October 31, 2008

Gearing Up For NaNoWriMo 2008

This post is mostly about how I came up with my idea for this year's NANO. Warning: It could bore you to tears. :)

NaNoWriMo 2008 I've been on break from school for two weeks now. During this brief intermission, I've worked on world and character building for a novel I'll write during NANO this year.

I'm starting with a book idea I actually began writing several years ago. When I found the file folder and opened it up, I realized that I wrote a lot more than I'd remembered back then. (I actually opened it up with intentions of finishing this idea, and using a different idea for my NANO novel.)

I was excited about finishing this book, but after I read through what I'd written, something wasn't quite right. The characters seemed shallow. The story itself lacked oomph. When I dug deeper into my chapter-by-chapter synopsis and read the full chapters already written, I was able to put my finger on the problems fairly quick:

  1. No character depth
  2. Lack of conflict
  3. Characters goals and motivation seriously deficient
  4. Weak plot line

These were the major issues I noticed during my initial read-through. I decided this story needs to be told, but it needed some major adjustments. I've learned a lot in the last few years, much of which I didn't know anything about back then, which explains the substandard story premise and flat characters.

Step 1: Give the character(s) something to fight for.

The first thing I did was sit down and rewrite a new Goal, Motivation, and Conflict chart for the heroine. This was a very exciting stage for me because once this step was complete, I could see just how far I've grown. It was especially fun to see this character come to life through deeper conflict and goals. Very exciting!

Step 2: Build their world.

The next step was to create a world around the characters. I have to know their town, the people in it, the businesses. It's important to have a grip on simple things like road structure and complex things like interpersonal dynamics among citizens. Some writers prefer to just build the world in their heads instead of writing about it. But I've had a lot of fun writing about it and sketching out a map by hand.

Step 3: Stock up on lots of coffee.

Now that I have the basics laid out, I'm just waiting for the official buzzer for 2008 NANO to begin. I have a simple outline and a basic idea of where my story will begin. Today I'll let the idea simmer on the back burner. I might even possibly come up with an extra surprise to throw into the story. I have a nice supply of coffee on hand. I have a word count goal of 2,500 per day (figured on a 5-day writing week, instead of 7, to allow some flexibility). I'm as ready as I'll ever be!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If you'd like, leave a comment and share your profile URL with us!

October 30, 2008

I Have Hope...?

There's a song I like that talks about having hope in every situation, no matter what comes or goes, there is always Hope. And yet, despite my own name being Hope, there are so many times when I feel hopeless.

I've been wondering...why is that?

To hope is to be optimistic. To wish and be full of expectation. To act upon the possibility of something positive happening.

I used to be full of hope. I used to look at life with expectancy, wishing for all good things to come of everything I did. When, and how, did this change within me?

I had a rough childhood. My life was far from simple or easy as a kid. But somehow, despite all that, I managed to survive. Yes, survive. I didn't learn to thrive until the 18-20 years. That's when I gained my independence and learned how to love myself and believe in myself.

In the last 10-12 years, I've experienced a lot of heartache, heartbreak, trials, and problems. So why is it that all these things negatively affected me and my perception now? Why was the change not a positive one, as it was after the first 18 years of my life?

Somehow I've turned into a person who worries endlessly about everything, is concerned about the minute things that really don't even matter in the big picture, and fears/believes the worst will happen in every situation because "that's just my luck." Why? How did this happen?

I don't like this me. Not at all. I wish I could be the old me. The me that can see the good in others when they do bad things. The me that believes good can come from bad. The me that hopes for the best in every situation.

I am Hope. But I don't have much hope anymore. Not today, anyway.

October 29, 2008

I Feel Myself Going Through The Change Again

No...I don't mean THE change. I'll explain...

When my husband went to Iraq the last time, I was a nervous wreck. We'd just had our son, so he was not even a year old when my husband's unit was activated for deployment. To top it off, he became violently ill after my husband left. Our daughter was still at home and had not started school yet. To say I had a lot on my plate is an understatement.

All these things--the deployment, my son's illness, my daughter starting Kindergarten, me dealing with depression--created a change, externally in my world, and within me.

That same change, one that changed me forever, is beginning to happen to me again. I feel something inside myself changing, moving, breaking. I feel that expectancy again. Like I'm about to go through a re-molding process yet again.

Right now I'm wondering what changes are ahead. Will they make me better? Colder? More peaceful? Hard? Joyful? More loving? Pessimistic?

You might think I'm silly for throwing in those negative thoughts. But I'm not. I'm being realistic. I know how deep and strong the changes can be. I've already been here once, and I know I'm headed for the changes again. I want them to be good. I want them to make me stronger. I want to be changed for the better from this.

Incidentally, this is the space where I blogged during my husband's last deployment to Iraq. If you're interested, you can read and follow my change the last time. It starts around October 2004 and goes through the 2005 posts. There are pictures and a lot of personal posts about the deployment. I still hasn't been able to bring myself to go back and re-read all of them.

October 28, 2008

Beginning Again

When I killed off this blog a couple of years ago, I never thought I'd resurrect it. But I was wrong. :)

After several turns of events (and losing a "new" personal blog I'd started again on my personal website), I decided to come back to good old Blogger and continue my personal blogging here.

This blog won't have a specific theme. It's always been personal, and it will remain that way. One of the main reasons I dropped this blog was because of people using things I wrote against me. I won't put up with it this time around, though. You're more than welcome to come and read my blog, but if you try your foolishness again you won't be met with a smile (and "you" know who "you" are).

So, with that said, here I am...beginning again.