Book Update!

So, exciting news!

I can’t remember if I told you all here, but I’ve been struggling for several months to make any progress at all on Book 4: In Search of Pack. It’s been a total slog, painful to get more than a sentence or two on the page before I abandon it again to try again the next day.

However, since I’ve discovered my true writing style (Discovery Gardener, woot woot!), I’ve been making forward progress again. It’s been a little bit slow, as I’m having to deal with the slow/stilted parts, but I’m finally moving forward with the story and I’m truly curious to discover what Aletta and Lirim have gotten themselves into this time.

If things continue going this well, there might very well be a summertime release in my future. Fingers crossed!

Happy Monday Everyone!

We are strong together!

How I Write

How do I write?

Earlier this week, I shared about how I had found out that I was a discovery writer, about how freeing that was for me. So I thought that I would share a little about how the process looks like and works for me, especially now that I know what my strengths are.

So, before I found out what my writing style, this is what it would look like, especially the past month.

I would sit down, turn on my computer, and pull up my main novel and the fanfiction story that I was working on. I would then also pull up the outline that I had created for both. I’d skim over my outline, maybe changing a couple of words here and there, add a sentence to flesh out something that I’d thought of as I thought over while thinking of the story. And then I’d skim the last, oh, thousand words or so in order to spark the memory of where I’d left the scene. Once I was satisfied that I knew where I was and where I was going, I’d start a new paragraph. But this was a struggle. I’d write a sentence, maybe half a sentence, before going over and fiddling with my music, or checking my email, or facebook. Basically, anything to ignore the flashing cursor that appeared to be mocking me.

Meanwhile, I was inwardly very frustrated, even as I sought to distract myself. I knew where the story was going, what the characters were supposed to be doing, so why weren’t the words coming. I would return to the page and just stare at it, begging for my brain to produce something, anything. But the words simply wouldn’t come. So I would go and journal a little bit or work on a story that was ‘just for me’ and thus I didn’t care about it being perfect or well thought out. I would write anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand words on it and then move on for the day. I’d return to my novel, and still, absolutely nothing. Promising myself that I would get my goal finished tomorrow and make up for today as well. Then I would go and do my daily chores, wishing that I could’ve gotten more done. My frustration and self loathing grew. I am a writer, I have been writing all my life, people enjoy my writing, so why was storytelling so hard and unrewarding for me of late?

Then I learned my writing style. I’m a Discovery Gardener. This means that I have to discover the story alongside my characters. My world and self image of myself as a writer tipped on their side, but I was so tired of being frustrated that I was willing to give it a try. And to be honest, it just felt right.

So here’s how my writing looks like now.

First, I threw away all of my outlines. Every single one. I might’ve heard my characters cheering, but that might’ve just been me, lol. I gave myself 24 hours without writing to allow my brain to clear out and remove all the expectations and must haves. I didn’t HAVE to do anything but go along for the ride.

The next morning, I sat down nervously at the computer. Would this work? Or would it not? Still, I wouldn’t be any worse off than I was before and I would just need to keep looking to find what works for me. I pulled up my novel, the one that I’ve been stonewalled on for the past several months, that would be the best test after all. Having thrown all plans out of the window, I had no idea where it was going. So, taking a depth breath, I quickly skimmed the last paragraph (It wouldn’t do any good to start in a completely random place, lol). And then, I put my hands on the keyboard and started to write. And the words came! It wasn’t the painful task of trying to pull a story from someone. Instead, it was like sitting down for a cup of coffee with a friend and listening to what was going on with their life. It was almost like my character was relieved, like she was saying, ‘Finally! Now that you’re actually listening to me, here’s what happened.’

But not only was I writing again, I was happy. There was no stress, no hiding and avoiding, there were simply words telling the story. Finally, the story reached a natural pause, so I called it good for the day. I was satisfied with the progress that I had made. There were no grand revelations, no great progress, but my characters got to eat a very nice omelet and have an overdue discussion. Not what I expected, but it did move the story forward and gave me a bit more depth of my characters to work with. And it fit, it didn’t have to be forced into the story, it was just naturally part of it. And that’s when I knew, I had found my style and it worked for me.

