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 :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Writing Update - October


Let me share a little story... I started off getting up early to walk on the treadmill. This worked wondrously for about...four or five weeks. I had a whole routine down. I'd read while walking for 30 minutes. I was feeling great and reading. But, then, there were mornings that the kiddo was running late, or I was waking up later and there wasn't 30 minutes to be on treadmill before I had to be there to tell kiddo bye as he left for the bus. Yes, I need to do that and it won't matter what age he is. Then it got to the point that kiddo had things he just had to talk about in the morning. You know, football stuff and class stuff. And soon I wasn't making it to the treadmill at all for my 30 minutes of torturous bliss. So, I started sitting in front of the computer, checking emails. Starting October, and knowing November - NaNoWriMo month - was right around the corner, I started worrying I wasn't ready. Well, worry isn't right. Panicking. Because I WASN'T ready. So what better way to spend this time, 30 minutes, each morning? I started re-reading my April Camp NaNoWriMo project. It's a novella. It's a romance. It's something I have an idea to continue with a second novella for NaNo. So I have to get it to somewhere to go on with it. And that's what I've been doing.

Each morning, okay, most mornings I read a short section and add, delete, or adjust to it as I go. Anything that is a bigger section of redoing, I note and go back to over the weekend when I have more time to focus on it.

I've managed to add 7,402 words to the story in October. This is adding, deleting, and adjusting. Not bad. I still have a whole scene to write and the ending 2,000 words needs re-done completely. But only doing a half hour each morning, or most mornings, really made a huge difference.

Now, it's November and onward to the next story and a whole month full of words. I'm shaky this year. I know, it's normal. But I don't know if I want to write this story. I don't know if I can. I've had last minute thoughts about racing back to fantasy, although I don't know what that would be as I don't have a story idea for a fantasy book. It's tempting. But I don't know what to write if I change it. So I'll stick to this romance and see what comes to pass.

I might start with re-writing the ending completely and starting into the new story. The story is only going to be about 30k. That way when I re-write it I can bump it to 40k. I even have a second novella in mind to start when this is done. Heck, that novella could potentially turn into a full novel if I keep adding to the world. ;)

So, off to tackle November. Here's wishing all you NaNoWriMo-ers out there the best in words!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Writing Update - September


First, I have to thank NaNoWriMo for mentioning my post on their dashboard with a link.  Thank you.  And everything in July's Update is true, and now that I have my NaNo loss under my belt, on I go.  (I'm sorry, I'm late in sending thanks with all that's been going on.)

And...It's October 1st. *sigh* I've gotten no where. None. Nothing. It's bad. I have been working on getting through some projects here that will *hopefully* open up for free time in November for me to do my desire...NaNoWriMo.

Oh! I did get 300 words out in a short story I am going to submit to Start Publishing. It's going to be trimmed down to 250 words, (thanks to help Skyla Dawn Cameron who is helping me with my terrible run-on sentences).

I do have a new goal I want to work on. I'm going to start simple. If it takes three sentences to tell one thing, it takes three. I'll combine it later. But what I have a terrible time of, I like putting three happenings in one sentence. So, I want to start simple, this way I know what I'm trying to convey and can combine later.

So I guess I did get a small bit out of me. But nothing what I want. I have a long list for October. On it is re-writing my novella I started in April. I want to iron it out and add a scene. After that I can start noting ideas for the second novella I'm looking to do for NaNoWriMo.

I need to put my head down and to the grind to get it all done. It's possible, but I need to focus and keep my eye on the finish line.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

August Update


So I went back to last years Nano, and after being away from all works due to family stuff and Camp NaNoWriMo on another idea, I've decided to start back at the beginning of the story.  I'm fine tuning some sentences, blending them together, and refreshing my memory to move forward.

I did get a few words added to NaNo from last year.  A total of 2,455 words.  *shake head* At this rate, I *might* get the stupid thing finished before I pass away. *sigh*

Then life took over again.  *sigh*  I'm really tired of life getting in the way of my fun.  I did take some time off of blogging and such to try to get through some life stuff.  Nothing bad, just stuff that needs to be done with my dad.

