NaNoWriMo² or 50k in 60 Days

Feeling overwhelmed? Relax, bro!

So I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month for the 3rd consecutive year. I talked about this a little in my post last month – What I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo. As we near the middle of November, I thought I’d share something with fellow WriMos who may be feeling a little overwhelmed, or have already made the conscious choice to move at a slower, more conscious pace than the 50k in 30 days goal.

Now let me back up here by saying I know writers who can EASILY churn out 50k in 30 days with time to spare – while producing GOOD first drafts. But that simply isn’t the case for all of us, and I honestly begin to have reservations about encouraging that kind of breakneck pace writing – especially for new and younger writers just starting out.  Continue reading

What I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo

Well, it’s almost that time again. In less than a month it will be time for writers worldwide to begin their annual flailing of fingers across keyboards and (for some truly intrepid travelers) a scrabbling of pens across Compound notebooks. At my library, I’m planning several official events during October and weekly write-ins throughout November.

That being said. I’m not really doing NaNo this year. Continue reading

Write Out of Spite: Dealing with Would-Be Dreamkillers.

For every person who ever told you:

  • “Why don’t you get a real job?”
  • “You know you’re never going to get rich or famous doing that, right?”
  • “You’re wasting your time.”

WRITE ALL THE MORE. WRITE OUT OF SPITE.

This came up recently at one of our NaNoWriMo meetups – The fact that many of our writers were getting all kinds of negative comments from friends and family, even spouses! One person said, “Oh, you’re STILL writing? Did you ever publish that other novel you wrote?” When the answer was no, they were confused as to why our friend was still writing. Obviously because she had written one (actually she had written more than one) novel and it had yet to be published, she should just stop writing altogether. Not only is this a very discouraging and hateful thing to say to a writer who may wish to be published, it also discounts any other goal the writer may have. Maybe publishing a novel isn’t the end all be all for that writer… Maybe they just… *gasp* enjoy writing!

Continue reading

When we hit that sagging middle…

Sigh… Guys. I have officially hit the sagging middle of my zombie novel. Not gonna lie, I am having a really hard time figuring out where to go from here. I’ve set things on fire, I’ve blown things up. Now what? I think at this point, my options include:

  • take the story in a completely new direction
  • kill a character
  • blow some more stuff up
  • set some more stuff on fire
  • …cry?

But also yay, 40,000 words.

Anyone else having the same problem with their NaNo novels?

An excerpt from my current project…

As some of you may know, I already started my NaNo novel a little early. I’m currently just over 7000 words into it, and I’m having a blast. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it’s about zombies. Yay!

Anyway, I wanted to make a quick post to share a little scrap of my first draft with you all. I will only leave this up on this blog for the next week, after which it will promptly disappear as if by magic. *waggles fingers*

Some writers caution against sharing first drafts with ANYONE; they say it’s best to keep it all locked away until it’s DONE, but I’m not that type. I have to share; sharing with friends is what inspires me to keep going. I welcome any and all feedback, but please no serious criticism at this point. It’s a first draft; it’s kind of a mess. It will all be HEAVILY edited once it’s done. Anyway, without further adieu and disclaimer, here it is:

[REDACTED on 11.1.2012 –  Thanks so much to those who stopped by to read and leave comments!]

So that’s it! Let me know what you think!

Also! As a quick aside, you know what I’m really bad at? Description! I will leave a reader wondering what someone looks like for 50 pages if I don’t stop to remind myself, “HEY. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THAT GIRL LOOKS LIKE. YOU SHOULD PROBABLY TELL THEM.” LOL. I’m much better at dialogue than description. How about you, fellow writers? Is there any part of the writing process that you have to come back and add in a later revision because it’s just not in your brain for that first draft?

❤ Laura

October 22 and already 5k in…

So we’re still over a week away from November, and I’m about 5000 words into my NaNo novel.

Oops?

I regret nothing.

PS: Obviously, I’m not counting any of this as part of my 50k, but the novel has begun. And so far, it’s hilarious. I’m enjoying it anyway, even if no one else does. *shrug*

Have any other WriMos out there already started their novels? Or have an idea what you’re going to write at least?

NaNoWriMo Creativity Kicker

Our local National Novel Writing Month group held its annual Creativity Kicker event today at my library! This is probably my favorite pre-NaNo event, and we always have so much fun. This year I had the added bonus of bringing the WriMos into the library where I work, and conducting the event as an official program for the library!

We started the event with a short introduction of ourselves and quickly got into some word games. The following are two different short pieces I wrote today during the word games.

In this one, each participant pulled one word on a slip of paper from each of three different hats: 1) Setting, 2) Object, and 3) Occupation.

