The Writing Newbie

Writing is an adventure. Enjoy the journey and write the way you love!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolution

Happy Holidays everyone!! 

It's a little bit late, but I hope everyone had a great time and is enjoying this holiday season with their family and friends! 

I haven't been writing a lot here and for that I appologize but I have been very busy with my first semester at the University of Amsterdam! 
I still remember how nervous I was just a few months ago, and how I thought I would never get used to it. And now it's almost 2012 already. 

I haven't written a lot in this time, although NaNoWriMo did help as it usually does to get me into the writing mood again. Did it work for you guys? I hope you managed to reach your goal if not for the 50.000 words than your personal goal! 

The end of a year is a time to look back and see what we have done. I went to England for a year, I am writing on my thrid book in my series (and loving it) and I made some amazing friends, both here on the internet and in school and I've almost finished my first semester at uni!

My goals for next year are the same as the last few: 
  • Have fun
  • Grab uppertunities
  • Make new friends
  • WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
  • Try to get an agent
  • And try to get my novel published :)

I hope you guys will do great on your writing as well and if you have the dream to get published go for it! 
Leave a comment if you want to share your new year's resolutions with us :) 

I probably won't be posting a lot anymore because I have said most of what I wanted to say.
But that doesn't mean I don't check on it often.
I could write more about myself if anyone would care to read about that, but I wouldn't want to bore you too much :) 
So if you have a question, or just something to tell or maybe something writing related you want to share (like a site or an event I can post about) please let me know!

Thank you for staying with this blog for 2011 and have an amazing 2012!! 

And as always, keep writing! 

Xx LordKiwii 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

NaNoWriMo has started again! 


As you might know, every year in November there is this online event called NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month. 
As the name suggests you're supposed to write a whole novel (50.000 words) in just one month! On the website you can keep track of your progress, chat on the forum and add friends. Last year was my first NaNoWriMo year and I really enjoyed it.


Somehow with everything going on, it can be very hard to find time to really write. Personally I haven't written in ages (as you can see by the date of the last blog post....sorry!) and I do find that events like this help you get back into gear again!



So forget about school, friends, work and all other stuff for a while and just write! write! write! (ok maybe you shouldn't forget about the other stuff completely). 



Here are some tips:

1. Do try and write every day. Even if you're busy try and squeeze in those 1667 words a day, and you will see it will be no problem wining this thing! 

2. Don't worry if you do miss a day or a few. you can always catch up during the weekend.

3. Don't think too much! Just enjoy and type away! The point of NaNoWriMo is to make a first draft, not a masterpiece ready for publication.

4. Make friends! Having friends who also dedicate themselves on a month of writing can be really helpful and can also motivate you to keep going.
5. Don't edit your work! Go back to your story in December or January and start editing away. But don't waste precious time! 

6. You might want to plan things out a bit. At least the big lines. Because you'll have to write fast and every day---which means there isn't all that much time for thinking about things!

7. Try to write every day at the same time if you can. Make writing a habit! 

8. Bring notebooks with you everywhere you go! Have a boring Chem. class? Start writing the next chapter of your awesome novel!

9. Keep the goal in mind when things get tough. Remember, just one month and you'll have a real novel! That's truly amazing! 

10. Don't under any circumstances forget to have FUN!! :)

I hope some of you will decide to try this year. Don't be afraid! Even if you don't make the 50K mark in time, you might still have written 10K or 20K on your novel that you wouldn't have otherwise! 

If you want to add me as a friend, my name is LordKiwii! 


So head over to nanowrimo.org and join up! It's the first day today so go write! :) 


I'll leave you with a fun nanowrimo song that was written by the well known YouTuber italktosnakes! :) 



video

(Here is the youtube link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78mvUeBw7MM&feature=youtu.be It's brand new so it wouldn't let me put it up here)

Keep writing!

Xx LordKiwii






Friday, July 15, 2011

Q&A #2

A while back I was asked the following questions in the comments and I thought it was about time that I answered them. Sorry for taking so long. I hope that the following post will help.


