When Your Fictional Character Gives You Life Advice

You know,

NaNoWriMo didn’t go too well for me,

I mean, I didn’t reach the 50k, but it’s fine, really.

And working on a novel can be difficult.

Why can’t writing be like a literary waterfall of brilliance?

Maybe I’m just being impatient.

Not like I can just wiggle my nose and boom! There’s my book.

“The pieces will fall into place when they are meant to.” Actual quote from my fictional detective, Private Detective H.B Cooper.

I invented you, you’re not supposed to give me life advice.

“As If I care for such trivial commentary.” – Another quote from my fictional detective.


So sorry for no post this week. I was super busy and super sick. Life just wants to hit me in the face with a baseball bat. With the holidays right around the corner, my posts may become a bit sparse. But do not fret, we will be back to our regularly scheduled program soon, I promise!


Side note: What advice would your fictional characters give you? Write it in the comments. I’d love to hear from you guys.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

The Ultimate NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

Signing up for NaNoWriMo this year? You’re gonna need all the help you can get.

This guide will help you survive National Novel Writing Month.

Find the Time 

 To reach 50,000 words goal, you’ll need to write about 1,667 words a day. Come up with a plan, find the best time for you to write.  Make that time commitment. Schedule what part of your novel you will work on each day. Decide whether you are a day or night writer. Create a routine and stick to it as best you can. And don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, it’ll happen to everyone.

Set Up Your Writing Space

Establish your writing space. A place to be organized and creative. A place where you can focus and write and hopefully not be disturbed. Dedicate a work area, with all your research and inspiration materials nearby. Make sure you have all your needed resources close at hand. Whether it’s at home, at the public library, or at the local coffee shop, find your cozy corner of the world.

Keep Resources Close

This coincides with creating a great work space. Notes, historical sources, journals, character profiles, outlines. Everything.  Keep it all organized and in reach, in case you need a reference.  Use time in October to gather information and prepare for the writing ahead.

Right now, I’m working on a revised outline and developing my characters. Because I’m writing a story set in a specific time period (1920s), I have bookmarked a couple of historical resources, just in case. I also have a book of photos of Brooklyn in the 1920s that I like to glance through for inspiration.

Writers Require Nourishment

Be prepared with all the snacks and beverages you’ll need to get through a month of writing. I’m talking leftover Halloween candy. I’m talking caffeine, and lots of it. I’m talking the comfort food that makes your heart happy. Look, some would suggest eating healthy, and while that is true, sometimes, you need a bag of salty, potato chips, and no one will judge you for eating the entire bag.

For me, I’m planning to switch back and forth between  roasted chickpeas and gummy bears. Maybe some chips and salsa. Maybe some Chinese takeout…. Now I’m getting hungry. Onto the next point.

Goals and Rewards

Set smaller goals for yourself. 10k, 20k, 30k, etc. And when you reach them, reward yourself. Whether its with your favorite movie or favorite meal, celebrate those little milestones. During National Novel Writing Month, every word counts. So, treat yourself and do something special for you once you reach a certain word count. This will keep you motivated and encourage you to keep going.

Outline

Whether you are a planner or a pantser, have a general idea for a story. Develop your characters. Establish some kind of plot line, even if its a vague idea. Note the key scenes of the plot. It’s important to have an outline. And remember, use the method that feels right to you. Every writer has their own way of planning a story. Do what works for you.

Have a Support System

We all need someone in our corner, supporting us. Find some writing buddies. Consider attending write-ins and writing events. Find the people in your life you trust, who you can talk openly to. A significant other, a friend, a teacher, a classmate. Have someone to express your worry or doubt or just iron out ideas with. Someone to cheer you on through the absolutely ridiculous journey that is NaNoWriMo.

Surround yourself with other writers. And hey, feel free to add me as a writing buddy on the NaNoWriMo website. My username is LadyJabberwocky.


What’s a necessity in your NaNoWriMo survival kit? Let me know in the comments!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Leave Your Questions for Q&A Celebrating 100 followers

Lovebugs!

I’m incredibly excited.

I’m creeping up on 100 followers. Which, I can’t believe is actually happening. Never thought I’d get to five followers, let alone a hundred.

Seriously, thank you to every follower and comment, I appreciate your support very much.

To celebrate, I will be hosting a Q and A, where you can ask me anything. Writer related, nerd related, personal life related, I mean anything. This lady is an open book.

Got a burning questions? Leave it in the comments below. And when I officially hit 100 followers, I will give a shout out to your blog and answer your questions. Looking forward to hearing from you guys!



Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Words for Writers Wednesday: Writers Are Like Boxers in the Ring

You are the boxer in the ring.

Your opponent? All those knuckleheads who doubt you.

“Do you really think you’ll make it?”

“Writing isn’t a real work. Get a job.”

You freaking sucker punch them in the jaw with your talent.

Hey, remember the supporters in your corner.

Family, friends, teachers, classmates, the true believers.

Stick with them, they will get you through this fight, and every other fight

And stand beside you when you become a champion.


Forget about the people in your life who doubt you and make you feel bad about your passions. Focus on the ones who will support you through everything.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

The Do’s and Don’ts of Critiquing Writers

If you are a writer, then, one way or another, you will be involved in a workshop. Whether it’s in a classroom setting or in your personal life. Whether you are asking someone for criticism on your work or someone is asking you for criticism on theirs. Workshopping makes you a better reader and a better writer.

I have been on both sides of the criticism game. When I was in fiction class at Hunter College, many of my short stories were at the mercy of my peers. And as terrifying as that experience is, it was the most helpful and enlightening experience I’ve ever had with my writing.

And vice versa. Both in class and in my personal life, I’ve been asked for my opinion on someone’s work. Although it is a little bit of pressure, I put a lot of thought into critiquing a story.

So, here’s some advice on giving criticism in a constructive way.

Do Be Honest

If you were offering your work to someone, wouldn’t you want an honest response? I would.Be honest. Even if it’s hard. Even if you don’t want to hurt feelings.  Sometimes, you need the genuine reaction of a real reader. Pretend like the writer’s draft was a book on the shelf. What would you say about it? Would you want to read more? Although hearing those answers may seem scary (trust me, I was shaking during my first workshop), you don’t want to be lied to.

If, by some chance, you are dealing with a writer who has a hard time with criticism and your honesty seems harsh, make it clear that you have good intentions.  Trust me, I’ve dealt with my fair share of writers who think they are the next Hemingway and can’t take an ounce of criticism. Sad to say, I don’t think they make it that far.

Don’t Just Say “I Like It”

Ugh. Do you know how many times in a fiction workshop I heard things like “I liked it” or “it was a good story”? More than you think. Seriously, it’s probably the least helpful thing you can say. When you say things like that, it just sounds like you’re lying to make someone feel good. Workshopping isn’t about fanning someone’s ego, it’s about helping them become a better writer.

Do Actually Read the Story

There was this kid in my fiction writing class who, right before class started, he would read the assigned story written by a fellow classmate. Like, within the two minutes before the professor showed up. Sometimes, he would even ask other students for a brief summary, and not read the story at all. “Well, you aren’t going to give me any helpful insight, knucklehead.” It always made me cringe a bit.

If you want to give thoughtful advice,  read the story thoroughly. Maybe read it twice. Maybe even take a couple notes. Don’t just give it a quick skim, someone worked hard on that story. Give them the respect of actually reading their story and the attention their work deserves.

Don’t Be Too Critical

Let’s not be too harsh and nitpick. Always start and end your critique with positive comments. Be critical in a kind way. Don’t be personal. It’s about the work, not the writer. Try not to overwhelm a writer with all the weak points you find. Focus on a few, main points during the discussion.

Plus, try not to rewrite their story how you would do it. Everyone has different writing styles and different stories to tell. Most likely, what you like to write/read is different from what your friend or a classmate like to write/read. You can give suggestions, notes to improve the overall story, but don’t try to mold someone’s story based on your preference.

If you do give a suggestion, make sure you have evidence to support your reasoning.

Do Be Specific

In every comment you make, good or bad, try and be specific. What about their story is unique? Talk about individual characters or scenes. Yes, you should talk about the story as a whole. Also, focus on the specifics of the story. Setting, characters, dialogue. Highlight the things that stood out in your mine.

Examples of being specific? How about “I love how ___ the character is” or “The descriptions, especially in the ____ scene, are terrific.” or “The dialogue on page 12 seems out of place.”

Do Be Supportive

Being a writer is not easy, okay? We need all the help we can get. Celebrate someone’s passion and imagination. When critiquing, be kind and be constructive. Just remember, everyone starts somewhere. You never know what a rough draft can turn into.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky