My Noveling Process [in gifs]

Noveling is a process. It’s arduous. The Arduous Process looks different for everyone, but I just want to share a snapshot of what noveling is like for me, personally.

Obviously, there will be gifs.

Here it is from start to finish (because there comes a point where a novel is finished, right? RIGHT????).

My Noveling Process.jpg

The Spark of Creation (aka: when an new story idea strikes).

The moment of inspiration is different for every novel, but the moment it takes root, there’s no going back.

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This is the part where I cheat on the novel I was working on by thinking about and creating playlists and Pinterest boards for my new idea. It’s all fun and games in the beginning, when it’s forbidden.

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^^^ me having fun with all the new characters and plot bunnies and worldbuilding nerdiness ^^^

Everything is shiny and new and exciting about this idea, and I’m usually pretty jacked and acting kind of weird around the house.

casey 1

It’s very much like the beginning of The Lion King, when everything is bright and hopeful and beautiful.

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I am Rafiki; Simba is the new idea

Drafting Begins (aka: I write the rough draft of the novel).

It’s time to get started! All the Pinteresting and playlist-making and movie-trailer-dreaming has come to this, and it’s time to start actually writing the novel. I couldn’t be happier!

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Two chapters into the novel:

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But I’m not stressed because I’m a discovery writer, which means I don’t plot out a novel before I write it; I just start with some inspiration and make most of it up as I go along (because what can possibly go wrong with that?).

This leads us to the next phase: intermittent snacking.

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The time eventually comes to kill off the first character. I usually meet this challenge with a healthy mixture of maniacal zest and sincere sorrow.

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I also tend to get stuck in research ruts, which is where I spend five and a half hours researching one minute detail (which I’ll probably end up throwing out further down the line in the editing process).

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^^^ me after getting stuck in a  research rut ^^^

By this point, we’re where everything is falling apart for the characters, and my main character has reached their lowest point (this is often called “the dark night of the soul”). All their hopes and dreams (and maybe even some of their loved ones) have gone up in smoke. It’s a very traumatic time. For the main character. Less so for me.

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^^^ me watching my characters hopes and dreams (and maybe even some loved ones) go up in smoke ^^^

Inevitably, I slow to a halt and spend a while existential crisis-ing.

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Shortly after this, I complete the first draft, which is hands down one of the most amazing feelings of this whole process.

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Editing Begins (aka: I try to fix up the story to make it presentable to others, and it promptly falls apart).

Editing usually begins well. I typically take a few month break (sometimes even more) between my first draft and my second draft and am thus very refreshed and ready to dig into my novel once more.

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I read the first draft, which often feels like I’m discovering the novel for the first time all over again. Except this time without all the frills and euphoric visions. No, this time, I read it with all the cynicism my dual personality can muster.

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^^^ actual footage of me reading dialogue from my first drafts ^^^

And then I begin to notice that there are some, well, some rather large problems that my witty back and forth banter with myself won’t fix.

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Then, I lose all comprehension of all words, story craft, plot structure, character building, etc..

Enter from stage right: the Google search.

Typical Editing Phase 1 Google searches look like:

  • how to tell if your novel has a plot
  • yikesyikesyikesyikes
  • how to plot a novel
  • why does my main character need to have a goal?
  • how to write a plot twist
  • wHaT IS A pLOt?
  • is my novel trash?
  • save me

does anybody know how to study.gif

People generally think it’s pretty cool that I write novels, and this is the part (when I can’t recall the difference between an inciting incident and a plot twist) where they ask about it. I can’t help myself but respond thusly:

awkward smile

Editing Continues (aka: something has gone terribly wrong with the story and I’m still editing it a year and a half later).

It’s usually at this juncture that I find some irreparable plot hole and can’t cope.

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me, not being able to cope with the gaping hole in my plot

Eventually, I do learn to cope…

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because if you can’t fix it, you might as well burn it

As I said, some people are kind enough to check in with me every once in a while. They’ll ask me again about my novel, to which I reply like Edna Mode:

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which is really code for “I’m dying*

Despair and confusion continues.

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And continues…

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After I’ve spent three years of my life editing a novel….

