[PrepTober Pt.4] Surviving NaNo

***Before I get to the juicy stuff, let’s get some housecleaning done. Be sure you read all the way to the bottom for some ways you can access to exclusive content not available to the public. If this is your first time joining us, we here at FyreSyde are a husband and wife duo who made the decision we wanted to offer a community to help our creative entrepreneurs, readers, bloggers and authors alike. Blaise’s book, Blessing of Luna can be found on Amazon in audiobook, paperback and eBook with the second book in the series, Bane of Tenebris, due to be released in July of 2019. If you would like to sign up for the launch team and receive a free digital copy of the book, please email us at fyresydepublishing@gmail.com with “Launch Team” in the subject line.*** 


 

The (2)Here we are. The final day before NaNoWriMo begins full force. Are you excited? I hope so. After all, you’ve got your idea, you’ve made a decision whether or not to mind-map, and found a method of outlining. 

But!

I’m going to switch the plan: Survival Tips for your Halloween Treat. Many authors begin strong but soon find themselves encountering familiar foes like writer’s block (or blinking cursor syndrome), fatigue, procrastination and frustration.

Here are some  things you can do to alleviate these common enemies many NaNos face, I’ll go into more detail but for now here are the basics:

  • Scene planning
  • Attend Wordsprints
  • Ask for feedback
  • Get a critique partner
  • Attend live/online write-ins
  • Plan for procrastination
  • Take breaks, it’s okay
  • Turn off your inner perfectionist
  • Make your writing time sacred

Scene Planning:

Something you can do to alleviate some pressure when you get stuck is to stop and plan some scenes. It can help you feel less overwhelmed if you look at the smaller parts first and then add them into the overall story. I did this in Blessing of Luna and it truly did make things less daunting. I had the major scenes planned out which just left the details. You can do this in a notebook while you’re binge-watching Netflix or listening to music. 

This way, there’s no pressure of “Oh God, I have a full novel to write” only you, your notebook and a pen or pencil. Use scene planning as a method to relax as a lighter exercise then when you’re ready, go back to work.

Attend Wordsprints:

Wordsprints are timed sessions many authors have during NaNoWriMo. They’re simply times authors can get together (or by yourself) and focus on writing. The timer is for you to keep focused during the time the sprint is happening. It can be as long or as short as you like. The point is for you to pace yourself with an opportunity to join others. During NaNo, I hold word sprints either on Facebook live or on FyreSyde’s Twitch channel. I welcome you to join me. I know Kim Chance and Megan LaCroix hold them on their Facebook pages. It’s a great time to be with others and realize you aren’t alone.

Ask For Feedback:

The forums on the NaNoWriMo site are a great place to find feedback if you haven’t been able to find your tribe yet. They’re very active during November and have a specific section dedicated to those needing feedback. Remember, you aren’t alone. There are many of us all doing the same thing and most likely suffering or have suffered what you’re going through. 

Get a Critique Partner:

I should say something along the lines of a person who will make sure you’re holding toThe (3) your goals. Your personal cheerleader. Someone you trust to complain, whine, moan and gripe to. For me, last year, it was my poor husband. This person is someone to hold your hand during your journey. They can be a spouse, a friend, a parent, another author, a boy/girlfriend, etc. After NaNo, these are some folks you can swap novels with for the Alpha reading stage. A critique partner is a great support system because they can provide crucial feedback. Especially if you’re too nervous to ask.

Attend Write-Ins (Online or Live)

Write ins are a lot like word sprints, only without the timer. They’re gatherings of authors who get together to do what they love: write. They’re held all over the place. You may have some going on in your hometown. I know where I live, there are multiple going on at midnight tonight. If you’re looking for write-ins, the NaNo site is a good place to start as well. The forums have a section for those who are holding write-ins. If you attend on online, they’re mostly held via avenues like google hangout, Facebook live, Instagram, and sometimes on phone apps. It’s all up to you as to how you want to attend. It’s yet another opportunity for you to get together with others, network and get crucial help and feedback.

Plan For Procrastination:

It’s going to happen. Even to veterans of NaNo. Plan for it accordingly. Whatever you do, don’t confuse procrastination with relaxation. It’s more than okay to take a break. NaNo is a sprint if there ever was one. However, don’t put off your novel so long, it never gets written or forces you to produce subpar work. 

Take Breaks: It’s Okay

As mentioned above, it’s more than okay to take some days to rest. Your creative tank may need some time to rest. These self-care days can be a time where you allow yourself to either plan some scenes, watch Netflix, or if you’re a late nighter, sleep. You may choose to read those books on your overly large TBR list. Whatever it is, allow yourself some time.

