Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nano's over. Now what?

NaNoWriMo is officially over, no matter how much i wish it wasn't, and I am determined to keep the momentum of November going strong as long as possible.

I attended a free webinar hosted by Writer's Digest today called Novel Revision: Craft a Story Readers Can't Put Down by the great James Scott Bell. It was incredibly informative and answered a lot of questions that I've had about the revision process that have been haunting me for years. But it also prompted me to notice that I still haven't finished my novel yet. At least not really. 

To date my Nano novel, that I'm tentatively calling Warrior Born (I have another name in mind but I'm keeping that one to myself for a while) has 64,519 words but it's not quite finished yet. I have a feeling that it's going to be a beast that I'll need to cut down, but I anticipated that. I tend to get a little bit wordy during Nano. 

During the Webinar, someone asked a question about how long it takes James to write a book. His reply was about three months. He said he has a set goal for the week that he writes everyday. Of course you know, if you've read any of my previous posts that I've been trying to write a certain number of words everyday. I can honestly say that I have indeed been writing everyday but it's not what it was during November. 

I don't know what it is, but as soon as the calendar page turns over and December begins it's like all the magic that keeps your momentum and enthusiasm toward writing just evaporates and all I'm left with are good intentions and a measly word count that is very long in coming. It's like all my discipline goes away and I just excuse myself everyday with not writing as many words or i get caught up in something else and it consumes all my attention [coughs]thewalkingdead[/coughs]. But I am determined to continue on in the quest of wrapping up my novel.

(seriously is there anything better than this?)

James further explained how to determine your ideal goal word count for the week. He said you take the number of words you think you can write in a week and add ten percent to equal your ideal word count for the week. I used his method to come up with my ideal word count. I figure I can write 7000 words a week. 

 7000 + 10% = 7700 words

I have decided to write those words Monday through Friday so my daily word count is going to be 1,540 words a day. I still plan on writing on weekends but I would also like some time when I don't have to feel obligated to write and can just do it if  the mood strikes. So that's the plan, we will see how it goes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


So here's the playlist that I listened to while writing Warrior Born this Nano.

Lions in Cages by Wolf Gang
Mouths to Feed by The Epochs
Safe/Pain by Strangers
Safe/Pain (Youan Remix) by Strangers
Overjoyed by Bastille
VarĂșĂ° by Sigur Ros
Everyone Alive Wants Answers by Colleen
Your Hand in Mine by Explosions in the Sky
Gotta Figure This Out by Erin McCarley
To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra
While the Fire Was Out by Brighten
Youth by Daughter
Light Up The Sky by Yellowcard
Brielle by Sky Sailing
Silvia by Miike Snow
In Search of by Miike Snow
Graveyard by Feist
We Need Fear by Alcoholic Faith Mission
Life Is Life by Noah and the Whale
I Already Forgot Everything You Said by The Dig
Doorway by Civil Twilight
Don't Panic by Coldplay
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (DJ Downfall Remix) by The Postal Service
Let It Be by Blackmill
Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club
Lucid Truth by Blackmill
Arms by Christina Perri
Satellite Heart by Anya Marina
Eet by Regina Specktor
You Picked Me by A Fine Frenzy
Title and Registration by Death Cab For Cutie
A drop In the Ocean by Ron Pope
Have You Got It In You? by Imogen Heap
Where I Stood by Missy Higgins
Warm Whispers by Missy Higgins
I Never Told You by Colbie Caillat
From Where You Are by Lifehouse
Rawnald Gregory Erikson the Second by Starf*cker
Isabella of Castile by Starf*cker
Picasso by The Cinema
Come Back Down by Keane
Spiraling by Colleen
Gone by Vacationer
Tamer Animals by Other Lives

Losing you by Solange Knowles
Bittersweet by Ellie Goulding
Halcyon [album] by Ellie Goulding
Home by Phillip Phillips
Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips
Eyes Wide Open by Gotye
Hanging On by Active Child
Mountains by Biffy Clyro
Wolves by The Good Natured
Body Work by Morgan Page
Heavy Cross by Gossip
Sleep Alone by Two Door Cinema Club
Medicine by Daughter

On Writing--November

So late getting this one out, but there really wasn't very much time for checking out blogs during November. 

#Nanowrimo Outlining Your Story --Bob Mayer talks about the merits of outlining.
Thinking in Multiple Drafts --Steven Pressfield on how you can't do everything in one draft.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Only Five Days Left

With only five days left until the end of Nano 2012 I'm so pleased to say that I'm a winner!

