NaNoWriMo Day 26

The Words: 350 written today, and 18 yesterday.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving for my side of the family, and we were gone until after midnight. We generally eat our big meal in the afternoon, and then play board games all night. The 18 words were literally a 5-minutes-to-midnight, just-get-some-words-in situation.

Then we ended up going and playing more board games today, because we didn’t quite get to enough of them yesterday. (Part of that was because my sister announced that she’s pregnant, so there was a lot of talking for a while before we got to board games.) So I had my Neo with me (today and yesterday) and wrote a bit more than yesterday.

The Story: I feel a bit like I’m dragging out the ending to this story, which is strange, because normally I feel like I’m rushing the ending. But I didn’t have anything planned for after the climax, and now I’ve just got Nathan and Clark explaining to Penny why they didn’t take Vin to the authorities. She’s not happy about it. And I’m not happy that I don’t have a good way to end the story. I will probably try to just get to an ending tomorrow, so I can say it’s finished. This story will need a lot of reworking someday though. It might be the first NaNoNovel I’ve drafted where I felt like it wouldn’t just need revision, in whatever capacity, but possibly a full rewrite someday. It just didn’t really have a solid story to it in the end.

Total word count: 69,871

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2017 – November 26th, and since I didn’t post yesterday, make sure to read yesterday’s too: 2017 – November 25th

Here is episode 5 of the NaNoMusical. This one has my favorite song from the entire musical! And things get real.

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NaNoWriMo Day 22

The Words: 1982 written today.

Another day getting just past par, which is great after such a slump! Not much more to say here. I also finally wrote with a sprint from @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, which I haven’t been doing as much lately (no surprise, since I’ve barely even been writing lately). I did one #1k30min, which is where most of the words came from, and then kept going to make sure I passed 1667.

The Story: The climax is definitely over, though I struggled to find the resolution to it that I had planned. I don’t think I’m very good at this kind of thing, which I chalk up mostly to having a decent, tragedy-lite life myself.

Vin talked about watching both his dad and his mom die, both at different times, and feels a lot of guilt, which is where some of his violence has come from. For now, I think I will leave the messy resolution to the climax and move on to the wrap-up. Tomorrow I’ll head back to where Penny, Rogan, and Cathy have been waiting while the fighting went down.

Total word count: 66,882

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2017 – November 22nd

I have been remiss in sharing the NaNoMusical as the month has progressed! Here is episode 4!

NaNoWriMo Day 13

The Words: 2326 written today.

I got a very late start tonight, so I am happy to have written these words over the course of 2 sprints.

The Story: It’s a common thing for me during NaNoWriMo to have my characters spend too much time doing one activity that seems important, but sort of stretches on. That has happened in this story as the group of now 6 people are just reading and sorting through journals and other writings by Vin. There were a few revelations I thought needed to come up during this time, which is why it’s dragged on, but I’m hoping that when it comes time for editing, I can find a way to either shorten it or make it more interesting (or both).

They did find what they were looking for–an indication of where Vin might be hiding out. Now they’re discussing who should be the ones to confront him and why. (I’ll admit, for a long time, it’s always been Nathan and Clark alone who confronted him, but I’m also asking myself if that’s the best combination, and if so, why, besides simply because it works the most for the rest of the story.)

Total word count: 55,865

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2017 – November 13th

Also! This would be a good time to watch episode 3 of the NaNoMusical! I love the songs in this episode!!

NaNoWriMo Day 7

The Words: 2100 written today.

I am really happy to keep making par these last two days. I am so tired today. After being sick for a week right before November started, I have had a lingering cough since then. Today my throat started hurting again fresh. I may be getting sick again, but I really hope not. Tomorrow will hopefully tell me more.

The Story: I cut short the story that started causing me trouble yesterday, the one Penny was telling about the events that took place during my NaNoNovel in 2015. That novel is still unfinished, and its events are a mystery to me (pun intended), so Penny telling the story got a little difficult. So I just stopped, ignored any need for a transition, and went right to Nathan, who had gone back to the house that Rogan took them to, planning to stake it out.

Then I accidentally skipped ahead and allowed him to make some progress at that house a day early. So I set aside what I’d written about that in favor of him returning home for the night, with the belief that the bad guy doesn’t have a reason to return to that empty house.

Tomorrow, I anticipate the plot really getting going, as long as I’m well enough to write much.

Total word count: 30,592

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: “The game is a shoe!

And it’s time to share episode 2 of the NaNoMusical!

