Friday, December 20, 2013

Why Write During Holiday Season?

My over-sized Christmas tree.
It's crazy, I know. To try to snag time to write along with the hustle and bustle of the holiday decorating, visiting, shopping, planning, arguing, and gods know what else is going on. The kids, the family, the spouse, yea all of it is CRAY CRAY!

So, I thought I'd come up with a count down.

Top 5: Why I Write During the Holiday?

It's become a habit.
 photo 9bc2a784-0ec5-43bd-98bb-e7a71024cf2c_zpscd2cece6.jpgEspecially on the heels of NaNoWriMo with ideas sparking away. Yes, I feel I need to write on a regular basis to keep it going. I want to keep going. I will write. I feel this is rather important, for me at least. I need to keep the juices flowing. Of course there are days that I run out of time, but my goal is to write daily.

I am determined to fight through the chaos and keep at it. If I stop, as life did get over complicated earlier this year and I quite a lot of things, I very well may not get back to the habit.

I WILL FIGHT THROUGH. *huh* *Muscle flex* Ouch.

I have a story idea...
...that is scratching at the inside of my brain to get out. It's so. The ideas don't take holidays off, they come anytime they hit. So, I HAVE to run with it! It seems the head is ready to explode with all the words wanting to come out.

It can be an inspiring time.
Seeing all these people and the crazy things they do, yes, highly inspiring to people watch. Also, the holidays bring out different feelings as we go through the month. I want to use those feelings in writing.

To keep me sane.
Yes, sounds impossible but, it's true. In all the insanity around why not go to my happy place? The stress of dealing with gift shopping, crowds, wrapping, kids, cooking, family...yeah, you name it, it's all wrapped up in a tight little package that's ready to explode... I need that happy place!

I get to kill people!
Ch, ch, ch... Ch, ch, ch...

Okay, so this current work for me doesn't leave a huge opening for death, but it does leave an opening to let them ache a bit. So, you know that woman that cut me off for the parking space? That teenage kid that ran right into me and didn't even have the courtesy to say 'excuse me' or 'sorry'. Yep. They all get written into my story and fall to a terrible tragedy...or slip on the sidewalk. Bahahaha....
Found on Lisa Kovanda's Facebook page

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Writing Update - November

(and I had a whole post up and ready to go, and I accidentally deleted it. So, this is my best at coming up again with all the great words I had to share. Sorry late going live.)

I made it through NaNoWriMo. But it was work this year. Each year is a new process for me, no matter what or how many years I do it.

On the fourth day of November I felt I couldn't continue with the current project. It's a sequel novella and I felt I was fighting it to much. It wasn't evolving as I wanted it too. I don't think I can, at this point in my ability, can do sequels for NaNoWriMo. I think it's too much too fast for me. So I stopped and took a day off. Then Jackie suggested a short flash to get us moving. That helped GREATLY. I then had a small idea of Dragon Gods that I picked up the rest of the month with.

I had many great inspirations to help me through this year. First, Starla Huchton helped keep my friendly competitor alive. This helped keep me going when I was ready to throw in the towel. Plus, Starla keeps reminding me to "Write All The Things", just like Skyla and several others. Thank you Starla for throwing the pompoms at me, and taking the knives out first. ;P Jackie, yes the Jackie here with me. She was weighted down with school work, but she was a wonderful help and support to keep me going when I was about done. It was her idea that got me starting to let loose again. Thank you Jackie!

Now, I'd like to talk about two authors who have no idea they helped me. None. Because it's what they shared with us all that helped me when I found them. Lilith Saintcrow and Mur Lafferty.

First and foremost, Lilith Saintcrow. I read her new release: The Quill & The Crow (Kindle edition or Print edition). I agree with much that she said in her essays. The ones that don't fit for me, I adjusted to fit me. But what this book was for me...SUPPORT. Lilith seems firm in supporting writers. Even new writers. I felt like her essays were her speaking right to me as they were about how I was feeling. The down and out, ready to throw in the white towel. Lilith's book was about getting through to the end, keep going, you can do it, and last but not least - you are not alone (even seasoned authors feel this way). I love Lilith. Thank you.

Second we have Mur Lafferty. Mur did a daily NaNoWriMo podcast for us and her. She touched on a wide variety of topics that Nano-ers face as they go through the month. Also, she came up with different prompts and things to help with the story as you race to the end. It was rather cool hearing her process and trying to use some of her tips. The best part, the podcasts were short. They were quick to listen to, but influenced and made me think. Then on to the writing I went.

The Results:
Sleeping Beauty Laying Beneath: 8,612
Short Story: 1,671
Dragon Gods: 46,120

(And I even had 836 words that I added to first story that I forgot to add into the count at NaNoWriMo.)

I closed out NaNo with their count of:  56,322

Am I done? No. Fantasy reads usually count out around 90-100k. This is just the tip of the iceberg. But, I don't think Dragon Gods will go anywhere other than where it is. It was a story to get my mind flowing again. But, now that the ends closed, I came out with two more ideas I want to expand on.

I want to send out a big congrats to Melissa for making her target for the 3rd year in a row. She is awesome at staying on track, no matter how much she might deny it :)

As she mentioned, I was busy this year, taking two university courses (while also dealing with full-time work, mom duties, and the rest of real life.) One of the courses I'm taking is specifically for Creative Writing, so when NaNo time came around again, I really wanted to stick with it and try to attain my own three-fer. Sadly, it didn't happen, in large part because of the exam schedule smack dab in the middle of November and the insane workload of the other course I was taking (Marketing.)

BUT...I did manage about 10k words. I had started with one story but just couldn't get the words out. So, my big idea to light the spark under both mine and Melissa's butts to get working harder was to write a short story based on an image. Sometimes the visual just adds that extra bit of detail needed to make the words flow. I think this was a game changer for both of us. I decided after it to write a second novel in what I always knew would be a series from my first attempt at NaNo in 2011. The words were coming out like crazy until I had to start really cramming for the exams, putting an end to my NaNo project for the moment.

As Melissa mentioned above, there always seems to be a shift in how the work comes out as well. I did begin with a pre-established cast of characters, at least some of them, but in writing a second-in-a-series, there is the need for it to have the ability to be read as a stand alone, so tying in hints about the first story as well as making it mostly new content was a bit of a challenge. This was in large part due to my poor memory, to the point where I couldn't remember some of the names of people, etc.

It was this issue, as well as an idea of Melissa's, that got me thinking about organizing my stories on cue cards. I'm still trying to figure out where to fit some things into my first story, and I think this might be the way to achieve it: put what I have on the cards and the new elements, then try to rearrange the whole story in a logical order. I'm hoping over the holiday break to make this a reality, but we'll see.

I guess that having done any work in November was good for me because of the other commitments that chewed up my time, but I was more than a little disappointed at not being able to do more. Even when I had the extra time, it was partly plagued by just not knowing what to write or not liking what I'd already done. I think switching things up a bit was a good method to employ and will do that again if this issues arises in the future.

As for December, I know both Melissa and I are hoping to get into a routine of working, though we're both realistic enough to understand that juggling family celebrations will make this tricky. At least we're both willing to try :)