So here’s what my writing routine looks like now. I sit down eager at my computer and pull up my writing site. I might have a story in mind for the day or I might be following wherever the wind takes me. Then I pull up my top 3-4 stories (Oh, who am I kidding, it’s more like 10-12, those plot bunnies can be vicious) and I skim through them until I find one that sparks my imagination. Then I write on that until I either hit the end of the chapter or reach the point where the story runs out for the moment. Then I’ll repeat the process, until I’ve easily written between 3-5k words on average. Are they all good words? No. Will they all be kept? Again, no. But they are there on the page and I always get to find out something new about my stories and characters.

There’s still a hint of frustration here and there, sometimes I really want to work on one story but another will hijack my attention entirely. And I’m sure that I will run into more roadblocks and obstacles that I currently have no idea exist. But I am happy once again and my stories are moving forward.

So find out what works for you and don’t let anyone tell you that there is a “right” or “wrong” way of doing things. Just do it “YOUR” way.

I would love to hear about your writing styles and routines, what frustrates you or brings you joy.

Happy Writing and Happy Wednesday!

We are strong together!

In the Moment

People are too busy.

We just are. We’re always trying to get ahead of our never ending to-do list, the commitments and promises that we’ve made, and the daily necessities of living. It wasn’t until two days ago that I realized that this weekend is Labor Day Weekend. The idea of a long weekend is both a cherished and hated idea. More time off, but it means that we have to work even harder to get caught back up.

When I realized that I was thinking like that, I had to stop for a minute and ask myself. When did all the things that I HAVE to do become more important than anything else? Yes, I set myself a goal of having an x amount of words written by a certain date. But what good is having met my goal if I’m a frazzled mess trying to reach it? Or if I’m missing out on important moments that will never happen again for something that I could put off until tomorrow?

So this weekend, I’m going to take the opportunity to live in the moment. If I write, fine. If I don’t, well, it will always be there tomorrow. I’m not going to make plans or follow a schedule. I’m going to go where the wind takes me and see what adventures and treasures that I can find 🙂

Breathe deep. Live in the moment. Hang and be weird with your friends and family. Just enjoy life, it’s a gift.

See you Monday!

Where to Start?

I should’ve brought a map

So it’s Monday morning again, new week, new start. Ah, sometimes I am ever the optimist. What the situation truly is? It’s not even seven a.m. yet and I am most decidedly not a morning person. However, I made myself a promise that I was going to get up and get going, that I am going to follow through on all of my plans. I am sitting on my bed and I have a ginger kitty distracting me in my lap, begging for attention and cuddles while I try to concentrate. Forget typing, lol.

But I made myself a promise and I’m going to keep it. So I am up and I can somehow work around the needy feline (practice makes perfect, lol). However, I also promised you guys honesty. When I booted up my computer this morning and started running through my to-do list, I almost had a panic attack. I have so much to do, where do I even start?

Do I start by getting my cover art redone with my real name? But I want to make some changes to the books, some parts that I skimmed over before that I want to expound on, which will change the thickness of the book which in turn will change the dimensions of the art that I need.

So I should start with writing. After all, that’s what’s holding up the cover art and republication. That has it’s own set of difficulties. I really need to get editing my third book (I hate editing. I try to liken it to pruning a plant to make it healthier and more beautiful, but seriously, editing is one of the most painful processes for me). People have been really patient while waiting for me to get the third book out. But am I doing them a disservice by having substandard earlier editions out there? And what about book 4? I don’t want to have people wait forever for book 4 to come out, now that I’m getting my act together. Ok. Deep breath. Let’s put it aside for a minute and come back when I’m a little more awake and have my thoughts in better order.

Let’s start with social media. After all, if no one knows about my books, it doesn’t matter if they are great or not, because no one will be reading them. Oh yeah, I am still in the process of converting them over from Kat Seaholm. That’s all right, this I can do. Oh, I need to know my password? I’m sure I wrote it down…. somewhere. Ok, good. Don’t know what I was thinking when I made that password but I can post now. But what to post? I don’t want to come across as needy or overly aggressive. I want to be funny, but not flippant. And definitely NO politics. The world is crazy enough, I just want to make the world a better place, to give people a break from all the crazy.

