Thursday, December 29, 2011


I'm back! I've been completely MIA for the past few weeks and I apologize! 

As you guys are surely aware of by now, the favorite podcast of all the bloggers on this page has come to an end. I've been wallowing in self-pity for the past couple days (Exhibits A, B, and C) and so I thought I'd write about goodbyes today. 

Goodbyes are always hard, whether in real life or whether it's with characters you've read or written. In terms of characters, you grow close to them and it's like you know them and they are a part of you, whether you're the writer or the reader. You get used to having these characters around and you feel like it's going to be such a long time before you'll have to say goodbye. However, in the blink of an eye, the moment comes where you have to let go of everything that's become a part of you. It's a heartbreaking moment. 

Now, I am not the one you should really listen to in order to find out how to move on and let go, because I haven't figured it out either. However, I can tell you that whether you wrote the characters or read them, they will always live inside you. You can take comfort in the fact that while the journey is over for you, you can still share it with others and give them the gift of being able to go on the journey. And finally, whether you are the writer or the reader, you will always have everything you gained from the story and characters.

Author: Cory Doctorow

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Burn Out

Tonight was the last episode of Hogwarts Radio podcast. This is the podcast that brought together the bloggers of this page. This is the podcast that helped me find real friends in the Potter world. This is the podcast that I will always remember and cherish.

Endings have been somewhat of a theme with me lately. The end of the Potter series, the end of my fiance being in school(he graduated recently), the end of the year, the end of the Hunger Games series which I finished yesterday, and the end of life as I knew it. I have been noticing a rather large change in my life lately and I have realized that a new chapter has begun. I have officially lost touch with my high school friends and moved on to more. I have begun to start thinking about the future more and how I am going to handle. It is hard to explain but I have felt like a whole new me here lately. So, it is the end of the old me.

Endings are, in my opinion, one of the most important parts of a story. My old choir teacher used to say "It is was the audience hears first that gets them interested but it is what they hear last that will be remembered." This I believe carries over into everything in life, including stories. The end is the thing the audience looks forward to, becomes anxious about, seeks, craves, needs. The end is what will tie everything up with a pretty bow and the audience can have closure. With Harry Potter the end was long awaited for and was very sad but it let me know that all was well. With The Hunger Games the end upset me quite a bit but reminded me that I must move on whether it takes five, ten, fifteen years to agree. With Hogwarts Radio the end came as a shock at first but slowly made me realize how precious that podcast really was to me.

Eventually all things must end. But you need to make your story end with a bang. As quoted by Mary who quoted Kurt Cobain "It is better to burn out than to fade away." Don't let the end of your story fade into nonexistence. Make the audience remember it as a great end to a great story. Make the audience remember it as the part they can't wait to get to but don't want to see. Make the audience remember it.

Author: Cory Doctorow

Wands Raised for Hogwarts Radio. Always.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The chaos of Christmas

When I first read Marissa's post on Monday, I had the perfect idea for what I was going to write about. Then the next day, Sydney wrote about presents, and I had to start thinking about what else I could tie into writing that had to do with Christmas. I went through a lot of things in my mind (even a nice warm fireplace!) before I decided that I was going to write about shopping for presents. I felt I could do that some form of justice. So here it goes.

I find writing to be extremely similar to shopping for presents. You either know what you're looking for, or you don't. Or in the case of writing, I suppose you know where your story is going, or you're just waiting to see where the words take you. I know whenever I go out shopping for Christmas presents (I usually start around October) I usually don't know what I'm going to get anyone. I'm just fishing for ideas. That's what I feel I do whenever I read a really good book. It inspires me with ideas for my own writing, and similar elements usually find a way to trickle themselves into my work. And with shopping, I'll eventually get some kind of ideas for what I want to get people. Then I start to make a list of what I'm going to get everyone. In my writing, I guess that'd be my VERY rough outline, that's pretty much just what my story will be about. I'm not one to outline at all unless it's required.

After making my list, it's usually around Thanksgiving time that I finally start to figure out where I can get what I want for people at the best bargains. It's a family tradition to sit around while the turkey is cooking and shop the Black Friday ads. That's usually where I come up with any last minute ideas for gifts. It's actually where I got the idea for my gurrrls' presents. And yes, I am one of those insane people who go to stores and wait outside for them to open at all ungodly hours of the night/morning. I compare Black Friday to the days before I actually sit down and start writing. I'm still trying to come up with any last minute plot ideas before I start.

