Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NaNoWriMo: Day 12

My original plan during NaNoWriMo was to update my blog every few days with my word count and a sample of what I had written that day.

Didn't happen, that's obvious.

Better late than never though, right?

October 31st  I was literally bouncing on the couch waiting for midnight to arrive. I've been dealing with insomnia over the summer so this was a nice asset. In the past, I have never waited up to start writing at midnight. I had always gone to bed and gotten up at a crazy hour such as three or four in the morning. Not this time!

I drank pumpkin spice coffee and bounced around with great anticipation. I had my document up and titled (I rarely have my first drafts titled; I agonize over those) and was frantically trying to figure out how to start my novel.

I got distracted when it finally hit midnight, but I began writing around one AM. I wrote one thousand words (an entire prologue) then went to bed.

Over the next few days I lost my enthusiasm. I felt distracted; more so than I had the past two times. But between yesterday and today I pulled my act together and got a serious amount of writing done.

Today I rounded my word count out to 28,000. (My goal was 30,000, but due to a sinus headache I couldn't think) After I got over being paralyzed about getting every word right, the words began to flow a lot better. Which was extremely nice considering my word count shot through the roof.

Here is a snippet of what I wrote today: (I warn you this is the rough cut, no editing at all )

“Avram! Avram!’

Papa is here, he can do something about this.

“Glad you could join the party!’ The gruff Nazi called out loudly. “Sit, sit, we wouldn't’ want to tire you out, now would we?”

“Avram, I tried everything I could!”

“Sarah,” Papa’s voice, though filled to capacity with panic, soothed Jacob and Rachel.

Papa is here, he will make everything all right. He always does.

“Sarah, where are the children?”

“Yes, go on, don’t lie to your husband. That’s wrong.” The Nazi patronized Sarah.

“They are out playing and I don’t know where they are. And even if I did I would never tell you.”

She probably directed that last part at the Nazis. She would never speak to papa like that. Never. Mama is too good to do something like that.

“Sarah, are the children in the house?” Papa’s voice was serious, direct.

Jacob held his breath, waiting for mama’s answer.

“No, Avram, they are not.”

She lied to papa. Why would she  do that? You idiot, she did it to save you and Rachel and Reuben. That’s why she did it.

“My wife would never lie to me.” Avram’s voice brimmed with confidence in his wife. “What do you want with my children in the first place?”

A hard slap could be heard all the way across the ghetto. “Do not speak to me in that manner!” The leader shouted.

A loud thump vibrated the floor.

“Avram!” Mama’s screams taunted Jacob and he huddled against the wall of the trap door even more. 
“Avram!” mama screamed again. 

Then another hard knock came, with it, another loud thump.

“Since you don’t know where your children are, an oversight on your part, and obvious irresponsibility, we have no other choice but to relieve you of your children. But first, we will take care of you two. Neither of you deserve to live. What are two more Jewish swine dead to the world? Worth nothing.”

 Two pistols cocked.

That small sound paralyzed Jacob, he squeezed Rachel to him.

“I love you, Avram.” Mama’s weak voice was infused with the love she had always had for her husband.

“I love you, Sarah.” Papa’s soft voice filled with sorrow, deep sorrow.

Tears streamed down Jacob’s cheeks.

Two gun shots rang throughout the little apartment.

 Jacob’s fists clenched against Rachel.

If I go out there, I’m dead, we are all dead. I have to fight the urge to go out there. Have to fight the urge. Have to. Don’t! Jacob, don’t go out there. Fight, fight, fight! You have to fight! They will kill Reuben, oh,

Jacob gasped then clamped his mouth shut. 

Oh, Please, Yeshua, protect Reuben. He is probably witnessing all of this. Oh, Elohim! Blind their eyes, blind them so they won’t find them. Make them leave. Please, Elohim, make them leave.

Mama. Papa. Gone. Dead. Gone forever.

His chest tightened and his face screwed up in a pained expression. He had to keep his tears silent. Had to keep them silent. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NaNoWriMo: A Month of Insanity

I was first introduced to NaNoWriMo two years ago. One of my dearest friends convinced me I should do it.

Sure! Why not? Writing a fifty thousand word novel in thirty days shouldn't be a problem. For those who know me well, I thrive on challenges. If someone doesn't think I can do it then for some odd reason this unquenchable drive pushes me to prove them that I can. (Don’t worry, if it is a useless challenge I won’t do it. You won’t find me leaping over Niagara Falls)

It sounded crazy. Writing a novel in one month. How was that even possible? But my dear friend roped me into doing it. I returned the favor by dragging another friend to do it with me.

I had my novel all planned out. I knew how it would turn out, how many chapters there was, what was going to be in each chapter, and how many words per chapter I had to write. November 1st came and I tackled this challenge with everything I had.