NaNoWriMo Day 1

The Words: 5805 on day 1. I started right at midnight with the midnight sprint, and got to 3458 before stopping for the night/morning. Then this evening, despite already being past par for 2 days, I wrote for another hour and a half.

All of this writing, minus the very first 10-minute sprint that I did to get warmed up, was done alongside the Twitter feed of @NaNoWordSprints. I can’t stress enough how motivating it is, and how helpful it can be to have someone else setting time goals and starting times! If you ever find yourself struggling to just get writing (and put aside distractions) or to write quickly without stopping to think a lot or to edit, I suggest checking out that newsfeed (even if you don’t really use Twitter).

The Story: I’ve still been uncertain about who my main character was going to be up until I actually started writing. I think it’s going to be Rogan (names will be changed for the sake of spoilers). I started this story reminiscing about Rogan’s first date with the woman he loves and has recently started a relationship with. We’ll call her Penny. Then, a mission for his militia had him down for a few days, but we get to watch him go find Penny to let him know he’s all right.

Except it isn’t Penny who answers the door. It’s a man he barely knows. And Penny doesn’t look like he remembers. After they make sure he’s who he says he is, they explain to him that he died. Over 5 years ago! And Penny has moved on and gotten married!

They take him to the leader of their War Games team for the night, because he can’t handle staying at Penny’s house (with good reason), and in the morning, they have plans to go find the man who apparently lied to Rogan, telling him that he’d only been in the hospital for a few days.

Total word count: 5805

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2017 – November 1st
And in honor of November 1st, the first episode of the NaNoMusical!

On the Eve of NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo starts in 4 hours where I am. It has been a hard-fought month of prep for me. For one thing, I was just getting myself back to a place where I could work on my writing regularly again at the beginning of the month. I got back into the swing of posting every day to hold myself accountable to doing some form of writing work each day.

There were 3 main things I wanted to do before November came:
1. Clean my main writing space.
2. Post a synopsis for my novel, along with 2-3 other posts about NaNo, writing in general, and my other novels.
3. Make a solid outline for my NaNoNovel.

Then I got sick. And let’s see how my plans worked out?

1. I did get this done, just today. Initially, my husband and I planned to clean more around my writing space too, but today, he said, “What do you want done, bare minimum?” So now my work desk is cleaned off, so I can put aside work things and focus on writing more easily, and I have even organized various papers, notebooks, and scrapbooking things into a filing cabinet that I’ve had for a while, but was too lazy to do much with.

2. This post is a compromise for me…I had more detail I wanted to share about things I learned during my prep time this month, but some of it has actually sort of been watered down in my mind by snags that came after the exciting moments. I know that probably doesn’t make sense, but that’s okay. Once I get past the first few scary days of November, and hopefully past this flu (I’m just guessing it’s the flu, but it tracks), I will still post some of the other things I wanted to share, but there’s one that will probably never be written (titled “Planners are Cheaters,” by the way).

3. And then there’s my NaNoNovel…The novel I’ve planned to write next month will delve into the mind of someone more broken and dark than any characters I’ve written about so far.  It’s not the first time I’ve planned to write something out of my comfort zone. Two years ago, I wrote 2 murder-mystery themed stories, which was a first for me. Last year, I wrote about the time my dad spent in the hospital for 3 weeks in September of that year. Writing like that was very different for me.

However, the shape and form of this novel has changed pretty drastically about 100 times since I started planning it 3 weeks ago. I have been concerned for most of those 3 weeks that I won’t be ready in time. I don’t need a long, detailed outline, sheets on every character, note cards, or any other such degree of planning. But I wasn’t even sure I would have a broad outline, and I can’t stress this enough–I am not a pantser. (I’ve tried.)

Fortunately, just yesterday, I finished a 2-page, handwritten outline. When I say “finished”…well, I got as far as I could without knowing where the writing will take me. I often (not always, but often) will write 2/3 of an outline, and then start writing, because I’m not even sure what is going to happen next, but I have good reason to believe that the actual writing will bring out the rest. This outline covers about half, maybe more, of the story. The other half(ish) of the story has a fairly solid timeline to help me know that broad plot points.

I’ve decided that I can’t post a synopsis for my story though, at least not more than the early one I already did. The story is still too much of a mystery to me, so much that I can’t even say what the true “main story” is going to be until I write it. This one’s going to be a fun one to edit, I think…

Okay, now looking ahead to tonight, and the rest of the month, I have two key things I want to say:
1. I will be starting right at midnight. I do that every year, and whether I write 500 words or 3000 words, anything I get done before going to bed is a huge mental jump start on the month!

