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

Red (1 of 1)

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.

Buying Your First Motorcycle: What You Should Know pt 1

My bike. 2015 Ironhorse 883
My bike. 2015 Ironhorse 883

So you have decided you want to start riding a motorcycle? Excellent! Riding a motorcycle is a fun way to get away for a few hours. Riding a motorcycle is nothing like driving a car. You use a car to get somewhere, you use a motorcycle to go somewhere.

Now that you have decided that you want to ride a motorcycle it’s time to decide what kind of bike you want. There are so many options out in the world. American vs. Japanese bikes. Adventure bikes vs. Cruisers.  Carbureted vs. Fuel Injected.

That’s where I come in.

I recently bought my first bike. Then I bought my second first bike because the first one was terrible. So I am going to share with you what I learned from my first shopping experience in a multi-post series that will go as follows:

Part 2: Height and Weight

Part 3: The importance of shopping around/The difference in motor sizes

Part 4 Carbureted vs Fuel Injected

Part 5 Picking out a bike based on what you want to do with it

Part 6: Gear and Accessories

Part 7: Conclusion

The posts will go up on Friday afternoons.

The first thing I encourage you is to take an M Endorsement class. A lot of local bike shops (Harley Davidson for sure) as well as community colleges often have the M classes. When you have that endorsement on your license dealers will let you test ride the bikes which is a great way to make sure you don’t end up buying a bike that you don’t want.

in addition to taking the class, search Youtube for beginner motorcycle videos. There are a lot and it’s a good way to get an idea of what you need to do before you get the bike under you.

My favorite beginner video is Twist of the Wrist There are also books on Amazon by Twist of the Wrist that are great if you want a continuous guide.

It’s a little bit campy but it has a lot of great information about riding. Specifically it sorts out the many myths you hear about riding from the truth. And it explains the idea of counter steering in one of the most accessible ways I’ve found.

There’s a lot of information and I hope that I can make your bike buying experience a fun one.

Happy riding and see you next Friday

-M-

*—–*——-*——-*

If you want to be sure that you don’t miss any of my posts or if you want some encouragement during the upcoming NaNoWriMo months(I will start posting inspiration and help with planning in October) please make sure to “Like” and “Share” my author page on Facebook

I will be posting a bunch there that won’t be posted anywhere else.

Thanks in advance!

Facebook Page

Hey everyone!

Couple of quick updates for you!

i have set up my official author Facebook page. i’m going to be putting updates there that I won’t be putting anywhere. Especially around NaNoWriMo I will be updating my word count every day as well as excerpts from what I will be working on. (Which will either be my retelling of Medusa or Book  1 of my God Creator series…haven’t decided yet) I will be also posting NaNoWriMo themed inspiration during October and November.

If you want to get official updates from me “Like” this page.

Also keep an eye out this coming Friday for the first post in a multi-post series on buying your first motorcycle. I recently went through it and made a bunch of mistakes so I will be covering everything from buying your gear to the important differences between carburated and fuel injected bikes.

After that I will have a multi-post series on starting out with makeup since I didn’t have anyone to really give me buying advice and it took me way longer than it needed to to get everything together.

Once again if you want to make sure you are getting all of my updates make sure to like my new Facebook page! www.facebook.com/EKUauthor

I want to start doing some “How To” posts likes the ones above so if you have anything you would like me to write a post about let me know!

See you Friday!

-M-

Does this photo make me look deep?
Does this photo make me look deep?

Life Goes On:The End of National Suicide Prevention Week

#Project Semi Colon
#Project Semi Colon

I never used to pay attention to National Suicide Prevention Week. It was-as I guess it is for most people-another week where a group of people somewhere are(semi-unsuccessfully) trying to raise awareness for a specific cause. And, where they are successful, it doesn’t last long.

The week passes and everyone moves on.

C’est La Vie.

So, for me, NSPW is not to raise awareness or start a dialogue or anything of the sort. If people see the drawings i do on my arm every year and want to inquire then I will engage them. But I don’t seek out those conversations.

The drawings(and eventual permanent tattoo) I do on my wrists are for me. To remind me that I’m still here. To remind me that there is hope even in the darkest hours.

I suffer a major depression disorder. It runs in my family along with addiction and the inability to speak in almost anything except sarcasm.  Coupled with my depression is sever anxiety. I’m always worried that people I love-even my best friend and my boyfriend-secretly don’t like me.

i had to drive somewhere I had never been the other day and I couldn’t walk for a few minutes after I got there because my legs were too shaky.

Depression and Anxiety. Two mental disorders that lie to you. That distort your worldview. That make you think your life isn’t worth anything.

I struggle with those thoughts and worse every single day. I struggle with thinking how much better off people would be without me. If my brother hadn’t already killed himself I would have by now.

One of my coping mechanisms used to be to cut my wrists.

I call them my weak point.

This year I heard of “Project Semi Colon” People are getting tattoos of semi colons either as a reminder for themselves that life goes on or in tribute to people they have lost or who are struggling.

A semi colon is a place where the author could have chosen to end the sentence but chose to continue on.

As a writer, someone who struggles with suicidal thoughts and as someone who lost a sibling to suicide the movement spoke to me on many levels. So, this year for NSPW, I had my (fortunately artistic) boyfriend draw a semi colon butterfly (see above) on my left wrist covering some of my scars.

A reminder.

Life Goes On.