Then December comes and Christmas comes ever closer until it seems as though it's snuck up on us (heck, last week Christmas felt so far away, and now it's 2 days away!). Christmas Eve is typically the last day to get all of the presents you haven't gotten yet, or more likely forgot to get. In my family we celebrate on Christmas Eve, so today's our last day (and yes, my mom and I are heading out later today to finish our shopping). For writing, I feel Christmas is like the deadline that's looming over your head. It seems so far away until one morning you wake up and it's right on top of you. Everything becomes chaotic and it feels like it's going to be impossible to finish anything. It can be a publisher's deadline, or your own personal deadline. But deadlines always find a way of sneaking up on us, no matter what. So I always try to get the majority of the work out of the way early (in both shopping and writing), so that if the "deadlines" do sneak up on me, at least I'm close to being finished.

I'm sure I could come up with more ways that writing relates to Christmas shopping, but I don't want to be a bore. But I do have one more thing before I go, a challenge to my gurrrls, and myself as well, because I don't have an answer for my question yet either. I want them to write about their New Year's resolutions. I'll be looking forward to seeing what we're all going to resolve to do. :)

My author: H. P. Lovecraft

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Let It Snow

I know I didn't post last week and I don't have an excuse other than I've been working non-stop at two jobs and don't have a day off either of them until Christmas. The crazy thing is that I haven't even had the will to write, which I always find time for no matter what. This really isn't okay for me.

Anyways, it's snowing here today, which reminded me about a conversation with a co-worker. She's a college graduate with a degree in English and we both share this strange love of stories (so hard to believe, right?). Anyways, we were discussing the snowflake method of writing that's been all over the internet.

We've both read about it and, honestly, it's just a step-by-step instruction guide to what anyone who writes already knows. You start with a basic idea and you expand on that idea to turn it into something more than just a sentence. I really don't get how this person makes money off of the program that you could scratch out on a piece of paper.

I will give the "creator" of this method a pat on the back for making me think of this analogy. Something that writing and snowflakes have in common is that each is different. Just as each snowflake is different, each story idea is different. Sure, you have all of the ones about vampires and werewolves and unexpected love, but each has a special thing that makes it different. Where would we be without differences? We wouldn't have JK Rowling, which is how most of us met. We wouldn't have Stephen King or Shannon Hale or Eric Kripke (script writer but it's the same idea). We wouldn't have computers or telephones or all of these crazy inventions.

So before you give up on your story because it reminds you of something that's already out there, change it up. Make it your own. Give it something special that separates it from all the other books out there.

For my challenge of writing a journal, I'd just like to say one thing. Writing a journal in the point of view of a character is one thing, but writing for myself is something else entirely. I don't write journals that are paper and ink; those generally tend to turn into notebooks where I can sketch out story ideas. THIS is my journal. This is someplace where I can come to write down my thoughts and what's going on in my life.

Author: J.D Salinger

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Tree

So since this will be my last post before Christmas and since I post first every week I thought I would create a theme for this week. Challenge to the gurrrls: Tie in something about Christmas to your post this week. Simple, right? Of course.

So my tie in is more of a metaphor. A Christmas tree metaphor. This tree is your story. your initial idea is the tree itself. The strong truck, the green branches, this it the meat and potatoes of your story. You have to have the tree before you can have a Christmas tree. But, it is only a tree at this point.

Lights come next. This is your story line. The lights wrap around your idea tree to create the events that make your story shine. But you need to have the right amount. Too many and your lights may get bunched up. Too few and the lights become stretched and may not even reach the top (or bottom depending on where you start). Don't let the lights get tangled and make sure you don't blow a fuse. By this I mean keep the story straight and don't add too many "ghost plots" and JKR would probably say. They might take away too much attention from the main story. Just make sure everything is spaced out right and everything is plugged in. Once this is figured out you can begin to add your ornaments.

Ornaments are your characters. Some ornaments you buy yourself. I believe that everyone has their stock characters that they put into every story. For instance, my MC always seems to have red hair. Boy, girl, young, old, there is always a MC that has red hair. Then there are the ornaments that other people give you. Ideas you take from from other books or people you base your characters off of. These are not ornaments you would have bought yourself but they are one that will fill out your collection over time. Finally there are the ornaments that seem to have been on your tree your entire life. The hand-me-down ornaments that are always there. These pertain more to the personalities of your characters. There is always the mean one, the funny one, the really smart one, the hero, the villain, the annoying one, and so on. You must take these different ornaments and move them around your tree so they are spred out in just the right mixture.

Once all of your ornaments are in place you can fill in the more bare spots with tinsel. This will be all the fluff stuff of your story. Whatever extra details that will really make the story make sense and flow well. Make it pretty. But just like the lights and the ornaments make sure that the tinsel is spaced well and covers the places it needs to without clumping up.