2. I will blog every day about my experience doing NaNoWriMo. This will be the third year I’ve done this, since starting my blog (2014 and 2015). There may be those who are curious about how others get through the month (I know I am). I have also found that I really enjoy being able to look back in later years and read about my progress through the month. And since I already post here every day that I got any writing work done, as a way of staying accountable, it’s not much of a stretch.

I have not yet heard for sure whether or not we will have new NaNoToons this year, but if so, I will share those every day. (If not, maybe I’ll go back and share them from an earlier year!) I will also post episodes from the NaNoMusical throughout the month, because I still love it to pieces and can’t not try to get others to love it too!

I wish my fellow Wrimos well, and hope to hear from some of you during the month!

Are you ready for NaNo to begin? Do you plan to do the midnight sprint tonight?

Tips for NaNoWriMo, Part 5

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In 2015, I wrote a series of posts about NaNoWriMo, covering things like tips for prep time, help in the actual prep work, tips for November, and even some of my favorite writing tools.

Earlier this month, I picked out some of my favorite NaNoPrep tips and boiled them down into a single post, and then I promised a post with tips about the actual writing. However, this time, I don’t want to re-hash my old tips, since I do actually have a few more to add to the list.

I will at least list the headers from 2 posts with tips about how to survive–and thrive–during NaNoWriMo, and suggest that if you want to read the details about any of them, you click the links that will take you to the two posts in which I first gave these tips:

Post 1
Break up the words.
Write in sprints.
Reward yourself.
Stay hydrated.
Back up your work.
Limit your time on the forums (and other online activities).
Don’t expect too much.

Post 2
DO NOT EDIT. (I can never stress this one enough)
Don’t go back and read.
Use placeholder words.
Take notes of things to fix later.
Stop in the middle of a scene.
Don’t be afraid to go off-script.
Dirty tricks to pad your word count (are not always a good idea).

Now to add a few more to those:

1. Don’t stop at 1667.
Sometimes my tips are a little hypocritical, but hear me out. If you reach the daily goal (1667 if you’re going the traditional route), but you still have some time left during whatever writing time you’ve carved out for yourself, don’t stop. Keep going until you have to make supper, go to bed, go to work, or whatever your end cap is. Those extra words will most likely be needed later in the month, and even if they’re not, hitting 50k early can be a lot of fun! Or who knows, maybe you’ll writing more than 50k this month!

In a similar vein, if you do write extra one day, don’t let that cause you to stop short the next day. I try to take each day as its own word count. No matter what my total is, I try to write 1667 each day (unless I’m behind, then I try to write more). Again, if you can build up a buffer, it will very likely come in handy later.

2. Plan your writing days & daily word counts.
Your daily goal does not have to be 1667 words. You don’t have to write every single day. Yes, that’s part of the benefit–using NaNo to build a daily writing habit. But for some people, despite all of the “rules” out there stating to write every day (yes, I have a series with that title, but I definitely don’t call it a rule, and…I definitely can’t always do that myself), it’s just not an option. So before November starts, figure out what days you don’t think you’ll be able to write. Are Saturdays always full of family time? Does a full work week always leave you drained, so you know you won’t write on Fridays? Do you want to try to write more on weekends, and less during the week?

Whatever your days off need to be, or even your overall pattern of writing, do the math and alter your daily word count. Print out a calendar and have those daily goals where you can see them. Make the month work for you.

3. Don’t panic if you get behind.
If you get off-track, don’t panic and think that means you have to write double for a few days to catch up. Figure out how many total words you have left, and divide that out by how many days there are left. That will up your daily amount by a little every day, rather than a lot for a few days. (If you keep your word count updated on the NaNo site, it will do this math for you.)

4. Check your official word count.
You can update your word count on the NaNo site by typing the number into the field at the top of the page. I would suggest that every so often, you actually go ahead and check your official word count. I do this at the end of every day, because if I’m 100 words lower than I’d thought, I want to know as soon as possible. The reason for this is that different word processors count words differently, and the NaNo site counts them differently than some of those word processors. By the end of the month, you could be even up to a thousand or more words off, and if you’re just barely getting to 50k, you don’t want to suddenly find out at 11:50 pm on Nov. 30 that you’re 1000 words shy. So just copy & paste your whole novel into the field that comes up when you click on “Check my official word count” under the “update” button.