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After I’ve reworked that first chapter approximately 4543 times:

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Again, with the thoughtful, invested people asking me how the novel is coming:

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I am Mike, the inquisitor is Sully, the novel is Boo.

But then I start to get a second (or maybe this is the third? Or fourth? Or fifth?) wind, and things start to turn around. Something clicks in my brain; I get some sort of breakthrough. I see how to take this novel to the next level and end this hell editing.

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we all knew this gif was coming

I respond in the only way I can.

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In general, there is Renewed Vigor, and I’m ready to kick this novel in the butt.

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^^^ me and my Renewed Vigor ^^^

Me to my Renewed Vigor:

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And then, some time later, I finish the novel.

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And there it is, friends.

My noveling process from start to finish. Now, please excuse me while I get back to editing my novel.

What does your process look like?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – this was going to be a serious post, but that clearly didn’t happen, lol. Someone *cough cough* let themselves loose on a gif-hunt, and now here we are.

p.p.s. – I think I may have used a record number of gifs in this post. I was also a bit loopy while putting together this post because I’ve been staying up late working on my novel and am thus a little sleep-deprived.

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Christian, Your Bible Is Your Life

I’ve written so many versions of this post over that last few months trying to get it right. At this point I don’t care if it’s “right” because I just know it’s true.

Also, I may have already posted something similar to this on Penprints a while ago. But here we are again because this is something that’s worth repeating every single day for the rest of your life:

Christian, the Bible is your life.

Christian, the Bible Is Your Life.jpg

I’ll say it again.

Christian, the Bible is your life.

From the instant you wake up to the moment you fall asleep—and even the moments in between—you are prey to attack from the enemy: temptations, lies, discouragements, and distractions, whether you realize it or not. And most Christians don’t realize it anymore.

Most Christians don’t realize that just because Satan can’t rip Jesus’ elect out of the Father’s hand doesn’t mean that Satan the accuser isn’t trying to destroy Christians any way that he can. He’s prowling around like a lion just looking for someone to devour.

Satan and his demons are master deceivers. They’ll trick you into locking yourself into a cage built on lies—lies about yourself and God. They’ll say things like: Yes, there is grace, but you still need to earn God’s love.

God’s disappointed in you. He doesn’t approve of you.

God gives rewards, not gifts.

How embarrassing that you’re so weak.

It’s okay if you don’t tell anybody about that sin you commit in secret; you can fight it on your own.

Someone else would be better equipped for this task than you.

God’s silence means he’s angry with you.

They’ll lull you to sleep, wooing you into complacency until you die in your foolishness. You already understand forgiveness. Why study it anymore?

You’ve already heard so many sermons on Galatians. Why listen anymore?

You’ve already arrived, you already have so much wisdom, so shhhh, this teaching doesn’t have anything for you.

They’ll accuse you, taking you down again and again and again until you simply stay down, pierced through with flaming reproaches that burn you from the inside out. Remember this sin? The one that always comes to mind when you hear the word “sin.” That disqualifies you.

If you really loved Jesus, you wouldn’t feel this way.

You’re such a fool.

You should be doing more.

Christians shouldn’t be depressed.

And most of the time, they do all this without your notice and certainly without your consent. They’re constantly working in the background, leveraging difficult emotions and painful, unseen hurts and lies that you already believe to sow more lies, despair, distraction, foolishness, and death.

So often, these thoughts that slip through our heads or these feelings of shame or accusation that wash over us that we a) don’t take any real notice to, b) pass off as our own thoughts, negativity, and low self-esteem, or worst of all c) even mistake as a the Holy Spirit’s right conviction are actually a type of attack.

So subtle we don’t even notice, but we still feel the effects—the weariness, the despair, the shame, the heaviness, the guilt.

And if we do notice, we think it’s the Holy Spirit telling us to get our act together or something like that. But that’s not how the Holy Spirit relates to Christians. That’s not how God speaks to his redeemed children hidden in Christ. The New Testament is filled with truth like: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” So why would God’s voice sound condemning or accusing? It wouldn’t. It doesn’t.

