1. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Nicoel's Progress Journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Nicoel, Jun 6, 2015.

    Hi everyone!

    This thread caught my eye about 5 minutes ago so I looked over the rules/whatnot/explanation and thought to myself, "Huh, this could be interesting to try..." It also may be a good opportunity to "meet" other forum members. :)

    I'm working on a disaster novel; I'm about 6k words into it. Basically, there's going to be a series of comets that will be hitting the Earth and my main character Kayclee, her fiancee Casper, their kitten Chester, and their happily in love best friends Steph and Julia are going to try to survive it.

    Right now I've got all the important characters and side characters at a house party to watch the news report on the meteor falling. It's a historical event, and it doesn't seem that serious to them.
    The meteor was so big the government couldn't hide it's existence from the public, but instead didn't tell them exactly how big it is. Everyone's expecting the larger meteor to land harmlessly in the pacific ocean, off of the coast of L.A. Instead, it's likely to land somewhere off the San Andreas fault which may trigger an earthquake (IDK if that's plausible or not. Research!) and subsequently cause chaos in the country.

    I know this will just be the first in a wave of (increasingly more dangerous) meteors striking earth, but I haven't decided if there's going to be a big bad one that will knock Earth out of orbit or not. I would really like to keep Chester the Cat alive.

    @GingerCoffee @ToeKneeBlack @jannert definitely helped me with deciding the plot and setting (thank you so much; your help is priceless, I swear), but I'm still working out the kinks. Lots of studying and reading is in my future if I'm going to make this good. I'm also considering emailing a geology professor from an old college class for help in realism as well...
     
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  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, good luck. Now that you've set your story path in motion, you'll be able to direct your specific research questions to the people who will be able to keep you right. Starting with somebody you know—your old geology professor—means you could be entering a real gold mine of information. He might be able to answer your questions directly, or he is very likely to be able to send you to sources that will help you. Good luck, and fingers crossed for Chester The Cat!

    I know I got IMMENSE help from a friend of mine, who is a medical doctor, for bits of my own story that required medical knowledge. She pointed out a few things I'd done wrong, then proceded to go through that portion of my book, making suggestions about what she would have done to keep my character alive, had she been a doctor in the late 19th century, working without modern-day medical tools. This is the kind of thing it would have been very hard for me to come up with via normal research channels. In one fell swoop she totally rescued this part of my story for me.
     
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  3. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Nicoel,

    I'm happy to read that I've inspired some aspects of your story. I can't wait to see the finished product :)

    If you want any help with scientific accuracy, let me know. I don't hold any astrophysics degrees, but I've studied physics, so I can work out calculations and other details to see how heavy an object would have to be to hit the Earth and knock it out of orbit without shattering the crust. This seems implausible to me, as the crust of the Earth is very thin compared to the rest of the planet. It could still be possible, so don't give up on it.

    It could be that the meteorite which knocks Earth from its orbit only destroys less than 50% of the crust, but the damage causes a global mass extinction, with only a handful of humans left on a ravaged planet.

    The humans with the best chance of survival would be the astronauts on the space station. They would have a few weeks or months of supplies, but they'd have to return to Earth eventually, possibly using an escape pod.

    That's how I'd imagine events to play out in real life, and I don't know how many people would agree or disagree with them; but this is your story, with your rules. Entertainment comes before scientific accuracy! ;)
     
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  4. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Woo, I think it's time to update my progress journal! I'm about 9.5k words into it. I've definitely slowed down my writing since the beginning of the month, because things keep coming up. It's really hard to try to write when everyone around you is demanding something or giving you a guilt trip.

    Right now, the world has officially started to go to pot, and I have several characters all in play.. I based my my characters in their Junior/Senior years at a University in Colorado, and they're friends with a bunch of geology geeks (which is where they're getting my info from). I made them go get food, antibiotics, etc. I even put in a fun short scene where they go steal the drugs from a Walmart pharmacy and run away from a buncha assholes. That'll probably be taken out, but it was fun to write in the moment. :"D Now I'm wondering what to do.