Turn Off Your Inner Editor/Perfectionist

vince_lombardi_encouragement_quote1NaNo is for you to write at least 50K (or whatever your wordcount is). There’s no need for you to flesh out a final draft in that time. Turn off your inner editor and just focus on getting the story into a Word doc, Scriviner, etc. The pressure is already on. You have limited time to dish out some serious word counts, why put more on yourself. This is a good time to write for fun, not for perfection. A good friend of mine, Michelle Rene has a great article on how to focus on writing as fast as possible by shutting up your inner editor

Make Your Writing Time Sacred

Choose a time you write best and stick to it. If you’re a parent, ask your spouse or significant other to watch the kiddos so you can write. If you have older kids, ask them to give you this time to yourself. Just so you know, it’s okay for younger kids to watch tony_robbins_encouragement_quote1television during NaNo. They get to laugh and squeal at SpongeBob while you get to focus on your world-building. Maybe you’re like me and write best late at night. Whatever works best for you, make sure you stick to it until the end of the month. It’ll help you focus your time and give you a goal. Also, reward yourself when you accomplish it. Go to the man-cave or the she-shack and play a video game or enjoy some coffee. Heck, you just wrote for almost two hours, give yourself a treat.


Writing can be a lonely occupation but the great thing is, NaNo is a time where many writers are forming groups to support each other during a trying time. Whatever you choose to do, have fun and don’t give up!

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[Preptober Pt.3] Deciding on an Outlining Method

***Before I get to the juicy stuff, let’s get some housecleaning done. Be sure you read all the way to the bottom for some ways you can access to exclusive content not available to the public. If this is your first time joining us, we here at FyreSyde are a husband and wife duo who made the decision we wanted to offer a community to help our creative entrepreneurs, readers, bloggers and authors alike. Blaise’s book, Blessing of Luna can be found on Amazon in audiobook, paperback and eBook with the second book in the series, Bane of Tenebris, due to be released in July of 2019. If you would like to sign up for the launch team and receive a free digital copy of the book, please take the time to fill out this form.*** 


 

TheWe’ve made it folks, it’s the second to the last week of Preptober. We have a solid idea, we’ve decided on whether or not to mind-map and if we have, now we’re ready to outline! (Unless you’re a pantser, plotster, etc. Still read on! You might change your mind and avoid the mid-month wall crash).

Last week, I went over three different outlining methods you can use when approaching your outline. HOWEVER! There are many and I encourage you to choose what works for you. 

For the purpose of this post however, I will cover the three I mentioned. 

Good Old Dan Wells

Dan Well’s created an outlining method known as the 7-point plot structure**. This is possibly my favorite method because it forces you to focus on the main points in the story and alleviates focusing too much on details too early on.

This method begins with what he likes to call the “Ice Breaker Monster.” Basically, you’re promising the reader just as they open the book that action is coming down the pike. You might do this as Lord of the Rings did by starting backwards and showing some history prior to beginning the actual story.dan-wells

  • Part 1: The Hook: This is the character in their ordinary world. Where they start before the inciting incident pushes them to move the story forward. In Lord of the Rings, this is when we see Harry in his squalid condition of living under the stairs. It gives us a glance into the world before moving on to the first Plot Turn.
  • Part 2: Plot Turn 1: This is your inciting incident. The action that moves your character forward into their journey. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo is given the ring by Gandalf and told to meet him in Bree.
  • Part 3: Pinch 1: This would follow after your hero refuses to answer the call to action. They need to be persuaded to move into their journey. For example, Frodo goes to Bree but finds Gandalf isn’t there. He realizes he must continue the journey with the help of Aragorn.
  • Part 4: Midpoint: The meat of the story. A point where the character realizes they have to answer the call to action. Going back to the example of Lord of the Rings, this is when Frodo is with the council and realizes he’s the only one who can take the ring to Mordor. The Fellowship is formed.
  • Part 5: Pinch 2: This is when things get bad. The hero often suffers a severe loss and finds themselves alone. After the battle with the Balrog, Frodo loses Gandalf and feels shaken in his resolve.
  • Part 6 & 7 are known as the Plot turn 2 and resolution. The hero is able to get the last pieces of the story put together and move on into the resolution. Frodo and Sam decide they can’t accomplish their goals through the broken fellowship and must continue on their own. In the end, Frodo throws the Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom thus destroying Sauron.

