Story Dice For The Uninspired

Listen, nothing is worse for a writer than not knowing what to write.  Am I right?  So, in an uninspired moment, a fellow writer suggested I roll the multicolored, multi-themed story dice for inspiration.  Here are some of the plot lines I came up with.  Feel free to use any and all that inspire you.

 

A viking, on a quest through the mountains, came across an all seeing witch.  She bade him to push his way through the rocky hills, crossing rivers and lands of poisonous fruits, to find what mysterious object had fallen from the sky.

Two dramatic young men were fools in the King’s palace.  They played music and performed stunts.  One day, however, a stunt went awry, leading to the accidental discovery of a new scientific breakthrough.

In a temple far away from the grassland village existed an amulet said to control the directions of the Earth’s rotation.  Mathematicians, scientists, and fact-finders sought the device in order to control the Earth.  It would take a simple pair of buddies seeking a different treasure entirely to stumble upon it, freeing it from hiding.

A pizza delivery boy knocked at the door of the apartment that had ordered a large pepperoni with extra cheese.  There was no answer.  Upon opening the door and setting the food on the counter, he knocked over a vial, which immediately sent him into a deep sleep.  When he woke a man explained to him that his shadow was now a living entity, able to be controlled by the boy, and that he and his new super shadow were needed to save the world from poison, fire, and banana pepper pizzas.

 

Good luck!

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32,500

32,500, that is the number of words I put to paper, or computer, in January 2017!  I didn’t count e-mails, work, or notes to self about which groceries to buy, but only solid writing for any one of my numerous works in progress.  Not bad, huh?

Dedication is huge.  Writing is not just a job, it isn’t only a hobby either.  It needs to be a passion if there is going to be something big coming out of it, otherwise the product could turn out to be lesser.  My WIP may not be in best seller condition, but the goal is to get it out and worry about the perfection later.

I am having fun.  Someday I hope to share this work so readers can have fun with it too.

32,500 in January, with snow, a baby, a job, a household…not bad at all, not bad.

Keep writing,

Heather

No More Excuses

The time to write is NOW!  Really, it was yesterday, but I made too many excuses.  Here are some simple solutions to the everlasting problem of finding time to write when you are a busy person.

 

Work

I work three, sometimes four, days a week.  They are long shifts, usually really early in the morning, and they can be particularly draining both physically and mentally.  What better reason is there to write?  Pull yourself away from the stress of complicated returns and credit promotions and write on your lunch break!  If I spent just 15 minutes of the hour lunch I get writing then I could produce a solid 500-1,000 words.  Not bad at all!

 

Kids

I will be the first to admit that I used my pregnancy and newborn child as a huge excuse to not write these past two years.  While, obviously, it was extremely tiring being pregnant and then being a new mother, I could have made more strides toward my writing too.  If you are not going to nap when the baby naps, and chores are caught up, write for a bit!  If I took just one half hour of my 9 month old’s nap and dedicated it to writing then I could potentially accomplish around 2,500-3,000 words.  Not to mention just after putting him to bed!  If I don’t immediately turn the TV on to relax and instead wrote for 20 minutes, BAM!  Another 2,000 words.

 

Chores

Look, laundry and dishes wash themselves after you load them.  Then the cycles last 1-3 hours each.  Use that time to write a scene or two!  Another 2,000-6,000 words!

 

I am not saying to neglect your family, job, or housework–not in the slightest.  I merely suggest not using them as an excuse not to write.  If your goal is to publish someday, like mine is, then do not put your passion for writing aside so easily.  There is time to write.  I can accomplish nearly 10,000 words a day by finding these moments to write amidst my regular duties.

You may find that you are too tired, and obviously you need to take care of yourself first.  If your child is happy and healthy, your house is clean, and you paid the bills, and you are still not too tired, that’s the perfect time to write.  Sneak away, ask for some me time, and start typing.

 

Good luck, and thank you,

Heather Ellen Yamauchi

An Event for Writers Everywhere

Writers sell themselves short.  It is a fact of the business.  We are often underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated.  Now what?  Well, we strive to sell books, do we not?  But what happens when we are self-published, selling e-books, or just plain offering up deals and discounts and free materials?  Then we are likely not making any money.  Why sell ourselves short?  We work too hard, and put too much of our very souls into our work to not get a living out of what we are trying to gift to the world.