In mine, I got: 1) Classroom, 2) Lamp, and 3) Chef

We were given 15 minutes writing time. I came up with a quick and rather unfortunate scene from culinary school:

The classroom lights flickered suddenly, causing Patrick to misjudge his measurement.

“Damn!” He cursed, pouring the extra cake batter back into the large stirring bowl.

“What was that?” asked Sarah, his distractingly hot lab partner. She, not for the first time today, adjusted her flour covered apron in a way that only highlighted her large breasts even more.

Patrick cleared his throat and began to remeasure the batter a second time.

“I don’t know, power’s flickering. Let’s get this done already.”

“Okay, you don’t have to be an ass about it.” She huffed, and Patrick poured the batter once more. In midpour the lights went completely out all at once. He heard batter splosh haphazardly in the now pitch black room.

“Fuck! Are you kidding me?” He shouted, slamming the pitcher down on the lab table.

Chef Roberto grunted from the front of the room, “Now Mr. Rodden, that’s hardly acceptable language for this classroom. I have a battery operated lamp up here somewhere for just such an occasion, let me see if I can’t find it.”

There was a shuffling sound throughout the room and one of the other students squealed suddenly, “Ah! Who’s that, what are you-ahhhhh!” The cry ended abruptly and a commotion spread throughout the room.

Chef Roberto found the lamp and light burst out of it suddenly, illuminating the scene.

Patrick dropped the pitcher he had been clutching in his dough covered hands, and Sarah let out a blood curdling scream.

There were approximately thirty five zombies in the room, and they all looked hungry. Somehow, Patrick didn’t think they had come for the cake.

In this next one, we had to again write for about 15 minutes, and come up with a story using 5 or more of the 8 or so physical objects that were presented to us.

One of the objects was a little stuffed penguin toy who, through some unpleasant series of events, had lost one of his eyes. Another object was a scarf. For some reason when I saw that little penguin and scarf, my brain went immediately to the old cartoon Woody the Woodpecker, and the little penguin Chilly Willy. In the cartoon, Chilly Willy is a happy go lucky little penguin who’s arch nemesis is the grumpy old walrus, i.e. Willy is the Jerry to the Walrus’s Tom, to use another old cartoon as an example. Anyway, another of our random objects was a poker chip bag with the Wild Turkey whiskey logo on it, and this (coupled with the missing eye) prompted a very sad vision of the future for little Willy. So long story short I basically wrote Chilly Willy fanfiction…I regret nothing.

The one-eyed penguin nursed the half empty bottle of Wild Turkey on the table before him and sighed with resignation. He tugged at the scarf about his throat and wondered, not for the first time, how it had all gone so terribly wrong. He glanced about the igloo at the various framed photographs, which reflected the flickering light from the dancing fireplace. The ace bandage on his ankle was itching again, and he bent over in his chair to scratch it. That stupid woodpecker was the one to blame. It was his idea to rob that bank in the first place. He’d never been the same, after that.

“Oh, Willy…” he chided himself out loud, “When are you going to stop blaming other people for all your problems? You got yourself into this mess. You can’t blame Woody for everything.”

The broken, sad penguin got up from the couch and went into the kitchen, grabbing a can opener out of the drawer before popping open his second can of tuna for the day. On his way back to the couch, he stopped to admire one of the old photos framed on his bookshelf. In the photo, a younger, happier version of himself was running over the ice, a fat fish clasped in his mouth and that angry old Walrus hot on his heels. Whatever happened to that old guy? Willy didn’t know. Now that it came to it, he almost missed him. Willy sighed and replaced the picture on its shelf.

Tomorrow he would go out and try to find a job. Tomorrow. But for now he was going to sit in his house, eat some tuna, and drink all his troubles away.

I’m sorry, not only did I just write Chilly Willy fanfic… I just wrote really depressing Chilly Willy fanfic. ….WHATEVA WHATEVA, I DO WHAT I WANT.

Anyway, I had a blast at our Creativity Kicker! If you are doing NaNo this year I highly recommend getting involved with your local group! If you don’t have a local group, start one!

❤ Laura

NaNoWriMo excitement and my tech setup for this November

Our first regional plotting bash for November’s annual National Novel Writing Month is today! So excited to get together with some of my Columbia WriMos for the first time in almost a year!

In other news, I have been very bad to this blog over the last couple of months. Just terrible. But that’s how it goes. I read somewhere, it may have been something Stephen King said in his memoir On Writing – “The more words you write in your blog, the fewer words you write in your book.” Lol. It’s true. And I have been writing more on actual projects lately, so if this blog has suffered a bit as a result, so be it. That being said, I will now attempt to make up for some of that neglect with a detailed post about how I’m writing my NaNo novel this year! We can do it! We have the technology!

