The Reason I Write

I know, I know, I’ve already written about this a billion times, but I’m writing this really late at night (early in the morning?) and I was for some reason awake pondering my life, when I realized I should dedicate an entire post to this subject. Plus, I don’t have anything else to write about at the moment, so why not this?

I’ve already told you the reason I write, and that reason is God. Let me go into greater detail:

I have a story I’m writing (trying to write) right now. You can read my post about the story here. Well, it isn’t going anywhere. I am stuck. I guess you could call it writer’s block, although that’s not all it is. I’m not motivated. I don’t know how to write what I want to write. I desperately want to finish this story, and I want to finish it well, but I just don’t know how. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. Sometimes I don’t even know why I’m doing it in the first place.

Sometimes I wonder why I want so badly to finish this story. What is it about this story that I have to finish? Why was I so passionate about it when I first began? Why should I want to finish it now?

adult-1869621_640I’ve written for a lot of reasons over the years. I wrote a lot of stories for other people. I gave them as gifts, because I liked creating things and then giving them away to make other people smile. As I grew older, and I started writing more often, I discovered something that changed the way I viewed my writing. I wanted to write deeper stories, stories with more meaning. I no longer wanted to write for mere entertainment; I wanted to write about Truth. I no longer wanted people to enjoy my stories as gifts to them; I wanted their lives to be changed as they saw some deeper meaning in my fictional stories.

I started writing about the Gospel.

And that is still why I am writing today. Sometimes I get off track and start writing for a different reason. It is then when I lose my passion and sometimes my desire to write at all. And as I search for the why, for the reason behind my story, God ALWAYS brings me back to the Gospel. When I see it laid out before me like that, it could not be simpler. The Gospel is, and always will be, the reason I write. Its Truth is so compelling that I must write about it. I have to write stories about the Gospel. I can’t explain it, except that I know that God is real and that he loves me. He is Truth, and I must write about Him.

What is the reason you write? (and writing is not limited to fiction.) Also – are you going to participate in Camp NaNo this July?

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Fear (and an exciting book announcement)

I must admit, I was a little scared to post this. Fear is almost always a part of the writing process. What-ifs are a very common form of writing-related fear: “What if I fail?” “What if no one likes it?” “What if I don’t meet my deadline?”

I’ve asked myself all of these questions before. I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid I won’t ever finish this beautiful story I love. I’m afraid that when I finally do finish it, no one will like it. I’m afraid of letting myself down, but I am also afraid of letting everyone else down. I’m afraid they will compare me to so many better authors, like I compare myself to my favorite authors. I’m afraid I won’t meet my goal before my self-imposed deadline (especially during NaNoWriMo).

There are three main reasons why I am writing this post: 1) to (hopefully) give myself motivation to actually finish editing my book,  2) to attempt to push past some of my fears of rejection, and 3) because I am so very excited to finally and (in)formally announce this book. I wish I could say it is getting published, but I’m not quite there yet. I hope to publish it one day. That’s my goal, anyway. So now I’m going to tell you about it.

I’m secretly afraid no one will like it.

But here we go.

*deep breath*

The Title: Twelve

The Plot (I apologize, for I have not had much practice writing synopses): 

For years, Roland has been searching for the rest of the Artifacts. He already has one of them, ever since a strange old man gave it to him and told him to seek out the rest. But someone – Pravus is what he calls himself – is out to settle a personal grudge with Roland, and claim all the Artifacts for himself.

One night, while being pursued, Roland stumbles across a woman who has been attacked, only to discover that she shares his goals. They escape their pursuers together and then set out to locate the rest of the Artifacts.

As it turns out, there are in fact twelve Artifacts, each belonging to a separate person. Once they are together, the twelve set out on a quest that is as ancient as Time itself. All they have to guide them is one riddle, and the knowledge that Pravus will stop at nothing to find them. But every step they take seems to take them closer to Pravus. No one can be trusted, because Pravus is obviously getting his information from somewhere… and it very well could be one of them.

The Characters (I will not introduce all twelve; only my favorites):

I would share some pictures from my Pinterest boards (because each character has their own separate board), but I’m not sure how legal that is. I would have to download all the images from it that I wanted to use, and sometimes I just get really paranoid about copyright laws. Instead, I’ll give you the links to each character’s board. The things I’ve pinned will hopefully help you get an idea of the character’s personality. Please forgive any minor spoilers, but there won’t be any major ones.