An event will be taking place, virtually.  The event, Our Books Are Not Free, will be hosted February 11-15 on Facebook, by author, Rose Montague of http://fantasyfunreads.blogspot.com, to celebrate authors and their desire to sell books.  Join us for stimulating conversation and discussions, panels, and interviews by authors from all across the globe.  And please, buy some books!  Support authors!

Please click the following link and select “going” to join in on the action!

Our Books Are Not Free Facebook Event Page

 

And as always, thank you,

Heather Ellen Yamauchi of Hobbitual Literature

Enter Generic New Year Resolution Here

Essentially, a new year means a new you, right?  At least, that is what our culture expects of us here in America.  I, while finding much inspiration and motivation already this year, do not believe in creating standards and goals too hard to achieve so early on in a year.  Why set yourself up for failure, albeit, unknowingly, because who knows what may happen throughout the year?  I find my motivation, my passion, and gain some insight into what I can accomplish first then set some goals afterwards.  Here is what I have discovered thus far in 2017.

First off, my 9 month old is thriving and actually allowing me to get some writing done.  That in and of itself is an accomplishment in parenting and the writing world.  Motivation!

Secondly, I am finding that with that writing I may not be achieving high word counts, but I am liking the direction the words are taking my work in progress.  Passion!

That passion is leading to new ideas and generating a sense of confidence in my writing.  Inspiration!

On top of it all, a writing friend that I have known for a while now has, somewhat unknowingly, pushed me deeper into the writing world than I have been previously, and that is a great feeling.  Fellow writer, Jennifer Zamboni of http://jenniferzamboni.blogspot.com/, has opened my eyes to networking as a writer to find inspiration and resources that I didn’t even know existed!  Thanks, Jen!  More on those branches in future posts, surely.

So back to those goals I was talking about.  I may not state a definitive goal of 1,000 words a day, or finish a book by the end of the year, but I will hope for progress.  Steady progress is enough for me.

In closing, welcome to 2017, writers and readers.  I hope to be putting more work out there soon, and hopefully finishing some really great projects in the coming year.

Thank you, as always,

Heather Ellen Yamauchi of Hobbitual Literature

Progress and the Future

I have been otherwise engaged with a new baby, new house, returning to work, and an interesting attempt at finding a delightful balance in life that I have been neglecting this blog.  The Facebook fan page has seen action, as I post and share several times a day, but this blog has seen busier days.  Not only am I sorry to any readers, but I am sorry to myself.  It was always my intention to keep up with this page, as I mean for it to become a crucial part of my writing career.  That being said, going forward I hope to be more interactive and social on the blog and not just on the Facebook page.  Content should be readily available on both mediums.

Here is what is going on in my literary neck of the woods.

First, I have been eagerly preparing for my second year as a municipal liaison in Maine for National Novel Writing Month.  November is just around the corner so my preparations have already started.  Beyond having several write-ins on the calendar, I am planning a few goodies for the writers attending.  More to come on that front!

Next, spontaneous drafting has been occurring on several works in progress, and I must say that I am inspired and impressed.  It is always a great feeling to scribble even just a thought down, let alone nearly the 1,000 words I managed tonight.  Talk about a success!  Much of this success I credit to my husband who has graciously offered to care for our 4.5 month old on Wednesday evenings so I can attend extra writing group gatherings for some literature and adult time.  Thanks, babe!

Lastly, a good friend of mine is working on launching and promoting her own business and website.  Check out Pulsifer Publishing for all of your publishing needs.  She is constantly adding services, information, and resources.  Bookmark her and stay tuned for updates!

As always, thank you for your dedication to my literary journey, and best of luck on your own.  Happy reading.  Happy writing.

 

**Heather Ellen Yamauchi**

Thankfulness #8

Thankfulness #8: Restaurant

A delayed post here.

What restaurant am I thankful for?

Friendly’s…I am thankful for Friendly’s.  Now, I know they are not the best now, nor was I particularly fond of them before, but when I was younger this was a family tradition.  My mother would take my brother and I to Friendly’s for lunch sometimes.  My brother would always get a red Shirley Temple and grilled cheese, I got an orange soda and quesadillas, Mom got a diet coke and a chicken wrap with extra honey mustard.  It was our tradition and family traditions are important to me.

