NaNo and Me

Hello guys and gals!

For all of you who are participating in NaNoWriMo this month, I hope you are doing well meeting and exceeding those word counts!

For me, well, let’s talk about that, shall we?

I had high hopes when I started this NaNo, even going back during PrepTober. I felt like my story had come together, despite not having a full and proper outline. I hadn’t fully fleshed it all out but I had the main points and it was all great. I was excited.

Then November came, and it did so with what seemed like zero notice whatsoever. Seriously, where the hell did October go? I blame the crazies who started celebrating Christmas on October 1st. I kid, I kid. Mostly.

And here we are nearly a third of the way into November and I’ve gotten so far behind there’s no way I can catch up, not with work never letting up. So. Who am I kidding. I’m not winning NaNo. Why am I giving up? I’m just not good with the pressure I guess. I don’t know. I need to do things at my own pace, whatever that may be.

I love writing and I will write without NaNo. It would be so cool to say I won NaNo and was able to tackle such a challenge. I just don’t have it in me. I have so many things I want to write and sometimes I can’t stick to just one, which makes NaNo virtually impossible.

So I’m going to continue to write no matter what. It’s my dream. And I’m going to continue to share my dreams with you all. I hope you’ll continue with me on my journey.

As you may have figured out by now, I have a problem with Story A.D.D (it’s a thing, look it up) and I don’t want to leave you today without telling you about a project I am working on.

About 8 years ago, I was really big into screenplays and film making as a whole. I bought and read (many times over) several books on both subjects and began writing multiple scripts in various genres from comedy to drama to crime. One of my biggest undertakings was a comedy which mimics a sort of gangster story where five groups of people go against one another in something we would look at as trivial but which they take very seriously. It was a huge project because there were so many characters, so many personalities, and so many moving parts.

While I never wrote a single word to the script, I did do a metric ton of planning. I built the world, named the characters, built broad descriptions for the groups of people involved, and outlined the story, more or less, completely.

Well, I was looking through one of my screenplay books the other day to get some tips for my NaNo project and, tucked within the pages, was the bulk of the planning notes I had made for that screenplay. It had been nearly eight years since I had touched those pages so, naturally, I had to read over them. Immediately, I felt the fire. The same fire I felt back when I first wrote those pages years before. Now, I cannot tell you why I put the project down. Hell, I had even contacted some people who were willing to participate in the making of the film. I was on the right track but something happened.

Well, I am picking it back up. I can’t let this one slip away, not again. I have learned a lot in the years since starting that story. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I don’t want to make films and, because of this, I can write the script as I would write any story. I can write it as an author, not a director, camera man, set designer and builder, location scout, none of that. This is what I needed to write this story, to think about it as a story and not such a demanding project.

So, I am going to spend some time on this one. I hope you all will understand what I am doing and I hope you have at least some interest in this aspect of writing because there are some things I would like to share with you about the project as it grows.

I am sorry I wasted your time as far as NaNo is concerned. Maybe I will make up for it next yeat by actually winning. We will see what the cards hold.

If you read this all, thank you so much for spending some time with me.

All the best!

–Trevor

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On Rebranding My Blog

Hey readers!

So I have been thinking a lot lately about the route I want to take with this blog. As most of you who have stuck around know, I write about writing most of the time but I also like to do product reviews.

Here is my dilemma. I still want to write about writing. I still want to share my journey to becoming a published author with all of you. That hasn’t changed and will never change. However, I also really love doing product reviews. It is honestly a joy for me to reach out to various brands, get their products, take the best photos I can, and then write about my experience with those products.

No, no, that wasn’t the only part of the dilemma. The biggest part of the dilemma is that my current brand doesn’t really fit too many niche’s. It’s not entirely difficult for me to get journals and pencils to review as a writer. It’s when I want to reach out beyond those things that I find a problem. I want to review all sorts of things. Tech, food, toys, all sorts of, well, lifestyle things.