But, I did start working up a synopsis for the second book in a novella series I'm thinking about.  Now I need to get back to the first novella to work it up and finish the main idea to a zero draft so I can move on.  I think I can work on this new Novella and another Novella story for NaNoWriMo in November.  But, you know what happens to best laid we'll see what happens between now and November.

Once again, the new month ahead of me looks promising.  I think I can get a few beta things done and get into my own writing again.  We'll see.  But I think life *might* be getting back to a normal pattern of things, I just need to figure out what that is and get myself on schedule with it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Writing Update - July


So I've been thinking about this post since the middle of July. *sigh* I started off the month with great high hopes.  I was gaming and ready to roll.  Then the month dropped into the real world.  Being massively behind from the lack of time to do anything book wise in June along with the stress I still was feeling, I just didn't realize how tough July would be.  Then things happen too.  Anniversaries, family stuff that I still had to get to, and just life.  So, I didn't get far with Camp NaNoWriMo, which I was hoping for.

I can say I failed.  In a way, I did.  I didn't hit the 10k I set as a goal.  But, any number of words is better than what I had before.  I clocked in at Camp NaNoWriMo at 1,570 words, but didn't verify them.  I actually did better than that.  See, I was trying to work on revisions for a Novella story and hoped to start the second Novella story to the series.  Well, life had other plans.  By my record of word counts I actually added 3,368 words at the beginning of the month.

I'm not going to let this get me down.  Not at all.  It's done, life sucks at times, and we move on.

I do have a few ideas that keep circulating through my mind.  Percolating, if you will.  The worlds are growing and I'm trying to think what the underlining plot thread is in addition to minor little threads.  But those are just notes on paper for now.

What's the goal now?  I have no clue.  I want to get one of these two stories and actually get one completed.  Not necessarily "publish" finish, but a complete thought and story to work from.  I need to pull all this stuff out and see what mood I'm in.  I'd like to take the next few months and work on Jayda's story.  Get the first book up to a zero draft form so I can head on to book two for NaNoWriMo in November.  Although, I think the current Novella story would be enjoyed by a few of my friends who kinda sound like they want to read it.  Maybe I can sneak it in from time to time.

I guess I was bound for a failed NaNoWriMo at some point.  My record had been going far to well. ;)  Everyone has to have a bad NaNo.  But now that it's out of my system, I'm totally kicking it's arse in November....if I can get through this first six-below-draft to be ready to do book two. *sigh*

Now, it's time to crack down and get serious.  I've got lots to read, lots to write, and lots of help to offer others with their books.  The table is heaping and I'm bound and determined to get through it all. *nod*

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What is Dark?

There are books that we call Dark.  There are ideas we call Dark.

What is Dark to readers?

Are we sitting in a room trying to read with no lights on.  No, although ereaders do help with this dark issue these days. ;P

What makes a read Dark to you?

I've used the term when writing a few reviews as well.  The author has gone deep into emotions -- emotions that are sparked from not so pleasant happenings.  Not always does there have to be death, but it's a very good indicator too.  The world of the story can have a dark feel.  Now, I almost wanted to put negative in the place of dark.  The world is usually not a happy place, bad things are at work and that adds to the dark feel for me.  The characters can be dark.  This might be where some of the death comes in.  And unpleasant things are done to other characters, or maybe already done to the ones you have.

I'm thinking you need some light in this to counter the dreariness created.  Some sort of hope to balance out the down of the dark.  Or even a small spark of hope that things can change.  Something needs a spark to shine through, show there could be something good that comes from all the dreariness that pulls down.

Or, is dark simply a scary feeling you get when reading?  I've heard that reference a few times.

Words...are there words associated with the dark feeling of a story you read?

Where have you found dark books at?  Fantasy, Urban Fantasy?  What about with Romance?  A blend of a dreary dark tale and a spark of a romance that could make it through the doomed world around them?

