Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

And I even managed to finish a day early 🙂 My final word count for the timeframe was 50,114! I didn’t quite finish it completely, there are still four or five plot points I need to cover and then comes the long, arduous process of editing and adding additional detail/scenes/etc. But that’s what December is for… and January, and February, and… well, we’ll try and keep it to February.

And, though my posts in November were few, I wanted to close out my NaNoWriMo experience with a recap: My Top 10 Dos and Don’ts of NaNoWriMo.

  1. DO find your inspiration beverage and use it shamelessly. (Mine? Peppermint hot tea, imported dark beer and/or gingerbread chai tea lattes)
  2. DON’T join a book club in the middle of NaNoWriMo (Found out the hard way)
  3. DO participate fully in the process: take advantage of the website stats, forums, etc. They really do help! But don’t rely on those tools alone for your inspiration. You are your own best writing tool.
  4. DON’T allow well-meaning friends/family to belittle your goal; you decided to silence your inner critic. Don’t let the external critics win, either.
  5. DO share your goal only with those you know will understand your insanity. If you have someone in your life who has done NaNoWriMo before, turn to them for strategies and guidance.
  6. DON’T choose this time to be a grammar nazi. I’m not saying that you should turn to phrases like “ain’t this place some kinda neatoriffic” or “golly gee, whys don’t ya’ll all just walk around in yer underbritches”, unless, of course, that is something one of your characters would actually say. And if that is the case, perhaps you should ask yourself why your character needs to speak that way. Lol.
  7. DO use writeordie! I cannot tell you how many more words I wrote during the blocks I used this website. I don’t know why it works so well; it’s a very simple concept. But I can tell you that it works!!!
  8. DON’T use really, really cheap word count tricks (like copy-pasting the same chapter multiple times). You’ll regret it when you go to rewrite.
  9. DO use only moderately cheap word count tricks 🙂 (such as writing out most of your numbers, not using contractions and giving your characters complicated first names like Sally Anne or Jimmy Jo Bob). Names of places also help. (I have to admit I didn’t actually use these tricks, but I still think they’re acceptable)
  10. DON’T use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to lock yourself in your room and not emerge for 30 days. When all is said and done 1,667 words a day is not that much and it won’t take up your entire life. Unless you get behind and still have 10,000 words left to write with three days to go. Lol. Then it’s a little hairy.
  11. Oh and one more: DON’T stop with 50,000 words! Beef it up, flesh it out, finish that sucker! Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite… Polish, pluck, twist, turn, do whatever you need to do to whip your draft into a passable semblence of a novel and then get it out there!!

All in all, I had a blast and finally rediscovered my love for writing. And I kicked my serious case of writer’s block squarely in the ass. I cannot wait to do it all again next November 😉 And now I’ll leave you with a few final images from my journey:

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  • Chapter 1: 4 pages
  • Chapter 2: 6 pages
  • Chapter 3: 9 pages
  • Chapter 4: 6 pages
  • Chapter 5: 7 pages

Sitting at a little over 23,000 words and about 9,500 behind. I am getting very excited for my kids to get out early on Wednesday, then comes the four-glorious-day weekend coming up!! Lots of hot tea, writing, shopping & random picture-taking. But mostly writing.

On a side note, do you think 21,000 words in was too early for a sex scene? I, for one, do not. However, I will admit that writing a sex scene in Barnes & Noble is slightly awkward. 😉

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Andit is painful and I don’t like it…

So the first week of NaNoWriMo went pretty swimmingly. I managed to silence my inner editor and just write; and surprisingly not everything I wrote was deritivate dreck. There were one or two pretty lengthy passages that, I think, will even make it past my 1st rewrite intact. I wound up only being a couple thousand words behind, which is not bad, all things considered. And I purchased a netbook to help me write away from home (read: distractions like facebook, TV, animals, books I need/want to read and craft supplies) so I felt all optimistic and happy about this week’s prospects. Fast-forward to today.

I am now sitting at slightly over 11,600 words and should be hitting 20,000 tonight to stay on pace to finish my 50,000 by the 30th. I have managed to slide from a couple thousand words behind (mere hours of work) to almost 9k in five days. If I write all day Saturday and Sunday, assuming that I can somehow climb over this giant brick wall of writer’s block and self-criticism, I will probably catch up. Maybe. Or I may just fall further and further behind until I inevitably just throw in the proverbial towel, and papercut myself repeatedly with a cheap self-printed copy of yet another incomplete manuscript. The proverbial towel may come in handy at that point; I’ve heard they are good for sopping up the sweat of failure andsloppy tears of self-pity.

However, on a positive note, I really like one of my main characters. He is strong, passionate, couragious and really pissy when he is mad. I think it is really cute when big, strapping men act like petulant children when their feelings are hurt. I’m not sure that the novel will be finished in 50,000 words (it may require more than that to adequately move the story forward), so far I haven’t really gotten to explore the backstory or the developing relationship between my main male and female characters. And the supplementary characters need some fleshing out and dialog. I will confess that I am a pretty crappy dialog writer. It always sounds so cool & witty when it’s playing out in my head and then I realize once I write it down and read it back that, without the inflections I used in my mind’s ear, it sounds hollow and wierd. I think I need to ask some friends who are legitimate authors how they’ve managed to cross this particular hurdle. Any resource in a crisis, eh?