Finally, you can add the topper. My family always uses an Angel. This will be your goal. Whenever you believe all the lights, ornaments, and tinsel needed are in place you can then add the Angel. Whether this is publication or just saying "I'm done" this will be your Angel.

Finally, the presents can go under the tree. Show your friends and family or whoever you want. The presents will be their comments. The good and the bad. There are always some presents that you believe are better than others. But take them all with a smile and say "thank you" and go merrily on your way.

Once that is done you can take a step back and be proud of your tree. Sit on the couch, turn on some Christmas music, sip some cider, and just enjoy the view.

Oh! Christmas Tree. Oh! Christmas Tree, how lovely are your branches.

Author: Isaac Asimov

Friday, December 16, 2011

Well Crap...

So as I sat around earlier in the week when I should have been studying for finals, I started wondering what I was going to post about this week. Then I started thinking about my book and how I haven't written a single word since the middle of November. Needless to say, I did not win NaNoWriMo this year. And then I decided that I was going to write about either A) getting writers block and not knowing what to write, or B) not feeling like writing. Because lets face it, every author feels both of those things sometimes, and if they try to deny it they're lying to you.

I have had a serious case of the laziness going on when it comes to writing lately. I think it might have had to do with all the junk I had to do for school, with finals coming up. But regardless, I neglected my book. But it's okay, because no matter how long I wait to write another word, at least I've started, and I know that I can do it. True, I wish I could go back and keep writing when I wasn't, but the past is the past and I can't change it, so I'm not going to worry about it. In fact, I've decided that as soon as I finish up this blog post I am going to open up my document and continue where I left off. Because now I'm ready to continue. I'm through with school for the year, and now I am ready to devote countless hours to writing all day, every day, and drink way too much coffee than can possibly be good for me.

As far as writers block, it happens all too much. But the way I get around it is by writing as much as I can, about whatever comes to mind, whether it makes sense or not. I just keep writing, until I can't possibly think of anything else to write about. Most times that works for me, to get all of the junk that I'm thinking about out of my head. Then I can start fresh and continue working on whatever important thing it was I wanted to work on.

Well that's all I can think of to say, so I'll stop before I start rambling. My author I got for this post is David Foster Wallace.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


So I know what you are thinking. "What! Today is Wednesday. Why is Marissa posting? Wasn't she supposed to post Monday? She is late!" I won't deny it. I actually forgot. Shameful I know. And there are no excuses worthy of it. But I will give you mine anyway. Life. Yes, my life got in the way. I spent Monday with friends from college shooting a potato cannon and riding horses and baking cookies and watching movies and reading a wonderful book. I spent Tuesday with my fiance Christmas shopping and and wedding ring shopping and reading that same wonderful book. I have spent the last two day with some of the the most wonderful people in my life celebrating our lives and the time we have with each other. And I got some great material to add to my book.

In my opinion, sometimes you just need to step away and forget about your writing. You can't let it consume you. If you do you will end up hating it. Don't try to rush your writing. Just let it happen naturally. Some days you can probably sit and write for hours. Other days you may not write a single letter. Don't let it get you down if you are having writer's block. Take advantage and just set the story aside for a while. Don't forget to live your own life, too.

And as a catch up on my other gurrrls challenges:
  • For my journal I have come to the realization that this is my journal. Although there are four other people that contribute to this blog I look to it to be the place that I go o get my idea out and look for inspiration. This and my skype conversation that is perpetually going with these same lovely ladies.
  • Outlining: I sort of use it. I start out with a very (VERY) rough idea of what I want to write but then just let the words take over from there. I know where I want the story to go but I have no idea how it is going to get there. And I like that. I believe that if a is going to shock the reader then it must also shock the author as well. If I am not laughing, crying, screaming, or anxious about my characters then my reader won't be either.

Author: Stephen King

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Gurrrls

As I was sitting in class today (English class, funnily enough) I started to wonder what I was going to post about today. A few topics ran through my head, but nothing seemed like anything I felt like writing about. Then I started thinking of what my gurrrls had posted, and I got the idea to write about "support groups". I'm not a very confident writer. I'd like to think that's a good thing though, because then I don't have high expectations for myself. I like to get feedback on my writing, but I don't like to show it to just anyone. I feel like I can send a portion of whatever it is that I'm writing to Amy, Mandy, Marissa, and Sydney, and I will always get honest feedback from them. Even if it's something that I don't want to hear, they're going to give it to me straight. It might hurt at first (lets face it, no one is perfect in their first draft), but in the end their feedback is only going to make my book better. And I appreciate that. And so my challenge for our readers, if anyone besides my gurrrls reads this, is to go out there and find a group of good friends that they can trust to give them good, honest feedback about whatever it is they're writing.

