NanoWrimo

And why I’m breaking the rules

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

This year, as with every year since 1999, thousands of writers around the world will take on the challenge to write 50000 words in November. I defy anyone that writes, to not know this.

The thing is that Nano can set you up to fail if you don’t approach it right.

I’ll be honest, I have failed at Nano more times than I have succeeded-

So, this year, I’m doing things differently.

I’m not aiming to write a fully functioning first draft of a novel in thirty days. Hell, it takes Stephen King three months to write a novel, and he is a writing genius, and prolific, to boot!

Instead, I plan to write the first 60,000 words of a novel draft.

This will not make a finished novel- not even close.

That’s the problem with Nano- it leads people (myself included) to believe that a novel finishes at 50000 words, when that simply isn’t the case.

Not even a middle grade novel averages 50000 words. You would need to add 5000 words to it to get an average middle grade novel.

Another issue with it is that a lot of people think that come the 30th of November, then will have a novel that’s completely ready to submit to an agent or a publisher.

This is not the case. There is so much more to writing a novel than just getting the first draft on paper- truth is, that is really where the hard work begins.

For this year’s Nano, I plan to just have fun with writing. I am just going to show up, every single day, and use this month to get my daily writing habit back on track!

Good luck, Wrimo’s!

Onwards to the 30th!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

When Writer’s Block Strikes

And how to find the path through it


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

If you’re a writer, you’ll know what I mean when I talk about “one of those days”.

The days when writing seems to completely elude you and you feel like you’re trapped and frozen with nowhere to go and nothing to turn to. The kind of days when you want to write, but the mere thought of it terrifies you, because you don’t feel like the words will come. You feel like you have nothing to say, and even if you did, it probably wouldn’t be anything worth reading anyway.

This, is your inner critic talking. This is the culmination of all of your doubts and all of the things that knock your self-confidence.

The truth is that you can write. You do have something to say, and it is worth reading.

The truth is that the very worst thing you could possibly do is to give in to the block. Because, one day will turn into two, and two will turn into a week, and so on, and so on.

The difference between a successful writer, and a wannabe, is that they showed up and did the work. They ignored that inner critic, and persevered with writing, even when the doubts flooded in, and when the muse went on strike.

The key thing to remember, is that each day that you show up to write, is a day where you are improving. It is a day where you are honing your craft, and exercising your skills as a writer.

So, when you’re having a tough day. Maybe you’ve hit a block in your wip, or the words just won’t come. Just try to give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to write something ‘just for fun’. It may only be a snippet, but you never know, one day, you might look back on it and see the potential in that piece of writing. It may even become the foundation of your next novel, short story, or even blog post.

Remember, no time spent writing, is time wasted, no matter how bad you may feel about it at the time.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Ten Ways You Know You’re A Writer

The good, the bad and the crazy…

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

I have always known that I am a writer. I think it’s something I was just born to be. I love reading. I love stories. Really, a life without stories, is more than I could bear to think about. It would be the ultimate torture. In fact, when I am struggling to write, it feels a lot like I can’t breathe; as if a part of me is crying, and I don’t know how to help it.

That’s the thing with writing. The stories inside you are desperate to get out, and the struggle is being able to actually get them out.

In thinking about writing, I thought I’d try to compile a list of reasons how you would know if you’re a writer.

1. You study people and things, constantly looking for inspiration and ideas.

Everything has a story, and you feel that it is down to you to discover it.

2. You always carry a notebook.

Whether paper, or digital, you need something with you to write down those little sparks of inspiration, before they flit away from you.

3. You have a notebook hoard.

This is a guaranteed sign of a writer. I’m serious. Dragons have nothing on writers when it comes to hoarding… Some of these may be filled, but others may only have half a page filled. You love them, either way.

4. You’re always reading.

This is the key to becoming a better writer. You have to read. There is no other option here. Read. Read a lot. Read everything and anything you can. Even if the story is bad, you may add to your vocabulary. There’s always a silver lining.

5. You keep a running list of characters, settings and situations.

Friends, enemies, natural disasters. They all go down. Your house, your school, the local park. These are all perfect story fodder, and you’re constantly adding to them as the ideas strike.

6. Your idea of a good night involves pyjamas, a blanket, snacks and your laptop/notebook.

Seriously, what else could anyone need? Am I right?! That draft won’t write itself, so a night spent like this, writing dangerously, is the perfect option for any writer.

7. You live in constant fear of your inner critic.

Mine is named Muriel. I wrote about her in this post. She is mean and nasty and loves to make me put myself down. She hates it when I’m doing well and writing easily. She loves to put doubts in my mind, and will, if I let her, stop me writing altogether.

8. You can detect spelling and grammatical errors like a cat can find the only person in the room that is scared of them.

Seriously, does the term ‘grammar nazi’ mean anything to you? And pfft! Who needs spellcheck?!

