August 29, 2013

That Labor Day Novel Thing: Taking On the 3-Day Novel Challenge

Because NaNoWriMo just isn't enough, apparently.

So who, in their right mind, would write a novel in three days? (Let alone the 30 required for NaNoWriMo.) There are certainly a couple of crazy people out there, and I am one of them. The 3-Day Novel Contest requires you to write an entire novel in 3 days. You heard me right. 3 days. I'm not quite sure how my hands are going to adapt to it yet, but I'll make it.

This contest was started in Canada and has been going on for more than 35 years. You start writing at midnight on Saturday of Labor Day and don't stop until Monday night, unless you want to stop by then. I told my roommate that it was akin to NaNoWriMo on crack, which sounds about right.

Yes, in case you're wondering, I'm planning on doing this contest. I will be writing a novel in 3 days, one that has absolutely nothing to do with Dvorak. I have my plan (pend) sorted out and I even have most of my time sorted out into blocks, but I know these are flexible. This is why I have an assistant. A rather good looking assistant who gladly does all of this for free (or at least a back massage).

I will be livetweeting my 3-Day Novel experience @SOSICapSid. I will be hashtagging #3DayNovel the entire time, as well as giving occasional updates on Facebook. Needless to say, it's going to be hard (especially on my hands -- I'll be QWERTYing it the entire time unless I really start having problems, and then I'll switch between QWERTY and Dvorak) so I could use all the support you want to give.

So what is my story about? I can't say explicitly, but it's not a new story to me. I even tried to write the entire thing down once...the summer after my junior year. And while the book was kind of bad, my dedication to this story wasn't. While I can't say the story exactly, my oldest fans (dating back to high school) know that the tagline www.@ has been used for it in the past. When I tweet this weekend, I will occasionally use the hashtag #wwwdotatmark to give some insight into my head and the process. The story is where the hashtag comes from.

It is my sincerest hope that you'll join me on this journey.

Goggles on, folks. You've got mail.

August 26, 2013

The Dealey Five: Chapter 12

Dvorak: The Dealey Five
Chapter 12 (or, "What Days May Come"

Where We Last Left Off: The group of four kids from the destroyed world headed to Mac’s apartment in Coney Island to regroup...again.

August 22, 2013

Write More Better: Wattpad, Serials, and Pacing

People who write serials often have trouble figuring out pacing. I've found that I also have this problem sometimes.

A serial is a story, fanfiction or not, that updates live on the Internet. The schedule may be sporadic -- whenever a chapter gets done -- or timely, like Dvorak does every week. I think serials can be a great thing because if you get an idea, you can instantly share it with the world and see what they think of it. They're also a way to get fans, because they don't have to wait for the entire book to be done in order to read it. and its sister site,, started the wave for this (I remember when they were one site, that's how old I am).

(This particular blog post won't deal with serials that are written ahead of time and then are posted each week or month or whatever. Those are a bit different in design; this post is more for stories that get updated as soon as the latest chapter is written.)

Recently, Wattpad has brought serials into the 21st century by giving fans a way to follow their favorite stories on their mobile devices. I love Wattpad, and my chances of reading your serial skyrocket if you post it there (mostly because in today's society of ease, I can't be bothered to go to your blog).

A problem I saw back at, and occasionally see on Wattpad, is the "on hold" story. This sadly usually means the story will never be finished, because there weren't enough readers or because the writer ran out of ideas. So how can you pace your story so that it'll get to the end, or to make sure you don't get to the end within five chapters and have nothing else to say?

There are several ways to fix this, and over the next few blog posts I hope to expand on this as much as I can. But to get started, if you want your serial to succeed and flow well, there are two things you need to do:

1: Love your serial. This means not just falling in love with your idea, but also coming to love the characters and the setting. In Dvorak Classic, it took me a while to get into the groove, as that story is completely built upon the ideas others gave me. But I told my friends I had to start with two characters, to give the story a solid core, but also to have me get familiar with them. Once I learned who Carissa and Mac were, I could write them properly no matter what scenario they were thrown next.

I'm usually not that spontaneous; in A SHINee Night To Remember, my SHINee prom fanfiction on Wattpad, I worked out some basic details and got to know the characters really well. The real life Karen (SoulMatthew) will testify that I asked her a bunch of questions so I could create a character based on her. When it came time to write that first scene, with Kori and Karen driving down the California interstate, I knew I could capture it perfectly because I loved my characters and were genuinely excited for them. This leads to the second point:

2: If you love your serial, you'll do even just a LITTLE bit of planning. After the 3-Day Novel Contest is over and I can stare my computer in the camera again without wanting to punch something, I plan on fully detailing my own process of how I plan, just in time for National Novel Writing Month. Those posts are forthcoming. But a little bit of planning can take you a long way and ensure that, in the case that writers block hits, you'll know what to write.

I do full out planning for my regular novels (including my 3-Day Novel novel, which I am doing now). That process I will detail later. But a shorter version of this plan is used for when I plan out my fanfictions on Wattpad. I think to myself: do I want this to be a big longer of a story, engage the audience? Do I want it to be shorter? I think about this before every story I write. Not every story has to or even should be a hundred thousand words long. I made the conscious decision that A SHINee Night To Remember would be a shorter story. There are fanfictions that you do not know about yet that will be longer, some of which are already planned out.