**If you need further elaboration, Dan himself walks through three different examples in this youtube series.


Dan Harmons’ Embryo Method

tumblr_inline_n8sssrntlC1qj0ue8Screen writer Dan Harmon does a dissection of the popular Hero’s Journey template by removing parts he deems “unnecessary” to avoid the “fluff” and move right into the action. His method is broken down like this:

  • You (a character is in a zone of comfort) > Introduce your character
  • Need (but they want something) > There’s something off
  • Go (they enter an unfamiliar situation) > Call to action/ inciting incident
  • Search (adapt to it) > They have no choice but to continue
  • Find (find what they wanted) > The Midpoint
  • Take (pay its price) > Things get bad for the protagonist
  • Return (and go back to where they started) > Finding the power within
  • Change (now capable of change) > The hero is ready to face the beast head on

I use this method from time to time because it’s very basic and doesn’t focus on details much like Dan Wells’. For more in depth study, I invite you to check this wikia.


3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapter Method

This is the method I used for my first novel. It’s miraculous for pacing and can offer great incite on how to break your chapters down into a manageable 27. It was founded by Katytastic on youtube and has since been used by many authors to complete their66714aed90eb335e39bf28c3fcd44a65 novels.

However, because of its length and the way it’s set up, I’m unable to go over every piece here. If requested, I’d be happy to do a rundown. Writer’sedit.com has already done so for the popular Young Adult series, Hunger Games.


But Which is Right for me?

As I mentioned, there are many ways to outline. Chapter by Chapter, 3 Act, Snowflake Method, Hero’s Journey, etc. There is no “right” way to outline. It’s all how you, the author, want to plan your novel. 

Start by asking yourself these three questions:

  1. How much do I want to know before writing?
  2. Which would benefit my story most?
  3. What aspect of my story would I possibly struggle with most?

Once you know these, it should be easier for you to decide, if at all. If you’re a total plotster or panster, then sit down and go for it!

BEFORE YOU GO! PLEASE READ ON!


Thank you so much for joining us this week. We are so excited to share this series with you and hope it helps during these next two months. We invite you to sign up for our newsletter and receive not one but two free eBooks as a thank you! We will never spam you!

As we mentioned above, we’re offering exclusive content only available to those who support us on Patreon. Why Patreon? Because it’ll help us reach our goals of putting out printing compilations, extras and eventually publishing opportunities to authors struggling to either start or are desperately looking to avoid the slush piles of bigger publishing houses. 

We welcome you to join us twice a week on our Twitch channel where you can get to know us on a more personal basis, watch as we work, play video games and chat with our readers live! As of now we’re aiming for 7 – 9PM CST Wednesdays and Sundays! 

If you have the time and want to find some wonderful folks who can help you design the perfect eye-catching book cover, please drop by our friends at Damonza.com. Use the code, FYRESYDE to get 5% off your purchase! We use no one but this team of dedicated professionals for all of our book covers.

Had trouble with Word losing your files? Want a place you can plan, outline, have your character sheets, research, etc? Look no further than Scriviner. Trusted by our authors for almost a year, Scriviner is available wherever you need it to be. Now as an app! Click the links for Mac or Windows.

If you would like to write for us, please get in touch with us at fyresydepublishing@gmail.com! We would love to talk with you!

[Preptober pt.2] Mindmapping v. Outlining v. Pansting

***Before I get to the juicy stuff, let’s get some housecleaning done. Be sure you read all the way to the bottom for some ways you can access to exclusive content not available to the public. If this is your first time joining us, we here at FyreSyde are a husband and wife duo who made the decision we wanted to offer a community to help our creative entrepreneurs, readers, bloggers and authors alike. Blaise’s book, Blessing of Luna can be found on Amazon in audiobook, paperback and eBook with the second book in the series, Bane of Tenebris, due to be released in July of 2019. If you would like to sign up for the launch team and receive a free digital copy of the book, please take the time to fill out this form.*** 


 

We are back again! This time, we’re facing some serious opponents in the cage: Mindmapping versus Outlining versus pantsing. FIGHT!

To begin to find out how we want to cheer for these titans in the ring, we need to understand what each of them are:

mind-mapping-graphic-100679740-large

Mindmapping:

The real definition, according to Mindmapping.com, is:

“A graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps structuring information, helping you to better analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas. Just as in every great idea, its power lies in its simplicity.”

Put simply, it’s the messiest form of getting anything you can think of down on paper in some kind of graphic. It can be in the circle web, a tree branch system, etc.

A great tool authors can use is called Freemind. It’s absolutely free and makes the process much easier. 

Once the process is complete you can move onto your second opponent in the cage: Outlining.


Outlining:

Going back to the official definition, according to Dictionary.com, an outline is:

“a general sketch, account, or report, indicating only the main features, as of a book, subject, or project”

What does this mean? Just as it says. You are putting your story in such a way that you dan-wellscan see it’s pacing, plot line, characters, etc.