That's right, my official word count right now is 50,046 words. I'm not sure if it will stay that way because I'm already feeling like i should still be writing right now. I've been on a write from 10p.m to 12a.m schedule lately and I still feel like i should continue with that. So since we have four days of Nano left i think I'm going to keep on writing. Wouldn't want to waste a good schedule right?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nano Day 14

  So it's almost the mid way point of Nanowrimo ( I can't believe it!) and I find myself wanting to almost anything other than putting fingers to keys and writing. Seriously, anything seems more appealing than sitting down and typing the story that's inside my head. I've only just reached the end of the first act in my novel and already I'm running out of steam. 

    As you can see if you look at my chart above all that extra wordage I wrote in the early days of Nano are slowly dwindling and I've found myself without that safety net today. So I've decided to withhold the last two episodes of The Vampire Diaries Season 3 (yes I'm behind, but I like to wait until they come on Netflix and watch them back to back in a pseudo marathon) until I have at least written 3k today. I think it's pretty good motivation because I really want to see how they'll deal with [SPOILERS] Bonnie feeding Alaric and thus waking up his dark side/original vampire hunter weapon side [/SPOILERS].
     Another problem I'm facing is the fact that I'm running out of scenes that I know need to be written. When I began plotting in October, I had a certain list of things that I knew needed to happen right away and now that I've exhausted that list I really don't know what to do next. I guess this is where the pantsting (?) comes in. Wish me luck.

---Edited 11:19 P.M
 3k done!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nano Day 1

So here we are, It's day number one and I can honestly say that I am incredibly enthusiastic about what transpired all day. I stayed up until midnight last night so that I could go ahead and begin writing just as the start. My region was hosting an online kick off party that I joined in on the first time and it was a blast! Just having that little bit of communication with others who are doing the same thing is truly awesome. So I suggest, if you've never been to an actual write in (like me) or kick off party I really think the online kick off really gave me a burst of momentum. I was able to write 1,738 words in an hour. So yes that was my total word count knocked out in an hour, which if I do say so myself, is pretty awesome. 

I went to bed at 1 and woke up at 6 a.m for work and began writing again while I was there. That's actually one of the things I really love about my job. I get to write and read and it's not frowned upon. it took me a little while longer to actually finish my second 1,716 words but I managed and it wasn't too painful. That brought my word count for the day to 3,454 words on day one and I am pretty happy with that. 

While writing I was able to flesh out a couple more details about characters that I just couldn't 'see' while I was plotting. Like I had no idea that Kai's group of men consisted of 4 men a set of triplets and a gorgeous blonde. I also had no idea that Matt smoked or that he kind of looks like Jackson Rathbone. Seriously. No clue. I think that's one of the things I love about writing, finding little tidbits of info that you never knew, but that makes these characters so much more real. 

I was originally planning on having a goal of 5k on the first day but I didn't want to burn myself out on the first day. So I'm going to set my daily goal as at least 3334 words, in two scenes with word count totaling at least 1.7k each. I'm setting the scene length because I've been known to write short punchy scenes and I wanted to challenge myself to try and make them longer. Who knows how that will work out, but I'm going to try. I'm also going to go back over what I wrote for the day and spell check (since I really detest spell-checking long documents) while I read over everything to get an idea of what the next scene will be.(But no editing) I think that's one of the things that always stopped me before, not knowing what was coming next when it was time to write. I want to already have at least an idea of how the next scene begins before I sit down to write.

I also received two postcards from my swap buddies (Nano Postcard Swap). They were both beautiful and inspirational and lifted my spirit even higher than it had already been soaring. So I'd like to thank Sarah and Krista for the wonderful words of encouragement. They really made my day.

Word count: 3,454

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Research for Nano novel

Here is where I will post my research for Warrior Born (Nano Novel 2012).

Path of the Sacred Warrior

Spirit Walking/ Astral Projection


The Watchers

On Writing--October

So, I've decided that since I've been reading a lot of writing blogs I decided I would share some of the things that I found that helped me, in hopes that it could help someone else.

On Writing

Write your way out -- Author Scott Westerfeld writes about not being afraid to write the same book more than once. (This really hit home with me because I have been thinking about re-writing my very first Nano novel, and going in a different direction with it. But i was conflicted because there was so much of the original that I love).

The Benefits of writing everyday- Lynda R Young writes about the benefits we gain from writing everyday.

Write Every Day -- Jeff Goins writes about why you need to write everyday and how you can make it a habit. (I especially have trouble with this, I'm horrible at routines. I'll do things everyday for about a month and then they just fall by the way side. But i"m trying to turn around.)

List of Master Plots -- A list of basic plot lines from authors.