Just a thought to maybe spark some thoughts...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Writing Update - June


Jackie's been buried under school work and I've been buried under family stuff.

It's been a rough month of June around here.  Not much writing is getting done.  June was to be a big month for me.  I had HUGE plans for my stories - research and re-writing to prepare for July.  Ha!  Life always has different ideas for us.  Although, I know my mind keeps wondering back to the stories I have here and want to get working on to get to a ground zero draft.  Even to the thanks of Danielle (a great friend on Twitter) I've come up with more LOADS MORE! ideas in one world I've been working.  And maybe even different stand-alone novella stories.  :) We'll see what happens, if I ever get to experiment with them.

But with the month of hellballs I've not got to make any actual words.  Lots of family issues to get through and I haven't even got to do around my own house yet.  As of the weekend, I was digging a long ditch in the rain and mud.  So, July is off to a slow start.

But, talking about July.  You know I can't refuse a challenge.  Not that it's a challenge, but I'm totally addicted to NaNoWriMo.  Gives me a reason to sit my arse in the chair and work.  Well, Camp NaNoWriMo is running for July as well.  I had to sign up.  Yes, it was a last minute thing, but I'm doing it.

My goal...only a simple 10k words.  I know, that was my goal in April and I not only met it I surpassed it by 20k.  I'm not planning on that this round.  This round I'm going to re-write and write new.  They both will be in the same world, just different characters in the next novella book.  The story will continue.  That is my goal, and I will stick to it.  (It's hard for me, but I want to do it and have my mind set on it.)

So, if you see me struggling on Twitter during July, give me a shove to keep going.  Now, into July we go...

Have a great month!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Writing Update - May


And this is waaaaay late in posting.  Sorry.  I had an unexpected family emergency and it's taken a week to try to get to a breathing point.  And it seems it's going to shoot June in the kester before it even starts. days into the month and I hadn't wrote much of anything.  I was exhausted.  Beyond exhausted, thanks to allergies.  I even found myself napping at lunch hour.  Yeah, not me.  I didn't get much reading in either.

I seem to be at a lack for words this past month, with being so exhausted I can't seem to focus.  But the brain wasn't completely idle...started dreaming up new worlds.

But, on the 4th - Saturday during my down time starring at the television like a blob on the couch - I was watching the H2 channel.  A History channel, I have no idea who had it one but it was on when I turned tv on.  Anyway, there was a show about the oceans.  Icebergs melting, whirlpools, images under water with the mountain ranges and so on and so on.  A new world idea started to hit me.  One I started noting and forming in my mind's eye.  I wrote 334 hasty words of a short happening in this world.  There is lots of worldly myth that needs to be laid out and created here as I think I like the idea of this world and people.  BUT!  Yes, this is a big but.  I don't have a story for the world yet.  So, I continue to create the world, hoping something will spark for a story line.  I think one might be forming...we'll see as I create the world. ;)

I did manage to get a few words squeaked out.  Okay, so I'm a slacker, the total I got... 637.  *sigh* I know disgraceful.  I left May with HIGH hopes for June.  I have lots I want to get done.  After Balticon, I had the feel for creativity.  Had the first day all planned out, I'd finish cleaning, read the remaining forty pages of a current read, then dive into my novella story.  I didn't even get the cleaning done before I got that call we all dread.  So June is seeming to be a bust for words as well.  *sigh* We'll see, but I'm thinking not much will come.

Jackie is swamped with school.  Sorry, she wasn't able to post this time around.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Writing Update - April


So, as you probably noted, I changed the title of the posts.  From:  NaNoWriMo Re-Writes Update, To: Writing Update.  I hope Jackie doesn't mind.

It seems we are picking up so many different things as we go and noting more than just the NaNoWriMo projects.  And what a better way to track all we do, even our sidetracks... as I know I've been sidetracked. *sigh*

I've been participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month.  I produced a little over 10k words in the first 9 days, yes I did take a few off.  I was excited!  And wasn't ready to let go of the story yet.... At 10k I knew I'd have another 10k to finish, at least.  Then I talked with Danni on Twitter and....decided another 15-20k to finish.  See, I was trying to keep this a *short* story, novella length.  And left a character out that could turn things at the end.  So, the question is Happy Ending?  Not so happy ending?  Does the main character *really* need a man to fall back on?  I was going to go with no.  But...seeing it feels like a romance, figured there should be a good man in her life. I need to go back and add this character in. *sigh*  It's all good though.  More words, more creating, more fun.

This story seems to be coming this way:  I had a "plan."  Okay, it was a rather rough plan, but a plan, to start with.  This guy was in it, but I wanted to keep the story shorter so left him out.  Well, it seems I do want him there, and have added him.  The writing comes in sections.  Strange really, for me anyway.  I think at one point I had three scenes going at once.  I started a scene, thought of something I wanted to mention so started another scene to come, and went back to the previous one.  On the days I wasn't writing, the brain was stuck on what I had wrote and added little things and hints to it.

It's definitely it's own process this round.  Toward the end there are some things that need to be added as I skipped a section where there is a great opportunity to shine with some steampunk ideas....but I need to come up with them yet. lol.  But I just couldn't wait to get to the end, and excitement thing.  I knew what was to happen and wanted to write it.  And I did.

Then!  I started a bar scene that I've had stuck in my head...376 words only and more to it than that, but that's what you get when doing it at work.

So...I also wrote an acknowledgement to people for a work I've done.  It's for one that no where near done, and may never be published, but I wanted to remember those how helped inspire.  Also...I might have wrote a bit about where the name of a character came from and why it means so much in the characters personality and what I based it off of.  I'm goofy! I swear! LOL!

What did I clock out at in words this month... lets say 30,052!  Outstanding, right!?  24,893 at the Main Camp Nano project.  3,218 at a separate short story.  1941 at another short story.

All these have lots to add.  The short stories are started and there for me to play with any time I need an escape.  That's what they are for, for me at this time.  One day, maybe I'll fine tune them and sell them to anthologies or something...who knows.

What did I learn this month... um, I'm not sure.  Haha...  Alright, I have to say what I learned is I can work through it.  The more I do, the more the mind roams and creates other things.  Everywhere I look now I see something I can question or create something from.  Is it a full novel?  No, but the mind has been open to different ideas.

Now, back to re-writes on previous and the new project created here.  Lots of work to do and create.  There are whole new leg of work to do with WIP 1, and lots to redo on WIP 2.


I love the new title of the post! Though, really, had Melissa asked me before changing it, my suggestion would have been more like "The Funk to End All Funks". Considering it was only me struck by this affliction, it would have been one sided though, so it stays as is :)

Really, I started the month with great plans. I figured 10k would be easy to achieve, especially considering my new line of thought for the main WIP that I planned to have completed. I even posited at one point that I might make the 25k mark with all the new stuff I wanted to add. Well, it turned out to be harder than I imagined.

Poor Melissa had to (virtually) listen to me whine about lack of time, regardless of how true it was, and the fact that nothing was coming out. I would rack up word counts of 80 or 376 in a day, versus the 1300 we would do on a normal November NaNo day. It was seriously pathetic. But Melissa kept encouraging me, so I plodded along, typing in whatever dismal additions that I could.

Late in the month, like say April 29th late? I had an idea. I started typing a silly line but it's one that always gets me going. It has something to do with a cartoon pooch that types out great works of mystery on top of his doghouse. This morphed into 5k by the end and added into the total for my main WIP and another short story I was working on, I finished the month at 10101 words (which apparently has no meaning in binary, I checked.)

So, as Melissa worked out a conclusion to what she learned last month, I'll add in my two cents also. First, I should always listen to Melissa; she knows what she's talking about :D Second, I am a world-class procrastinator and my own worst enemy. I will not get the word count out if I don't actually sit down in front of the computer and type. If I want to make something happen with my writing, I have to write.