Checking In

The past year has been a blur.  So much has happened, and so many things have changed.  This post is meant to bring readers up to speed on what is new in my life, personally and professionally.

I am now a mother and a home-owner.  My husband and I had a son in April and bought a house in May.  These two huge, life-altering events have kept us incredibly busy, and blissfully happy.

Maps for a major epic that has been in the works since 2013 are in various stages of edit for my own benefit.  Having functional maps for fantasy pieces aids me in my writing.  That being said, I hope to spend more time fleshing out this epic because it has the highest word count of any piece I have started.

CampNano for April was skipped this year due to labor and a newborn, and CampNano for July will likely be forgone as I start back at my “real” job tomorrow.  BUT, Nano for November is still on and preparations are under way!

This blog’s connection page on Facebook is thriving!  I post many articles, links, images, and ideas from other writers, authors, editors, and advice sites to aid myself and other writers.  Many readers comment, like, and share, and the page is up to 200 likes.  Please like and share!  There are some real bits of gold on there!

 

Thanks for reading!

Thankfulness #10

Thankfulness #10: Time of day

If I had actually answered this back in November when I had meant to then I would have said nighttime, because I love staying up late watching movies, playing video games, or chatting with my husband.  Now that I have a 2 month old who tends to be colicky, I prefer mid-afternoon.  Nights tend to be alright now that he is getting older and waking less frequently, but the afternoons are most fun because he is awake and alert, and interested in learning and loving.

Thankfulness #7

Thankfulness #7: Scent

The bread aisle.  This is weird, I know.  It should be something like our favorite laundry detergent, my favorite flower, or my husband’s cologne.  First of all, laundry smells great clean, sunflowers are not the most aromatic flower, and my husband rarely uses cologne, and even uses the same shampoos I do.  So I choose the bread aisle.  Something about the smell of all those loaves of bread, the bagels, the english muffins…it’s just YUM.  As long as that aisle isn’t shared with baby supplies.  One grocery store I have used in the past put white bread near baby powder and the combination is not appealing.  Call me crazy, but bread smells are great.

Thankfulness #6

Thankfulness #6: Pair of Shoes

I find it a bit petty to feel thankful for shoes, as there are much more important things to life.  But, I must say that I do have shoes, and plenty of them, and I am grateful for that because there are millions who don’t own even one pair.

The pair I would have to say I am most thankful for are my gray memory foam sketchers.  I have always loved boots and flats, sandals and sport sneakers.  However, I have never been able to last long enough in any of them to really live life, and to work hard.  With the sketchers I have I can work a 40 hour work week on cement floors, I can walk the malls without having foot aches, and I can hike a mountain comfortably.  I am experiencing more of life and avoiding pains that normally would have left me sitting out on adventures.

Thankfulness #5

Thankfulness #5: Place

The place I am most thankful for is my home.  It may be a tiny one bedroom apartment that is not even close to big enough for my husband, myself, and our zoo of animals, but it warm and is a roof over our heads.  We are extremely fortunate to be able to afford a place to live, one with heat, lights, running hot water, and luxuries like cable and internet.  For this I count my blessings and have made the best of the small space.  It is home.  It is our home, and for now it is enough for us.

Thankfulness #4

Thankfulness #4: Favorite snack

Can I say chocolate?  I feel like that answer is cheating because I cannot chose any one snack, but would prefer one if it had chocolate.  Ice cream, cookies, candies, cakes…I am making myself hungry.  I HAVE COCOA PUFFS FOR BREAKFAST!

***This blog post has been interrupted for imminent feeding purposes.  We are sorry for the inconvenience.***

Thankfulness #3

Thankfulness #3: Cozy place

Is it weird to say bed is the coziest place for me right now?  I am thankful to have a lovely bed to relax in while pregnant.  It is soft, and cushy, and sinkable.  I can write from bed, watch my netflix marathons, read, play Skyrim, and hold my family (as the cats have claimed it as their coziest place too).  I am thankful to have these luxuries in life.

