NaNo: Using Tools When You Can!

As I mentioned before, I generally plan nothing when writing. Doing this with a short story is not so bad.  For an entire novel? Kinda difficult for me. It shoved me into lots of corners.  So this time, I decided to try and plan ahead.  I looked around on the internet (because I wanted to hit as many points as possible), and found Annie Neugebauer’s site.  She has lots of great worksheets, which are free!

You can find the worksheet and others here. I found this worksheet rather helpful and I hit lots of good plot points.  My friend came up with a few ideas, we brainstormed, and I kept some of his and some of mine and mashed some of ours together. I still have a few things that are fuzzy towards the end, but they are outlined enough that I can get to them and have a general idea where I am going. Which means I can still write by the seat of my pants a bit. 🙂 Ah the rush.

I went over my plotting worksheet a few minutes ago. I’m really happy with whats there. In case you are curious, my three sister’s are called “Ember, Ash and Blaze.” Their mother is Seraphina, and they have an aunt named Amber. That’s all you get to know for now!

I currently have 10,080 words on the story, on 32 pages in Word.  It makes me happy to see that.  I’m going to start rereading it tomorrow to get my bearings, because it has been a bit since I did much with it. I wrote every day for like 15-20 days straight and then fell off the wagon hard. That’s my normal.

Oh how stressful Nano shall be… I need coffee…

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Prepping for Battle

I’ve done NaNoWriMo technically twice, but last year I did not truly participate due to my mother-in-law passing away on November 2nd. However, last year I did do writing prep in October, and if you are curious about previous blogs, click here for a list of them. I won in 2014, but I wound up completely scrapping my project half way through (20ish thousand words) and starting over.  In the end I wrote over 50k, but I only kept about 30k.  Sad days.

This year, I’m hoping not to do any of that craziness. I’m going to start working on my story now, and it is a project I started earlier this year.  A friend has been helping with some research, I have pinterest board, and for the first time ever, I’ve almost completely plotted out a story.

So when prepping for battle, be aware that nothing goes as planned. Some people may argue that since I scrapped what I had and restarted, I may not have won in 2014. To me, I did. I wrote all of that, even if I went crazy, switched perspectives, added characters, and completely rewrote what I had to the point of adding new scenes and a new narrative. Not at all what I planned.  If you cannot tell, I do not usually plan much.

This year, I hope to change that. The story I wrote in 2014, actually came from a short story I wrote about Dragons, and a dragon ride (the first in centuries).  The short story was great. I pantsed it and went on with the story. I decided instead of third I wanted to do first. I fleshed the story out so much more.  Then after NaNo, when I was trying to finish it, I hit a wall.  A friend read it, and reported to me that I had no real villain. Oops. I had been so focused on the character, and the war, that I did not think about the fact that I needed something more central to focus on. I still love that story, but I’ve put it aside for now. Once again, I’m going to have to rework what I have and I just need a break.

So pantsing may work for some people, but right now I need a story I’ve planned. Enter “We Witches Three.”  I’ve planned and plotted and am researching. I’ve started the beginning of it. I know where I want to go.  I’m going to hash out what I have tonight, and really start reexamaning. I had meant to all this craziness starting in October, and really get used to writing every day again. Starting a new job in August, with this being one of two of my busiest months of the year, made things hectic.  Why can’t Nano be in like July?  There are hardly any kids here in July…

So are you a pantser or a plotter or both? I’d be interested in hearing your tales!

(Side note – I submitted a new book review last night for “The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter.” 2.5/5 – I will link it when it is published.)

 

NaNoWriMo!

National Novel Writing Month is almost upon us!  I think I may start setting an alarm on my phone to yell at me to plan and plot and write.  October is one of the intensive advising times for me, and I’ve had 8 – 9 appointments some days, and I average at least four a day with other things I have to get finished. It’s been fun.

I didn’t talk much about it before, but my new job as Academic Advisor is awesome. I’m loving it, and I’m so happy I can say that. Between that and my book review writing, I’m a pretty happy person (now if only I could get paid for my book reviews. Free books is pretty awesome though).  I advise students within our program, work with faculty to make improvements, and also completely redid our department’s website.  I’m hoping to be coming up with some more projects soon.