My two friends and I did word wars with one another at least once a day when we could. We encouraged each other to keep going. There were a few times when we couldn't think of what to write next. We bounced ideas off one another. It was a complete blast!
Not only were we aiming to finish our novels before the month was up, we were also racing one another. With that in mind we wrote faster, and more often each day.

The deadline was up and all of us finished before November 31st.  I finished November 19th and decided to try to write the sequel in the last remaining days. (I did not finish the sequel)

We exchanged our novels with pride. We had achieved something great! We had completed a fifty thousand word novel in less than a month!!! At the ages of sixteen and fifteen this is a huge feat.

After that first time I was hooked. It became an addiction. Last November I completed my third novel with two hours to spare. (I was dealing with health issues so that slowed me down)
And in April during the Camp NaNoWriMo I wrote three novels. (Don’t panic, that’s not the norm.)

NaNoWriMo is insanity, yet it radiates awesomeness. You get up early and go to bed late, guzzling astonishing amounts of coffee, or whatever drink that keeps you going. It almost seems daunting, for first timers, but after you have completed one I almost guarantee you’ll be hooked.

The next NaNoWriMo starts November 1st. You can sign up here (it’s free!) to keep track of your word count and connect with other WriMo’s. Don’t miss out on this incredible experience!

I hope to race alongside you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Guest Post: Cloud Pictures

Cloud Pictures

Don’t clouds in the sky
Form the oddest things
From babies in cribs
To horses with wings

I could lie down and watch
Clouds float all day;
My mind creates pictures
And stories that way

An old bearded man
Turns into a child
An innocent teddy
Into a lion so wild

A panda stands tall
On its back strong hind feet
Then becomes a small dog
Begging for a treat

The things I can see
The tales I could make
Are so countless
Just think of the time it would take

I think, and don’t you
That when God made the sky
He placed clouds in the air
Thinking of you and I

Don’t clouds in the air
Form the oddest things
Pictures and stories
Oh, what joy it brings.

MacKenzie Long is a seventeen year old homeschooled country girl. She enjoys writing poems, parodies, songs, and novels. Aside from that, she delights in reading, hanging out with her younger sister, Corrie, and playing the penny whistle. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Most First Drafts Are Rubbish

Out of curiosity, I asked quite a few young writers what they thought of their first drafts. Here are some of their answers:

"Oh my gosh, my rough drafts stink."

"I feel like my first drafts are messy, annoying, and in need of improvement, but I love them anyways. Sort of like children." 

"Yes, absolute rubbish. I hate them all, and then realize they're not as bad as I thought when I read them over. After reworking and polishing, then they're beautiful."

"Man, this is horrible. Just as I expected. Time to make the second draft!" 

I feel like all of them should be rewritten, and they could be a lot better."

Read for yourself, the general consensus is that first drafts are rubbish. Horrible. 

First drafts are called rough drafts for a reason; because they are. Unless you happen to be an outrageously writing genius and can churn out a perfect first draft. (If you are, please make yourself known!)

It's normal to have a trashy first draft. 
A first draft is where I pour my heart and soul out onto paper (or the computer screen if you want to get literal) until I have the story in my head and heart written down.
Then I go back sifting through it and clean out the rubbish. Polish it up. (Also known as rewriting. We'll save that for another post.)

Don't worry or stress out if your first draft is rubbish. Do not fall into the lie thinking that you are a horrible writer, or you can't write at all due to the condition of your first drafts. This leads to miserable thoughts and actions such as: "I shouldn't write at all." And then you might end up throwing your draft out. 

It is what it is. You aren't alone. 

Don't panic; keep calm, it's only a first draft.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Guest Post: Donuts

Donuts just happen to be my favorite type of dessert.
No question about it, glazed donuts win the day; topped with mouthwatering, unhealthy sprinkles. 

Donuts were a very good idea!

I would love if this could happen! My future husband should propose with a donut. Rings are overrated.
But donuts give an air of happy things.
Donuts give the sense that everything is going to be okay. Take a breath from your over-stuffed schedule and slip onto the couch, curl up with a good book, and munch on your medicine. (In this case, a prescribed donut)

Donuts and coffee were made for each other, so curl up with that too. And soaked in coffee, donuts can give you peace like you've never known; relaxing peace. Full of sugar, this makes it all the healthier for you!

Unfortunately the ingredients they inject into a donut just happen to be corn and gluten; food I’m allergic to.

This leaves me at the mercy of a gluten and corn free donut.  

Corrie Long is a precocious fifteen year old.
She enjoys interior decorating, reading, and music. 
A coffee addict and chocoholic, Corrie is an aspiring writer. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Broken Hearts

 Broken lives strew the path of life
Pieces of people’s hearts all around
Pain and suffering try to win
The fight is on for love to abound

Broken hearts, broken lives
Disaster is what I see
Broken hearts, broken lives
People longing to be free
Broken hearts, broken lives
Please tell me who holds the key?

