Friday, July 25, 2014

WORD WAR: Day Five

Today is the last day of our major word war. It's been fun to see how much progress you guys have made. We will have to do this again sometime.

Yesterday, I typed 5090 words. I started out strong and had most of that done before lunch, but my friend called and asked me to lunch and I went and had a very nice time. Writing is great, but sometimes you just need to leave the cave. How did you all do?


If you're just joining us on the word war (or if today's the first you've heard of it) here's a quick recap: 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. 

This word war began yesterday will end on Friday night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's not too late to join us!

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we do. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the weekend goes on!

Here's how you can connect with each other:
1. In the comments section of the blog. Something as simple as "Just wrote 1,000 words in the last hour!" is fine. There's strength in being able to encourage each other and in knowing that others are hard at work too.

2. On Twitter, using the hashtag #GTW or on the Go Teen Writers Facebook Group. (This is a closed group, so if you're not a member yet, apply to join and then shoot me an email telling me so that I can get you approved pronto.)

Looking forward to a long day of writing with you!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

WORD WAR: Day Four

Jill here! I can't believe how great you're all doing on the word war! I'm very impressed. It's been fun watching you all encourage each other's writing.

I had a blah day yesterday. I woke up tired and could not find my groove at all. Still, I forced myself to write. (After I whined to Steph and she so graciously cheered me on.) And I even got creative and switched projects, just so I'd stay productive. Here's what I did:

King's Folly: 1715 words
Storyworld First: 1292 words
A couple dozen marketing tweets for the Rebels release: 326 words
For a grand total of: 3333 words

And then I watched Stardust. What a great movie!

How did you all do?



If you're just joining us on the word war (or if today's the first you've heard of it) here's a quick recap: 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. 

This word war began yesterday will end on Friday night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's not too late to join us!

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we do. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the weekend goes on!

Here's how you can connect with each other:
1. In the comments section of the blog. Something as simple as "Just wrote 1,000 words in the last hour!" is fine. There's strength in being able to encourage each other and in knowing that others are hard at work too.

2. On Twitter, using the hashtag #GTW or on the Go Teen Writers Facebook Group. (This is a closed group, so if you're not a member yet, apply to join and then shoot me an email telling me so that I can get you approved pronto.)

Looking forward to a long day of writing with you!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WORD WAR: Day Three


My total for Tuesday was 5100 words.

I started out strong and quickly got stuck when I needed my characters to take a ferry across a lake. But it was a great lake, the size of one of the US Great Lakes, so I decided to make it a barge instead. And by the time I'd learned enough to write the scene decently, I'd lost almost an hour doing research.

These things happen.

How did you do yesterday? I am ready for a BIG day today. I'm past the hard scenes. What I have to write next should be fun. Lots of dialogue. I love dialogue because it goes fast!

If you're just joining us on the word war (or if today's the first you've heard of it) here's a quick recap of what we're doing this week at Go Teen Writers: 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. 

This word war began yesterday will end on Friday night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's not too late to join us!

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we do. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the weekend goes on!

Here's how you can connect with each other:
1. In the comments section of the blog. Something as simple as "Just wrote 1,000 words in the last hour!" is fine. There's strength in being able to encourage each other and in knowing that others are hard at work too.

2. On Twitter, using the hashtag #GTW or on the Go Teen Writers Facebook Group. (This is a closed group, so if you're not a member yet, apply to join and then shoot me an email telling me so that I can get you approved pronto.)

Looking forward to a long day of writing with you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

WORD WAR: Day Two



How did your first day go? I didn't do so well. I got up early and typed 810 words first thing. Then I had to drive my daughter halfway to her grandma's house. So I was gone for eight hours! I managed to dictate 311 words in the car on the way home. And then I got thinking about Spencer and dictated a 707-word scene for one of the upcoming Mission League books, which is unrelated to my WIP, but, hey, it's words, right?

The scenery on my drive was perfect for my WIP. My story takes place in a desert land, and I live in the high desert. So I snapped a bunch of terrible pics on my iPhone, but they will help me describe things. Here are two of them. There have been lots of forest fires in the mountains near my home. And there are some forest fires in my book. So I snapped this picture of the black ground with the ash.

Burned ground with little piles of ash.
And every-so-often, along the river, there were bright green trees that stood out against the dry, pale landscape. I'll totally be putting some bright green trees in my description as my knight rides a camel north.

I love how bright these trees are in the dry, pale landscape.
Yes, I know. I'm random.

When I got home, I managed to type another 1607 words, for a grand total of 3124 words for the day, which considering how long I was home, wasn't all that bad, really.

But I want more today! And I'm home, home, home! Cracks knuckles.


If you're just joining us on the word war (or if today's the first you've heard of it) here's a quick explanation of what we're doing: 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. 

This word war began yesterday will end on Friday night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's not too late to join us!

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we do. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the weekend goes on!

Here's how you can connect with each other:
1. In the comments section of the blog. Something as simple as "Just wrote 1,000 words in the last hour!" is fine. There's strength in being able to encourage each other and in knowing that others are hard at work too.