Writing Lectures by Brandon Sanderson -- Video lectures of Brandon Sanderson, fantasy author extraordinaire, filmed during his 2012 creative writing class at Brigham Young University.

8 Step Plot Outline
--How to assemble a plot outline in 8 easy steps. 

On Editing

The Novel Doctor -- Great Editor, and has some great info for writers.

Project Team Beta -- Great place to have your novel read by a couple Betas. You can also fill out an application to become a beta.


So here we are, we're almost to the starting line! Are you panicked yet? I am. I've been working on plotting and characters this whole month but I thought for sure that I would be done or at least prepared at least. Well, to be honest, I was ready until I had a sudden idea. But I think I'm pretty much done planning, at least I'm done with as much planning as I am going to do. We'll see how it goes. 

It's about 9:30 here, so I have a couple more hours left before the official begin, but here's to hoping we all write without pause and ignore the backspace. 
Good luck everyone! 
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2012

9 days

So here we are at the end of planning month and i can honestly say that im scrambling, trying to figure the remaining parts of my plot that have been evading me as well as getting to know my characters. I honestly can't believe that October is almost over. Where did it go?

So in these last days before the madness begins im going to really try and pin down who my characters are. I think that's one of the things that have really hurt me as far as my writing has gone. I just don't go in knowing who these people are and let them develop on their own in the course of writing just like I've been known to do with my plot. 

Also, I've been reading/listening to The Host by Stephenie Meyer, the book and audiobook. I honestly have no idea how this book isn't more popular than Twilight. Seriously if you haven't read it please for your own good, do.

Well, I think that's all for now. I hope to see you at the starting gate.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


We all know that writing is a very solitary task. Its just you sitting behind your computer, or at your desk with a pen and paper, or typewriter (I could go on forever.), pounding away at the story that's in your head. Maybe sometimes you feel like after writing a ridiculous amount of words, what you've just written is horrible and you just want to delete it and never go back. Maybe you've been working for years, writing everyday and reading as many books as your brain can handle and still you feel like you're getting no where. I want to tell you that you're not alone.

This thing that we love is at once beautiful and terrible. It's hard and easy and fast and slow. It has the ability to make us feel like we're standing 10 feet tall and at a moment like we're nothing. So it's easy to get discouraged. But the thing that makes this whole process great is that yes, we will all suck. It's just a given (unless you're just abnormally awesome in which case good for you.) but if we just keep going, eventually one day we'll sit down and write something great.

I'm calling this series Love because I wanted to send you all a little of bit of love ( or a hug, a pat on the back, a shot of Jack, whatever you like.) to you from someone who is right where you are. 

Here's  a little love from Ira Glass:

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Nano Novel Update 10.11.12

I had a pretty good day today. I was finally able to pin down my plot. It's been a slippery little thing that I haven't been able to catch, but today I had a break through. For some reason I was having trouble with understanding the fact that it's entirely possible to have a main plot as well as a sub plot and that just because it's a subplot doesn't mean that it's not as important to the story as the main plot. I'm not sure why that failed to sink into my brain but I guess that's how it goes. As this will be my first time going into Nano with more than just a spark of an idea I hope all the work I'm doing now will prove to make my first draft better.

Also, I was finally able to decide on my two main character's names. Going into this, I knew immediately that I wanted someone's name to be Kai. The name just fit. Though I didn't know who since the name is unisex and could very plausibly go either way. But as I was doing a couple of plot exercises and creating back story for both of my characters I just caught a flash of an image where my MFC was screaming "Kai", so obviously there was no argument that that was his name. Long story short, after a long laborous search through name websites I finally decided on Brielle.

I'm really excited to begin Brielle and Kai's story. Is it November 1st. yet?

On another note, I'm happy to say that last night I was able to write over 1,200 on one of the novels I had put on the back-burner because I just didn't think i could save it. I love this time of year. It's like there's magic in the air.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tips on Writing Buddies

Today, I received a few requests to be a writing buddy. I'm so excited! I've never had writing buddies before, but since I'm trying to take my writing more seriously I thought they would be able to help. Writing is such a solitary task it's easy to feel like you're the only person in the world doing what you're doing and having the same problems that you're having, even if you know that's not true.

So i have been watching a few writing lectures by Brandon Sanderson (here) and he has given a couple tips that will help when you're reading someone else's work.

1) Remember to give good feedback.
2) Be specific.
3) Be descriptive, not proscriptive.
     Describe your reaction to what you're reading, not what was wrong with it. (ex. I was confused here, I was bored here, I was frustrated here."
4) Ignore the small stuff.
     Lead with Plot, Characters, and setting. Don't talk about Prose unless it's a big issue.
5) Try to look at what the book is trying to be rather than what you want it to be.