I’m going to get this tattooed in a few months but I think we are going to make the wings say HOPE.

For those who are struggling i want you to know:

Someone loves you. it may not seem like it at home or at work or at school. But someone loves you. You may have someone who follows your blog or your Facebook and lives for everything you post and you might not even know it.

Your life is worth living.

You have something to contribute to the world that no one else can.

It’s hard to see the light through the darkness. Sometimes-in all honesty-there isn’t any light for a very long time.

But you will continue. Because you are stronger than your depression. You are stronger than the people who would hold you down. You are strong. You are capable. You are worthy.

If you ever need to talk feel free to send me a private message. Or reach out to other blogs that you follow or even your own followers. The beauty of the internet is that there is always someone there to listen without judging.

I love you.

-M-

Book Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

moon called

Synopsis:

Mercy Thompson is not your average mechanic. For starters, the VW bus she is fixing in her garage belongs to a vampire.  The former owner of her mechanic shop is a gremlin, her neighbor is a werewolf(not just any werewolf-the Alpha of the local pack) and she is a Skinwalker.

When a new werewolf shows up in town on her doorstep asking for work, she helps him and ends up getting herself mixed up in an oncoming war between Alphas.

Rating: 5/5

I loved this book. I did not expect to because it has three things authors very rarely do well (for  my taste): Skinwalker mythology, werewolves and vampires. I love the concepts behind all three of those things but they get watered down and boring in most genres these days (See: Twilight and True Blood) It’s the same reason I avoid all things Zombie.

Cool concept. Poor execution.

But Patricia Briggs handles all three masterfully. The werewolves feel like…werewolves. Like dominant, pack creatures who you would never want to make angry. There is something quietly powerful in how she writes all of the werewolves-especially the main Alpha’s you meet-Samuel, Adam and Bran.  Their weaknesses and strengths make sense and stay consistent. They don’t suffer from Superman syndrome (where they will have abilities all of a sudden that they have never had before just to get out of a sticky situation)

The vampires, though not shown too much in the first book (my understanding is they are more prominent in some other books. I’ve started the second one and that definitely seems to be the case) are terrifying. They don’t sparkle or whine about their existence. They are powerful, ancient and magical. You don’t want to go into a vampire lair. Accompanied by werewolves or not.

The Skinwalker mythology is scarce in this one but for good reason. She is the only Skinwalker she knows and what she knows about herself doesn’t fit with the Native American/Werewolf mythology of her people. She can turn into a coyote but she doesn’t require coyote skin to do it, she isn’t evil and she wields no magic. What she does know is she can shift, she has heightened senses which help her read situations and she is immune to some magic and no one knows why.

The threats in the books come fast and they are believable. You know Mercy is going to get out okay because there are eight more books in the series,  but she is not always the one you are worrying about.

Patricia Briggs also is a master at character development. Even her side characters you may only see once or twice are fully fleshed people. She spends time with the characters, creating and resolving subplots in a few paragraphs that manage to aid the overall story.

If you enjoy the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, then I definitely recommend checking out the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Both Urban Fantasy, both set in worlds almost identical to ours with the exception of magic being prominent(and, in the Mercy Thompson series, even known about by the general public) and Mercy Thompson is a coyote shapeshifter rather than a wizard.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh Review

Hyperbole and a half

Synopsis(from Amazon):

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative—like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it—but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Pictures
Words
Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

Allie Brosh is a phenomenal writer and web artist whose stories are laugh out loud funny, touching and introspective. When she talks about depression it is the most honest account of depression I’ve ever found. Something anyone who suffers from depression can relate to. She also talks about getting lost in the woods and when she and her significant other get trapped in their house by a goose. (She even provides real photographic evidence in case you doubted her comics)

All told through the comics you have undoubtedly seen before as her artwork has been memed many times.

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All in all it’s just a fun compilation of stories that you can read as you want to.  I used to read it at work when I worked nights between calls.

I just love this book and, if you love smart, thoughtful humor, I think you will as well

-M-

Allie Brosh’s Website

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer Book Review

Scarlet

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison–even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive if she does–in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.

My rating: 3.5/5

Scarlet continues where the Lunar Chronicles left off but it adds a new character. In addition to Cinder we have Scarlet. Continuing with Meyer’s fairy tale theme, Scarlet’s storyline parallels that of The Little Red Riding Hood.

Some of the ways Meyer tries to draw those parallels feel shoehorned-far less natural than how she incorporated the Cinderella myth into Cinder.

The romance between Scarlet and Wolf (yup) also feels far less natural than the romance between Cinder and Prince Kai.

What kept me reading, however, is we are still following Cinder as she discovers the origins that have been a mystery to her for years. How she became a Cyborg and who she was before she was the mechanic in new Beijing with the wicked stepmother.

The world continues to grow and characters who previously had nothing to do with each other manage to collide into one another. Two plots become one and the race is on.

Scarlet suffers from second book syndrome.  Cinder was so strong of an entry for Meyer but Scarlet, unfortunately, fails to keep up. In the grand scheme of the series, though it may be a weak point, but it serves to give us a lot of important information about Cinder, the Lunars, Prince Kai and Queen Levana that we need to continue into the next installment: Cress.

-M-

If you are an author and would like your book reviewed please send me an email at ekuinbox@gmail.com with an introduction and a brief synopsis of your book and I will get back to you. 🙂