The stars have aligned, Mercury is in retrograde*, and I’m prepping for NaNoWriMo!
I say that because this will be the first year I’ve actually done prep work for a NaNo story – and not ‘I’ve got a character name and an idea’ prep work, I mean ‘names, backgrounds, world-building, and outline’ prep work.
My first NaNo was a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ affair, and since I managed to hit my word count I figured that this was the way to go. However, that story was also a really rough draft, consisting of many odd ramblings (when I’m desperately trying to hit a certain word count it’s almost like the ghost of Charles Dickens possesses me and I can suddenly spend paragraphs describing a lamp – good for word count, but not for content). The subsequent NaNos either had similar ramblings or failed to meet the word count**.
Continue reading NaNoPrepWeek | House Blog
Maybe you’re one of those writers who has no problem sitting down and writing a story from start to finish, or maybe you’re more like me and you get side-tracked multiple times before you can get to the end.
Although it’s romantic to think of yourself as a tortured writer who’s utterly desperate to finish that one big novel you have inside of you – which is so eager to come out, but can’t because you’re too weighed down by the massive ennui you feel just by existing – it’s much more practical to actually finish your darn projects.
Here are few problems that I’ve encountered while trying to finish a story/novel, and what I do to try to keep myself motivated*.
Continue reading How to Blackmail Yourself into Finishing Your Writing | House Blog
Let’s be honest, anything I write today will be overshadowed by the news that Chillers From the Rock is an ebook bestseller on Amazon – and I’m totally okay with that. Woohoo!
In celebration, here’s a horror story that I didn’t finish in time for submission + a tale of how it came to be. And to make it deliberately scarier, I’m posting it late at night!
*Spooky voice* Read more, if you dare….
Continue reading Short Story: The Vicious Ones | Ali House
In late December we launched a new ad for the company as a whole on our website and Youtube, to celebrate the completion of our ten-year anniversary year. A lot of people liked it, and we thank them for their likes and comments, but we wanted to take a second to point out one of the features of the video that had special meaning to us: The Six Lights of Engen.
Despite being started by one person and having a three-person board, Engen Books has always been a company based around a hub of collaboration and creatively. We wanted to express in the video that it was all these great, talented people coming together that made Engen what it is… so we had the Six Lights start separate and then come together as one, exploding into Engen Books.
Who are the Six Light?
Continue reading The Six Lights | Engen Books
Over the past 7+ years, I’ve NaNo’d 6 times. Some times I’ve been successful, some times I haven’t, and one time I failed so spectacularly that I’m almost proud.
Below are some observations I’ve made & lessons I’ve learned:
* * *
Year 1 – 2010
Project Type: New Novel
Project Info: A werewolf-type story
Final Word Count: 52,000
For this one, I started a brand new story on November 1. I think I did a rough outline beforehand, but mostly just character sketches and a very loose plot. After 2 weeks I hit the wall hard, but a few days later I managed to push past it. I ended up reaching a conclusion around the 40,000 mark and thought I was going to fail this task, but then I thought of a way to make the story longer and managed to get over 50,000 words. I also wrote a really cool back-story scene that I’m super happy with.
This was my first year, and I consider it my most successful so far. I was working 2 jobs and rehearsing 2 plays, so I have no idea how I managed to do it. (Actually, that’s a lie – I’m editing that story now and there’s a lot of nonsensical rambling that needs to be cut down – but there’s also some great stuff that I got from the aforementioned rambling. Swings and roundabouts, my friends.)
Aside from being super determined to rock my first year, I learned how to push myself and that I could actually finish a story. It taught me that I could write a full-length novel in less than 3 years. As someone who had trouble focusing on one single project, it was a great confidence boost. Continue reading NaNoWriMo Round 6!
Five amazing short stories from the talented minds of both Amanda Labonté and Ali House, featuring daring new YA fantasy fiction, links to The Segment Delta Archives, and the enchanting world of Call of the Sea!
Amanda Labonté & Ali House
(Spoiler Alert: not very well)
A writer I know recently shared the outline for her last book and I was amazed at how elegant and organized it was. The whole format was really simple and clear – Chapter 1: this happens, Chapter 2: this happens, etc. I wondered if this was something that could work for me.
Then I realized that I don’t actually do outlines. When I’m writing a story, I generally have a bunch of vague ideas and scenes floating around in my head. They usually don’t get put on paper until I’m actually writing the scene, or if I’m “thinking with my pen”*. There are no charts, no graphs, not even a list**. It’s kind-of a mess. Continue reading How I “Outline”