My hubby is also back in school, and will graduate with his degree next December, which will be awesome. Xander is doing well, and crazy as per normal. He loves Superman, and Spiderman, and superheros, Toy Story, and is still obsessed with the TMNT, and loves Turtles.  He likes Disney movies and penguins, he is playing a limited amount of video games (Spelunky and Rayman) because my husband is a gamer (and I’ve started playing those too).  He has a great vocabulary, we read every night (current the Illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), and we build houses and knock them down and fight the Foot and all kinds of fun stuff. By the way – if you love my blog you can always get my kid something fun (https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/giftlist/1I0FZU079G5KW/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_4) or to read (https://amzn.com/w/WXOZXRZ237AB).

Isn’t he cute? He tells us he is “too big” for things he doesn’t want to do (including using the toilet which is not going well), and that his “butt is gone” when we need to change his diaper.  He be silly.

I’ve also been making Story Wreaths (as I call them), and here is my latest which was a birthday present for my friend Candace:

I also made a book pumpkin!

So there is a brief overview of things I have been doing.  I have not been writing much besides my many, many book reviews and things I do for work.  Tomorrow, that changes!

As a side note, I kinda want a new blog title. What do you think?

Have a great night!  Tomorrow I begin the NaNoWriMo prep, talking about what I will be doing, my plans, how I won before, and what I plan to improve this time around!

Anyone there?

*peeps around the corner*

Hello? Anyone there?

*crickets*

Ah well.  I have returned! And I apologize.  I’ve long been absent from my blog.  Starting a new job, and the hubby returning to school has been quite an adventure. A busy adventure that has left me falling asleep before 10 most nights.  Also, I’ve been reading quite a bit and had several reviews in the Bowling Green Daily News.

However, NaNoWriMo is approaching! And I’m determined to win again this year. I just updated my novel, We Witches Three, and I’m fixing to start prepping like crazy to get ready for it. I’m thinking for lunch at work I shall start shutting the door and working for an hour in my office. Wish me luck. I’m going to create a board of inspiration.

By the way, I love my office.I love my job!

Other than that, we’ve been busy bees. I need to super clean.  I’ve painted my living room, kitchen and hallway. For future reference, wallpaper border is the devil.  I have one wall left in my living room and I have to paint the trim (my plan for this weekend).  I have yard sale stuff to post on Facebook and many clothes to go through. I also plan to go through all of Xander’s toys and get rid of some stuff.

So, more on writing in my next post.

Thanks for sticking with me guys!

Back in Action!

Hello!

First, let me apologize for my disappearance.  July was a crazy month for me, full of interviews, anxious waiting and panicking, chasing my son around, and generally stressing about money as I didn’t have a job yet.

The good news, I have been hired as an Academic Adviser for the School of Professional Studies at WKU, and I started August 1st. It’s been a whirlwind of getting things figured out, starting my new job, and all such things.

Hopefully I will be back to posting on here soon, back to writing, and reading more and more.  After all, I have to get ready for NaNoWriMo…

Later!

Planning For Camp Nano

Hello everyone!

Time just marches on by does it not?  I am happy to say that I have met my writing goal every day this month. It hasn’t always been on my novel. A few days it was for book reviews. I wrote an article one day and didn’t even count those words. So I have been doing quite well, and I am super happy with myself. Maybe if I can keep this up, I can increase my word goal in a few months. For now though, I am happy with the progress I am making, and satisfied with the fact that I am WRITING on my novel weekly, whereas for the past year that has not been the case at all.

Maybe this is the year!

So, on to Camp Nano! Feel free to add me, and maybe we could start a group. I am still hoping to be finished with Fated Destiny by November, so that I can work on my Pirate Novel (which I will outline plot for in October).  Camp Nano in April and July are two of my major projects I’m hoping to help me with that. As I already have outlines, and I’m just continuing what I have been doing I do not have a lot of prep to do for Camp Nano. However, much of the same guidelines exist for it as do for Nano, and I will begin posting those tips come March 🙂

I think, sometimes, we writers lose ourselves and our writing because we feel like failures. We have friends who manage to write thousands of words a day, or we know professors who are publishing a book a year.  Or we had professors who tried to push us to better ourselves, but in the end it just made us feel as if our writing was not good enough. Okay, so maybe that’s just me, but I am sure some of you have felt the same way. It can be difficult (in EVERYTHING) to look at what others have accomplished or done, and not be doing the same.