Thankfulness #2

Thankfulness #2: Animal

It is difficult for me to choose any one animal to be uniquely thankful for, mostly because I have had so many pets in my life that have meant the world to me.  I am choosing not to pick a pet, but instead a symbol.  I am thankful for owls.  Owls were my Nana’s favorite animal.  She absolutely adored them, had owl decorations and pictures and STUFF everywhere!  And so when she passed away I found a love for owls because they reminded me of her.  Now I have owl stuff and they make me feel whole, as though she is still with me.  Some of the clothing and baby items I have purchased for my unborn child has owls on it.  I get emotional thinking about this because it is so beautifully painful to talk about.  My baby will know who my Nana was, and that means keeping owls nearby to protect my baby because whenever I was with my Nana I had never felt safer.  The owls are guardians, they are angels, like my Nana.  That is why I am thankful for owls.

Thankfulness #1

Thankfulness #1: Person

I must say that the person I am most thankful for is my husband, Akira.  This man may not be a romantic, or into the same hobbies/books/music as I am, but he is truly an amazing person.  He works hard to support our family, and our family means the world to him, which in turn makes me incredible thankful.  I have never seen a man so devoted, and dedicated, to his wife, pets, and baby, which is still in the oven by the way.  I knew the moment I met him that he was the right one for me, because he treated me like a lady and was sincere from the start.  The way animals and children gravitate toward him, and how well he handles them, proved to me years and years ago that he was a family man that I would be proud to grow with.  He may not clean the litter box as regularly as the cats require, and he may not be best at taking the trash out on time, but I forget my chores too.  We have a very strong marriage built on humoring one another, sharing everything, and on love.  There is so much love between us.  We get each other, we understand each other, and know there have been losses both separate and apart, and we maintain our separate social lives and hobbies in order to stay strong when we’re together.  And that is a beautiful time.  He has shown me the value of family and of love, and I could not be more grateful.

November Thankfulness

For the month of November, alongside the work I need to complete for Nanowrimo, I also want to share a list of the things I am most thankful for. I found a category list online and will use that to express thankfulness. I hope to post daily, but may end up postdating pieces. Here is the list of topics I intend to discuss:

  1. Person
  2. Animal
  3. Cozy place
  4. Favorite snack
  5. Place
  6. Pair of shoes
  7. Scent
  8. Restaurant
  9. Blog/website
  10. Time of day
  11. Tradition
  12. Gadget
  13. Something old
  14. Something new
  15. Experience
  16. Recipe
  17. Store
  18. Quote
  19. Clothing
  20. Keepsake
  21. Disappointment
  22. Book
  23. Feeling
  24. Photo
  25. Luxury
  26. Charity
  27. Song
  28. Gift
  29. Something at home
  30. What I am MOST thankful for

Stay tuned!

Your Time to Shine

Becoming an author is no easy journey.  It takes countless, endless hours of plotting, thinking, drafting, and sometimes sighing in frustration.  But it is not impossible, and not always a tragic struggle.  With a good support group, a few writing friends, or a trusty thesaurus, you too can be a novelist.

NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, makes it so much easier to become a writer.  By setting a 50,000 word count goal, NaNo guides established, amateur, and enthusiastic writers through November to the goal of creating a book.  As a NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison for Maine, I am here to answer any questions, to guide you, and to provide you with any help you may need for your NaNo project.

You may be thinking to yourself several questions.  Allow me to answer them with my own experiences.  I do not claim to be an expert on writing or on NaNo, but I have much experience with both.

Can I actually write a book in a month? Yes, yes you can.  Last year, with many word wars and hours spent drafting, I accomplished a word count of 50,060.

How can I find the time? This may be the hardest part for most of us.  Last year I was a substitute teacher during NaNo, and only worked per diem.  This year I work a very rigorous full time schedule.  It can help to spend 1 hour each day to just write.  And, honestly, some times it won’t happen.  It is up to you to set the time aside to write, and it is not always the most practical.  Finding a writing group or buddy can help you find motivation and set special time aside.  I meet Wednesday evenings with a group of writers in my area.  We sometimes also meet on Sundays, and will be upping the meeting times as convenient.  If you cannot get out to find a group, or individual, to brainstorm and write with then check the forums on NaNo.    Send someone a private message, become someones NaNoWriMo buddy on the website!

