NaNoWriMo Prep

National Novel Wring Month, or more commonly known as NaNoWriMo, is in just a couple week.

Ah, November, the month of wracking your brain, keyboards clacking, and endless words. A month in which insane people get together on forums, and coffee shops, and write 50,000 words of a story. How I love it!

I have been participating in NaNoWriMo for many years now. I have “won” all of them except for the last two. And this year I want to get back on the horse, so I’m changing things up a bit.

I know that I find it easier to write if I know what I’m writing. Thankfully I have a new outline of 3400 words. Most of my outlines usually end up about 10% of the actual book length, but I know where I need to fill in the story a bit more so I’m fairly confidant this story can get to 50k easily.

Last year I had an outline for a story but failed, and it wasn’t because the outline wasn’t good. I still think I’d like to revisit that story at some point, but it was a story in a new world that I hadn’t developed, or found a voice for. That made it nearly impossible for me to write. I kept rewriting sections, deleting parts, or stalling out because I had a setting, world, and plot, but the characters weren’t developed. I didn’t know who they were, and I couldn’t find their voice.

This year I’m working on book 4 in a series that is already established. I know the characters, their weaknesses, their desires, and the trouble their going to find. This will help me keep going for most, if not all of the month.

The lovely thing about starting a new story…. I can write so much in the first few weeks of it, getting ideas out of my head, and finding a rhythm easily. It’s after that lovely burst of creativity fades that I finally come up for air and the dreaded internal editor rears its ugly head. I fight the foul demon off again, and make a mad dash for the finish line, only to be tripped up by him moments from the crossing. This time I will scrape the internal editor off my bruised muse, shove it back in a bottle, and keep going. I intend to win.

I’ve also been making a discovery about my writing habits. For the longest time I wrote in the evenings after the children went to bed, when I had a few moments to myself. Now that I don’t have children I find that I tend to get lost in youtube, or a book, or something else if I let myself. I used to hate writing in the morning before my brain was fully awake, but I’m starting to realize that is now the best time for me to start. Because if I start, and I just get a hundred words out before my coffee, then it’s easier to keep going.

This is a massive change, and really hard for me to do. I used to sit down with a warm coffee of coffee, and something for breakfast with something cheerful to watch on youtube. It was my way of waking up fully, and greeting the day.

Now I’m shoving that all aside. Actively trying to avoid anything other than words for the first moments of the day. It is a habit built over decades, and it will take a while to break it, but I’m confidant I can.

I will be writing more blog posts next month so that I can keep up on my writing and share what is happening on that front. Look forward to that.

Day 2- Full Time Author

2016-06-08 20.04.42I have a list of things I want to accomplish in the next three weeks.

The re-edits for Witch’s Sacrifice aren’t that bad. I’m mostly finished with them anyway, so I will probably try to get those done over the next couple of days, and re-uploaded so that everything is great.

The print version of Witch’s Curse and Witch’s Stand both need to be finished by end of the month. I also want to put up the trilogy as an omnibus for those who would rather have a boxed set. It will, of course, have the bonus short story of Witch’s Sight included.

Yesterday I wrote a large part of Magi, a short story, and did some of the editing for Witch’s Sacrifice. Today I’ve already gotten through half of Minotaur, another short story. I’d like to get these two short stories finished for the Bradbury Challenge (since I haven’t been doing that well for it lately) and I think I’m on track. Both are all plotted out and I just have to finish putting the words down on the page.

It’s strange learning to work from a plot. It does make the writing easier because I know what’s going on, but sometimes I’m still confused as to HOW to say it. Making the words pretty is different then just putting words on a page. You want them to make sense, but they also need to engage the reader, draw images in their mind, and make them want to continue.

For Minotaur I have a Minotaur walking through a dilapidated village in the middle of the night with rain pouring down on him, and he’s carrying a sack with something in it dragging along the ground. There, I just set the scene for you, but I just wrote that would you read it? Of course not, that isn’t a story, that’s just a setting.

Rain pelted down on Rojar’s back, dripping down across scared flesh. He walking along the cobbled courtyard, uncaring of the storm above him. His hooves clattering against the stone. Shaking his massive head from side to side, the water flew off his horns, splattering in thick droplets beneath him. He welcomed the rain, licking it off his rubbery lips, tasting the sweetness of freedom and pain. The rain, and the heavy weight of the war ax on his back; that was freedom.
He pulled a rough sack along behind him, the contents clunking against the stones. Clunk, drag. Clunk, drag. Down the cobblestone path to the center of town.
He could feel eyes on him, peeking out through slats in boarded windows, and peep holes in doors. Hear their hooves tapping out across caked dirt floors just on the other side of the wall. His people, his family. The same people that sold him into slavery.

Now that’s more like a story.

Alright, now I need to get back to work and finish what I’ve started. I want to complete one short story and get to formatting the print books tonight. I’ll update you tomorrow.

Writing Backwards

I had an unusual solution to an old problem today. I’m probably not the first person to come up with this, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

I was working on a chapter for “Forgotten Ones” in which the two fates, Maylin and Jadina, are walking down a tunnel in search of a particular creature that will hopefully lead them to the big bad guy. I knew how it began, and how I wanted it to end, but the middle… not so much.

So, I started writing it backwards. I read the last paragraph and thought “how do they get to this spot”, and add a paragraph describing that. Then write the paragraph, or mini scene right before that.

For example….

June is walking down a path, and knows that the monster under the bed is at the end of the path. She’s going to walk down the path, see some interesting things on the sidelines, and eventually end up at the monsters den. She goes in the den, there is a little fight, and June ends up sitting on top of the monster with the monsters feet tied up.

So, that is my beat. I write the first section with June walking through the woods, and entering the den, no problem. I am really good at that part. I write the ending with June sitting on the monster, and a little quip about the monster having too many hands and not enough brains. But in the center I just have “battle”.

Battle scenes are the hardest scenes for me to write, which is annoying since a lot of my books have them. But what are you going to do… unless I try and find myself a co-author I’m stuck for it.

So, with this particular story that I am just making up on the spur of the moment, if I try writing it backwards as I just did with “Forgotten Ones” I would think… How did she get on top of the monster? Well clearly she had to have all his hand already captured so the paragraph before would be her locking up the last hand, then swinging her leg over the beast and having a seat.

Then what happened just before that? Well, it has a lot of hands, so she is going to have to dodge them as she is tangling them up in a long ribbon. (This is where I just realize she has a ribbon to tie up the hands.)

Before that, there needs to be some tension. Maybe the monster grabs her ankle and drags her down, and she manages to get herself loose by tickling him.

And just keep going backwards until I have a full story. (On a side note, this sounds like a fun story to write as a children’s book with pictures. Maybe some day.)

In other news…..

I now have nine books available on Kobo. I have two more in queue to be on Kobo, but they are coming.

“Forgotten One” is now 25,000 words long, and I am a little half way through the final edits. Plus the two chapters with battle scenes that I have to finish… sigh.

“Potion Shop” is almost done, also. I really need to just get that out there. Perhaps this weekend.