writing diaries

Writing Diaries #1

In Writing by Nya29 Comments

Welcome to my very first Writing Diaries! These won’t have set times and dates, but I will try to post as often as I can.

So, why the Writing Diaries?

  1. If I let others know of my commitment, it becomes real. Ooh, the pressure!
  2. To keep me motivated!
  3. Because I know a few other book bloggers who write as well, and it would be interesting to exchange opinions.
  4. To spam the hell out of you. 
  5. To give you all an explanation why my reading might be (even) slower this month.

Achievement of the month

Yes, it took me a month (or maybe more, since I have used a few old drafts) to finish a short story I wanted to submit to Writers of the Future. I know, I know, how ambitious of me! Ok, this is a big thing for me and I won’t lie: When we enter a contest, no matter how small the chance is, a part of us expects to win! However, this is a valuable experience too. The feeling of having completed a project from start to finish is amazing! Not to mention that many, many, many brilliant authors have been rejected before – not even only once, in most cases. So if that’s the case, it’s cool too. If you are going through the same journey as me, be proud when you get your first R stamp.


  • I really, really, don’t want to bring up the language thing, since there are so many foreign authors who write English so well. It cannot be an excuse either. But Damn! Writing in English is not the same as writing in my native language. So, of course, it takes longer.
  • I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. I write one sentence, then read it and reread it. And rewrite it. And so on. Thanks to my reading material (see next section), I am now trying more productive ways to do things.
  • My boyfriend who comes into the room every five minutes.“Watcha up to?” 

Reading Material

I will reserve this section for the material I have been reading and any comments I might want to share. I have read the following until now:


Now that I’ve put this list together, I realize I have read more material than I’d thought and I am probably missing a few. Needless to say, don’t expect any book to give you the ultimate answer or to write the book for you, but are some of these helpful? Definitely! What I would definitely recommend:

How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card, if it’s speculative fiction you are writing, of course!

Writing Active Setting by Mary Buckham, I have finished the first book in the series with the feeling that so many authors should have read this and used this advice. This is what I want to read, descriptions that are not purposeless and boring but that are intelligently incorporated as part of the action.

The Elements of Style is a classic. Its use is limited because, in fiction, we are allowed to break some rules for stylistic purposes. Like Mr. Stephen King said: “Purists hate to hear that and will deny it to their dying breath, but it’s true. Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes.” (Yes, this means I am reading “On Writing” by Stephen King too)

The Emotion TheSaurus can be useful too, specially when you’re stuck trying to “show”more and “tell” less. Every time you want to “tell” an emotion, refer to The Emotion TheSaurus first and see if you can “show” instead. Fear, pain, happiness. How do people act, what do people do when they feel such things? TheSaurus gives you ideas when you’re stuck. This book is not completely mandatory, as some people are good at observing, but it’s a good reference. Watching movies helps too! What are actors’s poses and expressions when they are angry, happy or anxious? Surely, you don’t need them to “tell” you all the time “I am angry”, “I am happy”, etc. You can SEE that.That’s showing.

Avoid at all costs: Nine Day Novel – Sorry, sorry, sorry! I really wanted to enjoy this book. I mean, who wouldn’t want to write 10K a day and have a novel ready in nine days? But all I felt I could get from this was perhaps solid advice to get fired from my full-time job.

The plan

Do I have a plan? Oh, yes I do. So, a little while ago I wanted to focus on short stories – I still do. It’s very good practise, it gives you a feeling of achievement, and you can submit it to magazines and contests!

However, I have now a new goal. This is all Angry Robot Book‘s fault! They are opening submissions soon, and this makes me want to go back to my Fantasy novel draft and work on it.

When when when?!?

The Open Door period will last from 1 December 15 to 31 January 2016. Yes, that does coincidentally mean that you could take advantage of this year’s NaNoWriMo to finish that manuscript in time to get it in to us. You clever thing.

NaNoWriMo and open submissions! So what better motivation than this to get back to work on my novel? Of course, I will keep you updated!

Good luck for me and you, all you writers out there! Can’t wait to hear about everyone’s plans too.


  1. sfarnell

    Thanks for this post, it was useful and interesting . Don’t worry if it takes ages to write something you’re taking your time and I’m sure it will get easier. I’ve just started out writing stuff to – maybe we could compare notes? 🙂

    1. Author

      Thank you so much! And yes, I’d love to follow your journey as well. I am always open to exchange opinions too.

        1. Author

          Mostly speculative fiction. I read all types of things, but this is my main preference. How about you?

          1. Author

            I am following you now! I will take a look, and I will be sure to keep an eye on it 🙂 Thanks!

          2. sfarnell

            No, thank you ☺
            If you ever fancy collaborating or something, let me know .
            Thanks for following ☺

  2. mudandstars

    Good luck, and thanks for these book recommendations! I’m attempting to go back to a novel I’m working on for NaNoWriMo this year too. By the way, completely agree with how useful The Emotion Thesaurus is! Have you seen the other two books by the same writers – The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus? I find both of these so helpful for creating characters.

    1. Nya

      Thank you, and good luck to you too! I have heard about the other two books by them, but I haven’t purchased them yet. It’s definitely on my list now, thanks for the tip.

  3. Ember @ literary constellation

    Good luck!! I’ve tried plenty of times before to write several short stories, but I never finish them. Which is my worry for writing novels, because they’re a thousand times much more work, obviously. But I do have an idea for a novel and I’m nearly at 7k words so far (which tbh, is a big achievement for me because I’ve been writing it off and on all year but I feel like there’s still quite a few things that need to be planned out). So I’ve decided to take the plunge and try nano this year for my first time and see if it motivates me and pushes me further to complete the first draft, at least. It’s really kind of nerve-wracking though. D:

    1. Nya

      I completely understand the feeling! 7k is a good progress! I think getting that first initial draft done is the hardest part. Then, it’s all about polishing! Good luck to us both:) I will be happy to hear about your updates too!

  4. Clayton the Page Turner

    Goodluck. I thought about doing short stories for magazine for extra cash here and there but I am not confident enough to do so. Maybe I will share my crap on my blog one day.

    1. Nya

      Thank you! And no, no, no, be CONFIDENT! As I said, even if you’re rejected, doesn’t mean anything. It just means you have to try to find the right audience / market and of course improve, but we all need to improve and none of us is perfect. I am even going to quote from that first book on my Reading Material section for you: “I’ve known more than a few writers who published their first five or six stories in fanzines. These were fine stories that could have advanced their careers, but they never submitted them to the professional markets. Why? “I didn’t think I was good enough yet.” They allowed their personal fears (or personal modesty) to keep them from reaching the markets that would have reached the widest audience and advanced their careers.” So, be CONFIDENT.

          1. Clayton the Page Turner

            If you had not mentioned English was not your first language I would never have known lol Also I think I will be brave and share the stuff I have written previously…maybe Monday of next week.

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