NaNoWriMo 2015 Update 2

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Screenshot of my progress for today, November 13

Week 2 of NaNoWriMo has now ended. It certainly went by much faster than the first week did. If you are pacing, your word count should be sitting at 21,666 words by the end of today.

Some people have already hit that 50,000 word mark. For those people: Congratulations!

For the rest of us, here are some things I have learned from week 2:

1) When you can, keep writing. Way past your word count if you can manage it at all. Because there are going to be days-and they are going to get more frequent as the month goes on-where you won’t be able to pull out 1667 words. You just won’t. Some days 1600 words is a lot more than other days.

Yesterday I struggled to hit 1600 words. I may not have even hit 1600 words, I don’t remember. What I do know is that I am really glad for the days that I wrote two or three thousand words because it meant that, right now, I don’t have to worry about how many words I write as long as I hit the goal for the day (or the next day. i’m trying to stay 1-2 days ahead of my word count)

Another advantage of being ahead on your word count for us “pantsers” is that it gives us time to do research. A few times i have had to look up myths or the genealogy of gods or weapons and it has been nice to have the time to do my research because I wasn’t wasting time that I should be using to write.

2) Don’t worry if you don’t know what happens next. It will come. I know, for me at least, if I don’t know the next event that is going to happen I struggle to write the current scene even if I know how at least that scene will go. But I’ve learned something as I have been writing.  I may not know what is going to happen in the next scene or even what the next scene is, but as long as I start it everything falls into place. Will it need tweaking after this month? Of course it will. But so will even the most planned out novels. You are going to have to edit. Accept that and just write.

3)Using the word counter update on the NaNo site is addictive. If I come to a break in a paragraph or if I don’t know how to start the next sentence yet I will go to the website-which is a separate tab up in my browser-and I will update it. Sometimes it’s only been two or three hundred words. But something about updating it and seeing the bar for that day and for the month climb is incredibly satisfying.

Finding something that makes writing immediately rewarding for you-other than the knowledge you are working towards  finished novel which I know is not always enough-can help you write that next few scenes. So find something that can give you an immediate payoff.

Good luck. See you at the end of week 3!

-M-

For daily updates, NaNo progress, inspiration, help etc…don’t forget to “Like” my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EKUauthor

NaNoWriMo 2015: Update Number 1

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It is November 2nd and here is my first NaNoWriMo update:

I am at a little over 5300 words. I ended up with today off and had a great deal of inspiration hit me when I was worried I would be blocked. (I am still worried that after I get through this part i won’t know what comes next but we will deal with that when it comes)

Currently I am completely “pantsing” it as they say. I had an outline all ready and everything. Chapter synopsis, character profiles(i have a hard time remembering what color I make people’s eyes and hair if it isn’t plot significant) And then I woke up on November 1st and decided to write a COMPLETELY different novel. The same novel, in fact, that I had decided not to do for NaNoWriMo because of the amount of research that I have to do to complete it.

But, we write the stories that speak to us and this is a story I have wanted to tell for a long time. It’s a hard story to tell because it is dark and just gets darker and darker as the story progresses with only slight breaks of humor from a different character. But Medusa(the main character) wants her story told. And so I am telling it.

I am glad to be ahead of the goal right now. I have some busy days coming up and I am worried about hitting my word count on those days. I will still try, naturally, but it will be less stressful if I am unable. Less discouraging because I won’t be falling behind.

That is my first piece of advice for those of you who are new to NaNoWriMo. Make your word count goals. Exceed them if possible but if not keep writing until you have hit the 1667 for the day. Because 1667 is not overwhelming to try and write in a day. But if you fall behind it’s really easy to give up because it’s very difficult to catch up once you are a day or two behind. So keep writing. Don’t worry about if the words are “good” or not. If you are passionate about what you are writing and you are enjoying the process than that is enough. December is for editing. Make your words pretty next month. This month just get them down.

How are you all progressing on your daily word counts? Any novel excerpts you are particularly proud of that you want to share?

Remember that if you want to keep in contact with me daily “Like” my page at www.facebook.com/EKUauthor. I would love to hear how your novels are coming along and I will be updating my own word counts daily on that page and posting inspiration I find.