2. On Twitter, using the hashtag #GTW or on the Go Teen Writers Facebook Group. (This is a closed group, so if you're not a member yet, apply to join and then shoot me an email telling me so that I can get you approved pronto.)

Looking forward to a long day of writing with you!

Monday, July 21, 2014

WORD WAR: Day One


Jill here! As I mentioned in this post, today we're kicking off a five day word war here on the blog!

I typed 819 words this morning. Now I have to break to drive my daughter to her grandma's house, so I will miss a chunk of the day. But I'll be back this afternoon to check in with you all and to keep on writing!

Is this you've heard of a word war? If so, here are the details:

This word war is a friendly competition to motivate participants to type as many words as we can between now and Friday. 
While some word wars are shorter (fifteen minutes or an hour) and strict, this will instead be a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war. So start when you want to and write as much as you can. There are no hard and fast rules. This is about encouraging each other and writing a lot of words. It's that simple.

How you can connect with each other:
1. You can connect in the comments section of the blog. There will be a post every day and a final word count post on Saturday. So post your final word counts every day. Or post them in segments, if you prefer. Something as simple as "Just wrote 1,000 words in the last hour!" is fine. Seeing everyone's posts will help to encourage each other in knowing that we're all hard at work.

2. If you want to break the time into smaller word wars, you can post that in the comments section too. For example, you could arrange a word war from 1:00 to 2:00 with a few people. You could also do that on Twitter using the hashtag #gtwchat or on the Go Teen Writers Facebook Group (this is a closed group, so if you're not a member yet, apply to join and then shoot me an email telling me so that I can get you approved right away.)

Happy writing, everyone! Can't wait to join see how many words we write!

How To Develop Your Story Idea Into a List of Key Scenes - Part 2

by Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie writes young adult contemporary novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Revell) and the Ellie Sweet books (Playlist). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website including the free novella, Throwing Stones.

Jill is going to be here this afternoon to check in how the word warring is going (the Go Teen Writers word war starts today!) but before she does, I'll wrap up what I started two weeks ago when I talked about how I develop my ideas into lists of key scenes.



(Looking for part one? Here it is!)

I love studying writing, and I'm a wee bit obsessed with learning how other writers write their books. If I've learned anything about writing in the last 13 years, it's that no writer is the same, and that you only figure out what works for you by trial and error.

One of the first craft books I ever read was Stephen King's On Writing, which my parents gave to me for Christmas when I was a senior in high school. And if you're going to copy someone's style, who better than Stephen King? So early on in my pursuit of being a novelist, I was very anti-plot, anti-plan. And that worked quite well for me ... until I got published. And then I figured out that it's a little tougher to get away with not planning your novels when your name isn't Stephen King. (Publishers aren't so keen on it.)

Since those years, I've sat in many classes and read many books and blog posts about how different writers write. I've charted. I've Snowflaked. I've used index cards. I've made plot skeletons.

The technique of using a list of key scenes to think through a book is one of those things I found in my studies that works well for me. It makes my list-loving brain happy, limits the rabbit trails because I make myself answer a lot of hard questions early, and yet it's a loose enough plan to keep my artist's heart from feeling too confined.

If this technique works for you, then you will likely put your own spin on it and make it yours. For me, it works like this: I take my story ideathe one I've written a blurb for, talked over with close writing friends, and written a chapter or twoand then I print out a template I've made for myself. I'm going to include several versions of my templates with the Go Teen Writers newsletter that goes out tomorrow.

Working from my template, which is a list of scenes like the ones I posted two Mondays ago, I start filling in the information I already know.

I typically already know how I want the book to open. Sometimes I know a twist that I want to happen in the second half of the book. I don't stress about going in order or being perfect, because this is just about gathering ideas.

After I've filled in everything about the story that I know (or everything I think I know) then I try to work chronologically. I play the "What if?" game like I'm sure you do when you're writing. "This just happened to my character. How would they react to this? What if...?" And I jot down whatever comes to me that seems decent.

I don't rush this process, I carry the notes around with me for days. There's something about having them close by that ensures some part of my brain is working through the story even as I'm flipping pancakes or folding socks. That's why they might look a little mangled by the time I'm done:

Page 1 of 3 for my work-in-progress that has two point of view characters

The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is a tool. You're in charge of it, not the other way around. So if you're working off the template and decide, like I did, that your character isn't going to refuse the call, just cross it out.

Or maybe you decide that you want an atonement with the father scene to come in the middle, not the end. Move it around, and see how it works!

Also, don't let yourself think it has to be all filled out before you start. If you've been thinking about the scenes for a few days, and you just have no idea what the crazy plan will be, but you're feeling ready to write, just skip over it. You'll figure it out when you get there. Because the point of it all is to write a great book, not walk away with a pristine outline.

Even if you spent weeks on your outline, chances are that by the time you get to the second half of the book, you'll might be shifting things around anyway.

Happy writing today, everyone! Once I drop my kids off at summer camp, I'll be joining you!





Saturday, July 19, 2014

Are You Ready for the War? July 21-25, 2014

Go Teen Writers is hosting a word war.

July 21-25, 2014.

The war starts here on Monday.

See you then.

Click here for more information about the word war.