Masterlist of #ThursdayAesthetic themes

 

 

 

 

So someone on Twitter asked me for a list of older #ThursdayAesthetic themes for those who are new to the hashtag.

(See this post if you’re wondering what #ThursdayAesthetic is.)

I thought it was a great idea to keep a running list. Thanks @Avery_Marsh for the suggestion! I’m including my own tweets from each week as an example.

4.05.2018: No theme! This was week one, when this all happened.

4.12.2018 Protagonist:

4.19.2018 Villain:

4.26.2018 Setting:

5.03.2018 Fave Supporting Character:

5.10.2018 Future Project:

5.17.2018 Love Interest / Best Friend:

5.24.2018 Beginnings:

5.31.2018 Family:

6.07.2018 Monochromatic:

 

6.14.2018 Black & White:

6.21.2018 Rainbow:

6.28.2018 Yesterday:

7.05.2018 WIP:

7.12.2018 Protagonist: (collab with #PWPoePrompts)

7.19.2018 Antagonist: (collab with #PWPoePrompts)

7.26.2018 Setting:

8.02.2018 Dreams:

8.09.2018 Home:

8.16.2018 Author Life:

8.23.2018 Throwback:

8.30.2018 TBD

9.06.2018 TBD

9.13.2018 TBD

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On Accidentally Starting a Hashtag: Welcome to #ThursdayAesthetic

I’ve been revising for the past month or so. With this revision, I feel like I’m constantly in a place where I love where the story is going, but feel overwhelmed at the amount of words to write. I love this book, but sometimes I kind of hate it.

I rewrote an entire manuscript in a month while working full time. I had a vision, and I couldn’t pace myself. I may have been on the edge of burnout…just don’t follow my example, friends.

I craved a distraction that felt sort of productive. (Not that my rewatch of Parks & Rec was unproductive, but still. There’s only so much Ben Wyatt and April Ludgate can do to improve your mood.)

I turned to Pinterest, as one does, and started bombarding my writer’s group with aesthetics. For the project I was working on, for the project I’ll be revising soon, and even for two projects I haven’t started yet. Clearly I needed an outlet, and the #GuillotineQueens were supportive, as usual.

Then I wrote this fateful tweet:

I wasn’t really thinking anything of it. On April 5th, I posted an aesthetic:

And then something weird happened. My notifications exploded. Hundreds of people were posting aesthetics – and sharing mine. This was my reaction to what was happening on my Twitter feed:

I went back to the aforementioned writer’s group, and they encouraged me to roll with it. I love aesthetics, so I figured it was worth turning this into a thing. I decided we would come back the next week with a theme:

There was even more traffic. And more the following week. I’m just in awe of the reaction to this, and so happy I helped make everyone’s Thursdays a little lovelier (because holy crap, the aesthetics are gorgeous).

So, some frequently asked questions:

How do I participate in #ThursdayAesthetic? Do I have to sign up?

Post a novel/WIP aesthetic on Thursdays. No sign up needed!

Is there a theme? Do I have to follow it?

Yes! And no! I’m not big on rules. I feel like the community owns the hashtag as much as I do. I will be tweeting out themes earlier in the week (so follow me @literarilyjess if you’d like a head’s up) but I don’t want inability to follow a theme to be a deterrent to anyone. The more the merrier!

How do I even make an aesthetic?

Everyone does this a little differently, and I might do a more intensive how-to post in the future, but here’s my process:

1) Go to Pinterest

2) Search for photos using [keyword] + “aes”, ie “Royal aes” or “space aes”

3) Save the photos I like to my phone. (I try to pic photos with a similar theme or color scheme, but it’s not completely necessary if you use an app with filters.)

4) Open a photo collage app (my favorite is Pixlr because it has great filters, but I have friends who use Canva, Picstitch, Instagram Layout, among others)

5) Toss photos into one of the pre-made layouts. Play with size and position until it looks good. Throw a filter on any individual photo that doesn’t quite fit the scheme until the colors are right.

6) Save layout to my phone! And maybe throw another filter on the whole thing if I think it’s needed.

7) Tweet on Thursdays using #ThursdayAesthetic!

Are there any other rules?

Have fun! I love how positive this event has become. You are all amazing and I desperately want to read all of these novels someday.

(Also, if you read all the way to the bottom of this, here’s a secret: the theme for 4.26 is “Setting”, so be ready to show us where your story takes place 😉)

What I’ve learned about revisions

So I’m revising a project…again. I feel like I’m always saying that. And I should be.

As writers, we’re in a constant state of revision. Except when we’re drafting something we’re going to revise later. You cannot escape this reality if you’re in this for the long haul.

But…what the heck does it actually mean to revise?

As a baby writer, I didn’t know the difference between editing and revising. I’d move a few sentences around, swap out synonyms, break up paragraphs, add a comma…

That’s not revision. That’s polishing. It comes later.

If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s that you can’t be attached to anything. Not one line. (Although with my longest running WIP, I can safely say there is only one line I kept from my very first draft.)

You must be ruthless. You aren’t massaging this project or adding a layer of makeup – you’re attacking it with a knife and rearranging its bones to make something beautiful.

Does that sound gruesome? Good. There will be casualties. You must be willing to slice out subplots, kill characters, trash an entire chapter (or act!) and start from scratch when the story needs you to.

This is where you have to dismantle your ego. Is someone telling you this particular scene doesn’t work? You have to ask yourself why, distance yourself enough from the narrative to see what a reader sees in order to make the words on the page do what you intended. You have to get out of the way to let the story unfold.

So yeah. Revising is frustrating.

But there is a joy in the discoveries you can only make while revising. That’s what motivates your character to do that. This is the heart of your story, hiding right in front of you. You can’t learn it all in the first draft.

So…where do you start? Here are some things that work for me:

  1. Read your draft as a reader. If you can afford it, print it out! If not, use Word or Scrivener. You can (and should!) make notes before you make changes, whether in the margins or in a notebook, but resist the urge to actually change anything. Yet.
  2. When you’re ready to make your changes, start with a fresh document. It forces you to rethink every single line you’re adding back in, even if you don’t change one letter. You can’t fall into the trap of just moving text around if you have a blank page.
  3. Start with the big changes first. Resist the urge to line edit when you first must pull out a POV or change the concept behind your premise. This will save you hours of time and tears. Learn from my mistakes.
  4. Ask yourself “what does this scene do for my plot and/or character?” If the answer is “nothing”, cut it. It doesn’t matter how epic/cute/fun/heartbreaking it is. You have 80,000 words to make an impression. That’s less than you think. Every scene matters.
  5. Break tasks into manageable chunks. No, you can’t fix it all in one marathon sitting (believe me, I’ve tried) but you can fix that 2500 word chapter. I promise.
  6. Take care of your mental health. Give yourself breaks. Reward yourself for small victories. Burnout will destroy your career before it starts if you let it. Don’t let it.
  7. Remember that revision will take the time that it takes (unless you’re on a deadline – in which case, arm yourself with coffee, chocolate, and wine). Don’t rush to meet some arbitrary deadline. You owe it to yourself to get this right.

Yes, revising is daunting, but you can do it. I believe in you.

Disclaimer – not all writing advice is advice for everyone. You may not be able to approach revisions the way I do. Maybe you are the magical unicorn who can write a clean first draft (and if so, please share your secrets! I’ll send you cookies.)

[I’ve learned most of this from following other writers. Subscribe to content from people like Susan Dennard and Chuck Wendig. They’re smarter than me.]