3 Things I’m Going to do Differently for (Camp) NaNoWriMo

One of the reasons I love NaNoWriMo is because it not only challenges you, but it teaches you–that is, if you let it. So, this year, I took a step back to see what I’ve learned.

You see, I really love the novels I’m planning. I want to enjoy writing them in all the drafts, not just the first ones. In my attempt at editing my last NaNoWriMo novel, it was a pain. Everyone said it was simple: macro edit, micro edit, beta readers, done. Mine was simply falling apart and not enjoyable. It wasn’t what it was.

Me being me, I also decided to find out what went wrong and how I could improve. Using that, here is what I am going to do differently this April.

1. Know When to Take Breaks

December 1, I was tired. I’d almost hit my OA goal the night before, then had to go to bed. My novel still had a lot of story left in it. So, I took a few days off. I was not only drained physically, but I was drained of creativity. Forcing yourself to write may be a NaNo essential, but save yourself and know when to take some time off. (I talk more about this here)

2. Run Spellcheck 

What? You mean… editing? Lowering my word count?*clouds turn gray, children scream, stereotype breaks* No, I do not. I mean, when I go back to my novel, I’m going to see “say” instead of “sai”, “that” instead of “dat”, etc, which is going to make it much easier on me. When I am done writing for the day (or if I’m writing a lot, done a chapter), I will run basic spell check so my novel appears easier to edit. It’s a psychological thing. It won’t even take time out of my writing.

3.When in Doubt, Write it Out

No, I did not steal this rhyme from when I played soccer. You may have heard of the whole “write what you love in a novel”. Well, when I’m in writer’s block, I want to write a scene that’s not plot relevant, but it’s just something nice and pretty and flowy that I’m going to enjoy. I recommend this to anyone. Write something merely for your pleasure that you will look back and smile at. (Now, I realize for some of us this may be stabbing characters…please refrain.)

So, that’s what I’m doing differently this April! If you’ve ever participated in NaNo, or ever written a novel, what are you going to do differently next time? What have you learned?

3 Acting Tips to Make Your Character to Come to Life

Guess what? Somehow in the past three years, I’ve published almost 300 blog posts. *mind blown*

Anyway, since I’ve posted about writing mostly these past few months, I’m going to blog in a category I haven’t yet: acting.

These tips are just from my experience as an actress. I’m not famous, haven’t been on Broadway, or gotten my own show, but I have had experience in plays, film (growing up a media-maker’s daughter), and watching plenty of informational YouTube videos.

Disclaimer: When I say make them come to life, please do not mistake me for Dr. Frankenstein. We are actors, not scientists. What I mean is how to make them come to life through your acting. Thank you.

1. Backstory

Even the smallest characters who only have one line, or perhaps none at all, have a backstory. Think about this when you’re acting in the scenes. Yes, even if you’re playing a tree.

The way your character has lived before the script was created affects everything in the scenes they’re in. Sometimes, the writers have already created a backstory. Build on that through dialogue and blocking.

Think about how their scenes make them react. If they had a traumatic experience with their brother choking on a cookie, and her friend’s mom offers chocolate chip cookies, she may have a flash of horror then politely disagree. Of course, make sure it actually has something to do with the script, like if there was a scene later that night when your character tells her friend about the incident. Don’t take over the script, either! Just subtle hints here and there make your character come alive.

2. Interpretation

I’m going to show you an exercise I did with my brother to get him ready for the auditions for the church play. Read over a few of your lines. Now, take the character you’re auditioning for/playing and write down four traits you see in them from the dialogue.

Read it again, this time, using your motions and tone of voice to show those traits. One thing I see in a lot of young or new actors is they simply read the lines they’re given. Do not do this. Read the action tags, incorporate them with your lines. Take sighs when you’re sad. Smile when you’re happy. Tapping in to your character’s emotions will make them come alive. 

3. Really, really love it

Love acting. Love your character, no matter how small or large the part is. Love the emotions, and play on them. Just really have a good time, and it will bleed into your performance. I see a lot of people doing acting because “why not” or “I hate all the other classes for this period”. Don’t. Just really, really love it. The fact that you’re reading articles about acting already shows part of your commitment. Live it. That will make your character come alive.

I hope this helps you with your acting! If you liked this post, leave a comment or share it on social media!

Do you want more acting posts? Let me know what kinds of posts you would like! Maybe a theatre/film FAQ, or a BTS of how a theater or film production works?

