Up For The Challenge

I recently took a workshop taught by Gwen Hayes called Writing to the Beat based on her book Romancing the Beat. She teaches you how to use a beat sheet to figure out the romance arc of your novel. I bought her book a few months back and when I saw that she was teaching a class based on her beat sheet system, I immediately enrolled. It really helped me map out the course of my current WIP — the one I started during April’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

I don’t know if Gwen is going to teach this class again, but if she does, and if you’re a romance writer, I highly recommend the class and her book — and no, I’m not getting paid to say this.

Usually when I take online workshops, I’m more of a lurker than a participant. The introvert in me likes to prevent me from putting myself out there. This time I did myself a favor and participated. I received much-needed feedback on my WIP and met a great group of writers in the process. Since the workshop ended, we’ve kept in touch through Facebook.

The other day, one of those writers mentioned she’d taken a Fast Draft workshop taught by Candace Havens. I’ve looked into taking this in the past but never took the plunge. During the Fast Draft workshop, you write the first draft of your book in fourteen days. Twenty pages a day to be precise…in just a few hours a day. A monumental task when you, like everyone on the planet, have a busy life. It just seems so impossible. But I want to try it myself and see if I can do it.

Unfortunately, Candace Havens isn’t offering that workshop right now, so I think I’m going to wing it and try writing a first draft in fourteen days on my own. Twenty pages a day is a lot to accomplish in two or three hours a day. I have an outline and now have my romance beats all worked out. For the next few days (maybe the rest of the week) I’m going to create a semi-detailed scene list for my WIP and then write my ass off for two weeks and see what happens.

I’ve been dragging my heels with this novel and just want to get the first draft over and done with already. I think I’m up for the challenge, and who knows, maybe I might just surprise myself and actually pull it off.

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Camp NaNoWriMo: Day 17

It’s day seventeen of Camp NaNoWriMo and technically I should be at around 17,000 words if I want to meet my 30,000 word goal by April 30th, but I’m not quite there. I haven’t given up, though. I’m still chugging along and making progress. There are thirteen days left in the month, and hope is alive my friends! I may just meet that goal, yet.

The whole point of participating in NaNoWriMo this month was to get back to writing on a regular basis. My flash fiction experiment didn’t work. Probably because I long to write novels and not short fiction. Whatever the case may be, I’ve written thirteen out of the past seventeen days, which is probably a record for me, and I’m beginning to feel like an actual writer rather than one who aspires to write.

In the beginning, my daily goal was 1000 words a day or 7000-ish words a week. According to my stats, I’m averaging just under 700 words a day. My goal for the rest of the month is to improve upon that average and bring it up to the 1000 words a day.

The most important thing is to keep on going until I’ve reached the very end…no matter how long it takes.

Do You Use Scrivener?

Some time last year, I purchased Scrivener. I’ve kind of played around with it, but I haven’t taken the time to really learn how to use it beyond the very basics. Right now I’m using Scrivener to write my first draft. Rather than writing one long, ongoing draft as you would in a Word document, I’m writing my novel scene by scene, each in their own document.

Some people are a bit chaotic when they write. The story comes to them in bits and pieces, and Scrivener is ideal for that kind of writing. You can easily use Scrivener to write your scenes and then organize them as you need to, moving things around as new ideas come to mind.  

I’m a linear writer. I’m writing my story in the order in which it happens, starting from Chapter One. I’ve written several scenes so far, and I’m organizing them using the three-act structure with sub-folders for chapters and more sub-folders for scenes. This is going pretty well so far, but I feel like I’m not using Scrivener to its fullest capacity.

So I’ve been googling and found some links for tips on how to use Scrivener and thought I’d share:

  • A great post from Justine Covington with great examples on how she uses Scrivener to organize her writing
  • Natasha Lester has complied a list of posts she’s written on how to use Scrivener to write a book
  • Jason M. Hough has written two posts on how he uses Scrivener, part 1 and part 2
  • K.M. Weiland has two very detailed posts, one for outlining using Scrivener and the second on how she uses it to write her first draft
  • Literature and Latte, the maker of Scrivener, has a list of tutorials on their website

Do you use Scrivener? If so, feel free to share your tips in the comments section.