Yes, the Holy Spirit convicts, but he doesn’t do so on a basis of guilt or shame. The Holy Spirit convicts with the gentleness and kindness that leads us to repentance, not mere regret.

So how can we know what God’s voice sounds like?

His Bible.

Christian, the Bible is your life.

More than anything else in this world, the Bible is your life.

It is God’s chosen self-revelation to his people, his spoken words written down and sovereignly, miraculously preserved for thousands of years.

It is solid, absolute truth that can be wielded as a weapon and fled to as a refuge.

The heavens and the earth will pass away, but God’s Word, his Bible, will stand forever.

Yes, it is difficult and confusing and ancient and prone to make people uncomfortable, but all those difficulties lie with us, not with the Bible.

Ours are the small, finite, fallen minds that are so easily distracted and thrown into confusion.

Ours are the hearts so overtaken by pride that we judge and question what God did and chose to pass to us as if we have any right to speak back to the only Holy One of Israel.

Christian, the Bible is your life.

It is what shows you who God is—mighty and merciful, holy and kind, just and gracious, zealous and tender. It is what tells you what’s true. It is what trains your heart to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit from the lies and accusations of the enemy. It is what fills your soul. It is what teaches you wisdom. It is what unfurls the life, death, resurrection, and glory of Jesus for all to see.

There is no self-help book, no act of self-care, no mental health routine, no pep talk, no vain positivity, no drug, no drink, no fantasy, no TV show, no novel, nothing that can give you life or see you to the end of this life in joy. Any “solution” apart from the Bible is a lie.

Christian, my beloved, your Bible is your life.

It is not optional. It is not for when you happen to have the time. It is not for when you’re feeling like reading the Bible. It’s not for feel-good, flowery Instagram posts. It’s not for a reading plan you start in Genesis and stop somewhere in Leviticus. It’s not for ignoring.

It is life, truth, and wisdom. It is for life, for enduring, for rejoicing, for remembering, for meditating on, for preaching to the ends of the earth, for repentance, for fighting the good fight, for finishing the race.

Every day of our lives we’re at war, whether we know it or not. We’re going to end up harassed and beaten down by all manner of temptations and deceptions, limping through life instead of walking in the victory and freedom of Jesus if we don’t know the Bible.

Christian, the Bible is your life. Do you know that? Do you?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – This theme has kept coming up a lot for me since I moved to Texas in January, and it finally came out in words that make sense (mostly). Also, I didn’t link to any of the verses these truths were pulled from because those links never get used, so if you want me to include links to verses and passages in the future, let me know in the comments!

p.p.s. – thanks for hanging in with me while my posting schedule has been all over the place these last six months. You guys are the best. <3

p.p.p.s. – I’m 80% sure there’s a typo or two that eluded me. My apologies. I would blame it on my blogging rustiness, but we all know I’ve always had typos.

p.p.p.p.s. – Also, I couldn’t write this post without including this gif.

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p.p.p.p.p.s. – here’s a link to a post from last year about when you don’t understand the Bible if Bible reading feels especially hard for you.

Announcing a New Writing Contest: Symphony of Words

“A Penprints post on a Saturday after a month of radio silence. Something must by up,” you think to yourself.

You would be right.

I’m here to announce a new writing contest: Symphony of Words.

And guess what. Sign-ups open TODAY.

Symphony of Words.jpg

What’s this?

Symphony of Words is a musically-inspired contest put on by Anika Walkes, Charis Rae, and yours truly. It’s the brain-child of Anika Walkes and Charis Rae, and I was privileged to be brought onto their team.

Each entrant will receive a song as a writing prompt from one of the three contest hostesses and will then have 30 days to write and submit a story.

We’ll be judging the stories on a scale of 1-10 and totaling up all your ratings for a final score (i.e. – each judge will give an individual score, and then we add our scores together. e.g. – if I give your story an 8, Anika gives it a 9, and Charis gives it a 8, your final score will be 25; 30 is the highest possible score).

Prizes, prizes, prizes.

Yeah, you have a chance to win stuff.

First place wins a free graphic design from Anika, an edit on your story from all three judges (judges will single out your strengths, areas to improve, etc.), and the winner’s choice of a coffee mug from C.G. Drews’s legendary PaperFury Society6 shop.

