Sunday, August 18, 2013

Go Teen Writers Writing Retreat: Sunday Dinner Giveaway!

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 Revised Life of Ellie Sweet (Playlist). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website.

It's hard to believe we're in the final hours of our writing retreat! We have just one giveaway left.

Jill and I are giving away a paperback copy of Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book. (This giveaway is open only to U.S. residents.)



What's something you've learned recently about writing? Was it a brainstorming trick? A question to ask your character? A technique for working in backstory? Please share!



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56 comments:

  1. I realized that setting a word count goal helps me actually write. Also, word wars are really fun. :)

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  2. I've realized that if I put my mind and efforts to it, I can be a Fast Writer, and it makes me giddy. I prepped for the Word Wars by getting a comfy chair, lotsa snacks, lip balm, agua, and of course, powdering my nose (ladylike talk). I realized that I have to work for this if I want it.

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  3. This was an awesome weekend. Thank you so much Stephanie! It helped me get a lot further in my books as well.

    Autumn

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  4. I've learned that writing is hard. I've always heard that it was, but now I now for myself. Recently I've realized that it's a whole lot more than just putting words on paper. For one thing, you have to make sure the words make sense--and intrigue the reader, and move the plot forward, and develop your characters.

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  5. I realized if I actually focus instead of doing a bunch of things and writing at the same time, I can get a lot done. :)

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  6. I had a friend show me a way to edit that made things easier. If I can not think of a way to fix something, but know it is not right, I move it to another document so I can change it without the words in my head. Then, if I still can't do it, I move it back.

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    1. Hmmm. I might have to try that, because I have that problem a lot...thanks for sharing. :)

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  7. Writing is hard work, you have to focus to get anything done. If you want to write a novel in less than a year, you have to write basically every day.

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  8. Hmmm, probably if my characters aren't interesting in the first draft I have a whooooole lot of problems coming in the second draft. :/

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  9. Something I recently learned about writing is that you can't do it at concerts. >.< (jk, mostly)

    This is going to sound weird, but I actually learned a bit about story structure from my pastor's message this morning. He was going over Esther, and pointing out different aspects of the story, and it struck me that his points sounded like the points in a story outline.

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    1. I NOTICED THIS TOO. With Nehemiah, then in Acts...xD Something only a writer would notice.

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    2. I didn't notice it in Nehemiah, but he didn't go over Nehemiah the same way. Though now that I think about it, you're right! I guess we shouldn't be surprised, though, when you think about it.

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    3. Yeah, I noticed most of it myself. But when my pastor said something about "greatest fear" or something similar...my brain went "bing!" ;)

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  10. Hm... I learn something all the time. I learned I'm a bit descriptive when I run out of space on a writing project with a word limit... I've learned a lot. Like the difference between words, and how all right should probably be used instead of alright. :)

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  11. I've learned that not everything you write needs to be perfect, or even good. I've learned to let myself go the first round of writing, and remind myself that I can fix it later. It's a hard thing to keep in mind!

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  12. I recently learned some interesting characterization tips that will hopefully help me understand my characters a bit more.

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  13. What I've learned recently about writing..

    Well, I've learned several tips and tricks form your book (you guys rock!), but my favorite is re - writing a section in the book from another character's point of view. It helps me so much, and you dig deeper into the character's story! :D thanks for doing the retreat! it is so much fun! (and if I've heard correctly, it's staying open...?) And I DID finish my goal this morning! Yeah! I finished chapter 9, and I am starting chapter 10! :D working towards my BIG goal! I'm trying to finish the book before the New Year, I think I can do it, but not sure...

    ~Tw~

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  14. Outline. Outlines are our friends. Outlines are life savers. Outlines are story savers. Outlines help a lot. Oh, and did I mention OUTLINES????

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  15. I've learned a few things recently. The two off the top of my head is that the philosophy "there's always another secret" is a great way to hook readers and create plot twists, and that characters don't always have to do the perfect thing for the situation. They don't have to act perfectly, and they can make mistakes. It can add both to character development and plot.

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  16. I've learned that it's not always easy, you get writers block, mistakes are made, but it's so rewarding, and you learn so much!

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  17. That setting really does make a difference. Now to work on the setting in my WIP...

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  18. I learned that I need to work harder on making my characters sound different. I struggle with a lot of them acting very much the same.

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  19. I learned how important it is to push through writers block and just write even when you don't feel like it. Procrastination is hard to beat.

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  20. I've come to realize and learn that it's good to venture out of familiar settings and come to see that I should think my stories through and plot them out on paper more frequently then keep it in mind.

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  21. I learned that no writer is perfect and even though I may really like something about my story, if it weakens the plot or the story arc or you name it then it needs to go! Perhaps it can be used in another story draft. :)

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  22. Something about writing. Hmm. That's a hard one. . . .

    I'll go with something I learned this past winter/spring. It was to not clutter up your writing with not-understandable verbosity and metaphors, but to write clearly and emphasize sensory details.

    Hoping desperately I win this giveaway! :)

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  23. Recently I've been learning more about the dynamics between antagonists and protagonists, especially that I need to give my antag his due. I think my writing will definitely be stronger for investing more in my villains.

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  24. I've learned about the Snowflake Method (Thanks, whoever from the retreat who suggested it),which I'm using now. I also learned that waiting to edit my first draft doesn't drive me too crazy as long as I have other things going on.

