give you a little bit of insights into my current work in progress High Queen.

Currently the story only has about two scenes written and is still poorly planned but what I can share with you is some world building.

 

A long time ago the Caeli people were at war with each other. The five different kingdoms all battled for as much ground as they could. They never got along, they never compromised and they never shared.

Eventually though a great enemy came in from the coast and faced with sudden destruction the Caeli kingdoms joined together. Alliances were formed and after a massive battle the enemy was banished.

The king who killed the enemy was then announced the High King and the other kings swore to serve under his rule. This Kingship system is still the governing system in place – and the High King’s heirs are still on the throne. This new great Kingdom is called Caelum.

With so many years past, details of the enemy had been lost, but rumours have it that it is held captive somewhere in the massive forest which grows next to the capital city.

The fear of it is what drove the citizens to start painting protective marks on their house walls and the city’s streets. They claim that the markings can keep the old enemy away.

Despite the fact that a large amount of people simply believe this is superstition they still paint – which leaves the capital city one of the brightest places to live as layers and layers of paint have been used to create these patterns.

Since the ancient times, the Caeli have turned their eyes outwards and made alliances with the surrounding nations.
These surrounding nations include the giants, the humans, the pixies and the pirates (fancy names still need to be created)

 

 

This series is going to start with the newest High Queen, Aster who has to face a monster that may or may not have snuck out of the forest. Her only help is the shy young Lord Nickolas and the Princess Flam whose mother is bent on dethroning Aster. But then you can’t always choose your friends can you?

 

That’s the small sneak view that I can give you today. Please let me know if you like the idea of the story so far and then I’ll post again on Friday (or Saturday because I’m tardy)