Second place wins an edit on your story from all three judges (judges will single out your strengths, areas to improve, etc.).

Third place wins a free graphic design from Anika.

(A graphic design from Anika will look like either a) a cover for your story, or b) a blog header + signature.)

Dates to keep in mind:

  • July 22, 2019: sign-ups close
  • July 24, 2019: entrants receive their songs
  • August 24, 2019: stories due back; judging begins
  • September 24, 2019: judging ends; winners are decided
  • September 30, 2019: winners announced

How To Enter:

Whether you’re in a writing slump, wanting to try your hand at short stories for the first time, finishing up a mammoth Camp NaNoWriMo project, or just drooling over PaperFury’s writerly mugs, this contest is for you.

(If you’re unable to view the Google form embedded in this post, follow this link to sign-up.)

The Rules:

  1. Stories must be 2,000 words or less.
  2. Minor swearing is allowed.
  3. Romance is definitely allowed, but explicit sexual content is a hard no.
  4. Violence and gore shouldn’t get gratuitous or very disturbing (I say “very disturbing” because violence is always disturbing).

Basically, keep things PG-13 and below. As the hostesses and judges of this contest, Anika, Charis, and I reserve the right to automatically disqualify any story at any time at our discretion based on these rules.

Meet the Judges:

us

Find Charis on her blog or Instagram.

Find Anika on her blog or Instagram.

That’s it!

Sign up today, get your prompt on July 24th, and craft a spell-binding story. It’s as simple as that.

Anika, Charis, and I can’t wait to read your stories!

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – I’m going to try to ease back into my regular posting schedule in the next week or so. I’ve had a lot on my mind, and I’m still sorting through what this blog is going to continue to look like. Thanks for hanging in there with me, kids.

The 2019 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash Wrap-up

Today is the wrap-up for the 2019 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash!

We had 39 sign-ups this year, but sadly 17 of our writers were unable to complete the challenge due to lots of crazy life stuff (heck, I wasn’t even technically participating in the challenge and had a hard time tending to it this year).

But we still have over twenty stories in eight different genres (I’m using that term loosely, haha), and they’re all gathered here for your reading pleasure!

Disclaimer: I own none of the prompts.

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[Contemporary]

[prompt: Younger Now by Miley Cyrus]

Gray by Abigayle Claire.

These Moments... by Micaiah Saldaña.

Symphony of Change by Andi L. Gregory.


 

[Urban Fantasy/Magical Realism]

urban fantasy

Monster Mayhem by Anika Walkes (pg-13 content warning).

War by Just B. Jordan.


 

[Fairytale/Folklore]

fairytale

Home Before Dark by Spruce Holly Nogard.

Lisanthus by Emily Jayne.

Moonlit Dances by M.A. Starr.


 

[Sword and Sorcery]

sword and sorcery

The Chosen One by Julian Daventry.

The Burden of Remembrance by Sarah Rodecker.

Ferra by Alina Kanaski.

Remember by R. M. Archer.


 

[Dystopian]

dystopian prompt

Level 1 by Lila Kims (it’s really a light sci-fi story, but shhhhh).

Lupe by Nicholas Jayne (pg-13 content warning).


[Cyberpunk]

[prompt: Arrow by half-alive]

The Hardest Place by Carrie-Anne Thomas.

Between Remembered and Forgotten by T. J. Priest.

The Chainless by J. M. Jablowski.


[Superhero]

superhero prompt

The Inferno by Nicole Dust.

Pirouette by C.O. Bonham.


[Romance]

[prompt: Be Here Long by NEEDTOBREATHE]

Her Hair Is Red by Laura Frances.

Jesus Has a Plan by Farmgirl Fibers and Arts.


And that’s a wrap!

Dashers, keep an eye on your inbox for a debrief email!

Which story was your favorite? Which prompt was your favorite? Should we have another flash fic dash next year?

With love,

Rosalie

The 2019 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for the annual Penprints Flash Fiction Dash.

pffd open registration

What is the #flashficdash?