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  25. Let's see...learned recently in writing? Well, I learned that plotting really helps me as long as it's basic. I learned to brainstorm a list of obstacles when I think what I'm writing is boring. I learned that every scene should have conflict (also to make it not boring). Just to name a few. :)

    Really enjoyed what I was able to participate in of the retreat! Thanks so much! :)

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  26. I recently learned from an outlining novel my mom got me for my birthday that a good way to brainstorm ideas is to make a mind map. You put your central/main plot or event in the middle and draw lines from that into any subplot or related events you can think of with censoring yourself. I found it really helpful. :)

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  27. I learned that if I make up my mind to write every day, after a while I get excited and actually want to write! So excited for the 100 for 100

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  28. I wasn't able to participate, but I was able to dish out the "blurb" for my trilogy. Anyways, can't wait to start my novels. I take six months or more to let the story set its grounds then the hard work begins.

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  29. My favourite thing I've picked up is a new way of thinking of settings. It was from the quote you shared the other day--about how it's important to keep things interesting by changing up settings. That's something I definitely want to keep in mind as I brainstorm for a new project. This whole retreat has been amazing for learning stuff, though. Thanks for hosting it!

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  30. Every word counts. Every sentence counts. Every paragraph, every page, every chapter. Each one, whether well written or not, eventually will help in the long run.

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  31. That I CAN sit down and write 5,000 words a day. :D

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  32. Writing is an adventure.
    I finished the first draft of my first book last year at 11:15 pm. on October 26. And I cried for at least an hour. I think I really confused my dad... Lol
    But something I've learned about writing is that... you can't do it alone. You need friends and help and support, like this blog. My cousin has been my biggest supporter and the two of us have been writing for over two years (Since we were 11). But writing is such a blessing. I'm so glad to have found this blog! It has helped me SO much! Thank you so much for helping me to become a better writer! I'm super sorry I missed most of the retreat! :( *Sob* I was painting the ceiling to my little sister's room with my big sis while we sang into our paintbrushes... But I am defiantly doing the 100 for 100!

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  33. Writing a novel can be divided into different acts. And that each scene must further the story. In other words, serve a purpose. I've also learned the brainstorming a story idea is the easiest part-- getting the words on a page is a whole other story;-)

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  34. I've learned that writing always requires blood, sweat, and tears. Every time I write I find more and more that this is true. The best books are the ones that refuse to let you walk away. They are the ones that make you come back until they are as complete as they can be. I don't think a story ever truly ends.

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  35. This retreat was great! :D Thanks so much! You guys have taught me some of the most important things in writing. Go teen writers!

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  36. I recently learned that it's okay to write a bad first draft. I mean, I've KNOWN that, but it never really sunk in until recently. I came to a place where I realized there was no way I'd be able to make myself completely satisfied with my story in one draft, so I might as well just write and worry about the details later. This is a perfectionist talking ;)

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  37. I've recently learned (and learning still!) that it is 100% ok to have a first draft that isn't the best. It's ok to not be perfect, and it's not a bad thing if you know you will have to change some things. And, while I can love my book in all stages. Even if I think the first draft is in need of dire help, it doesn't mean I cannot still love it.

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    1. I also learned, that if I want to get any writing done, I should do it before I start watching my asian dramas.
      because once I let myself watch them, no writing will be done that night.

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  38. I'm learning about writing emotions

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  39. I learned, like some of the others on here, that writing is hard. It's not what I expected it to be, you know, just write whatever you want and expect everybody to like it or understand it.

    That was before I even knew what a plot was. Yeah, I was pretty naive to begin with, but I was like ten and only did it because my sister wrote stories and I wanted to be like her.

    But it's funny, she's kind of stopped and I kept going and found out, I love writing. It's one of my passions and I really am thankful for stumbling across this blog. : )

    (MJ)

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  40. Something I've learned recently about writing is that there things in my head that I don't realize are there until they how up on the computer screen. Plot lines, characters, even solutions to real life problems.

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  41. That it's okay to write a bad first draft :) And editing is super fun! Haha :)

    Same as MJ! I started writing cuz my older sister did, and she just stopped and now I'm the writer of the family :)

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  42. I guess I've understood the difference between 'third person omniscient' and 'third person' more. For the longest time I couldn't figure out how they were written so differently, but I'm glad I know now! :)

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  43. Reading Dorothy L. Sayers "Mind of the Maker'" taught me to think out carefully the idea of my book before I sit down to write. I have found that this works much better than conventional plotting. I really enjoyed the writing retreat especially the new blogs and bloggers it introduced me too.

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  44. I've learned about using sentence and paragraph length variety to create mood in writing and I'm loving it! :D

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  45. I learned how to have deeper characters from "Plot Vs. Character" by Jeff Gerke. Helped me out a lot!

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  46. I have learned not to rush through things, take time and do it well.

    Layla.

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  47. I've learned that the draft doesn't have to be perfect, and that I can always go back through and correct my mistakes.

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    1. I've pretty much learned the same thing. :p

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  48. I've learned the basics to a good fantasy and science fiction story is a world that is similar, but has a few differences. I'm going to go through my stories and see if I have used this correctly.

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  49. I found a way to edit that keeps me moving through the story!
    Sorry I couldn't participate much this weekend. I was at my cousins with no computer access.
    Looks like everyone had a great time, though!
    ~Sarah Faulkner

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