Just try and remember that you're reading and commenting on someone else's "baby". Just as your writing means the world to you, your writing buddy's writing means the same to them. You just have to remember to be truthful, but not hurtful. You never want to make someone feel bad about what they're writing, it's hard enough to put yourself out there and let someone else read what you've been working on.

If you have any other tips I would love to hear them.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Let's talk about Structure. Yes, yes I know, go ahead and groan, I'll wait.



Structure is something that can either make your novel great or make it into a terrible mess of strung together words that sometimes make you fell goodby mostly make you grimace. That is before you give up and throw the thing away because you can't read it.

Through my quest to learn everything that I can about writing and mastering the basics, Ive found that story structure is one of those things that I really struggle with. And that's pretty tragic because structure is the bones of pretty much everything that I write. So I decided to read as much as i could about structure and hopefully someone somewhere out there will explain it in a way that will just click.

Here are a few of my resources:

First of all I took advantage of Holly Lisle's infamous How to think Sideways class right before it was no longer available as a weekly online course. It's still available in ebook format, and you can purchase them here. I love Holly, and the course, so I would definitely recommend it. 

Second, I purchased Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell.(It's actually the first book on writing that I ever bought!) I would recommend this book to everyone if you want to improve your writing. It is seriously worth it's weight in gold.

Finally, I recently stumbled upon Kristen Lamb's blog, and saw that she was posting a weekly blog about structure. If you don't take any of my other advice I would seriously advise you to check this series out. She seriously breaks down the concept and gives examples that really help you grasp everything. It's definitely a must read before Nano. Also, check out her book We Are Not Alone-The Writer's Guide to Social Media if you are thinking of starting an author's blog that helps create your author's platform.
Structure Part I , Part II--Plot Problems , Part III--Introducing the Opposition , Part IV--Is Your Idea Strong Enough?  , The Pitch and Your Seed Idea

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why write?

I've read a lot of writer's blogs and aspiring author's blogs and one of the things i've noticed was the various reasons why people write. I've always been interested in the reasons people do the things that they do. It was probably the reason I took psychology in high school and again in college. Because I liked to figure out the real reasons behind the things that people do what they do.

I mean some people go to school for a long time to become doctors and lawyers, and some don't and work at McDonalds and then some of the lucky few don't have to work at all. They spend their time wandering the world discovering new species of spider monkeys. Or something. But I've read tons and i mean tons of reasons why people have started writing novels.

So, I started to think about why I wanted to write; why I began to write. I thought about it long and hard because I wanted to understand why I'm doing this painfully beautiful, amazing yet excruciating thing.

At first it was because I loved to read. Sounds pretty strange but really the only thing that i've found is a constant is that writers are readers, no matter if they're published or not. We all love to read.

Then it was because I had a story in my head, one that i'd always wanted to read. And the only way that i was going to get to read it was if I wrote it myself.

And finally it's because ultimately I am selfish. I want someone to read my words and remember me. I want them to remember the way that my words made them feel. I want to matter to a person that I have never met. That's ultimately the reason why I write. It's not glamorous or the Miss America I want to save the world with peace answer but it's real. And since I've decided to be real with myself, and you (whoever you are) I figured I had to cite my reasons. Because if I want to be successful, I have to take this seriously.

Why do you write?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ideas for Nano

I'm currently going through Holly Lisle's 'How to Think Sideways' course, and this is one of the ways that she gets some of her ideas on a deadline. While I won't be explaining her methods since that's her work and I fully recommend that you buy it if you're interested I will be giving you some of my results.

This post will be updated as things go along.

Young adult/ Fantasy
Something different. Something that will start a series.
Word count- 85,000 words (50,000 words in November)
Deadline- January 1, 2013 (First Draft)

---edited 10.5
Okay, my first thought going into this was about a girl who could leave her body behind. Immediately after that i got an image of a sickly thin boy cowering on the dirt floor of a cell.
So i have Spirit walking girl (that's what I'll call it for now) and Beaten Boy.

I haven't quite worked out how they will work together, but the muse is working on it. I seriously didn't plan anything that felt this dark. I was hoping for something light this time but my muse wants what she wants.

---edited 10.6
Spirit walking girl-- My first thoughts of her, were that she is a warrior. She's not one of those girls that need to be saved, she does the rescuing.  She is brave, because she has to be.
-Her mother recently had a heart attack and has suffered brain damage because of lack of oxygen when they were trying to resuscitate her. She's had to grow up quickly and take care of herself and her mother.
-Her father is forced to move back to where they live to help, but they don't get along very well. He somewhat resents the fact that he has to relocate his whole life to take care of them. (I really like that conflict, between doing what you're supposed to do but hating every moment of it.)