As far as answering Mandy's question about outlining, I despise outlining. I have never outlined for anything, unless it was an assignment at school. I'd rather just go with the flow and see wherever my book seems to go. I like not knowing whats going to happen until it pops into my head. Often I'll only know the beginning of my book and the end, and the middle is left to be discovered.

My author that I got for this post is Chuck Palahniuk.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I don't know if anyone even reads this blog besides my gurrrls, but if you're out there and you were hoping for a proper post from me today, I'm sorry. Truly. I'm in the midst of finals and I'm half-past crazy right now. I didn't have time to sleep this week, let alone think of a topic (or type it up for that matter). I'll be back with you next week with your regularly programmed ramblings! Deepest apologies, Amy! 

For this little, poor excuse of a post, my writer was David Foster Wallace. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I don't like this topic, but this seemed like a good time to talk about it. Outlining to me is the equivalent to hell when it comes to writing. I enjoy writing by the seat of my pants and though I know where I'll eventually end up, it's fun to have surprises even as the author. I like being in the mindset of my characters and feeling what they're feeling as I experience things with them.

That being said, I'm currently attempting to outline a story. It's not the one the other girls know of, though Marissa does know more about it than anyone else. It started out as one thing and turned into something completely different. The only problem with that is that I had known exactly how it would turn out but this one, I know what happens in chapter one and that's it. I want to know every detail of this story so I can do all the research I need to.

My outline is only done through chapter 2, but at least I'm attempting it, right?

I do know that a lot of authors say that outlines are a writer's best friend. However, I've always wondered how to exactly do it. You have the snowflake method, you can find JK Rowling's outline for Order of the Phoenix, you can find different ways to outline if you google the term "novel outline writing format" and it comes up with over 52 million hits, there's even software to help you. I have yet to find an outline format that helps me.

Therefore, I have a question for all of my co-bloggers. Do you outline? If so, what method do you use?

Before I sign off, for who we write like, I am proud to say that I have gotten Stephen King. Jealous?

Monday, December 5, 2011


So I grab my computer for the first time all day and I begin to decide what to do first. research a project due tomorrow night? Check Facebook? Log on to skype? I look at the bottom corner of my screen to check the time. 11:43pm. It's still Monday. Monday? MONDAY! I was supposed to blog today! I've got time...

There are few things more important than timing. Good timing, bad timing, missed times, times yet to come. Whatever kind of time it is, it is probably very important to your story (I rock at segways). Whether there is a lull in your character's life or the next eight pages are nothing but action-packed, tension-causing, edge-of-your-seat kind of environment, timing is everything. Sometimes you need to time the release of information just right, whether its to your audience or your character. Revealing something too early can cause your story to end too quickly. Too late and you are boring or frustrating the reader. You have to time things just right so that the story flows well and keeps your reader interested in what is happening. Think about the cause and effect of your timing. Where can you go from here? How far can you go? Almost everything in your story line will rely on what information is presented and when.

Endings are important to time, too. Go too long and people might give up. Cut it short and infuriate readers with loose ends. It depends on whether you want to write another book or if you want to wrap things up completely or maybe just leave them with something to ponder or stew over. On that note, I think it's time to end this post. And with one minute to spare before Tuesday. I am just that good :)

PS So Mandy showed us this site and I think I am going to post my author each week. Mostly for myself so ignore this if you wish.

Author: Stephen King

Friday, December 2, 2011

Background Noise

I'll admit, when I say Mandy's challenge, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. While I listen to music almost 24/7, I never really seem to pay attention to whats playing. It's just background noise; I don't like it when it's quiet. So trying to find a song that inspires my writing was a little difficult for me. I thought about it for a whole week (I was a bit happy that I have the last post of the week), and finally came up with a few songs that keep me going when my fingers run dry of ideas to put on my virtual page.

First up is "Secrets" by One Republic. I think this song really relates to writing because when you write, you're telling all of your characters' secrets, and no one is going to know what to think of your characters unless you give them a something to base their decisions on. Getting to know your characters and learning all of their secrets is a crucial part of the writing process; if you don't know your characters, no one ever will. So you have to divulge a few of their precious secrets to the world.

Second I picked "Not Like the Movies" by Katy Perry. I simply smiled when this song came up, because when books get adapted to movies, the two are never the same. Occasionally when I write, I wonder what it would be like to have one of my books get a film adaptation, but I quickly silence the thought, thinking I could never write something as amazing as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games (I don't have much confidence in myself). But this song always gets me thinking of who I'd like to portray my characters, what would be changed, etc. This song gets my imagination going.

The final song I picked is "What You Want" by Evanescence. This song reminds me that no matter where my story heads, I', writing for myself, and no one else. I can write what I want, when I want, because I want to. Like J.K. Rowling, I don't want to write for others, I want to write for myself, because I feel like it. Writing should never be something that gets forced upon people. And so this song always reminds me to always keep the story going how I want it, no matter what.

And I only have one more thing to say, directed at Mandy: bring on more challenges!

Love you all! <3:Dx

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Why Do You Always Have To Do Something Different?"

This is what my high school French teacher said to me one day after reading an essay of mine in class. When I sat down to think about what I would write about in response to Mandy's challenge, this memory is the first thing that came to my mind. I have decided to be different, like my teacher said I always had to be. The rebel, if you will. Just because I can. *insert evil laugh here*

In all seriousness, I am not accepting Mandy's challenge, but not because I just feel like it, or because I want to annoy Mandy by defying her (which is not to say that's not a bonus). I decided that instead of racking my brain to find a song (or more) that I hadn't even thought about before this challenge, I would be truthful. That is what this blog is about, after all. We're here to share the ways we each write, in the hope that we can help or maybe even inspire someone out there who may be reading this. That being said, I will keep to the theme of music.

When I'm writing, I don't consider music. I never find myself writing a scene and thinking of a song that fits it perfectly, and I don't hear a song that immediately brings my writing to mind. When I'm writing, I write. When I'm listening to music, I listen to music. I cannot recall a time where I ever tried to merge them and make one fit perfectly with the other. I just don't associate music with my writing and I don't try to. That's not to say that people who do have songs that they think fit their stories tried to make it so. Although some do, I know that many just find that the mix comes naturally to them. That's alright. Everyone's different and we all have ways that we like to approach these things.

That being said, I do listen to music while writing. "What?! But you just said-?!" I know, I know! This seems kind of counter-productive but I think it makes sense. I don't associate music with my story, but I do like to have music playing while I write. I've got a writing playlist and I find that it's most helpful when it's full of songs that I know front and back. This is because I know the music so well that it's enjoyable but at the same time, it isn't distracting. My mind is so accustomed to the songs, there is nothing to distract my attention from the writing. Some of the artists that are in this playlist of mine are The Script, Paramore, Starkid, Jim and the Povolos, Darren Criss, Taylor Swift, and Adele. Lately, I've been having Jim and the Povolos on more than anything, just because their sound is so different and it's got a great vibe without distracting me.

Because Mandy will kill me if I don't put Youtube links in (she's obsessed with Youtube links. Just go see her comment on Sydney's post), I'm going to put in links right here to the top 3 most played songs on my writing playlist.

First up is a song called Don't Go, by Jim and the Povolos. I love this song, and this band.

Same band, different song. This one is called Dream and it's awesome. 

Third is a song by Paramore called Fences. It's pretty fast-paced and I love the lyrics. It's got a great energy to it and pumps me, if that makes sense. 

I don't want to overload you guys with videos so I'll stop there! Closely following these three for most played on my writing playlist are: Guys Like Potter by Team Starkid; Misery by Maroon 5, but sung by Darren Criss; Somewhere Only We Know by Keane, but sung by the Warblers; Set Fire To The Rain by Adele; Science and Faith by the Script; Last Kiss by Taylor Swift; and an assortment of other songs!

So there you have it! That is my take on this particular topic. We're all different, and we all have things that are helpful for us, and things we can just do without. So, while I could have found a song to fit with my story, I thought I'd share this instead. Who knows? Maybe there's someone reading this--after reading the posts from my friends all week--and saying, "Thank God, I'm not the only one who doesn't consider music when writing." I'd be rather happy if that's the case; I know I love finding out I'm not alone in the way I think about certain things. Leave me a comment and let me know!

P.S. If you haven't already, go check out Mandy's post! Darren Criss singing Somewhere Only We Know is rather addictive.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life Of Music

Ever since I was little, music was a big part of my life. I didn't grow up learning the piano, but I was in the school choir from the time I was in 4th grade to when I transferred schools, along with the clarinet in fifth grade. I played the flute in junior high and high school, learned the guitar in high school, and was also part of my high school's handbell choir. That love of music moved with me into writing and other things in my life.

I issued the challenge because I was curious as to how music and writing affected my co-bloggers.

My music in relation to what I'm writing is in two parts. I have this odd kind of story, where it's being told through one character's point of view, while there's a diary involved that tells the story of another character. It's extremely different to what I've written in the past and I happen to like how it's going.

The first song I'm going to talk about has to do with my main character, who I admit I had to go through my iTunes and find a song to match with her. She's thrown into a world that's not her own just like most fantasy stories, right? But she's one of those girls who believes in science more than fantasy. That is why I picked It's Not Fantasy by Kari Kimmel.

My second character whose story is told is my main character's older sister. This story is told through diary entries that Marissa happens to love. This one has to do with something that has not been revealed in the story and only one person knows. The song I chose for her is Somewhere Only We Know by Keane sung by the Warblers.

My last relevant song that sets the whole tone of the story. I am going to be a nerd and choose Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid, sung by Darren Criss. I just love the idea of wanting to be someone else and being told no. Isn't that always part of life?

As you can see, my music ranges and I love Darren Criss just a little bit. I've got 80's rock, a lot of 90's music, and some current artists. I just hit shuffle on iTunes and skip around until I've got a good song I like.

Finally, just because I'm a nerd and thought this was hilarious as I was writing out this blog entry. I'm done after this, I swear.

Monday, November 28, 2011


So last week my fellow blog sisters and I were issued a challenge by the lovely Mandy. Well Mandy, all I have to say is

What music I listen to depends on my mood. If I am angry or frustrated I turn to Jimmy Eat World. When I just want to chill I pop in a Snow Patrol cd. If I'm in a southern, nostalgic, where-my-roots-are mood the country music comes one. Feeling kinda "bleh" I just put my itunes on shuffle and let it decide what I'm feeling. But, my go-to band has and will probably always be Train. Yes, I listen to Train all the time. Their cds are constantly in my car, their songs on my ipod, their melodies stuck in my head, and their lyrics written all over my school notes. So, of course, when I am told to pick a song for something I usually immediately start running through Train songs. They have some amazing where-did-that-come-from kind of lyrics. They thrown in lines you never expected and I love how creative and (do I have enough swag to use this language) fresh they keep their songs. They don't stick to the conventional lyrics, and that is one of my favorite things about them.

But which song do I pick? I needed to relate it to writing. I thought about it for a while before I had that Homer Simpson "doh" moment. *facepalm* Why not use the song that is entitled after something that writing needs? Words. I thought it was appropriate. But, how to twist it into inspiration for writing? I began to look at the lyrics that moved away from the normal "I love this person so much I'd do anything for them" style. I began to relate them not to a person but to my so-called novel. It began to click. No, I will not give up on my novel! No, I will not say goodbye and stop writing!! I will roll with whatever changes my characters are going through and I will stand by their side no matter what.

Well...its beginning to sound good.

But , what about the chorus? At this point I began to think about J.K. Rowling. Yes, everything seems to come back to her doesn't it. That is what the dictionary calls true inspiration. Anyway, JKR never wrote about what she thought people wanted to hear, she wrote about what she wanted to write about. She was told that writing children's books would get her nowhere. She was told that no one would want to read a book about a British boy wizard. But she wrote that story anyway. She didn't let others talk her out of her dream.

Another way I look at the chorus is relating it to writer's block. Sometimes you just can't find the right words or you just get lost in the path of them. But, when that happens don't let it get you down. Take advantage of it to maybe research a little more about a character or a setting. Maybe work on your vocabulary by searching a thesaurus for the word you are missing. Whatever you need to do to break down that brick wall you just hit, light a fire under it and go. Make something explode (literally or figuratively). Shake up your story with some unexpected fuel and watch it burn out to where your story needs to be. Whatever it takes to move your story forward, however long it takes, just don't give up.

Your words can be your saving grace or your weapons. Let them burn in a way that that either lights your path or shows your wrath.

Let them burn.

Let them burn.

Author: H.P. Lovecraft

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quote of the Week

"When writing a novel, a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature."
- Ernest Hemingway

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Beginnings Are Easy

"I'll be writing until I can't write anymore. It's a compulsion with me. I love writing." JK Rowling

Reading and writing has always been an extremely large part of my life. In first grade, I was in the only reading group that was reading chapter books in my class. In fourth grade, I wrote and published my first book as part of a class assignment. In sixth grade, I started writing to escape a reality I wasn't too fond of at the time. That's where I'll begin.

In sixth grade, I was forced to move from everything I'd ever known. It was only a twenty minute car ride from where we had moved, but I still had no friends and was known as the nerd in my class because I was always reading. I found comfort in the books I read from Harry Potter, which I had been growing up with, to Shannon Hale novels which are still some of my favorite books. Not long after, I began creating my own worlds where I could escape from the reality of being a nerd, the only girl in my family, and the only child who was not ADHD or Autistic.