How to Write 10k in a Day (Or Just a lot of Words)

In January 2016, if someone had asked me to do a 10k day I would have scoffed and told them it was impossible. However, last year, something happened.

I had goals, motivation, and a competitive spirit that I didn’t have before. I somehow found myself able to type fast, create longer stories, and use my writing time wisely. I surprised myself this NaNoWriMo. I hit a slump halfway through, and then all of the sudden I wrote 70k in a month and ~15-16k on the last day. (However, my priorities were a bit out of order, but I’m caught up now).  Here is my guide to maxing out your potential and discovering what you can do 10k in a day.

1. Assess yourself

Take this test. Once, as fast as you can. The next, a bit slower, however fast you usually write. For example, my fingers can type 90 wpm, but to take the time to think and stop procrastinating I usually write 60 wpm. Whatever you get, be happy with it because whatever you write, they are words. For any area in life, generally don’t compare yourself to others and accept where you are.

2. Start Early

So, say it takes you about 45 minutes to write 1000 words. Wake up an hour earlier than you normally do and don’t do anything until you’ve written that amount (no email, no phone, etc. Only writing music. It’s a great motivator). After this, you’ll feel motivated with that 1k under your belt and the curiosity to see how high you can get it.

3. Priorities

I’ll admit, I did fall behind on things like homework during NaNo. So, after this 1k thing, see if there’s anything else you can get out of the way. For my homeschooled readers, this means doubling up (at least some) the day before and finished the rest today. Unfortunately, 10k will be very hard if you’re trying to do it while at public/private school/co-op, unless you have a very high writing speed to catch up the rest of your night.

4. N-O P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N! 

During your writing time, don’t stop. Keep going until there are no words left in you, and when there aren’t, keep going anyway. Pretty much all of my plot twists come naturally as I’m writing (is that bad?) because I have to keep going. However, please don’t use all of your free time to write. This leads me to the next point.

5. Creative Breaks

Take a walk, read a book, lie down for a minute, drink some coffee. Do what you need to do to stay creative. Otherwise, you’ll feel drained and writing won’t be fun. Writing should be fun or you’re doing it wrong.

So those are my tips on getting to 10k, and you should still have time for things (like school, choir, and youth group) while getting a lot done. What are your tips for getting a lot done in a day 10k in a day?

Room Decorating Tips

snowflakes

Hey everyone, today I’m going to show you some ways you can decorate your room.  They are so easy and look so good.

Putting up lights.

I took some extra Christmas lights and put them up over my desk. Lights always make everything better.

Paper snowflakes.

Paper snowflakes are so fun to make and put all over your room.

Candy cane hearts.

To make a candy cane heart, just take two candy canes and tape their bases together.  It’s cute and Christmasy and I love the effect.

♥ Tea lights and candles.

Tea lights and candles make every thing look cozy, and the candles smell so good.

Elves or Reindeers? Why? ‘

Um, reindeer?

Christmas Sig

How to Have a Great Blog

I saw one of these posts on a blog once so I want to do one. If you are doing something I say not to do it’s not because you have a terrible blog, it’s just you need to improve. These are some tips I have gained from looking at other blogs, not just one blog.

1. Try your best not to have blurry photos. If you accidently do one or two and don’t realize it until it is on your computer, just say (sorry for the blurry photo). Also make sure your pictures and text on different lines.

2. Don’t have posts of just one or two sentences. The exceptions are if you doing a quick update or saying sorry you didn’t do something on time, etc. It will show you don’t know what to do. Just don’t post it unless you want to add something else.

3. Use proper grammar. It shows to most people you don’t know what you are doing, not that most people will think that. Especially don’t get your and you’re mixed up. Your is like, ‘that is your car’, and you’re is short for you are, like ‘ you’re going to the movies’.

4. Don’t have cheesy stories. Do your best to have good storylines in your photo stories.

5. Don’t have your picture area messy unless it is part of your story. I know cleaning you room is hard, but please do it if possible. If it is a big mess, go outside.

6. Make sure it easy to comment on your blog. If someone visits your blog without a google plus account, they shouldn’t need one to comment. I like websites where anyone can comment. I mean, you can just do your parent’s email if you don’t have one.

7. Try to make sure people can like your posts if you have that kind of blog. A lot of times I try to log in as a wordpress blogger, but because my site is hosted by host monster, it won’t let me. You might  not be  able to change this though.

I will do more later!

-Josie