So, here’s what I am thinking. I am going to find a way to rebrand this blog as sort of a writer’s lifestyle blog where I will still bring my readers along with me on my journey, but I will be able to share with you all some of the things I love and use on a day to day basis. I hope that sounds a little more fun to you guys.

It will take a little bit to get my brand figured out and then adapt the blog to it and I hope you all will stick around to see what comes out on the other side. I truly believe this is going to be fun.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to leave them below.

I hope you all are having a wonderful day!

–Trevor

The Daily Westin- 10/11/2017

I’m so torn.

I have always just used Microsoft Word to do all of my writing. That is, until the past year and a half or so when I started using the famous (or infamous) Scrivener.

The thing about it is that Scrivener has a huge learning curve. I will use it for a while and then get discouraged because I don’t know all there is to know about it and go back to Word before I even give myself a chance to figure it out.

I really want to use Scrivener though. But it’s not enough to just use it, I want to use it effectively. Word is easy because all you have to do is create a new document for every chapter and place it in a folder for the novel. Unbelievably simple.

Scrivener, on the other hand, is easy in the sense that all you do is create a new project and all the files and documents that have to do with your story are right there in front of your face. You don’t have to create a new file somewhere on your computer (and let’s be honest, it can be anywhere, even somewhere that the rest of your story isn’t) and try to keep track of it all. When you want to write, just open the project and it’s all there. But there are so many nuances. Things that are supposed to make it a more streamlined experience. But you have to learn all the things first. Ugh.

In trying to plan during PrepTober, I am also trying to decide where I want to write this novel. This is tough. The only real benefit to Word, aside from it being simple and being able to save a copy to the cloud so I can edit on my phone, is that when I send this to publishers, it will likely have to be in something like Word. Not Scrivener format.

I don’t know. If any of you have any suggestions or want to share your thoughts on either program, please comment!

Sorry about the rant, just wanted to share my PrepTober struggles.

–Trevor

On PrepTober

I am failing miserably at PrepTober. We are 1/3 of the way into the month and I am not 1/3 of the way done planning for my #NaNoWriMo novel.

I started the month with big plans. I was going to begin to use a bullet journal and plan out times when I would prep. I would split the tasks up by days, world-building Monday, character creation Tuesdays, outlining Wednesdays, something to that effect. Yet here I sit, having only fleshed out a small piece of my main character and, though I know the world in my head, I haven’t gotten it down on paper. Outline? Ha! Not even close.

Queue the excuses. As per the usual, work is wearing me out. I truly hate my job anymore. I love writing and that’s what I would rather do so I also spend a lot of time getting product reviews ready to publish. I have countless products that I need to review and they can’t take a backseat anymore. It’s something I am truly passionate about. I love taking the photos, editing them if I have to, and writing about my experience. It’s fun to try and craft my words into something that can best represent my experiences with a product. It’s challenging and hurts my brain sometimes, but I love it.

Also, finding and reaching out to brands I’d like to work with isn’t as easy as you may think. So that’s what’s been taking my time.

No more of this not prioritizing my novel. I have to get back to getting ready for Nano, because dammit I’m going to win this year.

I hope you all are doing better than me if you’re spending October prepping for Nano.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

 

–Trevor

Creativum Minimalist Journal

Hey gals and guys!

I want to share something very special with you today. The Minimalist Leather Journal from my friends at Creativum, who were kind enough to send me my own journal for the purposes of this review.

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I have to note how, every time I walk into my office since I got this journal, it smells like leather. It’s the most wonderful thing. It’s like my office is filled with expensive leather furniture. It’s not, I promise, It’s just this journal.

 

The Specs:

Size: A5 (8.5″x6″)

Paper: Unknown. I suspect around 80 to 90 GSM.

300 pages of refillable lined paper.

Binding: Stitched

Closure: Leather strap around wooden button.

Bookmarks: 1

Pockets: None

Pen Loop: Yes

 

The Basics:

Minimalist. It’s in the name and the journal itself screams it. We’ve all seen the big hulking leather journals found anywhere from your local box store to Barnes and Noble. They are the opposite of minimal. The folks at Creativum have nailed the concept, providing the rugged durability of a  100% genuine leather cover with a simple yet very functional journal insert.