5. Find helpful ways to procrastinate.
Is there such a thing? My favorite example is the NaNoMusical. Created by WETangent in 2012, it is a brilliant 6-part video series with themes and situations familiar to any Wrimo. The music is catchy and fun, and…well, you should watch it. Watch the first episode, and if you enjoy it, use the rest of the episodes as rewards for a certain amount of words written.

By the end, you'll either want to punch Rick or love him to pieces!

“It’s November 1st, thousands of people madly writing….I hope you’re up for crazy, ’cause NaNoWriMo has begun!”

There are many other helpful ways to procrastinate though. Go for a walk, read something pointless, take a nap (because odds are you could use the sleep)…you probably have your own ideas. The point is something that is light-hearted and gets your mind off of that novel that might be stressing you out.

6. Don’t give up.
That is probably the most important thing I can tell you. Whether you’re writing for fun, a creative outlet, to relieve stress, or to have a finished project to do more with, NaNoWriMo is a wonderful event and can be a lot of fun. It doesn’t have to be stressful, but I know it can be to some. The stakes aren’t exactly high, and losing is not the end of the world. You shouldn’t dread your writing time, or worry about how badly your writing is going.

If you find your story is going a completely different route than you’d expect, just follow it and see what happens. Maybe a side character is becoming more interesting to you. Give them all the time they need. Your main story will still be there later. If your words are lagging so badly, you don’t see how you could get back on track, make a new track! Set a personal goal of less words, or plan to keep going after November (though frankly, that is easier said than done). Come back in April or July for Camp NaNoWriMo.  Just don’t quit.

I had more new tips than I thought! And there are more out there floating around on the internet! In fact, here’s one just on NaNo Etiquette! The most important tip, though, is that when November 1st comes…just write.

We’re in the last week of NaNoPrep now, and this pretty much sums up how I’m feeling:

Jen

If you don’t know about NaNoToons, you’re missing out!

What about you? Are you ready for November 1st? Are you new to NaNoWriMo, or do you have tips of your own you can share?

Tips for NaNoPrep

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In 2015, I wrote a series of posts about NaNoWriMo, covering things like tips for prep time, tips for November, help in the actual prep work, and even some of my favorite writing tools.

The problem now is that, though those things are all still helpful and relevant, there’s not a lot to add to them. I have picked up a few extra tips since then, sure, but those things I wrote about 2 years ago are still some of the most helpful advice I could give.

I could just reblog those posts throughout the month, but I don’t like that idea. Instead, I’m going to pick some of my favorite tips and share them in a few, boiled-down posts, while also suggesting that anyone who is interested in learning more visit the page where I’ve listed all of those posts from 2015.

1. Start writing now.
Take the next 2 1/2 weeks to learn what works best for you, so that by November, you know how to make the most of your writing time. Do you require absolute silence? If yes, when can you find that? Is your ideal time late at night when others are asleep? During your lunch break? First thing in the morning?

It doesn’t have to be the amount of time you will need to write 1667 words each day in November, but find maybe 15-20 minutes when you can sit down and write. For planners, work on the plot, characters, outline, or whatever you’re doing. For pantsers who are doing absolutely no planning before November 1, you can still make time every day to free write in anticipation of daily writing in November. In fact, free writing can be a great use of your time whether you’re a planner, a pantser, or somewhere in between.

Try to write every day, which is a good habit to have even outside of NaNo, but also keep in mind that if you can’t get to it one day, it’s not the end of the world. Just remember that if you’re like most of us, the longer you let yourself stay away, the less likely it is that you’ll keep the habit you’ve developed.

2. Find your space.
In a similar vein as figuring what when you work best, it can also be good to know in advance where and how you work best. Do you need a comfy spot? Maybe you work better at a desk or table with a straight-backed chair.  Where can you go to have the solitude you need? Or do you prefer some noise? Give coffitivity.com a try for a steady coffee shop background noise available anywhere you happen to be. Sometimes a little noise is good, but too much (people in the room, or even music with lyrics) can be bad.

Use your planning time to try out different locations and environments and see what works best. Do some work with pen/pencil and paper and some with a computer. Do you enjoy the tactile feel of writing by hand? Do you prefer the speed that typing can provide? This is the time to find out!

3. Gather your NaNo necessities.
Whether this includes consumables, physical tools, or making sure your laptop is set up and ready to use, make sure you know what you want to have handy for NaNoWriMo now, and procure as much of it as you can. When November starts, you don’t want to find yourself lacking.

