Archive for the ‘NaNoWriMo’ Category
#1 – We have a giveaway winner! I’ve already sent an email to the winner.
#2 – We had two things happen this week. A) We officially started Kindergarten (which means I had a cute little Teach Me Tuesday planned). B) Everyone in the house got sick. The kids didn’t seem much affected. Runny noses and crankiness and that’s about it. But my husband and I both have the same thing happen when we’re just getting started being sick. We get super tired. Ridiculously tired. How the heck are my eyes open right now tired. Which means that neither of us was really able to handle the kids alone for a full day. And that meant that neither one of us could really get the sleep our bodies were asking for and thus we are both much harder hit by the sickness. Basically, I didn’t get much done this week (though we did get Kindergarten accomplished, for the most part).
#3 – While looking up a first line that I loved greatly in order to enter it for a first line contest, I rediscovered my failed 2006 NaNovel. Now, this novel was only a failure in that I didn’t make it to 50,000 words. I have very little clue now as to why that was, since I had no kids and no job, so I could have written the whole darn 50k in the first week if I’d really applied myself. But I was spoiled, thus lazy, and I was lured away by the distraction of online roleplaying (I’ve learned to budget my roleplaying time much better these days). However, in rediscovering, I have a new desire to finish it. It won’t be 50,000 when it’s done, most likely. One of my demotivating factors was that the plot was progressing far too fast to reach such a large (ha!) number. But I’ll finish it. And when I do, I’m thinking I’ll figure out how to put it up on Facebook as a freebie for my Likers. At this point, I have no idea how to do that, but I know it’s do-able, and I’ve learned most things in my life on an as-needed basis. So I’m not worried about that part. First comes the finishing. But, for those who weren’t around in 2006, some stuff to entice you.
I can’t find the sweet little animated graphic that I used as a signature on the NaNoWriMo site back then. But the text was “5 Days, 4 Marks, 3 Million Dollars, 2 Assassins, 1 Love.” It was apparently cool enough that the ML was excited to meet me when I finally made it to the group gatherings the next year. I wish I knew where to find it (I’m sure it’s on the internet somewhere). However, I do still have pictures of my two main characters.
India is a freelance assassin with the ability to erase herself from the memory of those around her. She can also erase all physical traces of herself from a crime scene, and wipe out any trace of herself in technology (like security tapes). The government knows her as Forget Me Not, though, really, they can’t even prove she exists.
Arthur is a government science project. With enhanced strength and speed, he can pretty much take on a train and come out on top. Which makes him quite the force to be reckoned with. The government has dubbed him Slice, on account of his love of using knives.
And, for those who haven’t read any portion of it before, a teaser.
WARNING: While I generally do my best not to swear in my normal life, many of my characters do not have that same attitude. Keep in mind, this is a novel about people who kill for a living. I’m pretty sure they don’t do any major swearing, but it’s in there. And since it’s in this short sample, I figured I should warn everyone.
It really puts a damper on a relationship when your boyfriend starts trying to kill people in the living room. Especially when he does it all wrong.
“Shit! India, I shot him! Shit!”
India rolled her eyes.
“Michael, you missed all his vital organs, where exactly were you aiming?” She tossed her clothes into a duffelbag. She knew everything would fit. It had all fit several times before.
“I wasn’t aiming. I panicked.” Michael paced the room, grabbing his hair in frustration. “What am I going to do, India?” She turned to him and smiled.
“You’re going to forget me.” Her face began to glow and she laughed at the look of pure fright on his face.
“What the hell is going on? Why is your face glowing like that? India?” His voice neared panic until her mind gripped his. She searched it quickly, finding it just as malleable as it had always been. She surveyed the situation and swore.
“Michael, I’m afraid I have to kill you now.” Mechanically, she directed him into the living room to retrieve his gun. It was nice. She wished she could keep it. But it was tainted now. She continued to pack as Michael turned the gun on himself. She didn’t even flinch as the sound resounded through the small apartment. She finished her packing and headed for the door, giving the place a good mental wipedown. She had never existed here.