Outlining Makes Me Sad

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I hate outlining. I hate it so very much. i’m not good at it. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around it. When I had to write papers in high school I never used an outline and I always did really well. Especially on Fiction. When an outline was required I would make one up and turn it in.

Now, as an adult, the way I do outlines would make my High School teachers cry. It’s not consistent throughout the outline and it’s not always the

I.

        A.

                1.

format. I don’t even know how you write clear ideas like that. My brain just doesn’t work in a logical line I guess.

My outlines look more like:

Chapter One-Important Points:

                 -introduce town

                  -introduce main char.

                 -sees meteor/meets oracle

                           *oracle description:

Kind of just basic references.

Outlining just about bores me to tears. If I have a clear vision of what i want to write then I want to *write* it. I don’t want to write about writing it.

BUT-I know that I have to for NaNoWriMo. If I want to write 2000-5000 words a day I need to have a vision of each plot point ahead of time if I’m going to avoid getting stuck. I will, in all likely hood, not follow my outline. When NaNoWriMo starts I will probably not even look at it. Because the characters take me where they want.

But I have (begrudgingly) found that at least writing the outline-whether or not it gets used-puts enough ideas into my subconscious to roll around and work on while i’m doing other things or working on other parts of the story.

The first year I did NaNo i had an outline. I didn’t look at it but I had it and I won. Last year I did not have an outline and I stopped about 70 pages in.

So that’s what I’m going to be doing today. I’m going to hate it. A lot. But I guess you do what you have to.

Do you outline? What do your outlines look like? What do you do to prep for November?

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(My cat is a goofball)

For motivation you won’t find on my blogs don’t forget to like my Facebook page

10 days in to NaNoPrepMo

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It is October tenth and that November first deadline is coming closer and closer. I know in the next couple of weeks I will be stocking up on bottled water, chocolate (yay after Halloween sales) and energy drinks because I will be getting up an hour early to get writing done before work every day. I have a binder with notes in it, pieces of dialogue I may want to use and major plot points that have to happen to set up the entire series. What are you doing to prep?

I know that as the deadline comes closer, if you haven’t written a novel before or you’ve never attempted to write 50,000 words in 30 days (i will be aiming for 75,000-100,000) that deadline can suddenly seem imposing. But fear not! That’s where i come in:

Here are a few websites to help you get prepared for NaNoWriMo.

www.nanowrimo.org

First thing you should do is make sure you register your novel. You can earn badges, join member boards,  get prep talks from some amazing authors. Seeing that chart go up every day saying you are on goal is a great way to keep yourself going. And you can enter to win a professional cover designed of your book.

http://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep

Right from the main website itself. Here is a list of things you can do to prepare for writing your novel this November.

http://triplecrit.com/2015/09/30/31-days-of-nanoprepmo/

31 days of NaNo prep prompts. Every day she asks you to imagine things like what your protagonist hates and why. What are going to be the major themes of your story. If you aren’t sure what your story is going to be about or you want to get a clearer vision of your characters and plot using these prompts could be a great way to help.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page or click the tags to get the whole connection.

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-prepare-for-nanowrimo-to-outline-or-not-to-outline

To outline or not to outline. This author believes it’s both and he has some tips on how to do that even if you are, like myself, a “pantser”

http://storyist.com/support/howto/get-ready-for-nanowrimo/

Not sure what to write? Check out this authors ideas on how to get a plot. Ask what if questions, for example!

www.facebook.com/EKUauthor

This is my Facebook author page. I am going to be posting tip prep, stuff I do to prep and writing prompts to get you started throughout October and motivation to keep  you going through November. I’ll also be posting my own daily word count and excerpts from what I’ve written. Go give it a like!

There are tons of ways to prep. Remember that there is no good or bad way to prepare. The only way you can fail is to not try at all.  Even if you don’t make your 50,000 words (it’s not an easy goal especially with work and kids and significant others and days where you have no idea what you are going to do next) you can at least develop a habit of writing every day. Then, after NaNoWriMo is over, you can keep writing and keep writing and keep writing and someday you will have a finished book.

And trust me, that’s pretty cool.

