Writing Life: First Drafts

I am no pro when it comes to writing. I have never published a book or worked in the industry to give any sort of founded advice. Having said that, I do consider myself a writer and with that come certain opinions and thoughts about the topic of writing in general. So, since I have been more interested in creating discussion posts for the blog lately, I’d like to introduce this new feature to talk about the writing life as well as updates on my very own work in progress – Arcadia!

Sharing your writing is always terrifying, no matter if you are a seasoned writer or a newbie. I’ve mentioned this a couple times, but the version of Arcadia that I am constantly uploading right now is only the first draft. Most writers wouldn’t do such a thing! They might show that draft to a trusted critique partner, but most likely they will polish it up beforehand. Quite a few people have called me brave for doing what I do, but I don’t think it’s any braver than sharing later versions. There’s a certain expectation that comes along with first drafts. The general advice is to just get the project done and fix whatever terrible mess you made later on in editing. But does that really work for everyone? Does it always have to be a bad first draft?

We are all different people, obviously, and therefore we also have different ways of writing. I know quite a few folks who have to plot everything meticulously before they can even start thinking about writing their chapters. I, on the other hand, need to just write whatever comes to mind with a rough idea of where I want the chapters to end. While so many people don’t share their unfinished/unpolished work, I need the affirmation and interest of my friends and sometimes random strangers on the internet to keep me motivated to write. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. It’s basically a general – you do you! Does that mean that I think my first draft is perfect? No! I am trying my best to make it a coherent story, but I still make mistakes. Some of them are small, others will cause a bit of problems later on, but that is what editing is for. It’s only normal to not get it perfectly right from the get go, however, I do have the hope that I won’t need a gazillion more drafts during the process of editing. I’d like to think that whatever I am putting out in the world now isn’t utter garbage!

Thinking back to my first finished story Break Up Buddy though, I know I did not care as much about how the first draft ended. And I needed that freedom for the story to be shitty! First of all, I wrote it during NaNoWriMo and I was determined to win. It was 2014 and my first time really participating. I got super competitive with myself in reaching the daily word count and that it was more important to me to get the story done rather than make it a good story in itself. That’s basically what that entire event is for and I loved it. I enjoyed participating so much, I met great people and I FINALLY got that story out of my head. It was an important step for me, but then I reread it all a couple months later and it was just terrible! (Utterly cringe-worthy for the most part to be exact) I never got through that process of editing it, simply because I had to change so much, I didn’t know how to handle it. That’s why I am now trying to get it “more right” on the first try than I did back then. I am taking time with the chapters and I know I will still need to work on it, but it won’t have to be an entirely different story to get done.

This is all just my personal experience. If you are someone who works better with not caring so much during the first draft – go you! We all work differently and shouldn’t be held to certain expectations or feel constrained by what others do or don’t do.

So, up to you! Are you more someone who just lets things happen and fixes them later, or do you prefer to do everything “right” from the beginning? Let’s talk!

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Week 2 + Dreamer Chapter 3

So, week 2 of NaNoWriMo is over. I’ve been to two local write-ins so far and they were nice, but I am not sure how much they actually helped me progress with Dreamer. I’ve found out that word sprints and the likes aren’t really for me, I like to write in my own pace and time and not be forced to do so. As I am writing this, my current word count is at 14,215 words and by the end of the day I should be at 25,000 words. I think we all know that’s not going to happen, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. 50,000 words is still a valid goal and I like writing my story, so I’ll get there sooner or later.

I heard that 98% of the NaNoWriMos struggle during week 2 (totally a made up number by the way!), but it is important that you keep going. I wrote something every day during the past weeks, sometimes only 100 words, other times more than 2K. Sometimes your characters just won’t do what you want them to do. They’ll argue and talk back like little children, but if you just keep going, the story will pick up again. Your brain will produce something awesome and new and exciting. Just keep writing! 

So, how are you my fellow WriMos? How is your WIP doing? Is everything going the way you thought it would?

And as promised I will continue to post chapters of Dreamer here. (You can already read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 by clicking on them!) Please keep in mind that this is a first draft. A lot can change after I go about editing and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are still typos in there. (Last week I wrote “She was scaring the screen” instead of “staring at the screen” …) Enjoy!

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Wick’s Circle – NaNoWriMo Prep

I think we’ve established that I originally got the idea to make character profiles from Astra @A Stranger’s Guide to NovelsIf you still haven’t read about my MC’s for Dreamer, then you should check out Wick and Clara by clicking on their names. Now what do I mean by today’s post title “Wick’s Circle”? I’m pretty much going to talk about Wick’s circle of friends, acquaintances and general people in his life. The profiles won’t be as detailed as the ones for the MC’s, but I hope you still get a grasp of who those people are.

: Ely 1402

Profile: He is Wick’s best friend and also sort of idol because he is a Field Agent. They met during one of the testing sessions Wick went to, to get reassigned. Ely made it, Wick didn’t.
Ely is loyal and does things by the book. When Wick is on one of his reckless sprees, he’s the one keeping him grounded and out of trouble.
The Council thinks that if Ely would distance himself from Wick, he might have a great career ahead of him.

autumnName: Aurora 2210

Profile: Aurora is Wick’s assigned Analyst. They have a very sibling-like relationship (at least Wick thinks so). She often tries to do him a favour and calibrates the dream to include as much action as possible.
She’s a generally organised person and very smart, which is why she loves being an Analyst. She is happy with her part in Dreamer-society, even though Wick constantly teases her about her boring tasks.

donName: Don 0301

Profile: Don is dispatched from the Council to oversee Wick and his Monitor colleagues. He is a very no-nonsense kind of guy and tells things as they are. Generally being very demanding to the point of being rude, he is not liked very much.
Wick annoys him to no end, but he secretly has a soft spot for the guy, because he often feels confined by Dreamer-rules himself.

EvelynName: Evelyn 1301

Profile: Evelyn is the Head of the Council and does not like Wick at all. She thinks he’s a disruption of the system and can’t tolerate that. If she could, she would forbid Wick to take any more tests to become a Field Agent, but unfortunately (or good for Wick) she can’t change Dreamer-laws all by herself.

So, those are some important Dreamer people right there! Clara’s friends will probably be introduced tomorrow and then it’s getting serious! What do you think?

NaNoWriMo 2015 Participation & Beautiful Books Link-Up

I’ve made up my mind! Even if I haven’t finished editing Break Up Buddy from last year, I feel like participating in NaNoWriMo again. So, here it is, my official announcement! (If you want me as your writing buddy, don’t hesitate to add me – click here to get to my profile!)

Now, you may wonder what changed my mind. Well, the past months I have participated in the Beautiful People Link-Up, but since NaNoWriMo is so close, Cait from Paper Fury and Sky from Further Up and Further have come up with a surprise – the Beautiful Books Link-Up. It let’s you introduce your novel and I just really wanted to join in again. But please bare in mind that it is still all very rough and a work in progress!

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
Cristina @My Tiny Obsessions gave me the idea to write about this in some way after I had a dream and posted about it on Twitter. She said I should write about it and even though the story has nothing to do with my dream per se, it evolved from that. All that happened like a week ago.
2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
I really like NaNoWriMo and the excitement that comes with participating. I don’t know how it will all go down since I haven’t truly prepped for it yet, but writing in general just gets me psyched!
3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
I want to remind everyone that this is a working title and it’s called “Dreamer”.
Whereas my last NaNo-novel was a ConRomCom, this one will be more Fantasy-ish. It’s about a guy who’s job it is to monitor dreams. He always wanted to be a field agent and go into people’s dreams to interact with them, but he failed all the necessary tests. Yet, one night something about the calibrations of the dream of the person he’s monitoring goes wrong and he goes into the dream landscape. After that he sort of gets addicted to it and that comes with certain dangers.
4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
Wick – dreamer
Clara – control
I haven’t really thought about anyone beyond that and yes, I am aware that the photos of the people look like the exact opposite of the words I used. Maybe that was intentional, maybe not.

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
I haven’t really written from the POV of a boy yet, so that will definitely be interesting. Also, he’s not entirely human, so that adds to the fun of creating him.
6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
Wick’s people are very different from normal people and he wants to have the full human experience and basically wants to feel all the feels. There are strict rules in his community though and what he’s attempting, messing with dreams and such, is very dangerous. Also a dream-person can’t just cross over into reality. They aren’t designed for that.
7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
Okay, those are just a few impressions, because I have not thought about this in detail. I’d say for now my answer would be that the story mainly takes place in Clara’s apartment, Wick’s control room and the dream landscape.

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
Wick’s relationship to Clara is the strongest, because he is sort of connected to her in a way he could never be with anyone else in his life.
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Hopefully he won’t have stopped to dream big by the end, but he should know when to fight his battles and who the most important people in his life are.
10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
I want them to feel hope – hope that everything is possible. There is of course romance in my book as well, how else could it be?

NaNoWriMo BONUS: Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.
– Taking breaks is totally okay and if you don’t reach your target by the end of the day nothing bad is going to happen! In fact, sometimes writing will be much easier after some time away from the story.
– Plan a little bit, but don’t plan everything! Leave yourself some room to improvise and add bits that come to mind randomly. You’ll need some planning in order not to get lost after a couple thousand words, but make it more of a loose guideline instead of every scene fully planned out. (Unless you feel like you need it that way, everyone is different after all!)
– Don’t stop writing after reaching your target of the day! If you are in the zone, just keep going, because you never know when it will come in handy that you’ve already written a couple words more than necessary.

Are you joining in with NaNoWriMo as well? What do you think of Dreamer? Could that story have potential? What is it you are writing about?