Did you say 50 000 words and 3 books?

writing the shapeshifters

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog… Let’s talk about writing.

November came and went, and so did NaNoWriMo. You know, the challenge where we corner ourselves into writing 50 000 words in one month, and then get pretty upset when that shit doesn’t happen.

This year, I came up half short on the word count — 25 400, was the tally at Nov.30th.

But there’s no problem AT ALL.

The previous book took two NaNoWriMo’s to get to it’s “final” form, so I’m kind of used to taking a really long time in completing a writing project.

I’m currently working on my second novel for The Shapeshifters World. First book took three years in the making and it’s pretty much done. Just a bit of fiddling after the third book is complete, so that I can erase the unforeseens. Yes, I am a detail tweaking maniac, but I intent to produce the best book I can, so… to tweak it is.

At this point in time the status of the situation is:

The Shapeshifters #1 (which has a secret book title only to disclose if I’ll manage to publish) is complete and I’m very happy to have finish it. Truth be told, I did not imagined it could be such a arduous ride. And it is subject to final tweaks, as previously mentioned.

The Shapeshifters #2 (also book title is a secret) is on the way, almost halfway written, on his zero draft. It has diverted from the initial idea plot wise, but these characters have been talking to me… And I will listen! We should listen to our work (tip for future me) before it starts talking in batshit mode and get us stuck on a “and now what?!” type of conundrum.

The Shapeshifters #3 is also growing. Initial plots and plans have altered, and grew a bit, as it should. But this one is a future me problem, so… onward.

So, this is the plan, for now: just keep going.

To be able to write this story has been something very powerful. Time, effort, skills, learning… it all enters the pot before something (a book) can come out of it. I have been playing with some fears, some stories, some happenings, and it’s one hell of a ride home.

To find my Home in my Writing, and make it my Work, is a magical force, made of all the on goings, the smooth, the tempests, the it is what it is moments.

And it’s all worth it.

What have you been writing? Tell me everything in the comments section below!

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Bye and Keep Writing! ✍🏼

Self-taught work and making our way through this life


We learn to write in school. Most of us did, anyway.

There we learned the basics, did the work to acquire what was on the school program, and become functional in this area of knowledge.

We read the required works and, if we are lucky, we find some books that hook us into reading outside school… and if we are really lucky, we start to enjoy all the written papers we are assigned to do, and all chances to try new things out in this domain.

This was how I started to like poetry. By myself and having the opportunity to use it on school papers.

But when school is over, and college options were not our heart’s choices, we get to real life and start realising that if we want to know more about one particular subject, we have to go find the information by ourselves…

There will be no more holding hands to help us cross the street.

At the time most of us didn’t know we should have chosen other path more aligned with our personal tastes. And surely didn’t know that we should learn for and by ourselves.

Corporate life gives us a good once over on fitting in, not on being our best and standing out. And during the first decade of it we still had dreams. We worked in a kind of well paid, for the current standards, corporate job and took every hit in the head, believing that it was what we were supposed to do.

All that we learn, serves us. Nobody can open our heads in half and stuck information there for us to use later.

Maybe we have more inclination to learn certain things, or find more pleasure in knowing more about this, and not so much about that. And this is okay. We should choose to learn primarily things that we like.

But we also have a fair amount of will to accept that learning some things require a little more effort on our part.

And this may not be easy but it is essential to get to where we want to be. We have to go through a lot of new experiences to find out the right moment and the process that works for us.

For me, it happened with blogs and social media, and now it evolved to other kinds of platforms with different ways, but the same purposes.

I like to think of myself as a self-taught person in many ways. An autodidact in my arts and life. After all, I do not have any special training in writing, mixed media drawings, crafting, photography, filming, or any of the other things I love to do and keep learning about.

I just had a need, and the will to pursue its basics, in order to learn what I thought I needed at the time.

Hell, sometimes I find myself quite innocently in most worldly subjects and have no other choice but to learn by force. But this is another subject altogether.

We can only see what we see. There are no fast track to encompass all learnings and become wise.

And it’s these things that I incline myself towards that are the most enjoyable to learn, even if they’re not the easiest ones.

I have taught myself how to write all my life. Through books, practicing my craft, online courses, other writers, writing and researching about writing.

I have taught myself how to create and maintain a blog. Even a bit of code, when needed. I have taught myself to grow through all my blogs.

I have taught myself to use design tools and to curate my own content.

I have taught myself how to take photographs for specific purposes. Finding what serves the things I’m interested about, in a non-commercial kind of way. All my content is an expression on myself as an individual.

I have taught myself how to make, and edit videos, how to use different software to support the blog and online presence, social media need-to-knows, and I keep investigating other things.