This seems obvious, but let me tell you, screwing the pooch (and I mean this in the proverbial sense, not the rooftop typing pooch I referred to earlier) is a way easier thing to do than pouring your heart, soul, or imagination into something that someone may read down the road. It's intimidating to think about what you're doing under these terms but from the point I'm at to the point where a shiny new book would be placed into someone's hands is miles away. One step at a time, right?

Three, I was able to sufficiently stick to March's promise to bombard Melissa with my clichés and idioms, though I didn't do it on a daily basis. I did however, work hard to not include them in my writing, unless it was for the purpose of making fun of it, then that made it okay, lol.

I'm happy to say that coming into May, my new idea has taken more shape in my head and has worked itself into a fuller story, complete with a potential arc for a multi-book thing...wait, that's me getting ahead of myself again! Anyway, hope May is good to all of you and your word counts.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NaNoWriMo Re-Writes Update - March


I've now started a word number chart, to track the change in numbers...up and down as I'm deleting and adding as I go.  It's not as dramatic as it was with Nano but I've added lots in notes and have many scenes to completely write.  I've noticed I did a lot of telling and I need to show it, create a whole scene to convey my thinking.

Now.  Question.  What is a person to do when they keep getting distracted with other ideas?  lol.  Seems the creativity is flowing and jumping around.

Between the adds and deletes, I've added 7,642 words to my NaNoWriMo Re-writes.  These were added from my reading and from now as well.

Then, I caught the bug for a short story from a song.  I wrote 3,951 words for that this month.  Which I do need to get back to.

AND, thanks to Skyla Dawn Cameron (who seems to know I have a weakness) I've signed up to do Camp NaNoWriMo in April.  This is yet another idea I want to try.  It's a fairy tale remix with steampunk to it.  I signed up to do only 10k words.  I'm not ready to do another 50k just yet.  I've got to much mapping to do.

THEN!  Yes, there's more. lol.  Jackie and I were joking around one rough day... we came up with a dual novel project.  I've got LOTS of research I need to do to get caught up, even half way close, to what Jackie knows.  I think she's going to have to carry me on some aspects. ;P  lol.  But that's partners, right?

I really need to get through Jayda's story so I can go back through and finesse the words, sentences, paragraphs...ALL OF IT!  lol.  I'm still in the writing stage and have soooo much to get through.  I might be about a quarter of the way through at this point.  (no page numbers, sorry.  Haven't figured that part of Scrivener yet.)  I even have a whole leg of the journey that needs to be written yet.  *phew* So much to get done!

Oh!  I had a new character pop up on me too!  She was to be a step on to show a connection and explain the world a bit.  Ha!  That's a joke.  This girl decided she's a lot more than what I thought.  So, it seems she'll be sticking around more and I'll have to write her in where she's needed.  But there are a few characters I need to write in anyway.

So, I have my work cut out for me.  I'm learning the goods and the bads with NaNoWriMo.  I still think it's an amazing idea and will continue to do it.  Maybe that topic is for another post... ;)


I'm happy to report that even before the last day of March hit, I was finished with my entire read through. Woot! I made a lot of notes for things to be changed or expanded throughout, so I will have a bigger word count once I translate all the handwritten notes. I usually have fairly neat penmanship but some of these puppies look like hieroglyphics, I tell ya!

Adding to that was something that started out so little, my deciding I didn't like the name of my project, which turned into a whole new direction for the story to go. This is a really good thing because the original draft had so much focused on the one part that there wasn't much mystery to the mystery book. It's always good to have a few things going on and I think that the change is a good way for it to happen. Here's hoping I can work it all out.