There are many ways you can do this. However, some of those I use are Dan Well’s 7-point plot structure, The Embryo Method, and of course my favorite, the 3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapters method founded by Katytastic. Each of them are powerful and some of the most efficient ways to outline I’ve found! It’s up to you to decide on what’s best for you and your novel!


Pantsing

Pantsing is the most free approach to writing a novel. There’s no dedication to an outline. Often there’s not even a mind-mapping technique involved. It’s the most Stephen King method out there and still one of my most preferred.

However!

quote-but-it-s-writing-damn-it-not-washing-the-car-or-putting-on-eyeliner-if-you-can-take-stephen-king-89-85-72I am what is known as a Plotster. Most of the time, despite my love for the methods above, I don’t really use them I’d rather have a general idea as vague as possible so I can let the characters and story evolve as they will. When I do outline, it’s often Dan Well’s method which gives you the meat and leaves out the details.


But, which is right for me?

This is for you, as the creator, to decide. Some great questions you can ask are:

  1. What do I know about my story?
  2. Do I want to know everything up front or allow some freedom to move around?
  3. Do I even want to mind-map?
  4. Do I need to mind-map?
  5. What would benefit the story most?

download (2)Ultimately, you know your story better than anyone. you know what it needs, how the world feels and what you want to know – which can be as much or as little as you like.

  • Try each of them out! Maybe one feels right.
  • Do your research. There are many and I mean many ways to go about creating your story.

Never give up! There’s a story inside of you, you just may have to really dig deep to find it!

BEFORE YOU GO! PLEASE READ ON!


Thank you so much for joining us this week. We are so excited to share this series with you and hope it helps during these next two months. We invite you to sign up for our newsletter and receive not one but two free eBooks as a thank you! We will never spam you!

As we mentioned above, we’re offering exclusive content only available to those who support us on Patreon. Why Patreon? Because it’ll help us reach our goals of putting out printing compilations, extras and eventually publishing opportunities to authors struggling to either start or are desperately looking to avoid the slush piles of bigger publishing houses. 

We welcome you to join us twice a week on our Twitch channel where you can get to know us on a more personal basis, watch as we work, play video games and chat with our readers live! As of now we’re aiming for 7 – 9PM CST Wednesdays and Sundays! 

If you have the time and want to find some wonderful folks who can help you design the perfect eye-catching book cover, please drop by our friends at Damonza.com. Use the code, FYRESYDE to get 5% off your purchase! We use no one but this team of dedicated professionals for all of our book covers.

Had trouble with Word losing your files? Want a place you can plan, outline, have your character sheets, research, etc? Look no further than Scriviner. Trusted by our authors for almost a year, Scriviner is available wherever you need it to be. Now as an app! Click the links for Mac or Windows.

If you would like to write for us, please get in touch with us at fyresydepublishing@gmail.com! We would love to talk with you!

[Failure pt.2] You’re Going to Experience It…We all Do

FearisALiar

We’re all going to fail at something. 

It’s something that’s hard to swallow but true. We are all going to fail at something. It could be from something simple to breaking a key off in a door lock or something big like a failed book title. 

The beauty is, there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you choose to keep trying. This is the difference between a failure and someone who fails. The failure stays down and quits fighting while the one who fails keeps getting up and trying new things.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill  

 

It’s perfectly fine if your first trial fails. It’s supposed to!

 As an author, I am constantly learning to accept there are projects that may not see the light of day for one reason or another. The beauty of it is, it’s okay. Odds are you’re not going to have a perfect first draft. As a matter of fact, it’s most likely going to be horrible, however, the most important thing is for it to simply exist. You can’t edit a blank canvas 12071-terry-pratchett-first-draft-quotebut you can edit a bad first draft.

We see it all the time. New editions of books, remakes of games, character designs updated after years. These are people who realize that they’re allowed to edit or fix something. They developed their skills, honed them and got back in the saddle. Whatever you, never settle on your first draft of anything being your magnum opus. It won’t be. It’s not supposed to be.

The Wright Brothers went through many stages of the first planes which failed miserably. J.K Rowling wrote her first draft on a napkin and received multiple rejections on Harry Potter before it got picked up.

Allow yourself to fail. In the long run, it is the ultimate teacher and can make something turn into something else you never thought of.

 

Starting is Hard….

 

“The hardest thing to do is to start.” — Stephen King

He was right. Beginning anything new is terrifying. You may fear not having enough money, enough time, giving up something like binge watching Netflix, feeling you’re too advanced in age? 