Roland (main character):  Roland is… honestly, hard to describe. He’s a very complex character, as two sides of him are constantly dueling one another. He refuses to explain this to anyone else. Although he is the “leader” of the quest, he does not possess many leadership skills. Or social skills, really. Aside from these flaws, he is very adventurous. Here is a link to Roland’s Pinterest board.

Shea: Originally I had aimed to base Shea off of Sherlock Holmes. Somehow, in the writing process, this didn’t happen, and instead she is now somewhat based off of myself. She is quiet and observant, and always has something on her mind. She keeps many of her thoughts to herself, but likes to figure things out – solving riddles, translating unknown languages… you get the picture. Here is a link to Shea’s Pinterest board.

Kirk: Kirk is definitely one of my favorite characters I have ever written. He is an ESTP, which is about as opposite from me as you can get. (I’m not sure if it’s exactly opposite, but almost.) He is openly rebellious, sarcastic, and conceited. None of the other characters like him, but he serves as the comic relief for the reader. Here is a link to Kirk’s Pinterest board.

George: The last character I am going to share is George. I love him almost as much as I love Kirk. George is there to make sure everyone behaves themselves, and to ensure that logic is always being considered. He and Kirk are foils of each other. (If you don’t know what a foil is, it’s a character who possesses opposite traits of another character, in order to highlight the other character’s traits.) George is calm and diplomatic, and serves as a secondary leader next to Roland. Here is a link to George’s Pinterest board.

And finally, some excerpts:

(I made fancy graphics for these!)

“Fine,” he said, much more softly this time. “I suppose if your little secret is more important to yo

How about a memorable quote? I’ve always thought of this one as the “inspiring Gandalf quote” of my book. It doesn’t sound nearly as awesome out of the context of the story, though, so just keep that in mind.

Courage,

And here is the last excerpt I will share today:

another exerpt

 

Confession: I actually edited this one a bit before I posted it. And please excuse that run-on sentence at the end.

That’s it for today, folks! I hope you enjoyed everything I shared. Please note that anything I said is subject to change, because I am still in the revision process.

Are you working on a book or a story you would like to share? What do you do to combat writing-related fears?

The Aftermath of NaNoWriMo

Okay, so like… weird title for the beginning of May? Actually not really. If you’re familiar at all with NaNoWriMo, you probably at least know about the one in April too. As if writers aren’t already weird enough to try to write a novel in a month once a year. No, we have to do it several times. Camp NaNo is a lot more laid back and a lot less intense – which probably explains why I failed this one. *sigh*

Oh well. Nevertheless, I wrote about 10,000 words last month, so I am happy about it. I also need to start blogging more often… I’m almost done with school, so hopefully by then I’ll be able to.

Anyway, I decided it was time to write a blog post again. I know, I know, I promised another Monthly Theme, but that would have taken a lot more brainpower, which is something I don’t have right now. (Chemistry tests really use a lot of brainpower, what with the transfer of energy to your brain cells, you know, and literally figuring out how energy is transferred in chemical reactions which takes a lot of brain cells which use a lot of energy and somehow this process is consistent with the second law of thermodynamics.)

desk-2158142_640

I wish this is what editing was like.

ANYWAY – I decided to write a post about NaNoWriMo and editing. That’s the only writing-related thing I’ve been able to think about lately. My goal last month was to finish my second draft. As it turned out, that was a MUCH bigger task than I originally thought. There was just so much that needed to be done to the manuscript, not to mention I somehow needed to add to the word count because it was too short (in my opinion, anyway). So I did a lot of worldbuilding and plot brainstorming. I’ve also gotten back into the habit of writing every day. That part is especially nice. I’ve missed it so much.

I feel like I should give you some sort of advice about editing here, but unfortunately, I don’t really know much about it. I’ve read a lot of articles that talk about it, so if there is one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this: don’t try to follow all the rules. It will only make it harder. Editing seems to be all about rules: grammar rules, puncuation rules, plot rules, dialogue rules, character rules, worldbuilding rules… and while some rules are good (like grammar), there are others that can be broken.

When you write your first draft, what are you doing? If you’re anything like me, you’re just trying to get the words down. Get the story out of your head and onto paper. (I wasn’t always like this, actually. I used to be a perfectionist and so my first drafts used to take FOREVER.) First drafts aren’t mean to be publishable. So, as a result, you usually end up ignoring most, if not all, of the rules.