This November, I am pretty psyched to be trying out some new gadgets for my mobile write ins and new software for organizing my writing during NaNo. There is a thread over at the NaNoWriMo forums devoted to tech topics, with some helpful suggestions and resources for organizing your novel and juggling files from multiple devices throughout the month. Check it out here for more tips and tricks from fellow WriMos.

And here’s my current setup! Continue reading

I’m alive! Also new job and new stories to come.

My last post to this blog was entered on June 25th, almost a month ago. And I started off so well! Ah, the best laid plans. But, as usual, I have a myriad of good excuses for my lack of writing and posting.

Later this week I will be starting a new job. I am very excited about this! There are, however, some cons. It is part time, and it is a 30 minute commute one way. So, there’s that. I had initially interviewed for a position at a different branch which is closer to me. But of the two positions available, this is the one I was offered, and you’ll get no complaints from me. I get so nervous during interviews, and I honestly wasn’t sure how well I had done. But after a couple of days of anxious waiting, I got the call informing me that, yay! I’m hired! So, anyway. That probably had a lot to do with my lack of updates this month. Job hunting and interviewing is a lot of work. Not to mention I still have my current job to go to every day.

Anyway, starting next week I will be the new Library Assistant to the Reference Department at a local branch of the county public library. I’ll be one step closer to achieving my dream of a career as a librarian. Cue the sexy librarian jokessss… now.

As for my dreams of becoming a writer, not so much. I have been super slacking lately on the writing front. I guess when you’re looking for work and pursuing so many different things at once it is hard just to find the time to sit down and write. This has always been my problem when it comes to writing. I lack BICT, Butt In Chair Time, that is. I’m just so full of energy I have to get up, run around the house, do the dishes, clean up here and there, go outside and hoop for a bit, run to the gym… Anything to get me up and moving and NOT sitting behind my computer writing. And even if I am in front of the computer, that temptation to check Facebook and Twitter or play a quick match of Words with Friends? It’s powerful. But I know that I’ll ultimately end up just wasting time there, so I have to know when to say enough is enough.

Keeping a notebook has definitely been helping. I carry it around in my apron at work and if an idea occurs to me, I jot it down on the spot. I keep it next to my bed at night and when I wake up from a particularly affecting dream, or a bit of dialogue floats through my head, I write it down. It’s good to have that always there, so I don’t forget things.

Right now I am beginning to work on a short story idea for the August edition of Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s a retelling of the original Little Mermaid story by Hans Christian Andersen. In this modern-day version of the fairy tale, the mermaid is a merman, a young teenage boy who is somewhat morbidly fascinated with the human world above. I say morbidly so, because he sees humans as in many ways disgusting creatures, but as he learns more about them, he finds them more and more compelling. They intrigue him. Of course one day he ventures too far into the human world, and thus our adventure ensues. I started toying around with intro scenes a bit last week, and I’m liking it so far. It’s nice not to be writing hardcore sci-fi for once. Here’s a snippet of what I have so far – an opening scene depicting the day-to-day for our female protagonist, Miss Elizabeth Rockefeller.

In the street 47 stories below, she could hear the sounds of the city. Cars laying on their horns, the occasional police siren, and a general hum of activity could be heard rising up from the depths of the urban landscape. It was her white noise. She loved it. She sighed into her pillow, drinking in the beauty of the moment. It was prematurely interrupted by the sound of her bedroom door being swished open and footsteps approaching on the hardwood floor.

“Lizzie. Lizzie, dear! It’s time to get up!” A tall figure in a black blazer and dress slacks bustled from one window to the next, throwing back the drapes and letting in more sunshine.

“Moooommm…” Elizabeth moaned from under the covers and rolled over into her pillow. “I have five minutes!”

“You have zero minutes; your clock is slow.”

“Um, no. It’s not. It’s set to the International… Whatever. It’s a cell phone.”

“We have a full day today. Now get up, Lizzie. Godiva needs her walk.”

Accepting defeat, Elizabeth heaved a sigh and threw back the covers. A pretty Greyhound wearing a chocolate brown collar set with rhinestones pranced into the room through the door Elizabeth’s mother had left open, and tilted its head to one side in greeting.

“Morning, Godiva. You ready for your walk?”

Lady Godiva let out a pitiful little whine and danced on her paws.

If you want to friend/message me on the Camp NaNo site during August, my page is here: PrimordialAstronaut

PS: Also trying a new WordPress theme. What do you think?

Until next time!