I also have a very small cast in my story, making it hard to incorporate a change like another story line. This goes along with what Melissa said about NaNo...the time restriction didn't really allow me the opportunity to flesh out more interesting people. So, I will attempt an outline in future projects, with a larger bunch of players to keep the reader on their toes ;)

I am also participating in Camp NaNo; this filtered down to me from Melissa, who decided to do it with Skyla...a total domino effect, I'd say. I'm keeping on with my 2011 NaNo project, to grow its numbers (or at least I hope so.) I registered for 10k but if I can muster the time, I'd like to see 25k added to get it closer to a publishable level. We'll see, I guess.

I had started a short story in March as an experiment. And totally contradicting myself about the outline, I just winged it. I got about 1400 words and that's where it stalled. I have an idea of where I want it to go but not sure how to get there yet. I think I'll use it as a writer's block project; if I get stuck on my main project, I can switch over and type something else for a bit.  It's kind of like what Melissa asked above about the multiple ideas, but with a (reasonable?) argument.... thoughts?

And yes, we concocted a story that we've thought of a way of writing together. It's kind of exciting with just the small ideas we've tossed around so far but I have a crap load of library books out to do more research. And I've been sending stuff to Melissa to get her up to speed. She now knows things about me that many don't but instead of running away screaming, she's jumped on my crazy train and I'm more than happy to share my hobby :)

My last point is about my writing: I've noticed I tend to lay the clichés on thick. So, to work them out of my system (and keep them out of my actual writing), I've started hitting Melissa with them on Twitter :D I'd love it if anyone could add some here too, just to see if I've missed any...though I'm still not done with my existing collection. Watch out, Melissa!

So, March was a success, but there are still miles to go to hit the mark. Wish us luck!

Monday, March 4, 2013

NaNoWrimo Re-writes Update...February


February was a huge month for me.  Why?  Well, I'll tell ya...

That moment when you move the HUGE clip to the beginning portion of noted pages and the big clip to the last part to do.  Yep, that was me this month!  That's a cool feeling to know you are on the downward slide.

I went on my Friday Pub Writing day and on this afternoon excursion, I added a 2000 word scene, that needs lots of work and focus.  But it's a start.  Now after the months done, I know what to do with this scene, and it's going to lead to a whole section I need to add to round out a few things.

And to close out the month.....*drum roll*  I finished the whole first read through!!!  Wow.  I have to say I was getting tired of not being done.  So I kept at it.  I have a patience issue, I do think.  I felt I was taking to long and possibly forgetting things, so wanted to get through it all while still fresh in my head.

Now what?  I'm not sure.  Is there any suggestions?

I've found there are many things I have decided on which way I'm going, and things I still need to make choices on.  I've got the scene started from that Friday afternoon at the pub, and it has lead to (along with another scene I read) a whole new run in the story as well.  I'll have to sit down and map what my point of the run it, what the characters will come across and why, along with what we will learn about them on this trip.  This is a great thing.  I've filled in some gaps in my mind for future about the world as well.  I just need to drop hints to have the reader think and question things so I can explain them later and they won't feel like they are hit out of left field when they come.

One thing I do keep noting, "Show, don't tell."  I found I made notes of simply telling me what's to happen. I need to create the scenes to show it.  There is lots of that to be filled in.  So still lots of creating and writing to come.  Then maybe I can go through and pretty up the sentences adding together two sentences that describe the same thing.  You know, make it make sense.

I did start filling in what I want to add to a few sections, and I'm really enjoying what I'm creating.... at this point.  I go through phases of love then hate and want to scrap the whole thing.  But right now, I'm feeling the love.  The hate will come again soon, I'm sure.

For me, it's on to adding/deleting words/sentences along with reading as I go.  I'll be writing up the gaps too. This will be a long phase and I think will take me longer than the two months to get to this point.


Melissa has been awesome in her dedication to getting through the first draft. Me? Not so much. I have screwed the pooch more times than I can count when I should have been writing but....

My positive spin lies in the fact that I actually made it beyond the 25% mark! That sounds bad in comparison with Melissa's amazing progress (I'm so proud of her!), but for me it's a good thing because I haven't tossed it aside, or set a match to it, etc. I may be slow in reading it, but I'm not giving up! (I'd be pumping my fist in the air now if I wasn't typing ;)  )

I still have my project divided into two parts (mainly because I didn't have the huge clip that my writing buddy spoke about above) but more pages get flipped kitty-corner as the days pass.