Final NaNoWriMo Update

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Morning guys,

I am off to a day of decorating my house, Christmas music and George C. Scott’s A Christmas Carol. Before I do, I wanted to give you my last update for NaNoWriMo because it is the last day of the “contest”

I finished my book last week. The final word count sits at around 90,000 words before editing. Editing starts next week when I can get it printed (I don’t have a printer)

I’ve left my novel alone since I finished it because I want some space from it before I go back into editing. I can’t let it sit for a year before editing like some authors do. I’m just not that kind of writer. I’m not nearly patient enough and it would eat at me and make feel guilty if I tried to stick it in a drawer for that long. I may do a second draft, send it to beta readers and then let it sit for a month before revising for the final, but from first to second drafts I like to move quickly.

Getting a bit of distance from it though has clarified some things. For example, I have a story-line I elude to near the middle/end of the book that I was going to clarify on later. I decided it’s a story-line that adds nothing to the overall characters so I’m cutting out the whole thing. I have some extra chapters to write after I finish editing what I have, and then my boyfriend will read it and then I will send it out to my beta readers.

Here are the last couple of things I have learned this month:

1) The last couple scenes are the hardest to write. I spent days knowing exactly how it would end but not actually finishing it. I love my book, rough though it may be. And I have enjoyed the month I have spent with my characters. It was hard to end it. But finishing it-writing those last two words “The End”-was strangely satisfying. Like a weight had been lifted from my chest. It hadn’t been an unpleasant weight, but it was there. Now it is gone. Ready to sit on me again as I move into the next phase of my work, but I have a few days to breathe freely at least.

2)When I decide to sit down and write, if it’s not the first thing I do, I will dread it all day. Not because I don’t want to write or don’t know what is coming next. Just the imposing feeling of not doing something you know you should be doing. The longer you go without starting, the harder it is to do and the smaller word count you will end up with.

3)More than anything else, I have enjoyed the thrill of getting up every morning, making my BulletProof Coffee or drinking a Monster Ultra, and facing down the next 5000 words of my book.The day melts away and, by the end of the day, part of me feels like I wasted the day. The dishes aren’t done, the house is a mess, but I hit my personal word count goal so I feel successful and good about myself.  When I was finished with my book it was satisfying to spend a couple of hours and deep clean my house. I had not realized how bad it had gotten in it’s poor neglected state.

4) I love having a finished first draft. I haven’t completed a full length novel in a while. I write short stories all the time.(last year I wrote a short story collection of Re-Told Christmas stories…I will be sharing some of them over December so follow me for those updates) I love writing short stories. I’m really good at short stories and writing tragic short stories is cathartic for me. But I’ve always wanted to be a novelist. Yet, I would always hit that point in the novel where I would tell myself “this is the worst thing in the whole world, why do I want to be a writer, this is stupid, I’m stupid, it would be better if I just deleted the whole thing and started all over” I hit that point in my NaNoWriMo novel as well but I knew if I deleted it, I would lose. And that wasn’t an option for me. So I pushed through. I got to the other side of the self loathing(more or less) and finished. It was a tremendous help to have the pep talks and to follow NaNoWriMo on Tumblr and Facebook where they were sharing that they were having the same problems I was having and still managing to stick it. And I’m proud of myself. What I wrote, even by the third draft, might not ever be something I want to have published (it might be…I’m thinking about it) But I finished it. Now I know that I can. Now I know how to push through the writer-ly depression that I hit at a certain point every time I write over 40,000 words. Now I’m ready for all the other novels that are calling my name.

What are some things you have learned doing this month? Who won? Let me know in the comments!

-M-

p.s. look for my new and improved selection of “What’s In My Queue” coming tomorrow, and if you are looking for some creative inspiration check out my guest blog I posted yesterday here

NaNo Update #2

Hi guys!

Just wanted to give you a quick update and some more things I have learned.

It’s about 1 p.m on the West Coast on Day 11 and I have just passed 41,000 words. My goal is to end the day with 45,000 and hit 50,000 tomorrow. (may or may not happen. I have to go into the newspaper for a few hours tomorrow which will naturally cut into my writing time) I should be done hopefully by the 13th and then I will get back to more not NaNo updates on here. I will continue writing throughout the month. Hopefully I can hit about 100,000 words by the end of the month (giving me space to cut about 15-20,000 words in editing and still being within a range that publishers like from first time authors) and have it completely edited and re-written by January. I will not, however, after my 50,000 words make it a goal to write 3-5,000 words a day most days.