I know I did. I have this weird quirk (and apparently it’s fairly common) where I have to write the first scene first. It sounds obvious, but I can’t write any other way. The first thing I EVER write has to be the first scene. Always. No exceptions. Anyway, because of that, my characters are all inconsistent. In the first few chapters, they are different than they are in the rest of the book, because I was still getting to know them.

My plot barely existed at all after the first draft. It too was full of logical inconsistencies (for example, one of my characters had lost something, but in the very next scene they had it again). The plot didn’t flow. My fantasy world also needed some work.

All of this serves two purposes: 1) I like writing about the writing process, and 2) I wanted to show you that first drafts almost never follow the rules.

My point is this: Editing is when you go back over your story and pay attention to the rules. I don’t know why, and I don’t know if this is a common problem or not, so hopefully you can relate to me, but for some reason writing rules always… unmotivate me. That’s not even a word. It’s like it blocks my creativity, somehow. I believe I figured out why – it’s because I am now writing for someone else. I am trying to make my book publishable, and so naturally I am no longer writing solely for my own enjoyment.

The moral: Don’t try to follow all the rules. Rules are good and they serve as guidelines (as long as we talk about writing rules), but if you try to follow all of them, you will get nowhere. I’ve read different articles about editing that completely contradicted each other.

beethoven-76652_640Writing subsequent drafts should be just as exciting as writing the first draft. You shouldn’t be writing just to please someone else and their rules they made up; you should be writing because your story is begging to be written.

I like to think of writing as this picture right here. It’s a music manuscript, but it isn’t complete yet. The composer has his primary notes down; he’s said what he has to say; the rest is just filling in the middle. Complementing the notes he’s already set forth. Writing a book is exactly like writing a symphony.

Did you do Camp NaNoWriMo this April?  Are you currently editing something?

 

Yep, I’m Talking about the Gospel Again

You always hear about writers who are writing. They may tell you how they write their stories, they may tell you about both the good days (“I wrote six thousand words today, wrapped up three of the subplots, finished fleshing out the villain’s backstory, and developed an outline for the sequel”), and also the bad days (“I sat staring at my computer, wrote three words, deleted them, sat staring at my computer some more, and then gave up writing for the day”). But something that is rarer to hear about is the in-between days – the days where you don’t have a work in progress, you’re not currently editing anything, nor are you in the planning stage of anything.

Right now, I am in that phase. I’m ready to get back into writing, but I haven’t yet. I’m trying  to plan out a sequel to a story that I finished almost two months ago, I’m a bit scared because I have never successfully written a sequel, and I am hoping to be able to go back and edit the story I finished. But right now, I am literally just sitting here wearing my Crimson Cloak of Mystery and forcing myself to write this, because I HAVE to write something. And yes, I really am wearing a costume. I collect cosplays for my own characters. And I wear them when no one else is around.

Before I run away with my random thoughts, I have discovered something important. Many people call it their “niche”. Anyway, I have generally blogged about two things: writing, and the Gospel, which is what I set out to do in the beginning. But some of my posts have been more on the writing side of things and tend to focus more on the crafting of words rather than exploring the truth of the Gospel. There is nothing wrong with that, but I have found that I must ALWAYS talk about the Gospel. It is my niche, but it is so much more than that. There is simply no way I cannot talk about the Gospel.

The Gospel is what makes me come alive. Both literally and metaphorically. (I talked about how your passions make you come alive inside in my last post.) The word Gospel literally means “Good News,” and the Good News it shares is that Jesus came to die for us. To save us from eternal death. And then he was resurrected. If you believe this, you have died with Christ and been raised with him, and now you are ALIVE.

One time, my dad shared a verse with me. It’s from Jeremiah 20:9, and it says, “If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” (ESV) I feel exactly the same way as Jeremiah did. I have to share the Gospel. There is no way I can just keep quiet about it. Because, by the grace of God, I have been saved. Therefore, I MUST tell everyone else about it. And when I’m able to connect ideas about stories to ideas about the Gospel, I just find it beautiful because all of my passions are coming together!

Before I go, I have a question to ask you: Do you have anything you’d like for me to blog about? Usually I am able to come up with ideas, but at the moment, I’m working on a blog post series for the future, so all of my ideas are going towards that. If you want to suggest something, you can either leave a comment, or visit my contact page. Or if you know me personally, you can just tell me, of course. I’d love to hear from you!

