Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Writin' Like A Fool: My Writing Experience!

Hello, fellow bloggers!

Yes, I am still alive and active in the nerd world! I know I haven't made a post since Christmas and for that I am very sorry! BUT, I must say that I have a very good excuse for being absent. For the past two months I've been working on something that has been taking up most of my time, therefore preventing me from weekly blog posts. I've told some of my Twitter friends already but for those who don't know, I shall make it clear.


Yep, that's what I'm going with! This is the part of the post where I'm going to tell a long story about my first novel-writing experience. So sit back and enjoy!

Most of you know about the annual writing program, NaNoWriMo. (For those who don't, it's a yearly event during which writers are pushed to their limits to try and write 50k words of a novel. It's a motivational program that helps writers start get their ideas typed out and just start writing.) I had heard of NaNoWriMo before when bestselling author Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles Series) posted about her experience with the program. That was in 2012, shortly after her first novel was published. 
Needless to say, November really crept up on me in 2013 and somehow NaNoWriMo completely slipped my mind until November 4th, when I suddenly started seeing billions of tweets with the #NaNo hashtag. 

I totally freaked out because I felt so behind. Then I quickly made an account and wrote 4k words that day. It took me a couple days to catch up, but I was soon back on track. Then something so normal yet terrifying occurred; LIFE HAPPENED. 
You think I wrote peacefully everyday until I reached the 50k point, then sat back in a recliner and drank apple juice (because I'm a minor) for the rest of the month? Excuse me for a moment.

 I will be the first to admit that I did NOT reach 50k words in November because I am kind of social, so I stupidly packed my November with parties, get togethers, and other social gatherings. So I only got around to writing 28k. Pathetic, I know. From there, everything started going a lot smoother, since there wasn't a deadline. I wrote about a thousand words for a few days and then kind of forgot about writing. Then I took a two week break for Christmas and New Year's because of my crazy busy life. But now I'm on a writing schedule and I'm planning on finishing the first draft of my novel this month!

Anyways, writing my own novel has been totally different than what I expected! Some things that I thought would be hard turn out to be easier, and at the same time, parts that I thought would be easy, have turned out to be a lot more complex than I was expecting. 

 Before I started writing, I would always look up other author's stories. Mostly to find out how they became an author, and what their style is. As far as outlining, I'd always look at them and inwardly say "Dang, I wish I could be that organized." As it turns out, when I started writing I was also writing down little tidbits in my Notes on my iPod. Just random facts, character traits, and occurrences that will appear in the novel. Then I frustrated myself with my disorganization and put all the notes in order, like a timeline. 
As I did that, it suddenly hit me. Hey, this is kind of outlining! So I guess am sort of a planner, but my outline changed CONSTANTLY and it is still changing! The story has been telling itself, all I've had to do is listen to it and write that sucker down!
BUT! There have, of course, been times when I had no idea what would happen next and I felt like giving up. But I never allowed myself to do so because I believe I am capable of anything through God, motivation and a positive attitude!

Thanks, Dwight.


At first I thought that I was supposed to map out each and every characteristic of every person that appears in my story. But that quickly changed when I started writing! Through time, my characters started to surprise me with the things they said and did. Your characters are their own individuals, so allow them to be themselves! Let them express who they are and surprise you sometimes. Now that I'm over halfway done with my novel, I can pretty much predict what my characters will do. I'm very attached to each one of them (yes, even the antagonists) but I will not hesitate to kill anyone off if the plot demands it!
As a side note, something that's important to me in a great book are powerful quotes. Quotes that give you chills they're so cool, or the kind of quotes that are so mind-blowing and complex that you have no idea what to think anymore like

If there's one thing that I've learned while writing, it's that nothing EVER goes the way you originally plan it. At least, that's what has happened for me so far. You may have better luck! No matter what, you just have to keep writing and know that there's a light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel of writing and editing (which I haven't gotten to yet).