1.       Is it better to try and publish a stand-alone book or could I try with my trilogy?

Let me say first that this is pure guessing and speculation on my end; I am no editor. However you do hear of beginning authors getting two or three book deals.

Good writing = good writing.

 If an agent or publisher likes your writing and your book there should be no reason for them not to publish it. Even if it’s a part one of a series. In fact if they really fancy it they might be happy with more books on their way!

I have heard of authors who in fact got a multiple book deal for a standalone book, and they had to try and make a sequel. So having a series is by no means a handicap.

I imagine though, that if they are a bit more cautious about your novel, that they might offer you a one book deal at first, and another one for more books if the first one appears to be selling well.

For those of you who didn’t know, a book deal means that you can with almost certainty say that one of your books will be published. A two book deal means that you agreed to write two books for one publisher. It creates a sense of security but with most contracts also means that you have to use that Publisher even if a better offer comes along.

However, I can imagine that certain publishers might be more inclined to reject a three book project if they are not completely 100% sure it will sell.

 I think you have to focus on just the first novel in your query and leave the fact that it is a part one till the end, so that they’ll at least read a bit of your writing first. If anyone disagrees or knows more please let us know in the comments!


2.       Will drawings of characters & locations help sell my book to publishers?

I don’t think that publishers care much about the drawings unless you are planning to illustrate your own book. It might come in handy when deciding the cover design or the drawings of the illustrator (if you’re planning on drawings throughout your book) but it should not affect the publisher’s decision.

Though  in a way—yes it does.
Because by drawing the characters and locations they will become more real for YOU. If you draw a map of a place, it will be easier to move your characters around in at and it will prevent mistakes (like things not matching up or changing location etc.). If you draw characters they might come more alive for you, if you really have an image of them to look at.

Whenever I have trouble describing a character I usually draw them so I have a more solid image of what is in my mind. Then I start describing that image (you don’t have to be good at drawing to do this. Just as long as it helps you along).

So in short the pictures themselves probably won’t change the publishers decision (if you’re not an illustrator as well) but can improve your writing and therefore your chances.

3.       How do you come up with good character names?

If you cannot come up with a good name you might need to get to know your character first a bit more. We all know those people with names that just seem to fit their personality completely. It’s like their parents somehow knew.  Well that’s what you need to do!

I like to look at sites like babynames.com for names to choose from. I also like to carry around a little address book in which I write funny, beautiful or interesting names I come across in everyday life.
For more info on how to name your character please read my previous blog post on the subject! :-)


I hope this post helped some of you out there! I will try to upload a post more frequently. If anyone has more questions or suggestions about posts please email me or leave them in the comments! You’d really be helping me and everyone who reads this blog out!
J
I won’t be online much the next weeks because I’m going on holiday to Germany! And we probably won’t have any internet there at all.

But please leave a comment anyway and I’ll see you all again soon! Is anyone planning something fun for their summer holiday? Let me know!

And remember to use all these free time to write and have fun!

Keep Writing!

Xx LordKiwii 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Camp NanoWriMo!

Camp NanoWriMo has started!
Time to pack your tent and your sleeping bag and head out to the lake campsite where NanoWriMo will take place this summer!
Today is the first day where many campers start with fresh courage on their novels! 

Basically Camp NanoWriMo is the same as the normal writing month, only this time in July! The goal is to write a 50.000 word novel in just one month. That's 31 day!

I really recommend this program to everyone. It's so much better writing with a deadline and a certain word count you should do a day. And the feeling you get after you've finished the camp and have your first draft completed in your hands is amazing! :) 

For those of you who don't know, it's completely free, you don't have to show your story to anyone and it's a website to use while writing your story. If you head over to the original site,  www.nanowrimo.org you can participate on the forum to make new friends, show off your work or ask questions. 

So head over to www.campnanowrimo.org you campers! :) 

I'd also like to give a quick explanation of why I haven't updated a post sooner when I said I would and give you a very good tip!

