5 Things I Learned From Writing My Most Recent Novel

Writing is a learning process. For me, at least, every novel is different and requires a greater set of skills and disciplines. (Isn't this the case for anything creative?)

Here are five things I Am Stardust taught me about writing.

1. Don't rush.

Sometimes I want to just rush through the first draft just to get it finished. However, this leaves me with a ridiculously fast pace that's really hard to fix and a messier first draft. Yes, first drafts are supposed to be messy--hence it's alternate term, the rough draft--but it's easier to edit a more complete manuscript.

2. Plan out action scenes.

This is just something that makes the first draft easier for me. Planning out the things that are going to  happen in the scene before I write about them in more detail helps the pacing. (And like I said in the above point, it makes it easier to edit later. I'm all for easier editing.) If I have a plan laid out, the scene intimidates me less, and I don't rush through it as much.

3. Enjoy the frivolous scenes that may get cut later.

I Am Stardust taught me to enjoy the small scenes that may get taken out later. That time when you took a break from the main plot so the main characters could go get coffee may just make you fall even more in love with the story your heart desires to tell. Does it really further the plot? Who cares. This is one thing you shouldn't dwell on when writing your first draft. Write the scenes your heart wants to write.

4. Try to get into the story every day.

Yes, this is one of those things that EVERY PRO WRITER SAYS, but it's really important. Staying in the story helped me keep the feel of the story and it's characters in my head the entire time. I didn't have to go back and remember who they are and what they want. I kept the story fresh in my mind. (This doesn't mean you have to write every single day no matter what, but keep in the story as often as possible.) Again, this not only helps your motivation, it also keeps a cleaner first draft.

5. Don't be afraid to make it personal.

I Am Stardust turned out to be a very personal story. A lot of the internal struggle my main character goes through is similar to something I went through a few years ago. Obviously the circumstances are different (I didn't become a superhero lol), but the heart of the story is the same.

What have your WIPs taught you about writing? How has your writing process changed?


Where Have I Been? Life Update and Belated 4th Blogiversary

Hello friends!

So...this year I haven't been blogging every Monday. A lot has been going on, but I'll try to summarize it.

1. I graduated high school!

*celebrates* I am FINALLY done with high school! (honestly this is a huge reason why I haven't been posting. High school takes up an enormous amount of time. Also, whoever told me senior year is supposed to be the easiest lied.) I am so excited for college and this next stage of life. (And also kind of terrified, but I'm trying not to think about that until August.)

2. I've been taking time to grow as a Child of God.

Yeah...God still has to do a lot of work on me, but recently I rededicated my life to Him and I'm working hard on my relationship with Him. It's hard, but so far, so worth it.

3. I'm working on growing as a writer.

Last year was a pretty bad writing year. I didn't write very much, and honestly, I wasn't very interested in writing either. I guess I didn't feel the need to write? (This is part of the reason my posts have been few and far between this year.) However, now I love writing even more than I did when I first started a long time ago. My WIP has taught me so many valuable things about writing, and it may have even given me a system. It has taught me to take things slowly in the story and really let stuff organically develop. This is my first cohesive novel that is over 50,000 words and still going strong. (My deadline is Tuesday...so I'm kind of on a mad dash to the finish.)

4. I got back into filmmaking.

Okay, so I kind of fell in love with filmmaking again. A few months ago, my English teacher gave the best assignment in the world: make a movie based on a book or short story. Oh, and make a movie we did. I worked with two amazing partners and friends, and the three of us (including 9 other cast members) recreated 3 scenes from Pride and Prejudice. (Don't worry, everything is word for word from the book.) Did we go a little overboard on this assignment? Definitely. Was it a blast? Yes.

What have you been working on while I've been gone?


Read to Find Jesus, Not Just to Find the Story

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been M.I.A. recently. That's mostly due to graduating high school and attending festivities related to that.

Anyway...on to the post.

A few days ago, I had a long conversation with one of my best friends, Hosanna Emily, and she said something that really stood out to me.

She told me to read my Bible to find Jesus, not to find the story.

That really got me thinking. You see, I've never really known how to read my Bible. I just kinda figured it was like reading a book, and Sunday schools always teach us about Bible stories.  People always tend to focus on the story instead of asking this question: What does this tell be about God? How does this point to Him?

Most Christians already know the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den and Jonah's story, but do we understand how each word points to our Creator? Now, I just want to pause and say that I by no means am saying that this is the tried and true method for understanding the entire Bible. Only God can reveal things to you, but I encourage you to look beyond the story and scrutinize every single word to find His truth.