4. Involve other senses.
I touched on sound above, so we’ll start there. Some people create a playlist for every story. I’ve read about people who will find music that matches the theme of their story, make a playlist from it (even if just on YouTube), and listen to it all month. Then, when November is over and they want to go back later and either finish the novel or revise it, they can listen to that music again, and it will put them right back in the mood.

Whatever your taste in music is, an alternative to creating an audio scene for your story is creating an olfactory scene. Scent memory is said to be very powerful. Go to the store and smell all the candles or all the scented wax (if you have or are willing to buy the wax melter to go with it). Think of your story, what it’s about, where it’s set, who the main character(s) is/are. Is it a romance? Maybe something flowery or sensual. Is it set in a tropical location? Something with coconut or tropical fruit, perhaps. There are outdoor scents if your story involves a lot of forest or other outdoor scenes. Not every story lends itself easily to a scent, but pick something that smells right and have it burning/melting near you while you write all month. Then later, you may just be able to immerse yourself back into the book by activating that scent again.

Check out this post for some NaNo-related music, comic strips, and even a musical!

5. The midnight sprint.
NaNoWriMo begins at midnight on November 1. That falls in the middle of the week this year, but if you’re the kind who stays up late, or can make an exception for one night, you can start writing right at midnight and get some words under your belt before going to bed. It’s purely a mental trick, getting a jump start on the day’s word count, but many people love to do the midnight sprint.

When November looms closer, I will post tips about the writing itself, and how to survive–and even thrive–during NaNoWriMo. If you’re don’t want to wait, by all means, here’s the link again to the series of posts I made 2 years ago, from which I’ll probably be stealing some those tips.

What about you? How are you preparing for NaNoWriMo? If you’ve done this all before, do you have any tips on how to get ready?

December 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo is over, but I just have a few more things to say. This year was different than past NaNo experiences for me in multiple ways. It was full of a lot of highs and lows. My first write-ins, my first word crawls, a new writing buddy, and the 25k on day 1 all made this a November to remember. I also wrote a full novel and probably 2/3 of another, which was new for me. One thing I learned is that I’m better not pushing for a huge word count in a single day. If it happens, then I’m probably in the right mood for it, and great! Otherwise, I risk burning out, and I really did teeter on the edge of that during the rest of the first week.

I just have to say a huge thank you to my husband who gave me everything I needed this month–time and encouragement to work, but also a reminder that I don’t have to overachieve if it’s just not feeling right. Oh, and lots of fun and relaxation right when I needed it. And to my sister who came to the write-in with me, even though it was so far from where she lives. It was so much fun doing that, and we were even in the paper!

I keep saying that the community and mutual encouragement of the community is what makes NaNo so amazing, and it really is true! I felt a lot of that when I was having issues this month, from fellow bloggers, people in my region, and just from finding new ways to be inspired on the NaNo forums. I will always love this event and the people who are involved!

One last time for 2015, make sure to check out the final NaNoToons – 2015 December 1st
And since I apparently forgot to post any more episodes of the musical, here is episode 5. There’s one more after it, and I think it’s linked at the end of this one. I wanted to get to episode 5 specifically, because it contains my favorite out of all the songs.

Now onto the non-NaNo part of the post, today’s daily writing check-in:

Words/Time: 25 minutes organizing notes for “Pithea” in anticipation of the next (and probably last for a very long time) marathon meeting of the TCSTB. We’ve left a lot of things to work on later through the 100,000ish words of this novel, so I went through and found all of the issues, questions, or whatever, and made a list of what we needed to work on.

NaNoWriMo Day 24

The Words: 4976 words written today. I went to the last write-in at my local library tonight. It was a small turnout, but I did get my normal day’s word count done while I was there. Then I went ahead and did one 1k30min with the Twitter feed, and wrote 1600 words during that.

The Story: Jonathan has been detained for the murder of his apprentice. He and Missy are discussing some concerning issues, like what on earth is going on in general, and why Jonathan’s wife Larxis said that he has a temper and that she thinks Missy is in love with Jonathan. He just keeps telling her to trust the justice system, and not to worry over things she can’t control. He wants her to cooperate fully with the investigation, and he’s certain the truth will come out (whatever that even is). I never knew he was so level-headed and trusting. Even I’m starting to wonder if he’s having a mental break-down.

Total word count: 83,769

day 24

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 24th

And episode 4 of the NaNoMusical! Rick falls down, and there’s a sappy love song!