Definitions of flash fiction can vary, but for the purposes of this challenge, a piece of flash fiction is a short story 1000 words or less. Writing a complete story–something with a beginning, a middle, and an end–with so few words can be difficult, but it is always rewarding.

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash is a challenge, not a contest.

Every year it’s about the same thing: getting people writing, not picking which story is best. There will be no ranking who’s stories were better than whose, or anything like that.

My hope is that this will challenge you to venture out into a new story, have fun with writing, and exercise the art of telling a story in a very small wordcount.

How it works:

You fill out the registration form, I send you a prompt, you write a flash fiction based on that prompt, you post your story on your blog (optional), send your story to me by June 7, 2019, and I’ll include your story in the giant wrap-up post on June 11, 2019.

How 2019’s Dash Is Different:

In the past, I selected an individual prompt for every single writer who signed up based on the genre info they gave in their registration form.

T’will not be so in 2019.

There are 10 different categories:

  • Contemporary
  • Urban fantasy/magical realism
  • Thriller/suspense
  • Fairytale/folklore/light fantasy
  • Dystopian
  • Gothic
  • Cyberpunk
  • Sword and sorcery/medieval fantasy
  • Superhero
  • Romance

These categories are by no means meant to cover every genre of fiction; I’ve selected the ten most popular categories out of past flash fiction dashes.

When you register, you select one category. Each category will be given one prompt. So if seven different writers select “Dystopian” as their preferred category, those seven will receive the same prompt.

Why we’re going to try it this way: 

  1. Past dashers have asked for model like this.
  2. Each person’s creativity and imagination is different, and I’m super jazzed to see what different personalities and minds do with the same prompt.
  3. I don’t have time to hunt down 40 or more individualized prompts.

Also, this year there are three different types of prompts that will go out: picture, song, or opening line.

However, it’s a secret which categories will get which type of prompt. *dun dun dunnnnn* So you won’t really know which kind of prompt you’re working off of until your prompt arrives in your inbox.

We’ll see if this adds an element of mystery, fun, and thrill or if it’s just annoying.

Why you should totally be interested:

pffd 19 promo.jpgI’ve taken the liberty of compiling a Very Convincing And Not At All Copy And Pasted From Last Year’s list of reasons why you need to sign up right away.

  • I say so (as always, this is the most compelling reason on the list).
  • If you’re in a writing slump, this is a great way to get your creativity rolling again.
  • Writing a story in a 1000 words or less will grow you as a writer (even if you’ve written hundreds of flash fictions).
  • You and your writing can get a little more exposure.
  • I want to read your stories!
  • It’s. so. much. fun!

General guidelines:

  • Your story must be 1000 words or less.
  • Stories with excessive violence, sexual content, or profanity will not be included in the wrap-up post.
  • In order for your story to be included in the wrap-up post, it must be sent back to me by 11:59 pm on June 7, 2019.
  • You must have unfettered fun.

When you post your story on your blog:

Include your prompt, mention that you’re taking part of the Penprints Flash Fiction Dash, and share your story. And then send me the link to it by June 7!

If you don’t have a blog:

Please participate! You don’t have to have a blog in order to participate. You can still sign up, get a prompt, write a story, send it back to me, and be featured in the wrap-up post.

If you don’t have a blog or won’t be posting your story on your blog, send your story to me as a Word or Google Doc (please do not paste your story in the body of the email), and I will convert it into a clickable PDF to share in the wrap-up post.

Dates to know:

registration opens 1May 7, 2019 – registration opens.

May 21, 2019 – registration closes.

May 22, 2019 – prompts go out.

June 7, 2019 – stories due back to me if you want them included in the wrap-up post.

June 11, 2019 – the 2019 wrap-up post will go live with all the participating stories.

Links to have:

The Instagram account.

The 2017 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash Wrap-up.

The 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash Wrap-up.

– > The 2019 registration form. < – 

Just B. Jordan on Writing Flash Fiction.

In Defense of Short Fiction.

13 Tips for Writing Flash Fiction.

That’s it!

I’m so excited to see what happens with the little changes this year, and I can’t wait to read the stories you guys come up with!

Be sure the share this post with anyone you think would like to participate! And let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – hashtags to use are: #flashficdash and #flashficdash19