Trapped in the hold of sin and guilt
People slipping down a dark slope
Searching all around for someone
Helpless mankind longs for hope

Broken hearts, broken lives
Who will save the lost?
Broken hearts, broken lives
What will pay the cost?
Broken hearts, broken lives
What will become of the lost?

Just when it seems all hope is lost
Turn your head upward oh, turn it now
Hope and love are awaiting you
Oh, reach out! See the thorn-covered Brow?

No longer live in dark and fear
Jesus the Savior has laid down His life
Repent, oh sinner, Jesus says, “Come.”
Yield your broken heart, yield the sin and strife!

Broken hearts, broken lives
Now broken hearts no longer
Healed by Christ, saved by Blood
Safe in His love, I'm stronger
Brand new hearts, transformed lives
Jesus can make you stronger

Broken lives, broken hearts

Christ can heal them all

Written by: Haley Long

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Case of Writer Paranoia

July 1st was the start of the July Camp NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don’t know what that it is, basically it is an insanity label which is stamped upon your back the moment you decide to do it. Excuse me. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Originally this is in November when you write a 50,000 word novel in one month. As I said, insanity. They throw the Camps in there during April and July so you can up your insanity levels. I mean so you can lower or raise your word count and have the opportunity to be in online ‘cabins’ so you aren’t alone and such. (I don’t do the cabin thing because in my opinion it is distracting and I couldn’t ever keep up)

Nevertheless, I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo. I don’t have a novel outline, just a story idea. Which, this is usually all I need in order to plug out a 50,000 word novel. I just returned from an amazing writer’s conference known as the Summer Workshop, fueled with ideas, and ready to write! (Actually I had five story ideas come to my head during sessions. I wrote them down)
There is just one problem…. I’m scared to write. Stupid, right? I just got back from a writer’s conference, for pity’s sake. I should be writing like crazy. Instead I’m analyzing absolutely everything I have written in my new novel, and should I mention this blog post? I’m filled with incredible information, insight, ideas, but I’m paralyzed by doubts, fears, and panic.
What if nobody likes this?
What if I’m a horrible writer and everyone is afraid to hand me the awful truth? Maybe I should give up writing altogether and spare myself the heartbreak when it comes. The heartbreak that I can’t write. I’m not qualified to write. Perhaps this sentence or that word shouldn’t be in here. Does this distract? Does that flow together? 

And the thoughts keep plaguing me. I think there might be a name for this condition. It’s definitely not writer’s block. Maybe Writer’s Panic. Writer’s paralysis? Writer paranoia? I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’ve certainly got it.

I don’t know how many times I have gone over the prologue of my new novel. At least twenty. I keep pulling in a different sibling and asking their opinion on this. How does this sound? Do you get the gist? Do you feel the emotion? Should I give this information out, or is that too soon? If you found this on the shelf in the bookstore or the library would you continue reading? See? Paranoia. Panic.

I finally pinpointed my problem. While struggling to write the first chapter of my novel it struck me. I want it to come out perfectly. I expect this to be the best I’ve ever written. When I see the confused looks on my sibling’s faces I attack my work again and try to fix the problem. I have forgotten that I’m writing a first draft. The advice I give to people whose first drafts I have critiqued has somehow evaporated in my brain. Maybe it was all those Smarties I consumed...

I’m writing a first draft. It’s not going to be perfect. Anyone who expects a perfect first draft has obviously never written one. When writing a first draft you just write it. Unless you are a perfectionist, which I’ve never been accused of being that, then write with abandon. Let the story flow out of you. You can edit afterwards. Rewriting is an asset, but that’s meant for later. Not while you are writing the first draft. Otherwise you will be stuck writing the same chapter, or prologue in my case, over and over and never getting anywhere. That’s like doing donuts in the parking lot.

Take it from an experienced writer. (I’m hesitant to say that) Don’t be paralyzed with fear when you are writing. (I am preaching to the choir) Shut off the little, sometimes annoying, internal editor and write your story. Worry about the technical stuff later. As I said before, you can rewrite. The anecdote for writer’s panic, paranoia, or paralysis is to eradicate the fear that’s clutching your brain.

Break free and simply write. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Why I Write

Writing is such a huge part of who I am. I communicate better in a letter, or at least most of the time. Ever since I was nine or ten I have always loved to write. Whether it be short stories, poems, songs, novels, blog posts, articles, or essays. I took a test to see what career I would be good at and I got writer.

I write to express myself.
Oftentimes in my novels, I will touch a subject so that the world will know what my standpoint on this particular subject is. It could be the role of a woman, feminism, abortion, courtship, marriage, grief, and many other things. They say that being a writer is very unveiling. It is true. My true character and my relationship with the Lord manifests itself in my characters. I can’t hide it. I put myself in my characters positions and imagine how I would respond and then write it that way.
Also, writing is very therapeutic for me. If I am overjoyed or overwhelmed about something most of the time I either talk to God or write it down. Once I get it out on paper I can think about it and process it.

I love to create things.
My name means ‘ingenious’ and I heartily enjoy living up to it. When a story idea pops into my head I love exploring it. I will sit and mull over it, finding twists and such. I always make sure to write it down otherwise I may forget about it. Often times, I start writing a novel like that. I have found that is one of the best ways for me to write a novel. With only an idea I will sit down and begin writing. I enjoy finding out the surprises and tying this life and that life together.

I write because I have ideas to share.
I have ideals, and messages that I feel need to be out there in the world for people to read. I often have a character go through a hard experience that I’ve endured so that I can explore those areas of the Christian life; give people an understanding of different aspects of the Christian walk. 
I write not only to give pleasure, but to give my readers food for thought. I want someone to be able to read my books and come away feeling as though they have feasted on truth. God’s truth.

I write to share my experiences with others.
The Lord’s hand is so prevalent in my life that I can’t hide it. I desire to let other people see the mighty things He is doing in my life; the lessons He is teaching me and the miracles He is doing. I want people to be encouraged by what they see. And amazed at what the Lord has done.

I write for the glory of God.
One time, just as an experiment, I tried to write a novel without having any mention of God in it. None of my characters were Christians. I wanted to see if I could do it. The main character fell on hard times and I had to put God in there. I couldn’t write the novel without His presence. I honestly don’t know how people live life without the Lord.
The Lord is the ruler of my life and since He is in that position He desires that my writing reflects Him. The principles, the truths, the teachings, the lessons, every bit of it; it all leads back to Him. It radiates who He is. Or at least, that’s what I try to aim for. Often times I have to get out my Bible and look something up because I want to make sure that it is the truth.
My desire is that people will read my books and want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. They will want to grow closer to Him.
I want to please the Lord with my writing.

It is because of Him that I write.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Prologue: Introductory Post

Writing is a huge part of my life. Ever since I was either nine or ten I have been putting my pen, or pencil, to the paper and creating short stories, poems, novels, blog posts, songs, letters, articles, and essays. To be more accurate, here in the past year, my fingers have been pressing the keys to create these words. 
    Writing comes naturally. Oftentimes I don’t even need an outline when I sit down to write a novel. Give me an idea, hand me my laptop, provide a pot of coffee, and I’ll be set to writing a story. I won’t go into the details of that. I’ll save that for another post.

I do have another blog, A Rose Among Thorns. I started this one a little over two years ago. The reason I didn’t combine the two is because my first blog has its own special purpose. You can read more about that on my post, A New Title, Purpose, and More!
This blog is to be devoted solely to writing. I’ll post my own works for critiquing and review, and hopefully enjoyment, my thoughts, my techniques, do guest posts, and more!

I have a little business that goes hand in hand with this writing blog. For $1.00 a page I will either critique or proofread your book. You can send it hard copy, but you will pay the shipping and handling. Or you can email it to me. I have a special page for this, for more information go to my page here: Critical Care

And now I suppose I should tell you a little bit more about myself. I confess right now, I dislike writing biographies on myself. It’s awkward and yes, embarrassing, but I’ll plow through it anyway.
   I am an eighteen-year-old stay-at-home-daughter. I was homeschooled the whole way through and graduated in May of 2013. My parents and I discussed the idea of me going to college for music and writing, but the Lord did not give either of us peace about it thus I am furthering my education at home.

 I am a piano teacher. My students are wonderful and more than just students. Each and every one of them is a special friend and delight. 

I enjoy baking and have a small business in selling bread and cookies. I’m considering selling pies, but we’ll see what the Lord does. 

I am the fourth born in a wonderfully large family of eleven children.
My family has a singing ministry. We’ve been singing for fourteen years now. You may have heard about us. Our group goes by the name of Long Family Singers. Original, I know.

Lastly, but certainly not the least, I am a born-again Christian. I serve Jesus Christ, my Savior. I made Him Lord of my life when I was seven. He is the One writing my life story. I’ll admit, there are times when I tend to grab the pen out of His hands and try to write it myself, but He does a much better job than I. His ways are not my ways and He proves that over and over.

There is more that I could add to this, but I’ll stop here and let you read more about it in my About the Author page.

I hope you enjoy the blog! Please follow and check back often as I will be writing posts at least once if not twice a week. Check out my other blog, and my business and spread the word.

Thank you and God bless!