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Take the Make Art Not War Challenge and Change Your World
Wow! October has flown by, and it's been a busy month. Shipped the Vampire: The Masquerade Dark Ages Jumpstart, called "Legacy of Lies", to press, along with Beckett's Jyhad Diary. I also kicked off Dark Eras 2 development, shot off a Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition playtest, and am finishing up the second of two short stories. Plus? Outlines and pitches, too. Oh, and Diary of an Aspiring Alchemist. Now able to be publicized and shared. Huzzah! This will be a long story arc, for sure, but part of the reason for the pacing is because the Order of the Silver Star operates behind-the-scenes. Sure they're desperate and they make mistakes, but in my near world setting secret societies are usually the subject of documentaries and conspiracy theories. Frightening stuff!
The good news is that I feel very capable of handling everything that's coming my way. I've been refocusing my stress as well, and most of all? A feeling that I'm on the right track. That, more than anything, grants me the confidence to move ahead.
I hope you're doing well. This week I've got some tips for you and a new theme for November: FINISH. As in - finish what you start!
'Til next time!
In the 11/02/2017 edition:
By Monica Valentinelli on Nov 01, 2017 11:01 am
Pleased to announce today’s theme is FINISH! Whether you’re starting out on a new project or using this month to play catch up, the goal for this month’s Make Art Not War Challenge theme is to finish what you start.
Whether you’re new to writing or not, self-doubt can creep into your mind, and you freeze. You either go back to edit that first paragraph, over and over again, until you get it “just right” — or you never finish that story. Sometimes, self-doubt occurs because you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. That’s normal. That happens. And, sometimes, tackling a big project is necessary to grow and show you where you’re at.
Your strength lies in what you do next. Do you lash out? Biting back at your critics? Or, do you suck it up and ask for help? I can’t tell you where you are in your process; no one can unless they’re reading your work and with you during your journey. What I can tell you, is that sometimes there is a lot of value in finishing what you start. If you can’t finish the big thing, try breaking off your project into smaller chunks. Finish those, and chug away until you’ve completed it.
Finishing your projects doesn’t mean that they won’t require more work; what it does mean, however, is that you’ve cycled through that first, crucial step to making art. That, dear readers, is what November is all about.
Time to check in and see how I did last week.
My Original Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge pledge:
I pledge to devote one hour a day to my original art.
If I don’t feel motivated, I pledge to write down the reasons why I wanted to take this challenge for fifteen minutes or one-to-three pages whichever comes first.
I pledge to mark down on the calendar whenever I complete a day’s efforts.
As the challenge creator, I pledge to create a weekly accountability post every Wednesday beginning on January 9th. Comments will be open. Hashtag #makeartnotwar2017 #manw2017
I pledge to check into social media twice a week for personal use, and once a month with my local community of artists and writers.
Here’s my current status:
I announced Diary of an Aspiring Alchemist, and I also (courtesy of a friend) received some adult coloring materials, too. I’ve got this down!
Couple of days were a little rough. I’ve been adjusting to the seasonal shifts, and walking outside has been helping a lot.
Instead of logging my time, I’ve been logging my words with an app. When I remember to use it, it seems like it’s a better solution to what I had been doing.
As the challenge creator, I pledge to create a weekly accountability post every Wednesday beginning on January 9th. Comments will be open. Hashtag #makeartnotwar2017 #manw2017 You’re looking at another post, right now! Hee.
I’m good re: social media. Got a kick out of all the Halloween-related updates.
On to some tips for NaNoWriMo!
10 NaNoWriMo Tips and Tricks
50,000 words in a month seems daunting, and it definitely can be. There are two parts to NaNoWriMo: a) hitting 50,000 words in a month and b) tracking that on “a” project. I realize you might use NaNoWriMo to finish multiple projects and that’s cool. That’s definitely a different set of processes than focusing on one, larger work.
To start and finish NaNoWriMo, here are some tips!
1.) Summarize your plot. Helps keep the story on track.
2.) Sketch out an outline and characters ahead of time. Focus on the sagging middle!
3.) Add a motivational saying or goal to your writing space. A sticky note on a laptop or notebook works fine, too. Like: “You got this!”
4.) Use a word tracker that recalculates your goals. The NaNoWriMo.org website has one, but you could always look for apps or spreadsheet templates, too.
5.) Do a little bit of writing in the morning if you can. That way, if your day goes to shit, you’ve at least gotten some words down.
6.) Adding something new (e.g. a writing goal), means you’ll need to let something go. Whether that’s watching less TV or not, actively make a plan to reduce something else in your life.
7.) It’s okay to not like a scene or a paragraph you’ve just written. Your goal, here, is to hit the target in a specific period of time. Mark what you want to come back to later instead of deleting or rewriting it up front.
8.) Write your story before you sell it. You don’t have to share every piece of what you’re working on, nor do you have to work on a cover letter right now. Write your story, first!
9.) Use a pen-and-paper journal to track additional ideas that come out of your sessions or writing breaks. You won’t necessarily be on the computer to be inspired.
10.) Above all: have fun and enjoy the ride! The best part about this month, is that it’s designed to help you hit your goal of 50,000 words. It’s all about the discipline of plunking them down. Do that, and you’ve already “won” NaNoWriMo. Even the best books are revised multiple times, but you can’t perfect a draft you haven’t written yet. So go! Go! Go!
I am not participating this year for various reasons, and wish everyone good luck!
Mood: Feel Like I’m on the right track.
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Can’t remember. I was withdrawing some yesterday, but fixed that.
Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Walking a few kilometers. Cold, yo.
In My Ears: Stranger Things 2 Soundtrack
Game Last Played: Pokémon Go – Halloween Event!
Book Last Read: Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Stranger Things 2
Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War Challenge eBook now available!
Latest Releases: Over the Edge for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Dagger of Spiragos for Scarred Lands.
Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming when I get time.
By Monica Valentinelli on Oct 31, 2017 09:50 am
Cover Art by Meredith Gerber
Though I write a lot, I don’t always take time for myself. My stories. The ones I have to write, but don’t know if they’ll sell or not. This year, I made a pledge: I was going to write those stories, because while I don’t know if anyone will read them I also don’t want to wait. I can’t afford to. Not now, not anymore. Not even with insane (and I do have them!) deadlines and responsibilities.
Back in July, I started a journey to tell the story of William Sand. William is a key figure in my modern fantasy novel; he’s a supporting character whose motivation is caused by preceding events. This journal is the story of how William Sand was saved, stumbled, and then fell. This background is hinted at in the novel; his story and connection to the other characters isn’t crucial to the plot, however. I felt it’d be better to separate that narrative out, rather than bog down the novel with these details.
Here’s the rub: Diary of an Aspiring Alchemist is also my first, untouched draft, written in dribs and drabs, and posted for you to read.
I know this story. It’s a tale that I don’t want to write, but it’s been driving me mad. Don’t write it, the story matters only to me, causing me no shortage of frustration. Do write it? See what happens. I also know this is a difficult and challenging story to sell or be marketable, because William Sand is not a hero. Or, at least, I don’t see him that way.
Diary of an Aspiring Alchemist is written as an epistolary, and the entries take place in real time. They were either written shortly before posting or the night before; I made one edit to fix a placeholder for a character’s name. Other than that, this is all William. Raw. Alone. Found. Then very, very lost.
I hope you enjoy Diary of an Aspiring Alchemist. It is the kernel, the seed of what’s to come in a world I’ve wandered in for some time.