What I have done is decided on a whole new title and undercurrent to the story. I think I'll still be able to keep much of the original scenes, and I hope all of the original humour in it, but there is definite room for growth and change throughout the whole piece.

On that note, I just want to mention the feeling of "I've bitten off way more than I can chew" with my new approach. Normally, this would be enough to find the matches and ignite; I don't like being a quitter but sometimes it's the easy way out, right? NO, darn it all! And this is what I keep telling myself: I will not quit just because my ideas are....well, a bit grandiose, considering my lack of knowledge on the subject. I will grab the bull by the horns and make him my household pet, dammit! (Was that a good metaphor? LOL. I need all the help I can get.) To this end, everyday I'm thinking over how to tackle the subject, how to make it plausible and how to make it interesting to any future readers out there (I'm nothing if not hopeful of the end result.)

So, as February closes out and March brings the promise of Spring, I renew my vow to have this first draft read and a firm grasp on the new material before the month is out.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

NaNoWriMo ReWrites Update...January


So, we decided to hit one of our Nano projects this year - rewrite it.  I had *thought* I would get back to last years project with Alena.  Ha!  Jayda had other plans....she wouldn't shut up.  She started telling me pieces of things after I finished Nano.  So she stuck in my head for the new year, taking up the space and driving me back to her world.

So what am I doing and how?  I haven't a clue.  Really.  This is the second story idea I've even gotten this far with and the first I'm going back to read and rewrite.  So, I'm clueless but trying to stay organized....trying the operative word there.

I've started calling this draft six below...six feet below ground that is. lol.  It's that much of a mess I wouldn't even call it a rough draft.

What am I doing?  Making notes on the draft I have printed. and on additional pages if the paragraphs are to long for the page, even the back of the page gets notes too.  I also have a notebook I keep questions in along with comments of things I want to add or do or keep in mind to think on as I go.  I use sticky notes to write the question on and put in the notebook.  I have small stickies for parts in the story that I think I might want to refer back to, making it easier to find.  I have colored pens to help me get through as well.

This is what I've been carrying around the house with me:
I think my family thinks I'm loony.  And I feel like I'm in school again with the stack as I move around. lol.

I'm one month in on rereading/rewriting and I think I'm about a third the way through the 50k hot mess I have from Nano.  I find I'm filling in a lot.  What I had thought I saw but didn't write the first time through with the rush.  There's a good bit with what's happening, descriptions, and back story that needs to go in.  Fleshing out more, in a sense.  I've added words, sentences, and paragraphs.  And removed some too.

This round of rewrites is for story basic set up.  I've found planted ideas I need to decide if I want or not.  Ideas I forgot about as the story line progressed.  If I want them, I'll have to work them in with the next round.  This really is bare BARE bones of a story here.  I do think, so far, I've surprised myself.  There's a touch more action than originally I had thought.  That's good.  But it too needs beefed up and worded properly.

I started to think on the preface after I started, and it's a bit to long.  I might have to pull it, drop hints of it in the story and make a novella out of it or just as a background section for me getting to know Jayda.  I'll see what happens.  Maybe even do the book in sections.  Who knows, that's a ways off.  But if I flesh it out a lot more I think it could be a great character defining novella for Jadya.  *shrug shoulders* Time will tell.

I know I have blant and stupid sentences here.  The next round will be to put sentences together to make one full one and better use of words.  I also keep reminding myself, show don't tell.  I want to show why these characters are this way, not just tell the reader.  Another thing that will have to be touched up with the next round.  But ideas I keep in the back of my head for round two.

