Tuesday, July 7, 2015

#CampNaNoWriMo : Staying Motivated!

So, last week I wrote about my supplies for Camp NaNoWriMo. This week, I want to talk about some of the tools I use to get myself to write and to keep myself writing.

1. Scrivener

You know how a TV takes tiny pieces and puts them together for you to view on a screen? Well, Scrivener does that for the stories that are locked inside my head. I've never used a writing program I liked more, and I couldn't imagine writing The Sealer Saga any other way.

Let's break it down:

On the far left we have my Chapter List and my Research which are (I think?) call the "Binder". I can click on any of these at any time and get to specific parts of my story. By writing my story piece by piece, I keep from getting overwhelmed and when I go to edit--or need to make a note for something happening later--I can hop to the part of the story I need in one click.

In the middle of the screen, we have the space where I actually write the chapter. I tend to brainstorm my outlines in Word and then bring them into Scrivener and fill in gaps, move scenes around, etc. since each of my chapters on the left have an index card. But there's another reason I like bringing my outline in from Word. My favorite font for writing is Calibri, and when I bring in my outline it carries its formatting. That saves me having to switch it in each separate chapter. I type "chapter" once, copy / paste that into each file and I'm good to go.

On the right we have two really handy tools. The one at the top is the chapter's index card. This is a snapshot of what's suppose to go on. (Pay no heed to what's there right now; I did my outlining differently this time.) I've been too lazy to correct that here, but normally it would have a two sentence summary of the main gist of that chapter's purpose.

Below that we have what I like to cal the "idea pad". This is where I jot down ideas I get as I am writing. If I figure out that I need something in chapter eight while I am in chapter three, I can click chapter eight's idea pad (each chapter has one) and fill it in. Or if I think up a great piece of dialogue to use later in a scene I'm writing, I can stick it there until I am ready.

These are only the absolute basics of Scrivener, but they serve my purpose well. Oh! And I really like how anything I put into tabs under "research" does not effect my word count. For Camp, that's very helpful.

2. Sealed With A Kiss iTunes Playlist! 

Music is a huge part of my creative process. It effects my mood, it helps me to project the current moods I want my characters in, it can change the rhythm and tone of my writing... It's absolutely essential. I listen to a wide variety of music when I write, sometimes letting it free play and sometimes going to certain playlists for certain types of scenes. But I also always have a soundtrack for my books that tries to capture their overall themes. Shall we go through this one quickly?

1. Just One Little Kiss -- This is about the push and pull between Lucian and Carita during the first half of the novel. It's essentially their opening 'couple song'.

2. Enchanted -- This is their 'meet cute'. Neither of them wanted to be where they were that night, but both are better for having met the other. They have no idea how much this one moment in time is going to change their lives.

3. Dark Horse -- This is my villain, Ruby's, theme. She wants to start her life over by hosting this contest (as absurd as it is) and yet she is destined to repeat--completely against her will--the very things that made her miserable to begin with. I like the overtone of compassion and righteousness mixed with the dark undercurrent of potential vengeance here.

4. Beautiful Girl -- This is Lucian's theme. He's potentially the most dangerous being in the universe and he knows it. He's on a mission that is vital but also destructive. And then the woman of his dreams just falls into his life at the absolute worst time ever. Is there any way she'll stay?

5. Put The Gun Down -- This is our climax to part one. Lucian is the only man left, Carita has fallen for him completely, the prophecy must be fulfilled and Ruby is the only woman who can make that happen. Things are about to get very painful and very complicated.

6. Bring Him Home -- I've never seen the musical this is from, but Stages (the Album Josh Groban released that had this on it) came out as I was outlining Sealed With A Kiss and the moment I heard this I knew it was going to be one of the most important pieces of music I would use while drafting. There is a point in the second half where Carita makes a life changing decision and this song really echoes her reasoning and emotions while doing that.

7. America's Sweetheart -- This is Carita's theme. She does not follow the conventions or rules of her society, she's brutally honest, and she is very "okay" with who she is. She also won't accept people who refuse to take her "as is".

8. Building A Mystery -- This is about Lucian, the Underworld, and Carita's discovery that everything she has been told her entire life is a lie and completely false. It is only by allowing the lies to fall away and embracing the truth she is discovering that she will be able to survive the situation she has been thrust into.

9. Masterpiece -- This is the climax of the book, where Carita must finally, fully face up to what has happened to her and either succeed or fail. I love the idea that even though she will succeed here, she (and Lucian) are aware that this will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. I also love the extremely tense pace of this song. It suits what has to happen really well.

10. Queen of Hearts -- So far I've mostly talked about the changes and sacrifices that Carita has made, but this song is important because it represents Lucian's ability to finally understand all that has happened and that he has to meet her half way. I also love the idea that after thousands of years he finally has someone with him whom he truly loves.

3. the Came NaNoWriMo Website

I've decided to post this for two reasons. First, because I love getting daily inspiration throughout the month. Second, because I believe this is one of the most powerful forms of motivation that can be used. There's one that trumps it for me, but maybe we'll talk about that next week? We'll see.

Writing is a solitary activity, but I'm an extremely social person. I want to share the things I care about with others. One thing I've said for years is that if I'm hanging out at Absolute Write I'm probably writing, and if I've been absent I'm probably not. But for Camp, I've been spending a lot of time writing back and forth with my cabin mates and on the "Campfire Circle" subform of the NaNoWriMo boards. It's very much like how I will stalk tech forms if I'm trying to save for / build a new PC, or how I joined health communities when I had to figure out how to deal with needle phobia. If you treat something like it's real, like you've already got it, you put yourself on step to making what you desire become reality.

I do not like competition where I have to face an opponent directly. I find that it reduces my performance in whatever I'm doing. (I always felt I'd sang my worst in competitions--even those I won.) But a graph like this, which is just as much about beating myself as it is keeping up with or exceeding what others are doing, is surprisingly effective at keeping me focused.

4. Facebook (a.k.a. Calling Home)

I don't believe in fear as a motivator. I do believe in telling people you are going to do something, and then bringing them with you along the way. It takes me a few minutes each day to update facebook with what I have accomplished, and in doing so I have a permanent reminder of what I have made happen. I've done this with every novel or novella I've written and it works (for me) every time.

Do you have any tools, tips or techniques that help you with NaNoWriMo? Feel free to share in the comments. :)

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