National Novel Writing Month

Recently my blog posts have featured the title “X Days Until NaNoWriMo” which features updates on my current Work In Progress (WIP). So, what exactly is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo is short form for National Novel Writing Month and it’s an event in which writers are challenged to write 50, 000 words (the minimum length for a novel) in one month from midnight on November 1st to 11:59 on November 30th. 

You can read all about NaNoWriMo’s history here

The main website, http://nanowrimo.org/, provides tips during the event including how to work through writers block, as well as giving feedback and different motivation techniques to keep up with your writing.

The event has grown since its first event in July 1999 (it was later moved to November to take advantage of the foul weather) and you can find a lot of resources and variations of the original event online. I found one event, Camp NaNoWriMo, where you can join cabins with friends or strangers and compete to win prizes. Check it out!

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH

(How convenient I managed to publish this post just before the beginning of the event. 😛)

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Wishes for My Next Book

I have a GIANT wish list for my next book (to get it published is one of the things on that list, of course) and I know I’ll need a lot of help from other writer’s and various resources to finish the series. There are 13 main characters I can think of right now and that’s not including secondary characters, tertiary characters, minor characters, the antagonist(s), etc.
I have high hopes for these characters. The only thing they will have in common is their age: everything else will be totally unique to their specific characters. 

One thing I’ve noticed being discussed a lot in the writing world is having “Diversity in Writing” which I wholeheartedly agree with and would like to do myself. Not every character needs to be stereotyped according to the colour of their skin. 

I came across a website called “Writing With Colour” which I think will help me with my research to understand how to write diverse characters. It’s not the only resource out there (not by a long shot), but it will give me some insight on how to start.

If you wish to write more diverse characters (People of Colour aka PoC) your best bet is to read those types of books either by PoC and/or about PoC; just make sure you research the book or author to ensure it’s a genuine book which seeks to create understanding rather than tries to perpetuate the stereotype even further.

Do you know of any books by or about PoC or any resources to help write more diverse characters? Please share the names of those authors and the books below!

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH

Editing Checklist

I was recently asked to share what I use for my editing checklist, so here it is in all its editing glory…

(A lot of my ideas are borrowed from other authors – hey if it worked for them then it might work for me)

There are two ways I’ve gone about this whole editing thing and I find both ways have their pros and cons.

For my first novel I went through the whole thing from the first chapter to the last chapter. I did everything at once: from fixing major plot holes, making sure the writing is consistent throughout, and fixing all the mechanical errors with my spelling, word use, punctuation, etc. 

With this method I found the best way to go about it is to focus on a couple chapters a day rather than rush through. While you’re editing make sure to keep a checklist, or as I call it my “Keep in Mind” checklist, of what you notice in your writing: overuse of a word or words, smoothness/naturalness of the dialogue, character consistency, what you need to remember for the next chapter or chapters to ensure overall plot consistency, and so on. Write down the chapters you’re editing as you can go back through your notes and find where you made mistakes and correct them.

I’m using this method for my second novel to start, but this time the editing will have three stages: 

1) Developmental Editing Stage – where I look at the overall plot, characters, and writing style to make sure it’s all consistent with the first book. (Right now I’m reading through the first novel and making notes on each chapter, my Keep in Mind’s, to transfer over to the second novel to make sure I wrap up any unanswered questions).

2) Line Editing Stage – where I look at the novel literally line by line ensuring style is consistently effective and appealing as possible. 

3) Copy Editing Stage –  where I look for errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar, word use, etc. 

EA Deverell has an Editing Checklist you can use which gives you a list of a few things you can check for while editing. You can also add your own editing notes as well. There are two checklists: one for story (Stage 1 – Developmental Editing) and one for text (Stage 2 and 3 – Line Editing and Copy Editing). Here they are:

This second method, the three stage editing process, would allow me to go through a lot less drafts and revisions, unlike the first method where you’re done when you feel you’ve caught all your errors. 

I hope these two methods will give you a few ideas when you start to edit your WIP. Good luck and let me know what methods you use to get through editing. 

