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Monday, October 28, 2013

Surrounding Yourself with Believers

Much has been said about believing in yourself when no one else does. But what about the inverse of that? Surround yourself with people who believe in you, so that when your own confidence shakes, you have someone else's to lean on.

I've had several experiences that shook my confidence. Without getting too personal, I've had periods where all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and cry (and sometimes I did). But I knew people still believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. For a while, I leaned on them until I could stand on my own again.

When someone says something kind about you or your work, hold onto it. Put it in a special drawer, or start a word document and copy and paste it there. If your confidence ever shakes, open the drawer and begin reading. Know that others believe in you. And that, if no one else, God believes in you. God will never give up on you, so never give up on yourself.

Here are some notes I've gotten about my writing that I've held onto when I needed someone else's faith. I hope you have some too.
"I just love reading what you write...with your talent, you could list the ingredients on a cereal box and it would be riveting." 
"I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your stories. Reading them together was kind of like sitting down to a great dinner—with an equally wonderful dessert."

"Last, but certainly not least, #FF is for my friend @Kami_Marynda. She is new to twitter but remember her name, she is going to be famous!"

"I ate this chapter up. I love it! My stomach just fell out when you ended that scene."

"Wow! thats all i can really say...I felt like crap before reading these stories but now I feel like I could take on a drunken mob! Your writing style is excellent as if you really were in the characters' shoes."

Avoid spending too much time around people who tear you down. We can't avoid those people completely, but why put ourselves in that situation more than we have to? Life is hard enough already.

Be the person who uplifts others, who writes notes of thanks, who gives praise when it's due. Supply others with sincere words they can put in their special drawer. That doesn't mean you can never criticize something, but seek to build encouragement rather than discouragement.

Be the person that can believe in others.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Casual Friday: Self Defense Against Dying in Your Sleep

I'm trying out a new segment on my blog called "Casual Fridays," and they'll happen semi-randomly. Basically I'll do a short, casual post about anything--the progress on my novel, something funny I found on the internet, a realization I recently had, childhood stories, whatever.

Today I'm starting with one of my favorite youtube videos that happens to relate to Halloween. Meet Rae Amsley. You'll never forget him. In this video, he'll teach you self defense against dying in your sleep.

Two years later and I still laugh about this video.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Calculating How Long Your Novel will take to Write

* You can listen to this post on Youtube


First, I would like to say, no, this post does not give you a mathematical equation to literally figure out how many hours, days, months, years, whatever, that it will take you write your novel. Obviously there are a lot of factors that depend on you personally as a writer.

But what this post does give you is a questionnaire that helps you determine how complex your novel is, which will then, hopefully, help you gauge what kind of effort and energy you will need to complete your story.

While some authors write faster than others, some stories, frankly, take longer to write than others.

And it doesn’t just depend on the length of your manuscript. Some stories have simpler structures, others more complex.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself when plotting your novel to help you gauge how long it will take to write it.

Keep track of your answers. They run from simple to complex, with the letter “A” being simple and onward, more complex. Remember, the more complex doesn’t mean the better your story is. Simple stories can be powerful too.

(Note that I created this myself, so if you have any ideas for improvement, please let me know. This was the best I could get it at this moment.)

How large is your cast of characters?

A. Small cast of characters
B. Medium cast of characters
C. Large cast of characters

How many different settings are in your story?

A. Story takes place in mostly one area. (For example, the character never leaves the farm.)
B. Story takes place over a lot of different areas I’m familiar with
C. Story takes place in another time or place that I will need to research extensively
D. Story takes place in another time and place I will need to research extensively
Story takes place on a completely different world I need to create from scratch

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Muse in Concert! (Basically a Post with Stellar Pictures)

I usually post about my writerly adventures. Muse totally counts, right? They had to write their own music, and you can tell they spent some time thinking out the lyrics because it's not like "Baby, baby, baby, hey, yeah, yeah, yeah." Instead they say "green belts wrapped around our minds, And endless red tape to keep the truth confined."

Totally poetic.

Anyway, Muse has been touring North America this year, and I made a trip out to go see them. They're best known for their songs "Supermassive Black Hole," "Hysteria," "Time is Running Out," "Uprising," and "Madness." They're one of my favorite bands (Creed is my first favorite), and Muse put on one of the best shows I've ever seen. And, their music was better live, which is always a great sign.

What surprised me is that they only played fast songs, and they played nonstop for about an hour and a half. No introductions. No "Hey, this is the song we're playing next," or "I got the idea for this song..." Only music. Even I was getting a little worn out from rocking out, and I wasn't even playing.

Also, as you can see by the pictures, they put on a good show with lights, lasers, strobe lights, screens, and mist. Totally awesome.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Actions Vs. Words: the Loud and the Quiet

You might have an idea of what this post will be about based on the title. "Actions speak louder than words," right? Some people are "all talk and no action," blah blah blah--most of us have heard all those sayings before. True, all of those cliches are techniques you can incorporate in your writing, specifically in your characters. But this post is taking the whole actions vs. words in a different direction, one you probably haven't heard or thought about before. I hadn't until recently.

Last week I was watching a t.v. show where the lead female character spends most of her time yelling, complaining, and bossing others around. She's basically the only female character in the whole show. And she's loud, self-centered, and annoying. She talks a lot.

What is with this girl? I wondered. Is this how the writers view women? 

Then, I think, on a subconscious level, I remembered that saying, "actions speak louder than words." So I started watching what she did. I soon realized I had misjudged her. She's the most intelligent character on the show. She talks a lot about herself, but she's actually not self-centered; she often volunteers to help others out. She lets strangers stay at her home when they have nowhere else to go. She's decisive and independent. Without her talents and abilities, the show wouldn't even exist.

She doesn't boast about her good qualities. They're subtle. They're quiet. You'll miss them if you aren't looking for them. She's a better person than she appears to be.

Because her shortcomings are so loud, I couldn't see passed them to her strengths.