 If this is you (because it was and sometimes still is me) ask why you’re terrified? Then weight the pros and cons. What do you have to benefit from being willing to fail? What do you have to lose? 

 Then remember: “I’m not alone. Others have failed before and become great. I can do this too.”

 Every single success story from Apple to Pixar, from Harry Potter to Twilight, have experienced failure. The difference, they didn’t quit. They took the hits and got back up.

To quote a very amazing rat: “Change is nature, dad and it starts when we decide.” 159578a41f29f4b8a14c080117a55d8d


 Got any comments? Feedback on what you’ve read or something to add? Feel free to leave it in the comments! We love to hear from our readers! If you want to support FyreSyde or see what we’re up to, feel free to subscribe! 

Want to write for us? Get an interview? Have questions or need advice, feel free to contact us at fyresydepublishing@gmail.com! We’re open to guest posts anytime. It usually takes at least 24-hours for Blaise to respond but she does her best. Patience is appreciated.

[Failure Series] Part 1: Understanding Failure and Why We Need It

Failure. 

So often we’re terrified of this one little word. It paralyzes us. Keeps us fearful and holds us back from attempting a deeply ingrained dream. It scares us so bad, often we think it’s better not to try than fail altogether. Who knew one little word held so much power?

In this series on failure, our hope is that our readers will learn not to fear failure but embrace it as a step in their journey to success.

What Is Failure?

The best way to start understanding something is to become familiar with what it is.

According to Dictionary.com, failure is defined as:

  1. A lack of success
  2. nonperformance
  3. or an insufficiency

You’ll notice, nowhere in those definitions are the words “impossible”, “Non-attainable” or “unreachable.” The common themes are “a lack” of something. When looked at by entrepreneurs, the art of failing is when one stops (nonperformance) trying to attain their goals (a lack of success). dont-fear-failure-fear-the-absence-of-progress-motivational-gym-quotes

Why Does It Terrify Us?

Good question. What exactly is it about failure that terrifies someone enough to keep them from even trying? Is it a damaging view of others? Maybe we’re afraid to give our last dimes to obtain something only to have it backfire. Perhaps it’s the idea of wasting time over something which seems silly.  Truth is, why failure paralyzes differs from person to person. It often depends on the individual.

History Is Made on Failure

No matter how terrifying, failure is one of the most beautiful things in the history of creation. Every living and non-living thing has experienced a form of failure. The next time you sit down at your laptop, your phone, your game system, the airport, etc, take a solid look. Every inventor of these great technological advances suffered failure! You have your phone because of ridicule and failure! Airplanes are flying on the backs of multiple failures! The books we read were printed on failure. The list goes on! What makes this different is these failures didn’t stop until they made the plane fly. Made the internet work. Made a website where most of the world’s online commerce occurs. History, great and small was built on the backs of failures. 

Why It Is More Valuable Than Success

db12c93a5358756069a09d2cacd08033This is most likely going to sound like the most absurd of ideas but it holds true. Bishop T.D. Jakes states, “we learn more from our failures, than our successes.” Why does he say this? Because once you’ve reached your success, whatever it may be, you are beginning something anew. You reach failure again and again when you work to brand and market that success. Failures are teachers. They beat us down, they hurt, they ache but in the end, we can choose to get up or we can stay down. Failure is the best learning tool. When Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, he witnessed one the most elaborate examples of failure. Nature. 

Why We Need Failure

We wouldn’t grow without it. Our characters wouldn’t build to become something stronger. Our intellects wouldn’t be pushed to solve the problems caused by failure to become success. Bishop Jakes offers a story about his father, who began a business with only a mop and a bucket in a difficult time in history. However, he persevered and built a truly flourishing enterprise. 

The Truth Is, Your Dream Has to Sound Insane

Going back to Bishop Jakes. In his most recent appearance at the Global Leadership Summit, he states “your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” It has to sound like it’ll hurt or is it worth your failure? For avid viewers of the popular Food Network show, Chopped, one cannot watch an episode without hearing stories of people who gave everything to obtain their culinary dreams. Did they think they’d get as much back as they did? No! Not at all but they took a risk and landed in one of the most viewed shows on television. 

“Your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” — T.D Jakes, Founder of the Potter’s House

Ultimately, failure is terrifying. There’s no escaping the fact. The trick is to look it in the eyes and push through to make your dream a reality. Ask yourself, what have I really got to lose? Then ask – What have I honestly got to gain?

Failure-2

Some great resources for when you need some reassurance:

Soar by T.D Jakes, Potter’s House

Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull, Pixar

Power of Your Potential by John Maxwell, author, pastor