Yet, we do not know what is different in their world from ours. They may have much more time to write. They probably don’t have a crazy toddler to watch who is OBSESSED with their laptop. They may have made writing their career, and good for them. As much as I love writing, I also love what I do. I think I would continue doing what I do even if one day I become a successful crazy novelist (haha).  We need to remember to be realistic for our goals, and what WE can do for ourselves.  Lowering my word count goal, and having a GOAL has helped me so much.  I feel a million times better a day, because I am writing every day. I’m being creative. It’s great.

Also, Operation Declutter is slow going, but its going. I have emptied my closet of an entire playpen’s worth of clothing that I am going to sell/donate.  I even got rid of a ton of socks (I had like three drawers worth…).  I’m going through my books. I separated out the book I have not read yet, and am now making that a priority before I am allowed to get random books (okay, Morning Star did not count). I want less crap laying around, and I’m working toward that. It feels super. I even just received a book about decluttering for a review. So woot!

I am hoping to have a couple of book giveaways at the end of this month, so stay tuned for me figuring that out 🙂

Peace!

Plotting/Planning/Nano?

MWAHAHAHAHA….

Wait. What? Hello, you caught me unawares! I am plotting/planning MY VILLAIN! Got caught up in the moment.  I must say, it is rather fun.  Creating new backstory, and almost this whole other tale to go with her. However, I refuse to do the whole “write the story from the other characters point of view just for money thing” *coughcoughtwilightcough*.

I have a name. And a story. And a general idea of where I want this to go. So I’m sitting down on my lunch today and outline this novel. What I have to where I am going.  I was debating whether I can do it all in one book.  I’m scared to plan anything more than ONE book as its only taken me…. four years? to get this far with this one.

So one or a trilogy? And then my sister-in-law says what about a duology? A what? A DUOLOGY! Two books. Not one. Not three. Just two. It seems almost perfect. So we shall see. Thoughts?

My hope is to have this completely finished by summer. Really, I would like it finished by the end of April and edited by the end of May. Then I shall have to call up my English professor and tell him to start watching Doctor Who…

So, I’m spending the rest of this week plotting with a bit of writing – I need to plot. I didn’t plot this to begin with and the craziness that has ensued since is because of that. So no more loss of direction. Then next Monday I want to write at least 1000 words a day. I have around 30,000 words. I’m shooting for 80,ooo. So 50,000 more… -cries-

I wish I had Scrivener.

In other news, Nano emailed.  Gave us a timeline for the year. If you won, how is your editing going? If not, are you doing it this year? I plan to.  I think I’m also going to do Camp Nano.  So, finish this at Camp. Write the second one in November.

Wish me luck!

Nano Prep! A few more tips…

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Nano is quickly approaching! Only two days left, and one of those days is Halloween!!  If you have kids – well the day is pretty much shot as you will be doing Halloween type things all day 🙂

Sign up on the site: I know this tip sounds silly, but apparently there are people who say they are doing Nano but they never make it official and sign up! So do it! If you win, you get fun stuff, and discounts and all kinds of cool stuff.  And a chance to buy a shirt!  It’s fun. Plus, what’s the point of trying if it isn’t official?  Last but not least, this helps hold you accountable!

Last Minute Prep:  Go buy snacks, drinks, Post it notes, notebooks, pencils, pens, etc. Gather all those things you need to make you a good/efficient writer.

Make a list, check it twice: Okay, so I had a short list. On that list was to get back into writing mode (check), and to go back through my half finished novel I plan to finish and re-familiarize myself with it (uh… oops). So what was your list? What do you feel you need to do before Sunday is upon us?

Try not to stress details: If you cannot find a name to fit your character, or a town name that you love, give it something generic – make a note, keep a list – and fix it in December. You don’t want to spend your time (especially if its limited) pouring over baby name sites, or googling weird town names, to try and find the PERFECT name. We all know that can take forever.  Write it in CAPS so you can find it easier later, and move on. Some people will just write TOWN NAME every time, or something to that effect. Or just name a new character that pops up on you BARBIE and make a note to change it. Remember – try not to edit.