While I still know where I am going and how I am getting there, I am less happy with my work over the last two days than my work from the previous week. I will have to read it all when I’m finished and not in the throes of writing it to see if I am wrong.

A few more things I have figured out doing NaNo for the first time:

1) I have always really liked noise while I work. Sometimes I prefer quiet just in general but usually I want something in the background. Netflix is my favorite for this. But I have also discovered I write much much slower when I have something-even just music-on. So it becomes a debate for me. If I know exactly what is happening and need to write an intense battle or something like that I will sit in quiet. Or if I am really close to hitting my daily word goal I might put something on in the background. Lately it has been Christmas music (yes in November), a Christmas movie (Santa Claus for the win!) Supernatural, or more recently Chuck.

2) I write characters that I love and then I plot their deaths.
This is pretty morbid, I know, but hear me out. I have found myself thinking of ways to kill my characters as I write them-particularly the ones I really love. Now, I’m not necessarily going to kill my characters. The characters I am going to kill are already written down in my not-quite-an-outline outline that I keep redoing because I keep changing the order of my chapters. BUT, sometimes occasions arise that you didn’t know were going to come up that are going to require you to kill a character you have fallen in love with. It’s really hard to do that and far more tempting to write around it. But, sometimes, you have to do it. For the emotional impact of the story or to move the story along etc…if you have already cordoned off a piece of your soul that has said goodbye it’s much easier to do what is best for your story than what is best for your emotional stability as the writer.

3) I have found it far more difficult to sit down and read while I am writing so much. I might be the only one, but right now I am spending the majority of the day sitting at various locations and writing. Writing articles, blogs or the 5000 words a day in my novel. When I get to the end of my word count and my articles are done I have little desire to read.
Actually, that’s not true. I keep looking at my table full of books (see my “What’s In My Queue” blog) for me to read and my nightstand of books I am currently reading and I really want to pick them up and delve into them and find new characters and adventures.
But I haven’t been able to. I keep getting lost in my own characters or the next interview I have to do or I am so exhausted by words at a certain point that I just want to sit and relax and not think about them for a bit.
This might make me a bad person. If it does, know that I feel really guilty that it’s the eleventh and finished any books yet this month, but NaNo is kind of taking over my life. We’ll see if I can get back into it by December in between editing sessions.

That’s it for now. I am going to stop staring at my screen for a bit and then get back to my novel.

How is everyone else doing in their projects? If you need inspiration look at my “NaNo Descends” Post I have with great links to keep you inspired.

-M-

A Quick NaNoWriMo Update…

Hey guys!

I promised to try and keep you apprised of what was going on with my NaNo project.

It is day four and I am just shy of 18,000 words. I might make it a goal to hit 18,000 before the day is out but Im not sure yet. I still have to write a newspaper article that is due tomorrow night. (But I like to beat my deadlines just in case)

I’m enjoying this.

Some things I have found that have helped me keep going:

1)My goal has not been to hit 2000 words a day or something like that. My goal has been to hit a certain number of words in my story. Day one I didn’t get to do much because my boyfriend was recording guitar for the next album and I was in there with him and then we went and hung out with his mother who was moving out of state the next day. I still hit a little under 2500 words so I made it a goal the next day to hit 7500 and then yesterday my goal was 10,000 which I surpassed by nearly 2000 words and today my goal was 17,000. Having a goal in mind for how many words I want in my story rather than how many words I want to write has been the most effective way to keep me staring at my screen and coming up with the next part even when it gets frustrating. I think when NaNoWriMo is over I will keep doing that with other projects I work on.

2) I’ve been super prepared with beverages etc…I bought a four pack of Monster Ultra(delicious), brewed some coffee, bought some almonds and filled several water bottles with water/mio fit. so they would be cold when I wanted them and I could just alternate through water bottles for the majority of the month.
I put butter, protein powder, coconut oil and pumpkin spice in my coffee in the morning so I don’t get hungry throughout the day but still am getting nutrients that I need and the bonus of that recipe is that it is good for you, designed to wake you up and keep you awake without a crash. Not getting hungry is especially important when I’m on a roll but I start to shake because my blood sugar is low. Shaking hands are hard to type with let me tell you. I eat the bbq almonds if I want to munch and then drink whatever makes me happy throughout the day. If I feel like I am still in creativity mode but my well is draining, I grab a monster. It has really worked so far.