If I keep at this rate, maybe I could have a working first draft by November! I can't give you a word count of what I've added/deleted since at this point I'm doing this by hand on printouts. But it feels like it's growing. :)

I have a planned day (which a friend Skyla! talked me into taking off work to go to the pub and write) set aside this month for just this. I have a few short story ideas I want to note as well. So maybe I can get through the rest of the reread/rewrite by mid-March (I'd like end of February, but it's a short month and don't want to be disappointed when doesn't happen). We shall see.


Melissa has done great so far with actually sitting down and working on her project. Me? My stuff sits in a pile on the floor, in a similar state to about this time last year.

I could spout all of my excuses like, I moved to my new house a mere ten days before Christmas, so I've spent a lot of time unpacking boxes, etc. that has taken away from my writing time. Or that I spent a good two weeks in January, sick as a dog. Both of these reasons are accurate but I know too that my motivation has been lacking. Well, maybe to put it a better way, I've allowed my nasty inner voice to tell me my work is a piece of crap. Shame on me!

So, after trying to combat said inner voice, I've started at least thinking about what changes can be made. (I also have a 2011 and a 2012 project, but for me, I decided that I should revisit the 2011 book and see what I can make of it.) There has been something bothering me about my main character's actions that just didn't fit with how I wanted to portray her. Finally, a light bulb clicked, sorting out that issue and hopefully leaving some room for more back story. Yay!

One problem: I haven't written out the idea. That won't remain for long though and it will give me a starting point to rework the first draft now, along with a few other details I want to add in. My final thought going into February is "No more excuses!"

My intent going forward is to work on my first Nano project and bulk it up a bit more with the new ideas and possibly expanding the story into one that is multi-faceted. My 2012 project needs more research as well as sorting out the logical flow of it all (I dropped the ball by the end, which would have readers scratching their heads in its current state, lol.) But first, I need to get it printed out too. There is something to be said about seeing the work on paper that gives it a whole new dimension, I think.

There are lots of writers out there, doing just what Melissa and I are, so good luck to all of you that are trying to make a go of your NaNoWriMo projects too!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The A-Z Challenge Wrap Up

2012 is behind us now and so is this particular reading challenge!

How did you all do? I started off well but real life got in the way and poor Melissa had to do all of the work from there :(

I've wrapped up my own progress on my blog, The Novel Nation, but as a hint, I only managed level 2. It's a good thing I love Alphabet Soup then, right?

Now for the bonus (and the thing that I totally forgot to mention at the beginning of the year :p ) Those of you that participated and linked throughout the year, are eligible for a special prize from us! Simply link up your own close out post below and you'll be entered for a chance to win a book from the Book Depository valued up to $10. What a great way to get started on your reading goals for the New Year, right?!

Thanks to the small number of participants that joined in with us for 2012. May 2013 be bigger and wordier for you all :)

You have until Jan. 20, 2013 to enter your links.

The YA Reading Challenge 2012 Close Out

This is it.  It's been a full year since we started this challenge and I've learned a lot about how to do this.  It was completely new to me when we started, but know I have a feel for it.

This is the place to link your year wrap-up to.

You remember this stipulation to enter to for the giveaway right:
~~MUST FINISH THE YEAR! Please read carefully! Yes, this is a requirement. At the end of the year you will HAVE to do a close out post, By January 10, 2012. We will have a linky set up here where you will HAVE to link that post up. This is required to be eligible for prizes. This way we can find you, and verify all required information.

  • On this post list the books with links to the reviews. If anyone wants to go back to the reviews, they can.

Then you can mention the fun stuff:   ~ Name the class of YA reader you are   ~ What you seemed to sway towards in reading material; vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.

Creatures with Bite ~ Vampires and Werewolves 
Dead and Resurrected ~ Ghosts and Zombies 
Brews and Salves ~ Witches and Healers 
Things with wings ~ Fairies and Angels 
Swords and Magic ~ Fantasy

The place to link up and be entered for the giveaway.  You will have until, January 20, 2013, to post your wrap-up post and link here.  I know with the holidays it's crazy and hard to get all the posts done, so that's why we are giving you some time to get through your posts and post.

I'll be posting mine on my blog and linking up here.