So, I’m not doing much better at Camp NaNoWriMo than I did at the regular thing in November. It’s a little disheartening that I used to have 10k days and on the 1st, I struggled to hit 1500 words. My mojo has most definitely wandered off somewhere. Maybe I’ll send a search party out after it. And the applications for returning MLs are out right now, so I need to decide if I’m done with this stuff or not. The problem is, I don’t know if I am. I’ve been struggling. Big time. But at the end of the day, I love NaNoWriMo. I love everything about it. I love having a ridiculous goal that I’ve met multiple times (even though I can’t seem to figure it out right now). I love writing with other people, or even just going to a coffee shop and sitting there to write. I love getting into this part of my brain that I don’t normally access. This part of my brain that houses plots and characters I don’t even know about until I start typing and they just appear. I love having people all around the world cheer me on just for the sheer effort of putting fingers to keys. I don’t have to write anything good, I just have to write. I love the idea that there are thousands of people around the world doing the same thing that I am. And I love that when people donate to the Office of Letters and Light (the nonprofit behind all this), schools all over get amazing materials designed to teach children to love to write too. And that’s on top of all the NaNoWriMo goodness they put on every year.
But my mojo ran away. And no matter how much I love NaNoWriMo, if I can’t find that rascally mojo, it’s all for naught. Because MLs are required to attempt the novel. So as much as I’d love to say “Let me help and I’ll just skip the novel,” that’s a no-go. Which means I better find my mojo really fast, or I’ll have to forget all of it altogether.
Anybody seen a mojo running around?
Disclosure: The donation link goes to my personal fundraising page, which just means that I get credit for my fundraising efforts on behalf of the Office of Letters and Light. This could mean prizes for me. But I’m really terrible about remembering how these things work. I really just think they’re an awesome non-profit and the rest makes no difference to me.
At midnight this morning, I could have begun writing. I didn’t remember that today was June 1st until about 10:30, though. So that’s when I started making my writing preparations. What are those preparations, you ask?
1. I had to adjust the NaNoWriMo Report Card spreadsheet that someone else made, so that it had the right dates in it for this month.
2. I had to reread the beginning of my novel, so that I remember what the heck I wrote last November and can pick up where I left off. I wrote just shy of 6,000 words on an alien novel in November. I plan to add another 50,000 words to it this month. But I haven’t really read the whole thing since November.
3. I had to create a blank document for containing this month’s writing. I could just continue in the other file, but it’s easier to figure out my word count when I don’t have to do math.
And, for your reading pleasure, here’s another 500-ish words from said novel.
“Some guy is here to pick you up,” her brother said as they re-entered the house. “He said he is a friend of Tom, I guess. I have never seen him before. Must be from across town or something.”
Moriah shrugged and wondered if her father and brother had already grilled the poor kid. Jenny should have known better and sent a girl to pick her up.
“Jenny seems to think parties are about quantity, not quality. I am sure I won’t know half of the people there.” She looked at her mother’s frowning face and smiled. “Do not worry so much, Mom. I promise not to drink anything that you wouldn’t serve me, watch anything you wouldn’t show me or talk to anyone you would lock your door if you saw across the street.” Her mother did not look completely reassured, but she did let her head to the front door where the unknown boy waited. As soon as he looked her way, Moriah froze.
“Hey,” he said, completely unaware of her reaction to him. “I am Jeff. Tom and I used to go to school together back in the day.” He looked at her, then looked at each of her parents in turn, seeming to be slightly confused by something. She wasn’t sure what could confuse him, but she knew what was shocking the heck out of her. In her entire life, she’d never met anyone with an eye color like hers. Until that very moment. It made her wonder if somehow her wish really would come true this year. Maybe this boy would be the key to finding her birth mother. When her brother nudged her, she shook her head.