9. You spend half your time in a dreamworld.

Yep, you’re quite happy to spend hours at a time with your own imagination, working out plot holes and ways to make your stories just that little bit better- that’s if you aren’t just stuck in an entirely new story altogether.

10. You are happiest when you’re writing.

Writing is my happy place. It is my refuge. When I am happy, or sad, it is the first thing that I turn to. It is the first thing I think of when I wake up, and no matter how bad I may feel when I start writing, I always feel better by the time that I’m done.

So, there it is. My ten ways of knowing that I’m a writer. Can you think of any others? Drop them in the comments. I’d love to read them. 🙂

Writing Space

And How To Set One Up

June 12

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

I read a question that was asked on Quora earlier, about how to make a writing space. It got me thinking. There are so many different kinds and variations of writing space, which all depend totally on the individual’s personal tastes.

Some people like a very empty, clear and minimalist desk, with just their computer on it. Some can only write long hand. Some use a mixture of the two, and some like a very busy, almost cluttered work space.

I think I probably fall somewhere near the last category here. My writing space is in my bedroom. My bedroom takes up the entire top floor of the house. I have it partitioned, so that I have a craft room and a dressing room on one side, and then my bed, and writing space on the other.

So, my writing space, basically consists of a square of tables, with a small gap so that I can get into the middle, where my chair is. I have multiple screens, so that I can have all the things pertaining to my current wip visible whenever I want it.

I also have a number of books. Many are on book shelves, which surround my writing space, but I also have several piles on the tables, and these are the ones, which I tend to refer to while I am working. I also have a number of notebooks, and any number of pens and pencils lurking on my desk.

The thing is that sometimes, I like to work on a screen, and sometimes, I like to go a bit more old school, preferring to use pen and paper.

I strongly believe that there is room for both, and I generally just try and see where my mood is leaning. The only thing, in my mind, which is non-negotiable, is that I must show up.

We can spend as long as we want creating the perfect space to write, but if we don’t actually show up and get the work done, then really there’s no point in any of it.

I guess I’m not really answering that question very well, but I don’t think that there’s any kind of magic formula for a writing space. As writers, we’re all so individual, and it is only through some level of experimentation that we will find what works for us.

But really, when it comes down to it, all we really need is ourselves, a willing mind, persistence, dedication, and something with which to capture the words dancing within us.

What do your writing spaces look like? Let me know in the comments.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Timescales In Writing

Timescales In Writing

An Experiment

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

I’m taking a writing course, and at the moment, I’ve been looking at genre fiction. The thing is that, while I’ve looked at genre fiction before, and I know what it is, something in the notes made me realise something that I’ve not really considered before.

That something, is time. Most of my writing projects have taken place over a seemingly infinite time period. What I mean here is not that I allowed myself infinite time to finish a piece (obviously, that would be ridiculous) but that the stories themselves don’t seem to have a specific time frame for me to work with.

I plan to change that. Today, I begin planning a novella in parts. Seven parts, to be exact. The idea is that each part will cover one day. The story will, therefore, be told in the time span of a week.

I have a few ideas bouncing around at the moment, but nothing particularly concrete, and you know what? I’m actually okay with that. While I will plan the story, I am quite happy to give my imagination free rein to come up with the story that it wants to tell. My only restriction is that it must all happen within the space of a week.

I don’t know how long it will take me to write this, but I will keep a log during this time, and hopefully I will update you soon.

Have any of you ever come up against this? Have you written something set within a specific time frame?

Let me know in the comments. 🙂


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Descriptions

Descriptions

Adventures In Novelling

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

As a writer, descriptions are something that is fairly important to me. I am constantly trying to come up with new ways to talk about things.

There are so many words in the English language, and so many of them have been placed together in certain patterns in order to describe things, but really, what we need to do is to try and look for any possible different ways to illustrate the images that we’re trying to create in the minds of our readers.

Sometimes I find that these words are more forthcoming than at other times… and sometimes, trying to find that ‘right’ combination of words is like trying to get blood out of a stone.

The thing is, that there’s no telling when the good and bad days are going to come. All we can do as writers is to be constantly trying to expand our vocabulary, and to be ever vigilant to try and catch the words when they float by us.

Something that I am going to try and do is to keep a collection of phrases… snippets of words that come into my head, in the hopes that I will one day, be able to say that I have found the exact ordering of words for the description that I want to write.

The thing that I find with descriptions, and it’s something that I am as guilty of as anyone else; is that I only ever seem to utilise one or two of the senses, rather than looking at using all five of them.

As writers, we need to be overly careful to make sure that we use every one of the senses, because this is the way in which we experience the world, and so, it follows that it should also be the way that our characters experience the world; to not do so, is to render our characters almost as disabled in some way.