From there, I would write every chance I got. I wrote about magic and far away lands that weren't so out of reach. I always had a love of fantasy, so that's where most of my stories were based. Fantasy worlds that were still within our own realm.

I've never strayed too far away from that sight. I still write about normal people who don't fit in or even people who fit in extremely well who are taken away to a new world. I love researching myths and fantasy, trying to twist them to fit my own need. It's always going to be something I hold close to my heart and something I'm never going to give up on.

If I get published, that would be amazing. I'm not saying I would ever be the next Stephen King or JK Rowling, but I would love to have a physical copy of a book and just be able to say, "I did this. This is a goal I have been able to reach."

I don't think I'd ever be able to get as good feedback as I get from my girls I do this blog with. I know that I can send them something and be told what's good or what needs to be changed. Especially with a big portion of my book, I know that I can send it to Marissa and she will help me decide if there's something that shouldn't be revealed until later in the story.

You girls are amazing and I feel so lucky to have been able to meet you. If it wasn't for Hogwarts Radio or ShadowKissed.Net in Amy's case, I don't know where I would be right now. You girls will always be my biggest inspiration.

Now, I have a challenge for our bloggers in next week's posts. Find a song that describes what you're writing and explain why you chose it and how it relates to your writing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

[Insert Witty Title Here]

Like Amy, I had troubles over the past few days trying to decide what to write about for my inaugural post on this lovely blog; my co-bloggers have set high expectations that I think I will fall short of. Even up until when I sat down to write this, I still had no clue what to write about. And then it hit me, somewhere as I tried to make a title: I should write about deciding a topic to write on.

Beginning to write a novel can be extremely hard for some people, especially when you don't have a topic to write about. That was my problem when I first started NaNoWriMo this year. I didn't know what I was going to write about. All the ideas that I came up with were stealing from other authors' works. A story about witches and wizards, a story about vampires and werewolves, a story about faeries. And besides feeling like I was stealing their ideas, even though my plotlines were totally different, I felt overwhelmed by trying to start a novel that took place in a world that I would know nothing about until I began crafting it with words was daunting. I felt like I would mess it up. But thankfully I had decided in mid-October that I was going to do it, so I had a little time to think of other ideas. Then one night I had a dream (I know it sounds cliche, but it's true!), and it all clicked into place. It's safe to say I was ecstatic that I finally had a direction to move in. And not only did I have a direction, but I knew all about the places that my character was going to go, because I had been there myself. Then when November 1st came along, the words just started flowing out of my fingers and on to the keyboard. Not that I'll even finish my 50,000 words by the end of the month, but like my co-bloggers have said, at least I started!

On a completely unrelated note, one thing that I think is one of  the key "ingredients" to writing is lots of food and drink. I know that when I'm writing, not only is my mind hungry to see where my story will take me next, but my stomach is also begging for something. It seems every time I get into a good rhythm, I become hungry and have to grab something to eat. Even if I've just eaten. My mind relates writing with eating. So I've outsmarted my stomach and now when I go to write, I bring lots of snacks with me so I don't have to interrupt myself. And it works quite well.

Well, there's my two cents about starting a novel, and if I've helped even one person start on their goal of writing a book, then my mission has been accomplished. Much love!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Ingredients

For the past few days, I've been wondering what on Earth I will blog about on my first post. I've read the wonderful posts my friends have put up and I feel I can't write anything that good. However, I must, so here we go!

There are a few things I think are really important to have or do when writing. First and foremost, you need a support group. I hadn't written in months and months because I thought I was too busy. At the beginning of November however, my friends convinced me to join NaNoWriMo with them. I don't have enough words as of today to even dream of winning NaNo this year, but I needed that push from my friends to start writing again. They got me going when I had months of self-induced writer's block. If you've got a support group, you can run ideas that you're iffy about past them, you can ask them for random ideas like names, or you can find inspiration in them. It really does change the whole writing process when you have a group that is going through it with you.

Another thing that I believe is very important is some form of planning. It doesn't have to be anything terribly detailed, but it should be enough that you have something to write off. I had to deal with this first hand at the beginning of NaNo. I decided that I was going to do NaNo on the first day of NaNo. Needless to say, I was rushed, getting myself together for it. I decided that for the month, I'd work on a project I'd thought of over the summer. I only had the basics written down, and it became apparent in my writing that I didn't know my characters very well. I'd only bothered with the main character in jotting down my ideas over the summer and when it came to actually writing, that showed.