Tips for NaNo

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Back Up Everything: TWICE!  This is important.  You never want to have 45,000 words written and your computer crash.  You would spend a month in a dark corner, or hiding under your desk crying.  It’s always important to back up your work, but during Nano, it is even more so. Now, they do sell this awesome flash drive bracelet. I have wanted one for ages and ages. Great plan. Or have it automatically save to Dropbox. Any where external from your computer (i.e. do not save it in two files on your hard drive and think you are covered).

Audience: Know who your audience is. Are you thinking that teenagers would love your book? Is it more geared toward young adults or adults? This is important for many reasons. There are guidelines for general word length for such novels you can go by. Different genres are also written different and the tone changes. Knowing your targeted audience could help. It can answer questions. Should I behead him? Well it is for young adults… maybe.  Adults? Sure.

Setting: As I mentioned in my writing prompt yesterday, settings are important to the story.  Knowing your setting is also important.  People develop characters but sometimes forget completely about setting. And if you are building a fantasy world it is very important.  The creators of the Doon series posted their hand drawn maps on their website, and originally they put the castle in two different places – that can be important if you are talking about traveling across a land on horseback.

Thanks for looking at my advice guys 🙂 As I always say, do what works best for you! Good luck! (5 more days!)

Today is Senior/Staff Spook day at the high school I work at.  I’m dressed up in a Renaissance dress and cloak.  It’s a good day.

More NaNoWriMo Tips

First off, sorry I disappeared over the weekend. It was chaotic.  I kept falling asleep with my son. All good stuff. So, I shall do a writing prompt today, maybe even post a writing prompt of my own, and I shall share these tips 🙂

For future reference, if you buy candy for your kids at the high school, remember there is a no peanut rule and don’t buy Reese’s…

Last but not least before I get into a few tips: I have another published book review! It’s over Golden Son by Pierce Brown, in the Bowling Green Daily News.

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Word Count: Various people do word counts differently. Most set a goal every day of what they need to write. However, this comes back to you – do what works best for you. To write 50,000 words in 30 days, you need to write an average of 1,667 words a day. However, most people try for at least 2,000 or 3,000.  This way, on days they cannot write, they have a few words stored up.  If you know you won’t be able to write much on the weekends, or you can never write on Tuesdays, prepare for this and figure out what you need to write every day.

Have a goal is a GOOD thing. It helps keep you accountable. This also helps if you are in a group (previous tip) because you can keep yourself accountable with them.  Amanda has started posting a daily goal and what she did at the end of the night on her blog. Seeing as how she is my main writing buddy (she pesters me to death during NaNoWriMo, as she should) and I know she will be asking, I am stealing this from her and doing it daily starting November 1st. Then she doesn’t have to ask 🙂

Use Tools:  I love Microsoft Word. I know how to do so many things within it. It’s my go to for editing. (If you don’t know how to use all the review functions, you should figure it out!).  However, for NaNoWriMo, it is not what I use. Scrivener is my love. They will let you have a 30 day download, and then if you win, you get it for a discounted rate.  USE IT! Or find something equally awesome. I’m sharing one later down on the page.  But the point being: do what makes things easier for you. There are tools to design maps, to plot, and much, much more.

Have Snacks: So, I know most of us have go to items when writing. At one point, if I wrote one thousand words I got to eat the sour patch kids watermelons… But you want to be able to stay put while writing. Have something to drink, something to snack on, make sure you aren’t starving, etc. etc.  It helps!

Set The Mood: This may sound silly, but I know many writers who have playlists on youtube they listen to (which is now annoying due to ads) or certain cds they listen to when writing.  They may turn off overhead lights and just use a lamp. All of these things work, but again, do what works for you. Whatever makes you at the most relaxed, but not too relaxed. You don’t want to fall asleep! Oh, and remember to keep good posture – getting a crick in the neck, leg cramps, or a migraine from sitting funny will really kill the mood!

Okay – that’s it for now!

On “Keeping Procrastination At Bay” I found the “Write or Die” program. Looks interesting and may be something you want to try! Here is her blog on it!