So, when writing our descriptions, we must try and make sure that we talk about what our characters can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. These little details are the sorts of things that will add flavour to our writing.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Plotting

Plotting

Adventures In Noveling

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

While I am already working on my current novel, an idea for another series came to me. It has been calling me away from writing my current work, but as an abstract idea, this is not very helpful.

I want to focus on my The Girl In The Mirror (Current novel), but as the story gets into the middle of act two, it is getting increasingly dark, and sometimes I am finding that there are days when I need a little ‘light relief’ when it comes to writing.

So, rather than force this idea into the box that it keeps popping out of, I have decided to plot it out, alongside working on my novel. I know it doesn’t technically count as writing, but in a way it does, because hopefully, when I finish my CN, I’ll be able to dive straight into this one, with a clear idea of what is supposed to happen in it.

I’m hoping that this will also prevent me from being worried about finishing a writing project, because of the “What next?” anxieties. I’m going to see how it goes, but for now, I’m enjoying it, and feeling very inspired.

The method of plotting that I am trialling is called the Snowflake method, which was designed by Randy Ingermanson. I’m going to review this method fully once I’ve completed my plan, so I won’t go into full details here, but if you want to check it out, all you need to do is google ‘snowflake method’ and you should find a number of articles about it.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Characters Who Have A Mind Of Their Own

Characters Who Have A Mind Of Their Own

Adventures In Novelling

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

If you’re a writer, you’ll know all about the struggle of dealing with characters that simply won’t do what you want them to do. I have dealt with this so many times in my own writing, where, for some reason, the characters just don’t want to play ball.

Sometimes they won’t say what we want them to. Sometimes they turn around and tell us that really, they wouldn’t do what we’re about to write them doing. And it is so frustrating. I find myself staring at the screen, thinking ‘I created you, and now you’re telling me that you know better

The only thing I can say is that there is a fine line here. Sometimes I have forged on ahead and ignored that character’s voice telling me that this “simply wouldn’t happen”, and more often than not, I have been proved wrong.

On the very rare occasion that I have been right to put those words in the character’s mouth, or that situation into the character’s life, I often realise afterwards that the opposition wasn’t that strong and that the character merely wanted a small tweak to the plot.

The thing is, I’m not saying that my characters are actually alive, but inside my head, they are. They have to be, because if they aren’t then I’m just writing empty words on a page.

Your characters must come alive because if they don’t then, you really know that you have a problem with your story. I have done this so many times, and the stories that have run into the most problems have always been those where the characters aren’t fully fleshed out and where they are all just a little wooden.

So, I guess, the best advice I can give is to simply trust your character’s gut when it comes down to it. Listen to them and argue with them (yes, I know I sound crazy, but sometimes I get more sense out of them than I do out of most people).

Have any of you had arguments with your characters? How did you deal with it?


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Plotter or Pantser

Plotter or Pantser

Adventures In Novelling 2

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

As a writer, you quickly become aware that there are generally two different schools of thought regarding the process of beginning a novel. I’m talking about that annoying little segment in between getting your brilliant idea, and actually writing said idea.

The thing is, there are some people. A friend of mine calls them ‘the blessed’. These people don’t plan. They just sit down and write, and the story flows. These people find it easy to skip the step of actually planning.

And then, there’s the rest of us. The planners. The people that need some kind of road map to their novel before they commit to putting those words down.

I have found, through the years, that I am a bit of a mixture of both. I can just sit down and write, and at first, that’s fine. However, I then find that I must go back and try to organise the thoughts about the story that are flying around in my head.

I used to see that as some kind of failure on my part, but what I’ve learned is that it’s okay to plan. It’s okay to break the mould, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not a good enough writer just because you like to have a plan; a map; a backup. It doesn’t mean that the story you have to tell is any less worthwhile. It simply means that this is your writer’s process, and that is perfectly okay.

That horrible doubt that creeps up on us, can cripple us. Making us feel that we aren’t good enough. The thing is that what we have to do is tell that doubt to shut up. We can end up thinking that we aren’t good enough to tell that story, but in reality, you are the only one who can tell your story. It is yours, and no one else can tell it like you can.

So, what’s your process? Drop a note in the comments, and let’s get a discussion going!


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Adventures In Novelling 2

Adventures In Novelling

The Beginning

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know already that I’m a writer, and that I’ve been working on a novel for almost a year now.

I thought, as we’re at the start of a new year, and I am still working my way through Act Two of my novel, that it might be fun to document my adventures in the world of writing this book.

Call it a (sort of) reflective log, where I will share my struggles, and my successes, completely openly and honestly with you, because, at the end of the day, this is how we all learn. I know it’s how I’ve learned in the past, and I guess, part of me is hoping that I will also learn something in the process of this project.

I don’t know exactly what sort of form this will take, but I think maybe that’ll be part of the fun of it, so I ask you, do you want to come on the magical mystery tour that is my adventures in novelling?

Please feel free to leave a comment, and let’s get a discussion going….

Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.