One of my favorite things about this journal is the button used in conjunction with a leather strap to close it.

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How beautiful is that? And it’s not just a button. This is a huge part of the culture of Creativum. In a nutshell, it stands for creativity and how having a little of it can get you a long way. As a writer, I can’t imagine writing my story in another book just for that alone. It’s a constant reminder of how one man made something from nothing and how, if he can do it, so can I.

As you see here, this journal is stitched and bound.DSC_0065.jpg

Because of it’s stitching and not being bound to a solid spine, it also lays relatively flat.

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If you’re looking for a beautiful cover with refillable pages, this is a perfect choice. The refills are available for only $8.00 USD, which I consider an absolute steal!

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There’s also a nice pen/pencil loop so you can keep your favorite utensil with you wherever you and your journal travel.

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Writing in the Journal

I must say, I originally planned on using this with pencil, because that’s what I like writing with, but I purchased a Pilot Metropolitan and wanted to use it more. I chose to do some of my writing in this journal with the Metropolitan.

First let me say that this paper takes the ink from my Medium Nib pen very well. It feels nice and smooth, while on some other paper I’ve used it’s been a little too scratchy. This comes at a price, however. It takes the ink too well. While there is no bleed-through on the page underneath the one on which I write, it does bleed through a little too much on the back of that page. So much so that I wouldn’t write on the back, which for me means half the page availability if I were to continue to use a fountain pen throughout the entire book. I should clarify that not all of it bleeds through and the ghosting is heavier and thus more distracting than the bleed through in my opinion.  Thus, I would not call this paper fountain pen friendly, at least not with a medium nib or anything this wet. I wouldn’t even call the Metropolitan “wet” but I guess with this paper it seems to be.

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If you do like to write in pencil, the paper feels really nice while doing so. It’s not too toothy so it won’t eat the graphite, but it’s not just slippery smooth either. I’d call it a perfect balance.

Conclusion

Don’t expect to use this with wet pens. It simply won’t be effective. Having used it for quite some time now, that’s honestly my only complaint, and it’s not really a complaint.

I absolutely love this journal. If you’re looking for something you can use for a bullet journal, this may not be for you (though you can bujo with lined sheets if you want). But if you’re looking for something for daily journaling, a diary, or even writing stories like I use mine for, this is perfect.

I give the Minimalist Journal from Creativum a 9 out of 10 stars. 

You can pick yours up for $45.00 USD for the regular size. They also offer in a mini size (5.5″x4″ 240pages) for $35.00 USD.

I want to say a huge thank you to Creativum for sending me this journal.

Thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful week!

*This journal was sent to me free of charge for the purposes of this review. However, I am not being paid to provide a biased review and my opinions are my own.*

–Trevor

 

 

Diversity in Books 

I don’t want to write this post. I’ll be one-hundred percent honest with you. I’m afraid that it could singlehandedly ruin any chance of me ever becoming a successful author. The thought that, as soon as this post goes live, the internet will have record of my opinion on this matter terrifies me.

But fuck it.

I just watched a few videos on YouTube by two different personalities. I want to name names. More than ever, I want these people to know how stupid they are, one in particular. But I won’t. The video that spurred this is one from a rather new person in the AuthorTube community and it is titled, in part, Writing With Diversity. 

Now, I feel like I have to mention that this particular person doesn’t seem to have any sense of originality whatsoever. They seem to have watched a few of their favorite AuthorTuber’s videos and said “Oh hey, I like her. I want to be just like her when I grow up and make my own videos”, then went and did just that. This person has copied the mannerisms of the other person in what seems like an effort to, I don’t know, be cool like them or something.

This particular video is the personification of that mentality. Here was their message on diversity in books, in a nutshell:

  • If you don’t write with diversity, you’re an asshole.
  • You MUST tell your reader what color someone is, otherwise they must be white, and you’re an asshole.
  • If you don’t write interracial relationships, you’re an asshole.
  • There are some sexualities that we don’t even know about. If you’re not writing about various sexualities, you’re an asshole.
  • The fact that YOUR characters are straight is stupid. Asshole.
  • If you don’t write about trans or non-binary characters, you’re writing isn’t realistic. Oh yeah, I forgot. Asshole.