BTW I am not writing this post talking about how experienced I am in writing! When I say 'experience' I'm talking about what I am currently experiencing! Please feel free to give me any writing tips or blog post critiques! 

Thanks for reading! I love you guys!



  1. Ooo! I love this post, Matt!

    I certainly wish I was able to continue writing after NaNo, but while I love NaNo, it also burns me out. (Also, I participate in a similar type of challenge but for songwriting in February, so I break for December, then start getting back into songwriting in January.) But I'm so glad to hear that you're making such great progress! (I seriously can't wait to a) finish that chapter you sent me and b) read the entire piece someday!)

    I definitely agree with the point about characters writing themselves. I had this general idea of what I wanted my characters to be like, but as I started changing my plot, the characters did what they wanted. They wrote their own dialogue. And I just went with it, and one of my favorite characters to write in my WIP was originally just a really minor character!

    Same goes for planning. I do plan and outline, at least a little bit for NaNo, but I don't necessarily stick to it. It can make it a little scary to tackle some of the middle and end stuff when it's so different from how you wanted it to be, but I've found that you always figure it out in the end. And that feels amazing.

    Good luck with your writing and editing (gahh! I've started editing and sent it to a friend to critique, but it just sounds so...scary, to be honest)!

    1. YOU DIDN'T TELL ME YOU'RE WRITING A BOOK TOO! Woo hoo! I would LOVE to have any kind of teaser of it when you're done! I'm already excited!

      I'm glad you liked my post! I had fun composing it. I probably have wrongs opinions on some of the things I said about writing, but that's what I think about writing SO FAR! ;)

      When I'm done writing and editing a few things, I'll also take it to a friend to be critiqued. From there I have no idea what to do, but that's what author friends are for! A few people have already told me that they'd gladly tell me the whole process of publishing their book. I REALLY want my novel to be published through HarperTeen! Mostly because some of my favorites came from them, but also because that would mean Margo and Aubrey (the Tea Time girls) would be helping promote it, which would be totally EPIC!

  2. Love this post! And the pics! :) I'm so glad you started writing this book and that you're determined to finish it! That makes me really happy. AND I'm glad that I get to go along for the ride of this whole process. When you're rich and famous I get to brag that I was the first (or second) person to read this book! Whoop-Whoop!!! I'm friends with Matt Keenan! Lol

    1. I'm thrilled you liked the post! And I'm also very glad to have you along the ride of writing a book. You were, in fact, the very first person to read my story! I shall definitely become rich and famous and I will not forget you :)

    2. Thank the Lord that one day you just happened to be sick and decide to write a story! :) You still have the original, right? You better.

    3. Mr. Keenan, it is integral to my mental health that you continue writing at your current pace. Current meaning however much you wrote the day before yesterday. I am so into your book it's ridiculous. :)

  3. Hey, Matt!

    This was a really cool post to read- I totally agree with what you said about outlining! I just wish my process was the same as yours, haha! Mine was much less organized- I had a conglomerate of character sketches, quotes and scene sketches that I had typed up on my iPod over the course of the summer, and that was (and continues to be) my outline. However, since our characters do tend to write themselves, I think my lack of outlining will balance out eventually!

    I can't wait to read excerpts from your novel (and then the whole thing when it's done!). I'm sure you're a fantastic writer, and I think you'll go far!


    1. P.S. I loved your use of GIFs in this post- I couldn't stop laughing! :P

      P.P.S. Thanks for our Twitter conversation a couple of days ago- it was awesome to chat with you! :)

    2. I am so relieved that it made sense to other people! Thank you for the encouragement, I always appreciate that! I've talked a lot about organization with authors and they've all told me that I will never be the organized person I strive to be. Everything always ends up going it's own way, so I'm not holding it back ;)

      I'm so glad! I always enjoy chatting with bloggers and followers so Tweet at me anytime! I'm not gonna lie, the word "excerpt" just made my heart do a little tap dance! I'm not nervous, I'm excited to actually be accomplishing one of my dreams! Thanks again!