The reason I haven’t uploaded anything is because my computer crashed, together with all my data. I spend the last few days trying to get it fixed, finding a new laptop when it couldn't, and restoring all the data that I had left--which thankfully I had an backup of on an external hard drive.
I still lost some good (short) stories though which I'll never get back. I also lost some chapters of big projects I was working on. So please remember:

ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR STORY!!! 

Trust me you don't want to go through the horror of trying to rewrite lost chapters while knowing it was better before but not knowing exactly what you wrote. 

On a more happier note: It's summer people!!! Enjoy the sun and the freedom this holiday brings.
And most of all, don't forget to Keep Writing! ;-) 


Xx LordKiwii 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Advice from Authors

A few days ago I found this wonderful blog post by an author called Steve Silberman trying to get advice on how to write a novel. He describes how his passion for writing started and what kind of book he is writing and that is fascinating and inspiring on its own but what was really great was the advice of 23 authors that he included after his blog post.
At the time I’m writing this I’m only half way through, but already I’ve seen some great advice! I’ll post some of my favorites here to give you a neat little selection and to help those who are too lazy to read the whole thing (it’s pretty long haha). However I do encourage you to read the entire blog post and I hope that it will be helpful to you!

Carl Zimmer
Be ready to amputate entire chapters. It will be painful.

David Shenk
Make it great, no matter how long it takes. There’s no such thing as too many drafts. There’s no such thing as too much time spent. As you well know, a great book can last forever. A great book can change a person’s life. A mediocre book is just commerce.”

“Let some of you come through. You’re obviously not writing a memoir here, but this book is still partly about you — the world you see, the way you think, the experiences you have with people. And trust me, readers are interested in who you are. So don’t be afraid to let bits and pieces of your personality and even life details seep into the text. It will breathe a lot of life into the book.”

 Ben Casnocha
“Develop a very serious plan for dealing with internet distractions. I use an app called Self-Control on my Mac.”
“Develop a very, very, very serious plan for dealing with internet distractions.”

 Cory Doctorow
“Write when the book sucks and it isn’t going anywhere. Just keep writing. It doesn’t suck. Your conscious is having a panic attack because it doesn’t believe your subconscious knows what it’s doing.”
Mark Frauenfelder
“Don’t forget to write the book that you want to read.” 

Josh Shenk

Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.

And these are only a select view of the many advices given! Check them all out here:
I hope you enjoy reading it!
I’ll try to get a blog post up next week but I’m moving back to The Netherlands so I might not be able to make it.

What was your favourite tip? Or have your own tip you want to share? Leave a comment below! J Tell me what you thought!

Keep writing!

Xx LordKiwii

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Writing support

We all know that writing a novel (or any kind of story) is incredibly fun—but also miserable work at times. Most of us experience periods where we just don’t feel like writing, have no ideas, think our characters seem fake, the plot too flawed and lose all confidence in our writing. What we need at times like those is a gentle push and encouragement to get us started again.

And that’s where writing support comes in. Writing becomes much easier and more enjoyable if you have someone who believes in you, encourages you and maybe even reads your work and gives you feedback from time to time.
For me my biggest support is my family who keeps believing in me and gives me advice and support. My parents read everything I ask them to, gave me a laptop for my writing and even allowed me to go to England for a year to improve my English! And my brother is always there to tell me to write (much needed lol) or talk about writing with me. I owe them a lot.

However some people don’t feel confident showing their family their work or have parents who are less interested in writing—or have some other reason not to have their family as support. Don’t worry! There are plenty of other places to get support and inspiration from! These days it’s mainly the internet. Though there are other places and people you can confide in!
Here are some:

·         Your friends 

Most of my friends love that I write and encourage me. However not all of them are that fond of reading themselves or reading my work. Don’t ever push anyone to read your work. They won’t enjoy it and it won’t help you! Some might give some great feedback however or give you that ego boost you might need at times by telling you they love your writing or admire what you’re doing. Having your friends’ support you is great and make sure you keep them updated on your projects but don’t talk about it all the time and bore them to death! ;-)

               Your teacher
Personally this hasn’t really worked for me. I’ve had a lot of teachers who found it fascinating what I did and told me they loved that I want to become a published writer, but most of the time it stops there. Remember that they’re just your teachers and they’re pretty busy so don’t get upset if they don’t have time to read your work! It might be nice to mention what you’re doing however and especially literature teachers will find it fascinating most of the time and can support you!