And thus the hamster wheel of my crazy brain goes around and around. I will eventually find a way to break it into manageable chunks and find a way to move forward through the fear. Although at times I wish for a clear road map, I find so many unexpected gems on the journey that I could’ve never possible anticipated.

So what is going on in your life this week? What big goals/dreams are you trying to accomplish? And what do you do when you get overwhelmed by your to-do list?

Happy Monday Everyone!

Z is for Zest

Zest

 

No, not that kind of zest. I’m talking about the other types of zest.

 

Definition of zest

*An enjoyably exciting quality

*Keen enjoyment

Source: Merrian-Webster Dictionary

 

Over the past month, I’ve had lots of fun sharing with you Everything that I Love about Writing. I’ve covered a myriad of topics, some I never anticipated and others that turned out totally different than I set out to write. I got to read some phenomenal blogs and make some new blogging friends. But we have reached the end of the A to Z Challenge. So where do I go from here?

Well, right now I’m busy trying to make sure that everything is ready for my May 15th release of the next book in my series: In Search of Healing. It’s the second book in a six part series and I’m excited about its upcoming release. For my blog, I still plan on my Feature Fridays, plus I hope to start a serial story sometime in May.

But most of all, I plan to continue writing with zest. For many years, I hid my writing away as unimportant and not good enough. But my writing brings me joy and I hope that I’ve been able to share a small measure of that joy with you over the past month. So thank you for supporting my A to Z journey and I encourage you to live every day with zest and joy.

Here’s to a great 2018!

Friday Feature – Blogger Lexx Vorpahl

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Before I begin my introduction, I definitely want to thank Kat for reaching out and asking me to participate in her Friday Feature. Thank you for the opportunity to do so…

So where to begin, Hello there everyone, Lexx here. I am an aspiring author who is currently working on two novels simultaneously while blogging about all things related to writing. My writing journey is an interesting one and I have always enjoyed it for many reasons. On writing:

I like being able to communicate through writing for several reasons:  I like the challenge and the peace it brings to me personally, when I sit down to write I try to articulate my words well (the challenge) I read them aloud to see how they flow together, I get time to ponder a bit before having to spit out uselessness( I am not one for small talk or small thoughts).

I definitely enjoy being able to go over my thoughts and refine them for later use and blogging has been a medium I hadn’t considered for that purpose until now. So, I am liking the process of learning and growing as I continue to blog as often as possible with my chosen subject always present. I also don’t mind sharing with others and blogging is one way I get to share and connect with other people (without having to leave my house, I consider this a plus). I like being able to find like-minded individuals and connecting through our similar interests and thought processes through the blogosphere.

Anyway, more on my writing journey but outside of blogging. To be honest, I am just now beginning to kick things off after years of self-doubt and always listening to other peoples’ words on the subject matter. I beg you now if you love writing, never stop, for a moment. Now is writing easy? Yes and no…Is it easy to become an author? Certainly not, but if it is a goal of yours and something you can’t get out of your mind, don’t stop because of outside influences. Add it to the many goals you want to achieve in life.

This totally applies to other things not just writing, so if you don’t write don’t worry my words still apply. Believe in yourself and find where your passion lies. I don’t think anyone should have to give up something they love to do and sometimes we are told just that! What terrible advice if you ask me, and that sort of advice is best left on the side of the road while you continue driving to your destination. Right now, I am doing just that and so far, I like the scenery.

A bit more about me:

I am a stay at home mom and wife, I homeschool, I’m a Beachbody coach too. I’m also a student and can’t wait to begin a new degree course in August. I love gardening, crochet, and woodworking to name a few things. My husband and I love DIY! We do a lot of different projects together. Life is good. Obviously writing is a passion, and blogging is something I enjoy too. I plan to finish my novels, edit and then publish.  In the meantime, I blog at https://lexxvorpahl.wordpress.com/ you can also catch me over at https://vorpahlismco.wordpress.com/ If you like DIY, cooking, crafty things and more.

you can also find me on Instagram @LexxWrites  https://www.instagram.com/lexxwrites/  or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LexxWrites/

Again, a big thank you to Kat and hey TGIF! Have a great weekend everyone.