3)I follow people on my blogs who are really fast workers and who post about it a lot. On my tumblr there was a girl who hit 10,000 words on day 2. Then, unfortunately, she lost steam and before she could get back to it her drive deleted all of her work 😦 But I thought (since I’m competitive) if she could write nearly 7,000 words in a day then I could write at least 5,000. Why not?

And that’s my NaNo update for the moment.

How are all of you doing in your novels? What have you found helps you push through the fog that can be induced when staring at a screen for hours at a time?

-M-

NaNoWriMo Descends! My Top 10 Ways to Stay Inspired

Writers! We are so close I can taste it!

Outlines are done, plot holes have been mended, stories have been titled! Now what?

Well, my dear readers, just for you I have compiled a list of some of my favorite writing, inspirational and/or NaNoWriMo inspired websites. I hope you find this helpful.

-M-

http://nanowrimo.org 

You might think this is obvious, but if it’s not let me tell you why I recommend it. I know a few writers who aren’t doing NaNoWriMo through the website. I understand that. This is the first year I actually registered and everything. The reason, for me, was because I wanted something to keep me in line. A visible goal that I can feel like I accomplished by plugging into the computer every day. Something that I can feel proud of myself for daily. A physical mark of my success as opposed to just the mental rewards. I personally work better on deadlines so I gave it a shot. Also, the NaNoWriMo website will have weekly motivational speeches from published authors as well as an archive of pep talks from past NaNoWriMo published authors. This year features authors such as Patrick Rothfuss, James Patterson and Rainbow Rowell.

 

https://campnanowrimo.org/

For authors that want to work under the deadline of a month to do 50,000 words in a month that is not November.

 

r/nanowrimo

If you are on Reddit try visiting the nanowrimo subreddit. People ask questions, find buddies to work with and motivate one another, talk about their processes and all other manner of things related to the month long challenge. There is also r/writing for general writing advice, critiques on your work and other such things. If you like either of those check out other subreddits in that category by searching for subreddits using the keyword writing or writers.

 

http://ainecrabtree.com/2013/10/25/nanowrimo-prep-2013-edition/

I really liked this blog post on getting ready in the last couple of days before NaNoWriMo. Advice like “clean your apartment” and “warn people” that hadn’t occurred to me before.

 

Rainy Mood

I love this site. It is just a site where you can listen to rain. Pair the rain with music or just listen to the storm as you write. Rain and thunder is soothing and can put me in a good place creativity wise.

 

Neil Gaiman’s Journal

This won’t be a link for everyone but let me make my case. Whenever I read something Neil has written in his journal I feel a surge of creativity. I don’t always know what to do channel that creativity into but sometimes it gives me just the boost I need to write those next thousand words. My boyfriend watches interviews or live concerts from his favorite musicians when he is stuck on a song he is writing. What might help you is to think of someone you admire-really admire- for one reason or another and read what they have to say on…anything. Whether it be writing or the fine art of coffee brewing, if it inspires you it inspires you. Use that.

 

 Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Speech

I have linked to this before and I will link to this again. This fills my soul to brimming with joy when I listen to it and I will listen to it over and over again, especially when I am feeling discouraged. Some of my favorite highlights of the speech were made into a comic you can view here. Things to keep you going such as “Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg is crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art” It’s a good way to spend twenty minutes to get out of your head and remember why you write. Laugh, get teary eyed, and then get back at your keyboard and finish that chapter.

Don’t Forget My Own Blog Post on Breaking Writers Block!

Shameless self promotion? Perhaps partially. But I really do stand by what I wrote (I did write it after all) and have been told by some of my readers on my other blog it was helpful. So if you haven’t read it, go check it out. It might help you too.

 

Some words of wisdom from Stephen King

Some good things to keep in mind when you are writing. This is short and sweet, summarized from Stephen King’s “On Writing” book. It’s easy to get caught up in what we are doing as writers. Too easy to give in to our own brains and ignore that the process is just as important as the writing

And Finally,

Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” TED talk

I honestly could not tell you why I find that inspiring. It doesn’t really apply to the writing field except in a very broad view with a lot of leaps of faith having to be drawn, but I do find it inspiring and so I am sharing it with you.