Write Your Heart Out

I consider writing as a form of therapy. It’s calming, it’s a way to temporarily escape from the real world, and it makes my heart come alive. Writing is my passion; therefore, I come alive inside whenever I’m doing it.

Sometimes I’ll write the “old-fashioned” way: with a pen and a notebook. The rhythm and the physical motion of writing by hand is somehow relaxing.

The familiar rhythm.

The familiar dark blue ink on the crisp white background.

The familiar sense of calm that comes over me as the tip of the pen scratches across the surface of the paper.

The familiar forms of the letters taking shape as the thoughts in my head are magically transferred onto the page.

The familiar feeling of being transported to a familiar place where adventure is waiting around every corner to take me to the unfamiliar.

The familiar realization that the cheap piece of plastic in my hand is in fact a weapon – a paintbrush which paints worlds which no one has ever seen before except for me –  or perhaps it is a weapon which brings life rather than death – or it is a magic wand which keeps the power to either create or destroy literally right at my fingertips.

In fact, I actually wrote all the above random, somewhat-poetic-sounding things with my favorite pen. Sometimes I just like writing with pens, you know… all writers have their quirks, and having a slight, odd obsession with pens is one of mine. So I picked up this brand new pen. It was my favorite kind, which is just a plain old blue ballpoint pen – I will rarely write with anything else – and I started writing with it. I wrote about what happens to me when I write. Unfortunately, I wrote on the first piece of paper within sight, which happened to be a piece of scrap paper. I think I may have accidentally thrown it away a few days ago, but luckily I had read over it several times and so I remember the general ideas I had written down. There are probably a bunch that I’m not recalling, though.

Besides the act of writing itself being calming, I find that the mental transition is also very calming. As I write, I am transporting myself to another world – a world where I am in complete control when I feel I have no control over my own life. A world where, for a little while at least, I have no problems to worry about except those of my characters. Writing is my escape sometimes.

But it is so much more than that. When I write, I take myself to a world completely of my own making. A world which no human eye has ever, ever seen before. A world in a completely different universe where people still believe in magic, or where time and space themselves behave differently, or where the lives of imaginary characters play out in one massive plot. It is all imaginary, and yet to the writer is is all very, very real.

Most writers, myself included, are introverts. Writing is a way to share myself with the world. I usually don’t share my thoughts with very many people, so writing is a way to do that. I can write my heart out. It’s very freeing sometimes to be able to do that. And this blog I started not that long ago is a way for me to write my heart out. Fictional stories only go so far. Before long, you start to want to share more of your life with the world. This is a way to let me share my passions and my deeper thoughts with the world.

And still, writing, to me, is so much more. Writing is what makes my heart come alive. Writing is my passion. I have many passions, like learning about quantum physics (yes, I know I’m crazy), and anything to do with Great Britain in general. But writing tops them all. My passion for God and the Gospel also tops them all.

When I was fourteen, I wrote a story which was different than any other story I had ever written before. This story had depth; this story had meaning. This story changed me. I realized that writing was what I wanted to do with my life, at least for the next several years. I realized that writing was what made my heart come alive.

And the best part is that, through writing, I can share my faith. If the story doesn’t have a meaning, it is, well, meaningless. If it lacks the truth of the Gospel, it somehow doesn’t mean as much. Like I’ve said before, readers like to see the truths that are written on their hearts. Redemption. If redemption is written on their hearts, then wouldn’t it make sense that writing your heart out involves some great, dramatic story about the very truths that have been in place since before the beginning of time? If the Gospel is written on our hearts, then doesn’t it makes sense that writing your heart out involves writing a story about the Gospel?

So go on. Write your heart out. I’m challenging you.

The Learning Experience

The thing about writing is, you always end up changed somehow. After every story, you take a step back and say, “Wow. I learned something.” Because writing is an experience in which you practically live in your mind and pour your heart out onto paper. This process makes you grow as a person and writer; it makes you learn things you never knew before, and it makes you discover things about yourself. Even if it’s as simple as, “Wow, I really hate this premise,” you’ve learned something: you should never try to write a story with that premise again.

Okay just kidding. If, in the future, you go back to that story you thought was horrible and you find you like it, by all means, you’re welcome to rewrite it or whatever. More power to you, because that’s something I’ve never been able to do.

My point is, no matter how good the story turns out, you always learn something. I have found that for every story I write, I always learn something about myself, and I always learn something about God.