Ok, now back to my actual task. I am determined to at least cross 12k by the close of the evening. I will need to break for dinner, probably watch a bit of television, read a chapter in a novel… I’m just trying to break this writer’s block and staring at an empty piece of virtual paper on my computer screen is not helping. Here I go; wish me luck, send me good vibes, do a little dance to banish my evil writing trolls, whatever you think will help will be greatly appreciated.

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Not that I have been a very good blogger for the past two months anyway, but since I have signed up to participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), this novel has taken over my life. I originally had two novel ideas in the works, but hadn’t gotten beyond the same 1,000 words each time I tried to work on them. I have this process: I write, I read it. I rewrite. I reread it which leads to another rewrite. Which leads to… insanity. And an empty bag of whatever is in the house that is comprised of chocolate, potato chips, marshmallows or all of the above. And then it starts all over again. It always puts me in mind of “The Song That Never Ends.” (If you now have that song stuck in your inner jukebox, I am sorry. But please know that it torments me as well. Lol)

For those of you who have not heard of NaNoWriMo, here is an explanation from their site:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

So far, I should have about 11,669 words according to the daily pace of 1,667 words to get you to the goal on time. How many words do I actually have? 7,018. And what am I doing instead of writing? Well… writing. But not the right thing. When I am stressed, I tend to deflect my stressor in favor of something completely unnecessary. This time, I am conceding that it really is past time for me to update my blog, so this was kind of necessary, right? Alright, enough whining about my pace and failings; let me let you in on the fun 🙂 Here is a quick synopsis and excerpt from the novel-in-progress.

Synopsis: The Dragon & The Lady

In an age rife with heroes and villains, Gavin Morgan fears he may have a foot in each camp. Plagued by the memories of a brutal war, his brother’s death and a narrowly escaped assassination attempt, Gavin returns to his childhood home of Caedmon’s Keep only to find his sister courted by dozens of suitors, his father bed-ridden with grief and the keep his own responsibility.

The one light on Gavin’s dim horizon is the sister of one of the suitors, the beautiful Fiona Royce. From the moment Gavin laid eyes on Fiona, he resolved that she would be his. But when murderous eyes watch from every shadow, can anything really be that simple?

Excerpt: The Dragon & The Lady

Stretching his long, taut legs, Gavin tested the barely healed battle wound on his left thigh. He had been sitting astride his horse when a lanceman had skewered the leg through, just above the knee. The red, puckered scar still itched with the deep, unseen efforts of healing. The wound had quickly become infected as the battle raged on for nearly a fortnight, and King Richard had offered his personal tent and physician to ensure that Gavin was healed. After eight days of having everything brought to him, Gavin was fairly ready to run from the tent. He even had an attendant to wash him after he used the privy. Och, he thought, who would want someone else to wash his personal bits? It was still a memory that made him cringe, and at that moment Gavin was acutely thankful that no one could see him check to make sure his manhood was decently covered.

A few moments later, Gavin realized that he had once again wandered into his favorite clearing. Thick trees skirted the edges of the sun-dappled clearing; the late summer’s grass was thick and lush under Gavin’s booted feet. When he was a lad, Gavin remembered imposing a rule about entering the clearing. He wanted to do as little damage as possible to his dream-place, and so he dictated that he would have to remove his shoes any time he crossed the sunny threshold into the thicket. Gavin hadn’t removed his boots for pleasure since well before he had left for war. It’s high time that I had some time to relax, Gavin mused. Relaxation surely would not be forthcoming in the days, weeks, and months ahead, with Aileen’s suitors running around the castle, Gavin’s father in poor health and the witch Morgana looking at him with future-sight glazing her eyes. Whatever it was she saw, the sight of it made her look like a pond frog that had eaten one too many flies and turned sickly. He pictured Morgana lecturing him about the treatment his father was receiving, and imagined her flapping tongue darting out of her mouth to capture an unsuspecting insect. Smiling to himself, Gavin sat at the base of a tree and removed his heavy leather boots. Leaning his head against the ancient and crumbling bark, he closed his eyes and let the magic and warmth of the place envelop him. In a short time, Gavin slept a dreamless sleep. Dreams no longer chased his mind in sleep, no. Gavin’s memories plagued him whenever he closed his eyes, and as anyone who has suffered tragedy will tell you, memories are far more vicious, cold-hearted hunters than dreams are wont to be. His mind’s eye began to frame the memory’s shape: a battlefield still raging in the heart of the night, a cold tent, the smells of poorly healed battle wounds, blood and poultices, and a feeling of foreboding.


And now I am going to get back to my actual project. Ok, first I’m going to go make a cup of hot tea, pull out my iPod, check the football scores, play with the cat and mindlessly surf the interwebs, but *then* I’m going to get back to my actual project.

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