Lexx Vorpahl

U is for Unexpected

Writing for me is not a thoroughly planned journey. It is often just a rough sketch and I usually end up coloring outside of the lines. For me, creativity happens spontaneously. If I try to plan out every little nuance before I begin to write, I find I have no desire to actually write the story. It takes all the joy out of it for me. So although I may have a general outline, I tend to just let my storyline flow and see what happens.

However, that does not mean that I am never surprised by what happens. This weekend I was working on my novel. The scene was going well, we were working on setting up a game plan for their undercover operation. Then, right in the middle of this, one of my characters decides to have a deep, introspective moment. I’m like, ‘Where is this even coming from and you choose now to have this conversation? We are right in the middle of a battle plan, not a why did you trust me conversation.’ Still, my character was unwilling to progress any farther until this matter was dealt with, so we rolled with it. It may or may not become important later in the plot, I have no idea as I never planned for this conversation.

This is part of why I love writing, the joy of discovering surprising backstories and hidden depths to characters. The twists and turns in plots that I could never anticipate. Sometimes it irritates me and I rant for a while or even walk away from the story for a time. But in the end, the curiosity about what happens next always draws me back.

So what is something unexpected that happened in your life recently?

 

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M is for Money

Due to tiredness, I made a mistake on yesterday’s post, L is for Language. Today is the halfway point, not yesterday. My apologies for the mix-up but congratulations again for everyone that has hung in there. Also, thank you to everyone who has stopped by and read my blog. Without you guys, there wouldn’t be a reason for a blog. Now, onward to the post!

 

money

 

Money is such an ingrained part of our daily lives that we rarely consciously notice it. It is there, after all, we work to pay our bills, we shop for things we need, we save up to go on vacation. In fact, on any given day we probably use and think of money at least twice if not more. We know our currency down to its smallest value. For Americans, it’s the penny. We often have a jar filled with it sitting around our houses somewhere.

 

So how does money translate into writing? We have to consciously bring it to the forefront of our minds as we write. Is our character poor or rich? Do they budget everything or are they a free spirit that struggles paycheck to paycheck? When they travel, are they familiar with the local currency or do they struggle to pay and make change. Because of this, are they easy prey for con men and tricksters? What if they are robbed in a foreign country? What are their options?

 

fantasy money

 

As a fantasy writer, I often do world building for my stories. Part of that includes currency. This includes types of currency, is it made from precious metals, cheap metals, wood, paper? Value of currency, is it based on a very regulated system like each coin increases value by 10 or is it a more random system where each item is valued independently of each other? This is always a very fun part of writing for me.

 

Finally, there is one more type of currency: Barter

:to trade by exchanging one commodity for another

: to trade goods or services in exchange for other goods or services

  • farmers bartering for supplies with their crops
  • bartered with the store’s owner

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 

Your character has a specific skill set, how can they barter it to obtain what they need? How do you set values for such diverse things? This is always a challenge to decide, but it allows you a lot of flexibility in your storyline.

 

We have now reached the end of the second week of the A to Z Challenge. Only two more to go! So tell me about a time when you bartered for something. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

J is for Journey

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Now, I know that I’ve been using a lot of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit references. But honestly, they are epic books and movies (except for The Hobbit trilogy, I cannot condone those) and they have withstood the test of time. Some books are poorly written but become immensely popular for short time. Others are very well written but are a dense read, so they remain of limited popularity. Tolkien combines both ease of reading and excellent writing, as is shown by its continued popularity years after it was written. Anyway, I digress.

 

Journey is one of my all time favorite words. It implies travel, new experiences, personal growth. But as Bilbo Baggins so aptly tells Frodo

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

 

I find that this to be true of writing as well. When you embark on the path of a story, if you don’t keep your feet under you, you will be swept off to who knows where instead of the intended destination of your story. Also there is the fact that in a story, as in real life, a journey does not have to be a physical journey, but it can be an emotional journey instead. All that matters is that the character is not in the same place that we found them and that we know how they got there.

 

What is a journey that you or your character have taken lately?

 

come-on-sam-remember-what-bilbo-used-to-say-its-a-dangerous-business-frodo-gong-out-your-door-lord-quote

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