What if I can’t find a story, or lose inspiration?  They are full of useful threads about writing, plotting, world building, drafting, editing, and other helpful pieces.  And remember, those writers are reaching for the same 50,000 word goal that you are, and are always willing to help.  Writers are welcome to post information on their novels to ask for help and inspiration, and the amount of help offered is certainly not lacking.

What do I do if I finish my novel? Congratulations!  You can gloat!  Do it!  Feel proud!  You have accomplished a lot!  Be sure to verify with NaNoWriMo’s website to tell them you completed your novel, and at the end of the month you will be allowed access to the winner’s page, which hosts several special offers for programs and purchases.  Buy some NaNo swag at a discount!

What happens if I don’t finish my novel? You have not failed.  You are still a winner!  No matter how many words you put down, you have taken the time to create something, and it is yours.  Great work!

Won’t living my life get in the way?  Many people have families, kids, pets, other duties.  I myself have a husband, a zoo of animals, and am nearly 5 months pregnant.  Your time is valuable.  If NaNo means something to you, you will find the time.

Isn’t there a mandatory number of words I need to write each day?  No.  There is a guideline of 1,667 words per day, which evens the amount of work to a reasonable number daily.  This is only mean to help you succeed in the 50,000 total word count.  Below is the chart I made for myself last year.  You can see in it that I had already started with a piece from last year so I made sure to keep track of my words minus the words written prior to November.  You can also see that I did not follow the daily guideline.  On the contrary.  There were days I didn’t write at all, and many when I slacked off.  However, I made it work, and you can too.

  TOTAL COUNT DAILY COUNT PROGRESS Goal Difference
START 25,777 0 0 0 0
DAY 1 28,742 2,965 2,965 1,667 +1,298
DAY 2 29,292 550 3,515 3,334 +181
DAY 3 29,336 44 3,559 5,001 -1,442
DAY 4 29,336 0 3,559 6,668 -3,109
DAY 5 31,479 2,143 5,702 8,335 -2,633
DAY 6 31,503 24 5,726 10,002 -4,276
DAY 7 32,049 546 6,272 11,669 -5,397
DAY 8 32,049 0 6,272 13,336 -7,064
DAY 9 35,942 3,839 10,165 15,003 -4,838
DAY 10 36,144 202 10,367 16,670 -6,303
DAY 11 36,144 0 10,367 18,337 -7,970
DAY 12 37,204 1,060 11,427 20,004 -8,577
DAY 13 37,204 0 11,427 21,671 -10,244
DAY 14 40,183 2,979 14,406 23,338 -8,932
DAY 15 44,591 4,408 18,814 25,005 -6,191
DAY 16 47,013 2,422 21,236 26,672 -5,436
DAY 17 54,202 7,189 28,425 28,339 +86
DAY 18 57,483 3,281 31,706 30,006 +1,700
DAY 19 58,777 1,294 33,000 31,673 +1,327
DAY 20 59,128 351 33,351 33,340 +11
DAY 21 61,230 2,102 35,453 35,007 +446
DAY 22 62,925 1,695 37,148 36,674 +474
DAY 23 66,531 3,606 40,754 38,341 +2,413
DAY 24 67,402 871 41,625 40,008 +1,617
DAY 25 67,402 0 41,625 41,675 -50
DAY 26 67,429 27 41,652 43,342 -1,690
DAY 27 67,429 0 41,652 45,009 -3,357
DAY 28 67,429 0 41,652 46,676 -5,024
DAY 29 75,837 8,408 50,060 48,343 +1,717
DAY 30 75,837 0 50,060 50,010 +1,717

If you have other questions, please, do not be afraid to ask.  I would love to see more participants in NaNo all the time.

And sign up today, before November 1st, for NaNoWriMo.

My Favorite Calendar Style

Nano is now just DAYS away!  Here is a calendar from the site I used last year.  This was by far the best calendar I had found, that allowed me to keep track of my daily count, weekly count, and monthly count all in one sheet.  Dave Seah is a calendar wiz!  Check out his site here.

Enjoy!  Happy writing!

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