Backtracking a bit: My #SparkNA journey

It’s been almost a month since the #SparkNA writing workshop came to a close, and I never really got around to writing about the experience–or I did, but in increments over the past few months–because 1) things got crazy at work, and; 2) I think I’m still in denial that it had already ended.

During our second and last face-to-face class on the 6th of June, our mentor, Mina, asked us to answer three questions: What went right? What went wrong? And: What’s next?

It’s funny how most of our responses were very similar; I guess it’s true what they say about birds of the same feather, haha. Anyway, I think this whole experience merits another round of . . .

Tara’s Takeaways
(The #SparkNA Edition)

  1. Planning isn’t so bad, after all. I’ve been a fan fiction writer since time immemorial (just kidding, maybe since high school?) and I wasn’t really the type to outline my stories from start to finish. I usually have a beginning and an end, and I just sort of wing it from one scene to another until I build a bridge from Point A to Point B. When Mina asked us at the beginning of the workshop to create an outline of our stories, I agonized for days. Because, again, I only had a beginning and an end . . . everything else I was planning to come up with somehow during the two months we were given. Of course that quickly flew out the window when Activity 3 came along. I know majority of the class fretted a lot about it too, but little did we know those damn outlines would be the buoys that’d keep us from drowning eventually.

    Everyone (if I remember correctly, that is) at the last class mentioned “the outline” as the one thing that went right. I did. During the last two weeks before the deadline, I found myself extremely tired after getting home from work and not at all in the correct mindset to write. I did, however, willed myself to type in some chapters, and I had my outline handy all the time so I could check my chapters and see if I was in the right track. I hated forcing myself to write, but I found that it was better to look back at written chapters and figuring out how to make them flow nicely than stare at a blank page and try sprinting to the finish line. So yes, the next time I’m writing something ambitious, you can be sure I’ll be starting with an outline. Thank you, Mina.

  2. Life happens. We just have to be smart about how to deal with it. It’s amazing how much passion for writing everyone in class has. Most of my classmates are working women, some of them with husbands and children to attend to at the end of the day. Some of them are students who had to study for exams, write their theses. Some of them took on new jobs during the time we had #SparkNA, and yet they managed to finish writing entire novels in the span of two months. Sure, we all needed to caffeinate ourselves that day, but I have such respect for everyone after hearing about their “What Went Wrongs.” It really is amazing what one can do when they have their eyes set on something. No matter what life throws at you, you’d really be able to find a way to dodge it, shield yourself from it, or dust yourself off after getting hit. And that’s what we all did. Excellently.
  3. It’s good to have something to look forward to. AKA What’s next for me is already happening as I type. I’ve signed up for a new writing workshop focusing on paranormal and urban fantasy called #StrangeLit, for which I have yet to submit Activity 1. And because work is slaying me slowly, I am also trying to exercise my writing muscles in preparation for said class . . . and that’s in the form of writing short pieces of fiction (on non-fiction) using prompts my friends give me. There’s also this old piece of fan fiction I’m revising and putting up on Wattpad called She Who Must Not Be Loved, and another fan fiction thingy for my friend, Chi Rodriguez, which I’ve started before #SparkNA happened. It remains to be seen whether that one finds a spot on Wattpad, but I’m highly considering it.

    As I’ve mentioned during the last class, I’m still planning a supplement material to my #SparkNA novel, but I’ve put it on the backburner for the meantime. Doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, though. I just need to gather my thoughts about #StrangeLit for the meantime, and then maybe, when my plunny is multiplying by itself, I can start with that supplement, too. So wish me luck!

And oh, oh! I have little gifts for all of my #SparkNA sisters, if you want them–I made badges you can put on your blogs as proud #SparkNA participants or survivors. They’re not much (and they’re late), but I thought that since majority of us have blogs anyway, why not put something on it that’d serve as a small souvenir of our writing journey? So here they are, feel free to save and upload them onto your respective blogs. They’re all transparent so they’d blend well with your backgrounds, but if you want something of a different color, let me know so I can make one for you as soon as I can.

(for everyone, finishers and almost-finishers alike)

Badge1-Yellow Badge1-Violet Badge1-Red Badge1-Pink Badge1-Orange Badge1-Green Badge1-Blue

(for finishers)

Badge2-Blue Badge2-Green Badge2-Orange Badge2-Pink Badge2-Red Badge2-Violet Badge2-Yellow

Congratulations to all of us! And see you guys at th #StrangeLit F2F!

The #SparkNA class officially ended on June 6, 2015 with a total of 31 submissions now being reviewed by Anvil Publishing’s SparkBooks imprint. Here’s hoping we’ll all have 31 brand new New Adult books to read in the next several months!

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      1. LOL. Oh, and I almost forgot – great writing advice about how you need to keep plugging along no matter what life throws at you. 🙂 G’luck with your next ms!

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