    I'm thinking that one of the astrology/geology geeks has a relative that is a professional, and actually is one of those people that have an underground bunker they're staying in? Is that a way they can survive it?

    Either way, I have to make my characters make a decision soon so I can keep writing. I've got that itch. *twitches* ;)

    @ToeKneeBlack
    It'd be absolutely awesome if you could help me decide how big the thing really is. I just skimmed over that part of the conversation and put a placeholder [ ] there for it. How about just less than 50% of the crust? How big would it be? Could you hide in a bunker during it? I don't really want the "knocked out of orbit" if really the only hope is the space station.. You know what I mean?
     
  5. ToeKneeBlack
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    The asteroid which is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs was estimated to be 6 miles wide and caused an impact crater over 150 km wide. Its mass was thought to be 6*10^14 tons.

    The earth's surface is about 510,072,000 square km, and the area of the above crater was roughly 70,686 square km. The crater we want to make is less than 250,536,000 square km, a factor of about 3544.

    So the mass of the object needs to be of the order of 2*10^18 tons, or 2 quintillion tons.
    The mass of the earth is close to 6*10^24 tons, roughly 3 million times heavier than our theoretical asteroid, so I doubt the orbit would be affected much.

    Assuming both asteroids have the same density, the width of the object would be about 15 times greater, or almost 90 miles wide. Given that the largest observed asteroid is 570 miles across, there could be something similar up there, so it's not impossible that this object is already in our solar system.

    Now I'm waiting for an astronomer or a geologist to correct my calculations, but I don't think they're far wrong :)
     
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  6. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    @ToeKneeBlack you're amazing! Thank you! And this would be basic less than 50% of the crust type scenario, right?

    Now I just have to figure out what my characters are going to do to live through this. I know someone who knows someone who actually has a "shit hit the fan" shelter type deal, but I doubt it'd survive something like this, so I think really the only alternative is to be underground.

    Hmmm. Off to google me and Kayclee go!
     
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  7. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    Happy to help :)

    The calculation is for 50%, so you can make it a bit smaller to result in the desired percentage.
     
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  8. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    I've stopped writing for now, and been spending all my efforts in editing. I've made a lot of tense error mistakes :(. But then again, going back and changing what I've already written helps me be a better writer and a storyteller. I think my future writing will require less editing as a result. :)

    Just an update on my writing, in general. My mom talked to some self-published author that she's trying to be friends with (she's a writer full-time). My mom asked her the question, "My daughter wants to be a writer. How do you be a writer?"

    Apparently the old lady thought I was just starting with writing in general, and responded with, "Well, she needs to know what she likes to write, etc." So that advice wasn't as helpful as I was hoping it'd be. She was amazing at saying a whole lot of nothin' in MY opinion.

    She also recommended once I figured out what I liked writing and had some practice I should start publishing on Amazon. Then she started preaching, "SELF PUBLISHING IS THE WAY TO GO!!!!!!" Oh, and she also kept talking about how the writing industry is extremely cut throat and if another author tells you what you wrote is good - it's probably awful because they hate you and you're competition. Now, that might be true, but I doubt every single one of them is going to be like that. "DON'T LISTEN TO ANY KIND OFCRITIC! THEY JUST HATE YOU."

    Cue dramatic sigh.

    Now my mother is of the opinion that I need to self-publish online, and traditional publishing isn't the right way to start out.

    I'm skeptical of the old woman's advice just because of the way she handled herself. I try to give old, experienced people a lot more credit and thought but damn.
     
  9. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Day: unknown
    Status: starving
    Prognosis: not good. the darkness is creeping in. the shadows.. they're getting closer. what is tha --

    Haaa. Just kidding - all's good. I felt like being a bit more creative. But not too creative, cause that'd mean you'd start to love me and I already have too many fans.

    *snorts*

    Well, let's see. I'm at 12k words! That's something, right? If I were doing NaNoWriMo, that would mean a fifth of my projects done.