 

I hope you enjoyed this. If you have your own ways you stay inspired when you find yourself crashing before hitting your daily word count, share them with me in the comments. And if you liked this, don’t forget to follow!

 

-M-

 

 

 

As NaNoWriMo Draws Closer….

November 1’st is a mere ten days away at this point. Now sets in panic mode. The fear that 50,000 words is way more than you can manage. You don’t have a strong enough plot…you don’t have a plot at all. You have a plot and characters and dialogue but what if it is terrible? 

Shh. Breathe.

Now is the time when I see a lot of posts going around about how “real writers” write their stuff. It is tempting, at this point for us lay people, to give in to those voices and give up. Well, I’ll never be Neil Gaiman or George R.R.Martin or Hemingway. I don’t write the way other people say I have to write so I must be terrible what’s the point?

I am here to offer you a very different kind of advice.

It’s all fine. You are fine. Whether you are the greatest outliner in the world or you’ve never done an outline in your life, you are fine. Gaiman doesn’t do outlines. Brent Weeks outlines religiously. They are both fantastic authors. Gaiman hand writes the first draft of whatever it is he is working on. Stephen King doesn’t. (At least not as far as I could find)

Writing isn’t science. Writing is art. There are, and always will be, an abundance of people willing to tell you what you are doing wrong and how you should be doing it instead,

“If you want to be an author,” they’ll say, “you have to have a writing degree.” If you want to be an author you have to read books like an author. You have to dissect language, characters, plot devices. You have to spend hours thinking about why the author wrote what they wrote rather than enjoying it.” “If you want to be an author,” they’ll yell from their soap boxes where they are decidedly NOT writing “you have to do three outlines. If your story changes you change the outline.” “If you want to be an author you have to do it my way or you won’t be any good.”

What they are really saying, however, is that THEY are an author(whether they are published or not-and usually they aren’t) and so you have to think like them. Their way is the only way, It’s an ego thing. It might make them feel good but telling other people that they don’t think like you so they can’t be what they say they are is useless and harmful.

I shutter to think about the number of amazing books none of us will ever get to read in our lives because someone who wanted to be an author was told “what’s the point. The greatest books ever written have already been written. Why bother?”

I have no problem with people who outline every single plot point in their novel. I have no problem with people who read books specifically to dissect the authors intentions. I have no problem with people who do character profiles for every character as the characters come up.

Neither do I have a problem with the writer who sits down at the computer with the first line of a novel in their head and just writes. 

My last book came about that way. I had a line in my head. Next thing I knew I had 30,000 words down and counting. 30,000 words I am proud of, by the way. I know the characters that are and that will be. I know how it will end. I don’t know every detail of how it will get there. But I don’t want to. That’s the fun part.

The only requirement, if you ask me, to be a writer is simply that you sit down and write. Whatever your process is, you are good. Don’t let the naysayers bring you down. Don’t let the people who tell you 50,000 words in a month is impossible and even if you do it they won’t be good.

They don’t have to be. It’s your story. It’s your first draft. No one ever has to see your first draft. They get to see the polished perfect piece at the end. 

What’s important to remember is that if you want to write, write. Screw everyone else. Your process is your own and it’s nobody else’s business. 

If you find yourself in a situation where someone is telling you that if you don’t follow certain rules then you can’t be a writer remember two things:

1. As Robert Downey Jr. said: 

“Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.”

2. The greatest artists that have ever been-writers, musicians, painters etc…-did not get that way by following the rules. Someone else trying to fit you into their box is just them afraid to try new things. They follow a formula that they think equals success. Some of them may end up being published. Some of them may even end up famous.

But none of them will be remembered for doing something great. Following the rules doesn’t lead to greatness. It leads to uniformity. Uniformity is boring in art.