This was seriously the person’s message. And here’s what I gathered from it.

This is the most important thing. What this person is asking writers to do, no demanding, is to conform to their ideal book. If I, as a writer, don’t do this, then I am doing something wrong. Fuck you, YouTube Person Who Must Not Be Named. Fuck you.

What makes this so much worse is that they are not the only person making these types of demands. So many popular BookTubers and AuthorTubers are doing this. And it is sad! Sad because they are willing to conform. Sad because they are perfectly fine with someone telling them how to write their story. Sad because they are okay with changing their vision to some cookie-cutter bullshit dream of this perfect world that, quite simply, does not exist.

  And let’s be honest, sometimes you can tell the cookies are homemade when they don’t all look the same, right? 

Writers write their visions. These could be visions of some utopian society where everything is perfect, they could be of a dystopia where nothing at all is perfect, they could be of a relationship they wish they could have but are too afraid to pursue it so they make up a story about it. Let me tell you something. When I dream, I don’t dream what anyone else wants me to dream. When I picture certain situations, I don’t picture them the way anybody else might picture that exact scenario. It’s not how our brains work!

Did you know that Hermione from Harry Potter was supposed to have been black? JK Rowling said she always saw her as black, but I bet you never would have guessed it.  There never were, in the early days before the films at least, any inferences to her color. You could have read her as black and the story would not have told you any different.

Did you know Dumbledore was thought by the author to be gay? There were literally never any parts of the story, be it in the books or the films, that would have ever suggested that, unless of course you count his lack of a partner at all. But JK Rowling told us that in the years after she typed the last words to a Harry Potter novel.

What I am getting at here is that I shouldn’t have to point out to you a color or sexuality to begin with. Now, if I do choose to specify, and I should only do so because it moves the plot forward, then I should do so respectfully and tastefully. However, you have no reason to expect me to include these things just for the sake of including them. You shouldn’t want me to! If my vision doesn’t include a transexual, why the actual fuck would you want to see one in the novel? It makes no sense!

If my vision is of a boy riding a dragon through over fucking Castlevania and I want to tell you his ethnicity, I will. If it is pertinent. But would you be any more amazed by the fact that this person riding the dragon was Indian? Fuck no.

If my vision involves a man fighting ninjas in back alleys across the globe, do you have to know he’s bisexual? Or what if he identifies as non-binary or gender fluid? Does that intensify the appeal of his fighting prowess? No. No it doesn’t. He can kick some ninja ass, no matter who he’s banging when he gets home and if telling you about it doesn’t move the plot forward, then I’m not going to tell you. 

I want you to know now that, just because I don’t tell you a character is bi or anything like that, doesn’t mean he or she isn’t. Believe me, I flesh my characters out and I know who they are. If them being bi doesn’t move the story along, I won’t tell you. Also, if the color of their skin is not important, I will not tell you. Instead, I will let you decide if they are black, white, brown, yellow, whatever.

And after all this, if I do write a book without any representation of a particular group of people, oh well. It’s my vision. Don’t buy my book. Naturally, I want to write a book that the world will love to read, but I refuse to conform. I refuse to alter my vision to suit any of these snowflake’s needs.

While I understand the need for people to consume stories with which they can relate, there is much more to being able to relate than just the color of a character’s skin or the people they choose to have relations with. Yes, our real world is not vanilla and it makes sense to have diversity, but not at the expense of changing a story to make it happen. If the story didn’t specify a certain diversity, simply dragging and dropping it into that story only seems disingenuous. Why would you want to read something like that?

Enough is enough. No more demands. No more templates for stories that don’t offend simply because they include the types of characters that meet specific requirements. No more.

If you read this all the way to the end, thank you so much. I love you all.

Happy writing!

–Trevor