    I'm still keeping with the meteor/asteroid thing hitting earth, but I've made a lot of changes to the plot. Well, I wrote out an outline changing the plot in a direction I didn't mean to go. I kind of like it too. One of these days I'm going to go back through the first couple thousands of words and try to "date" the story somewhere in the future. Kind of like sci-fi. I want holograms and futuristic cars. Why? 'Cause I want there to be a one-world government during the time of the asteroid.

    No, it's not going to be a political story. At least, I'm not planning on it being overtly political - though there will be undertones for REASONS.

    I've also decided to kill off one of my favorite characters later. I'm not going to like writing that scene. Poor everyone else! My other main character is going to have another love interest, and then someones going to get pregnant. 'Cause when else would you want to have a baby when the worlds utter shit and you're supposed to be a lesbian (oops - spoilers). That was sarcasm by the way.

    I feel like my story has three parts in it so far.
    1) first 5k words that have already been edited and looked over
    2) first 9k words that have been written and semi-looked over
    3) the last bit of writing that is taking in account this plot and date change.

    I don't like it very much, but I think I need to keep writing right now. Get it out of my system, especially since classes are starting soon and I want as much done as possible. I think the setting and everything's set up, and now I'm just writing an in-between connector scene to the Next Big Thing.

    I posted a small dialogue bit to the writing workshop, and I got some good feedback for that (thank you, guys!). I also posted on Twitter that I was going to start posting these progress journals to my blog, and someone favorited it. I think that's pretty awesome.

    Well, that's where I'm at now. If anyone wants to read the mess that I have right now, feel free to message me. Having someone else to read it and tell me if I'm going on the right track or if I need to jump off the cliff that is this story before I hurt myself would be awesome. :D
     
  10. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Day: forever
    Status: hopeful
    Prognosis: baahaha

    I'm at 14k words! I've been going with the plan I wrote out.

    This is the first time I've had a plan that said exactly where I'm going, and I have to say I'm enjoying not having that confusion weighing on me while I try to write. Maybe I'm not as much of a pantser as I thought I was.

    I've also decided that progress journal will be something that I'm going to write to myself. This isn't a post meant to be read by everyone else. This is a post meant for meeee. Maybe that'll effect how I write it. I always enjoy going back and rereading things like this. Could be an interesting experiment.

    I included a scene to flesh out that my MC is a health nutcase, and that she knows what she's doing when it comes to helping people. Kind of proud of myself for thinking of it.

    I forgot about the cat my people were supposed to be carrying around with them, so he magically disappears for about a thousand words until I remember his existence and decide he's hungry...
    I PROMISE I LOVE YOU CHESTER.:superyesh:

    Ooops.

    Well, I should go do some non-writing related work. Like laundry. But I mean, if I become an amazing writer then I never have to leave the house therefore I don't need clothes - right? If that's the case, I should start working out or cover the mirrors if I become a nudist. Covering the mirrors means someones died though - and I'm not quite THAT ugly. Sighs.

    To be continued... :superhello:
     
  11. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    I have barely made any progress.

    I'm having a hard time finding any reason or motivation to write these days. I'm not very good at it. Any plot that I enjoy in my head never turns out on paper, and no one will ever read it. Even my best friend won't make time to read a couple hundred words.

    I know I need to stop relying on people to give me motivation in life to do things. I should just do things because I love to do it and because I enjoy doing it. Not because I'm good or bad, or because someone else might take the time to see if they like it. I know all of these things in my head, and I hear inspirational quotes all of the time. Yet, it doesn't seem to make any difference in how I feel.

    My grades are slipping. I don't have any friends. I can't seem to come up with anything decent to write about. Everything that I used be proud of about myself, and used to define myself as, doesn't seem to be there anymore.

    This incoming semester I am going to throw myself into studying 110%. Even if it's too late, I have to try.

    And that folks, is what's happening with me.
     
  12. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry to hear all of this. I hope things get better for you.

    After reading the obvious enthusiasm in a few of your earlier entries, I would bet that you're going to find that spark again. If you decide what truly motivates you is the chance to have your writing be read, embrace it. There's no right or wrong reason to want to write; all that matters is whether you decide the motivation is good enough. While you're writing, you could imagine what the reader is going to think/feel when they're reading it and enjoy the anticipation. Even if your writing doesn't fully work right away, it doesn't mean it was wasted time. You are still anticipating the moment when it does work, and you're getting closer to making your writing do what you want.