A simple plan for me usually involves writing out what happens in the story, from start to finish. I call this a pend. For the record, that is my made up word -- it comes from "pending" and means that the story's been planned and is waiting to be written. Some people call it a map. Once I write out the entire plan, I divide it up into chapters. For an example of a short pend, here's a sample from A SHINee Night To Remember:

1: Kori and Karen in a subcompact car driving down the road, talking about prom and how SHINee will be doing a concert nearby and how they DON'T have tickets. Boo hiss. Of course there's a limo stopped on the shoulder and Kori jumps it (Karen is nervous). She only speaks to the limo driver to start, but Key as the English speaking one gets out to thank them, then drags all of the boys out when he learns the girls have been studying Korean in school (because of their K-Pop obsession). They go to In-N-Out Burger even though there's no chicken.
2: Sadness at the discovery of no chicken. "Did you just call him 'tofu?" They mention prom, and the boys decide to invade the prom. "We can only take one date each..." They figure they'll decide after the concert that night (SM Town?). They all climb into the limo.

Not everything from the plan makes it into the story -- I don't think I ever used that tofu line, and Kori and Karen are in an SUV -- but it helps set the tone. Plus, when your readers want a new chapter and you're clueless as to what to write, the plan will be your backup. Dividing the plan up in chapters helps you see where the parts of the story lie, and you can change the plan as it goes. I'll get more into detail about this at a later point.

Likewise, Dvorak updates in a very specific fashion. I usually go by quantity over quality, though by typing in Dvorak and not QWERTY, I know I'll get a better quality regardless because I'll be typing less fast. Dvorak Classic updated every single day with 1,667 words per day; The Dealey Five updates with 3,000 words every Friday. Usually by mid-book, I write a very loose plan for what will happen for the rest of the story, and continue to take comments from the crowd and fit them in as I wrap the story up.

I have a lot of writer friends who are "pantsers," ala they write by the seat of their pants, winging it and making up stuff every step of the way. This works for some people. IT DOES NOT WORK FOR ME. If it works for you, I'm not gonna stop you. I encourage you to do what works! If that's the case, though, I encourage you to at least know your characters fairly well. No matter what happens to them, good or bad, you'll want to see them tough it out and that will keep the serial going. That's what happened with Dvorak Classic (notably the only series I pants).

What is most important is that there is something keeping you going, no matter if you plan or pants or however you write your stories. Planning can help with your flow and make your story consistent from beginning to end, so you're not left high and dry with no ideas. If you pants and you find it works for you, find a way to keep your characters going without that plan. Get inspired.

Do what drives you, but don't stop doing it.

That's the best advice I can give.

August 17, 2013

The Dealey Five: Chapter 11

Dvorak: The Dealey Five
Chapter 11 (or, "Past Due Moto")

Where We Last Left Off: Dimitri’s henchmen, Anton and Vlad, escaped with the boombox and set off an explosion near Carissa’s apartment.

August 14, 2013

Rainbows and Butterflies

It's not easy to write a blog post when you're depressed.

I seem to have highs and lows these days. Most of it is because there are eight million people I can compare myself to on these lonely islands. I'm surprised all of us aren't in some form of therapy. In fact, some people think I do need therapy. I do have therapy -- I have writing, and music, and a boyfriend who listens no matter what, and a world I can wrap myself in. But there are still days where it's just hard to get out of bed in the morning.

Furthermore, there should be three steps I should follow whenever I get depressed:

1: Remember that this is a normal occurrence and there is no reason to freak out, or put myself down further. Also, remember that there is a world outside your room, outside these islands. Up north, there's a kid who takes pictures. Out west, there's a roller coaster with my name on it. Things may seem like they suck, but those are only lies that we all tell ourselves to keep ourselves "safe." In reality, that's an outdated fight or flight system, isn't it? We don't need that anymore, not in that way, at least. We should be scared of rabid bears on the loose, not of standing on stage and singing.

2: Get up from where I am, no matter how hard it is. Get some food, even if it's just chocolate. If possible, go outside and go get something. Start walking. Dance.

3: Never look back.

What about you? What do you do when everything's not rainbows and butterflies?

August 9, 2013

The Dealey Five: Chapter 10

Dvorak: The Dealey Five
Chapter 10 (or, "Early Morning Blini")

Where We Last Left Off: After a shopping trip gone wrong, Isabel and Mick visited the kids and figured out their main nemesis, the lead man in black, wasn’t submitting to their usual tricks.

August 7, 2013

Y-Bridge Arts Festival Follow Up Post

Oh my gosh, where do I even start with the festival?

First of all, I want to thank everybody who came out to the festival and made it a success. I'm positive this year wouldn't have been possible without everybody coming together. A huge thank you to Rita L. Smith, for letting me play at her studio Friday night at the kickoff (that's the Vine video to your left). It was a TON of fun.

Saturday and Sunday were spent at the booth, chilling out and meeting people! It's been a long time since I've been in Zanesville, and I'm so glad I got to catch up with everybody.

A big thank you to everybody who picked up copies of Dvorak Classic and Reclaim! Please let me know what you think of them. If you enjoyed Dvorak, its sequel, The Dealey Five, continues on this blog and on Wattpad every week.

If you didn't get a chance to pick up your copy of Reclaim, the link is live on iTunes now! Be sure to go and download your favorite piece or the entire album. And don't forget to leave comments!

See you all soon,

August 6, 2013

A Couple of Dvorak Announcements (and The Dealey Five Chapter 9)

Yes, I'm aware that a follow up post to the fantastic and amazing Y-Bridge Arts Festival this past weekend is needed. But frankly, I was on a red-eye this morning, and on roller coasters the day before that. I need to do this, though, because I love Dvorak and you guys love Dvorak and I love talking about Dvorak so here we go. No worries, chai lovers, it's nothing bad.

If you're here from Serial Tuesday, welcome! If you just want to go straight to the serial without ANY of the backstory or info, click here. If you want more information on the series, click here before further reading.