Last but not least, you need to just write. I know all too well how easy it to just say you're too busy or to say that you'll start writing next weekend. I also know how easy it is to just write between classes or during a spare minute or two at work. We all have busy lives, but if you really want to write, you can always find a little time here or there to jot something down. Once you get going again, it'll be much easier to continue. All you need is that first plunge.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Plunge

Mark this in history as the first official book post for this blog. We had the obligatory “hello” post and the unexpected birthday post (thank you to my gurrrls by the way. My birthday was wonderful J) but it is now time to get down to the nitty gritty business that this blog was created for. To me, this blog represents inspiration, motivation, imagination, and all those other cliché –ation words. It’s a place created for those who need help in their writing, including the bloggers ourselves. Somewhere we can help and be helped when we get stuck in those muddy ruts and our tires are spinning. This blog will hopefully be the wrench we need to get back on the road.
However, as this is the first blog, I feel that it is only appropriate that we begin where people normally like to start: the beginning. Where do you begin this book you have thought about writing so many times before but never had the idea for it? This was my problem. Then, that bright white light showed up to help me on my way. I like to call that light the transcribing team from Hogwarts Radio. It is a relatively new team created for a dearly loved podcast nearing the end of its time. To use a very overused idea, its end is my beginning. I created some friends who then persuaded (or perhaps peer-pressured is a better term) me to start NaNoWriMo. Even though I will never finish on time to win this year (I think I have about 5000 words) I am glad that I began. That is the point of this post. I BEGAN!
I have always thought about writing a book. However, every time I began to write it always ended up with some unloved child in a cupboard type room whose life was a big secret that would soon be revealed. Sound familiar? It should. And if it doesn’t then you have about seven books to get caught up on. Anyway, this cupboard child never went away. So I gave up on ever writing a book.
But then I found friends. That is my first advice to anyone. Get friends. They really do help. But you have to find the ones who will support and motivate you even when you feel stuck in a cupboard with no space to move. Friends will get you to do things that you would have never thought was possible. Obviously, don’t do the things that make you go against your morals (like drugs, sex, Twilight, ect.) but do take the opportunity to try some things. It might make all the difference. For example, I have some great stories on jumping into a freezing swimming pool in the middle of January when the temperature is in the teens and twenties (Fahrenheit). I did that for three years in a row. It started a tradition in my youth group that is carried on to this day. It even expanded to my youth minister and pastor jumping in one year with a crowd of excited church members standing with video cameras ready for the big splash. And it all started with a friend of mine saying, “Hey, let’s go jump in the pool!” Yes, it was terrifying. Yes, it caused a heart-racing adrenaline rush. Yes, it did hurt for a bit. But, that one or two minutes of fear, anxiety, and pain caused memories that would last a lifetime and a crazy feeling of satisfaction. Had I simply watched my friends jump in I would probably regret it. I would constantly wonder how it was, what it felt like, and why they wanted to do it again the next year.
With my novel, I just began to write. I took the first jump and discovered that cupboard kid again. But, slowly, as I kept going farther and farther into the story’s development that cupboard room began to expand into a regular sized room with one wall made of glass so that my character could see the sky at night. I learned to just let my imagination take over and to record all of my brain-rambles. There are some good ideas that come from nowhere sometimes. My biggest break through idea came when I was sitting in a macroeconomics lecture. I wrote it down in my notes, took it to a computer after class, and let my fingers fly over the keyboard to develop the idea further.
The point of this post is to just start. When I jumped in the pool the first time, I was bundled up in layers of clothes. From that I learned that it was better to wear shorts and a t-shirt because the less fabric meant a quicker dry-off and a quicker recovery. The same goes with my story. I just jumped into writing and let it take me where I needed to go. I learned more about my characters the more I thought or wrote about them. I discovered their secrets, their desires, and their personalities more as I just kept writing. That cupboard kid became a 17 year old orphan girl with long, bright red hair, a passion for painting, a love of literature, and a family secret to discover. Now I just have to find out that secret. Time to plunge a little further.

Author: Cody Doctorow

Friday, November 18, 2011


It just so happens that the same day we start our new blog, one of our bloggers has a birthday! Marissa is officially 21! As a Happy Birthday post to her, check out this video from a group all of our bloggers love: Potter Puppet Pals!

Marissa, Happy Birthday from all your fellow bloggers! We hope you have a great day!

Welcome to Pen, Paper, Priorities!

We are a group of girls who met through transcribing a Harry Potter podcast called Hogwarts Radio and started NaNoWriMo 2011 together, only to find that we all enjoy writing. We created this site to talk about our experiences writing, give tips, and have fun.

We can't wait to start and we hope that you'll join us on this fun adventure.