    Just remember that even if your best friend won't read it, this forum here is not only willing to read it--we want to read it. We want to help you get better at writing, and we want to be able to enjoy your writing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
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  13. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll read it and provide feedback if you like.
     
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  14. ToDandy
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    ToDandy Contributing Member

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    This is becoming a common thought that I'm seeing over and over again in different writers journals and it's bumming me out that people are getting discouraged.

    Writing is something that very few people are naturally good at right from the start- especially long form writing. Similar to how a long distance runner needs to train before a marathon, a writer can't expect to be the next greatest author on the planet without putting in the hard work to get better.

    Remember that you are writing to improve. Every word on a page gets you closer. Experiment and enjoy finding your voice. And always remember that a first draft will be very rough. My own early work can make me grit my teeth and pull my hair out. It's a long road to perfection but you'll get there!


    P.S. If you need people to take a look at your work, head on over to the workshop or if you don't feel like posting there you can try to find writing buddies through the collaboration forum. We've got a lot of people here who love reading others works and helping one another to improve.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
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  15. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    The important thing is not to force your writing. It's like acting - when an actor tries too hard, their mistakes are all the more noticeable.

    If writing is getting you stressed, then take a break from it. Pursue something else for a while until an idea pops into your head - then write it down before you forget it!

    For example, I was out shopping today, just walking around, when an idea popped into my head - some scientific details for a sci-fi story - while I wasn't thinking about the story itself.

    Relax, unwind, get someone on this forum to read your progress so far, and come back to your work with a fresh outlook.

    We believe in you!
     
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  16. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Thank you all for the encouraging words. :) I haven't touched a word document (minus writing for my English classes) since I made that post, and I haven't been on the forum either.

    I haven't forgotten about writing. In fact, the longer I'm away from it the more I want to do it and the more I think about it.

    What I wrote above is how I feel 90% of the time, but I'm usually in a good mood and I find some way to motivate myself. Even though I know most people don't/won't read what I write, I usually enjoy going back and rereading (directly after I've written it). As for the day I posted about how I feel, I was having a really bad night, and talking to myself about how amazing I was just wasn't cutting it <g>.

    And I know the forum will read it, even if people in my life who 'care' about me won't. The thing is, I can't send something to someone or post something that I'm just not proud of.

    I think the story I started this progress journal with has been retired. I just.. I don't like it. For now, at least. Maybe one day I'll dust it off, but until then: RIP, IDIOT.

    ..Did I really just say that? That was mostly a joke.

    But that doesn't mean the end of the progress journal! I've got a few more characters and stories in my head that's swirling around. This journal is becoming a -word that means a log of something, can't think of word- of not only my progress on a project but of my progress as a writer. I think. Maybe I'll have another really bad night and just say "SCREW IT ALL."

    I doubt it, though.

    Really though, thank you all. :love:
     
  17. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    I'm not really sure why I'm posting again, but I feel like I should.

    I haven't written anything non-school related yet. I'm still trying to figure out an ending to a story idea I've got in my head. I refuse to start another project until I have a general idea of where it's going to end.

    Actually, I have two story ideas that I really like and that I want to combine into one plot. But if I do that, there are plot holes and I'm not sure how I'm going to patch it up.

    Speaking of school related writing: I love my English class. Technically it's American Literature 1 - but it's the fourth English class I've taken at the community college. I took Am. Lit 1 & English 112 (basic writing class - how to do bibliographies, research papers, etc) my freshman year, and a British literature class. Now that I think about it, I think I took an Am. Lit 2 class as well. Then I guess the requirements changed, the classes changed, and these classes are called Am. Lit 1 & 2, but they're completely different from the ones I took when I started at the Community College.

    I love my class, though. My professor/teacher has a Masters in literature, and is currently working on her doctorate. We're actually reading challenging material and writing analysis of them.

    Can I say that again? We're reading material where I actually have to THINK about the MEANING and look up WORDS in the DICTIONARY.