“Uh. Sorry. I’m Moriah, the birthday girl. I am guessing you already met my dad and brother, so since you’re still alive, I guess you passed their test and we can go.” She walked toward the door with the strange boy- Jeff- and tried to keep her breathing even so as not to give away the thrill of excitement that she felt at their meeting. As she passed him, he leaned close to speak to her quietly.
“Your glamour is excellent. You’ll have to tell me later how you ended up with this family.” She looked at him, her brows wrinkled and wished she knew what he was talking about. But whatever it was, it gave her hope that he could be the key to finding her birth parents. He knew something and she wanted to know whatever it was. No, she needed to know whatever it was.
“See you guys later,” she called over her shoulder. “I love you.”
I’m barely squeaking in before my bedtime (yes, I go to bed early these days), but I got it done. There were a few points in the day where I was worried, but I even managed to take the kids to the library and get some grocery shopping done. So I think I had a pretty darn productive day.
I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not to charge for the PDF version, so for right now, it’s free. If and when I decide to charge for it, it’ll probably only be a dollar. But if you want it, why wait until you have to pay for it? As soon as I find the article I saw about formatting things for Kindle, I’ll have a Kindle version and that I will charge for. Again, probably only a dollar, but because it requires extra knowledge and work on my part, I don’t feel any qualms about charging for it.
What’s in the PDF that’s not on my blog? Several new links, several replaced links that were dead, a much better system of organization, and a bit less focus on NaNoWriMo. Basicaly, I ended up almost rewriting the whole thing. Which is why I was thinking about charging for it. It’ll at least be free for a week, since as of right now, I don’t have a system in place for charging for it anyway. So download it, read it, love it, and be prepared for an awesome NaNoWriMo.
This book is now available for the Kindle. You can purchase it here, or, if you’re a member of Kindle Select, it is available to borrow (or will be within the next 48 hours). Currently the price shows as 2.99, but I just lowered it, so as soon as they finish the review, it’ll be .99.
Have you ever underestimated the amount of time something would take? Or underestimated the amount of time that would be stolen from working on that something?
I did both of those things. I hadn’t looked at my 30 Days of PreWriting posts since I first put them up. I expected to have to fix a few links, correct a few typos, slap a cover on it, and call it good. That is not what it needs though.
When I finally finished my first song study, I started looking at my old posts. Because I didn’t have all of them planned out before I started, a few of the later days, really belong much earlier. And the whole thing is very much written toward NaNo WriMo. And that isn’t bad, but I’d like the ebook to be a little more general.
So, having said all that, I still plan to get it out in time for those who need to do some prewriting in October. I’ll be working on it all day today and tomorrow if I have to, but I’ll get it done. By the end of the day October 1, it’ll be presented for all the hands that are looking for it.
I have been a writer basically for as long as I knew my letters. I remember being four or five and asking my mother how to spell word after word as I wrote notes and letters to. . . someone. I don’t really remember who. In second or third grade, the school librarian helped me create a small book that she “published” in the library. I found out years later that my brother had seen it and checked it out to read it.
Basically, I write. Not always consistently, and not always on paper, but that’s how my brain works. It’s part of my makeup. It’s in my soul.
But I haven’t written in a while. Not in my blog. Not anything fictional
beyond a few roleplaying posts here and there. And it took me a while to figure out why.
After my daughter was born, I suffered from what I called Disappearing Mommy Syndrome. At the time, I was only talking about the way I suddenly ceased to exist in pictures. That happened to my husband and the cats, too, so it didn’t seem all that terrible. Plus, babies make for cuter pictures. But I realize now that it was more than that. I wasn’t just disappearing from pictures. I was losing myself. When my daughter was two months old, I did NaNoWriMo for my second year. And for the first time, I won. I was thoroughly exhausted, and I’d had to learn to type one-handed while breastfeeding, but I’d done it. I’ve won every year since, but the next year was a whole different story.
By the time my daughter was a year old, several things had happened. Our debts (mostly medical) had reached such levels that I had to get a job. And I’d completely lost track of who I was. I didn’t write. I didn’t have friends. I barely made time to read. And even the job I ended up with was one that I hated (though that’s been a trend for most of my working life). When I attempted NaNoWriMo that year, it led to major arguments and resistance from my husband.
I had a job, which meant I was working on my novel during times when he was home. I was ignoring him in favor of some stupid novel. I was asking him to help with things like dishes and laundry. Things that I normally do. And things I definitely hadn’t been asking him to do.
The conflict caused by that NaNoWriMo was another symptom of Disappearing Mommy Syndrome. I didn’t take time for myself, so when I suddenly was doing something that was taking my time, my family resisted. It wasn’t pretty.
After that NaNoWriMo, I knew something had to change. Because the thing about losing yourself is that you’re miserable after a while. When you give everything to other people, you get tired, but they’re used to the status quo, so they don’t stop demanding things. Within two months of that NaNoWriMo, I had found a therapist. I didn’t know how to get back to myself and I’d said some things to my husband that were terrifying to me. I needed help if I was going to make it.
Thankfully, the therapist was helpful. Bit by bit, I realized that it was okay to take time for me. I started writing more regularly. I was working out. I was developing friendships. And while my husband did continue to be unsupportive of NaNoWriMo, I was better able to handle it and I finished my novel before Thanksgiving. But after NaNo 2009, something weird happened. I stopped writing.
At first, I felt guilty. I would still like to one day be published and I certainly won’t achieve that if I never write. But this time feels different. I don’t have some story trying to burn its way out of me. I don’t have characters keeping me up at night. I just. . . don’t feel like writing. And I’ve decided that’s okay.
Part of remembering myself was giving myself permission to do things that interest me. Just for me. Writing has generally been that thing, and it was important to teach myself that it was okay to take time for that. But I’ve also learned that it’s okay to not take time for it too. I have a job now where I’m always busy and it’s never the same thing. I joined a group for mom’s and I take Elisebeth to playgroups. Or to the zoo. Or just to the store (she’s easy to please). I keep better track of community events. I took over the newsletter for my writers group. I went back to school. All these things take time that I could be writing. But I choose to do them. I enjoy doing them. They don’t feel like something I do only for y family. And that makes a difference.
So I don’t feel guilty about not writing anymore. When a story needs to be told, I’ll find the time to write it. In the meantime, I’m perfectly okay with finding other things that make me happy. I’m perfectly happy with finding myself.
Storyfix.com saved my NaNovel this past November. I openly admit that I never would have made it to 50,000 words if not for the Story Structure series on that site. It was mind-blowing. Now, I’m hoping that the information there will save a different novel: my first.
Some people will have read The Mansion when it was uploaded as a Sims 2 story. Other people will have seen the videos. But, when I started querying trying to write a synopsis, and reading storyfix.com, I realized that it was broken. Most definitely broken.
So, I’ve been trying to save it. I sent it to some beta readers, who all touched on a couple things that I was starting to realize on my own anyway. And then, since I was trying to focus on my Elemental editing, I was letting it simmer in the back of my mind. But I recently realized that Elemental is currently broken too (though in a much more specific way). The difference is that Elemental is broken in a way that I haven’t figured out how to fix yet. It’s got a disease that is diagnosed, but there’s no cure. The Mansion, on the other hand, has a pretty darn good prescription.
I’d already decided on a few things that needed to change (pretty big changes, too). But in order to see how those changes were going to play out, I took the story tool from storyfix.com and answered the questions about my novel. I’ll be moving some things from the middle of the story to the end and vice versa. And I’ll be changing how certain information is passed along. But for the most part, I feel confident that this time around, the novel is going to be right. And when I’m done with this rewrite, I’ll know what I’m doing for writing a query and a synopsis. Especially since, for the first time, I plan to write them first. I’ve already got my questions answered and large portions of my outline figured out. I just need to take that and turn it into a query, then flesh that out to a synopsis, and then use that and the outline to do the rewrite.
And I should probably put a new tracker bar on the right side of my blog page.