My most recent story was about these twelve characters who represent the twelve disciples. They go on a quest to achieve who-knows-what (I hardly even know yet. Maybe I should figure that out.) I think, now that I’ve taken a step back from it, that I can say that what I learned about myself was that I am capable of breaking past the boundaries I set for myself. I wrote this particular story during November for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Going into it I thought that it was downright impossible to write an entire novel in just one month. I thought that there was no way I could stay on top of my daily and weekly word count goals. I had never even attempted it before, and at the time I thought it was extremely ambitious. Impossible. I would never succeed. Furthermore, how was I supposed to write anything when I barely even knew what would happen in the story?

It turned out that all those boundaries I had set up for myself at some point were all false. Last month I learned that I could do what I thought was impossible, and that that statement applied to all areas of writing. I learned that I shouldn’t assume I couldn’t do something until I attempted it.

Now I could go on and on about what I learned about God. And yet, it is harder to put into words. Every time I write a story, it’s like I rediscover the Gospel for the first time. Sometimes I find a new aspect of it that I had never realized before. For example, one of my stories (I wrote this one about a year or two ago) focused on the theme of slavery: we are slaves to sin until we accept what Christ did for us. Then he frees us from our bondage and makes us slaves to Himself. While writing that story, I really explored this theme and was led to specific passages of the Bible that talked about it. Romans 6 is one of my favorites. But no matter what specific theme my story is exploring, I always end up seeing the Gospel in a new light.

Sometimes, this seeing of the Gospel also leads to moments of self-discovery: “There are people in this world who are still in sin’s bondage. Therefore, I MUST find them and show them the truth.” That one story in particular changed my views on everything. It changed my view of the world, it changed my view of God, and it even changed my view of myself. (Coincidentally, it was because of that one story that I realized I wanted to be a writer.)

So, writers are always learning things. I personally love the process of writing and discovery. I always look forward to writing new stories because of all the things I know I’ll be learning. I think the coolest part, though, is everything God teaches me about Himself. I always love seeing the Gospel as if it was my very first time. The Gospel is just one of those stories that never gets old – like those timeless stories I mentioned in my last post. Except the Gospel is the Timeless Story, because it gets woven into many, many countless other stories.

So, if you write, what do you learn from it? How have you grown over the years because of it? I’d love to hear from you!

My Crazy Writing Life

Hello. My name is Talia Prewette, and this is my writing blog. That means: One, I’m a crazy author. (All you fellow crazy authors out there will understand, and the rest of you will just be like, “Huh?”) And two, this blog will mostly be about writing, not just everyday life.

So yeah, there you go. I’m a crazy author who writes crazy stories about crazy characters who live in crazy fantasy worlds and go on crazy time traveling adventures. Okay, I guess they could be described as something other than crazy… but for now that works. Occasionally I may post a short story or two and you can decide for yourself.

All writers, regardless of whether or not they are crazy, have a reason they write. Maybe they’re taking a writing class for school. Maybe they’re very interested in a certain subject – like high tea traditions of Great Britain, or the string theory – and so they write about them. For many writers, the reason they write is because they are driven to. They are driven by a deep passion inside of them to put words onto paper to create something beautiful.

This is why I write. God has given me a passion for it. A passion to put the words in my head onto paper and create something beautiful out of it. A passion to create stories. But God has given me another passion that runs even deeper than my passion to write. This passion, this desire, is burning inside of me like a fire. I am called to spread the Gospel.

At the end of Matthew 28, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (ESV) This is the Great Commission. (If you’ve never read the story, check it out. God is the ultimate Author, after all, and He has written – and is still writing – the greatest story of all time.)

So, because of this calling God has placed on my life, I write. All of my stories – whether they are just short stories or full novels – point to God. They are pictures of the Gospel. Take The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It is an allegory. It gives us a picture of the Gospel. It shows us how God gave us salvation. So do my stories. I am called to spread the truth of the Gospel, and I do it through writing.

My purpose of this blog is to let people know about me and why I write. I’ll blog about the writing life and about God; maybe occasionally I’ll give my two cents of writing advice; I may share what God shows me through the things I write; and maybe, sometime in the future I’ll even post a few short stories. Or chapters of a novel. I hope to be able to post every few days, but I can’t say for sure whether that’s even possible yet.

Thanks so much for checking out my writing blog! All you writers out there: why do you write? What kinds of things do you write? I’d love to hear from you!