 

If you are looking for inspiration over the next couple of days (or even over the month of November as you try to hit your daily word count) I suggest these:

 

Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art Speech:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plWexCID-kA

Neil Gaiman’s Journal: On Writing

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2004/02/on-writing.asp

Neil Gaiman’s Advice to Aspiring Writers (from the Nerdist Podcast)

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/09/11/neil-gaiman-advice-to-writers/

Brent Weeks does (when he’s not terribly busy) blogs on world building. This is one. I suggest reading them all if you are stuck in your world at all.

http://www.brentweeks.com/extras/writing-advice/2-writing-fantasy-tools-techniques/

Brandon Sanderson’s complete Creative Writing Class from BYU. Some of it may be helpful. Some might not. I like what I’ve seen though.

http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/brandon_w2012/

Sanderson also has blog posts on his author site where he writes about laws of creating magic systems. He isn’t finished. I believe he is up to law 3. Here is the first one:

http://brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-first-law/

 

That’s probably good for now.

 

I’ll be in the zone (theoretically) during November. Which means one of two things: either I will be posting a whole lot more or I won’t post at all. If I can pull my head out of my notebook or ipad I will try to give you updates on my word counts and stuff I am learning during my first NaNoWriMo.

If you have your own places you get inspiration for writing, link in the comments!

-M-

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Prep

I am doing National Novel Writing Month this year. I think I can be successful this year because I actually decided to do this prior to November and I have a story waiting to be told. I am officially registered through their site. We will see how it goes.

If you don’t think you can do 2,000 words a day (technically 1666) sit down and write a short story in a program that has a word counter. I have found that the first 700-1000 words flows pretty quickly and I can do it in about 20 minutes. The next thousand is harder. For me, at least. You may discover that 2,000 words is less than you think. Or you may discover that it’s more. Either way you may come up with a gauge that tells you how hard you will have to work.

I have two stories I am working on currently. The one I am going to do for NaNoWriMo and then another I have been working on for two or three months. I am excited about both. I know what happens in both and where they both go.

That being said, prepping is my weak point. I have honestly have never had to do any prepping and what I write tends to be better when I don’t. At least that was the case in high school. I would write most of my papers the morning it was due, around 4 a.m and turn in the first draft. Most of the time I would be missing a comma or something but otherwise the papers were always perfect. I get that from my mom. She has done the same thing through all of her college degrees that she has done. (I believe she has two bachelors and is working on a doctorite. My mom is very very smart) I didn’t know any of that until I was telling my mom how I would hate when my teachers would make me outline a two page paper-especially when they would expect my paper to follow said outline-since I could research and write and edit without an outline. An outline has always been a waste of time. I don’t say any of this to brag. Quite the opposite, actually.

My method of just write worked, and continues to work, for short stories and papers. It doesn’t work quite so well for long novels. At least not for me. I know Neil Gaiman and some other authors can do it but if I don’t do some prep for novels-which is my preferred medium despite the fact that I am better with short stories-as far as connecting to an audience quickly-goes. I get lost writing novels if I put it down for more than a few weeks and start to contradict the rules I set up for myself in my universe simply because I have forgotten the rules I have set up.

But I never really learned to prep. The outlines I learned to do in high school weren’t really helpful for me since it was broad and I usually know where my story starts and that’s it. That’s all I’ve ever needed. My outlines tend to turn into mini stories when I try to set up the chapters which I found would make me bored writing the story later. The creative part-what happens and why-is the fun part.

All that being said, I do think prep is important. What prep means is going to change from person to person. I am not an outline person, for example, but I just spent a good deal of time writing character profiles to make sure I keep my characters in character, as it were, and then designing a hierarchy for the Gods and Angels that will take place in my story. I am going to make up a map- a crude map because I am NOT an artist-so that I can keep track of everything that I do and make sure the locations make sense.

Initially I was doing all of this because, honestly, I thought that I should. Not a great reason but it got me started. I am finding that I am actually enjoying the prep work. Learning my characters before-at least on a shallow level to get me started-has really gotten me fired up about my NaNoWriMo novel.

I can’t wait for November first so that I can put everything I have discovered about my story and my characters with the page and, eventually, other people.

As part of my prep, I have also started talking to people about their novels and what they do to prepare and what their stories are about. I joined several writing and NaNoWriMo subreddits to keep me excited. Trying to seek comfort and find inspiration in other people. It is not my strong point.

I am not a people person. Not because I don’t want to be. Just because I don’t know how to relate to people.

That being said, if you are doing NaNoWriMo and would would like to join me on my writing journey, let me know and let me know what you do to prepare before writing a book. Maybe we can inspire each other.