    I had a 12.9 grade reading level in 5th grade (for all you Brits, by the end of my primary years I had already maxed out high school level). I haven't had to actually put in effort in an English-related class in a very long time. Though, I have to admit, it's not exactly that difficult at the moment. <g>

    I only say that because I feel like after having this class (and taking the second, more advanced class next semester) my writing is going to improve tremendously.

    At least, I sincerely hope so.
     
  18. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    The ending will hit you when you're thinking of something else. It happened to me - originally I had an ending in mind which was terrible, so I made it the end of the first half of the story.

    The improved ending took months for me to get right, and I was in the shower when it came to me. Do something relaxing and let your mind wander - but don't think about writing when you're doing that.
     
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  19. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    That advice was quite sound. I think I've got an ending in mind, now.
     
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  20. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    GOOD LORD OF ALL HELP ME.

    I think I've got another project in the "development" stage.

    This time, I am sticking hard and fast to the "OUTLINE EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU START" rule. I did bend the rule a little bit and wrote about two pages, because I wanted to see how I was going to format it - since I'm going with italics for thoughts this time around.

    This isn't my only rule. I am publicly stating the rules I'm setting for myself.

    1. OUTLINE. OUTLINE. OUTLINE. OUTLINE. Don't start until I've got a good idea of where I'm going.
    2. Take my time. I'm not in a rush, so if it takes me forever to finish it, so be it.
    3. Don't let anyone read it until I've edited it at least once. I''m doing this for my benefit. Yes, having someone there to read what I've written as I write it is exciting and advice is sooo helpful, but I just don't need the discouragement. The discouragement of no one wanting to even try reading it, no one giving me any decent feedback, the discouragement of knowing it's not good enough when I send it to people.
    4. Edit every chapter after I finish it. Keep it manageable. If I finish it and have a 90k behemoth on my hands, I'll never edit it, and it'll turn out like Sparks of Life (my first finished book). Utter shit, but proud of it.
    5. Every time I edit/add to it, going to post the update here. Once again, for my own encouragement and processing.
    I'll add to the list, if I have to.

    I'm wishing I can change the title of my progress journal. Make it more interesting/accurate. :"D
     
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  21. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you start writing and the story starts to progress differently than you planned, keep going and see where it leads you.

    If you don't like the direction it's taking on its own, try to bring it back to where you want it to be, but you might find some great ideas by letting the story develop sentence by sentence. You don't have to use those ideas for your current project if they don't fit in with the planned plot, but you never know how useful they might be for a future project.
     
  22. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    6. Try not to write with a rose in your face. A rose by any other name, if in your face, interrupts writing. Look it up.
     
  23. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Oh, I know. :D I've always been a pantser. Keeping to any kind of an outline is going to be difficult for me, but I'm fairly sure it'll be helpful in the long run. If I seriously feel the need to run off the rails, I'll do so, find the coordinates for where I'm at, and then re evaluate my outline.

    I love this, hahah.
     
  24. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Well, this will be my first update for my newest project.

    Word count: 1,167
    Pages of Planning (handwritten): 4 or 5 - I don't feel like getting up to check my notebook
    Chapters/Parts: 1

    I've got a good outline of ideas, three characters, and a few scenes played out in my head. I guess I'm basing it in New York (at least, I always imagine them in a big city whenever I'm watching my mind movie). I'm not too worried about the city name.

    I'm also focusing heavily on the theme that personal problems affect your life much more than huge world-changing events do. I'm working on bringing emotion out in myself. I'm working on loving myself through these characters.

    Anyway - all I've been doing is writing a little bit, and brainstorming ideas.

    God help me, but a lot of my inspiration is from other YA novels such as *Cringes* Twilight, Pendragon, Mortal Instruments, and others. But like I said, this book isn't for anyone but myself - so who gives a damn. Big dreams like publishing and people enjoying what I write is being shoved to the back of my mind.

    This might sound insane, but I feel like I'm waiting for something. Waiting for a monumental idea to hit me. It's like. I feel like I should be writing about something. Something important. But I don't know what that thing is. I can almost taste it.
     
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