·         A writers group

I’m not really an expert on writers group, seeing as I’m not in one (writing in English while living in Holland isn’t common enough for there to be groups ) but I’ve heard that there are a lot and with some searching you might find one close by! I’d really recommend trying it out, don’t be scared to share! Even if you don’t want to share your work, hearing about the work of others and just having the same passion for writing can be stimulating enough!

·         Book club

If there isn’t a writers group, I’m certain there is a book group somewhere nearby! And although it’s about reading and not writing, they are essentially your public and who is better at criticism and support than someone who loves reading?

Then there are more places on the internet:

·         Blogs

There are a lot of blogs that revolve around the theme of writing, mine being one of them. Blogs are a great way to meet more people who are interested in the same thing as you are; writing! Don’t be shy and leave comments and interact with other people. Open up about your writing and find support and encouragement to continue! J

·         Twitter

I’ve met some great friends on twitter and seeing as it’s one of my favorite ways to procrastinate, it helps me a lot. If I’m on twitter talking about how I should really be writing it helps if a follower comments “Just do it then!” or something of the sorts. It’s also fun to see the progress of others and get inspired by their dedication! You can follow me on twitter as well! Just push the little twitter button at the top right corner ;-)

Goodreads

This is a site about books where you can look up books and writers and people's opinion about it, but also to digitize your library and everything you've read till now. It's a great place to meet people who read the same books that you do and on the forums you can find great friends and fellow writers! I really recommend it! 

·         Nanowrimo

I’ve only done it for one year but I LOVED it. I’m the kind of person who works well under a time limit and I must say that having a daily amount of words that you “have” to do really worked for me. Plus I found some great friends on the forums and added them on twitter as well and we stimulated each other to make it to the end! You can see each other’s word count as well and can compete to win first! See my NaNoWriMo blog post for more info. They’re having a summer special this year as well! More on that later!

·         Forums

Like I said above, forums can be great places to find fellow writers and talk about your writing or maybe even posting a bit of your work!

·         Etc.
There are so many places online to find support. All you need to do is go out there and find them! Good luck! Just one warning: be careful who you show your work too. Never show / send everything, only small pieces. And make sure you can trust them. It doesn’t happen often but someone can run off with your work so keep a cautious eye out J. Don’t post too much (aka the entire thing) online either or publishers may be less inclined to publish it!

So tell me, where do you get your support from?
Please leave a comment guys!! I’d love that!
Thanks for reading! Sorry it was a bit of a long one ^^"


Keep Writing!

Xx LordKiwii 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stick to your story!


This blog post is for all those people out there who get bored with their story half way through—and for those few ones who are lucky enough to have too many ideas in their heads!
I know how incredibly tempting it is, when you have a new story idea in your head and you get all excited and write down the beginning, and the characters, to just forget about your other story. But let me tell you now: It doesn’t work. Trust me.
There may be the odd exception here and there, but in general you really do need to stick to your story! Whenever I get a story idea I just get this excited and itchy feeling all over that tells me that I need  to write it down no matter what. And yes right now that other idea does sound more interesting, and yes you are tired of the story you’re writing now, and yes you feel like you need to write something new or you’ll never write at all. But my advice is: don’t!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big supporter of note books filled with story ideas and even a few chapters and maybe full character descriptions of a different story. By all means, when an idea comes to you find some time to write everything down. This can be one sentence, or five chapters. But then let it go. Even if it is just for now. Because when the time comes, you’ll be bored with this new idea as well and another  even better idea comes along. That way you’ll never finish a story.
 
Personally I’m all in for sticking to your main story. Wonderful ideas will keep coming when you’re being creative. When you’re writing you’re being creative and stimulating your brain to come up with more ideas. Like when you just write nonsense all day when you’re stuck, to send the message to your brain that you need ideas.
I won’t lie. Personally I’m working on about five stories at once. And for some people that really works. Just like how I read about seven books at the same time and most people prefer to read just one at a time. But with me I always keep one story as the main story, which I work on all the time. And one story as my second story, which I work on whenever I get ideas for it, or to keep creativity flowing when I'm terribly stuck with the other one. The others are more dead projects, just a few chapters which I might read or add something to from time to time when I’m really stuck, and which I’ll return to when I’m finished with story #1 and #2.
Remember, this is what works for me! If you love working on 5 stories don’t let anyone stop you! Just be careful that you do actually finish one.

And remember, never throw anything away! You might think you’re working on a terrible dead end story, but you did love it once, in the beginning. And if you come back to it again after a while you might be able to see what went wrong and it could turn out as your best piece yet!

When you’re writing be sure to keep in mind the goal: finishing. Finishing a story, no matter how long it is, is a cause of celebration and should give you a great amount of satisfaction. Not a lot of people can say they wrote a novel after all!

I hope this helped anyone out. The question was asked by Gabelafastoe. I really hope I helped you! And thanks for your comments! ^.^
And I’m sorry everyone for not blogging in ages. I’m VERY sorry!
Thank you guys for always reading my blog and sticking with me! I’ll try to be more active.
Also if anyone has any questions or ideas of blog posts I could write, PLEASE COMMENT! You’d really help me!
J

Keep writing!

Xx LordKiwii




Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Troubles Of (Not) Writing

For some unexplainable reason I have hardly written a word this year. I am sorry you haven’t heard from me this long and thank you for waiting! But as a lame excuse I must say that ALL my writing has suffered. I guess you could say that life got in the way.

And that’s a problem. Because I love writing. And I think that all of you to some degree love writing, otherwise why would you read a blog about it?
I want to be a published writer with all my heart. I love writing. I love getting to know my characters as close friends and feeling the thrill of those blank pages still lying ahead of you. I love suddenly breaking off conversations because you suddenly had a breakthrough. Or grabbing a notebook in class because you had the most perfect idea in your daydream and need to write it down (and as a bonus your teacher will think you’re finally taking an interest in what they are saying). I adore waking up from a dream in the middle of the night and having to grope for a paper and then try to figure out what you have scribbled down because you were too lazy to actually turn on a light.
Then why
didn’t I write?

I’m guessing here that I’m not the only person ever to have to deal with this problem. Maybe you are dealing with it now. Maybe, every day after work or school you come home exhausted, see that notebook or your computer and with a sigh start to watch television. Or you are sitting ready with your laptop but then start checking your mail, updating your facebook and your twitter (somehow for me my blog wasn’t in that line). And then of course, just as you want to write, you’re friend comes online and starts to talk to you and you have to admit that you haven’t ta
lked to her in ages. Or when you promise yourself that you’ll do it next weekend, and somehow you hang out with your friends and it’s Monday morning and you’ve done no writing at all (or homework).
Sounds a little bit familiar?
 Trust me, I kinda hope it doesn’t. Because no matter how great it is that you’re actually out there living your life and being completely addicted to smallville (I’m at the end of season 5 at the moment, having rediscovered the series two months ago) your writing does suffer.
I came to England with the beautiful dream of spending my afternoons after an easy school day (No one told me that three subjects in A-level is about as much work as the eight subjects a day I was used to at home) just relaxing and writing. And around Christmas I would have my story ready to send to a publisher or an agent.

Yeah..... about that. I’m still in the process of re-writing my story and am pushing the idea of publishing out of my mind for the moment. First things first. How do we write?
How do we actually force ourselves to sit down and write every single day? My Art teacher recently told me that I should work under exam conditions more often. In five hours I produced a considerable amount of work of a much better quality then the rest I’ve made these past few months. And remember NaNoWriMo? A 50.000 novel in just 30 days. Wow. Why can’t we do that EVERY month?


For those of you hoping I’ll actually have an easy and perfect solution, I’m sorry but I don’t know. There is a reason that I haven’t written in three months. 
Sometimes you start writing again because the weather changes, or you have a dream about being a famous writer. Maybe a friend asks how your book is going on. Or maybe you watch an inspirational movie or find yourself so bored that you would even go and look up your old story. For me it was telling my friend the story line of my novel and telling her about all the plot twists and plans I had for those characters and the things I still wanted to change and spice up. And she listened and made enthus
iastic comments and told me she loved my idea and I just found myself talking and talking and wishing I could somehow record this moment because it gave me the energy and passion to write for days at an end.

It is because of that moment and probably the nice change in weather and perhaps even the fact that I stayed home because of a migraine that has now slowly disappeared so I’m just sitting lazily on my bed not sure what to watch anymore.

My best advice is to keep your dreams close to you. Take a moment sometime to think about it and really see yourself as who you want to be. Visualise yourself as a published writer. Don’t be afraid, make it good, give yourself a million dollar book deal. Make yourself famous. Pretend those people you’re passing on the street know you and admire your books and are right now wondering if it’s ok to approach you to say hi. Get excited!

Because no matter how many rules you set yourself and hours in which you should write, the only thing that can really let you sit down and write those words is dreams and passion. Lots of it.

Because you might think that life is getting in your way. But really if you’re serious about it, writing should be a part of your life. A big part. And the only thing getting in the way is yourself.

Keep Writing!

Xx LordKiwii

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kiwi Time #6

So for the longest time I didn’t know what to write about. And I never really took the time to sit down and think about it either because I’ve just been so busy.
The weeks leading up to Christmas holiday were just crazy with school trips, homework, gift shopping and bags to be packed. Then I went back to the Netherlands for nearly three weeks and became homesick and depressed when I was back in England.
But now that I’m ill and have read through comic books, Harry Potter and watched way too many Big Bang Theory episodes, I finally decided to sit down and write a blog post again. (Sorry for the wait everyone!).

And then I find that the few ideas I have, I’ve already used before haha. So I’ll just write about new years instead.
 It’s 2011!
And even though my new year didn’t start that well, I’m really looking forward to this year. The reason I love new year is because I love taking a few moments on the last day of the year and thinking about everything that I’ve done and everything that I’ve accomplished in that year and the many memories that I have made whether good or bad.
Here are some things I’ve accomplished this year:


1. I graduated High school.

2. I finished my second novel.
3. I started on my third one and am editing the first.
4. I made the terrifying decision of going to England.
5. I survived the first weeks in England and pushed myself outside of my comfort zones to make new friends.
6. I said “yes” to a lot more opportunities than I would have before.
7. I’ve finally done NaNoWriMo! And won!
8. I went on my first real date ever.
9. I got to meet the singer of Destine and had an awesome night with my brother.
10. I got to spend 365 awesome days with my friends, my family and you guys.

And many more!
Another thing I love about new years is thinking about what the next year is going to be like, and what you want to accomplish in that year and how you’re going to try your best to never give up.
Here is a small list:

1. Get my book published (or at least find an agent).
2. Try to write as much as possible.
3. Say “yes” to even more opportunities.
4. To start at the  University  of Amsterdam after the summer.
5. To write more on this blog
:)
And to have an awesome time!!!! Who’s with me?

So my point about telling this is… what are the things you want to accomplish? Do you want to write a book? Then don’t just sit there reading this! Go do it!
Do you want to make more friends? Over come your fears or shyness and go to a nice looking person to say hello! If you want something don’t just wait! Go for it! If you just act and try your best you can do almost anything (I still haven’t got the whole flying thing and mind reading worked out).

As always I have to struggle to keep my own advice but I’ll try my best.
I hope you’ll all have a wonderful 2011! If you have anything you want to accomplish please feel free to share them in the comments!

So, 2010 you were awesome, thanks.
And 2011 here we come!

Keep writing,

Xx LordKiwii