Beaten Boy who will now be known as Captive Male-- I changed his working name because at this point I'm not really sure if i want him to be human (actually I'm pretty sure i don't want him to be human) and also because I'm not sure how old he is.

--edited 10.7
I've been thinking today about my opposition, or the BBT as Kristen Lamb describes it. I think i have finally figured out who i want it to be. I have always loved the juxtaposition of both doing something wrong for the right reason. I'm not sure if that makes sense. Having noble intentions but hurting people for those intentions.

--edited 10.8
Okay, so yea. Pretty much everything that I wrote yesterday about my BBT, was incorrect. For this novel at least. I've decided I want the MFC to have her going against herself, in that she needs to relinquish the tight reign she holds on every part of her and her mother's lives in order to complete her goal. I have also nailed down what that specific goal is. I think I've had a pretty productive day, even though I had to take some meds for my allergies ( Damn Tennessee pollen and weather) which promptly put me to sleep for five hours after I got home from work.

I was also able to nail down some other facts about my MFC. Here is a conversation I had with my muse:

Who is he?
-He is very tribal.
What does that mean?
-He has never lived in the modern, or real world at all.
Okay, what else?
-He has tan/cinnamon skin. but more grey and sickly than sunkissed.
Does he speak English?
-He speaks whatever she speaks. He is evertthing that she is.
Does that mean he's just a male copy of her?
Okay, what else?
-He has dark eyes, long hair. Black.
What is he called?
-He was never named. She will name him. 
What does she name him?
-I don't know.
Okay, what is he doing?
-Waiting. For her. He's waited a long time. two hundred years.
Anything else?
-Not right now. 

--edited 10.9
So last night I was getting pretty frustrated with my plot. It was still in that muddy, foggy phase where nothing is clear and your squinting and straining your eyes trying to make out the tiny light through the fray. So i was looking through some writer's blogs, as I have taken to doing these days and saw that someone was recommending Holly's Create a Plot Clinic and of course I could have and probably should have slapped myself. Of course my first thought should have been Holly's course! But it wasn't. Which is how my brain works (or doesn't work).

I paid for and downloaded the pdf, and the worksheets, got everything printed out and made sure I had enough paper and let the book just chill on my ipad for the night. When i got to work this morning i could hardly contain my excitement and began to read. Since I'd already read most of the beginning in the How to Think Sideways Course i knew the basics. But as i began to read the Tools and do the exercises my plot just began to unfold like an accordion. It was pretty awesome, so If you're having problems with your plot i would suggest the Create a Plot Clinic. It's only 9.95. If that's too much for you you can try the Professional Plot Outline Mini Course for .99.

From now on I am just going to make seperate posts about all my further planning for Nano, since I've been adding to this one every day it won't take very long before this is massive.

----------Now playing: Come On by Will Young

Not trying to be a wannabe

Okay, so I decided to start this blog to chronicle this year's Nano and to hopefully give myself a little bit of accountability with my writing. I will readily admit that I have started and also pretty quickly killed several of the blogs that I have started in my life. I don't know what it is about blogs that i just never stick to them.

The only thing that I've seemed to keep going back to is pinterest and I am seriously convinced that it has some kind of subliminal messaging that keeps me addicted or something, but I just find myself going back again and again. However that is neither here nor there.

I have successfully completed two Nano's and won both ( '10 and '11 ). However neither of those wins were easy. In fact they were seriously messy and painful. The first week I'd pretty much stick to the word count and then something happens and two weeks go by where I haven't even opened the word document, let alone write any words. Then I'm left with the task of writing 40,000 words in two weeks. It's not pretty, and honestly I'm not even sure how I do it, but somehow I end up on November 30, with 50,000 words and a novel that is not finished but somehow remarkable.

I have no idea where the words, the sentences, the scenes come from in the wee hours of the morning when I can barely keep my eyes open, yet my brain is still making my fingers fly over the keyboard, but it's awesome. That's the magic of Nano. You see what you are made of, what you're capable of if you just push yourself, and its beautiful.

But I need to try and actually finish a novel. That's the goal, it always has been, but for some reason I never get there. I want to publish and be successful at this thing that I love to do but without actually finishing, I'm nothing but a wannabe. So this is it. This is me saying that I am finally going to succeed somehow whether it kills me. I'm going to do it. By any means necessary.

First up... pinning down an idea.  

Now playing--Anything could happen by Ellie Goulding