Musings, Writing News

The Chaotic Mind

Many writers are very organized people, and they are called plottersfractal-1681742_960_720, making their outlines and using bullet points before really setting down to write.

Other writers use their intuition to guide them. They are called pantsers because they “fly by the seat of the pants.”

Then there are those of us who do a little of both, one way or another.

The funny thing about my NaNoWriMo project is I have the whole thing planned out in as close to an outline as I can get, but I’m not able to tell the story.


For me, outlines are very bad.

I didn’t intend to “plan” the story. I wrote down my idea  so that I wouldn’t forget while I was working on Book Two of my trilogy. This has tricked my brain into thinking that I’ve already written this story and now I’m struggling to actually write the story.

Instead, as I try to push through and find the words, I end up researching. I’ve spent hours
reading up on Mesopotamian history and culture, and I’ve learned some amazing things. My story doesn’t take place in Mesopotamia, but a place inspired by it. All of this research is great, but it’s putting a damper on my actual writing time. I already don’t have much time to write to begin with considering I work 40 hours a week, have a family, write a blog, and of course get caught up in the random distractions we all have.

Another reason I think I’m struggling is because I’m trying not to edit. That’s a “writer rule,” and one that I don’t follow at all. I edit while I write. By the time my first draft is done, every chapter has been edited for content at least once. NaNo rules say “No Editing!” but that’s like telling me “No breathing!” My mind is gasping for air as I try to create the new without fixing the old.

The point of NaNo is to build a writing community and to teach young (or new) writers how to be disciplined and finish something. I’ve never participated before. I have finished things I’ve started – stories, articles, and novels, – doing things my way.

While I struggle with my NaNoWriMo project, my chaotic mind still needs to write something. I’ve been working on part eight of The Hunted. I also started a short story for a contest, because of course I did. The project I thought I would be working on is simmering quietly, taking shape, but also fighting me. With my chaotic mind, I could suddenly find the right thought and it will send me flying through the narrative.

At least you can all expect another episode of The Hunted next week.

Thank you for reading. If you have anything to add, please feel free to leave a comment.



Writing News

Writing News: NaNoWriMo 2016


That’s right, you’re hearing it here first (unless you follow me on Twitter.) I’ve signed up for National Novel Writing Month for the first time every. (Hurray!)

Because this is a writing contest and technically Book Three has been written before (it’s just very dismembered and in need of much repair,) I will not be working on it for NaNoWriMo. Instead, I’m going to be taking on an entirely new project that has been simmering for some months.

As you may know, I’m a “plantser.” I don’t really plot and I don’t really fly by the skin of my teeth, but I do a bit of both. This is a rare instance where I’ve actually a pre-written synopsis of the story. It’s not an outline, but it is. Sort of. A disorganized organization type of outline, my favorite. I don’t do that very often, or ever, so that was a sign that this project needs to get off the ground.


It all starts with a blank page.


What is this project, you ask? It’s a fantasy with hints of mystery and horror. Set in a non-Western inspired  civilization, it has a loose comparison to 1001 Arabian Knights with a female protagonist relying on her wits to get her through unexpected situations. Unlike Sharaezade, however; my protagonist will be up against forces she doesn’t fully understand.

What does this mean for my other projects such as Book Three and The Hunted? Well, The Hunted will continue to get updated through November, perhaps once or twice. I’ll be starting on Book Three once NaNoWriMo is over, so December or January. My goal is to have it out by the end of 2017, as that will be the 20 year anniversary of its inception.

If you’re also participating in NaNoWriMo you can find me as RR Willica (shocking, I know!) I’ll be leaving updates on the blog with my progress.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment.


Writing Tips

Writer’s Block: Hitting the Wall

Every writer experiences the dreaded writer’s block once in a while. I happen to experience it quite often. In my case, writer’s block doesn’t involve not having any ideas, but instead having too many. Another aspect of my block is that my brain tries to jump ahead too far in a story. I just want to get to the good part.

This isn’t productive. Setting up a deadline helps, but also it can cause me to panic as the deadline draws near.

Right now I’m experiencing such a block and I need to get past it as soon as possible. What’s interesting about this block is I’m experiencing it despite the fact that the rough draft is complete. As usual my brain wants to jump ahead. Although I’m editing I’m also retooling the original novel into a trilogy, which has required adding material even as I take unnecessary pieces away.

It would seem logical to allow myself to write the part of the story that my brain is interested in. I’ve tried this in the past and it actually makes things worse. At that point it is easy to move forward from where I jumped to, but it becomes even more difficult to go back to the spot where I was stuck.

Instead I’m going to try some other tactics.

One: Music.

Music is a fabulous tool for writers. I prefer epic instrumental pieces that fit the tone of the story over anything with lyrics. This prevents me from singing along instead of focusing.

I use music often to help me concentrate. Writing in a noisy environment, (which is a result of my home life,) can make it difficult to hold the thread of a story. Music helps me keep everything together in my mind.

Two: Amazing Images

I’m a visual learner. Searching for images that fit my story subject can bring new ideas or shake free the ideas that are just starting to bloom. Even if the images aren’t exactly in line with my ideas they can help me remember what I’m trying to accomplish.

Three: Going Back to the Original Inspiration

This is a strategy I’ve tried before with varied results. Sometimes your muse returns and sometimes it doesn’t. Despite that, it’s worth a try.

Four: Feedback

Receiving feedback from others can be very motivating, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Either it will drive me to keep going or to step back and improve what is already done. I’ve already lined up some people to help me with this phase.

Unfortunately, this block is going to delay my release date. Right now I’m hoping to have Book One ready by September 15th. I’ve added a writing timeline page to update with changes to the blog. You can find the link at the top of the page labeled Writing Timeline.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share any ideas or experiences with writer’s block in the comments!