I find that my writing requires more than just a half a dozen novels, a pile of short-stories or some poetry available in print.

And I am always trying to incorporate value through these other parts of my craft that I came to see as parts of my writing.

Is it perfect? Hell, no! But I show up everyday, determined to learn and to do my best.

This text right here is one more piece of this enormous puzzle. I have been in love with the English language since I learned to read and write. I practiced both Portuguese, through school, and English, by my own will.

I read tons in English and sometimes have trouble in known how to translate words from EN to PT, which usually gets me the evil eye from people around me…

Sometimes I find myself wishing I could write more in my second, that sometimes feels like my first, language. But my blog is mainly in Portuguese safe for a few English articles that I managed to squeeze in now and then.

And I haven’t been able to muster the courage to devote myself to a new blog. One that would have fewer traction and a worldly competition.

And I finally Have sent all those thoughts to hell.

So here I am, in a writer.sarafarinha.com virtual space, hoping to share some of my writing boggles, achievements and challenges and truly hoping to hear some of yours.

And here I am, finishing my first english written book (with 77600 words for now), the first of what I intend to be a trilogy.

Self-taught is the way!

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

Pantser into Plotter

pantser into plotter

I guess as time passes, and we get to practice more and more of our writing, some things about ourselves are bound to change.

It’s not by chance that most writers start as pantsers and after a while evolve into plotters.

Why? I’ll tell you as much as I’ve lived it. 

something about yourself

I don’t believe this was meant to be taken literally. But, yes. When we start to write our first novel we discover many different things about ourselves.

Not all of them are as deep as implied here. But most most of them are of the life changing variety. 

The 4 Creative Paradigms

Picking up on the Creative Paradigms as explored on ‘Writing Fiction from Dummies’, meaning the methods we may use while writing the first and subsequent drafts, we have:

  • Seat-of-the-pants (write in one sitting, without planning or editing)
  • Edit-as-you-go (write without planning but edit thoroughly as you go)
  • Snowflake (write a general plan, adapting it as you go)
  • Outline (make a detailed plan, than stick to it regardless)

Our beliefs

When we start writing we want to be good immediately. We want to become the best. We learn how to do some tricks (those things that we read and thought them out of this world good) and pray they carry us into an organic, and not too troublesome, writing practice.

But, at that time, we hadn’t put in the how many?!?!?! working hours we need to have some proper insights on the work itself.

The pantser kind of is our first and most dearest friend. And he can stay that way if used for the parts where he does his best work, like imagining a plot.

So, a pantser writes his stories using the Seat-of-the-pants creative paradigm. A pantser writes fast, without planning much, making it up as he goes along.

A plotter write his stories using the Outline creative paradigm.

A plotter uses outlines to plan and write his story. He works out the kinks before getting himself into the trouble of writing a full draft.

My journey

Looking into my own writing practices, I have used all of the different creative paradigms.

Experimenting on what best fits my writing needs, seems to be my method, and I use them in different parts of the writing process also.

I believe it’s a good thing to respect each project and leave to it to dictate which method would serve him best. There are projects that ask for a quick plotting session and others that are best left to the heat of the moment inspiration.

But, one thing I had been noticing in my writing practice, other than it evolve regardless of should’s and shouldn’ts, is that each project seems to ask from me a different creative approach

As I’ve been working on different lengths and types of stories, I understood that some require a bit more planning from the get going than others. As well as, some ask for more improvisation in order to flush out more creative ideas.

Also, there’s a creative paradigm more fit for a first draft of a story, and another quite different, for a second or third drafts. Why? Some give us more leverage to explore, while others are more suited for working out the things that aren’t good enough.


I had been using all of them, sometimes both pantser and plotter on the same writing project, just in different phases (drafts or composition materials) of it.

But I kind of figured out that, when we start writing, and have a practice for some years, we get to evolve naturally into using more wholesome writing methods. 

We do not have the thrill of the major plot twist. I mean it in a sense of spilling everything onto the page with just that big goal in mind, not delivering on all the other requirements for a good story.

With practice we get to appreciate the composition of the story as a whole. Enjoying it best when we can work out all the details that will help us deliver that plot twist emotion seamlessly.

And it’s kind of easier to draft an entire novel if we have the guidelines previously written out.

Writing an extensive piece of literature is a tiring long run, a marathon, not a sprint. If we have the road clear, and all set up, we can walk it until the finish line, without many path corrections.

But I believe, the important thing to retain in this subject is: we show up to our work, we practice, we experiment, we write stories and we evolve as writers. Then, the creative paradigm will be our own, perfectly suited for our way of writing and being.

Hope you’re doing well and participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo. If so, how’s your project going?

Please leave a comment and subscribe for more content.

Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼


References ✍🏼