Nanowrimo YouTube Video!

Hey guys!

My obligatory OMG I WON NANOWRIMO video is up on YouTube.  There were many, many misadventures in the making of this video, and it is a few days late . . .

In this video I get a new theme song (the Nightcore version of Beast’s song “Fiction”), thank those who got me through the camp (shout-out to my Camp Nanowrimo Cabin Mates dshnaper, Markjragusa, MaladyMandy, bloodelf88, flygirl3, The Rach and Zoe X. Rider), give some writing advice sprinkled with too much information about myself and discuss the details of one of my character’s clothing choices . . .

This video was unscripted . . .  Watch at your own risk.  I don’t do unscripted.  Apparently if you let me talk, weird things come out . . .

In any case, I’m leaving for Quebec tomorrow.  I will see you when I see you (hopefully soon),


Aleksandra Gieralt



OMG! I’m ecstatic! I won camp Nanowrimo today! Well, I beat the word count . . .

That’s the good news . . . The bad news is that I still have three chapters to go to finish the novel, which had already been turned into a trilogy due to my verbose nature . . .

Still, I will spend today gloating, basking in the light of victory. I doubt I’ll finish this novel before my trip to Italy, but the end is near.

To be honest, this time winning feels like relief and sleep-deprivation.

What I can honestly say is that outlining helped a lot. It kept me on track and ensured that I stuck to the the story. Furthermore, I had managed to write in my own style rather than they typical three-act-structure style despite the outlines. I don’t think my story has the “typical Hollywood movie/everything culminates with a final battle/the chosen one is all that matters” feel to it that I feared a three act structure would give me. Not that there won’t be a final battle . . .

My other advice for Wrimos is to be passionate about the story, to write something you love. Nanowrimo is about forcing yourself to write, but it should first and foremost be about loving your story. I know I love mine, although I’m not happy with it at all at the moment. I love my characters, I love my outlines, I love the direction in which my plot is headed, I love my symbolism, I love my setting. I don’t particularly love the words I chose to describe it . . . but that’s a different story 😛

Thanks to all those who encouraged and inspired me!

Your writerly,


Its about time . . . the first outline

Hey guys!

As you probably well know, I am using Katytastic’s three act structure of writing. My story also goes through three outlining phases: the basic outline, the detailed outline and the individual chapter outlines. Today I’m sharing my basic outline and outlining structure.

However, I would ask you guys to please bear with me – there will be MANY spelling and grammar mistakes, seeing as how it is an outline.

Before we move on to my particular outline, here’s a link to Katytastic’s video:


Her basic outlining structure:
Act 1 – Set up
Set up – introduce the hero and their world and their problem
Conflict – how the inciting incident changes the hero’s life
Resolution – the hero’s life is changed and they are pushed into a new world
Act 2 – Conflict
Set up – Hero experiences new world
Conflict – hero encounters a crisis of the new world and evolves/changes
Resolution – hero transformed and dedicated to finding solution
Act 3 – Resolution
Set up – hero faces trials
Conflict – hero must find the power within themselves to take action
Resolution – solution to all this

Three Acts, Nine Blocks
Act 1 – Introductions, Inciting Incident, Push/Pinch
Act 2 – New/Old Contrast, Midpoint (point of reversal, decide to take action), Action/Dedication
Act 3 – Pinch/Darkest moment, Power within/converge, climax/resolution

Act 1
Set up – Introduce Hero and ordinary world
Introduction (set up)
Inciting Incident (conflict)
Immediate Reaction (resolution)

Conflict – A problem disrupts the Hero’s life
Reaction (set up)
Action (conflict)
Consequence (resolution)

Resolution – Hero’s life has changed direction
Pressure (set up)
Pinch (conflict)
Push (resolution)

Act 2
Set up – Hero explores new world
New World (set up)
Fun and games (event/conflict)
Old world contrast (resolution)

Conflict – Hero encounters crisis of new world
Build up (set up)
Midpoint (conflict)
Reversal (resolution)

Resolution – Hero dedicates to finding solution
Reaction (set up)
Action (conflict)
Dedication (resolution)

Set up – hero faces defeat, victory seems impossible
Trials (set up)
Pinch (event/conflict)
Darkest moment (resolution)

Conflict – Hero must find power and take action
Power within (set up)
Action (conflict)
Converge (resolution)

Resolution – hero fights and wins, resolving quest
Battle (set up)
Climax (conflict)
Resolution (resolution)

While I have many issues with the three act nine block structure, it has turned out to be a great resource for a writer such as myself who loves her tangents and whose characters never listen to what she wants them to do! I figured that the only way for me to actually buckle down and write was to outline first. How that ended up . . . well . . . let’s just say that that blog post is coming soon.

However, for now, here’s my first, very rough, very spelling mistake laden, outline of my own take on Beauty and the Beast:
Act I: [Introducing Monster Hunter World
Set up – Introduce Hero [Belle] and ordinary world [small provincial town]
Introduction [Introduce Belle’s family – monster hunters – and their small provincial town life]
Inciting Incident (conflict) [A monster attacks the village]
Immediate Reaction (resolution) [Belle, her brothers, and Gaston defeat it]

Conflict – A problem disrupts the Hero’s life [Belle meets the Beast]
Reaction (set up) [Belle’s father goes after the Prince who is a feared monster]
Action (conflict) [Belle’s father is caught stealing a rose from the monster]
Consequence (resolution) [The monster lets him go in exchange for one of his daughters]

Resolution – Hero’s life has changed direction
Pressure (set up) [Belle agrees to take her father’s place as the monster’s prisoner]
Pinch (conflict) [Belle meets the monster]
Push (resolution) [Belle confirms that she will stay in the castle]

Act II: [Belle in the Beast’s Castle]
Set up – Hero [Belle] explores new world [The Beast’s Castle]
New World (set up) [Belle befriends the servants/objects in the mirrors]
Fun and games (event/conflict) [one of them, a porcelain shepherdess, has lost her boyfriend, a porcelain shepherd – the Beast overhears and agrees to help]
Old world contrast (resolution) [Belle and the Beast find the shepherd boy in the attic after searching through all the rooms and making friends]

Conflict – Hero encounters crisis of new world [Belle wants to cure the Beast]
Build up (set up) – Belle spends her nights in the library that the Beast gave her, pouring over books
Midpoint (conflict) – Belle finds the cure to the Beast’s problem – true love – she decides that she and the Beast will help people who get lost in the forest. The Beast agrees
Reversal (resolution) – They fight off some wolves and a small family accepts the Beast for who he is. He does not change.

Resolution – Hero dedicates to finding solution [Belle is dedicated to saving the Beast]
Reaction (set up) – Christmas is coming but the Beast does not want to celebrate. He lets Belle and the servants take charge but withdraws from the festivities
Action (conflict) – Belle prepares for Christmas while coaxing some of the Beast’s story out of the servants
Dedication (resolution) – They have a grand Christmas ball at which Belle is about to agree to marry the Beast, but, in the spirit of Christmas, the Beast sets her free. She is reluctant until she sees that her father is dying in one of the Beast’s mirrors

Act III: [Belle and the Beast get together]
Set up – hero [Belle] faces defeat, victory [freeing the Beast from his curse] seems impossible
Trials (set up) – Belle arrives just in time to stop a monster attack on her father
Pinch (event/conflict) – Belle brings her father home, but her sisters grow jealous of her new jewels and plot against her with “Gaston”
Darkest moment (resolution) – “Gaston” asks Belle to marry her and her father, brothers and sisters are compelling her to agree

Conflict – Hero [Belle] must find power and take action [Return to the Beast]
Power within (set up) – Belle is missing the Beast and decides to escape. In the mean time, the Beast musters up the courage to come after her
Action (conflict) – Belle attempts her escape
Converge (resolution) – Belle finds the Beast miserable in the forest. Belle’s father and brother see that they love each other

Resolution – hero [Belle] fights and wins, resolving quest [Wedding of Beauty and the Beast]
Battle (set up) – Belle’s father and brothers see her love for the beast and decide to side with her. Many side with Gaston.
Climax (conflict) – There’s a fearsome battle between the Beast and the monster hunter family and the angry mob. Belle joins in the fight despite her family’s warning. The Beast dives in to protect her but is slain. More people attack Belle, but her two sisters get in the way. Belle mourns the Beast
Resolution (resolution) – Belle and the Beast get married

Camp Nanowrimo . . . the story so far

Hey guys!

Sorry I haven’t been updating here daily as I promised . . . I’ve been a bit busy writing for Nanowrimo . . . I have finally crossed the 15 000 word threshold, which I had hoped to cross on July 3 . . . However, I am ahead in word count!

I other good news – I have the most amazing cabin possible this year. They’re all so enthusiastic about their stories and so chatty too! I have added two of my Nano friends on Twitter!

Unfortunately, my creative juices are running low at this hour in the night (as evidenced by the fact that I’m using the phrase ‘creative juices’), and, therefore, I have no interesting topic to share today . . . I am not the most interesting of bloggers . . .

What I can say however is that I have a feeling that my own version of Beauty and the Beast will end up being that most dreaded of all young adult stories – the trilogy. Beauty and the Beast in fact checks off most of the boxes for YA “no nos” – there’s a love triangle (not in the original, but in many of the subsequent versions) and a paranormal romance. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if half of modern YA was inspired by a certain beautiful French girl and her giant furry friend.

There is one important difference between my story and other YA paranormal romance: namely, that it is not YA. I’m writing a story for the kiddies (although, so far, its coming out darker than I had intended. The first section is the darkest for reasons I will not reveal today). I want to read a story with a positive message and admirable heroes that kids can look up to that is an alternative to Disney. Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney. I am most definitely not one of those Disney bashers. Beauty and the Beast and Frozen are two of my favourite movies, and Darkwing Duck is the best thing ever made. However, I don’t like the idea of Disney, or any other film version of a book for that matter, to be a replacement for reading. I say – let the kids watch their Disney (and us adults to), but let there also be books. I decided to write my own versions of fairy tales because I see so many parents deciding to settle their kids down in front of a TV and let the TV do the story telling for them. I think it stifles creativity rather than encourages it.

But enough about me ranting. The moral of the rant is basically that I, like all writers, am writing a book which I hope will be read, which is not much of a moral at all, rather a statement of the obvious, meaning that its late and I had better get my bum off to bed.

Good night!


Camp Nanowrimo is tomorrow!

Oh.  My.  Gosh!


For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a writing contest, the goal of which is to write the first draft of a book.  In the case of Nanowirmo (November), it is strictly a novel/novella writing contest in which the word goal is 50, 000 words.  In the case of Camp Nanowrimo, it is a book/story writing contest in which writers can set their own word goals.  My personal word goal is the typical 50, 000 words

For those who haven’t signed up yet, here’s a link:

I have just been assigned my cabin – I am with 12 other lovely writers, and some of them are . . . chatty!  I think this will be a very encouraging bunch.

For those who are thinking of signing up, here’s a list of things you need:

1) Writing material (computer, pencil, pen, paper, keyboard, crayons, post-it notes, notebooks, spray paint . . . whatever medium you prefer).

2) Coffee.  If you haven’t started drinking it yet, you will.

3) A smile and a positive attitude.

4)  It helps to have encouraging friends.  You can find those @Nanowrimo on Twitter, in the forums, and, of course, by messaging me.  Youtubers give a lot of encouragement as well.  I find Katytastic’s, Little Book Owl’s and Christine Horner’s videos particularly helpful.

5) Story ideas.  Don’t worry, these will come to you.  I find it best to have an outline, but some have “pantsed” Nanowrimo and won.

See you all soon!


Rereading The Fault in Our Stars

So . . .  Seeing as how I don’t get to see the movie The Fault in our Stars for another two weeks, I’ve decided to reread the book.

For those who don’t know, The Fault in our Stars is a book by John Green, one half of the vlogbrothers.  Its extremely popular and those who haven’t read it probably consider it to be overhyped.  It’s not.  Trust me.  I thought that it was merely popular because of “Nerdfighters” (the vlogbrother’s YouTube subculture – yes, they created their own subculture, which is pretty badass if you ask me), but its not.  It’s actually a very good book – one of the best fiction books I’ve read during my university career.  When I watched this video of John Green reading the first chapter of his book: I knew I went straight over to Chapters and got myself a signed copy of the book.  It was worth the price.

The story itself is about two teenage cancer patients who fall in love.  There are a few similarities to A Walk to Remember: I’d say The Fault in Our Stars is more gritty and realistic, although it’s still quite an idealistic story (which suits me just fine: I’m an idealist 😛  Deal with it *cue cute cat pictures and motivational quotes*).  There’s a little teen angst but a lot of humor – a lot more humor than I expected given the subject matter – but it’s very tasteful and very realistic.  I was surprised at how well John Green captured the voice of a teenage girl.  Hazel Grace Lancaster has, in my opinion, a very realistic narrative voice.  I’m always anxious about writing male protagonists, especially in first person, so John Green gets a lot of respect for having the guts to make his narrator not only female, but young, in love, and dealing with a problem he probably never had.

While the story has many, many little morals thrown sprinkled throughout its plot (ex. how to deal with the possibility of impending oblivion), in my opinion the main themes are love, sacrifice, the desire to leave a lasting mark on the world, and the humanizing of people who we normally consider “other,” in this case, cancer patients.  Hazel and Gus are sick, they are suffering, and their pain is not ignored: it’s real, it’s there, the author does not shy away from describing it.  However, they are not first and foremost humans, not cancer survivors, and the majority of their problems come from being human and a large portion come from being teenagers: cancer only amplifies the angst and existential crises that they would have experienced nonetheless.

I could go on and on about The Fault in Our Stars.  I probably will at a later date.  But to end my ravings of a mad woman, I will merely say: read it.  You won’t regret it.

Your bookish,

Aleksandra Gieralt