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH

Character Sketches

Creating new characters is one of my favourite parts of writing a story. Each of my characters are unique and I love writing about them and how they interact with their world. It’s interesting to find that my characters tell me how they’re going to act and behave in a certain situation rather than the other way around.
My favourite part of a character sketch is the name (don’t ask me why it just is). Once I have the name down the rest falls into place. 

I didn’t do character sketches for my trilogy. There aren’t a lot of characters so it was easy to keep track of them all. 

For my next series I will need to keep a list of all my characters and their behaviours (there’s 13 protagonists, not including secondary characters, the “villain(s), and minor characters).

I found a few well written articles and character sketch guidelines which I will share with you (as well as use them for myself).

Like I’ve said before, EA Deverell has loads of writing sheets with guided questions to help you write. Here’s one on how to do a Character Sketch. If it’s not detailed enough for you then you can search Pinterest for more detailed variations, or you can use a few different worksheets and this will really help you become familiar with your character(s).

If you are creating a lot of characters, or just want to keep things organized, you might have trouble coming up with different words to describe each of them. To get those creative juices flowing use this Character Trait Vocab List to help you out. A Thesaurus is a great tool to use as well (I’ve used one several times and I’m not ashamed to admit it).

Now comes the hard part: how to communicate these traits to your reader without resorting to the dreaded “info dump”. Kristen Kieffer, blog writer of www.shesnovel.com, provides writer with a handy four step method on how to do just that. Here are the Four Steps in a nutshell:

  1. Step One: Self-Perception
  2. Step Two: External Perceptions
  3. Step Three: Be Subtle
  4. Step Four: Avoid Clichés

To view the details and explanations behind each step you will have to click on the link above.

Do you have a method you follow when writing new characters? Please share your ideas and tips below!

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH

My Writing Routine

​I have many quirks and peculiarities, some of which transfer over to my writing. I set aside certain days to write and on those days I only write at a certain time for two hours. Before I can even write I need to…

  • Put the kids to bed and dishes are done (and any other chores if not completed)
  • Make sure my desk is set up and my writing materials are readily available
  • Open my notebooks and place them “just so” on the table
  • Turn my tablet on and the Word document and WordPress App are open
  • Put any snacks on the table
  • Make a fresh tea and place it on the coaster
  • Load my music (Sia, Fallout Boy, Linkin Park, Disturbed, among many others) and put on the headphones or have them readily available

Once those headphones are on I’m good to go and the writing doesn’t stop for two hours. I know writers who have fewer quirks and some who have more. If you think my quirks are weird or my list is too long I have one thing to say to you: TO EACH HIS/HER OWN. These quirks work for me and help me “get in the zone” for writing. 

Do you have a writing routine? What do you need to do before, during, or after you write? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Until next time. 

Happy Writing!

MH

Another Giveaway!

I had no participants in my last giveaway (sadly) and I think it was because I did it myself instead of through a “brand” name. I only had my own name which is not well known to everyone (yet) and it’s a struggle all new authors must face. 

So I made another giveaway and this time I created it through Goodreads. Let me tell you that today, the first day, already 53 people have entered the giveaway. 🙂

The contest runs from October 3rd to October 11th and its open to everyone in the US, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. Check it out by clicking the link above!

MH

WIP – Progress for the months of August and September

I’ve been writing the second installment of The World of the Undead since the beginning of August (the 3rd to be exact). Tonight I finally decided to check out my overall progress.

Overall writing progress for the month of August:

Words Written: 39, 086
Pages Added: 110
Chapters Completed: 21.75

Not too bad eh?

And my overall progress for September…

You ready for this?

Words Written: 6,939
Pages Added: 21
Chapters Completed: 3.5

I wish I could go back in time and give myself a smack in the head every day during September. I don’t know what happened. I have a lot of guesses/excuses, but those won’t change the fact that I wrote 80% less than I did in August.

I need to get my ass in gear and finish this novel soon so I can get started on editing the damn thing.

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH